Hi, friends! After a vacation and a week of party prep, things are finally settling down a bit here. Little Brother's long-awaited, airplane-themed birthday party came and went on Saturday evening, and all around, it was a blast. There were hiccups, of course (namely, a huge thunderstorm that rolled through about an hour before the party and the oppressive humidity it left in its wake), but by the end of the festivities, Little Brother and all his buddies were gleeful, covered with sand and mud, and cupcake-happy, and in my book, smiling kids mean a successful party.
And the airmail striped tablecloth, as you know from this post, was a painted canvas drop cloth! Because the weather is so unbelievably hot in Atlanta right now, we went a bit off-theme and centered the entertainment around a large kiddie pool and a slip n' slide. I intended to lead the budding pilots in games of "pin the propeller on the plane" and trying to hit a target with their balsa wood airplanes, but neither ever happened. I'd like to say that that was because they were all having too much fun to be bothered, but really it's because I was too busy chatting it up with friends, trying (in vain) to keep the food table stocked, and taking a small handful of pictures. I'm pretty sure that no one missed the games. I mean, what kid doesn't want to be wet when the temperature is in the nineties?
It's a picture that captures him perfectly: total mess, beaming with joy. Just like his father, he is active to a point where he almost drives me batty, and yet his ability to exude love in every single moment melts my heart into goo. I may have mentioned that he has a habit of trying to kiss me on the lips when I'm speaking firmly to him. How on earth can I resist that face?
Once the kids were watered-out and the younger members of our group had retired to bed, Jim brought out a projector and screen for our "in-flight entertainment." Because I could absolutely NOT find a non-lame airplane movie for kids (I haven't seen an entire episode, but in my judgment, Jay Jay the Jet Plane is weird, dude), we watched The Red Balloon. Have you seen it? It's a 1956 French children's film about a little boy who befriends a giant, red balloon--nearly wordless, but nevertheless totally engrossing for both my boys. It might have been a little too esoteric for the crowd and the moment, but I don't know for sure because everyone was very nice about it and didn't question my decision to go old-school and French on them. Perhaps they could tell that I was a little stressed and didn't want to put me over the edge:). Nevertheless, the movie was lovely and sweet and the kids watched it eagerly, and Jim was thrilled to have an excuse to fix our makeshift apparatus (yep, that's PVC pipe you see!) and resuscitate our summertime screen-on-the-green tradition.
And so our evening ended with a medley of beautiful balloons, last trips to the cookie plate, and cracked wooden airplanes. Little Brother went to bed in a t-shirt that read, "Daddy's Little Wingman" (thanks, Aunt Yaya!), slept until late in the morning, and woke up saying, again, "Birthday! Airplane! CAKE!" I was glad to find out that his memories of the party are so positive:).
For my part, I'm worn out. Sometime over the course of the week (which was admittedly condensed, due to our vacation), my creative energy over this party lapsed and gave way to personal exhaustion. I think I've finally learned that you just can't play mom, hostess, caterer, decorator and photographer all at once (surprise). I'm thankful that my failure to succeed in playing all these roles does not define me. Practically, though, I'd like to announce (for my own sake!) that in the future, birthdays in our family will be celebrated with small, intimate gatherings and simple family traditions. I'll pick a few elements to get creative with, but I will NOT try to do it all myself again--that is, until a few months from now when I forget how much doing it myself wore me down. And that's when you'll remind me that I said this. Ok?
My misgivings aside, the party was a wonderful celebration of our precious little airplane-lover and a happy opportunity to see how many dear friends and family members care for him. It's worth far more than a crazy week to snap a photo of the man with his great-grandmother. Their birthdays fall on the same day, and her husband (Jim's granddaddy) was a real pilot. Isn't she beautiful?
I hope your weekend was full of fun, rest, and just enough icing on your face to keep you laughing:).
p.s. If you liked this post, you might also enjoy the paper airplane invitations, Big Brother's cowboy birthday party, and Little Brother's waffles and water party.