Claire is turning two tomorrow and we couldn't be more excited...especially since she has decided that she wants to have her first round of the pukes on or about her birthday. Awesome.
Over the weekend we had her birthday party. I know I have been preaching this whole get rid of the excess bit and I swear I tried to actually practice that when putting together her party. I thought I would share it with you, not to pat myself on the back, but so that you can summarily steal and make it your own.
I love Reading Rainbow. I admit it. As a child I thought Levar Burton was maybe the coolest guy on earth. He had all these books and he flew around on the Starship Enterprise. He was a very busy man.
Claire loves books. I know I've mentioned this before, but she really does. I can't imagine how excited she'll be when she actually figures out how to read the words. So, based on my love of Reading Rainbow, Claire's love of books, and several ideas from Pinterest, I decided Claire would have a Reading Rainbow birthday party...then I got carried away.
While I love Pinterest more than most things in this world, it sucks you in and leads you to believe that every party needs fancy DIY centerpieces, little placards telling your guests what they are eating, and a shmancy two-tiered cake draped in that gross fondant junk. I nearly went off the rails, but luckily my cheapness forced me to snap out of it.
What I did do was buy red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple streamers from the card outlet store, some chipboard letters on clearance at the Lobby of Hobbies, pinwheels from the dollar store, and some ribbons. People, it looked like Rainbow Brite, herself, had been in my basement.
Check it out. I wrapped the letters in the crepe paper. I think the butterfly mobile (compliments of Kaki) is a nice RR touch. Levar would be proud...if he ever returned tweets.
My sister, the doctor and baker-extraordinaire, prepared a delicious batch of cupcakes with lemonade frosting piped on to look like clouds and stuck some rainbow-looking sour candy on top.
I put all of Claire's favorite books out on display all over the room for the kiddos to read. We also had a bookmark creation station where the guests could make a foam bookmark to take home in their monogrammed bookbag ($1 at Michael's). The most popular item at the party, though, was the art wall. My parents brought me a giant, I mean giant, roll of newsprint. Apparently, you can get this item free from your local newspaper because they are constantly throwing them out. We covered the expanse of one wall and put lots of crayons for the kids to go crazy.
Success! The kids all had fun and the adults seemed to enjoy the food and beverages, but not so much Mizzou losing to Kansas in overtime (because of some real b.s. officiating I might add) that was on the giant TV. Whatever.
If you think I went overboard, let me redeem myself by saying that we requested no gifts. In lieu of gifts, we asked that people make a donation to the Imagination Library. It's a program that partners with United Way and provides a book a month until age 5 to children residing in Columbia. It's Dolly Parton's brainchild and it pretty much rocks. We also asked that everyone bring their favorite book for a book exchange.
If you are worried about my poor neglected child not receiving any gifts for her birthday, don't be. She got plenty of books from various grandparents, parents, aunties, and uncles. Plus, more importantly, she got to spend time with her friends and family.
Which brings me to what else has been happening and causing me to be so lax with my blogging. A very good friend of mine went through what was probably the roughest week of his life last week along with his awesome I-couldn't-have-picked-a-better-wife-for-you-if-I-tried wife. Their son was born with a heart condition called tetralogy of fallot. I'm not a doctor, so I will spare you my simplistic explanation of what this is and encourage you to look it up for yourself. Long story short, this baby, who is now 9 months old, is just about as precious as they come. He reminds me so much of Zora. He had to have several procedures last week and to say that the recovery has been up and down is an understatement. He is doing better now from all accounts, which is wonderful news.
I have no idea how they are keeping themselves sane, because I wouldn't be. Watching this family go through this has torn out my heart many times over the past week. It has made me appreciate my life, just as I did a few weeks ago when precious Tripp Roth lost his battle with EB. I hate that it takes these moments to make me stop and smell the roses, hug my babies, and kiss my husband. But they do, all the same.
Saturday I was so stressed trying to get everything ready for Claire's party. I was a maniac. I think I yelled at everyone at least once. And for what? Did Claire need a perfectly prepared fruit tray with all the colors of the rainbow represented in different pieces of fruit with a cloud of cheesecake fruit dip? No, of course not. She eats things off the floor so presentation is lost on her. Did she need that rainbow tutu and matching bow that I painstakingly created for her? No, I think Rob wore the tutu on his head longer than she wore it on her body.
She didn't need any of it. What she did need, though, was her family and friends surrounding her on a special day. It's the most basic of needs, love. She's got that, she's got plenty of that. So does my friend's son and so does Tripp Roth.
In hindsight, I could smack myself for letting myself be overcome by the details and not see the bigger picture. Luckily, I have great friends and family who, as soon as they show up, calm the savage party-planning beast in me and remind me to relax and have a tiny cup of rainbow colored vegetables with ranch at the bottom (thanks Pinterest)...and they remind me what I really love isn't the things surrounding me, but the people. I am humbled by the love I have seen in the past week pouring out for Baby Chandler and for the love that I saw over the weekend for my own little 2 year old. Love. When it comes down to it, that's all you need...I feel like someone has said that before...hmmm, weird.
Well, TV...TV...it was on this morning. I'm trying to keep Claire in one place so that the amount of things I have to clean puke off of and sanitize are minimal. She spent half this morning reading Little Critter books and the other half watching Sprout. This week's theme is birthdays, Sprout is now conspiring to get back in my good graces. We'll see.