Now I don't know about you, but I have a hard time coming up with themes for birthdays. To me, the theme of "Party" is good enough. Instead, I just make the food, send the invites and we all pile into my house and yard and hang out. After, of course, hours and hours of house cleaning, baking, multiple shopping trips, fretting, failed cupcakes, more shopping and more baking. Oh and woodworking. Don't forget the woodworking and the mulch.
A few weeks back I decided it was time to ditch the square foot garden and trade it out for a 6' x 6' sandbox. Reusing the same frame and same location would be key to our sandbox success. First, though, we had to rip out and/or relocate all of the plants, remove all of the soil, then rebuild the frame and fill it with play sand. Oh and don't forget the 5 cu yards of mulch that was piled on top of the now emptied frame until I could throw it around the garden, one week before The Party. So there I was at dusk on Friday throwing the final forkfuls of mulch into a wheelbarrow and unloading it around the front yard when my mom said to me, "You don't do anything by halves, do you?"
I stopped, sweating and covered in dirt, dust and mulch, looked her dead in the eye and replied, "Nope." Then I continued moving mulch until it was all gone, and cleaned the yard until it was full dark, because nothing is a motivating as a birthday party.
Saturday, Eric and his dad put the frame back together and attached landscape fabric to the bottom and began dumping bag after bag of sand into it. Saturday night, the kids got a chance for a pre-party sandbox test. They instantly loved it.
Sunday, all of the kids loved it.
I keep trying to keep the birthday parties small, but they keep getting away from me. Considering that the kids are just 3 and don't have any friends of their own from preschool or anything to invite, I still managed to have 26 people attend, only 7 of which were children. This birthday we had all 3 sets of grandparents, one uncle, one aunt and a passel of cousins.
Grammy and Grampy.
And Grandma and Grandpa.
Just so you know, there was only one other picture of my mom and it was way worse than this one. Note that the fact that she complained while I was taking it was probably part of the problem. Next time I walk up to you with a camera, strike a pose or be prepared for the consequences! MOM!
There were cupcakes, by the dozens.
And friends to frost those cupcakes. And take pictures, change diapers, bring snacks, balloons and bags of sand.
And yet more friends to eat those cupcakes.
Why yes, I DID make coconut cupcakes and Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling. Thanks for noticing!
But first there was the singing,
and the blowing out of candles,
and the eating.
Then the present opening.
There were sand toys a-plenty!
There was one drama, though. Only one big dump truck.
Emma fairly mowed Logan down to get this truck to the sandbox first, leaving Logan screaming and crying and left me sheepishly opening the rest of the presents.
He calmed down pretty quick once we opened a huge box of cars. Then he started filling his hands and pockets like squirrels do with nuts and scampered off, happily.
There was talk and laughter and general hanging about.
Logan even got to play with the new truck...eventually!
Note the iterative dump truck action and the fist full of cars. You think I joke about the magpie thing, don't you?
There was even time for me to be in the photographs, which only happened when I kept thrusting my camera into someone else's hands. Thanks Scott! Thanks Eric! That's right. I can delegate!
And even though everyone thinks I'm insane* for going crazy making cupcakes and buttercream frosting from scratch and building sandboxes and gardening like a fiend (Misty said she was glad she wasn't the only one!), everyone went away happy with full hearts, hands and bellies. And my yard looked pretty good, too.
Happy birthday little monkeys! Mommy loves you.
And is very tired now. Good thing your birthday only comes once a year!
* It's not like they're wrong** or anything.
** Did I mention that as soon as the party was over I had a cool idea for painting the sandbox cover with chalkboard paint and turning it into a giant outdoor drawing pad? Yeah. I'mma work on that one...tomorrow!