Zoey is turning a year old on June 25th. Right after she was born, I told Greg that I didn’t want to do a birthday party for her every year because it looked like too much stress and craziness (I’d learned this from watching my older sister throw birthday parties each year for her FOUR kids). Maybe parties only on the pivotal birthdays, like five, ten, thirteen, etc. I added that if Zoey wanted to have friend parties on the ages in between, that was totally cool with me. I just didn’t want to try to organize some big, crazy family and friends party every year. And as for her first birthday, well, she’s really too young to remember what’s going on. So, maybe we could just visit my parent’s and Greg’s parent’s houses and call it a day. Yup, that was the plan.
And then somewhere along the way, I got the brilliant (read: insane) idea to organize an awesome first birthday party. I have no idea what made me decide to go back on my original thinking of no organized parties this young and decide to turn her birthday into practically a freakin’ holiday. All I know is that once I got the idea to put this party together, there was no stopping me and poor Greg (bless him) stepped aside and let me go full steam ahead.
I started the planning back in February, when it seemed like June was a whole world away and I had plenty of time to play with ideas for locations, cake and gift bags. But then I took a break from the party planning for about a month because, heck, I knew I had a crapload of time to figure everything out. And now I’m only a little over a month away and I’m trying to work on details again.
So let’s talk venues.
Between Greg’s and my families and close friends, I knew we’d be inviting about fifty people, plus kids. That means our house is way, way, way too small to hold all of those people comfortably. We have a huge backyard, but we also have three crazy dogs and I didn’t really want to spend the couple hours of the party watching the dogs to make sure they didn’t jump up on anyone or trip anyone with their lead.
Then I got the brilliant idea of having the party at a nearby park. It would be out in the nice weather, we could grill and the park I had in mind isn’t far from our house, which means it’s easy for everyone to get to.
As soon as I decided it might be cool to have the party at a park, everything kind of went into fast forward mode. Because I was at work when I had this idea, I called my mom and asked if she could call the appropriate people to look into renting a pavilion for a few hours. She called me back a few minutes later and told me that 1.the pavilions were each $50.00 to reserve (non-refundable) and 2.there was only one left that wasn’t reserved for that day and OH MY GOD THEY ARE GOING FAST. GET IT NOW!
I had to make a split-second decision, which is not cool for Cindy (I typically need time to stress about decisions before actually making one), so I asked Mom to go ahead and call the people back to reserve the pavilion. I sent the check in the mail a couple days later and about a week later, we received a receipt confirming our reservation.
There are three different pavilions in the park. I was hoping, hoping, hoping that we had been able to get one of the ones near the main playground so that parents could watch their kids play without feeling completely separated from Zoey’s party. We didn’t get that one. Then I was hoping, hoping, hoping we had gotten the one next to the basketball courts because we could always bring a basketball for the kids and the main playground wasn’t too far away. We didn’t get that one either.
We got the pavilion in the very back of the park, where I’m pretty sure the monsters from Where The Wild Things Are live. There may also be a portal to Narnia back there. Who knows? The pavilion is at the very back of the park–no playground in sight.
Okay. Okay. We can deal with this. Okay.
I complained to Greg for a while and then we decided that we’d make sure to take a couple frisbees and maybe a kick ball for the kids to have something to do (I’m not doing any birthday party games because Zoey is too small for any of them). If they get bored, we’ll just sugar them up until they’re running in circles, not caring that the playground is over the small hill, practically on the other side of the park.
A few weeks ago, a family member told us that we should have looked into renting a pavilion at another park, which is pretty much in our backyard. The pavilion there has sides on it if it rains, a working kitchen and you get your reservation money back if you clean up after yourself.
Oh. My. God.
Why hadn’t we thought of this before? It was pretty much perfect because there was also a little playground not too far from the pavilion and oh my gosh, I want my baby’s party there.
But it’s not meant to be because we have a nonrefundable reservation for the other park. Maybe the next time I get one of these brilliant ideas (read: insane) to organize a birthday party for Zoey, we’ll have it at the park two feet from our house. Gah.