Norah's birthday party was the day after her actual birthday. It was the first time we have had a party not at the house. At first I was a little apprehensive about giving up that kind of control (ha), but after all was said and done I am pretty much resolved that we will never, ever, ever have a birthday party at the house again.
Norah wanted a gymnastics party and it seemed like a great idea to have a patriotic theme (especially given the fact that it was so close to the Fourth of July and most decor was 50% off). I found her the most perfect gymnastics party outfit of all times.
The studio where we had the party kept it very simple. The party could only be an hour and a half, we were only allowed to bring in cake, and they took care of all of the clean up. Literally all we did were invites, cake, bottled water, a few decorations, and favor boxes for the kids to take home. The cost of renting out the place was more than off-set by the fact that we didn't feed anyone actual food and we didn't buy any beer. Favors were red boxes stuffed with sidewalk chalk, animal crackers, a ring pop, glow bracelets, and a bendy drinking straw covered in red-white-and-blue tinsel.
I was slightly stressed because we had an absolute cap (set by the place) of 25 kids that could participate. I am a big believer at this age that if you invite one kid from pre-school, you have to invite them all. So, once we factored in her class, plus all of the non-school friends, we were at exactly 25. Of course, RSVP's from the school folks were sporadic (or non-existent). There was a real possibility there would be 10 kids show up. Or 30. Plus, there is always the random kid who shows up with 3 siblings in tow. Thankfully it all worked out and the end count was 20 kids total. Totally doable.
Cake Boss once again out-did herself. She made five separate layers, each with distinct decoration. The one that said NORAH and had the candles was gluten free.
In true Cake Boss fashion, I think she started the cakes at like 10:00 pm the night before. They were amazing and delicious and everyone oohed and aahed over them. Norah was thrilled.
The way that the party structure was described to me by the place was that there would be a short tutorial and then the kids would be taken through guided gymnastics exercises, all tailored to be appealing to five year olds. I figured that the younger crowd (ie, Lou and Reid) and the older crowd (ie, Megan and Trevor) wouldn't really be able to take part. As it turns out there was five minutes of instruction...
Another five minutes of rules...
And then everyone was pretty much turned loose and left to their own devices. The gym was HUGE and we had the entire place to ourselves. There was a little something for everyone, including the grown ups: trampolines, foam pits, balance beams, high bars, etc. It would be so fun to get a group of adults and spend an evening there with a cooler of beer, but somehow I think the gym's liability insurance wouldn't cover it. (I may or may not have done the vault. Twice.)
Norah was SO into it and really pretty good. It was nice to see her taking some risks and pushing herself out of her comfort zone.
Every kid loved the foam pit. Louie loved to swing out over it and then just hang on to the rope. He has the upper body strength of a ninja.
After about an hour of jumping we had singing and cake and general merriment. We did our usual book collection in lieu of gifts and amassed a nice pile of kid friendly books to donate.
Camilla wore a matching outfit. We tried to find one for Megan as well, but 1) it is impossible to find a matching outfit in a 3 month, 5T, and almost 12-year old size; and 2) I am not sure Megan would ever forgive me if I asked her to wear a matching outfit to a 3 month and 5 year old.
After the party wrapped, the family headed back to our house for dinner and more cake.
There were about 500 attempts to take a cousin photo and this is the best we got. Not bad.
Overall it was a great, albeit very hot, day (Cake Boss had made an extra 24 cupcakes because we weren't sure how many people were going to show up, and the frosting literally melted off on the 22 SECOND walk from the car to the gym). It was an easy and fun party and it was an awesome team effort. Kiki was still in town and did a ton of the behind the scenes work both in the days leading up to it (ie, stuffing favor boxes) and day-of. I don't remember how I ever got anything done without Bubby and/or my sisters around. Good thing I don't have to.
Nothing makes me happier than celebrating my favorite girl.