Charlie was making cupcakes and pinatas...
And we were hoping that this event, which included the children's entire second grade class - their scout troops and neighborhood friends - would go off without a hitch. The weather leading up to the event was very iffy. It had rained the week before and more rain was slated for the following week. But the day of the party couldn't have been more perfect. The sun was shining brightly - there were hardly any clouds in the sky - and it was a brisk fall day with temperatures in the mid 60's.
The pile of dirt was removed mere hours before people began to arrive and the muddy pits all over the yard were covered with hay which miraculously transformed our construction zone in to a bona fide "Fall Festival." The kids bobbed for apples ...
(Which isn't a particularly easy thing to do when you're missing your front teeth...)
There was a moon bounce...
And face painting ...
And little pumpkin painting ... (don't have a picture of this handy but here's a link to the Pumpkin Patch Pals we bought ... they were adorable and better than a gift bag to take home.)
And potato sack races which I didn't get a picture of, either, but am sure happened?
There was also a spirited game of Capture the Flag that Coach Charlie supervised. He'd said to me the day before the party that if we was going to referee the game, he needed the appropriate attire. So I went to the store and bought him this ensemble ... which I then had to convince him to wear.
He donned this shirt and whistle (along with a pair of coke-bottle glasses) a week later when he went to a Halloween costume dressed up as an "Unemployed Replacement NFL Ref." (He's a funny one.)
Charlie strung his handcrafted pinata from a tree, and then had to restrain himself from jumping between the pinata and a swinging bat once the kids tried to knock it down.
(Do you know how hard I worked on that thing?)
(DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY HOURS IT TOOK ME??)
It took three hard smacks before it was knocked from the tree in an explosion of prizes and the kids jumped all over the fallen loot like white on rice...
Although we had four pinatas - we opted to only knock down one when we realized that there was a child at the party who has a contact allergy to peanuts (!!!!!!!) that can trigger an anaphylactic response (!!!!!!!) and those little bite size Snickers bars that were stuffed inside? NOT A GOOD FOOD CHOICE given those circumstances.
(Note to self: Must be more aware of life threatening allergies when throwing the next party!)
Charlie had prepared about 12-pounds worth of chili and whipped up some corn bread. We served that to the adults via a crockpot we had plugged in outdoors, while the kids ate pizza and fruit salad.
There was an abundance of apple cider (hot and cold) and a pony keg of Sam Adam's Octoberfest.
(Which we then hauled to a neighborhood party the next day because we hardly made a dent at the birthday party. Who would have ever expected that there would be KEG BEER at an 8-year old's birthday party?!)
In lieu of gifts, we asked everyone to bring their favorite book to exchange. All of the books were collected in a big basket and after we'd had our cupcakes ...
The children each had an opportunity to come up and select one book.
What was amazing to me (and other parents) is how quickly the children's energy levels diffused. The sound level dropped from 90 decibels to less than 5, as 40+ kids sat around, slowly flipping through pages of their new books, totally mesmerized.
(Note to self: LOVE THE BOOK EXCHANGE IDEA. Never forget this one!!)
As the sun started to drop lower in the sky, we lit a bonfire and parents gathered around to continue talking - while the kids stayed warm by jumping in the moon bounce. All told, it was an overwhelming success and we've already decided that next year, we're going to do it again. Because we're creatures of habit that way ... we find something that works and we stick with it.
I'm already thinking of Fall Festival-themed weddings, baptisms and anniversary parties!!
Neighbors stayed and helped us to clean up, late in to the night, and the next day, it felt like I'd been hit with a steam roller. Wow, who knew that coordinating an eight-year-old triplet's birthday party would rival the exhaustion that comes from DELIVERING triplets? But since the following day was the children's actual birthday, we summoned what little energy we had and paraded off to our neighborhood party.
(With our keg of beer in tow. Does this make us look like lushes on the move?)
One of our good friends, we learned, had the exact same birthday as the triplets, so I added one candle in his honor alongside our three 8's ...
And meticulously added his name to the cake.
Now that I look at this picture, I probably should have used pink icing so it blended more.
(Or, at a minimum, take cake decorating classes.)