(Warning! This turned into a super long post, which wasn't what I had in mind when I started out, but there you go - a trip down memory lane, followed by a birthday party report. At least there are a lot of pictures.)
Some of Davan's past birthdays have been pretty darn good ones.
The first, or zero birthday, while maybe not good per say, was certainly memorable.
For her second and third birthdays, we had pancake breakfasts so as to avoid nap time. There were plenty of attendees.
At the third, all the young party goers got to decorate their own cupcakes.
Davan chose a kitty cat birthday for her 4th.
We'd moved by her 5th birthday and she wanted a fancy princess tea party.
For her 6th, she just wanted a day with all her special adult people. Anthony and my mom took the day off so that they, my step dad and I could all spend the day with Davan, doing pretty much whatever she wanted all day. That meant a lot of playing dolls with her.
The 7th birthday was celebrated at Chuck E Cheese with her two best friends of the time.
Yeah, they were both a lot older. But still amazingly young looking, no Ami?
For number 8, she had a big bash with nearly every local person we know in attendance, kids and parents alike. It was quite fun and we did it open house style. Sadly, I can't seem to find a single picture, although I know we took some. I do know that her present was a room remodel:
For 9th, she did a two party event. One was with her friends from Girl Scouts, involving lunch, presents and playing.
And the other was an afternoon at Safari Sam's with her best friend that year.
10 was Disneyland!
For her 11th, it was another 2 party sort of deal. One was with several of her homeschool friends. We went to see a school Do Jump show, then went back to our house for lunch and games. We didn't officially call this one a birthday party, but...it kind of was.
The main event that year, though, was a day with Anthony and I. We were supposed to take her to Safari Sams and actually play with her there, but it was a heavy snow day. We spent the day at home, instead. This involved an obstacle course.
Later, there was also a living room jungle gym sort of set up.
And, in between, several contests of various sorts.
Fun was had, even thought it was different fun from what had been planned.
Her 12th birthday ended up being quite fun, but it was a bitter disappointment at first. She invited her two best friends to go sledding for the day and then to come spend the night. One couldn't make it due to family plans. Then the snow was very poor that year and the sledding part got canceled. The other friend then had to cancel at the last minute due to illness. It ended up being another day with her dad and I and didn't involve sledding.
However, I guess I felt so badly for her, that we kind of went all out. We started off with another obstacle course.
It ended with her presents.
This was the one from her dad and I.
Then there was a picnic breakfast. As you can see, Davan adapted well to the new circumstances, even though she was pretty disappointed.
The next year, for 13, she went back and forth, but settled on just inviting her current best friend to have a private lesson at Do Jump, go out to dinner, to the Do Jump professional show, then home for a sleepover. It started off well.
But, sadly, Emma sustained a (turns out mild) shoulder injury during the Do Jump play part of the festivities. The more pressing issue turned out to be that Emma was sick. She went home, where she went to bed and slept the rest of the day. Davan was bummed. Emma did do a sleepover later and we did finish out the planned events with Davan that night.
So, this year, after two years of disappointing birthday parties, we were really wanting this one to happen. Davan decided on having four friends go to Safari Sams (yeah, she and her active friends still love the place), then come back for dinner and a sleepover. We sent out options for dates for scheduling purposes (December can be a challenging month for a birthday) and found the one that worked. One person still wasn't able to join in until evening. One person ended up leaving mid party for a soccer game, then returned. All-in-all, though, it went well. Everyone came for at least part and fun was had by all.
The festivities started out at 11am with the first person to be picked up, then, once all were in the car, they went off to Safari Sams. Anthony did the chauffeuring, as I stayed home to finish the cake and to be here for dinner prep. I sent the camera with him, but he came home empty handed in terms of pictures. Luckily, he wasn't empty handed in terms of kids, 'cause I'd have a lot of 'splaining to do if that were the case.
They settled in for a little game playing until our soccer player returned.
Then it was dinner time. We had veggie fajitas and Mexi nuggets (tator tots with seasoning).
Davan had a lot of plans for the evening, but not many of them happened, it seems. Each guest had brought, at Davan's request, a playlist of their 14 favorite songs and there was some listening, while also doing other things. There was a book exchange (rather than gifts for Davan). Mostly, though, they romped.
Our condo being on the second floor, they did a lot of romping in the basement, where they played flashlight sardines both Saturday night and Sunday morning.
After some sardines to work off dinner, we had cake. Davan had requested (and helped me make) a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.
Even though it was dark and about 38 degrees out, they all tromped to our nearest park (about four blocks away) to play for an hour or so. I went over with the camera to see if I could get some pictures and found them doing this:
I couldn't believe they were warm enough in their hoodies (all except one) to just stand around, but was assured they'd been running around plenty.
They all did cartwheels across the field while I was there, but it was hard to get a picture of in the dark. I left them to it after only a brief visit.
Back home, they retreated to Davan's room for the book exchange and I don't know what else. Music listening, game playing, hanging from the ceiling? Probably all of the above.
Around 11pm, they trooped out to the living room to commander the TV. Anthony and I retreated to our room to read a little and try to sleep.
Once they popped themselves some popcorn and warmed up hot (soy) chocolate, they were relatively quiet and we did fall asleep while they watched a couple of episodes of Glee. One party goer might have been a little young for Glee, but I hope that anything she shouldn't get went over her head.
When they were laying out sleeping bags and taking turns in the bathroom, it was, sadly, a little loud again. From 1am - 1:45am, I lay there and listened to them. I told Anthony that for the first time since moving in, I wished we'd gotten a large place with a master suite at one end of the house and the kids' rooms at the other. I had a rough time falling back asleep and, then, sleeping soundly with the guests, even though they were all sleeping, so it was a pretty darn tired day for me on Sunday.
Anthony and I got up at 7:30 with Ranger. The kids didn't get up until 9.
After some morning trapeze swinging, with help from friends,
it was time to feed them all again.
Hashbrowns, pancakes, cuties and juice were on the menu. Anthony was our pancake man.
Ranger spent most meals doing this to various people:
Licorice wanted to just hide away. She's asking to get into our closet here.
When our last guest left around 1pm, I was glad the party was over, although it had been fun having all the kids around and seeing Davan have such a good time. I was tired, though, and really glad I didn't have to figure out feeding them all again. We did three meals in all - plus snacks. If they were all my kids, they'd just have to get used to what we eat, but we tried to make it special for Davan and food the others would like. It did go well, but I was glad not to need to do another meal.
Davan had a blast and was sorry to see everyone go. She was pretty tired, though, and it showed (although not really in a bad way) the rest of the day. We took it easy and she hit the hay early (as did we all!) and is recovered today.
I'm glad I don't have to worry about her birthday again for another year. :) Except, of course, that the actual day is still coming up and I'm sure we'll at least have to have some special foods...