Friday, August 29, 2014

Lyla's 2nd Birthday Picnic Party

It's 9:14 on Thursday night.

And I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've actually sat down to relax since exactly one week ago. Because one week ago, I was ignoring my very pregnant body {and every family member begging me to take it easy} as I planned, crafted, cleaned, grocery shopped, and prepared after work each night for a very special two year old's big day.

And a big day it was. We partied like it was our job.

The thing is, I vividly remember going into all of this swearing up and down that I was going to keep things very small and very casual this year. It really did start out that way: our parents, a few of Lyla's toddler friends and their families, and the idea to have a casual picnic. And although I may not have gone completely all-out like I did last year, I still overdid it. By a lot. And I've got the ankles to prove it. Exactly one week later.

I don't know why I don't just cater in, or at least for Pete's sake leave the baked goods to the professionals. I guess for the same reason I refuse to buy Halloween costumes - I like to put my special touch on things and somehow create a labor of love {even though my strengths by no means lie in craftiness nor the kitchen}.

This year's labor of love was the strawberry vanilla cupcakes. Why? Why do I feel the need to try a new recipe from scratch when I have several friends who run very successful bakeries? Especially when I have officially, for two years in a row now, managed to concoct a baking disaster. This year, instead of accidentally doubling the butter, I added too much strawberry puree into the buttercream frosting which made it runny. And let me tell you. Runny frosting, now matter how delicious, looks absolutely horrifying. So, my mother-in-law, for the second year in a row came to the rescue with extra confectioners sugar just in the nick of time -  40 minutes before the party began. I seriously had to talk myself out of throwing a full-on adult tantrum because we didn't have time {or enough frosting} to do fancy swirly-doo's with the buttercream.

You win some. You lose some.

But swollen ankles, lack of sleep, and runny frosting aside, it was all so very worth it. To see Lyla's face as she woke up and walked around the house saying "Lyla boothday pawty"and recognized that all the fun decor was for her!!! And when all said and done, I just can't ignore how much fun it is for me to plan and incorporate all the little details. I love myself a theme and creating a corresponding menu and signature drink. And since I couldn't partake in any adult fun, I stuck to the most delicious infused water I've ever had: Strawberry lime cucumber mint - obnoxious name, but seriously tasty.

My favorite detail was the party favors - everyone got to take home a honey bear from Grandpa Green's farm!

And of course we couldn't have pulled it off without the fam - surely they are used to me by now. Always running out of time at the last minute and pleading with them the night before an event to get their party pants on and "bring in the reinforcements". They're true saints, I tell you.

This year was no exception as I put everyone to work. If I saw anyone standing, I handed them something and gave them a job. Yes, even the birthday girl herself. She helped Dad chill the beer. And Bots was on babysitting/storytime duty.

But I have to say. My favorite part of the entire day was right before any of our guests arrived. It was just us and the grandparents. We took Ly outside for her big "present reveal". And I have never, ever seen such joy, and I will never forget her face.

Let's stop for a moment and talk about this wagon. I have to brag on Gabe. After several weeks of laboring in sweltering 100 degree weather, over a dozen trips to Home Depot, and more than $150 spent, he finished refurbishing his brother and sister's old childhood wagon.

So scratch the runny cupcakes, I guess my sweet husband wins in the labor of love department.

Oh. And we can't forget the part where Lyla was hysterical because everyone sang happy birthday to her. Poor thing really just can't stand all attention on her.

Other than the "Happy Birthday meltdown", our sweet bean had a fabulous time and loved playing with her toddler pals. I only wish I would have gotten more pictures of them all together. {Darn you August heat!} And she really loved playing with all her new treasures.

Well, another successful party in the books. 

But I really am sticking to my word as next year's theme is going to be "Pizza and Party Hats". And it may just be our family of four celebrating together. Because I'm sure I'll still be recovering come August next year. 

And I know this little party animal would likely agree. 


MommyMandy Musings said...

Adorable!! What a cute party idea!

Leigh said...

What an adorable birthday party! And your husband did an amazing job on the wagon. Where did he get the new logo from?

Shoshanah said...

I think it looks like such a fun day! And I think picnic is such a fun, summer-y theme. Definitely one I'd love to pull off myself.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

That party is too cute! It looks like it was a great time. You did good!

Kristin said...

I adore this theme idea!!! And all your details are perfect - the honey is for sure my favorite part! Now go get yourself a massage or something!

Courtney [Sweet Turtle Soup] said...

I downright adore this party! And, my gosh I'm with you. I always tell myself to keep it simple...and I always go way overboard. And I must DIY and make absolutely everything I can. The face though...totally worth it. And I love doing it too! Just so much work. I love the buckets on the table on their side! And really just the whole thing. Well done.

zerry ht said...

Adorable birthday party!! Your little princess is looking so cute on her 2nd birthday. You have a huge backyard and it was perfect for this party. But my home is quite small so I can’t host parties over there. So I always reserve the affordable party places in the Bronx for my parties.