We're done. Finito. No more birthday parties for another 11.5 months. Maybe, by that point, my year of campaigning will convince the girls to forgo all parties in favor of a joint family vacation to Hawaii. Somehow, I doubt it. I'm so over frosting, cakes, goodie bags, wrapping paper- the works.
Today, we celebrated Annie's birthday early with her friends, because her birthday is so close to Thanksgiving this year, I thought it would be best to try when most folks are in town. We went to a local gymnastics academy, one that is famous for training Olympians. There were REAL gymnasts doing amazing things while they segregated my kid and her pals into one section of the gym. The irony was amazing. There was a guy, probably 17- swinging himself around the pummel horse, and then right next to him, was my daughter rolling around in chalk on the ground and picking her nose.
Birthday parties at this age remind me of the movie, The Matrix. Once you get on this birthday party circuit, there are only 3 or so different places where you go for all of the parties. An inflatable jumpee place, a gymnastics place or one of our museums. The cake flavors and themed paper plates change, but basically, it's the same party, with the same people, over and over again. Sorry to digress- swallow your red or blue pill, and follow Neo to the pizza and cake part of our shindig.
For the pizza and cake part, our paper plates featured Winnie the Pooh. We had 24 kids today, plus their parents- so the little shaped Winnie the Pooh cake pan I bought at Michaels was so not going to fit the bill for today- it was simply too small. Throwing caution to the wind, I baked an old Barefoot Contessa recipe for lemon sheet cake, and then using the Magnolia Bakery buttercream frosting, I free styled a big head of Winnie the Pooh on the cake. We baked them yesterday afternoon, and then I took the kids to playgroup to tucker them out. It only took me until 2am to finish frosting the cake. I was so tired, that by the time I was done, I wasn't sure if it was Pooh on the cake, or a big golden mouse, but it worked.
Honestly though-- despite all of my grumbling (and knowing that I have a real weakness for any holiday- meaning I completely overdo it until I'm so sick of that particularly event that I can't wait for it to go away for another 364 days) it was all worth it when I watched Annie's face when everyone sang Happy Birthday. I stood in the back, and watched my little girl stand in front of her golden rodent cake, with her face beaming from ear to ear, as she waved at everyone as they sang. She blew each of her four candles out individually, and then immediately ran into the crowd to jump in my arms and give me, as she has now named them, a "birthday hug." I'm going to try and keep those birthday hugs around all year round.