These past weeks have been anything but.
In real life, you can’t always wait to live and celebrate joyous occasions at exactly the right, most convenient, perfect moment. Most of the time, the show must go on amid illness, deployments, and just general crankiness. (If cranky were a reason for cancelling, we family of six might miss out on a lot.) December is chock-full of celebrations for everyone, and some of my biggest challenges include: enough sleep and exercise to keep me on an even keel, being able to put to-do lists out of my mind long enough to enjoy each event in the moment, and finally, capturing every detail of tinsel and cookies and excitement with my camera. That’s all. Only those three things.
My third daughter, Grace, has a birthday that falls just after the last plate of leftover turkey and cranberries, and just before Christmas chaos is in full swing. Generally she prefers to celebrate with a favorite meal, a cake with family and very little fuss. This year she wanted a party. A PARTY! The fact that she wanted to have friends around, and play games and for the tiniest moment have the spotlight on her…. well, I was not about to let the craziness of the season keep us from having a very, merry birthday party.
A Mad Hatter’s Mother-Daughter tea party was arranged.
A room was reserved.
A menu was drawn up.
Decorations were planned.
Invitations were sent.
Then add in a sister’s surgery 24 hours earlier. And multiply that by emergencies at work for my other half. The levels of exhaustion and anxiety were rising. I was not about to let it ruin Grace’s birthday, and there was no way I was going to try to reschedule friends, and food and the location during the busiest month of the year.
On the afternoon of our tea party, just as our guests were arriving…
Cait’s pain reached its highest levels and I was struggling to help her find relief.
The lovely glass jugs with spigot, that I purchased expressly for the party, that were filled with iced tea and pink lemonade began leaking all over the kitchen.
The cupcakes weren’t frosted.
I hadn’t done my hair or makeup or even put on a dress….
Thankfully, there were 2 siblings that kicked it into high gear to help Grace have a great party. We have wonderful friends who made themselves right at home and didn’t say a word about my tardiness, my disheveled hair nor my dashed on (and probably crooked) lipstick.
At the party, I enjoyed the food and the conversation and relaxed for the first time in days.
And when the party was over and all the stickiness of lemonade was scrubbed from my kitchen counters, I realized that I had only taken a handful of photos.
Instead of lamenting over memories lost, I did a little recreation of the details…..
Welcome to our Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
Cucumber sandwiches with a cream cheese/ranch spread, chocolate dipped fruit, cheese and crackers, scones with jam and cream, chocolate cake
Vanilla cupcakes with fresh strawberry frosting
I picked up discounted dishes and tea cups to serve the treats.
THE ACTIVITIES & GAMES
Can you remember what’s on the tea-tray? (Girls got to view the tray, and then write down all the items from memory.)
Water coloring (we used water-color pencils and crayons to make the activity less of a mess.)
Drink Me – guess what’s in each concoction? Each bottle contained a combination of 3 beverages (sodas, juices, coconut water – nothing horrible.)
Every girl had an initial painting hanging from her chair (Acrylic on canvas boards, backed with cardstock and hung with sheer ribbon.)
We pulled from the Alice in Wonderland theme – using clocks, flowers, mirrors, playing cards, red hearts rabbits and quotes from the story.
Even the Queen of Hearts stopped by.
An oversized tea-cup for each girl containing some of Grace’s favorite things.
To go with the story/reading theme, we made book whimsical bookmarks.
Thanks for stopping by the party. I hope you are able to find a balance this season, that you get to enjoy the party and capture a few lasting memories too. Enjoy this Friday and we wish you a VERY, MERRY UNBIRTHDAY!