Saturday, July 19, 2014

under the sea

i have a lot of fun stuff to write about but i will start with the most recent: Lucy's birthday! 
my little dream-come-true turned TWO on thursday.  (it really is impossible to believe that much time has passed, and it's only getting quicker...)
a few weeks ago, i asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday. "mermaid party," was her response. I asked again, to be sure. she said "choo choo party." so we discussed the pros and cons of both and she chose mermaid party. i have been hearing that phrase for weeks now, in all variety of contexts. sometimes she would throw out "bambi party" as a little joke, then "noooo," with a sly grin. 

we spent the day before her birthday getting all prepared. it turned into a pre-party. emily and scout and papa were here all day. my mom and bella came by for a spell, added a few touches. joey and darin joined us and took over baby-duty after they were off work. scott and penelope came in the evening with reinforcements: crackers and cheese and beer and pistachios.

i drew, emily painted, and joey and pops constructed the mermaid for photo ops.

scott brought the perfect beer for the occasion:

and the party mood gathered momentum with a little sea shanty jig, accompanied by bubbles thanks to emily's trusty bubble-machine.

the morning of the party i made final touches. 
come into our grotto.....

i made headbands for lucy, polly and i loosely based on rachel and sena's mermaid costumes. thanks gals!

tootie had a good early-afternoon nap and then woke up to that enchanting feeling of a long awaited event finally happening! a few people were already here, her second-cousin Mackie was already in the pool, and she had a new dolphin balloon to enjoy courtesy of Papa.

toot is so comfy with her papa and he does so much for us. i tell him he has to make it to 99 years old, because i don't want him dying until my girls are in their 30s and can handle it. we just love him to pieces and he is such an amazing helper around here.

goodies and guests starting to arrive!
a lovely local, meredith, who i met through this blog, came with her adorable curly haired blondie daughter Gwen and this amazing watermelon basket. 

my mom made vanilla and lemon cupcakes and starfish rice krispy treats.

and my dad gave lucy a new slide that the kids used all day with great glee!

i am so proud to be lucy's mama. kids love her. it seems like everyone gravitates toward her. the big kids take turns carrying her around, and she takes turns tackling the younger set with gleeful embraces. she is loving and touchy-feely and loves to (over zealously at times) give out hugs and kisses, nose kissies and head bumps. she is always having fun, easily and joyfully entertained.

amy and the kids were sweet enough to postpone their trip home to utah to spend a couple hours celebrating with the toot. she'd drive all night for us. that's how lucky we are; lucky us to be blessed by this beauty's presence:

the pool was the center of commotion ALL DAY.

the party was just how i hoped it would be. i realized in reflecting upon the day that throwing a big party for a toddler seems pretty pointless. they won't remember anyway, and it causes meltdowns, it's way overwhelming. at first i wondered why i insist on doing this. in preparing for the party, i get stressed because honestly my days allow very little extra time for anything beyond laundry, dishes, food preparation, and caring for two babies. but i realized at the same time, i do this for me. and for our community. we used to have late night summer bbqs, dance parties, drunken walks to the dive bar downtown. we need each other's company, we still need to laugh and eat and drink together and play and get outside our routine and be a little bit wild and make messes and have fun. if our merriment has to be in the shape of two-year-old birthday parties nowadays, so be it. dammit, we will come together on summer days and let the kids be totally rowdy and eat way too much sugar and run around semi-unsupervised while we tell each other stories, ooh and ahh over each other's babies, gossip and bemoan and laugh the day away. 

the other thing i was thinking about was the lack of structured kid-centered stuff at my parties. are all kids' parties like this nowadays? i was feeling kind of nostalgic for the birthday parties my mom threw us where the parents dropped the other kids off (none of this adults having fun bizness) and then we were herded around to organized games like pin-the-tail-on the-donkey or drop clothespins into a bucket or whatever, and the kid who won got a prize. although i love our big sprawling whole family hang out parties best of all, a little part of me is nostalgic for the super-70s birthday parties we had as kids.

that being said......bella leads the treasure hunt!

a bunch of darin's family made it:

and my mom had all seven of her grandchildren gathered round:
jarom, scout, polly, bella, lucy, orion, and utah in front.

local cuties having fun, zillion:

little ruby in polly's headband:

amanda wore the raddest mermaid tank top. and her teeny little stevie-lynn.

arlo is the sweetest boy. he has a very low voice but hardly ever makes a peep. he has a smile on the ready constantly and he's just a big softie.

lucy and her pals. rolling around in some of her new loot. i love how free she is with her person. she is just all over the place, and always in the center of things.

my favorite picture of me and my gal from the day. polly's in there too, but hiding.

i can hardly bear the next one because she's so innocently happy and excited, everyone just got done singing happy birthday to her and she sees her little cupcake with a fish emily drew in frosting, two candles glowing....

and then she leans in way too close and burns the tip of her sweet little nose! 

she was totally fine, just scared. i hugged her real good. then she went right back to work with the very important task of eating that cupcake! i made a wish for her ;)

and just then, cassie showed up dressed like a real live mermaid so that made everything better! cassie is the type of fun friendy-aunty who puts glitter on all the little girls and lets them try on her stuff and makes them feel very magical.

lucy opened some gifts and all the kids were glad to pitch in and help! especially since she is easily distracted and not all that aware of the whole gift-excitement thing just yet. but this set of totoro figurines from emily and joey just made her life complete.

brave grown ups in the pool.

there is one thing i especially love about this family portrait. (dolly!)

cassie let lucy try on her sparkly shirt. you could just see the gleam of pride in toot's eyes as she swirled and twirled, feeling like she was getting a glimpse of true magic.

whenever a party starts coming to an end i panic and have to take posed photos of people before they leave. 

and i seriously could not have done this day without emily's help and ideas and creativity and support. everyone needs a "memmy" in their life. i am so lucky.

it finally cooled enough for me to take my hair down and wear my headband. no wonder mermaids have to stay in the water all day!

i love the late evening light outside right now. it feels like pure midsummer, when it takes hours for the heat of the day to shake off, and then you are left with a faint breeze and a whisper of salt on your skin, cupcake crumbs and kids' shrieks echoing in your ears. tired children going home with bellies chafed from flinging themselves upon pool floaties all day (sylvan!), hugs from all your loved ones tingling in your arms. a hard day's work, a long july day that seems forever, a perfect suspended moment in the life of a bright and beautiful little girl who seems to have been born in my own spirit long before i ever knew her name.