So this year, when I asked Ash what she wanted to do for her birthday, she wanted a surprise party. I know what you're thinking, Is it really a surprise if she asked for it? Wink wink. Totally! She had no idea which day we were going to have her party, what the theme would be, who would be there. More than anything, she wanted to hear a bunch of people yell, "Surprise!"
I have never thrown a surprise party. It's harder than I thought.
Here's how it went down. I decided to host a Paris-themed tea party for Ashtyn Saturday at 11:00 am. My daughter loves all things French. A couple of years ago I found these awesome masquerade masks at a 'dollar and more' store in Texas. I got a couple of them, then asked my mom to buy a few more and mail them to me, which she did. I've held on to them all this time, knowing I'd use them for something. Paris-themed party? Perfect time to use those little honeys.
The plan was that Jeff would take the kids to a special breakfast for Ashtyn's birthday, at which time I'd run like mad to get the house decorated for the party, receive all the guests, and have everything ready for Ash to return and hear us all say, "Surprise!" I couldn't decorate anything until she left. I stayed up super late cleaning house and making sandwiches because that was just about all I could do without giving away the surprise. Jeff went to get the cupcakes early in the morning while I got the kids dressed and ready for their breakfast date. Jeff came back. Lily was asleep so he ended up leaving her with me.
The thing about Lily is that she sleeps in only like fifteen minute intervals. So she woke up after they left and I spent the next hour and half decorating, stopping to feed Lily, making goody bags, stopping to change Lily's diaper, setting everything up, and stopping to hold Lily while she cried.
I was becoming a crazy woman.
That's okay. I've found that birthdays can make parents crazy. You just roll with it. In the middle of me "rolling with it" I was sweating to death. I stopped to check the AC and realized the breaker had tripped. Awesome. So in heels and my French-style apron to boot, I trek through the rocks around the side of the house to flip the breaker. Then I just hope the house cools down fast since it's about to fill up with people.
My sister arrived. We did all the finishing touches. Sara had printed off these adorable little Paris-themed decorations for the cupcakes. I'd found a great "French café" CD with fantastic music. Then guests started arriving. All the little girls had dressed up, and we fit them in masks that matched their dresses. Then we waited for the birthday girl. They'd already finished breakfast so Jeff took Ash and Linc to the park near the house. Finally they came in, and when Ash came around the corner, we all shouted, "Surprise!" She was shocked. (And super sweaty and flushed from playing at the park. We had to cool her down and get her changed into her new princess dress right away.)
All the craziness, all the planning--everything for the one moment when my little girl gets her surprise. The smile on her face was all I needed.
Loveys, I feel so blessed to be Ashtyn's mom.
I'm so grateful.
My children matter the most to me. More than anything else. I want them to be happy and feel loved and special. I know Ashtyn felt loved and happy Saturday. That makes this mama very happy. Birthdays matter to all of us, but especially children. They want to feel celebrated. I know that over the years, some birthdays will be larger occasions than others. That's completely fine. For her seventh birthday, a Parisian tea was just right. I'm thankful for these precious, memory-making moments.
It's a beautiful life, loveys. I choose joy.