I wish we'd gotten a better shot, but as soon as the word 'cake' was mentioned, I was mobbed by tiny party-goers vying for the best view of the confection.
This was the Hub's view from the middle of the crowd. He was soon shoved to the back by tiny, sharp, elbows and the trampling of small pointy feet. They were in awe that we had 'real' toys on the cake. I do have some concerns about the blue dye used on the cake and cupcakes. It looked like the Smurf population had been decimated and their remains consumed.
My decorations were pretty simple. Few construction toys scattered about and some party decals hanging in festive places.
I used the roll of caution tape that was inside the 'fort building kit' my sister-in-law gave Bean as a Christmas present. (We have build many a fort with that kit.) The killer hard hat was also in the fort kit. I managed to get a picture or two before Bean abandoned it. After all, the guests had started to arrive and shower him with affection and gifts. Oh my, did that child receive gifts!
Did I get a picture of the gift table? No! I was hopping like a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest! The monster truck ramp was a big hit, but as the sugar overload hit the kids' bloodstream it became a make-shift slide. Thankfully a mom (and professional teacher) was there to curtail the sliding before anyone did any bodily harm. The flowering plant that was under the ramps, however, did not fair as well. I hope it takes the abuse and recovers fully next spring.
Here is the rousing game of 'limbo' which features the ramps before the carnage.
Man, some of those kids were sticklers for rules. The older ones had a problem with some of the younger kids 'not playing right' and I had to explain that it was hard for a five year old to get the concept. I think they all had fun regardless. They were a bit miffed there was no prize for the winner. I used the old 'everyone's a winner' crap that I usually hate to spout.
The paint center, which I originally had envisioned to keep the little girls busy, was a smash hit with everyone!
At the height of the party I had pictures up and down every window in my solarium, on the french doors, and on the window ledge. The kids were very happy to have their art on display and many of them took their works of art home with them.
As for the adults, the American moms came to the rescue pitching in and helping out wherever they were needed. The Brit moms, not so much. Some of them dropped their kid off at my house and left. This is a totally foreign concept for me. I guess if you are comfortable enough dropping your kid at my house when you barely know me - well that's your bag. The moms that did stay crowded in my kitchen and devoured the food table. I brought out my 'now famous' Buffalo Chicken Dip and realized, very quickly, I should have made more than one pan. I also was surprised to find out that root beer is a coveted beverage here in England. I had one mom take me aside and ask if I could get her some 2-liters and how many could I get at one time.
We had a pretty fun-filled day. As if on cue, at the stroke of 4, they all grabbed their goody bags and hit the road. We'd run out of chicken dip and root beer so the party was done. (No one touched the pasta salad or the veggie tray - which are usually the first items for refill.) I learned that promptness is another admirable Brit trait. You may drop your child off at 2 o'clock, but you're there promptly at 4 o'clock to pick them up as well. There were no major causalities and no damage done to the house. (There was a piece of cake suspiciously left in my drain grate where the gray water exits the laundry room into the storm drain system, but...) I am missing one blue bean bag from the bean bag toss, but hopefully I will unearth it before I have to take the game back to Outdoor Rec tomorrow. At the final frenzy of the party the bags were not tossed, but rather used as weapons of mass destruction. (Found the bean bag!! Woot!)
I did gain one glittery head-band and a cute little girls' periwinkle blue sweater. I am hoping for a phone call or maybe return the items to their rightful owners once school starts.
Some of our American guests stayed once the brunt of the other guests had departed. The ladies were so gracious and helped me clean up the food, the kitchen, and gathered all the abandoned plates and cups. I was so grateful and could not thank them enough for all they did (without expectation!) to help me pull off the party and keep the mayhem to a dull roar. My child signaled the end of the after party by stripping off all his clothes, down to his tighty-whities, and clinging to me in a near comatose state. After two nights of backyard camping, getting up at first light, and consuming an ample amount of sugar- he was done.
And blessed be the parents whose little firecracker slept until 9:30 the following morning. I am always a little panicked on those rare mornings when I wake up on my own and not to the sound of little feet running down the hallway. I came out of the bathroom to find him snuggled in the bed, next to the Hubs, and he greeted me with a very horse and very plaintiff, "Mommy". He sounded like he'd smoked a pack of camels and looked like he'd attended an all-weekend rave. He still had traces of indelible food ink on his face and smears of paint and dirt streaked his skin. I guess all that running and screaming took a toll on the little dude.
Yep, only 362 more days to plan the next Bean bash.
Good times. Until next time, here's a picture of the abandoned cake: