This weekend I learned how birthday parties can be like weddings.
Big crowds are over-rated.
They're about the experience and not the gifts.
Organization is key.
It helps to have a "wedding planner" there to help out and run things.
Oh, and keep your fingers crossed you're healthy on the big day.
When Casey said he wanted a sleepover, we figured it would be a good way to cut down on the giant birthday parties of yesteryear. But Casey's social circle runs pretty far-- we narrowed the list to 10 invitees, and that excluded his local cousin (only because my brother and sister-in-law said they'd prefer it that way). We figured, on a three-day weekend, odds were that not everyone would come. We were wrong. But not too worried.
We ran into a little glitch with the cake. I wasn't going to make one this year-- but we couldn't find a Super Mario cake in the local stores, so I found myself baking the day before his party.
I didn't want to go hog-wild on the party favors, and I found some pretty inexpensive dart guns and supplemented with a pack of sugar-free bubble gum. I labeled everything (darts, guns, gum) with a sharpee and put together a zip-lock bag for each boy.
At around noon, I was feeling a little off. I ate a slice of pizza and laid down for a nap. When I woke at 2, I felt worse. Jason had warned me he thought the pizza might be bad because his stomach was bothering him, too. I tried standing and walking around and cleaning-- but in between bouts of doing so, I had to lay down. Around 4pm, my stomach felt strong enough for a drive to the store and to my brother's to pick up some xbox remote controls.
At 5pm, the boys started to arrive. They were all prompt. The fresh air felt good, but I still felt weak and ill. At 6:30, it was time to serve the hot dogs, hamburgers, salad and chips. Thankfully, one of my good friends decided to stick around and tag-team with her husband because their son wasn't going to spend the night. She served the food while I went and laid down. I was too woozy to stand.
At 7:30 we did cake and ice cream. I served the food sitting down. We put Tate down at 8pm and started a movie. Thankfully, my good friend's husband (also a good friend of ours) was there to help keep the boys in check. I laid down for the night.
At around 11:30pm, Jason came in and said he needed help (remember he hadn't been feeling well either). Casey had just thrown up and he and the bathroom needed to be cleaned. He'd had too many Doritos.
At around 1:30am, I could still hear the boys so I went to check on them. One was actually walking around because he still couldn't sleep.
At 3:00am, the dog woke me up. He'd peed in my room. I took him outside. The boys were all asleep, but a couple stirred.
At 6:30am, I woke to the sounds of the boys playing in the TV room and wandered out momentarily. I felt better, but not great.
At 7:30am, two of the boys came in and asked for breakfast. And I totally rallied. When the last child left at 11am, sitting on the couch, I put my head on my hand and promptly fell asleep. I slept hard until Tate woke up from his nap. And I seem to be feeling much better. I still feel weak and tired and groggy. But I can sit up. And I don't feel like I want to throw up anymore.
The boys were about what we expected. It was like hosting a fraternity party without the beer. They were loud, crude, and stinky. They were careless (one child got hit in the eye with a dart during their games). They argued over video games; they challenged each other to Kinect soccer; they worked together to make it through the Super Mario levels. They loved the gum. They devoured their breakfast food after a night of hard play. And I think, all in all, they had a good time.
Casey sure did. And that was the point, after all, wasn't it?
Sorry for the lack of photos-- I'd like to say it's the result of me being so involved I didn't have time to snap many. But it's actually a product of me being too sick to follow the kids around. I don't even have one of the whole gang watching the movie or anything. Shame on me.