Monday, September 21, 2009

more from our eula bee party

There are a few more memories I want to document about our party this year.

Mike mentioned that it rained and that it changed our plans. I would like to add that it rained hard and it changed things drastically. There were a lot of planned things that we didn't even try to do which was a bummer. But one thing it impressed on us is that we have great friends. No one made us feel like they were miserable (soaking wet, cold, uncomfortable etc.) or not having a good time. For that we are thankful and pleased with our good friend-picking abilities.

While friends arrived one by one in cars full of kids,

we gathered around the tables outside. I had little kits to make beaded purses which went with one of the the themes of the book (Native American). So this craft was at one table and at another table we had face painting.

It is at this point that the rain began.

When I worked at a church many years ago I much preferred events that were just with kids to the one's that included the parents. The reason is simple. Parents have much higher expectations and are harder to please. Ava and I exemplify this perfectly. When the rain started I began to complain while Ava became delighted with the fact that she would now be able to carry around an umbrella!

Part of Ava's enjoyment of this party (and umbrella holding) has to do with our wonderful Aunt Helen.

Helen spent the party alternating between caring for the needs of Justus and Ava as Mike and I were leading the events, having fun, nursing etc. We are forever thankful for Aunt Helen, she rocks! (Thank you Aunt Helen!)

In our last post we covered that once the rain started we "went hunting!" That was so much fun and we have a million pictures of that but I will only post a few.

These are the targets we set up for the BB and soft pellet guns.

After hunting for a while we all took a reprieve from the rain and came inside to eat food. It was really yummy toastadas and fruit salad. I want to publicly confess and apologize that I did not have enough food. We had enough for everyone to have one serving (I think?) but I don't think everyone was full! I am sorry.

This is the point where we let some things go. We had a super great plan for each family to come up with an interpretive dance/war cry to perform for the other families. (It fit loosely with the book). But we decided that would not work inside and we let it go.

Once we were ready to head back outside, we went to the pinata!

Ethan choose to use his sword rather than a bat.

About half way through the pinata started to leak, so the daddies duck taped it so that it would last until every kid had had a chance to take two swings.

We did have some drama to accompany the pinata, but no one got hurt and the kids loved it. So I will leave it at that for this method of memory keeping.

After the pinata, we had a "horse race." The pictures speak for themeselves.

Nate Button came in first. Everyone did a great job!

Looks like Adia lost her shoe.

Accomplishing the horse race led us to our final activity. A mini-bonfire and smores. Mike worked hard with many flammable liquids to get the fire going but it never ended up being the sit around a campfire thing we had imagined. I think the general consensus was that we all needed a break from the elements. I bet that as we "grow up" campfires will be more commonplace.

When all was said and done, our family had a great time with this party. I love the brainstorming sessions we have with the kids about all the things we should do. It is a lot of fun to decide together what would be the best book to use as our theme for the party. And I love shopping at the dollar store with the kids as they pick out prizes for the party. Even setting up and cleaning up are enjoyable because it something we are doing all together.

So our 2009 Wait for me, watch for me, Eula Bee party was different than we expected but a success non-the-less. I wonder what we will do in 2010?

Friday, September 18, 2009

the good, the bad, and the....

For the last couple Summers we've thrown a particular kind of party. Our four oldest kids' birthdays are all late in the year when Northwest Washington punishes those folk who decided to move up here after visiting in the Spring. These times not conducive to fun, outdoor parties.

So each year we pick one of our favorite read-a-loud books that we went through as a family and loosely base a party on it. This year the book was the somewhat obscure, likely out of print, but utterly riveting Wait For Me, Watch For Me, Eula Bee. Great book; pick it up from the library some time.

Last year we tried to design activities and stations that represented certain passages in the book. We were quite a bit lazier this year. Essentially, the book was set in the Old West, so our party had an Old West theme.

We encouraged people to dress for the occasion.

Some people had really great costumes that clearly took some thought and effort.

Other people... not so much.

Of course we had face painting because everyone in the Old West had their faces painted.

Eula Bee was a rather violent book. Probably has a lot to do with why our boys liked it so much. In homage to numerous battles carefully detailed in the book we "hunted for our dinner".

We hunted turkeys with a bow and arrow, hunted buffalo with BB guns, and threw knives and tomahawks at turkeys. And by "hunted" I mean we shot at pictures of the animals that we set up as targets.

We had quite the arsenal.

Of course safety was our first priority.

Seriously though, no one was hurt. Parents were involved where needed.

The only real downer came courtesy of the rain that pretty much dumped on us throughout the course of the party. Now, our house isn't exactly tiny but kids and adults numbered over 40. This created a little bit of an issue when it came time to eat. Fortunately we roll with some pretty chill folk. Families of five, six, and seven, etc found nice plots of hardwood throughout our house and formed sort of an indoor picnic.

Some even found their way to the porch with the shoes. 40 shoeless folk means a lot of shoes.

Despite the hiccups we are committed to keeping this tradition going, though we may push for an earlier date next year to lessen the likelihood of rain.

I'll end with pictorial commentary from my four year old.