Elizabeth was invited to a friend's birthday party on the 28th (Elizabeth's real birthday). I thought it would be kind of weird to go but Elizabeth really wanted to go and promised up and down not to upstage the birthday girl (whose real birthday was the week before). Besides, Elizabeth explained, HER birthday party had to be on the 27th so that Rocco the racoon could share her cake. Because it turns out that February the 27th is Rocco's 1st birthday. "And Rocco is cute so he needs a birthday party. But please check with Adi's and Karis' mom to see if they are free"
Elizabeth also decided that she was old enough to plan her OWN party this year. There were the usual negotiations over how many kids she was allowed to invite (starting at nearly forty kids), and angst over the invitation text. At first she was all set to write invitations for everyone. Midway through she tried to outsource some of the writing (ha!). By the time she finished writing all the cards for kids at her school along with about thirty valentine's cards I took pity on her and agreed me to invite the kids that needed mailed invitations by email.
She was quite upset that cousins Erika and Maria couldn't come "not even by Skype??!?". There were many tears and lamentations about Japanese time zones.
Since it was Rocco's birthday, the theme had to be Beanie Boos. "What is a Beanie Boo party?" I asked. "All the kids will bring their favourite Beanie Boo to the party, and then we will play games" replied Elizabeth. I objected that some of the kids might not have Beanie Boos and got a pitying look in reply. But later she decided to make it a Beanie Boo or a favourite stuffed animal ("stuffy"), and "if they forget, I can lend them one". Once the theme and the invitations were set, we moved onto food. Elizabeth wanted pizza, juice boxes, cheese strings, jello, cheesies and mysterious "green balls". We had to ask a LOT of questions before we figured out that she was hoping for artichokes with cheese dip. I indulged her on everything except the artichokes but did promise to have them the next time I see some nice ones in the store.
For cake she decided on chocolate (no surprise there), made in the shape of her raccoon. We opted for cupcakes over one big cake because two of her friends have peanut allergies. "If [peanut allergic friend] has to bring [his] own food, [he]'ll bring a cupcake and then [he] won't feel left out". Auntie Janice did a lovely decorating job.
Elizabeth wanted to make sure Godmother Rachel could come to her birthday too. "Invite her to both of my parties and she can pick. Cuz she's my friend AND kind of family too." Rachel brought along her boyfriend Creighton, who was declared to be "great".
Elizabeth went to karate before her party and received a signed "birthday belt" from all the senseis. In the days leading up to her birthday she might have inquired anxiously about whether she would still get a special belt since the dojo is closed on Sundays... She didn't take the belt off until bedtime, when it got a place of honor with her army of stuffed animals on her bed.
Auntie Janice played some fun ice-breaking games (Name game, Have you ever). We did some charades where the kids had to guess which stuffed animal their friend was imitating. There was wild soccer in the basement.
Then Grandma came by so we had lots of help to manage the pizza making - it went much more smoothly than last year, when I was the only one in the kitchen frantically flinging ingredients on pizzas while the kids ripped open gifts mostly unsupervised.
Elizabeth decided that her guests needed shopkins ("but maybe the boys would prefer spiderman stuff or something like that") and little beanie boos (carefully selected for each guest) for a loot bag. Clearly her guests got the memo about her preferences because she received many shopkins and beanie boos herself as presents. There was a definite elephant theme! Art stuff, a sewing kit, kinetic sand, Legos.. She was completely thrilled. We almost managed to keep straight who gave her what for the first time ever - but opening presents eventually evolved into throwing wrapping paper wildly into the air and so that was the end of fond dreams of writing proper thank you notes. But she loved everything and told her friends this so I guess that counts.
After her party we had a family movie night.
I asked Elizabeth what she wanted me to write about her party. Eventually she settled on "It was super fun" She's already planning next year.