Monday, August 2, 2010

Avery's 4th Birthday Party

This year we were on vacation on Avery's birthday, which was so fun because she was able to celebrate with her cousins. She really did enjoy herself at the beach during the family celebration so it was a huge bonus to know that she still had a birthday party to attend after we returned from vacation. We combined her birthday party with her best friend, Kendel, since they were born just 7 days apart. We also figured one party for both kids would be easier on many of the guests because they are in the same class at daycare so they have many of the same friends.

Kendel and Avery both wanted to have a pool party so we combined that with an ice cream sundae theme, which worked out perfectly--messy kids could just jump in the pool! Kendel's favorite color is yellow and Avery's favorite is pink so we used those colors as the basis for everything we did with the decorations.

All-in-all I think it turned out great! We had to work around the dreaded "no hanging decorations" rule at the pool clubhouse so we couldn't decorate to the degree that I wanted to. I really hate that rule because I always have ideas of ways to really bring the theme to life but I am always held back by the threat of the loss of a deposit. "The man" gets me every time. Besides that, everything came together perfectly and all of our little guests had a great time.

A few pictures from the party (click to enlarge if you want more detail):

Avery loves to spin around in the pool when she is in a floatie. It's about as far as she goes in terms of risk taking. She won't even go down the water slide--something her brother does regularly even though he doesn't meet the height or age requirements for going down the slide yet. She has been telling us all summer that she would go down the slide at her birthday party. Turns out she meant her FIFTH birthday party, not her fourth. Tricker.

Someone gave Avery a pool gun, which is never a good idea. No one was safe from getting a face full of water when they least expected it.

After a little more than an hour we went inside the clubhouse to have ice cream sundaes. I took a few pictures while we were setting up but we didn't give ourselves much time for set-up or clean up in our rental agreement so I had to take them quickly. I always miss pictures when I do that, and this time was no exception. Hopefully I will remember this the next time I rent a place for a party and give myself plenty of time to set up. Somehow I doubt it, though.

We gave the guests little bags of chalk in the shape of ice cream cones to thank them for coming to our party.

We also made these little jars of ingredients that, when combined with ice, will make ice cream. This idea was inspired by a Christmas gift our friends Michelle and Joel gave us 2 years ago. It was a large plastic ball that you fill with a cream, sugar and vanilla and then roll around for 30 minutes. For the party, we did a variation of that with dry ingredients thanks to the great info given at The City Cradle.

Everything was covered in pink and yellow--including the chocolate and sugar coated ice cream cones.

This was the ice cream sundae bar that we set up (minus the ice cream, since it was 103 degrees and we didn't want it to melt in the 5 seconds that it took me to take the picture).

Matt made all of the labels for the ice cream bar, the stickers on our favors, the invitations and the labels on the water bottles. It's hard to see from the picture but there is a little wafer in the ice cream with a number 4 on it. He was so patient with every little detail and change I asked him to make. He really was able to take all of the images I had in my head and make them reality. I'm lucky to have him around for these kinds of things!

I made strawberry and lemon (to keep up with the yellow and pink color pattern) as well as chocolate (because it is always a party favorite) cake balls that we served in place of a large cake or cupcakes. At the 11 pm on the night before the party I decided to make the cake balls look like ice cream sundaes. I really love how cute they turned out even though it meant working on them until 2 am. Next time, I hope my "brilliant" ideas come to me at a more reasonable hour.

We covered water bottles with the same ice cream sundae design that was on all of the other labels and the birthday invitation. There was a "nutrition facts" design on the back that I failed to get a picture of. It gave looked like a nutrition label but gave birthday girl facts for both Kendel and Avery. I hate that I didn't get a picture of that since he added it for me a few days after I had promised that I was done making any changes to the labels...(did I mention he was super patient with me?!) ha.

Some of the cake balls had the number 4 on them while others had an A for Avery or K for Kendel. I put some pink and yellow roses in ice cream cones to add a little more color to the room--and to hopefully distract from the bare walls.

The kids absolutely loved going through the sundae bar and putting their own toppings on their ice cream. We had all of the ice cream scooped into large bowls before the party started so we could just pull them out of the freezer and hand them out quickly when it was time to make the sundaes. It was really helpful because it prevented the normal bottle-neck of kids waiting for ice cream to be scooped for them. There were no fits and nobody cried when they were making their ice cream. That's huge, people. HUGE.

Jack took advantage of the fact that I was busy during the party. I believe he ate 6 cake balls, which was evident later in the day when he was bouncing off the walls. He used anything possible as a drum to beat on while singing at the top of his lungs. It was cute for about 4 minutes.

Melissa and Denali shared a sundae. Not pictured: Stan who had just wiped ice cream off of Denali's chin. She clearly didn't appreciate that. I love the look she is giving her dad off camera.

Avery clearly had fun eating her sundae. I love that little smile on her face.

mmm. The cherry on top. Gotta love that part!

Kendel, on the other hand, ate only plain vanilla ice cream. No toppings at all. She's the birthday girl so she can do whatever she wants!

PRESENTS! I love how excited she is as she figures out exactly what this gift from Uncle Josh is. She loves books and now she gets to make her own. Aside: he also got her a volcano kit. I was sure that it would not be age appropriate because OMG 4 YEAR OLDS CANNOT MAKE VOLCANOES but Josh smiled as he pointed to the "4 years and up" message on the box. Gee, THAT isn't going to be messy at all! Sometimes I wonder if Josh really does like me as much as he claims he does...

Here are the birthday girls sneaking to open more presents even though I asked them to wait a few minutes. You can tell they are doing something wrong just by the look on Avery's face. I kind of love that.

This picture is a tradition for us. We have a picture of Avery with Olivia and Josh at every birthday since Avery turned one. I love that these girls are so willing to give us a cheesy smile for pictures all the time. I think we took 12 of this pose and this was the best of the group.

As you can see, Avery's sugar high lasted long after the party was over. We left the pool around 6:30 pm (and can I just give props to our sunblock?! We had been at the pool since 2:30 pm and neither kid was burned!) and I believe I took this picture around 7. Both of my kids were on such a sugar high that they didn't go to bed until well after their bedtime.

It was a ton of fun and super easy to put together. I am so glad we combined birthday parties for Kendel and Avery. We were happy to see so many friends at once and both girls were excited to share a party with her best friend.


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