Who is PUMPED for some birthday party posts?!
This is going to be totally out of order, but I can’t wait any longer to share this particular party with you, so it gets to go first. But first, a tiny bit of backtracking…
As my eldest daughter’s 5th birthday approached, I found myself in alternating states of distress and bewilderment.
Still sinking under a lingering postpartum fog, I just could not get it together! My brain was kaput and, two weeks before her June birthday, I still hadn’t nailed down much of anything. State Fair party? Pretty picnic party? Lots of guests? Just the cousins? Meal? Just dessert? Presents? No presents?
I DON’T KNOW!!!!!
I was so heavily annoying myself that I can’t imagine what a bother I was being to my husband, my mom and my party-planning soulmate and sister-in-law, Amy, for not a day went by that I wasn’t discussing and hemming and hawing over what we were or weren’t going to do. It was sincerely obnoxious.
Finally, for the love of Pinterest, after flipping and flopping and switching and swapping, Rebekah’s 5th birthday extravaganza did me a favor and seemingly planned itself for me with a crazy-busy weekend:
On Friday, we attended Abigail’s 10-year old Kit Kittredge party (more on that later!) and stayed the night. Honestly? This would have been enough of a party for Rebekah. We could have put a candle on her piece of cake, sang her the birthday song and called it a day.
On Saturday, we popped over to Grandpa and Grandma’s house in OKC and spent the day swimming. This, too, would have been enough of a party for Rebekah, especially when she saw the giant “Frozen” balloons her Grandma bought as decorations.
On Sunday morning (her actual birthday), before we left for Sunday School, we had a sweet little breakfast in the sunroom together. Again, this would have been enough of a party.
On Sunday evening, we celebrated with our church friends after prayer services by sharing the cake Rebekah had been DREAMING of for an entire year: chocolate with chocolate icing, chocolate chips, marshmallows and M&Ms. This was all for her, a true gift from me (making bizarre custom cakes is not my love language), but when she saw it and thanked me over and over again, I had to admit it was completely worth is.
And SERIOUSLY. I truly could have stopped there and it would have been a fun, blessed family-and-friends-filled weekend of celebratory birthdayness, MORE than enough for anyone, especially a FIVE-year old.
But you guys know me by now.
I needed to have just one more little party, not so much for Rebekah, but for me.
You see, we’d been zipping all over the place all weekend, bookending her birthday around church services, and I just needed to steal another day to celebrate my daughter.
Because, in my heart, birthdays are not just about my children. They’re about commemorating the days when our entire family’s life changed forever. This is big stuff we’re celebrating! And so it is an important personal ritual for me to meditate on the gifts of my children by sweating like a mule while I haul furniture and decorations all over the countryside to host a party that matches up with all the sentimentality of my heart. It’s what I want to do and what I need to do and what I like to do.
And so I did it.
And it turned out to be one of the sweetest days of my life.
The inspiration for this day sprang entirely from one of my favorite movies, “Nanny McPhee Returns”. I am so captivated by the Nanny McPhee movies, but the second one in particular is extremely dear to me. I love the set, the costumes, the scenery, the story, the casting and, did I mention the costumes? I die.
And every time I watched it and observed the family’s celebratory picnic in their wheat field, my heart swelled up with this longing to follow suit.
Well, with a very special birthday to celebrate and the perfect pink dress hanging in our closet, the time was right! Watching the movie once more and taking extra notice of the details, I made a few purchases and, added to a mountain of stuff I gathered from my own house, the perfect scene was set for our own Nanny McPhee picnic.
But, you guys, what really tickled me the most about our evening had to be the “Beautiful Girlhood” theme that sprang upon us at the last minute, adding a sweet rite-of-passage element to this party that nearly bowled me over. I could share all the details of how it came about and how it all centered around a heavily-discounted flower-picking basket that we stumbled upon at Williams Sonoma, but I’ll spare you and just tell you what we did:
After spending much of the day setting up in the surprise (and rather remote) location while the kids played in my parents’ backyard and my mom cooked up a storm, we all started getting gussied up in our Nanny McPhee inspired clothing.
Once everyone was dressed, Mr. Gore, Rebekah and I stayed at the house while the rest walked to the party and dropped a trail of flowers along the way that would lead Rebekah to them.
Twenty minutes later, with the flower-gathering basket on her arm, the three of us prepared to depart down (and go ahead and make fun of me) “THE FLOWER PATH TO GIRLHOOD”. Getting down on my knees, I looked into my 5-year-old daughter’s eyes and told her that, once she collected every flower, she would not only be at her surprise party in the woods, she would be a “big girl”.
Oh, man. Call me silly, call me sentimental, call me melodramatic, I don’t care, for, other than my wedding walk down the aisle, this was one of the sweetest and most meaningful walks I have taken! Not to mention that it fully captured the fancy of our girl who is entering the world of “beautiful girlhood” right before our eyes.
I’m so pleased to share our party with you today and, with it, the reminder that life is beautiful and so worth celebrating.
One of the biggest parts of this party was the clothes.
Rebekah’s girlhood has centered so much around this dress, for which I am forever indebted to my sister-in-law, Amy, who gave it to us after we accidentally stole it out of her dress up box. (Long story, but THANK YOU, Amy).
Vintage Gunne Sax, it makes Rebekah feel so beautiful and she wears it about every other day.
I curled her hair with a curling iron (first time!) and I let her borrow my floral metal headband from Anthropologie…
There is no doubt that much of her joy on this day had to do with how her dress and hair made her feel pretty and celebratory.
We all need days like that, don’t you think?
And I was so thrilled by everyone’s clothes! One thing I love about my mom and Amy is that they “get me” and, never making me feel stupid, they just show up in the perfect ensembles to please my silly eyes and heart.
While I put some last-minute things together, Amy took some fun pictures of the kids in front of the corn crop.
Finally, after a day of hard work and preparation, the hour had arrived.
Whisking Rebekah inside the house, her siblings and cousins fulfilled their task and began laying down the trail of flowers…
I’ll show you the rest tomorrow. :)