Bitty and I chatted a bunch about her birthday desires - I just listened patiently for a few days as she'd approach me periodically with all sorts of (horrid-sounding) ideas - Chuck-E-Cheese! Renting a party room! Actually I'm just making those up. I can't remember what her ideas were, and she definitely did not request Chuck-E-Cheese. But I do remember feeling not too excited about many of her suggestions but decided to just sit back and wait for her to scroll through her imagination until we landed on something we could both enjoy.
Her final idea was a cooking party on our back porch. I confess to possibly slightly maybe pushing hard in this direction, because it seemed like something pretty simple and easy to pull off. Boy am I dumb. Haven't I somehow learned over the past almost-thirteen years that I can not keep a party simple? It's not like the parties that happen are all that fabulous or anything, it's just that I always overcomplicate things and keep adding details to the plan until I'm sort of overwhelmed. Happens pretty much every party I've ever thrown. I do not know how to change this habit.
The day began with a birthday breakfast. I thought it was completely adorable that Bitty wanted the same biscuits and gravy that her Aunt Tonja had fed her on the camping trip the weekend before. We had indeed learned a quick, easy, and heart-stopping way to make sausage gravy, and nothing goes better with it than giant buttermilk biscuits. She was thrilled, and I had heartburn. But truly, it's good stuff.
I did have to spend a little bit of her birthday at the school because it was the Friday before school started and being the PTA Queen (aka total slave) that I am, I had to man the table for a bit. But the girls were excited to come in with Troy to see their class lists and find out who their teachers would be. Skippidy was lucky enough to land in Ms. Blank's class, who also taught Bitty. She is a classroom magician. Like Snow White. Really fun and sweet and happy and also puts up with no crap. Bitty ended up in the class I was really hoping for; a Mr. Fuller who I find to be a fantastic educator and I would love to see go into administration in our district. But...I digress.
After the morning at school I quickly came home, tossed some balloons and streamers around the porch, and got ready to teach 10 girls a few cooking ideas. It was both easier and harder than I thought it was going to be. That was a pretty large group, and they were excited and hyper, but they're also a really good group of girls and we had fun on our projects.
Bitty started the party by teaching them all a get-to-know-you game that only she knows the rules to. I loved letting her take charge of her game while I stayed in the background taking care of last minute preparations.
Then we moved on to the food. We started with pizza dough, and then while that was rising we took on fruit kababs. They loved that. Blessedly the pizza dough rose quite well during the fruit cutting so we then prepped our pizza toppings and made mini pizzas.
While the pizzas were taking their sweet time to cook, we had present-opening on the lawn, where Bitty's day was made with legos, green sunglasses, and a board game called Sheriff of Nottingham, among other fun and thoughtful gifts.
Following these exciting events we declared it movie time, and we put on The Princess Diaries in the living room. I was expecting two solid hours of girls giggling and wrestling and shushing each other while I hid in the kitchen. Actually, much to my surprise, they all snuggled in and watched the movie. Quietly. And attentively. It was divine. I called them into the kitchen three at a time to make the birthday cake - microwaveable mug cakes topped with ice cream that were a real hit, especially to me, because I didn't need to create some wretched theme-cake-fail that I manage to produce birthday after birthday. Best cakes ever!
The next night we gave into to Bitty's pleas to have a family dinner at Red Lobster with her grandparents...that was probably a mistake. That dinner was more expensive than the rest of her birthday put together. Oh well. We did have a nice evening, and we came home to eat her other requested dessert of key lime pie. I love the way my little gal thinks. Key lime pie is a favorite of mine, even though this one turned out limey enough to pretty much knock your socks off. We sat on the porch savoring the sweet and tangy pie, playing Sheriff of Nottingham, and giving Bitty her one family group gift (besides the crab-legs extravaganza) of a Playmobile airplane. It is truly an awesome toy. It doesn't fit anywhere in our house except the middle of the playroom floor, where it has stayed, gathering nothing but many many hours of attention from many many kids. It was a pretty sizable gift but a very happy one for Bitty as well as her siblings and friends.
Despite the exhaustion of putting together that cooking party for 10 little girls, (figuring out the timing and details on that one was a wee bit stressful!), I was so happy that Bitty had a really memorable and positive birthday weekend; just what she needed to get her happy and ready for the start of school.
Many thanks to Cap, who took on the job of party photographer - Troy was away and I sure had my hands full. He did a great job taking about a bazillion pictures. Great job, Cap! And Bitty? Happy 10th Birthday. What a gal you are growing into. Generous, funny, friendly, creative. And many more adjectives besides. I'm so lucky to be your mom.