One year and 29 days old.
That's how old Molly was when she was placed in our arms in that hot, crowded office in Guangzhou. We missed her first birthday by 29 days...29 stinking days.
Molly's Children's Welfare Institute did a wonderful job caring for her, but they had too many children and too few staff members to be able to celebrate birthdays. I'm sure that is why her 2nd birthday felt so important to me. It wasn't just any birthday. It was the first time that anyone celebrated her birth. And if any birth deserved to be celebrated, it was this one. This little girl has so completely filled our hearts. She has enriched the lives of everyone that she has touched. A celebration doesn't seem like enough...she needed an extravaganza!
Well gee, that put a little pressure on the party planner, didn't it? And the party planner (me) was a novice at planning children's parties. Let me just say that I was just a wee bit stressed about the preparations for this party!
Jeez, where do I start?
A theme. I needed a theme. Since Molly doesn't watch TV (yep, I'm one of "those" moms), cartoon and television characters were out. Her favorite things at the moment were school buses. That didn't seem like an appropriate theme. Hmmmm. Well, Chinese New Year had just passed, and with our trip to Colorado we missed celebrating it. How about using that for a theme? Perfect! I even had cute outfits to dress her in for the occasion. Now on with the preparations.
Decorations. Have you ever tried finding Chinese New Year decorations the week after Chinese New Year is over? Not gonna happen. And with the party only a week away, I was in some deep doo doo in the decoration department. Luckily a friend mentioned the Oriental Trader catalog and they had what I needed. The express shipping needed to get the decorations delivered in time for the party cost more that the decorations themselves, but what the heck, I had decorations.
Cake. That's easy. We have a little privately owned grocery store in town. They make awesome cakes. I'll just stop in there a few days before the party an order one, I thought to myself. And that's just what I did. And when I told the gal in the bakery that I needed a cake with an Asian theme, she looked at me like I had a third eye. Apparently they don't have a lot of requests for Asian themed cakes in this small Midwestern town. Go figure. After looking through numerous books and talking with two different cake decorators, we finally were able to come up with the perfect cake.
Food. Well this was a no-brainer. Chinese food was the way to go. Despite my elevated stress level, I was a risk-taker and tried a restaurant that we had never been to before. Score one for me, because the food was awesome. In fact it is all everyone could talk about at dinner. Who knew that the best Chinese restaurant in town was next to Kroger less than a mile from my house. I think the employees of Dragon House will get to know me on a first name basis in the very near future.
Guests. Do I go for the big bash or for the smaller, private affair? Seeing as this was my first attempt at party planning, I opted for a small gathering: Grandmom, Uncle Jack, Aunt Karen, cousins Allison and Matthew, Tony and myself. And the guest of honor, of course!
Gifts. Luckily this one pretty much took care of itself. Packages started arriving by mail weeks before Molly's birthday. Family and friends were very generous. And I never have a hard time shopping for my daughter. The hard part is applying the breaks!
So there we had it. The planning phase of the party was done, and I was pretty pleased with the results. Not too bad for the novice party planner...now on with the show!
Molly has a great time from beginning to end. She loved dressing up.
She loved being the center of attention.
She loved her gifts.
And she loved her cake and ice cream.
There were giddy squeals all evening long. One of the biggest squeals was for a pair of floral short overalls and a blue shirt--a gift from my mom and dad. She carried them around for half the night, until I hid them so she would open other gifts.
I am glad that she liked the outfit, I really am. But it was killing me. Blue? My little girl loved something blue? I have worked so hard to make her passionate for pink and she went ballistic for blue. Good Golly Miss Molly...what is a mother to do?
Happy Birthday, Lil' Pumpkin!
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