Monday, April 4, 2011

Preparing for Pirates, Fairies and Little Chefs

As I have mentioned before, I love to throw parties--particularly themed parties. I knew my daughter's first birthday party would be no exception. I decided on the theme "Pirates and Fairies."

In addition to entering into full party planning mode for Emerson, I decided to build her a play kitchen. I knew that a store bought play kitchen couldn't even compete with one made by a mommy. A Mommy's DIYer would be made out of nothing but pure love. So my project began....

Within the next two weeks I began receiving emails about my son's annual Silent Auction Fundraiser and their need for families to donate items to be purchased. I decided it would be genius to build a play kitchen for the auction as well (it's amazing how motivated a glass or two of wine can make one feel). The added benefit was that I'd be doing it for a good cause. So the next project began....

Between all of these projects the last six weeks at my house have looked a bit like this.....

But we still made time for things like this....

And fun birthday parties where
we practiced our walking skills

Trips into the city to see
the gorgeous artistic flowers in bloom

A little "me" time.....
Yup, somebody celebrated the arrival of Spring
by getting bangs.

(My stylist Antoine Brechu. He is a beautiful human being
inside and out. I have been going to him for years and 
have yet to ever hear him say a negative word about anyone.
He is a kind soul and a mean triathlete to boot!)

One of us made time to practice up on the pica (aka--harmonica)
so she could catch up with big bro.

Pearls, scarves, nice shoes and church.

And suddenly the sun shined brighter because...

Grammy arrived!

And I promptly put her to work.

Because as my mom put it to her boyfriend Bill, "we get up
in the morning and she puts me to work before I've even finished
my first cup of coffee and we don't stop until we go to bed." 
(My mom likes to exaggerate just a wee bit but she was pretty right on here!)

We managed to squeeze in a little jumping on the bed action. When the guest mattress gets pulled out, Hunter knows that means he has free reign to jump. I joined in as Grammy stood on the sidelines saying, "Hunter don't do that! Brooke, we never let you jump on the bed!" to which I grabbed her hand and yelled, "C'mone Grammy!" She giggled like a school girl!

(See her hesitation above. That only lasted a second.)

And we always make time for reading books
no matter how busy we are.

(My mom's signature lip purse---sweetly synonomous with 
when she is speaking kid-talk)

I put Grammy in charge of making what I believe is the coolest party favor ever. Pirate Play-doh.
I found a recipe for Fairy Play Dough here and tweaked it to suit a Pirate theme since I was in need of a favor for the boys for E's party.

We set out to dye it black but it ended up this very unique gray green which we decided was much more piratey.

Just look at these flecks of glitter in it...
like finding a true treasure!

Amid weeks of chaotic creativity and feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the projects I committed to taking on, I stayed sane enough to keep reminding myself of a few things.

First, we do the best we can do and that's all we can do. If it's our best, what else is there? I knew I could only do so much and, if the day of the party things weren't going to get done then they didn't really matter.

Second, there is truth in what your parents and teachers told you. Plan the work and work the plan. I may get teased for my endless to-do lists that are categorized by duty and date but, I believe life runs a little more smoothly when we take time to prepare. I see it in my kids every day. My son will point out a picture of someone a hundred times within a week saying, "this, this, this" because he wants to know who "this" is and wants to hear it repeated again and again. Why? Because he is preparing. Make no mistake. When "this" person comes to visit and walks through our door he says their name clearly, concisely and, most importantly, confidently because he has practiced.

I have watched Emerson crawl over and under her high chair again and again for weeks. She has tried this way and that but always tends to get stuck somewhere along the middle and in tears. I do not rescue her although it's instinctively the thing I want to do. I have to remind myself that I want to raise a strong woman so I let her try and work it out on her own although it hurts me a little inside. Alas! One day she climbed over, under, and right over to the other side. Success and a huge smile! She tried many routes until she discovered a plan that worked and, well--she worked it!

Third, laugh at yourself. My friend Peggy reminded me to do this. We were sitting in her car one night talking about the details of Emerson's party and all of the gazillion things that still needed to be done. I was so caught up in the stress of it until I heard her say, "I mean, who is this party really for??!!" I hesitated not sure if the sarcasm was directed solely at me until she finished by saying, "It's for us!!" with a huge grin. I laughed so hard! I loved that she reminded me that Emerson would not remember any of this. I was planning this whole hoopla for moi! I was getting to pull out my most fabulous craftastic ideas all in the name of a little girl turning one. Emerson was going to be happy just being surrounded by her little family--she didn't need anything else.

When all was said and done, even amid crises that came up, I still ended up with two beautiful play kitchens--one of which made a very pretty penny for Hunter's school--and a party that met all of my fairy-est expectations! (Hold tight....full details and lots of photos to come next post!)

Two days after the party our friends Debra, Carly and Baby Lucy came over for our weekly play date. I caught this photo of Baby Lucy while all of the others were playing in the next room.

Another reminder. Isn't this what's it's really all about?

"Life itself is the greatest fairy tale." -Hans Christian Anderson


  1. I love this! Can't wait to see the "kitchen." I can't imagine taking care of two little ones and taking on all the projects. It's that planning thing you're talking about. It works!!Love to all of you, Aunt Susan
    P>S> LOVE the bangs!!

  2. You did a wonderful job of describing this funfilled week. And, it was a busy one for sure! For those of you who did not attend this event, there was a lot more than just "monkeys jumping on the bed"! mama

  3. Brooke, it’s a cloudy, rainy, cold day out – and even though the "April Shower’s" thing is part of the deal - unfortunately it does not bode well for my mood & my scrambling, racing mind. Today has just been "one of those days" so far. My girls are at the sitters house - yet I can’t seem to get motivated to do anything and take advantage of this time alone. I guess all the events of the last few months are beginning to catch up to me…

    I’m checking an email that leads me to look something up on google – and as I go online, there is your blogspot. I had left it open a few days ago with plans to go back to and read it when I had a moment. So I scroll to the bottom and go to the first post. I figure I’ll just read this one, then go back to my internet search & "to-do" list……Oh my, what a thought provoking post……okay, one more……Twelve on twelve! – what a special idea, (haha!…now I am adding to my "to do" list!)……okay, one more then I have to get some stuff done before the girls get home……Awwww, so that’s the back story to those cozy, fresh & spirited Valentine’s decorations……Bubble baths! - So sweet, I remember you telling me about the bubble bath with Emerson, I was suppose to do the same with Olivia & Ella – why haven’t I yet?……"Change always comes bearing gifts.", wow, that’s profound, that’s meaningful, that one touched me – went down a few layers……Ohhh, those hands of Hunter’s, I want to write a story just on the simplicity of those pictures……Haha Rock on with your bad self girlfriend – nice dance moves!……Oh, agreed, tea parties with little girls trump clean houses any day……And then there were the fairy’s. Oh My! An HOUR has gone by??…Scott will be home with the girls in just a bit! As I emerge up from my computer screen and look out my kitchen window – the sun is coming out?? Well, just a peek – just enough to remind me of MY "Little Happies." It’s as though I’ve just gone on a little journey through serenity and delight, treasures and endearment. Being a part of your thoughts has changed the entire trajectory of my day! I am in a COMPLETELY different frame of mind. Some may argue that I got nothing done today – I beg to differ…


  4. hot mama!!! I LOVE the bangs! and can't wait for the final pics from the party!! :)
    miss you!


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