You know how little kids look forwards to Christmas? And their ‘sleeps’ countdowns? I was about ten times more excited than that as we counted our way to Saturday, September 24th, 2011, Party Day! My coworkers must have thought I was the party equivalent to a ‘Stage Mom’…they even started asking me each day how the party planning was going and if we were getting excited. ‘Excited’ seems like too mild a word to describe where I was at; super amazingly pumped is more apt!
As random side-note: it was really comforting to have my coworkers ask me about the details of the party and about Vaughan in general. Those of us ‘working’ mommies know how hard it is to leave our babies at home after mat leave and being able to share funny stories or crazy mornings with others helps ease the separation a bit…but just a bit mind you!
The Friday before the party my sister arrived from Gananoque to spend the weekend with us. She was immediately drafted into party planning service and helped Andrew and I complete our final shopping/’to do’ list. She offered a voice of reason (Eg. ‘No one is going to get the ‘Honey Beer’ for Winnie The Pooh…just buy what people will actually drink) as well as much needed support and feedback for our many plans (Eg. Home-made veggie tray – cheaper, more time vs. Pre-made – expensive, saves time). So glad she was there! The plan was to divide and conquer; with Andrew taking cleaning and Vaughan duties, while Arden and I were going to shop ’til we dropped and then use our decorative skills to create a Winnie The Pooh mecca. Sound ambitious? You have no idea…
The morning of the party Arden and I woke up at 9am, showered and hit the road. After a quick Timmies we arrived at Toys ‘R Us where I continued to hunt down the elusive slide Andrew and I wanted to give Vaughan as his ‘party gift’ (yes…I admit he’s spoiled…).
I could picture what I wanted and with the help of the store’s website I’d been hunting for the short, blue and red, Little Tikes indoor/outdoor, $39.99 slide since early August. Not one to give up I’d been out to the location in London twice only to discover that they only slide they had on display would go nicely in a large yard…the red, 5 foot tall contraption however, was not going to fit into our living room, at least not unless we took everything else out…
Another bonus to having my sister around is that she has no qualms about harassing salespeople to get the skinny on their product inventory. She found Joe Salesguy and asked him if he thought they might have the smaller slide in stock. He took off and then reappeared 10 minutes later, slide in hand! I may have clapped my hands in glee…but I can’t be sure. Apparently ‘summer’ product is stored in the back during the fall, but is still available to those in the know…so a note to the savvy parent shopper: Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there! I will know for next time…
Vaughan's Slide! And his 'photobook' from Walmart featuring our fav pics from the last year! The goal was to get everyone to write something 'yearbook' style, but it didn't quite work out...good idea/poor execution.
From Toys ‘R Us to the LCBO…as previously mentioned Vaughan is 1….hence this party is also geared towards the adults who will be attending. Being a preemie, Vaughan’s social circle is a little light on kids his own age. We never went to playground, gym class or swimming lessons in order to avoid the cloud of cold and flu bugs that tends to follow infants and toddlers around. We figured that a bunch of adults at a kids party was going to require some liquid sustenance but in keeping with the theme, they were Winnie The Pooh adult beverages. We decided against the Honey Beer (although I still think it would have been cute) but we did go with Tequila Sunrises (Winnie The Pooh…red and ‘yellow’) and then we mixed Vodka with Orange Pop (Tigger) or Grape Pop (Eeyore) and used black liquorice as stir sticks (Their tails!!).
A selection of Winnie The Pooh adult beverages! Beer, Juice and Pop in the fridge and space for the cake in the middle...but you get the idea!
We went from the LCBO to the grocery store to stock up on BBQ food essentials and then headed to the highlight of my shopping day (besides the slide of course…) The Party Store!!!!!! I can’t remember ever being a store like this before but you can bet your sweet bippy I will be heading there again! It has everything you could ever want when throwing any type of party…Kid’s party? Check. Adult party? Check! Bachelorette, etc? Check! Check! Amazing….
Winnie The Pooh Centrepiece!
I found the 1st birthday section and immediately returned to the entrance for a basket. My sister must have thought she was trying to hold back a natural disaster…I needed everything! I did listen to some reason though and left with only a high chair decorating kit including a drop cloth (Smash Cake Protection), streamers, a 1st Birthday Boy bib, Winnie centerpiece, 1stBirthday plates and napkins, and the most amazing Winnie The Pooh birthday balloon bouquet! I’m talking huge…this Winnie is about 5 times the size of the birthday boy…he’s even holding his own balloon… Vaughan was going to love it!
Results of the High Chair Kit including Smash Cake dropcloth
At the checkout my sister did start to laugh…I was caught up in my notebook, purchases and trying to see if they’d finished the balloons but did ask her what was making her giggle…apparently the couple in front of us were also planning a 1stbirthday party. They were carrying a notebook, basket of supplies and were awaiting not one, not two, but THREE balloon bouquets. See? I’m not the craziest of them all…just mighty close!
'Lifesize' Winnie The Pooh Balloon!
After a slight balloon mishap (one deflated as we were leaving the store but was quickly replaced) we hit up Walmart and Dollarama for a few last minute odds and ends and headed home for lunch and decorating! We only had 2 hrs to get all of this done and Andrew was still in his PJs mopping and vacuuming the house…crunch time! Luckily Vaughan napped like a champ, and through a solid team effort we got everything cleaned and decorated, everyone fed, and actually had a few minutes to sit and relax before Vaughan’s guests arrived. Andrew was even able put together a last minute slide show of our favourite pictures of Vaughan taken throughout the year to run on our TV in the background…so adorable!
Living Room featuring Andrew's slideshow, and the elusive slide...
After the chaos of the morning, when all was decorated and ready there was nothing to do but wait! I couldn’t wait for the party to get going…and sample one of those drinks!