Okay, so maybe that's overstating things a little bit. But Sophia's birthday party today, a pony party held at the stables of one of our local Navy bases, was pretty freakin' great, I think.
Sophia wanted a strawberry (her favorite thing in the world) cake, and I found these cool edible icing images on eBay, so all I had to do was bake, assemble, and decorate a double-layer sheet cake. 'Twas pretty simple, but the result made Sophia extremely happy. In turn, I was satisfied.
As an aside, Saturday (yesterday) arrived, with the party today, and the image still hadn't arrived. I was a little panicky. And then, I found it shoved all inside my tiny mailbox, squished up with the rest of of the mail, when the package clearly stated, "DO NOT BEND." I was afraid to look at it, thinking it would all be mushed in there, but it was perfect. After all that, it was a little humid in our house and the image started sticking together, so I thought it STILL wouldn't work out! But in the end, I got it unstuck okay, and it went on the cake perfectly, and all was well. And it looked great. Phew! (But between being strawberry-flavored and ALL that frosting - which I can't stand - ick! This was one birthday cake I was not sad to not be able to eat!)
I couldn't find horse-themed treat bags, so I made my own with generic pink bags from Party City and lots of paper cut-outs using my Cricut. I got all the goodies - pewter horse necklaces, horse finger puppets, miniature horse toys, mini-horse stuffies, and the pink cowgirl hats that of course didn't fit in the bags - off of eBay as well, along with all the paperware for the party. Much cheaper than Party City's offerings for basically the same things, I might add.
Finally, the time arrived to go set up for the party, and that we did. Only, the wind was whipping through the party pavilion, and we had a dickens (that's one of my kids' favorite words) of a time keeping everything on the tables. We had a few minutes before everyone arrived, so when a nice lady came walking by with her horse, the kids took the opportunity to question her about all manner of horse-related facts. And they got to feed Sunny some carrots, too. (By the by, I looked for a few boy- or generic-colored cowboy hats for the three boys in attendance at the party at Party City yesterday, but I could only find adult-sized hats. Bummer.)
Chloë cracked us all up when she asked, "Is the horse's tail just fur sticking out of its butt?" Bahahaha! Kids.
I don't have much to say about this picture. It's pretty self-explanatory; I just thought he was cute petting Sunny!
Nice Lady said the kids could walk Sunny a little bit. Wow! She sure knew how to please a kid.
Then, Sunny decided to walk the kids a little bit, too. Whoa, Nelly! Nice Lady came and rescued them.
Yep, this photo pretty much sums it up: Sophia was in Horse Heaven. Too bad we don't have the fundage for riding lessons. She'd love that.
In the end, Nice Lady said it was time to turn Sunny out for some heavy-duty grass consumption, so we said good-bye to him and returned to party duties.
There was a small petting zoo right next to the pavilion, so Jack buddied up to this li'l pony as we waited for our guests to arrive.
Best. Picture. Ever!!! Look at that poor sheep run! This photo makes me die, every time I look at it. So yes, the guests started arriving - all the ones invited, plus lots of their siblings, so we had 15 kids in all - and followed Rob into the petting zoo. I'm so glad I got this picture...!
Soon, our party pony (that sounds terrible) was brought over, and I was told for the first time that one of US would have to lead the horse around the arena, walking each child on top of José. Um, what?! So I called out to the parents, "I need a volunteer!" and, thankfully, wonderful V agreed to be the pony puller. (We had TONS of parental help at this party, actually. If any of you happen to read this, please know we're so grateful!!)
The Birthday Girl made the inaugural ride around the arena, with a very sweet José and a very reluctant V. Poor thing. Her shoes got quite muddy. (Mine did too; they suffered to bring you this stellar photography, you know.) (At least, I think that was mud.)
Hee! No, that's not a miniature Lady Godiva! It's Chloë, with her curls whipping around her face. Silly. So, Rob helped each of the kids on and off the horse, helmet secured, until the very last child's turn. It took an hour or so. Jack was last to ride, but then he chickened out at the last minute and didn't go. That was after complaining about how long it was taking for his turn, for the entire hour. Really? Yes, typical Jack.
Meanwhile, Sophia and the rest of the waiters gawked at ladybugs and worms before another helpful parent, D, engaged them in a rousing game of "Simon Says." What would we have done if all the parents dropped off their kids and left? Hmm. I don't know, but it would have been a lot more demanding for me!
After "Simon Says," they got back to playing in the dirt. Hey, free entertainment - I mean, it's dirt cheap! Heh. Sorry.
Sophia is my dirty girl. She's like Pigpen, from Peanuts. One of the other moms, N, said to me while I was busy taking pictures of the other girls, "You know Sophia just made a dirt angel, right?" Um. No. But I wasn't surprised!
We later decided that if we ever get a pet horse (psht, not likely), we'd name it Buttercup. My kids love 'em.
N took over from V, walking the last few kids around the paddock or corral or whatever the hell it's called, just in time for José to pee buckets and then, shortly thereafter, take a huge dump. Not thrilled, she grumbled, "What's he going to do next, puke?" Poor N! She's putting her game face on here!
I figured on doing cake and presents next, but the tractor driver informed me that it was time for the hayride then, instead of at the end like we'd planned. Why? Because they were waiting to run the horses, and they couldn't be done at the same time. Or something. So we went on the longest hayride in history, but it was fun. We saw lots of horses, got whacked in the face with lots of trees, and... well, sat on hay. Don't get me wrong, I love hayrides - but it was LONG!
I sat next to the boy-child, who really does not have Inspector Gadget-length arms.
Finally, it was time to devour some cake! I handed over the camera to N, so I could light Sophia's candles. Except, the wind wasn't cooperating, and I could barely get them lit. After we all sang that well-known song to her, I ended up lighting each one and letting her blow it out individually. It took approximately thirty-hundred hours, but we got 'er done. (I hope she made six separate wishes!)
My beautiful girl, Sophia Lorelei, got the first piece of strawberry cake. She had seconds, too. I guess it wasn't so bad.
After cake, we did presents, natch. She got loads of wonderful gifts, and she kept squealing about each and every one. Not only did she declare it the Best. Day. Ever, but when she opened the three horses I bought her, she said I was the Best. Mom. Ever. Woot! Nice that she said it in front of a few dozen ears, too. N helped me out again by writing down all of the gifts, so that will help with thank-you notes later. She told me the bill was in the mail.
Finally, the time came for what the kids had all been waiting so patiently for: the piñata! It was huge. Huge. Sophia, again, was first at bat, and Rob blindfolded and spun her around. She started toward the line of waiting kids. Eek!! I rushed over and redirected her before she could decapitate anyone, and BOOM! went the stick. Fifteen children had their turn, then 15 children went again, without the blindfold this time. It took nearly a third full round, before kabow!! Candy and little toys came out like a dime store deluge.
It was a pretty great time to be a kid at a pony party. Except for one. One of the dads noticed that Sophia was missing. What the?! We couldn't find her anywhere. Finally, she was located behind the small building in the pavilion, crying her little eyes out. Poor thing. She said she didn't get any of the candy, which she didn't, but I think she was overwhelmed by the rush of kids and wasn't prepared for it. Lots of the kids came over and handed her some of their candy, which was completely heart-warming, and I thanked them. We dried her eyes and brought her back to thank everyone for coming and say good-bye.
While Rob finished cleaning up (the parents had all helped!), I got the kids into the car and asked them what their favorite part of the party was. My favorite answer belonged to Sophia, who said, "The whole thing."
P.S. The three of them have spent the last five hours playing with every single thing she received, giving each its due turn and appreciating everything. She's had a spectacular, fantastic, wonderful day.