Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fin IS Two!

It took me a year (plus) to write about Fin's first birthday, so a month lag on her 2nd bday? WIN!

June was a crazy (fun!) month for us (Dustin's bday, Father's day, a trip to Philly...) so we delayed Fin's party a couple weeks...but the awesome thing about two-year-olds is they have no concept of time. We did technically celebrate her birthday on the actual day with dinner out (and some pudding!), but with so many family members all spread out, she ended up having at least four little celebrations spread over few weeks. Not a bad problem to have, right? She never quite got used to the fanfare of singing and blowing out candles (I pretty much only have pictures of her looking half skeptical, half scared of that part) but for at least a month, if she heard the words "birthday" or "party" she would excitedly yell "ME!" I guess she grasped the concept at least a little. (Related- Piper still thanks Jesus for "Finny's birthday" every night in her dinnertime prayer.)

For Fin's "official" party, I wanted to keep it as low key as possible...ok, as low key as I know how to throw a party, which is still kind of a we decided on another backyard bash (summer birthdays are the best!). Guest list included family, neighbors, and some church friends, and we had no real plans besides bubbles and the bouncehouse (Fin's two favorite things in the universe). But you know I can't throw a party (even a simple one) without a theme, so I went with one of my current obsessions: Flamingos!   

Fin is still too young to articulate too strong of an opinion on a party theme, so I took advantage, and threw a party I'd want, if I were two. And by that I mean, I threw a party I still want even though I'm 2 + 29. I have no clue why I'm so into flamingos lately, but they're cute, and fun, make for easy party decor. Plus I got to put about 30 of the iconic plastic versions all over my lawn, which made my tacky, fake-animal loving heart so full. Happy birthday to all of us!

Click to check out full details and oh so many pictures.

The success of the party pretty much depended on nice weather...I really had no back up plan for activities, so I checked my weather app three times a day praying (literally) for sunshine. This Summer has been uncharacteristically rainy and cool (even for Ohio) so it wasn't looking good, but God smiled on us, and granted us the most beautiful afternoon we had in weeks. (I know it's silly to pray for good weather...I even admitted that in my prayer. But the heart wants what it wants, and I believe it never hurts to ask!) It was still a little too chilly to break out the sprinkler and baby pool, and the wind meant we had to keep the plates/food inside, but all in all, it was lovely and I was so thankful for the sunshine.

Keeping my promise to Dustin not to go overboard I went with minimal decorations, setting up a table for food using mostly things I already owned, and believe it or not, a good portion of supplies left over from her party last year (black + white is timeless). Flowers were a little pick-me-up gift from Dustin, and they still had a little life in them, so they took center stage- along with a little (plastic) feathered friend. I kept the food even simpler doing easy snacks like popcorn, chips + salsa, and some veggies (the fruit tray we planned accidentally got lost in the grocery list shuffle, so we did without). I figured for a mid-afternoon party we didn't need to go all out, and honestly people didn't end up eating too much anyway. Hopefully that means they were having too much fun?

Delivered straight from Florida by my aunt. Doesn't get more authentic than that! 

Outside was a drink station (soda, water, beer, and lemonade pouches)...The straws only blew away twice before I weighed the cups down with rocks, so we'll call that a win. The rest of the table was filled with some little favors and a spot to do tattoos.

Tattoos were the biggest hit ever. Each kid left with at least four on their arms and legs, and some extras in their pockets for later. Even adults got into the action. Return on that investment, has to be about 1,000,000%. 

I didn't bother decorating much more, since I knew (hoped) we'd just be running around outside, so we mostly just stuck some flamingos around the yard, tossed out some hula hoops and let the good times roll. 
I did set up a mega version of "croquet"- just pool noodles hooked over lawn stakes... but no one cared much about it (though my kids liked taking it apart 700 times). I could have maybe explained the rules (uhhh....kick a playground ball through each wicket? get tired of doing that?) or made it more official, but I was too laid back (read: huge and lazy) to worry too much, and just let the kids enjoy jumping over them, crawling through them, or generally ignoring them. 

The hands down winner of the part though, was, as always, the bounce house. Seriously. The mileage we get out of that thing is kind of crazy. I'm convinced there isn't a kid on the planet who doesn't love a bouncehouse...but my kids might be especially obsessed. Fin in particular will bounce her brains out til the sun goes down. In fact, on party day, she woke up from her nap (at least 15 minutes after her party started...homegirl loves to sleep) and her first words were "Bouncehouse?!" She was ready. 

When they weren't bouncing, they were hula-hooping, making bubbles, and just running around like animals.

She may not be a pro, but she's come a long way since last year...

 And of course there was some present opening...which Fin took very serious:

But the highlight of the party by far was a little surprise visit from the dream-mobile; otherwise known as the Kona Ice truck.
This is another one of those "shamelessly live out my dreams through my children" moves...and I'm not even a little bit sorry. Having a January birthday meant I never got outdoor parties as a kid (I did have luau party one year, but I wore a turtleneck under my bikini. That is a tragically true story). One of my supreme loves is shaved ice, so when I found out that you could hire the truck to COME TO YOUR HOUSE I took it upon myself to right all my winter-birthday wrongs, and make this the main event of Fin's party.

And though the plan may have been slightly selfish, trust me that the kids going back for seconds, thirds, and fourths (aka, all of them) weren't complaining.

I decided not to bother with a cake (come on, we know it's not exactly my strong suit), and skip the candles (again...Fin wasn't such a fan of that part anyway) and just let the Hawaiian shirt clad penguin take care of things. It was so easy, and delicious, and fun...I'd seriously have them come every day if I could afford it. (I think Dustin got a little worried about how much I liked it because afterwards he bought me this at-home version...I suspect to keep me from surprising him with Kona visits every weekend.)

 I can die happy. 

And because I'm me, of course, we had to have a photobooth. (The day before the party, I reminded Dustin I'd need his help setting it up, and he acted surprised, reminding me we had agreed to keep things simple. Apparently we don't always agree on what simple includes.) We "fluffed" all the supplies the night before, and during the girls' nap before the party, we taped it all to the kitchen wall. See? Simple. 

We tested it out, I forced it upon our friends, and the girls took turns hamming it up.
Little blurry. But lotta happy.  

 She was trying to stand like a flamingo. Obviously.

Tatts everywhere, dirty feet, a new prized "big sister to the birthday girl" stuffed animal gift...
I think she had an ok time too. 

And maybe the biggest success of the whole party, at least for my girls, was our birthday gift to Fin- flamingo towels. She actually squealed when she opened them, she was so excited, and demanded to put it on right away. We of course sprung for one for Piper too (My kids might still be little, but I'm no rookie. Two of everything is the secret to- relative- peace around here). Sometimes I go all out on gifts that they couldn't care less about (gotta love when they play with the box more than the present!) but I couldn't wait to give these to them, so finding out they loved them even more than I expected was such an awesome surprise.

Plus, then this happened, which was pretty much a(nother) gift to me:

Happy Birthday Fin! It was a wonderful day, celebrating wonderful YOU.

Plastic lawn flamingos: Home Depot
Flamingo straws, rubber "ducks", and tropical tattoos: Oriental Trading Company
Flamingo photo backdrop: Macy's/Borrowed from Piper's big-girl bed 
Party decor: Party City (tablecloths/photobooth decorations/napkins/plates)
Favors: Amazon (ice cream "shooters"), Target (light up rings), Party City (leis)
Flamingo towels: Carter's
Fin's Romper: Carter's via Once Upon a Child (my fav resale shop)
Piper's Dress: Target via Once Upon a Child ('s the only place I shop)
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