My Convertible Life

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pippipalooza 2012: Behind the Party Scenes

Seems like most anyone planning a kid's birthday party these days is getting ideas from Pinterest. So many adorable photos that hint at all the beauty that could be yours -- if only you had the time, talent or treasure to make it so.

But what Pinterest doesn't show you is the truth about how the ideas -- and the party -- really played out.

Motherhood Uncensored recently wrote about how she longs to see the outtakes of what we portray in blogs -- the blooper reel that shows what life really looks like. The truth is that Pippi's birthday party totally stressed me out. My sweet friends tell me it was fun to attend, but for me it felt like swarming chaos. And I was too focused on being sure that all the kids were busy or that Pippi wasn't naked to be able to actually take in the fun.

So here you go. Here's what wasn't so picture perfect about yesterday's party plan post:

  • Writing on the door was a cute idea until it occurred to me that Pippi and her friends can't read. And almost a week later it's still there because I haven't stopped long enough to clean it off.
  • The balloons on the family room floor were fun -- until they started popping and scared all the kids.
  • The shimmer wall left glitter all over the fireplace and the girls were all jockeying to admire themselves in the metallic reflection. Not quite what I intended. 
  • All of the decorating and craft prep took longer than I thought it would. Not that it was hard or a lot, but just more than I wanted to do on the weekend.
  • The cake decorations turned out awesome -- but I spent two hours the night before the party (keeping me up past midnight) trying to find where I had hidden the package of Polly Pockets so that Pippi wouldn't find them before the party. Turns out they were in a bag in my closet. Where I had looked 18,000 times. And after all that, I'm not sure Pippi even noticed -- but at least the cake was tasty.
  • I bought way too many stickers. Also, the reason they were all on clearance is that they didn't stick very well to anything. Which sort of defeats the purpose of STICKers.
  • Glitter glue is just a bad idea. Very bad. Sadly for you, I was too busy containing it to take a photo.
  • I didn't unfold the gift bags, so most of the kids thoroughly decorated the flap that turns into the bottom of the bag. Which was then covered in sticky, wet glitter glue. In retrospect, I should have skipped the bag project.
  • The rock star photo head project turned out awesome, but it took much longer than we anticipated to take, download, resize, print, cut out and glue down the photos. Yeah, we should have known better. That meant my husband spent all of the craft and dance portions of the party upstairs at the printer while I was left downstairs drafting other moms into service to help me out.
  • If you decide to do the maraca project, be sure to tape or gorilla glue the eggs closed. My husband told me we needed to, but I didn't listen -- had visions of 3-year-olds stuck to the table with glue, but instead got dried beans bouncing all over the floor.

Dance activities
  • Dressing up went pretty well -- but it probably would have been funnier if we'd helped each kid find a hat, sunglasses and one other item. As it was, I think some kids got costumes and others didn't, but I'm not sure if they were happy about it.
  • Before we told them to dress up, I should have been VERY CLEAR with Pippi that we were dressing up OVER our clothes. As one of my sweet friends pointed out, she only saw Pip in her unders three times during the party. Guess I should just be grateful it wasn't more.
  • Freeze Dance would have worked better if I hadn't been losing my voice to allergies. I sounded like someone who smoked eight packs a day, so the kids really couldn't hear me yell "freeze."
  • The Pass the Jingle Bells game was a total fail. All they wanted was the candy, so no one wanted to pass the bells -- each kid just clutched the bells until the music stopped while the other kids whined about why couldn't they have any candy.
  • Should have set aside one song for Pippi to lead the group in a dance (see above photo for her bossy face) -- it would have been hilarious to watch her teach her friends the "sprinkler" (which she learned at her Baptist preschool, by the way) and then let them all join in. Instead, Pippi yelled in the middle of a song that she wanted to sing Twinkle and when everyone finally started listening, she got shy and hid.
  • Should have done more group dance type songs, like the hokey pokey or the dancing directions in "Get Up & Go" (The Biscuit Brothers) or "The Stand Up Song" (Big Bang Boom). This would have required me to get over my self-consciousness and lead said dances instead of just telling them all to dance (see photo below), but it would have been worth it.

Lessons learned
  • We invited too many friends. I guess this is a good problem to have because I could not think of anyone on the list not to invite -- but it definitely added to the chaos. Ideally, you'd probably only invite five or six kids to a party like this.
  • Should have bribed hired some 10- to 14-year-old kids from the neighborhood to help lead activities. Then I could have spread the crafts out around the house a little more and had some help leading the dances.
  • A dance party should have more dancing and less crafting. This seems obvious in retrospect, but not so much during the planning phase.
  • Should have set out drinks for grown ups on the counter so they could help themselves. Instead, I totally forgot to offer anyone anything until after we'd served cake. Or now that I think about it, maybe it's just that I should have had a drink before the party started. 

So nothing blow-up-melt-down disastrous -- but not something I'll be attempting again anytime soon. Too bad Pippi has already started planning her fifth birthday.

I've created a monster.

Catch up on Pippipalooza 2012:


  1. Awesome. I cannot believe we missed it. I love that Pip was only nekkid three times, and I love the thought of all the girls staring at the shimmer wall.

    Outtakes or not, I think the party looked awesome. I'll never miss another one! :)

    1. It's a deal! Hope you're coming home soon :)

      Also, she wasn't totally nekkid. (Have to hold onto something about my parenting.)

  2. Love this! Great minds must think alike ;) -- I had picked up those same Target sunglasses (why so few boy options?) and some little inflatable guitars and glow sticks so Sam & friends could party like rock stars in case of rain (thank goodness). Taking notes on your musical games. Looks like it was a great party!

    1. Ooh, inflatable guitars and glow sticks! Nice touch. Hope he enjoyed turning "1."

  3. Okay wait, you fed people AND had activities and dancing? No. No no no. The whole point of having a room full of kids is that they entertain each other. If I spend the morning making amazing apps and cake pops, you little rugrats can damned well figure out how to play happily on the swingset, at the play kitchen, on bikes, or with the doll house. My job here is done.

    1. Yet again -- you've proved you're so much smarter than I am. Although I will say that if I'd worked hard enough to make apps and cake pops instead of Betty Crocker box cake, I'm pretty sure that would have done me in.

  4. Since I don't see any mention of you crying in the corner of your living room, I still think you are the party master. This would have been complete overload for me. Also, I had my OWN laugh-out-loud-in-a-quiet-library moment over the door decoration. It never occurred to me, either. Hilarious!

    1. I was crying on the inside. But glad I got you back for the snort laugh in an inappropriate location ;)


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