Mother of the Year

Because we were traveling on Bean’s birthday, we scheduled his party for the following weekend. Which would be this weekend.

Aw, crap.

Let me tell you about this birthday party. It has not been my finest parenting adventure. And let me share a few reasons why:

A) A few weeks ago, I found these birthday invitations on sale on Vista Print. I had a great coupon on top of that, so I got them for super cheap. I think I paid 20 or 25 cents an invitation. The downside? The only kid friendly invitation on the discount list was a pirate invitation. So, that’s what I ordered. The problem is that my Bean Bean is deathly afraid of pirates. Hates ’em. BUT THEY WERE ON SALE!!!! For the past three weeks, I have been trying to get Bean to warm up to pirates. So far, he’s warmed up mildly. He no longer cries when he sees them. Which is good. Cause that really would have been a downer at his party.

B) Not only did I order scary invitations and make a scary theme for Bean’s party, but I didn’t order enough invitations. I ordered enough for his classmates, but completely forgot to order enough for our family and friends. I didn’t even have one to send to my own mother. So, I ended up sending out an Evite to our family and friends.

C) When I sent the Evite out to family and friends, I put the wrong birthday number on the invitation. It says, “Michael’s Birthday!” and then it has a big giant number 2 next to it. (FYI – Bean’s turning 3.)

So, the invitations have been a bit of a mess. The next big obstacle has been the guest list. We invited about 40 kids to this party. 20-something were Bean’s classmates (from two separate classes at school) and then we had an extra 10 or so from friends who have kids. I really wasn’t expecting a big majority of those kids to come. I mean, no one comes to MY parties… But apparently that’s not the case with kids. We’ve had over 20 kids who have confirmed their attendance. And with each of those kids comes parents, and, occasionally, other siblings. So, our small, simple, inexpensive little party has quickly become a large, overwhelming, expensive soiree.

I ended up placing a desperate phone call to my sister this afternoon for a little planning pep talk. Ginny is the Queen of Organization, and has been known to put together pie charts, graphs, complex Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations for weekend family gatherings. No lie. So, Ginny talked me through everything I needed to do in the next few days to get ready for this party. Here are the details we decided on today:

We’re serving “pirate pizza” for lunch. Which is really just Hungry Howie’s pizza. We’re also having sliced watermelon. We’ll put juice boxes and water bottles in coolers for drinks. For Bean’s cake, I found this really cute “Little Pirates” cake design at the Publix bakery. Instead of having a sheet cake, though, we’re doing cupcakes with the tops all iced as one cake. It will make it so much easier to serve.


We are having the party at a local splash park because that’s one of Bean’s favorite things to do. The party is from 12:00 – 2:00. We’ll have pizza and watermelon ready for everyone as they arrive, and people can help themselves to lunch as they arrive. We rented a big pavilion, so we’ll be all set up with the food in the shade (super important in the Florida heat). As the kids finish eating, they can head on over and start splashing around. We’ll pull everyone out of the water around 1:30 for cake, before handing out goody bags and calling it a day.

I’m heading to Party City tomorrow to find pirate eye patches, Mardi Gras beads, and gold chocolate coins. Each goody bag will get an eye patch, two “treasure” necklaces, and a couple coins.

Because we’ll be outside at a splash park, I’m keeping the decorations pretty minimal. At Party City, I’m hoping to find a pirate banner or flag, and then some plates, cups, and table cloths. I’m also ordering helium balloons in black, red, and yellow to designate our pavilion. Chris told me tonight that he thinks there might be some pirate decorations in their prop shop at work, so he’s going to see about bringing home a decorated treasure chest, a giant sand castle built out of foam, and several 6-foot fake palm trees that we can affix to the pillars in the pavilion.


I’m actually getting really excited about the party, even if it did get off to a rough start with planning. My last day teaching is on Thursday, so I’m hoping that I can go out on Friday while the kids are still in daycare and pick up all the trimmings for our pirate party.

Aaaarrrrghhhh, Mateys!

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20 Thoughts to “Mother of the Year”

  1. Michelle

    Oh this sounds so cute!!! We love park/splash pad parties too! So I went to a 3 yo party the other day at the park and they had a cheap bubble machine. It was a great distraction for when the kids got tired of playing and after cake. They put it right off the picnic tables in the grass. I would recommend having it as a ‘back-up’ entertainment idea incase all goes crazy! 🙂 Can’t wait to see the photos!!!!! And I can’t believe Bean is 3!!!

  2. That is awesome that Chris can raid the prop shop! and this sounds like a nice party – not too long, not too complicated, just right. I bet if Bean is into the theme, you can talk about it a little, but if the pirates start to freak him out, he’ll just be occupied with splashing! and you can tone down the pirate talk a little:-B I also like that your party favors are low-key too. and now I really really want to eat a cupcake with yummy grocery store frosting . . .

  3. I also wanted to mention that my Dad consistently wrote the wrong date and/or birthday year on many of my birthday cards when we were little. As I got older, he also gave me several books inscribed wrong, as in “Merry Christmas Bronwen, Love Dad, Christmas 1986” (I am the same age as you, I think, meaning that book was for Christmas 1996! Ha!) But I never thought he was a bad Dad – just hilarious, and he thought it was always hilarious too:-B

  4. We have yet to have a kid-filled party for Porter yet, so our parties have been pretty small and really chilled out. What I do suggest is check the dollar store for balloons. Porter’s party was April 22 and we STILL have mylar balloons from his party floating around our house! The dang things won’t die! A good deal for a buck a piece.

  5. Those props would be NUTS for a birthday party. Other kids are totally going to want to come hang out with you!

  6. Bahaha…gotta love a good sale! 😉 My husband was whispering in our newborn nephews ear about how “crazy aunt heather will only buy you things from the dollar aisle, whether you want them or not…” It might be a little above his interest level, but my kinders love “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” They have little webisodes that might warm Bean up to the pirates a bit more. Good luck!

  7. hahaha I was going to do a pirate party too for Josiah’s 3rd birthday too. He loves Jake and the Neverland pirates. It is such a great show with nice friendly pirates and they have great music. You might want to check it out on Disney Junior’s website. I think Bean will have a great time! 🙂

  8. I thought “Mommy Brain” ended after pregnancy? That it doesn’t, which means I have a legitimate reason (eventually) for forgetting everything, slightly excites me. Even if I do end up pulling the party out of a hat card a few times. Thanks for the insight!!! :: cheeky grin::

  9. I actually went to our local Party City today and they had a whole section of pirate stuff so I think you are in luck! And you could always kid it up with some Jake and the Neverlands or whatever the kiddie pirate show is!

  10. Shelley

    Sounds like a cute theme! One caution though, do you really think the chocolate coins will not melt?

  11. Sandy

    does bean have any david shannon books about pirates? i LOVE those and my son still reads them and he is a teenager! they would make a great gift…hint hint!

  12. Rachel @ The Ongoing Planner

    LMAO! Quite the invite mishap! Hey as long as the important people know the time and place 🙂 My uncle recently forgot the date on a graduation party invite, which is less than effective. Sounds like a great party!

  13. I adore that the theme of the party stemmed from discounted party invites – totally something I would do! Have fun and live it up, Pirate Bean!

  14. While I was laughing about your invitation mishap, I have to admit, that was me two months ago.

    I offered to design my sister’s graduation announcements. They were cute, they were perfect, I got them printed and then showed them to her. I apparently had a lapse in judgement and wrote the wrong university on the card. Doh! (She switched schools halfway through her degree, so it’d be an honest mistake if it weren’t for the fact that they were in different states!)

    * Insert failed attempt number 2 here. *

    By the third time around I had somehow managed to spell university wrong. Yes, seriously. It was mostly chalked up to me creating it in a graphic design program and not a word processor. Although, you’d think at this point I would have fully proofed it before printing.

    We just decided to send the ones with university misspelled and tell people it was a psychology experiment to see if they could spot the problem.

    Ahh, invitation sagas.

  15. I think you’ve got it all covered! It’s going to be fun. My only suggestion is that you make sure you keep your goody bags in a cooler so the chocolate coins don’t become chocolate puddles. 🙂

  16. Trish D

    If you EVER need Mardi Gras beads again…let me know. Doug and I both ride with Krewes during Mardi Gras and have cases upon cases of leftover beads in our garage. I could have even set you up with a case of mini moon pies 😉

  17. Lindsay Campbell

    Hilarious how you picked your theme and everything but it really is coming together and it sounds awesome! I’m sure it will be a great party! 🙂

  18. Sounds cool! I’m hosting a little bachelorette party/lingerie shower this Saturday and I had to type a to do/to buy list to keep everything straight! And it’s a small event at a restaurant/my house with only 7 guests! Party planning can get pretty complicated!

  19. Kat I’m not even sure that I can write anything else in this comment – I’m dying laughing at the theme, the crying toddler, the misprint….not AT you,but WITH you. TO make up for that possible mean comment, I will fess up: last Halloween I got my sh*t together enough to actually MAKE halloween cards to mail to everyone. After redoing them about 500 times I finally printed them and set all envelopes to mail. That weekend Jon’s family was coming over so I decided to just hand them theirs so I did just that. They awwed and ahhed at the cuteness that is Peanut and then it got quiet. Finally Michael, Jon’s brother, said, “umm Kat, did you notice that you misspelled Halloween?”
    No…if I had noticed, I would have fixed it. I threw the rest out.

  20. Sara M

    Just wanted to chime in about letting Bean watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates cartoon from Disney. My boys (4 and 2) love it and it’s one I can actually stand to watch. Hope he does well with the party!

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