Tuesday, 17 May 2011

All partied out


This time of year is all about parties for me. No, I'm not sipping champagne in some fancy Manhattan locale, if that's what you thought (as if). I've spent the past few weeks both organising both Littleboy 1's birthday and helping to organise a local fundraiser.

The birthday party was probably the easy part. I gave The Doctor the task of creating the Angry Birds cake, and he did a great job (see picture). Never mind that the purchase of the Angry Birds keyrings, at vast expense from a dodgy website, seems to have resulted in our credit card being stopped because somebody fraudulently used his details.

As for the party itself, we had bravely decided to have it at home - an unusual thing in this area, where most kids' parties take place at themed venues, where everything including entertainment, pizza and cake is thrown in, but the price can be upwards of $500. Instead we hired a magician, re-erected the boys' trampoline and prayed for good weather. The signs on the day were not good - a damning forecast of heavy rain. We spent the morning hurriedly clearing the decks of our house, making space for 20 kids. I had already made up pass the parcel in anticipation of lots of indoor games being required.

But, 30 minutes before the first guests arrived, the skies cleared, the sun came out and the sodden trampoline was dry enough to bounce on again. We were away. The party was a success, with everyone playing mainly outside - I practically had to drag them in to play pass the parcel, a game American kids are not really familiar with but seemed to enjoy hugely. They ate their pizza outside on picnic rugs - another aspect I am sure was eccentrically British, but seemed to go down well. As they left, one little girl informed me it was the 'second best party' she'd been to - the best being her own. I took that as a vote of confidence.

Meanwhile, the other party I'm involved with has been causing huge stress. These fundraising Galas are huge in the States, and I had no idea previously what was involved. Basically the occasion always has an honoree, and that person's friends and family are encouraged to come along and spend a lot of money on tickets, raffles and auctions. There is also a 'book of the night', in which people are encouraged to take out ads saying what a wonderful person the honoree is and congratulating them. Muggins here - a volunteer with the organisation - ended up being the editor of this tome, and has spent the past week dealing with all the fun involved in producing a magazine with a team of volunteers who don't really have time to do it, people sending in ad copy via fax at the last minute and other ads mysteriously disappearing. Add to that a diva designer who threw a strop and resigned via email, and you have about a week of sleepless nights. And that's on top of my real job - the one I get paid for. Sigh.

Oh well. I shall be more than ready to don my cocktail dress come the weekend and party. At least this time I won't have to worry about kids injuring themselves on the trampoline...it'll just be the irate adults whose ads never made it into the book.

15 comments:

Expat mum said...

Oh I hate being involved in those fundraisers. They really are the devil's work.
In a few weeks I have the Little Guy's birthday one weekend (at a movie theater) with the Queenager's graduation party AND prom at the other end of the same week!
And I'm sitting here blogging!

About Last Weekend said...

Good on you on both counts. Its not many parties at home where you don't need serious cocktails afterwards. But to honest they are so much more memorable than ChuckE cheese. Fundraisers are on a different level here and I know what you are going through...sort of. Our tiny Oakland public school raises $200,000 in just one night (there are other things too). so much work and stress. it will be nice for you to put your frock on and finally have that glass of champers.

Mud in the City said...

Wow. Stateside philanthropy really is a step up from flogging a book of raffle tickets isn't it??!

Potty Mummy said...

Have had my first brush with these galas since living in Moscow, and my advice now to anyone thinking of getting involved with them is 'Don't do it!' (Mind you, I still do...)

PantsWithNames said...

So impressed with the Angry Birds cake!

Talking of parties I must go and photocopy some invites ready to go into Adam's classmates book bags tomorrow. (sidles off to do some good parenting rather than faffing around on the internet).

nappy valley girl said...

Expat Mum - I have since found this out - from everyone who was previously involved!

ALW - I think they ARE more memorable now, because very few people do them. Funnily enough, when I was growing up most parties were at home, and the ones I remember were the ones at Pizza Hut or the movies!

Mud - it certainly is. Although the raffle tickets have to be done too!

PM - yes, I had heard the stories but somehow I still ended up being involved. I'll learn eventually.

Pants - well, my invites this year were all by email, lazy mother that I am!

Home Office Mum said...

well the kids party sounds fab and the fund raiser sounds like a nightmare. Well done you for taking it on. Next time, hide behind the sofa when they're looking for volunteers

geekymummy said...

I am totally doing "pass the parcel" at my kids next party!

So glad the weather held, sounds like a lot of fun.

And organizing fund raisers in Long Island?! You should probably stand for parliament if you go back to the UK, it will be a breeze after that!

Hope it all goes well!

A Modern Mother said...

I'm am anti-PTA these days. Good for you for volunteering, next time is should be you that has the strop!

nappy valley girl said...

HOM - well, it was stressful but in the event it went well and nobody screamed when they saw the book!

Geekymummy - yes, I think negotiating world peace would be a doddle after this.....

A Modern Mother - it's not quite the PTA, but that is something I'm certainly not signing up for!

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

OMG. I was cross for you about the credit card issue (we've had that too, such a pain) and delighted the party went so well (and I was thinking that pass the parcel would go down well in the states, excellent idea!), bu then reading the bit about the fundraiser... ugh! I feel my shoulders tense and a frown appearing... I feel for you. That sounds nasty. Good luck with it.

Tanya (Bump2Basics) said...

Fab cake! And I have learned to love pass the parcel, good on you for introducing it to the Americans, maybe it will begin to spread through the colony. Glad to see via your comments that the fundraiser went well, I hope you got a well earned glass of wine after all your efforts!

AliBlahBlah said...

I've had fun introducing pass the parcel to my Californian friends. Have to say though - the concept of only one child getting a present at the end does seem a little non-pc for this hippie crowd. I've had to stick mid-layer gifts in as well to keep the peace. Or maybe it's not a cultural thing, just that we were more cut-throat in the 1970s??!!

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

well done you! I loved the '2nd best party' comment. (like Shakespeare's bed!) Hope the fund raiser went well.

angelsandurchinsblog said...

Well done, and fab cake - are yours crazy about Angry Birds too (guess they must be if you've created a cake for them). I'll left the cake idea for a party later in the year, and hopefully not get targeted by cyber criminals in the process!