Yesterday was Ethan's 3rd birthday and his birthday party, too! I never do his parties on the same day as his actual birthday but it sort of worked out that way this year. Regardless, he didn't mind -- he had so much fun. Before he went to sleep, he said it was the "best birthday party ever!" and that made every last bit of stress and planning worth it! I will say there wasn't that much stress this year, aside from my usual running-out-of-time-to-set-up freak-outs (in which I wasn't actually running out of time to set up, but it always just feels that way) -- the party was a nice distraction from everything else going on. With everything else that had happened recently, all I wanted was to give Ethan an amazing party surrounded by all of his friends and so much love and happiness that his face would hurt from smiling so much. That's what he got and that, too, made it all so worth it.
We chose for the second year in a row to do his birthday party at our My Gym in Coconut Creek. We love My Gym parties! We will probably never not do a My Gym Coconut Creek party until Ethan expresses an opinion on wanting it somewhere else (likely not anytime soon) or My Gym places a ban on our parties because I go a little crazy around party time. ;)
I have detail posts coming soon but for now, here is a gigantic assortment of photos from Capt. Ethan's Pirate Celebration!
The food table set-up details:
Trays were clear plastic trays from Deals ($1 a piece) that I spray-painted black (only on the underside so the paint doesn't touch the food!). Red and white striped plastic tablecloths were also from Deals (who are owned by Dollar Tree, though not sure how the inventory varies) for $1. Treasure chests were pinatas from Deals -- I used an exacto knife to cut an opening on the top and filled it with craft foam from Wal-Mart. Gold coins are actually Hanukkah gelt -- 5 bags for $1! Pirate ship cake and cake-pops made by my best friend. We have Ethan's 3rd birthday slideshow playing on my husband's Blackberry Playbook on a stand on the table as well (because the best part about being a parent is thinking everyone else wants to watch 12 minutes of footage of your child as much as you do!). Plates, napkins, silverware, silverware holder are all also from Deals. For a 10 a.m. party, we chose bagels again for the second year in a row and I had the brilliant idea to turn them into boats (making sails is not my forte but hopefully it got the point across!). For the second year in a row, bagels are from Bagels & A Whole Lot More in Coral Springs who not only make the yummiest bagels ever, but are super accommodating and relaxed about order pick-up and slicing them into quarters for tiny hands!
Last year my cake-making best friend had the brilliant idea to reduce balloon waste by tying the balloons onto each individual party favor. That way each kid gets to take a balloon home and you get the win-win of still having a beautiful bunch of balloons on display. So, we did the same thing this year. I couldn't find black paper bags anywhere locally so I ended up having to order some super cheap ones on Amazon (they were, like, 40 bags for $5). The problem was they were such a cheap material that it didn't take much for them to wrinkle or tear so that drove me a little nuts during transporting the items from home to My Gym. Still, I think they came out cute. I tried to write each child's name in gold and silver glitter glue and bought so many different brands the shades didn't match up exactly. I know. No one noticed except me. ;)
I was super depressed about having to wear maternity clothes to Ethan's party or having my regular clothes fit super awkwardly so my best friend helped us make some pretty sweet pirate shirts to wear to Ethan's party.
We had Jake and Capt. Hook come to celebrate Ethan's party! The funny part was, Ethan had no idea who either character was before his party. He loves costumed characters (usually) so we really wanted someone pirate-themed to come and, well, Jake was the obvious candidate. My dad insisted Captain Hook was cool, too. I tried for weeks before Ethan's party to get him interested in Jake on TV or in books but I had no luck. When they walked out, Ethan yelled "make those pirates go away!" and I think about 50% of the kids were in hysterics screaming and crying! This is the second year in a row we've used Character Adventures for birthday characters (we had Curious George come last year) and they are so awesome. They know how to perfectly handle even the most terrified child and, after a little bit, everyone was getting their pictures taken with Jake and Capt. Hook or playing games with them. After Jake the pirate gave Ethan a slice of cake (and fed it to him!), Ethan changed his tune about the pirates and then was sad when they had to leave. Of course, now he loves Jake and Captain Hook!
It was an amazing day and Ethan had so much fun! I cannot believe my little pirate is three years old! We are so grateful for everyone who helped make Ethan's day such a super special one. This is the first year he actually understood birthdays and parties and it makes my heart happy that he went to sleep feeling so special and loved.
Oh, and the smartest thing I do each year is put the picture-taking in someone else's hands. My sister and her friend are always my super special photographers! Teenagers work cheap and they aren't above wearing silly accessories! ;)