I wracked my brains trying to come up with a special place to hold the party this year, but in the end we opted for affordable and easy and decided on Kate Jackson Park for the second year in a row. The kids played at the playground (again), then we had pizza and cake (again), and finished up with the fountains (again). Why change a winning formula, I always say. Anyway, when it was all said and done it was a pretty fun day.
I was too busy feeding Will off and on every twenty minutes or so (growth spurt) to take pictures so I handed the camera off to Balaji who passed it around amongst the guests. I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and saw what people had gotten photos of.
Ava D. was a lean, mean, climbing machine.
The birthday girl, getting a little help from a friend.
Neighbor Robin brought her two boys, Shane and Elijah, who were having too much fun to stand still long enough for a picture.
I think the Aglaves were a little overwhelmed by all the action at first.
Will and me during a brief, fleeting nursing respite.
I would just like to point out that Kevin looks like such a dad in this picture.
THE CAKE! When I asked Harper what kind of cake she wanted she was unwavering: a chocolate dinosaur cake with blue chocolate frosting. Again, I opted for simple here and ordered a plain cake from a bakery which we then decorated. The pond was cream cheese frosting and the dirt was crumbled cookies. It was surprisingly tasty, and refreshingly easy. Plus the kids went crazy for it.
The lighting of the candle.
It was nearly impossible to keep all their tiny, grabby hands off of the cake until after the candle was blown out.
"Happy birthday to you!..."
Make a wish! (Notice Taneshka "helping" from the upper left.)
Cutting and passing out the cake was a huge undertaking.
Look! Tara and Grayson were there, too!
Of their own doing, the girls all sat at one table while the boys sat at another (those are the boys wrestling in the background).
Miss Manners would have been very proud of Ava D...
... while Zoe and Harper were keepin' it real.
Ava T. immediately went in to a post-cake, sugar induced mania, which resulted in copious and vigorous hugs for all.
After cake it was off to the fountains for a little water fun.
Harper and Zoe shakin' it up...
... and gettin' down.
See the little girl on the far left? It was her birthday, too. However, instead of a modest, unassuming party like ours, hers was a garish catered event with linens, floral arrangements, a puppet show and hors d'oeuvres served on trays by hired staff in uniform. I'm not saying they were showing off to cover up some substantial shortcoming, but infer what you will.
Will was exhausted by the melee.
Even our fantastic sitter stopped by for a while.
Although we requested people not bring gifts this year, a couple of families were too generous to resist, so the following day, after going to Dinosaur World (fingers crossed, those photos will follow) we opened the gifts from the non-compliant and the grandparents. (Bonus: it gave us an excuse to eat more cake!)
Opening one of Nana and Pa's gifts.
Pretty handmade hair bows from the Drwiegas!
Reptiles and Amphibians from Grandma and Grandpa quickly became a bedtime staple.
The weekend was so action-packed we never even got around to the Triceratops pinata we had planned to break at the party, so I called ahead and got special permission to bring it along on the following Wednesday to Harper's Little Amigos toddler Spanish class. The kids had a great time with the pinata and snatching the candy up.
The candy disappeared within a matter of seconds.
Cute Fiona, who had to miss Harper's party because of a fever, and Senora Erika, Harper's favorite teacher. (Notice Harper savoring her lollipop in the background. That kid is a nut for a lollipop.)
So far, three years old is three times the adventure. Happy birthday, Harper!