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Monday, November 06, 2006

In my mind, the party was perfect.

I could see it all: the cleverly-laid-out Disney-esque vignettes of skeletons in pirate hats holding signs that read "Dead Men Tell No Tales" and other such scenes (all perfectly illuminated with directional mood lighting, of course); the swashbuckling music laying a soundtrack to the evening's events; the happy kids, delightfully searching for buried treasure that was contained in the cutest little wooden treasure chests ever; the cake I had home-made and decorated to look like little islands and a treasure map; and above all, my husband and sons in their perfect-to-the-last detail replica costumes of three of the most famous pirates ever: Captain Hook, The Dread Pirate Roberts, and Captain Jack Sparrow.

If my superpower was that I could stop time, while removing myself from the flow of it to accomplish more than 24 hours a day allow, this might have actually been possible.

I did not begin planning this grand scheme until only two weeks ago, after the madness of teaching at Scrap Away was behind me. Had I given myself an extra month to prepare, this might have been possible.

I, in my self-deluding optimism, have spent the last two weeks in a flurry of buying fabric, party favours, and gifts, sending out invitations, hours pouring over the internet on period costume details, and staying up until even the owls have gone back to bed. I told Jude he could have a pirate party for his birthday. I told him that he could be Captain Hook. I would not back down now!

Sadly, I do not have any superpowers. Despite staying up until at least one a.m. every night working on costumes, with a grand finale of 5 a.m. on Friday putting the trim on Captain Hook's jacket, I knew as I was going to bed that morning that there were some things in my picture-perfect vision that would be compromised by 7 p.m. that night.

The homemade cake was the first thing to go. It was too late to order a Dairy Queen cake special, but they had plenty in the case, so a couple of plastic palm trees and a visit to the dollar store later, I had transformed Vanilla Fudge Softserve and Blueberry Cheesecake cakes into a couple of islands sitting on an ocean of blue Bristol Board.

Captain Hook's jacket was not yet complete. At 4 p.m. I descended into the depths (a.k.a. my craft room) to finish putting on the sleeves and hemming it up. My wonderful husband took over on the treasure hunt project. He filled the plastic organizers treasure chests with the loot, then volunteered to complete the game. Writing out three clues a piece for 13 kids is no small job, even if we did put them into five "family" teams. What an amazing man. Without him, there would have been no entertainment!

Magnussons showed up around 6. I immediately put Amanda to work on decorating duty. (Come to think of it, she did the same thing at my wedding, along with my other girlhood friend, Tegan. Nice to know some things never change! :-D) The streamers got hung, the table got covered in black plastic and faux-gold coins, and the glow-in-the-dark skeleton got his pirate scarf and hat--but sadly, he never got his sign, and even his chair was stolen from under his plastic pelvic bone e'er much time had passed. He spent the remainder of the evening in a sad-looking heap beside the stereo, wondering if there really was any more to life, and if there maybe was a tale he could tell, if only anyone would take the time to notice him and listen.

In a fluster and a hurry, all at the last minute, Jude was transformed into the cutest Captain Hook I've ever seen, Noah was bedecked in his Dread Pirate Roberts outfit (sans mask, since I didn't hold out much chance of a two-and-a-half-year-old keeping that on for long), and Jason was robed in--well, that's where the trail of success ends. His Captain Jack hat and goatee combo that I ordered off eBay still has yet to arrive, and all I had time to sew for him was his sash. We scrounged together a few things from his wardrobe, threw a bandana and an eyepatch on him, and said, "Eh. It'll do," with a shrug. My costume also came from my wardrobe, but thanks to my flair for the dramatic and interest in period clothes, I happened to have enough suitable clothes to throw something fairly authentic together. (I did buy a pair of large hoop earrings for the occasion.)

In the end, the kids came, the parents were all in costume but one, everyone had fun with Glow sticks! and Treasure Hunts! and Stickers! and Cake! And there was even a swashbuckling soundtrack.

So. Maybe it was a perfect party after all.

(I realized as I was writing this blog that I did not take even one really good picture of the hero of the evening! What kind of mother am I? I will get Jude in his Captain Hook costume tomorrow, and snap a photo to insert in here later, so check back again if you want to see it, okay?) Edit, Nov. 13: Got some photos of Jude, at last. Here they are:

The Pirate Wench serving cake.

A blurry picture of Jude opening a gift (without his hat on.)

Shipmate Jason and the Dread Pirate Noah.

Da Food.

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  1. Will return after exam to read.

    THE PICTURES LOOK SENSATIONAL! WOW! WOW! WOW! I missed out on a fantastic party. :'(

    good to hear from you again. You make a beautiful wench indeed.

  2. Ace - Do you still have exams? I thought you were officially finito. Wish you could have been at the party, I'm sure you would have made a fantastic wench, as well.


  3. Oh it looks like a great party!! So much fun! :)

  4. OH



    Still a fairly new mom. I remember doing all that craziness for birthdays. You'll find you get to a point where you just book something organized, tell everyone it's potluck and ask who's currently obsessed with cake making.

    LOL Jess's last birthday was a sleepover that he invited and organized himself. I rented movies, bought chips and made a cake of his choice.

    Chels's last birthday was a sleepover, chicklets' movie day, simple lunch and cake at the house.

    One day, like me, you'll look back and think, "What the HECK was I THINKING??"

    Enjoy while you still have the energy or ambition or whatever to do it! They ARE great memories!

  5. Anne - 'Twas, indeed! You're invited to the next one!

    Vicki - It's the memories I was going for. I will definitely not be going to these extremes for every party that comes along. But, since there are many holidays that we do not celebrate with the gusto of most people--Halloween, Christmas, etc.--we tend to go a little more "all-out" for birthday parties.


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