A party fit for a mermaid

Every year as my kids’ birthdays approach, I swear I’m not going to do it. Then, after the birthdays, I swear I’m never going to do it again. The parties, I mean. They’re just too much work. The cleaning, the food, all that prep. And then there’s the small matter that Mary Virginia asked me to make this cake. She said, “Mommy it looks like that cake won’t be too hard.”

So maybe I’m setting a bad precedent with all these parties. Maybe my kids’ expectations are too high.

pool party

Then we bought a house with a pool and I had no choice but to have a pool party for Mary Virginia’s third birthday.

(And I’m sososososososososo glad we did.)

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pool party 1

Unlike any birthday celebration I’ve either hosted or attended, I took a risk and scheduled it during the day. It was only a risk because it meant that Tom couldn’t come because of work, which meant Tom couldn’t help with drinks or artfully arranging cupcakes on a platter (more on that later) or with taking little ones to the potty.

It means our very first ever pool party included 12 kids and six mommies, which is the exact ratio where things are manageable enough that it’s safe and crazy enough that Amanda is doing mermaid tricks in the shallow-end.

pool party 2

pool party 3

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I learned a lot by throwing this party, and the first and most important thing I learned is that the only work you have to do for a pool party is slather all the children in SPF 5000. After that 30-minute wrestling match, the rest is nothing but a backstroke on a sunny day.

pool party 6

Ok kids! Time for cupcakes! Gather ’round little ones, as I present to you the most awful display of cupcakes your innocent eyes have ever seen.

That platter is shameful. An abomination, I know. (The patriotic ones were on sale.)


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I actually generally enjoy making cakes for my kids (even if they don’t turn out like I imagined…sailboat cakeduck cakeLightning McQueen cakeLightning McQueen cake Part II) but we had JUST moved. And remember, Mary Virginia asked me for THIS cake. Though I appreciate her confidence in me, I needed to re-set her expectations.

The great news is that no one complained. And even better, the kids actually fought over the little plastic USAs. So maybe we’ll have spray-painted USA cupcakes at my kids’ birthday parties from now on.

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pool party 10

Boom. Expectations re-set. (But if you want pretty cakes, check out my sister’s creations. That shark cake has been pinned almost 2,000 times!)

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When her friends told her “Happy Birthday” Mary Virginia always, always responded by telling them happy birthday back. It was incredibly sweet, and it’s exactly the kind of thing I’ve gotten used to from Mary Virginia. Since the day she was born three years ago she’s been hard at work charming everyone she meets. Though I can only speak for myself, I’d say it’s working.

pool party 13



  1. elissa June 30, 2016

    how sweet!!! it looks like it was a complete success 🙂 Way to go mommy!!!! and a POOL? how amazing! Can’t wait to see more pics of the new house!

  2. Samrona July 2, 2016

    I really appreciate how you’ve captured the aspects of joyful life.


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