Saturday, July 9, 2011

Swimming Birthday Party

This was prolly the most strange birthday party I ever planned. EVER. Why? Well, because there was hardly any planning involved. And, silly enough, that made me feel guilty at first. You all know how I love planning everything at my girls' birthday parties---to the last little crafty detail. Weeks & weeks in advance. You see, I had this adorable "Polka Dot" themed birthday party all planned out. (Pazely picked out that theme.) There'd be polka dotted balloons scattered about. And large cardboard circles painted in every color of the rainbow adhered to the walls to dress things up a bit: Kinda like THIS. I even purchased amazing & simple polka dotted gift wrap from Target that I was planning on decorating the tables with. (As seen in THIS photo.) I had plans to play games like STICKER TAG, & a unique version of Twister that I found via I can't find a link at the moment, so take a peek at THIS blog 'cause they did the same thing. The kids would craft something with pom-poms. I was gonna take polaroids of the children standing in front of a polka dotted backdrop with Pazely, that I would later send to them in their "Thank You" notes.

I even purchased THESE plates, THESE napkins & THESE paper straws from a place called Polka Dot Market. I was going to make THIS cake & attach sweet bunting like THIS to the cake. And the kids would drink milk from cups decorated like THIS---which, I was certain, would be my most favorite detail of the party! And I dreamt of a buffet of round shaped foods...

But, alas....We decided that Pazely's birthday is always during hot weather, & the kids might enjoy a bit-o water fun. So we rented out the community pool for a couple hours of night swimming.  And all the kids did was swim & swim. Oh yeah, they swam alright.
I didn't really have a lot of time to do all that original planning anyway. Things have been busy & hectic around here due to more hours at work, & children out of school & just regular routine type stuff happening on a regular routine. But, I have to admit, I still felt guilty up to the minutes before the party began.
Our invitations were decorated with simple polka dots painted (with pencil erasers) onto blank white cards. I didn't even request an RSVP. I simply said, "We can't wait to see you there!", & left my phone number at the bottom in case there were questions or someone needed to get ahold of me. Nobody responds to RSVP's anyway. Why fight it?

The only decorations I put up were cardboard circles that came from pizza boxes. A friend gave me a HUGE unused box of them & I had no clue what to do with them at first. Until the party. I spray painted them in colors I had on hand: red, yellow, green, purple. I hot glued a paper clip in-between the cardboard to act as a "hook" for hanging on the chain link fence around the pool. And really, I could have made twice as many for more of an impact. They weren't necessary, but kinda fun anyway.

I didn't have the kids take a break at all for the usual "gift opening" part of the party. (I hate that part of parties anyway. It's kinda boring. I'm just saying.) Instead, Pazely took her gifts home afterwards & we opened them up in our dry & peaceful home---just the fam. It was nice!

All the party guests surrounded Pazely in a big circle in the pool. (Well, Pazely was too shy so she scooted off to the side.) They all splashed in the water & sang "Happy Birthday". And then kept on swimming. I didn't have the kids break for the traditional "cake & ice cream" part of the party either. I let all the party guests know that, at anytime, they could help themselves to cupcakes outside of the pool. I made cupcakes instead of a cake because the pool doesn't allow food inside & I figured it'd be much more easy to just grab a cupcake outside & eat it in a jiffy... with a juice box. No fancy punch bowl full of fancy punch here! And no ice cream either!
For party favors, the Mr. & I purchased enough big bouncy balls for every kid to take one home. We scattered all 22 balls in the pool water before guests arrived. They were a HUGE hit! Balls were being bounced & kicked & tossed & thrown throughout the whole party. It was my favorite detail of the night.
And that....was it.

When we came home after the party, I told Mr. WhiMSy love: "That was the easiest clean up EVER." He replied: "I know! I told you!" (He's been trying to get me to have the girls' birthday parties at places like roller skating rinks or McDonald's or the bowling alley for a long time. But I just haven't been able to do that. It was a major stretch for me to do this swimming pool party.) And as I soaked in the tub that night, relaxing after a fun-filled evening, I realized that I didn't have that usual "deflated" feeling that I do after parties. The deflated feeling isn't a bad thing. It just means: "Gosh, you worked really hard & now it's over. You can relax now. Chill out & stuff." The deflated feeling wasn't there because I didn't work hard. But it was still a great party! I even heard one particular little sweet, freckled, brown eyed, 7 year old birthday girl say, "This was the best party ever!"
I learned, only a few birthdays ago, the amazingnes that is called "help". I used to do it all on my own. What was I thinking? I recruited a couple friends this time around to help with the {minor} set up, which mostly included hauling balls from the van to the pool. haha!
Thanks so much Ryna & Monica---you rock!

The only thing that stressed me out at this party was that rain was predicted all day. And, in fact, it started storming pretty hard a few hours before the party. Even when the party started there was rain coming down & a gloomy sky overhead. (I hung the cardboard circles on the chain link fence in the rain & ended up pretty wet.) I had parents calling me to verify if the party was still going to happen. I had to quickly come up with a plan B in case we had to resort to a last-minute indoor party. I scoured the internet for game ideas & had a list of activities for the kids to do. I was ready for whatever happened. But in the end, we decided to go ahead with the pool party---even in the rain. As long as there wasn't any thunder or lightning, the lifeguards were fine with the celebration. It was kinda fun to watch the kids swimming in the water with the rain splashing all around them. I prayed all the night before & the day of the party for a beautiful evening. And guess what? Twenty minutes after the party started, the clouds parted & the sun came out! There was laughing & giggling & chattering & shouting & happiness all around. There was even a rainbow at dusk...the perfect party accessory in my book.
Click HERE to view all the pictures from Pazely's birthday, which include photos from her actual b-day AND party.


  1. Looks like a wonderful party! I've finally learned that low-key is much less stressful and I can enjoy the celebration, too! Love all the pics!

  2. Awww what adorable pictures!
    You have a talent for capturing the moment and editing it to perfect later.

  3. I love this post because I love all the details of the Polka Dot party, but yet, the party that did happen seems the sweetest of all parties, and a lesson learned that sometimes less is more. Take a bow, Mom!

  4. happy birthday Pazley!
    Ebi-kun's birthday is the end of the month and we have the same problem, it's just TOO hot. The last couple of years we have had a party in the park and set up next to the wading pool. The other problem we have is that his birthday is in the summer holidays so many of our (ex-pat) friends disappear for the summer. Last year we had his party early because he really wanted one little boy to come. This year we have arrange to take him and his best mate go bowling, neither of them know :o). We will have a party in the park but it will be very low key this year, I think I will still have tom make a pinata though!

  5. I am in love with these swimming birthday party photos. I bet that everyone enjoyed this bash to the fullest. My daughter turned 15 in last month and I threw a surprise pizza party for her at some local garden themed event space. She loved that party a lot.

    1. Hi Wenni! This was such a fun party! Having a party NOT at my home was way more amazing than I thought it would be! Haha! I love the surprise pizza party idea for your daughter's 15th! Surprises are always a hoot!


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