Anni's birthday in the sparkle house
It's the end of a long few days of preparation, and we have glitter over every square inch of our house. And ourselves. So here was Annika's day: She started the day with birthday phone conversations with Grandma Elke in Germany, and then Grandma and Grandpa Bond in Kansas City. Then Anni and I made a huge bowl of cake batter together, and made chocolate cupcakes for the party. Annika got to crack her first egg, as she is now a very mature 4 years old, and deemed old enough for this important responsibility. I did veto her suggestion that we put the frosting straight into the cake batter, so as to save time frosting them later on. Clever girl, though. After we had the cupcakes in the oven, it was time to open presents from family. I think her favorite was the noisy puppy we got her. Still, it's less work than a real puppy. However, Hepburn is truly freaked out by this little guy. He barks, wags his tail, and rolls around the house in a manner truly offensive to the grande dame. After the presents were opened, I got busy transforming our dining room into the princess party room. Although you can't really see them in these pictures, I strung Christmas lights on the ceiling. The really ridiculous thing is that I now have a sore thumb--I guess from pushing in too many thumbtacks. I also draped the ceiling with tulle, and created a little curtain for framing the room. Plus, I hung crepe and satin Princess Jasmine ribbon down, which Anni loved walking through. I meant to have a lot more balloons than this, but I just ran out of time. I also planned to hang artificial flowers from the ceiling, but again no time so I just crammed them in the vase. All the girls tried sniffing them (repeatedly) and seemed so thrilled with their smell that eventually we parents had to lean for a sniff, too, even knowing full well they were artificial. They smelled like...Wal-mart, of course. Rubber shoes and cardboard. Each girl had a name tag at her place, with a velvet rose, a bottle of fairy dust, and a "gold" jewel box. I put Anni in one of her pink ballet outfits, and I dressed as the queen mother in a completely over-the-top blue dress with poufs and bows galore. Needless to say, Anni adored it. I even swooshed way too much blue eyeshadow on, to add to the glamourous effect. Oh, did I mention the glitter hairspray? Yup. As the girls arrived (there were 8 altogether), we dressed them as princesses, using some frilly material draped and elasticed together. Then they sat down to decorate their crowns, wands, and jewelry boxes. Amazingly, no glue spills, but this was the first activity to introduce our friend glitter to the floors. The crowns and wands looked really great, and I have enough jewels, glitter, and sequins left over for Frankie's princess party in 3 years. Annika was just so excited to see her friends. She had been waiting all week for this party. Here she is giving a big hug to Kiley, Jillian's baby sister. OK, so Kiley doesn't look so happy about it, but she actually didn't mind it all too much. Frankie, on the other hand was delighted with the sudden onslaught of noise, activity, and general party merriment. As the girls finished, they headed over to choose some Princess coloring pages. I had about 100 for them to choose from, all downloaded and printed from the internet while I was waiting for my students to finish their exams on Tuesday. This activity kept me from contemplating the amount of work those same students were about to hand me, and thusly avoided a public fit of panic. At this point, I had to go download the pics off my digital camera, so I took it upstairs. Then, being the sleep-deprived queen mother, I promptly forgot where I had put my camera. Sigh. No pictorial record. Sigh. Next the girls played "Kiss the Frog." This was essentially "pin the tail on the donkey," exept I had drawn a huge frog prince, which Annika colored in last night, and cut out gigantic lips for them to try to place on the frog. Blindfolded, of course. Then we played Cinderella's Magic Slipper: they sat in a circle and I played music while they passed around my one and only high-heeled pump (from my wedding eons ago). I rang a little bell to announce midnight, and stopped the music, and the girl left holding the shoe went into the middle of the circle, where she closed her eyes and was given the bell to ring midnight next. And so on. Next came story time. Here was the story: Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess named Annika. She lived with her mother, the queen, and her father, the king, and her baby sister, cute baby princess Frankie. One day, Princess Annika had a birthday party and invited all her princess friends. An evil witch was passing through the kingdom, and became very mad that she had not been invited to the party. at this point, there was an interruption to the story as one of the girls asked, "Who's the evil witch?" Quickly one of the other girls looked over at her mom and volunteeered, "You can be the evil witch, mommy!" To which the mom said, with only a hint of sarcasm, "Thanks!" So the evil witch came to the castle and turned the king into a grumpy old ogre. The grumpy old ogre said, "You girls are having too much fun and being waaaaay too noisy!" So he took all the princesses' jewelry and ran off to hide it. Now, there is one thing that can turn the grumpy old ogre back into the king: fairy dust! Luckily, all the princesses had brought their supply of fairy dust to the party, so they decided to go hunt for their jewelry, and save the king. Then we gave the girls their fairy dust (glitter in a baby food jar with gold lid and ribbons), and we went on the hunt. Joerg had placed foot steps on the floor for the girls to follow, and they led down to the basement. There, they discovered that the ogre had hidden their jewelry in a box full of worms (cooked spaghetti). They had to reach in to pull out their jewelry. Then they went on the hunt for the ogre. Joerg came out in a bathrobe and mask sounding grumpy, and the girls threw their glitter all over him. Thus transforming him back into the king. This part amazed Annika. Even after cleaning off, Joerg still has a little extra sparkle to him tonight. Then we went back upstairs, put on the jewelry and broke out the makeup. The girls each got a mini-lipstick to put on themselves, effectively transforming the celebration into a clown princess party. We put glitter face make-up hearts and stars on their cheeks. I had glitter nail polish, but they were all much too hungry for that. And finally the princess cupcakes we made were served. Anni's guests were: Jillian Sarah Anna Grace Demi Kelsey Sabrina Then it was time to open gifts. Annika was overwhelmed. "Are all these presents for me?" Then a few last rounds of "Kiss the Frog" and "Cinderella's Slipper" and the fun was over. Happy Birthday, sweet Annika. We love you.