Well, the party is over... Yesterday dawned gray and unsettled, with impressively threatening clouds lurking just to our west and ominous blobs on the weather radar map. Hubby and I headed over to the park ahead of time to get stuff set up, which is where we encountered the brisk wind as we began moving tables into party configurations and hanging up decorations, etc. By brisk, I mean "strong enough to rip the painstakingly and thoroughly stapled-down tablecloths right off the table" and also strong enough that we had to abandon our more lavish decorating plan (for which we had something around 1600 feet of crepe paper streamers) for a few, somewhat less festive streamers wrapped around the pavilion posts and nary a balloon in sight. Hubby even stapled the cake board to the table and stapled the chip bowls to the tables where the guests would be eating. (Thank goodness we found the staple gun, which had been missing - we went through several hundred staples in under half an hour getting things set up!) The sun made a brief appearance, just long enough to raise our hopes, before disappearing behind the evil storm clouds as the wind kicked it up another few notches and off in the distance, we heard a rumble or two of thunder. I was so nervous as I headed home to collect the birthday girl, her cousins and aunt (who were in town for their annual visit this past weekend). All I could think was "I don't know that I'd take the kiddo to an outdoor party with weather like that - what if no one shows?" I loaded up the van and we headed back out to the park.
I am still in shock about what happened next. At the very dot of 11:00 when the party was scheduled to start, the clouds parted, the sky turned blue and the sun came out. The wind died back down to a strongish breeze and, I kid you not, birds started singing. It was unbelievably good weather, and it lasted for the duration of the party. The guests arrived and everyone headed over to the playground, where they had a grand time. (Seriously, this is an awesome playground. It makes me want to go back to being five myself just so I could play on it.) We wound up with 20 kids, plus parents. Three families who had RSVPed didn't make it, and I only hope they didn't get so lost on their way out to the park that they gave up and/or are still driving about the wilds of western NY... The pizza delivery dude rolled up at 11:58 with our order, piping hot and surprisingly delicious. (We'd never had pizza from this place before; our only criteria for the party being will they deliver to the park, do we have coupons and are they open early enough on a Saturday. So, for it to taste as good as it did was a huge bonus, especially since we had an entire sheet left over, now saran-wrapped in our chest freezer.)
Other than a small issue with getting the candles on the birthday cake to light (that dang brisk breeze again) and the piñata not quite pouring forth even after the pull-streamer that opens it was pulled (one of the other moms wound up standing on a bench and shaking the piñata to get the loot to fall out), everything went really, really well. We played a few of the "in case it rains and we can't go on the playground" back-up games, which were quite fun (despite the birthday girl cheating by peeking out from the bottom of the blindfold during pin the tail on the donkey) and the kids all were thrilled with the temporary dinosaur tattoos that my sister had brought and applied to arms, hands and legs as requested. (I'm sporting a T. Rex on my left ankle now, myself - I'm so kewl!)
As the party ended and the very last guest was pulling out of the park, the skies clouded over again and the rain began to fall. It was like something out of a movie (or perhaps a bad TV movie) the way that the weather suddenly improved and held just long enough before going back to its regularly scheduled nastiness. Anyone who did rain dances or otherwise influenced Mother Nature for us, a heartfelt thanks, because they worked! The kiddo had a great time, her friends had a great time, I think even the parents enjoyed themselves, and we will never, ever do a party of that size again. (Kindly remind me I just said that if I develop amnesia between now and next May!) Hubby and I are still exhausted 24 hours and one tetanus shot later (he caught his forearm on a rusty nail while moving the tables back after the party, ow) and I've come to the conclusion that I'm too old for a five year old's birthday party! *yawn* Now I've just got to sort through and print out the many, many pictures we took (and Hubby is busily working on editing the video footage from our brand spankin' new digital video camera) and we'll get the kiddo to write her thank-you notes and then this year's birthday celebrations will be history! (Um, except for the leftover pizza and cake, which may be with us for a while longer.)