When I asked Ana where she wanted to have her 6th birthday party, she didn’t hesitate. She started jumping up and down, and chanting, “Chuck E Cheese! Chuck E Cheese! Chuck E Cheese!” I immediately dropped to both knees, took her cute cherub cheeks between my hands and whispered, “Darling, that will never happen.” And the way I drew out the word “neeeverrrrrr” was awful but necessary. There was NO WAY I was holding a birthday party inside a dirty hamster cage with feces filled tubes.
Wanting her to be excited about her birthday party venue, but drawing a line at the rat trap, I set out to come up with an awesome idea. So for the next two weeks I threw every possibility at her. Bowling? NO! CHUCK E CHEESE! A dance party? NO! CHUCK E CHEESE! Spa day? NO! CHUCK E CHEESE!
But then one day, while I sat eating a family-sized bag of potato chips, I had a brilliant idea, “A pony riding party?!…silence…she was thinking…lock this shit down, Kim. “On a real farm!”
Ana -”But will there be pizza?” scrunching up her face like the thought of compromising with me repulsed her.
Me – “Unlimited!”
Ana – “And we can do Chuck E Cheese next year?” Producing a “Chuck E. Cheese Next Year” document for me to sign.
Me- “Sure!” Signing the “Chuck E. Cheese Next Year” document and hoping her long-term memory continues to be a lot like swiss cheese.
Ana – “YAY! A pony party!”
Me- “YAY! A pony party!”
I collapsed, tears of relief to mingling with the Herr’s sour cream & onion flavoring. Mmmm, life was good again.
But because I still felt shitty about denying her Chuck E Cheese, I was determined to make this the best party ever. And so, after bottoming out on the chips, I opened my laptop, ordered her purple cowboy boots, then went to Pinterest and got to work.
Note: Any and all links in this post are because I assume you’re as nosy as I am, and want to know what I used or selected. These are not advertisements.
First, I created an Ana’s Pony Party board, then I spent HOURS looking through pins, websites, and online magazines. I wanted to streamline this board, not junk it up with any and all ideas like my other useless boards. My intent was to fill it with everything I needed to create an adorable Vintage Pony Party. And I mean everything. I found invitations, banners, water bottle wraps, signs, thank you cards, cupcake toppers, etc, etc. Then, hoping to get her excited, I presented it all to the birthday girl. Big mistake.
It seems that somewhere along the line she’s developed opinions, strong opinions, mostly of the “I don’t give a shit how much time you’ve invested in this, I don’t like it.” variety. (*note to self: next year will be a surprise party)
Unfortunately, her ideas were the complete opposite from mine. I wanted soft pinks, browns, and rustic chic.
She wanted neon, in your face, and can be seen from space.
So I spent MORE hours on Pinterest until I found something in the middle.
Cute, right? And the entire kit was only $40! You can get it here.
But I forgot to factor in the cost of quality printing on stock paper ($70)…or the 35 pages of intricate cutting ($150 in Carpal Tunnel medical co-pays).
Now that the theme was established, I could continue on…
Pinterest made me believe that I had to have the most clever food presentation ever.
OMG! I could do stuff like that, couldn’t I? I must.
Over the next week, I ignored my family and spent every available moment hunting for containers, bows, paper straws, baskets, favor bags, custom stickers, anything that screamed “Pinterest worthy!”
It wasn’t until I yelled at my husband for blocking the monitor while I was trying to read user reviews on two competing wooden fork manufacturers, that I realized I was drowning in the details. But I soldiered on.
FYI, theses are the forks I selected:
Oh, the party favors on Pinterest! I think I lost my mind once or twice on those. Here’s what I decided to make (yeah, make):
Tell me these aren’t the most adorable things ever! They’re super simple to make and you can get the pattern here.
As soon as I saw this Pin, I grabbed my keys and rushed right to the craft store to buy enough wool felt for 15 horses. Unfortunately, I had to take Ana and her opinions with me.
Three hours and two meltdowns later (both mine), we returned, not with the nice, neutral, classy felt I wanted, but with this…
For six nights, I donned sunglasses and diligently worked on my ‘Horses on Acid’ project. And on the seventh morning, I woke up to see their neon heads scattered across my kitchen island like some mass Pinterest protest, and I couldn’t help but to cry at their beautifully ugly existence.
Favor number 2…
Painted Horse Shoes
So I was speaking with Ana’s horseback riding instructor – oh, did I forget to mention that we signed her up for lessons because suddenly she was all about horses? Fifty bucks a pop. I should have stuck with Chuck E Cheese, the medication to clear up any bacterial infections she most definitely would have acquired, would’ve been cheaper. Anyway, her instructor said that they’d provide a horseshoe for each kid if I wanted to buy fabric paint for them to decorate while they’re waiting for their turn to ride a pony.
“Oh yes, I saw that on Pinterest! That’s an awesome idea!”
And then she asked me if I was handy, and sent me home with a bucket full of dirty, nail filled horseshoes. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t.
Day 1 of horseshoe refurbishing:
Day one began with me out in my driveway trying to remove old rusty nails from shit-packed horseshoes. After several experimental methods, I settled on holding down the horseshoe with my right foot while I twisted and pulled those bastard nails out with a hammer.
I had just put a winter boot on my right foot, to protect my ankle from contracting tetanus, when the pizza man pulled up.
Hobbling towards him, flip flop on my left foot, furry boot on my right foot, hammer in my hand.
“Heyyy there!” I waved, the weight of the hammer exaggerating the movement. “Hahaha, I bet you’re wondering what I’m doing.”
“No, I’m good.”
He extended the pizza towards me and curved his torso inward. An obvious attempt to protect his vital organs, no doubt.
“I was just pulling some nails out of those horseshoes over there.” gesturing to a bucket stained with red rust and swarming with flies.
I had a feeling he was thinking, or human head.
He just got in his car and left.
Day 2 of horseshoe refurbishing
The horseshoes were finally nail free, shit free, and dry, and it was time to paint them black.
About a 1/4 of the way into the job, I ran out of spray paint so I had to run to our local hardware store. Ana was home from school with a slight tummy ache so I had to take her with me.
Once in the store, she looked at me and said, “I don’t feel so good”. Oh shit. “I think I’m going to be sick.” Oh shit. Then she did this lurching thing, like my cat does just before she coughs up a hairball, and I knew we didn’t have time to find a bathroom. The speed at which my mind processed and reacted to the impending horror still amazes me. Have you ever seen the game show Supermarket Sweep?
Dropping my purse, I ran down the paint aisle, grabbed 3 cans of black spray paint meant for metal surfaces, a box of latex gloves, and a stack of buckets (I had no time to separate them), and returned just in time to catch her vomit.
My exit strategy took a little more thought.
I made Ana hold her vomit bucket and stay 5 paces behind me. Once we got to the register, I gestured to her, and told the cashier that she loved the bucket so much she simply refused to part with it. I then handed him the other buckets and told him to use the sku. “Kids!” I said shaking my head.
When I looked back, some smiley college kid had appeared behind her. I watched as he peeked over her head and into the bucket. Then I watched his smile fade.
After I finished spray painting, I set the horseshoes next to our door to dry. Then I ordered a pizza. Again.
Thankfully a different pizza guy arrived. He looked at the horseshoes next to the door and said, “So, do you have horses?”
I looked around our .33 acre lot before responding,”Yes, and they have to take their shoes off before they come in.”
The cake was a battle.
I was still holding on to my Vintage Pony dream when I practically begged/bridbed Ana to let me make this:
But she wasn’t having it.
Instead, she grabbed my computer and spent an hour browsing Pinterest until finally settling on this:
She insisted I try my hand at cutting horse silhouettes out of black fondant.
“I can’t make that!” I said, acknowledging my limitations for once. “Can’t I make the one I picked out? It’s easier.”
Looking sad, “You keep having all the ideas and want to do everything you like. Whose party is this anyway?”
Bending down on my knees and taking her sweet face into my hands, “Oh darling, this party belongs to Pinterest.”
And that’s when I knew I had to unplug the computer. It was time to respect what she wanted, to embrace her neon…and to order a cake from the grocery store.
I should have written “SCREW YOU, PINTEREST!” on the side and outlined it with poorly shaped rosettes.
And the party was wonderful! Our family and friends made the the afternoon special and awesome…not the Pinterest inspired details.
*I should mention…remember when Ana threw up at the hardware store? Well Brian got Ana’s stomach bug and had to miss her birthday party:(
Here are some pics from the party, if you care.
Happy Birthday, Ana! We love you!