A Moody, Magical Mermaid Lagoon (The Girls’ 3rd and 5th Birthday Party!)

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For the first time, we decided to throw the girls a joint birthday party. All things considered, it made sense for us this year (especially considering they both wanted a mermaid theme), and when I mentioned the idea to E.V. and Cricket, they were excited about the sharing their big days — with one caveat: “We want our own cakes.” Done and done! 

With Cricket’s 3rd birthday in March and E.V.’s 5th in June, we wanted the party to land somewhere right in between, which was ideal because the weather in March is terribly unpredictable (snow or winds or rain or early spring or who knows what) and June is, well, HOT. So we chose early May, and besides being unseasonably cold (go figure), it was beautiful…and windy. ;) I can’t pick a pretty party day to save my life, haha!

Ariel is our favorite Disney princess, so it was obvious to me that the girls’ desire for a mermaid party would inevitably become a “Little Mermaid” party. But you know me, I can never make things simple. ;) As a SAHM with an artist’s heart, I love looking at their parties with a fresh eye. So I named the party theme “Moody, Magical Mermaid Lagoon” and ran with it! Cricket’s favorite color is pink; E.V.’s is aqua, so both were shoe-ins, and I love how the color palette came out when those brighter colors were mixed with darker ocean tones. Also, I have an unhealthy obsession with dip-dyeing anything I can get my hands on, and when the technique was paired with painted watercolors, I loved the watery look that it lent to our dry-land venue. I also was inspired by the idea of juxtaposing illustration with florals to mix the ideas of fantasy and real life. Throw in lots of oyster shells, sand and sea glass, and we had a moody, magical lagoon in the making!

We used a park pavilion near our home that we’ve used before (for both E.V. and Cricket’s first birthdays), and since there wasn’t going to be a drop of water around, it was important to me to bring an under-the-sea feel to the event. I typically think of my parties in terms of areas — so we had a “cove” for Ariel where the children could decorate paper seashell bikini-top necklaces; there was a dessert table with an illustrated mermaid, crowned with real florals, floating above a variety of mermaid-y treats based on Ariel’s story; the grand birthday cake got its own table (and the cake lady messed it up so badly that at the last minute I had to cover it in fondant and decorate it myself, earning it that place of honor, haha!); there was a sandy “beach” (baby pool) for digging up lost treasure; seating tables topped with dip-dyed muslin and gorgeous flowers (by the very talented Meredith Rush) intermingled with coral, shells, seaglass and all things oceanesque; children could listen to the world’s oceans through conch shells in one area; and, of course, Ursula got her own corner, complete with black tattoos and make-your-own Ursula shell necklaces (Ariel voice not included). I dip-dyed tutus for the girls, got the sparkliest shoes I could find, commissioned my gal pal @stylinsophie for the cutest mermaid leos ever, and made them their very own mermaid crowns. And they loved every inch of it all.

I hope and think everyone had a good time, playing, eating and crafting. However, my favorite moment (or at least the most memorable one) came toward the end of the party. The songs had been sung, the candles had been blown out, and the cakes had been devoured. I had transformed some paper mushrooms left over from Emma Vance’s “Alice in Wonderland” 3rd birthday party into jellyfish. (I know I’m totally a hoarder, but on occasion it works to my advantage!) There were four total, and two of them I turned into pull-string pinatas (a last-minute request from Cricket). The other two were purely decoration, but I think the effect of all four hanging down in the middle of the party was great, especially since the windy day made their tentacles flutter. However, by this time all the kids were amped up on adrenaline and sugar, and so when I announced that it was piñata time, they crowded in so eagerly and closely that when E.V. accidentally pulled her string too early, it was pure insanity. Cricket tried to hastily pull hers, but the string broke, causing me to have to jump up and pull it down…which resulted in Cricket getting beaned in the head with the jellyfish. Then the kids thought that all four were pinatas, so they started yanking down the decorative ones. And a lot of the candy got stuck up inside the jellyfishes bodies. Let’s just say that there were tears and scrapes and mental scars (which I can now look back at and laugh). I think next year I’ll go with TWENTY pounds of candy. Yeesh.

Overall, it was so much fun. I hope the girls remember their moody, magical lagoon fondly. As much as I enjoy throwing their parties, it really is all for them. (It’s so strange to think that we’re finally at the age where they really remember things now!) Happy birthday, dear hearts, and thank you to everyone who came out for their big day!

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