eliza's fourth birthday.

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We celebrated this magical little girl this last weekend with plenty of sparkle. It was my favorite birthday party yet, and I spent the entire day just bursting with happiness and love for my beautiful, little girl, my family, and our amazing friends. Thank you to all who made this birthday so special for her!

Part of the reason why I loved her party so much this year, was that Eliza planned every single part of it herself. In fact, she has been planning her birthday party since last year. She loves parties. She loves any reason to celebrate. She often declares the day a "special day" so that we can do something special like have pancakes, or give each other presents- random items from her room wrapped in paper. She looks forward to holidays with sheer giddiness, and believes that any day is a good day for decorations and cake. (Hmm, I wonder where she gets this from?) So, she has definitely been talking about her birthday since last May.

First, she wanted a "Pineapple Party," where all of her guests would receive pineapple hats. Then, there was the "Princess Tea Party"- which was a big contender this year. We can't forget my favorite, the "Halloween Party," where we were going to go trick-or-treating to our neighbors (in May). And the most creative idea, the "Nativity Party," where all of her guests would dress as different members of the Nativity, of course.

But, in the last few weeks leading up to her birthday, she has talked of nothing else but her "Unicorn Party." So, unicorns it is, little one. I started pulling together some ideas, and realized that Eliza really had many ideas of her own that were just too good to ignore. And so, I give you, "Eliza's Party" Plan: 


Let me explain...
-There will be a unicorn piñata, and the belly will be filled with candy.
-The birthday girl will have a unicorn horn with flowers, in her short hair.
-There will be a birthday cake, with four candles, and sprinkles.
-There will be a "unicorn egg hunt."
-Food will include (but not be limited to) meatballs, watermelon, strawberries, carrots, peas, and hummus. 
-Don't forget the juice boxes.
-My friends will receive unicorn horns, on headbands.
-My friends will come! (The two figures on the bottom, her shorter friend and her taller friend.)

She was VERY specific about much of these details. And, I loved it all. Also, let's just focus on the centipede unicorn piñata for a minute. Brilliant.

So, I ordered the necessary supplies and Eliza helped me carry it all out. It was the least stressful party I've ever done, and I was proud of myself for keeping my cool and enjoying it all. Even when I accidentally dropped the cake in the dirt halfway through the party. I was such a chill mom and just blew it off! And, we ate it anyway, duh. (Thanks to my friends who scrapped off the dirty parts and stuck it back on the cake stand while I ran away, so I wouldn't get upset!)

The morning of her party, Sam made Eliza pink pancakes, and then Eliza and I walked to the party store down the street to buy balloons. we picked out pink, silver, and gold metallic stars and hearts, and then ran home with balloons waving in the sun. Eliza was cruising on her balance bike with her new pink basket, and I was holding tight to the bunch of balloons, while we both sang "It's party day! It's party day!"

We had her party at Codornices Park, Eliza's favorite park in Berkeley. It really is the best park I have ever seen, by far. It has multiple play structures, and is nestled into the Berkeley hillside among the redwoods, with a view of the entire Bay. There is so much room to play, and a pretty amazing concrete slide that Eliza and Sam go way too fast on. We set up a table beneath the redwoods, and set up some blankets on the lawn. I made some simple decorations out of holographic wrapping paper and pink cellophane I found at the dollar store. It ended up being a truly beautiful day, albeit a bit warm for the Bay Area. By the end of the party, we were all lounging under the trees between the gnarled roots, chowing down on watermelon to cool off with pink cheeked babies and happy, sweaty toddlers.

I followed Eliza's menu directions carefully, and threw in an arugula salad, bread, and cheese to round it out. I also had another brilliant "chill mom" moment when I was grocery shopping the day before and saw this pretty pink cake, and BOUGHT it. It was the best thing, and I am so proud of myself for doing it. I was going to make Sam bake a cake that night, which would have kept us all up to 3am, I'm sure. But instead, I bought this little cake, we scraped off the decorations, and covered it in hot pink rock candy for the birthday girl. She was only slightly disappointed it wasn't the fondant unicorn cake we saw on some crazy Pinterest video.

Eliza also wanted to do a craft at the party, so instead of trying to direct  a dozen kids with scissors and glue, I printed out some unicorn coloring sheets and set up a little coloring station on the lawn. We also threw out some unicorn tattoos for the kids. Eliza loves tattoos so much. She has probably been tatted for about 75% of her life this past year. Eliza also made the cutest shrinky-dink necklaces for all of her friends. She even strung all the beads with specific patterns. "Pattewins" are a recent obsession. I was really proud of her. 

We all ate food, and played on the playground. Eliza had requested a "unicorn dance party" so I brought my scarves, and we blasted "She's Like a Rainbow" and danced around. I think that was my favorite moment in the party, leading her little friends around the lawn waving a scarf over my head. Eliza had a pink scarf in each hand, and we twirled around together while she sat on my hip. I thought I was going to bust, looking at that cute smile with the bob and the bangs and those sunglasses. She got a new sparkle birthday dress, and it swished around her skinny, little legs all day while she ran around barefoot and happy.

I made all the kids unicorn horns, and it was the best decision I could have made. You haven't lived until you've seen a bunch of tiny kids with horns on their heads running around like wild things. I had originally just made a few for Eliza's immediate friends. But, after trying one on Sadie's round noggin, I just had to make one for every tiny human under the age of 5. Babies with unicorn horns! They were really easy to make, with felt, sequins and elastic. I made Eliza's horn with a tiny crown of felt flowers, as well. Surprisingly, almost all of the kids kept them on the entire time. And, I heard reports that they wouldn't take them off all weekend. They were a hit!

Eliza doesn't believe in parties without piñatas, so I spent way too long online shopping for a piñata that didn't look totally creepy. When it came in the mail, she was so exited and carried it around the house like a pet. This was after we had just checked out a book from the library about a little girl who fell in love with the puppy piñata that she got for her party, and didn't want to break it open. Luckily, Eliza was more than happy to bust that thing open. We filled it with colorful salt water taffy, and star bubble necklaces. 

One of my favorite additions to the party was the "unicorn egg hunt." We were packing up the Easter goods one day and Eliza decided she wanted to have a unicorn egg hunt at the party. I thought it was pretty cute, so we filled them with unicorn band-aids I found at Target, and one of my friends helped me scatter them amongst the redwood roots. I told the kids that a magic unicorn laid eggs for them, and they flipped. 

We had such a beautiful time. I am so grateful for our friends here in Berkeley, who love and support us. I can't believe we have been here for over four years, and that we have celebrated all four birthdays right here with these amazing people. They have all seen her grow, and they are all such a huge part of her life. She loves her little friends, and loves their parents as if they were her own. 

This party was all Eliza. All Eliza because she planned it. And all Eliza because it represents all the magic and truly special goodness inside of her. She is such a spirited, beautiful girl. She is everything I could ever ask for her in a daughter. Sam and I say that so often. She is smart and kind, wild and independent, and the most creative soul I know. She teaches me how to see the beauty around me, and is constantly reminding me to slow down and enjoy life. She is pure magic. 

We love you, Eliza. Happy Birthday!

1 comment:

  1. 1 - huge guest list!
    2 - sam had the cutest baby unicorn
    3 - next time you can't find a unicorn piñata put a felt horn on a Mexican donkey piñata
    4 - gorgeous cake!
    5 - good for you rescuing the cake and eating, i've done the same with ice cream
    6 - stones, dancing barefoot in a circle waving scarves, long dresses.....only in Berkeley :-)
    7 - the world needs more pineapple hats, plan a carmen miranda party
    8 - tell eliza i love her and she is a chip off the ol' block in her family of artists