Friday, May 18, 2012


The years are flying by, and I am feeling dizzy.

Just minutes ago we were celebrating Ainsley's 3rd birthday. Oh, and a few minutes prior to that, she turned two. And one.

I'm not very good at the birthday party scene. Here, as in China, people go all out for birthdays. I haven't attended a single drop-off pizza party. Instead, they rent out party spaces and host elaborate events for parents and kids. Which is fine, I suppose, if you happen to know any of the other guests, but I seldom do, and I end up sitting around trying to decipher the Arabic conversations going on around me.  They're usually fancy events, as I found out to my chagrin when we attended our first Jordanian birthday party. In fact, one of my girls was just invited to a party for which the color of outfits they are to wear has been selected in advance - only pink and white allowed!

I can't compete. I refuse to try.

So this year, instead of hosting a party for Ainsley, I simply made a couple dozen cupcakes and took them to the pool at the Embassy one sunny weekend day. We sang happy birthday and handed out cupcakes to all of the random kids who swarmed our table. Ainsley thought they were all there specifically for her party, so she was thrilled. I didn't have to stuff gift bags. Win-win.

One of my friends was cleaning house that day in preparation for moving, and she found a mermaid costume that was just Ainsley's size. So Ainsley wore it all day at the pool, a sea of sparkly green in an ocean of swimsuits. I believe she really thought she'd become a mermaid.

On the actual day, we made pizza from scratch, ate fancy Oreo cupcakes from Sugar Daddy's, and opened presents at home.

Nothing too crazy. But we had fun.
She changed out of the mermaid outfit long enough for a quick swim and a cupcake. Then it was back on... for about a week straight.

Protip: When taking pictures of major milestone events like birthdays, always  move the gigantic bag of dog food out of the scene first. You're welcome.

There's that dog food bag again. Top right. 

Yep, she's four.


Nomads By Nature said... [Reply]

Awwww Happy 4th Birthday! And I agree - there is no way to compete with the SuperParty frenzy. It sounds like Ainsley's day was just as special, if not more so, because it was really about her and not entertaining a crowd.

Sadie said... [Reply]

Happy 4th Birthday! And I absolutely LOVE the party idea!!! As long as she wasn't expecting gifts from all the kids who came to 'her' party :-). Sounds like the mermaid costume made up for that!

Daniela Swider said... [Reply]

Happy Birthday Ainsley! I too hate the over the top kids parties. They just make me feel so inadequate, 'cause I just can never measure up no matter how hard I try. And I do try. Every year. And it's a really stressful time of the year for me. And every year I tell myself I'll do better next year but I just probably need to relax and simplify things. Unfortunately, I am not a good relaxer, either...

Glad you have found a solution that works for you!

Heather Dray said... [Reply]

Greatest party dress. EVER. She should be allowed to wear it EVERYDAY! Happy Birthday to your sweet 4-year-old!

Danielle said... [Reply]

Sounds like the perfect party to me! The simpler the party, the more time to really savor and celebrate the occasions. It looks like she had a wonderful special day. Happy Happy Birthday!!!

Jennifer Ambrose said... [Reply]

Happy 4th birthday! Looks like a perfect birthday!

Connie said... [Reply]

Happy 4th Birthday to your Little Mermaid :) !! She's adorable in that dress!

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