Well, the big day finally came! Zoe and I spent the afternoon yesterday getting a few things in order for her birthday party, turning old boxes into dog houses, baking and decorating the cake, and cleaning up the house. This morning we set out the “pet care pack” gift bags – each kiddo got a little doggy size tennis ball, some Kit Kat, and dog or car stickers. We got the table ready with snacks:
“dog bowls” set out for everyone, coco puffs as “kibble” and goldfish for the kitties. Bryan got Arlo’s dog house, and kennels down from the attic for the kids to play with, and built a pinata hanger. Zoe set up the vet area, and arranged her paints outside and we were ready!
Her friend from next door, Jaylin, showed up first just as Zoe was getting antsy and bummed that no one was here. She was early, of course, but it was great to watch Zoe welcome her, show her to the adoption area, have her choose a pet and fill out an adoption certificate, take the kitty to the vet, and then they headed outside to play! After that more and more kids showed up quickly and she had a blast showing everyone how to adopt and playing out back. Eventually, 11 kiddo’s and their parents were having fun at our house. The kid gaggle seemed to migrate toward the box pet houses first and we got them painting right away. I thought this was a great way to use up some random shipping boxes we had laying around, and all the kids wanted to paint one. So, we ran out, but my friend Amanda came to the rescue with a few she had in her car. We quickly transformed them into houses and the kids were on their way. After painting they spread around the back yard playing in and out of the dog houses and kennels, giving their pets little baths in the pool, and camping out under the tent we made out of sheets. It was a grand time.
I got busy baking the corndogs and heating up our crescent roll ‘bones’. Once the food was ready, the kids came in and grabbed a dog bowl to fill. We had corndogs, the bones, our kibble, the fish, blueberries, carrots, and a tray of dehydrated Thrive fruit. Zoe and her girl pals parked in the tent, most of the littler ones stayed inside, and the boys picked a spot out on the patio. They finished eating quickly and got back to playing. By now they spread out – some in the bedrooms playing with toys, but most of the kids loved being outside and pretending dog and cat. It was great they stuck with the theme for the whole party! And Zoe was in her glory showing everyone different ways to play; they even pushed two dog houses together for a giant one.
After a while we brought the cake out of the frig. I did another cupcake cake this year. They are just so fun and easy later…no cutting needed, and no waiting for a piece to get cut! Zoe wanted a dog and cat – she picked two of the adoptee’s yesterday as models. Her only additional requests: bows on each, and they are to be sitting in grass. OK! It turned out amazing if I say so myself. At the party we all came inside, sang happy birthday and then Zoe blew out her 5 candles. Then, the kids went to town pulling it apart. I tried to help them delicately at first, but some wanted to eat a bow or an eyeball or whatever so in the end it was easiest just to let them grab the cupcake they wanted.
Later, it was time for the pinata!! Zoe selected a pretty white kitty pinata from an email of ideas Aunt Bethany sent around (in fact, most of our ideas came from that email). Bryan was in charge of this activity. He, smartly, had them line up behind a toy dump truck and Zoe got to swing first. We didn’t blindfold. Bryan pulled the pinata up and down though so each kid could get a smack or two before really letting them wale on it. One of the boy gave it a huge blow and the head stayed hanging. Well, some candy came out but Bryan figured on dragging this out as long as possible since the kids were having such fun. He strung the candy filled body up under the head and the games continued! It was a bit like an old medival torture scene, but cutesy if thats possible. Avi took a funny turn and then that kitty got some huge smacks from the bigger kids and finally busted open. All that was left hanging was the head – which stayed hanging for a while as a reminder of what happens to pinatas in our house.
With handfulls of candy all Zoe’s friends and their little siblings headed inside to stuff their ‘pet care pack’ gift bags. By this time it was warming up outside and folks started to go. We had such a wonderful day! Full of good friends, fun playtime, and enough of a Zoe focus that she felt like the star of the show.
Clean up time was actually quick and easy. We all eventually took a nap!