Welcome to my blog! I just finished coordinating a party for a close friend's son - in the midst of taking care of 2 sick babies and a sick (and grumpy) husband to boot! How did I do this? Why did I do this? Lord only knows. If it weren't for my complete love for all things party-riffic, (and that I am almost definitely certifiable) I wouldn't have gotten half of the things done for the party that I did. (I must warn you now that this entry gets a bit winded - it's in my nature to ramble, I can't help it. If you don't want to read the whole thing and be amused by my antics click here to see the party pics - my feelings won't be hurt).
So, a little background about me and how I acquired the opportunity to put my stamp on this birthday bash. For years I've loved to plan parties, events, showers, yada, yada, yada (do people still say that?). I mean I even changed my concentration in college from Journalism to Public Relations just so I could spearhead events! I got involved in so many activities during college that if there was a party to plan - I was doing it. After college - I planned my own birthday parties, dinners and New Year's Eve bashes with all the glitz and glamour my meager budget could afford. Eventually, I got married and had kids. I think we all know what comes next....the kid's birthday parties! (Why did God put that tree in that garden when he knew darn well, Eve was going to tempt Adam?) Giving me children was God's way of enabling me to go to extreme lengths to showcase my love for creating a fun party atmosphere that would make all the parents in attendance wish to be a kid again. Well, after finally deciding that I should do what I love, I created Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams (CWBD). CWBD is the business I started in order to combine the two (non-family) things I love most - baking fun & delicious sweets and planning fun parties & showers! I'm just getting started and with the man upstairs hooking me up - I plan to be a success! So, now that you know that bit of information - let me tell you why I'm insane.
My friend emailed me about 2 months ago looking for advice on what party items to buy for her son's birthday party. Well, it just so happened that same week is when I started CWBD. I let her know that I would be happy to offer my services to her. I never thought she would take me up on my offer - but she did. After a consultation and meeting of the minds, we agreed on a Spiderman theme and some fantastic ideas for her son's party. I was so excited; this was going to be my first paid party and I was going to turn it into a super duper bash. Over the course of that following month I tinkered away at designing the decorations. Well, just so happens that the week when I was putting all the finishing touches on everything my kids got sick - followed by my husband.
I'm sure some of you can imagine what that is like and I'm sure some of you have even been there. Either way - it ain't a cake walk handling all of that (Full-time day job as a Database Administrator [snore], 3 different Doctor's appointments to make sure no one had the Swine Flu, BEING A WIFE & MOM). Needless to say, I stayed up until almost 4 am for 6 days straight trying to take care of my family and knock out the rest of my handmade decorations like napkin rings, party hats, favor bags, the banner, the birthday crown....and whatever else my loopy mind thought I should have for the party.
Eventually, I realized about 3 days before the party that my initial plan to do all the elaborate decorations I'd planned would have to be wittled down to something a bit more realistic, given the condition of my family and household. My friend was disappointed, but thankfully understanding and I continued to work 'round the clock for those next 3 days. I even went to my friend's house to set up for the party the night before, babies in tow (big mistake - I'm sure you can imagine how that went).
The day of the party finally came and I'd gotten maybe 2 hours of sleep within those 3 days. I was up at the crack of dawn baking cupcakes that morning and boxing up items to take with me. My husband loaded up the party table & truck and I was close to the finish line. I was making buttercream frosting and had a batch of cupcakes in the oven; I knew by 1:00 I would be at my friend's house in enough time to have everything set up.....and then it happened (cue in crying baby and whining toddler sound feed now). It was the simultaneous toddler temper tantrum and the, 'Mommy I'm hungry and need attention NOW!' baby wail. What do I do? What any mom would, I took care of my babies. Well 2 hours later, it's 1:30 and I still have to pick up balloons and get to my friend's house at least by 2:00 at this point to even have things set up by 3 PM.
After getting the balloons, gingerale for the punch and running back home to pick up the punch bowl and ladle I'd forgotten , I made it to the party site with 10 minutes to spare. Definitely not enough time to create a wall of multi crepe paper streamers, a gigantic spiderweb made of yarn or an elaborate balloon bouquet, but definitely enough time to do the basics. With the help of an early guest and another friend, it turned out okay. Personally, I wasn't satisfied because there was so much more I wanted to do, and that I promised to do and I just didn't have the time to do it. Fortunately, my friend's son & his guests enjoyed his party, and from what I heard, the parents were impressed by the decorations.
I don't think many planners would consider doing what I did for the cost of doing it. Yes, I feel guilty because I don't think I truly delivered, but I did learn some valuable lessons.
I learned that when you're in busines for yourself, you really are. You are your own fall-guy. In order to have a business, you might want to have a helper, be it a sitter or a friend to just help out - in case you do have sick babies (btw, I have a sitter and she's my mother-in-law. She keeps the kids all week - I like to give her a break on the weekends, she deserves it) or need someone to do errands while you measure wall length long cuts of crepe streamers until 4 in the morning. I also learned that you can only do so much and you should be honest with yourself with what you can and cannot do - and clearly communicate that to the client - friend or no friend. They have no clue that you're running on 2 hours of sleep and that your husband had no dinner 2 nights in a row. Also, I think that even though I enjoyed putting together that party, I over-extended myself and over-exerted myself. As a result, I have a sore throat and whatever icky thing my kids have (the doc says allergies, I think it's the plague) - My number one priority should be to take care of myself.
All in all, business is business, and I love to do what I do, but there is a small line between expectation and reality and if the expectation is bigger than the reality, guess what???? REALITY BITES. So, in the future, I will remember to pace myself, be realistic and try my very best not to go insane!
Check out more pictures from the Spiderman Party!