we'd booked some surprise vendors for the party that the bean didn't know a thing about, and i was super excited when the first one arrived. she started setting up on the patio, laying out a tarp and creating a play area with a portable gate she'd brought with her before bringing in the crates that contained ten sweet puppies for us to play with.
the old lady and i did our best to keep the bean distracted with random party errands, but once those puppies were in the back yard there was no mistaking the sounds of their playful barking. the bean heard it right away and lit up like a christmas tree when she realized what was happening.
she made her way to the door and the hub's idea of keeping it all a secret during the party planning process paid off with this face:
with guests due to start arriving any moment, she dropped that box of plastic flatware and made her way into the pen to have a little birthday girl alone time with all ten doggies.
and as her friends started to arrive, they got a briefing of some basic rules before stepping inside to have some playtime.
i knew the old lady was dying to get in there too, but she waited until all of the kids had had a turn before happily climbing over the gate and finding a empty spot to sit for a bit.
i was crazed with hosting duties, greeting everyone, making sure the kids all made a beeline for the puppy pen as we only had them for an hour (which went by in a flash). but the puppy lady was nice enough to make sure i got a few minutes of cuddle time with one of our fluffiest, sweetest visitors.
as the kids tired of playing with the dogs and started checking things out, they took in all of the other fun stuff we had available, like this:
and this (the candy buffet was adorned with the most awesome wooden cut-out of the bean's name by my friend delovely details, i wish i could show it off!):
the moms were particularly interested in this:
and as the puppies were packed up and taken away to their next engagement, the party shifted over to the waiting pool. it was a overcast, cooler day - but the kids didn't hesitate for a second once they stripped down to their swimsuits.
they frolicked in the warm water for a good long time, giving us time to get lunch picked up and set out on the tables inside the house.
they'd all worked up quite an appetite by then, so it wasn't hard to get them to come out to dry off and make themselves plates of food. the bean had requested hawaiian bbq again, which was a big hit. there was a huge tray of spam musubi, plus hawaiian bbq chicken and kalua pork with rice and macaroni salad. and once they'd grabbed some grub, they spread their towels out on the astroturf picnic-style and enjoyed lunch with their friends.
as they were finishing up, the next surprise vendor arrived and started setting up. the bean had found the original slime co. on our first 626 night market visit of the summer, and after checking out the slime for sale had picked up one of their business cards. "mom, they do parties!" she said. and after dodging her questions over the following weeks, she caught my eye and beamed with happiness when she recognized the logo on the vendor's t-shirt.
before we let the kids get started on making their slime, we gathered everyone around to sing the birthday song and get them all hopped up on cake.
and i made my family stop for a second so we could get one nice picture together.
my gram was funny, just kind of staying out on the sidelines and watching all the action from afar.
meanwhile, the kids were in seventh heaven as they made their first batch of marshmallow-scented slime.
i'm not sure what happened to put this look on her face...
their second batch of slime was watermelon-scented, with black glitter for the "seeds."
they even had these awesome containers to keep their goods safe and dirt-free.
meanwhile, the parents were super amused watching their kids with that slime. some were old pros who could have taught a master class, a few had never been allowed to make it at home and shockingly enough, we only had one episode that required some cleanup. and the funniest part to me was watching my mom and aunt get their slime on once the kids had cleaned up and jumped back into the pool. "this is so relaxing," my mom was overheard to have said.
so between the puppies, pool, slime, photo booth, food and treats...it was one hell of a party. i didn't even do a ton of decorating for it like we've done for other parties, and yet it seemed like the most elaborate. despite all of the other shenanigans we've pulled in the name of the bean's birthday in the past, i'm pretty sure this one is the one to beat. a year may not be enough time to figure out what to do for the next shindig.
god help me.