Not that there is anything wrong with that, and I'm sure it will happen eventually. But I LOVE planning a big party at our house. And, each year that we can have a backyard party at our house, I'm one happy mama.
So, this year, with Molly being in kindergarten, I was sure we would be done with my kind of parties. When we started talking about her party, Molly was sure she wanted a sleepover party. Well, I nixed that idea. As much I love big outdoor parties, I also love sleep. And, I was not ready to give that up, yet.
Her next idea was a tea party with her friends and all their dolls. I was ok with this. I had been preparing myself for it. So, I told her that a tea party would be fine and fun, but that boys probably wouldn't want to come to her tea party. That made her pause. "Well, maybe they could play outside while we have the tea party?" she said. Um, yeah, no. I explained to her that that was not going to work.
Then, we started brainstorming on party ideas that were gender-neutral, because she still wanted to have her big backyard birthday party. Yay for me!
Then, the theme came to me. A race party. Molly loves running in the kids races at all my races, plus she just completed her first 5K. Oh yeah, we could do a lot with this. So long as the weather held up ...
We started with the invited and the name of the race, which was "Sprint to Six" because, well, obviously, Molly's turning 6. Awfully convenient with that alliteration.
Anne kindly volunteered to be helper extraordinaire for the party. She worked packet pick-up like a pro.
|Kiran picking up his packet.|
|The Taylor kids getting theirs.|
After packet pick-up, we had a sign making station (what's a race without awesome signs to cheer you on?) and a face-painting station and hair spraying area. The kids were big fans of all of these.
|Aunt Sarah painting on Molly's hair as Charlotte watched.|
|Charlotte had her hair sprayed blue, and Jake made a rocket ship sign.|
|Riley and Molly super proud of their "I rock" signs.|
The kids played in the front for a while, "warming up" for the big race. We had a bounce house in the back, but I knew once the kids saw that, there was no way I would be able to get them to go to the race. So, I kept everyone up front and away from the bounce house until after the race.
|I tried to get a couple group shots, but completely forgot to get the big group shot I had been planning.|
|"Warming up" by playing tag before we headed to the race.|
|We had enough bibs that even Tanya and I could wear some. No need to get left out of the fun!|
Once all the kids had arrived, we headed over to the race. I had originally envisioned it going up and down our street, but then realized with all the cars there for the party, it really wouldn't be that feasible. Luckily, Molly's elementary school is within walking distance from our house. So, we made the course around the parking lot at her school. Cory headed over a little early to set up a water stop and everything else we would need.
We headed down our street and through the shortcut to school, which happens to be through a neighbor's backyard. Don't worry, we cleared it with them first! Nothing like emailing saying "Hey, so we want to bring 40 people through your backyard for our daughter's race birthday party. Is that cool?"
|Down the street ...|
|And, through the backyard.|
At the school, we decided to have a couple different heats of runners because we had age ranges from 3 to 10. We started with the 3 and 4 year olds. I explained to all of the kids that one of the most important parts of running, and especially races, is cheering for our fellow runners. I told them that I expected to hear loud cheers for everyone running. Hey, it's never too early to instill good sportsmanship, right?
|And, I just freakin love this picture, because yes, that's Ella facing backwards.|
|Once we got everyone facing the right way, we were ready to take off. Callan and Clare were awesome cheerers on the sidelines.|
|They're off as fast as those little legs could take them!|
|Anne and Tanya worked the water stop and mister station.|
|Headed back to the finish line.|
|Everyone received medals for completing the race!|
|The 5 and 6 year olds lined up. Clare ready to cheer.|
|Then, a bunch of the little kids joined in the line, too.|
|Love this picture. Doesn't this just scream fun?|
|Water stop and mister station again. Popular spot.|
|Look at my birthday girl go. If you look closely, you might spot some very familiar shoes on her feet. I may have bought her her very own Saucony Kinvaras for the race. The same kind I wear for races. Yes, I am that dorky.|
|Jake was super excited!|
|The line up.|
|Cory thought Callan deserved some "competition" to run against, so he ran with him the whole time.|
|What? Who is that? My 3 year old finishing her 3rd heat. Yessiree, my little marathoner. How I underestimated her!|
|Ella also ran all three heats, so she got a big high 5 from Sarah (aka my running partner). Those girls definitely do get something from their mamas.|
Everyone got their medals and orange slices, then we headed back for the rest of the party. As I told the kids, the second best thing about races (other than cheering for our fellow runners) is the post-race food.
|Kevi, Jake, Kiran and Molly showing off their medals.|
|Ella came to show hers off, but couldn't put down her orange slice long enough to smile.|
|Bennett, Callan and Clare.|
We had a spread of typical race food, plus birthday cake. And, the kids bounced forever in the bounce house.
|Alana, Molly, Avery and Charlotte with Molly's precious new Rapunzel baby doll. Way to go, Megan!|
|The cake my mom made. Super cute shoes, right?|
|We had two cakes. One was the cute shoes, the other provided the majority of cake to eat.|
|But, I thought this turned out really cute, too.|
|Blowing out her candles!|
So, all in all, a very successful 6th birthday party. Molly had a blast with all her friends, and I was able to keep the whole party outside, so my house stayed clean. Super cheers for that! (Oh crap, too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, apparently.) I'm so glad I got one more big backyard birthday party celebration. And, hey, if I brainwashed a couple more kids into loving running, well, I'm fine with that, too. :)