Monday, January 26, 2009

Gladys' 4th Birthday

We celebrated Gladys’ birthday with friends yesterday. My burning desire to record this event leaves me befuddled at how to start. The party was a typical, traditional party at home.

The fabulous smoked ham menu we had planned changed at the last minute. The budget to which I restrict myself begged for ham – you know, something that works well for leftovers. The menu became freshly smoked salmon (with dill/chive cream cheese, red onion, boiled eggs & bagels), mushroom strata, stuffed French toast with marscapone and orange marmalade, homemade waffles, assorted bacon and sausage, shired eggs (ramekins of ham, eggs & cheese), fresh banana bread, and homemade scones. Phew.

Fortunately, I didn't cook.

The man who lovingly read between my words and catered this elegant spread declines to be mentioned. However, I share with you a photo of the piece de resistance; the work of a man preparing for his little girl’s fourth birthday.

I should mention, too, that my very classy friend also read between the lines and realized that the smoked ham smelled, well, fishy, considering every birthday I have thrown for Gladys has (yes, every time) included smoked salmon (oh, and also included my very classy friend). I believe we also served it at her baptism (not my friend, the salmon, although she was there too). She appeared at my door with a beautiful tray of smoked salmon. The gesture threw a classy flourish on a sisterly ‘Do I have to think of Everything for you?’ which she wouldn’t dare admit to have thought. Anyway, fish has become a currency of our friendship, though no one keeps the books.

I try to be practical – but they know me a little too well.

Which brings me to the champagne punch. Feeling, well, practical, I decided to thrift the punch. (I know. I know.) By some twist of destiny, in searching out my special tulip bowl I received as a wedding gift so many years ago, (to fill with goldfish crackers, of course), I stumbled upon a bottle of champagne.

Fate required mimosas.

I made Gladys’ cake Saturday with the children. The bottom layer MUST be carrot cake, the top two layers chocolate. I found this both amusing and frightening. Gladys doesn’t like carrot cake: Andrew’s favorite. She tortures him and reels him back like a woman well beyond her tender years. While they slumbered, I decorated the triple layer heart cake to Gladys’ specifications. She loved it. Sunday morning, George tested to make sure it met his taste specifications. (Oh, yes, quite to specification.)

I finished Gladys’ bright green tulip jumper Saturday night. While we were sewing together Saturday afternoon (and I was dutifully changing thread color for every new seam) Gladys declared her plan to NOT wear the dress at her birthday party. I kept my cool.

“Well, Honey, if you don’t really want it, I guess we could sell it on the Internet.”

Here dashes a green streak of corduroy on her birthday, proving that she did in fact wear it until it spontaneously became sticky with syrup. She then became a streak of pink corduroy (with wings, of course). No, she doesn’t play me like a fiddle, more like a cello really.

Then, there was the entertainment. I admit that I generally rely on an incredible mix of fascinating individuals to provide their own amusement, but this time I even planned a craft. The children “beaded” their scarves. This, in fact, went precisely as planned. (Except for a few moments when I couldn’t find George. He sat sweetly listening to a story read by a five-year-old girl.) What I did not realize was that the actual entertainment would come later, in the form of a box.

Here is a picture of a man of great prominence in his company, dragging children, shrieking with laughter, through my home on an in impromptu sled.

Simply put, nothing about this party looked, smelled, or even sounded as I had planned it. Everyone who surrounds me with love added something unexpected.

And that, simply put, is a perfect party.


Im2Sexy4MyVan said...

So much love in that party. I picture you writing this post with a glass of red wine in hand and a deep sense of satisfaction and desire to sear it in your memory bank as one of the last to ever drift away... Well done MIT Mommy!

Badass Geek said...

What a spread of food! Sounds delicious!

MIT Mommy said...

It was lovely. But, most of all, Gladys LOVED it.

OHmommy said...

THAT box was folded three times over and stuffed in my carry on tote as I pushed three kids through Ohare last weekend. I am soooo glad it was put to use.

And can't salmon be used as leftovers in one of your DH awesome dips? His smoked salmon dips are awesome. (As was all the food... awesome... I no longer fit into my skinny jeans)

Anonymous said...

Wow. You're amazing. No really -- utterly amazing. The perfect combination of posh and "real." Who else could serve French toast with marscapone and orange marmalade (a bit posh, you have to admit), even while remaining steeped in the "real" (the undercurrent affection among party participants) . . . and even while celebrating the contributions of all. Will you and your husband both marry me?

Lori said...

Wow~it was starting to sound like a formal banquet with that menu...until you said you filled the punchbowl with goldfish. Sounds like it was a blast!
Love the part about "a man of great prominence in his company" dragging the kids in a box. It's good to know Daddies are still boys on the inside. Made me smile.

MIT Mommy said...

OHmommy - Yes, the extra smoked salmon is being put to use. The kids and I made homemade pizza yesterday with it (smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, hard boiled egg). Yum! Of course, they preferred the "leftover sausage" pizza, but I didn't want to share anyway. Hmmm. That sounds like a POST.

Flea said...

Classy salmon, huh? :)

Looks like y'all had a great time. You're such a good mom!

When my Mae turned eight, we had a tea party at home, all her friends in fancy dresses, hats and gloves. Sugar cubes, grapes, tea, tiny eclairs - the works. And the girls all used glitter glue and sequins to decorate their place mats to take home. Simple, but great fun.

MIT Mommy said...

Sounds awesome, Flea! I'll have to keep that one in mind. The fifth will have to be a big one, half-a-decade and all.

Oh, was it obvious that the salmon came from Ohmommy?? Oh, golly, how transparent I am!

Anonymous said...

It's so true that all the best occasions never go according to plan.

Thanks for letting us take a peek at what was obviously a tremendous success - she'll regale you with her memories of it one day when she's older.

I plan to post on my sons' parties after finding some old photos last week. I was amazed at how much he remembered even from his first birthday.

Flea said...

I know this is very rude, but if you're online at the moment, can you manage to call OHmommy and ask her to email me her daughters' sizes? Only if you're online this morning/lunch-ish (Wednesday).

Flea said...

Oap. Never mind. :)