So-Many-People-In-Our-Backyard Bash

WARNING:  PHOTO OVERLOAD.  I'm posting all these for the sake of McGamma, mostly.  Millie wishes you could have been there, too!

I took roughly 20 of the following pictures.  I selected the others from OVER 500 pictures I found on my camera following the party.  The credit for nearly all of them goes to those folks who toted my camera around (thanks to Tom, Cassie, Debbie, Rebecca, Annika, Cadie, and other snapshotters).  You done me proud.

You already know that Millie wanted a bonafide party for her 13th.  Any casual reader of this blog also knows that it's a point of pride with me to not be reasonable and prepare ahead of time. Millie's party was on a Monday, so it follows that I didn't start any party preparations until Sunday because 24 hours is enough time to save the world...or plan a party.

This party may have taught me a good lesson, because I ran out of time to make some of the things I really wanted to include, plus I was sprinting around the yard, my hands literally shaking, while I tried to do a million things a minute before the guests arrived.  (Three hours of sleep and two cups of coffee may not have helped.)  Anyway, the lesson I learned is this:  if they intend to get married one day, each of my daughters should probably elope.  The End.

Before we left for church, I made most of the signs, and after we arrived home, I drove to Mom's horse barn and ransacked it, without permission because she wasn't home, for dirty tack-- saddle, halters, bridle, etc.-- as well as hay bales, balertwine, and license plates (they were just hanging there, all dusty and lonely).

The first step was to make a Giddy Up sign (imperative, as was blistering my fingers with the glue gun in the process) before cleaning all the tack.  Millie helped, bless her bones, while Lucinda grinned like a Victorian elf in the background.  I don't know what the heck I'm wearing, but this picture is just crying out to be used as a Frugal-Fancypants foil shot.

Thank you, Becky.  We discovered that saddle soap is indeed effective for cleaning saddles.

Testing out the burdock game.


False promises and all that.  In lieu of emailing anyone pictures, you can just snag them from here.  (I know all of you photo-boothers read this blog, so have at 'em!)

Testing out the photo booth.  
Also successful.  (Notice that the Victorian elf has shape-shifted to a Victorian gremlin.)

I took these two picture at 3 o'clock in the morning to remind my future self of why my daughters need to elope.  Dining room workspace.

Kitchen workspace.  Groany groan.

But, amazingly, the next morning, the house was clean (as long as you didn't peek in the basement), and the tables outside were nearly ready.

Tho' I am not, Millie is feminine and orderly, so I tried to decorate in a similar vein.  She was so pleased with how everything looked, and it made me happy to see her so excited by it all.  I obviously didn't have time in the middle of the night to go shopping for supplies, so I scrounged everything from around the house at the last minute. Keeping everyone's hand-me-downs is essential for middle-of-the-night scrounging!  Thanks to Mary for the twine, Mitzi for the cardstock, Mom for the fabric, Sarah for the flowergirl baskets, etc., etc.  (See, hoarding sometimes comes in handy.)

Oh!  And look, Heidi!  I used sugar cubes that you and Holly brought back from Europe to use for the sugar cube relay race!  I think it was a sugar cube from France, but I'm not sure.  (I've discarded so many of my college keepsakes, but for some reason, the sugar cubes remain....probably because they're the closest I may ever get to my old globetrotting dreams.)

Anyway, let's return to someone's 13th birthday party, shall we?

I made corny labels for all of the food (I stole the Watering Hole and Hay Bales ideas), and I feel the need to point out my favorite on the lower left.   Get Along Little Hot Dogies.  Yes, I am a genius, and, yes, this sign made me laugh all day long. 

I ran out of white tags (also hand-me-downs) for the canning jars, so I made red ones in the middle of the night.  Smart choice, huh.  Who needs sleep?

Before I remembered to place Millie's model horses on the tables (sorry, babe), the first guests arrived.  At this point, I think I was inside frantically making spud salad, campfire baked beans, and wild mint iced tea.  Everything tastes better with a touch of frantic...

Nick was oblivious to my indoor flurry, and someone (Deborah?) snapped him riding the backyard rig.

Picking apples.

Thomas folded his 6'4" frame into a hammock seat.

Caleb climbs a tree.

Annika and I gesture wildly.  Picking teams for a sugar-cube relay race is serious business, folks.

And they're off, French sugar cubes in hand!

I hummed the Lone Ranger theme song to spur my steed along, but, really, I sabotaged my poor team.

Evan tried to offset my molasses run with grit and a greased pig.

The birthday girl.  Focus.  Focus.  Focus.

Face painting was a huge hit, in large part because lack of supervision allowed everyone's creativity free reign.




6' 4", for real, in a hammock seat!

Jessie-Jess and her watermelon.

I feel the need to point out that here, mid-party, Aidan is still wearing the previous night's pajama shirt and a diaper.  Clearly, I was otherwise occupied.

My lovely niece.

A bunch of outlaws.  

Full-blooded ruffians.

Especially the one wearing the fringed skirt.

Deirdre calmly lines up her aim.

I did say creativity had free reign, right?


This is Nick's outlaw face.

So many boys sprouted facial hair in the middle of Millie's party.  Puberty in a flash.

Some of the painting was impressive, like Caleb's dragon.

And we ate cake(s)!  I ran out of time in those midnight hours to decorate them the way I intended, but they tasted good.

Mildred blows out the candles before the wind can.

And there were gifts.  Oh, were there gifts.  (Note: don't ever write "No gifts needed." on an invitation.  Guests need something more firm, like "If you bring gifts, we'll chop your heads off!!!")

Everyone was so generous and thoughtful, giving Millie things she enjoys and appreciates, like fuzzy socks (that she's wearing as I type this), yarn (scads of yarn!), knitting needles, jewelry, flower-drying supplies, books, a hand-painted treasure box, GUM!, candy, craft kits, a handmade elf cape, a one-of-a-kind handmade book chockful o' knitting and crochet pattern, both lovely and hysterical drawings (Justin, yours is the hysterical one),

You all made her feel so very loved, and we are honored by your thoughtful gifts, and, even more, by your good company. 


After gifts, there was more tree-climbing,

Favors that Grandma Owen provided (Millie made peanut butter popcorn balls, too, but there's no picture),

MORE face painting for the die-hards (Rebecca, the picture I was talking about is the fifth one down. So great!)

And last-minute photo booth madness.  Okay, this one doesn't exude madness. Hang on a minute...

Ah, there we are.

Tom clearly doesn't want to be shot in the back, Deborah.  What's his strategy?

Grab a baby!  MY baby?!!  My baby who is still wearing only his pajama shirt and a diaper at three o'clock in the afternoon?  

Don't let the baby distract anyone from Justin's prize-winning expression, though.  Left-hand side, we have a winner!

Runner-up is Caleb, close on his heels.

Deirdre, you also get points for the cow skull.  Very nice touch.

Don't let the grin fool you.

He's a dead aim.

Speaking of grins, this one also has dimples!  Oh, James, your dimpled grin strikes terror in my heart.

Last pictures of the party inclue everyone in a frenzy trying to earn a pack of gum, because I made the unfortunate choice of handing out the first pack without explaining any rules.

Just look how many burdocks made it to the horse's tail when gum was at stake!


Millie said...

I think the funniest picture is the one where Deirdre is about to shoot Caleb, because as she does so, in the backround Hans is contemplating what is going on with a thoughtful look.

Abigail said...

That's a good one, but I still think Justin's face wins out.

Pete said...

Only one disappointment, "You're in Cowboy Country" looks like it was washed clean, white as snow. No cobwebs or accumulated grime to be seen.

Abigail said...

Ha! You nailed it. When I asked Mom if I could borrow it, she immediately washed and line-dried it. The cowboy authenticity isn't quite the same without the cobwebs, but at least burdocks still stuck to it.

heidiann(e) said...


What a magical day!
That looks SO fun.

What a special day for a super-special little lady.

Abigail said...

Oh, it was fun and magical! The next couple of days-- not so much. :) (But totally worth it.)