The Big 13th (Achtung: G & G Owen)

***Warning: Photo overload-- 120 snapshots straight ahead. I relegated the snapshotting skills to guests again, so it's thanks to Titi and Rebecca that Annika will have all these images of what she thinks was "one of the best days EVER!"  Thanks for willingly obliging me!

This girl...oh, man, this girl!  Our Nixie is a teenager, and even though growing up sometimes stinks, she and Millie are sweetening the stereotypes and making the teen years spark and glow.  Annika turned 13 on April 1st, but since she wanted a soccer party for her big celebration, we held off until summertime.

  We sent out invitations, re-scheduled, and finally settled on the end of July for kicking a ball around.  (Aside: I've been sealing stuff with regular candle wax since high school, but I finally splurged on genuine-sealing-wax-shipped-from-China for the first time ever.  Out of all the invitations, maybe two were recognizable as elephants.  If you squinted and turned your head sideways, the rest looked like vaguely elephantine blobs.  Maybe the next step is to buy a real sealing stamp instead of using a daughter's necklace.  It's the thought, folks.)

If you remember, Millie's 13th party brought the realization that all of my daughters would need to elope because I wouldn't be capable of preparing for a wedding with one all-nighter.  This time around, I had no all-nighter!  That means that if they choose to marry, the girls can have weddings, after all, once they reach the appropriate age of consent, WHICH IS SIXTY-FIVE, SO DON'T GET ANY IDEAS.

We were prepared for almost 70 people, but, phew, there were only 50-odd bodies on our lawn, which is still crazy but seemed normal, especially since a couple of the bodies were littler people who don't take up much space.

Like this sweetie: 

Remembering my frantic state the morning of Mildred's infamous party and being easy to please, Annika nervously repeated for several months that all she wanted at her party was food and soccer, no doubt thinking she could stave off a mother's nervous breakdown.  She was delighted by each little extra I completed, though, which only encouraged me to do more.  Even though it definitely wasn't necessary, it was fun.  No nervous breakdown in sight!

We spent less than $15.00 on all the stuff for the party (plasticware, paper products, decoration supplies, posterboards, favors, etc.) apart from food, which isn't too shabby.  Those striped straws were worth every penny, too.

The dumbest thing I did was to hand-paint paper plates for a garland.  I was stupidly pleased with my ingenuity and thrift, until I realized that I probably could have bought a bunch of soccer plates for a few bucks.


Oops. Next time!

Cutting out soccer balls and hot-gluing them to toothpicks?  Yup.  Probably could have purchased those somewhere, too.

To avoid that nervous breakdown Annika was worried about, we kept the food simple: hot dogs, watermelon, potato salad, popcorn, and chips and layered bean dip (the last of which several sets of guests made and brought for us!).  Drinks were iced tea, ice water, and lemonade, and dessert was a blueberry trifle, a delicious fruit cobbler my sister brought, and gross rainbow cupcakes. Next time, I'll frost them with ALL BUTTER frosting, heat and melting be darned. 

My pal Mags-across-the-ocean gets the credit for telling us to use the popcorn and cotton candy machines at the party.  Of course!  That's why she has her doctorate while I hot-glue soccer balls on toothpicks...

Everyone was a good sport when we started the day with a silly relay race to get everyone used to each other.

And, truth be told, to get used to this annoying person's overuse of a megaphone.  OBEY ME!  I AM A DICTATOR!  PLUS, I'M LOUDER THAN ANYONE IN THE WORLD!  I HAVE A BIG BELLY!   OBEY ME NOW!

And then, finally, SOCCER!!!  They played one half-hour game before lunch, which was more than enough for the non-soccer folks but just barely enough to whet the soccer lovers' appetites.  Also necessary is a huge thank you to my sister-in-law Sarah who heard we were having a soccer party and, without a second thought, gave us these awesome soccer goals, which saved me having to cobble together a bunch of pvc pipe from Home Depot.  (Nervous breakdown averted again!)

One might think the best sequence of pictures is Annika scoring a goal and her and Rundy's synchronized movements,

But, nope.  The winner is this series of Joel falling down.

Lunch break!

Tree break! 

I don't know how she did it, but out of a dozen or more pictures, Deirdre's giving her best cheesy poses in all but two.  A sixth sense for cameras wielded by a big sister?

Even here!  Deirdre, your abilities are uncanny.

I, on the other hand, unwittingly give cheesy expressions.

Innocuous conversation...

And then, without warning, they stack themselves like sandwiches!

Since the day we celebrated Annika's birthday was the real birthday of two of our guests-- Aunt Debbie and Nolan-- we sang "Happy Birthday" to all three of them at once.

Next on the docket was opening presents, which ended up taking A Long Time, not only due to Annika's effusive appreciation for all the wonderful gifts people showered upon her but also to the simple fact that everyone gave excessively, all thoughtful expressions of  care and friendship.  Annika was overwhelmed and honored by everyone's generosity.

The girls wanted to make sure I included the second-favorite sequence of pictures Titi and Rebecca captured.  Here is Rundy, oblivious to the long train of presents, enjoying his bride Rapunzel's hair.

Piper was curious about the contents of this tube.

Veeery curious.

It was a long haul, waiting for the stream of presents to finally end.

At long last, Caleb's anticipated tube was opened.

If you can peer through the crowd of heads,

the reward is an intricate drawing, full of interconnected stories.

These three took it indoors to keep it from rain and for a private viewing without all those pesky heads-in-the-way.

Meanwhile, these boys just couldn't figure out where to put their noggins...

Caleb and Debbie show us how it's done.

In fact, Caleb is practically a professional.  We couldn't stop laughing when we looked through these pictures.

Luci!  Judah!  Maybe switching spots would help?

Ah.  Much better.  I love Judah's poker face next to Lucinda's wacky expressions.

Judah is six months younger than Lucinda.  Even when he slouches down, it's obvious from their sizes that this is so.

Caleb was the constant in these rotations.  Thank goodness someone was responsible enough to carry the load!  Otherwise, my work would have been in vain.

After too long a stretch, soccer resumed, and the die-hards continued to play until seven o'clock, at which point everyone was ready for a gallon of ice water and a big ol' couch.  I'm so glad for all the good people who came out to celebrate Annika.  She played enough soccer to satisfy her for a few days, at least, and had such a joyful day that she's still buoyant with the memory.  Thank you all, big and small!


Rebecca said...

Such a fun day. We all had a blast- thanks for inviting us!

Abigail said...

Thanks for coming! It wouldn't have been the same without you.