She wanted a very relaxing evening in the backyard - and I think in general, a more "grown up" party. She had a pretty good idea of what she wanted: pool time, drinks, a photo booth, kebabs, and a movie under the stars.
The swimming wasn't so hard to arrange. Her menu didn't take long to figure out for Mike and me since we mostly got a list from her. Chicken kebabs, some veggies, watermelon, a cracker/cheese tray, and a sundae bar.
Tracy and Rob have an outdoor movie system that they were kind enough to let us borrow. As for a photo booth, we found (and borrowed) a bunch of costume-y things and I took pictures against our "backdrop".
The day of the party was about 95 degrees. We'd spent all day at the baseball park for Jake's playoffs. Maddie stayed home to make party favors and clean, I left a couple hours early to help get things set up and Mike and Jake returned home about 4pm...for a 5pm party. Yikes!
One of Maddie's requests was lights over our patio area. Mike had been in Chicago all week prior so hadn't had a chance to hang these yet. He got right to work and was sweating like crazy 10 minutes into the job. But, it was one of the things Maddie was SO excited about for her party so he wanted to make sure it got done.
She also wanted a "bar". We bought Margarita and Pina Colada mix and lot of ice. We also made punch and had the goods on hand for "Shirley Temples". This was probably the least attractive set-up in the history of parties, but we had about 15 minutes by the time we got to this part.
Mike stood outside off and on throughout the night either cooking kebabs or waiting to mix up some drinks.
Maddie and I had made up some tags for all the glasses and Maddie assembled those while we were at the game.
Decorations were minimal - our patio are and the place where most festivities happened:
We had purchased a box of leis to cut up and use as decorations strung across the deck. After Maddie cut the first one, it unraveled. She came up with plan B:
These things hung everywhere - I'm still finding them.
I think the girls had fun. They swam a lot and then jumped out and had a little time in the "photo booth". They were goofy!
We learned that 13 year olds will eat all the chicken of a kebab, but will not eat many of the veggies. The watermelon was gone and many crackers. Of course, the sundaes were a big hit.
When the sun went down we started the movie on the deck. Originally it was going to be in the grass, but we told Maddie it would probably be too buggy. She agreed so while they partied, we set up the movie. And by "we" I mean...I held up the screen and Mike did all the work. They watched about 30 minutes on the deck and then moved inside because of all the mosquitoes.
By 11pm things were done and we were definitely ready for bed. Birthday parties are done for this year and we couldn't be happier!