It's that time of year again. Last year it was a merchandise obsessed cowboy. This year, a feast, in the gorgeous National Botanic Gardens (or the deep dark wood, depending on your imagination), with our favourite storybook character - The Gruffalo.
The invites were sent, rsvps collected and the food list discussed - scrambled snake, roasted fox, owl icecream and gruffalo crumble for the kids, of course.
Despite being organised, a last minute decision to finish some things of the night before, instead of the morning of the party. A decision that turned out to be wise without knowing.
Unfortunately, the Smurf was rushed to hospital via ambulance at 2.30am with a bad croup and asthma attack.
Thankfully with some steroids it resolved itself and we were back home by 5.30am. After only half an hour sleep more, the Smurf was up and at em with his cousins, in anticipation of the party.
Canberra turned on a spectacularly sunny day - albeit with a icy-cold wind (fun for the northern visitors who all whimpered every time the wind gusted).
We trudged up to the gardens armed with party supplies for 20 kids and many more adults (when will I learn?!).
I was prepared with a copy of The Gruffalo to read to the kids, a nature scavenger hunt, pinata, pin the poisonous wart on the Gruffalo's nose and a collection of equipment-less games (what's the time Mr Wolf etc) in case the kids were bored in the gardens (no play equipment, just magnificent beauty to behold).
I needn't have bothered. The kids were enamoured with the gardens. They ran, explored and climbed on the rock garden. If there was a Gruffalo to be found in those gardens, by golly they would have found it. We were also lucky enough to have the local old-bloke kangaroo quietly munching grass all day to the endless delight of the kids.
They ran back to the table every so often for food - which I was so prepared to photograph this year, but alas after my 2 1/2 hours sleep you'll just have to take my word for it when I say there was (very popular) mini sausages in a roll (roasted fox), teeny little dip cups with carrot and cheese sticks for dipping, fairy bread and zucchini slice (scrambled snake).
(The adults had chicken, walnut and mayo ciabatta rolls, ham, cheese and relish sandwiches, trash dip and a cheese platter).
We quickly segued into a failed pinata. Failed because someone forgot to tell the pinata assistant that the kids would have a token hit at the pinata with a stick before pulling the strings (that kind of pinata). And so some kids pulled the string straight away and out came the lollies - meaning it all lasted about 20 seconds. The kids didn't care, they got to scramble for loot (see above).
A quick game of pin the poisonous wart on the gruffalo's nose....
...and it was time for the amazing cake.
Hands off the cake newphew! And that's the smurf in the stripes in the corner of the photo above reminding everyone he is F.O.U.R. OK?
With some owl cupcakes (owl ice cream substitute) and fruit sticks).
No need for Gruffalo crumble though - there was an ACTUAL gruffalo on the cake!
Lots more playing before the lolly bags were handed out, everyone wandered down the hill and the party was over.
It was, if I am allowed to say, a brilliant party. The Smurf had a ball and held it together after a night of just 4 hours sleep. He had his kindy and Canberra friends, treasured family and precious cousins there. It was our first foray into inviting people outside of family and our own friends and I won't hesitate to do it again.
Speaking of memorable, the next day in front of all the family in our backyard, one of our hens revealed itself as a rooster. Cockadoodle-do!
Happy birthday my beautiful Smurf. Every day you make me smile in wonder at the amazing person you're growing up to be. We love you to the sun and back times infinity.