Thursday, February 17, 2011

Four and Fancy

When I asked the girls what kind of party they wanted to have, they didn't hesitate.

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"Fancy Nancy!" they chimed together.

They're still young. There are plenty of years to invite friends, so for a few weeks I contemplated having just a small family party. But when the discussion came up and their excitement was more than evident, I decided to rally. Inspired by my friend Michelle, who throws the most magnificent birthday parties ever, I figured it would be fun to go all out. (Michelle, my going all out looks like a shoddy knock-off compared to yours, but we work with what we've got, right?)

So the invitations were sent.

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The cake was made.

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The table was set.

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And on the big day, I pulled the girls' hair into up-dos (we call them Belle ponies at our house). I tucked special clips into their curls, put on their fancy dresses, and fastened beads and baubles around their necks.

Never mind that they weren't happy about posing for the camera.

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Sour faces were short-lived because the doorbell rang, and with it, the arrival of their first guests.

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Grandma Nae and Grandma Ronda. Don't they look exquisite? (That's fancy for especially gorgeous.)

These two ladies keep our world turning. I marvel sometimes that we live close enough for them to simply drive over and join us for a celebration like this. I couldn't have done it without them. They were wonderful waitresses, excellent melt-down mediators, and ravishingly delightful the entire time. (That's fancy for handled crying under the table, spilled lemonade, and tears over the wrong colored-purse with a smile.)

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We used our fine china, including these silver tea cups from my Grandmother. My Dad tenderly polished each one for the party. While unwrapping the plastic I noticed they were still in the original boxes. A stamp of calligraphy indicated their origin. "Made in Madrid, Spain."

My Grandmother's birthday was yesterday in fact, February 16th. She would have been 96. Last year on her birthday I took the girls to visit her - to bring flowers and sing Happy Birthday. A manicurist was painting her nails so the girls gathered close - inspecting, watching, admiring.

It was my last real visit with Grandma. The next time I saw her she was unconscious in a hospital room and all I could do was whisper in her ear how much I loved her.

She would have adored our little party and the fact that we were sipping from her teacups. She would have laughed with the girls, danced in the living room with them, and worn her most beautiful jewelry, her fanciest hat. So I pinned her sparkly vintage brooch to my sweater and wore her pearl necklace.

I like to think she was watching.

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Memories melded into our morning preparations. Four years of sweetness danced around me.

The girls seemed older. Maybe it was their hair, the dresses, the way they handled themselves with more maturity.

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Just like that they are looking like girls, not toddlers. Beauties, not babies.

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Our guests were so proper and well-behaved as they sat at the table. Aren't they darling?

The tablecloth was sprinkled with candy hearts, gumdrops, and m & m's. We ate those first. Wouldn't you?

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Then we served lunch.

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Fancy Grandmas fixed plates of food and poured pink lemonade.

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We read one of Nancy's stories.

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We played games.

Look at that concentration. Balancing a banana on your head as you walk across the room is no easy trick.

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Ali and Sami opened presents.

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And handed out presents.

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We lit candles.

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And the girls blew in unison. Four candles each.

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Some ate cake, some ate ice cream, some ate both.

Doug put on Vivaldi and we waltzed. The girls skipped, curtsied, and ran crazy until they laughed themselves silly.

They toted their newly decorated purses around and posed for one final picture before we said goodbye.

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I'm not afraid to admit it, by the end of it all, I was exhausted (that's a fancy word for beat). But the girls couldn't stop talking about the party, the gifts, the day. It was rich with color and wonderful tastes.

Beautiful things, glamorous girls, and a sense of wealth that far exceeded "fancy."

Would I do it again? Absolutely. We get one go around in life.

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And for these two? I would do anything.

I love you girls.

17 comments:

  1. I love the fancy party and think it looks amazing.

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  2. Love it! We love fancy Nancy around here but are now into the next thing - American Girl dolls. Off to celebrate a birthday at the official store tomorrow. Hope it is as exquisite as your celebration was.

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  3. I love it! My daughter looked at the pictures and she decided it was "like, the best party ever!" And those silver tea cups are awesome! Great job on the Fancy party!

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  4. I only wish I could echo your eloquence in my posts! I love how you cherish the here and now, and do it with more gusto because you remember the past as well. To many more happy birthdays!

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  5. I love the Fancy Nancy invites! So cute!

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  6. oh cath, you captured this perfectly!

    no fancy party is complete without Vivaldi...and lot's of pink. xox

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  7. I love your party. Simply exquisite.

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  8. What fun! Sadie had a Fancy Nancy party last year, and she had a blast. And so true what you said...you only get one go around in this life. Had I not taken the opportunity to throw her party last year, it probably wouldn't have ever happened. She is too grown up this year for that sort of *silliness*. Too old in her little almost 7 year old body. It makes me sad, but happy to think back that we did those frilly, fancy things for her when she loved it. This year she wants to go rock climbing.... Your girls and your mom are beautiful!

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  9. I just ADORE this party! What precious memories they will have made. Im so sorry but I couldn't help but laughing out loud at the sour faces!

    Every time I read a post about your girls it makes me SO broody for a little pink one. That said, we get to take the boys to a super hero party next weekend, so that should be fun!

    WELL done for going all out - absolutely beautiful!

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  10. Kathleen - how are you holding up? hoping all is well with your little ones.

    Mimi - The American Girl Dolls catalog arrived at our house after Christmas. I tried to pitch it before the girls saw it but I was too late. They've been introduced. You're pretty lucky to have a store near you. How fun!

    Rachel - my girls thought the same thing, "best party ever!" So easy to please - most of the time.

    Greengirl - Ah thank you. To more birthdays! Yes.

    Lauren - simple but fun.

    Cristie - Yes, it was Vivaldi that really made things feel fancy. xo

    Michelle - Had I looked at your post again before the party I would have had a few more ideas for enhancing the "exquisite" - but I didn't. Still in love with your style of "fancy." xo

    Erin - I saw you called. We've got to stop playing phone tag!! Wait - maybe it's not phone tag because I'm always it.

    Shelli - so glad you shared your perspective. I haven't done anything frilly or fancy with Eliza yet. Maybe this is the year (if that's what she'd like.) Because really? At 7 they're past this stuff? Glory be. Cute Sadie. We miss you.

    Renwicks - You're so good to enjoy your boys like you do. A Super hero party sounds like a blast. Post pictures!

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  11. What a gorgeous party. I especially like the eating area, and the lovely dresses!
    I also love how you captured it beautifully with your photos.

    Thank you for the inspiration! I have a little princess, who will be turning 5 next year, so I need to start thinking about what to do!

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  12. What a perfectly exquisite soiree (that's fancy for "great party") you planned for your girls! They look so grown up and I absolutely loved every picture and caption. What an amazing mother you are! I want to squeeze those girls, they are precious! Love you!!!!!!

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  13. P.S. Seeing your mom and Doug's mom was priceless! What awesome grandmas they must be!

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  14. Happy, happy birthday to those cute girls! I can't believe it's been four years already! Cute, cute party! You are a magnificent (that's fancy for "the best") Mom! Love you and love your cute kiddies!

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  15. You are a stupendous mother! (that's a fancy word for GREAT) I love this party idea! My little girl will be five in April and I am going to copy your Fancy Nancy party - I hope you don't mind!!! I am not the birthday in a box type and this gives me some great ideas. Love the menu, the purse decorating! Score one BIG for you! May God give you great JOY in your mothering today and always. --Denise

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