The Very Sweaty Caterpillar

The month of June wrapped up with the biggest event of them all, the boys’ 1st birthday! I can’t believe that it was one year ago that they became a part of our family. The days might be long, but the year certainly flew by!

I’ve been pinning lots of ideas on Pinterest and decided on a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme for their party. I had lots of ideas and figured I had plenty of time til the party, but it totally crept up on me. Work was busy and I was having a hard time making simple decisions about certain aspects of the party. Was I going to bake a cake? Or cupcakes? Buy a cake? From a fancy bakery or Costco? Sheet cake? Round cake? Ugh! The possibilities were endless and that was just the cake!

Luckily, help arrived in the nick of time! My parents! I consider my mom a hostess extraordinaire who always entertains dozens of people without so much as breaking a sweat. She’s even adopted a new mantra for her life in the last year or so… It’s all going to work out. And it really does. I needed to hear that after venting to her about cake options for 45 minutes. She was totally right, as always. I guess I just wanted to throw a good party. Things were finally coming together on the eve of the big day when we heard reports of a severe thunderstorm coming to the area.

At 9:30pm, in the midst of frantically picking up and cleaning, crafting and list-making, our power went out. We were scrambling to find flashlights, guided only by the dim light of our iPhone screens. Last summer, our power went out a couple of times but was always restored almost immediately. After about an hour of waiting, we decided to call it a night and continue part prep the next morning when the power was back because “surely it’ll be back on by then” (<—-  famous last words). I went to bed thinking, this’ll make a funny story for the blog at least.

Well, the thunderstorm was actually practically a hurricane a derecho which I’m learning is a rare storm in this area. We awoke the next morning to no power and it was looking like we’d be power-less for up to 5 days! I was moping (not mopping, ha) around all morning and finally let the tears flow when I tried to take a picture of my birthday boys having breakfast only to realize my camera was dead. DEAD. NO CHARGING ABILITY. ON MY SONS’ FIRST BIRTHDAY. Epic parenting fail.

We deliberated whether or not we should have the party at all. Or maybe attempt to reschedule for the following afternoon instead. I wasn’t sure how we’d pull off a party with no power but I knew most of our guests wouldn’t be able to attend the rescheduled party on such late notice. OMG, I was stressed. It’s like I felt the grey hairs growing out of my head and newly chiseled wrinkles settling in on my face.

Lucky for us, our neighbors have a generator. They came over the morning of the party asking if we wanted to run an extension cord into our house to power our refrigerator and deep freezer. We gladly took them up on that offer and eventually decided to have the party after all.

My mom and I frantically picked up where we left off the previous night. We mentally made a list and drove to Costco to pick up the cake and food around noon, a mere 2 hours before the photographer was due to arrive to take pictures. When we pulled into the parking lot it was practically empty. Now, if you happen to live by a Costco, or Sam’s Club or BJ’s you KNOW to see an empty parking lot on a Saturday afternoon is virtually unheard of. The greeter at the front told us they were only selling water, flashlights, batteries and custom cakes for those who ordered. They had generators to keep the coolers running but no lights so they couldn’t let people shop in the dark. Holy crap, we had a looong list of food to buy for the party and since you can’t serve people only cake and batteries (they tend to look down upon that sort of thing) we were off in search of food. We went to the grocery store next door… totally closed. I called another store…. they were open(!) BUT, only selling non-perishable food and fresh produce. No dairy, no meats, no frozen foods… nothing.

I seriously felt like I was on an episode of Top Chef and the Quickfire challenge was to throw a party for 30 people using only canned foods! I was seriously stressing. My mom and I were tossing ideas back and forth but running into so many obstacles:

Mom: I can make pasta salad!

Me: How are you going to boil the pasta?

Mom: Shit.

Me: What about 7 layer dip with chips?

Mom: No cheese or sour cream!

Me: Shit.

So we did what anyone else would do. We cleaned out our deep freezer of every piece of frozen chicken we owned and we grilled it, with some potatoes and onions on the side. Not exactly the menu I had envisioned but we were in serious survival mode. And our friends were too polite to complain didn’t seem to mind one bit!

We got home, unloaded stuff, took the fastest showers ever, lamented about the lack of a hairdryer, complained that we couldn’t apply makeup to sweaty faces, and started to furiously decorate the table right as Shannon, our photographer, arrived. Phew! The boys were still napping thankfully because they would’ve been on their own while the adults tried to pull it together.

Considering we had no power, I’d declare the party a success. The boys were well behaved, the beer was cold(ish) and the cake was thoroughly smashed.

I’m so lucky to have such a talented friend like Shannon to document the day. She took such amazing photos and was able to capture the small details of the party that I never want to forget. I’ll let her gorgeous images speak for themselves:

Lollipop favors for the kiddos

Paper balls I might just leave up year-round

Delicious cake courtesy of Costco (Can you tell I’d love them to sponsor me?)

Thumbprints of all our guests!

Classic Wyatt face.

Classic Caleb face.

Could they be any happier?

Just love.

Caleb loves his new caterpillar rocker!

So mischievous that one.

Who needs gifts when paper is so delicious?

Their cupcake eating style is just another example of how different these two guys are.

Obligatory cake covering face shot.

What an amazing day. We figured once our guests found out that we didn’t have power (and, ahem, A/C on a 100-degree day) they would politely decline. But guess what? Almost everyone came anyway. How freaken awesome is that? Even guests with power and nice, cool homes showed up to sweat with the rest of us. I was so touched by the fact that our friends and family care so much about our boys and wanted to celebrate this milestone with them in person.

I’m also truly grateful to our photographer Shannon. Can you even believe that she just started her photography business a few weeks ago? What a true, natural talent! I told her earlier today that I was tearing up while seeing these images for the first time. There are some expressions of the boys that we see everyday but have yet to capture so beautifully as she was able to do. I’ll cherish these photos from this special day forever.

There are very few things I miss about my previous job, but having her as a co-worker is definitely one of them. Ok, maybe it’s the only thing I miss about my previous job. The true tragedy (well, for me anyways) is that Shannon’s moving to Hong Kong at the end of the summer for her husband’s job. BUT, to any local friends or family that have an interest in booking a session with Shannon she’s looking to build her portfolio while still in the area, so hop to it!

You can contact her by email at shannon@shannongillphotography.com and be sure to Like her page on Facebook. Also, there are lots more photos from the twin’s party here as well!

Thanks to all for sending well wishes and offerings to help while the power was out on arguably the most important day of our year. What an amazing and beautiful (and sweaty… and sticky…) day it was. Thank you!

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I'm a working mom of three fantastic boys: Caleb, Wyatt and Parker. My husband, Shane, and I live in the Washington DC suburbs where we enjoy playgrounds, pools and never getting to sleep in. This blog is a journal of our day-to-day lives as well as a chronicle of Caleb's progress after a recent spinal surgery to alleviate the effects of his cerebral palsy.

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3 comments on “The Very Sweaty Caterpillar
  1. Shannon says:

    We had a blast and I feel so blessed that I was able to document Caleb & Wyatt’s big day! I hope these images are something you guys are able to look back on for years to come and be able to relive the day all over.

  2. Corrie Anne says:

    What a fun party!!! I love the cake pictures and all the decorations. So fun!!!!

  3. kat9365 says:

    Cannot believe you pulled all that off without any power. You are like….a saint. I would have cancelled the whole thing and sat in the corner, crying. lol.

    We lost power for 5.5 days during hurricane Irene last year while Peanut was about 7 months old- NOT FUN!

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