Yes....7! So my sister-in-law has an Etsy Shop (look closely you might catch our names/initials on some items). I requested her services for a custom shirt (primarily for those airplane rides on her birthday....maybe Clarissa could get a full can of sprite or something!!). I also ordered a bow because they were so cute and being in the south makes you want personalized things....lol (my not being from the south is obvious in the fact I can't tie a bow so it sits properly....).
Anywho, now that someone is all dressed up and ready for birthday party #1....let's go! Since most of her SC cousins are Mason's age. She picked something they would enjoy....bowling! She also invited her 'oldest best friend' (we are reading the Ella Diaries by Meredith Costain. It's an Australian Scholastic series, that is starting to be released stateside....anywho, Ella typically has BFFs for particular locations....she went on a cruise and had a cruise BFF aka CBFF.....which works well with our lifestyle!!). So we called this friend Clarissa's CharlestonBFF or CBFF.
Nice form gentlemen! The CBFF!
My kids obviously don't bowl very often...lol.
After the second game. CBFF won the second game (and came in a close second the first game). One cousin was not too happy about being beat by a 7yo....lol. Clarissa just had a blast....I don't know why Mason was hiding behind the ball....
Afterwards, we went to Sesame for dinner....yum yum and yum! The fact they have black bean burgers on the menu makes my heart go pitter patter and the fact you can choose from multiple options for toppings (just as many as those meat eaters)....heaven! We brought in some cupcakes for the kids and sang to Clarissa after we had all eaten.
Sesame is a pretty small restaurant and I think nearly everyone looked over as we were singing. Surprisingly, Clarissa didn't go hide under the table like she has been known to do in the past....after dinner the kids went outside to play some cornhole (I didn't name the game)....and she said 'see you when we're are back in a year' to her CBFF (CBFF is only 6 months older....the height difference cracks me up!!).
Next up was a special lunch with Clarissa's other SC cousin who couldn't make it to the bowling party. Clarissa was okay with it, since it made it technically party #2.....lol. Lunch at Chick-fil-A....nothing fancy...but okay. Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures....but it was tasty!
Party #3 was once we arrived in Maryland with the other Grandparents and cousins. Since her cousins up there are younger than her, she opted for the age appropriate Chuck E. Cheese's. Since we are in the Lego VIP program (can't imagine why), I was checking out their website for info on free mini builds while we were stateside (can't beat free Lego's!)....and there just happened to be one on the same day we had planned to do her party! Score! Extra event with free Lego's to add to the fun (only drawback was it was at 9 am). So we started the day making a LegoFriends lemonade stand....you can tell who is most into the mini build...couldn't be bothered with pictures!
Once you finished the mini build, they gave you another little set (a Lego Friends sewing machine!!). Given it was Easter weekend, they also had Easter Lego eggs hidden around the store. If you found all 8, you also got a prize....the kids totally scored on that one! Next we headed down the road to Chuck E. Cheese's for pizza and
games....lots and lots of games!
Clarissa loved the jumping one....the higher she jumped the higher her character jumped in the game
Even the grown-ups played some! I played my all time favorite skee-ball to earn tickets for the birthday girl....
After Mason blew through all his 'play points' (they now have cards with your "tokens" on them), he helped push the pedals for the vertically challenged....
Clarissa is normally super shy around dressed up grown-up types....but she was super happy to see Chuck E. Cheese at her party! Even grabbed her cousin over for another photo....who is this child, have you seen my daughter?!?!?
I love this picture of the two them making an ID card.....I think they both made a handful each (they wanted one of each type!).
So her birthday party ended up being a bit of a 'progressive party', in that we moved one last time for our dessert. We went to Sweet Frog frozen yogurt...that way everyone could get something they like....(and we had not been in over a year!!). We made another spectacle of ourselves and sang to Clarissa in the shop. Luckily there was only one other family in there with us.
The employee working was super sweet and brought Clarissa out a pair of frog eye glasses and some coloring books/stickers for the little kids. The glasses totally rock!
As you can see they worked well for the happy 'it's my birthday face'. They also work perfectly with the annoyed 'can't you see I'm eating yogurt - back off' face.
As well as, the happy Grandpa face! Party # 3 is done!
We had done some research online beforehand (party planning???) and had decided on which doll she was going to get. Her doll needed to have brown hair with bangs like her. That was the most important thing. We had found one that had greenish eyes, so not quite a perfect match (Clarissa's eyes are more blueish gray like my dad's but on some days depending on the lighting they have a green tint to them). Per my email confirmation, the doll was in stock and all was good. Of course, she had to get matching glasses and she picked out some outfits and a hairbrush to buy with HER money.
I'd say the look more like sisters wouldn't you...lol. She named her MaryAnn after both of her grandmothers. One of the Historical AG dolls, Melody has a recording studio. They had it out in the store. Clarissa played with this for a long time. MaryAnn is apparently a record producer.
I didn't make reservations for the Bistro (apparently you should do that beforehand), so we had to wait a bit for a table. When they call you, Clarissa had to pick up a "treat seat" (aka doll booster seat that attaches to the table) for her doll to sit in. They gave MaryAnn a tea cup and saucer (which she got to keep!!).
Clarissa then ordered lunch. She was telling me how rude it was to take a photo while they were eating lunch!
She decided to order the 'decorate your own cupcake' for dessert. It was the right decision. I think it was technically suppose to be one for you and one for your doll....but she ate both!
Not sure if she put on enough icing.....
If there is a will, there is a way to get all the icing in your mouth!
Once Richard got out of training, he was able to meet us at the store....like I said...we spent the whole day at American Girl!! (actually when waiting for our turn in the Bistro we did walk down to the Lego store and Disney store for a little bit). Since there was cake, it totally counts as a party...so Birthday Party #4 done!
Our next birthday celebration occurred on her actual birthday. Having been able to sneak into Target at one point sans kids, I was able to get her a birthday card (typically not easy to find overseas) which we gave to her prior to heading to the airport (ignore the face making tween in the background).
When boarding the plane to LAX, we had our first person acknowledge her birthday shirt (mental happy dance). Which on cue, Clarissa got super shy with all the attention. During the second drink service, the flight attendant who had noticed her shirt brought cookies on a plate with dry ice below it on second plate (probably leftovers from first class because the rest of us got pretzels...lol). It was pretty cool.....then a handful of flight attendants sang happy birthday to Clarissa. I think she liked it since she took a photo of her fogging cookie....Richard even gave United a little shout out for the extra nice thing they did (since it was just days after the infamous dragging incident).
As to be expected, when we checked in at Fiji Airways our passports were all checked to verify all traveler info (kids are not typically checked for domestic flights). So the check in agent saw it was Clarissa's birthday and put a special message on her boarding pass. That was pretty cool.
As you saw the other day, Clarissa fell asleep before we boarded the plane. So even though due to the time change she ended up gaining three extra hours on her birthday, she couldn't power through and really enjoy them. Since there was a card, happy birthday sung, and a sweet treat consumed, we are calling this celebration/party #5 and it is done! When she woke in Fiji, due to flying over the international date line, it was two days after her birthday (at least we didn't skip her birthday....that would have been bad.....no birthday for you this year....lol).
Once back at school and getting a handle on the jet lag, I coordinated with Clarissa's teacher to pick a good day to bring in cupcakes for her class. The weekend before her celebration our banana tree that had a 12 hand bunch of bananas growing decide to ripen. So we had bananas galore!
That is probably about a third of them. Her school is real big on morning tea time being 'sip and crunch' time (water and a crunchy....aka raw fruit/veggie snack)....so I asked Clarissa if she wanted to take some bananas in for her school party....she said yes! They were a hit....her teacher had said only one cupcake per person, but multiple kids came back and asked for another banana!!
I totally cheated and used funfetti frosting but I don't think the kids minded....they were inhaled! Of course, not until they sung Happy Birthday to Clarissa....
...being American, she blew out the candle before they sang the Australian/New Zealand second verse (Happy Long Life to You)...let alone the 'Hip Hip Hip....Hooray' part....ooops. Party #6....done!
As the birthday festivities were finally wrapping up, Clarissa had her last party with her Suva friends. Party #7 celebrating her 7th Birthday....look how that worked out....perfect! So given Clarissa is into everything girlie, when looking around for ideas I found this little Spa Party kit for her and 3 friends....ooh perfect....if she's sold it would be a small party! When I said spa, she said yes! Now the hard part was deciding which 3 friends....she lucked out and all 3 could make it!
We divided the party into two parts. First, they made a bath bomb, sugar scrub, and fairy sparkle gel. We had that set up before everyone arrived.
The kit came with cute containers and molds and some supplies. It also used some household cooking supplies. They made bracelets and necklaces while everyone was arriving. Then we dove into bath bomb making....some worked better than others....but there was lots of giggling watching the duds bubble all over the place.....
After everything was made, I sent them out onto the porch for some fruit, veggie & pretzel snacks. Richard went out and took some pictures of them all being silly (mainly to control the chaos), as I switched out the table cloth and turned on some battery candles. Viola, it was spa time. I looked up at one point while doing this and all 4 girls were peeking in the window at me...it was too funny. First up....mud masks with CUCUMBERS....real cucumbers!!!
There was so much giggling and I'm not sure what they expected but it was not how cold the cucumbers were...lol. Next up, I let them give each other pedicures....much more fun then some mom painting their toes....
They also did glittery tattoos before it was cake time! Months ago, Clarissa had found a photo online of a three tier pink and white flower cake with a tiara on top and decided that's what she wanted. When we started talking about her party cake, she went and found the photo she had printed out and reminded me the number need to be a 7 and not the one on the photo. While not as grandiose as she may have hope, she loved it and her friends 'oohed and aahed' it.
And just like that party #7 was done.....and finally the birthday that would never end.....was done!!!!!!