I started investigating tent rentals. The investigation quickly went south. Do you know how much it cost to rent a tent that holds 40 people?
About the same amount it would take to buy a small island somewhere sunny and far away from graduation party stress.
It didn't take long for me to make the leap from renting to buying.
It was about the same amount of money to buy the tent as it was to rent the tent.
We are now the proud owners of a fantastic two pointed big top tent. It has sides with pretty French windows and two zippered doorways to keep out the rain.
Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day, like after K's party.
Of course it didn't rain. A perfect sunny, slightly breezy day we had, with blue skies abounding.
Oh, thank you, God.
Because I'm a touch obsessive I wanted to make sure everyone was sitting in shade if we had a sunny day.
I borrowed three more tents.
The Man thought I was nuts. Until he saw them set up and how much shade they provided.
Then I was genius.
I saw the idea for uber giant photos on Pinterest. They came out exactly right.
You might think that would be pretty scary.
Naw, it was pretty sweet.
I love, love, love the photo of K with the arrow. You can't see it, but her name is spelled out under the arrow. We were driving down a back road one day, heading home from a photo session with a high school senior when I spotted this sign on the side of the road in an industrial area. I pulled the car over, made K get out and stand by the sign so I could shoot a bit.
I made her get behind the sign. And peek out from the side of the sign. She even posed like Vanna White turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune". A lot of fun we had that day.
And it turned out to be a perfect picture to greet her guests at the party.
M saw my pin for these giant origami stars.
They were used for party favors but she got the brilliant idea to use them as a garland.
Love it. Thanks, M.
And she came over to help me make stars one night. She's a good friend.
M also gave me a tip about a local soda bottling company that makes all kinds of flavors. You get to mix and match whatever flavors you want.
There's nothing like drinking soda right from the bottle. Just ask E.
She was loving that orange soda.
Another friend, T, came over the day before the party and helped me prep about a billion vegetables, and cheese slices, and dips, and salad fixings.
Honest to Pete, I think she chopped the whole day long. Except for when we went out for breakfast.
And she saved the day by bringing over a beverage dispenser. I bought two for the party and they both leaked.
Both of them.
In the same spot.
Can you say defective design?
Not what you want to find out the morning of the party.
The straws had tiny flags on them that said "Congrats!"
Pinterest. Again.M talking to our wonderful neighbors.
We have the best neighbors. Ever. They helped carry food, and cleaned up, and offered their driveway and yard for parking.
E was looking up at a long line of photos that my son and his girlfriend picked out. Photos of K from way back when.
It's hard to believe she was ever E's size. It seems so long ago.
And it seems like yesterday.Party favors.
And a prize.
Nana and K.
Two generations stand between them.
I love that K has such good memories with Nana. Nana used to come and spend a week with me when J and K were babies. We almost set the house on fire one time.
But that's a story for another time.
One of the most precious photos of the day.
K's friend, T.
They became friends when they were four years old. Way back in preschool.
A lot of time has passed since then. And a move. Yet, they've remained friends. You don't give up those kinds of friends.
The forever kind.Almost all the people I loved were gathered in one place, with one purpose, for one special moment in time that day.
My heart was so full of love, it was bursting.
Pretty roses for a pretty girl.
Happy graduation party day, K.
P's brother, A, showing his tennis form while playing badminton.
If you put the net up, they will come.More party favors.
We had some guests who traveled a great distance for this party. I wanted to send them home with some yummy snacks for the ride.
My mother worked in the high school cafeteria when Other Sissy and I were in high school. Every day she would buy us a package of these cookies for our after school snack.
When I saw them, I knew I had to get them. I might have been the only one that day to know what they meant, but mean something they did.
Mom was on my mind throughout the day, as I watched K visit with people and act like the gracious young lady she is becoming. I wondered if my mom ever looked at me like that.
I hope so.
I found the big purple ball deflated and completely flat at the end of the day.
No one knew what happened to it.
P took a lot of these pictures for me. J took a few and my friend, D, grabbed my camera and shot some as well. I knew I wasn't going to have time to shoot that day so I had to rely on other people to do it for me.
And boy, did they do a great job. I am just. so. pleased. with the photos that came out of the day.
Thank you, P.
Thank you, J.
And thank you, D. As my dad kept saying to me, "You really have some terrific friends."
Indeed I do.
One of my favorites.
Nana holding hands with her "boys" - my father and my uncle.
Isn't she too cute?
The truth is I couldn't have done this party without lots and lots of help. Friends and sissies who came over and prepared food, and brought tables and chairs and tablecloths and water pitchers and beverage dispensers and coffee makers. They brought plates and desserts and helped set up tents.
They carried furniture out of the house and carried it back in. They climbed up ladders to hang tissue flowers, they packaged up the food and did dishes and they took pictures. They made utensil packets and tiny flags for straws. They decorated at the beginning of the day and they dismantled at the end of the day.
They kept me sane.
And they smiled throughout the whole thing.
Thank you isn't enough. But I'll say it anyway.
Thank you, dear ones. I love you all.
Father and daughter.
Quiet moment, alone in the grass at the end of the day.
At the end of the party.
Went over to Sissy's tonight to see the girls celebrate their birthday with their friends.
A pretty, colorful, festive luau party.
My BIL playing ukelele in a grass skirt and with a flower lei around his neck.
What a good dad he is.