China Party–All the rest

Masks from Chinatown. I don’t know what they are supposed to be, but Silas decided they were all the Monkey King.

People seem to think maaaaybe I went a little overboard with the party thing. And, okay, maaaybe I did.

Porch decorated with lanterns and streamers. Thank goodness the weather was nice!

Here are my excuses/rationales:

  1. I am a theater professional. I create events and experiences. This is an event/experience.
  2. My parents used to do really great birthday parties, and I see this as a way of loving my kids the way I was loved. Doing a party like this makes me think of the times when my childhood family was happiest.
  3. It was not expensive or time-consuming at all.
  4. I don’t do a bunch for Christmas, perhaps because I don’t see Christmas as a chance for new creativity. Same colors, same snow men, yada yada. But a birthday party with an interesting theme can generate a lot of ideas.
  5. I had fun. I only spoil my children in ways that I find entertaining for myself.
Lillian, whose mother also throws creative parties, playing with a dragon from Chinatown

As a subpoint to #4, let’s be clear, if Silas had asked for a tractor party, I would have just stuck a toy John Deere on a cake and called it good. When I was listing different things he might want to do for his party (dinosaurs, Sesame Street, Wild Things, etc), he locked on to the idea of China. I thought that was pretty cool, honestly–to be only three and that excited about another culture.

Petra checks out the lanterns

My mom–herself a party nut, far more than I’ll ever be–went a little wild in Chinatown the week before the party. My mother-in-law found lanterns at a craft store. I also had ordered some things online. The decorations ended up being pretty great.

JC made this banner, using some stencils I found. In theory, it says things like “Love” and “Fortune.” I bet when an actual Chinese-literate person reads this, I will learn that it says “Shrimp and Mixed Vegetable.”

My former coworker from China sent Silas a present from China, and he was unspeakably thrilled. 🙂

Activities, planned:

Dragon puppets
Kids painted dragon masks and wooden fans. The fans were left over favors from a friend’s wedding.
Elisabeth collects her handiwork.
Eating lots of interesting food. James really took a shine to Granny.
Priscilla, from the Dominican Republic, is staying with our friends for the school year. I can’t imagine what she must have thought of this odd Chinese/American birthday party…
Practicing with chopsticks
Petra’s not sure what she thinks of the mask…
This is one of my favorite photographs I have ever taken. I love everything about it.

Activities, unplanned but inevitable:

Hanging out with babies.

Lillian and Petra check out Esau. At the playdate we had the day before, Petra kissed and loved on this baby so much that his head was all slobbery when I finally tore her away. At the party, though, she seemed less certain of him.
Arthur and his dad, checking out the action.
Jeepers creepers!

Playing in the river.

I love all these beautiful girls with their backlit halos!
She looks like she should be in some sort of strange advertisement shoot…
Gathering rocks to throw in the river. No one got hit, but there were some close calls!
Bethany said, “When we saw her outfit, all I could say was, ‘We do not doubt Elisabeth’s commitment to SparkleMotion.'”

Babies, making their own fun.

Playing the “what can we put in the big boots” game. Very popular.

Mom and Gary got Silas a Racin’ Rody for his birthday. The kids enjoyed bouncing around on it–sometimes three at once!

Priscilla, an IVEPer who is staying with Monica’s family, took this picture with her Kindle or something. I love how it came out.

At the end, we had a little “Petra is almost one!” moment–Granny won’t be here for her birthday, so she gave her her present and card early. Petra really looked as if she were reading the card…

Andy Clingempeel taught me about using the stuff in the photo to bounce the light all pretty. Petra conveniently held the card perfectly.

I’d say it was fun for all ages.



Aili Written by:


  1. September 30, 2013

    So many great shots! Should have transferred you over to our side at RS. It looks like a wonderful time for the whole gaggle of you.

  2. September 30, 2013

    I think Silas is about old enough to start watching the 3 Ninjas series of movies. The first shot reminded me of TumTum

  3. Phyllis Pilewski
    September 30, 2013

    Love these pictures! Looks like it was a great party!

  4. September 30, 2013

    Seeing these pic’s made me happy all over again .. It was an awesome day, you did a beautiful job on the party and I can’t wait for Silas’s 4th!
    Seeing these pic’s let me relive a beautiful day/party. You really out-did yourself Alicia. The pic’s are great and ordering Chinese food for dinner finished a very lovely day .. indeed !

  5. October 1, 2013

    looks like you all had a lovely day i like the theme makes a difference from normal childrens parties

  6. Walter Heimbuch
    October 1, 2013

    Its Alisha not Alicia

  7. September 15, 2014

    […] alternate who gets a big party, and who gets a small family thing. Last year, we had Silas’ China Party, and went to the circus for Petra’s birthday. This year, we had a quiet birthday dinner for […]

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