Over Memorial Day weekend, my sister and I threw my mother a 50th birthday party. We planned for months -- scouring Pinterest for ideas, keeping up with email threads 30 messages long, taste-testing cocktail recipes when Rachel was home beforehand.
We had a vision of a swanky backyard soiree, bigger than our customary summer cookouts but not too out of hand. We had a set menu, a small team of helpers to set up the yard, a good-sized guest list, and lots of excitement.
A few of our best ideas included saving all kinds of used-up jars for months ahead of time, and lining the stone walls with tea lights once it got dark. We (our brother) strung up white fairy lights from the gutter of the house to the trees, creating a little canopy of lights over the patio. (Thanks, James!) I made a 50 CHEERS FOR 50 YEARS birthday sign and hung it up over the walkway for guests to see, and I even made decorative soda bottle labels to disguise the regular ugly Pepsi labels. Since we had a bunch of kids coming, we set out blankets and cushions for some ground seating. (All matching our "theme" of blue, my mom's favorite color.) Then once it got dark, we projected a slideshow of old photos of my mom onto a white sheet hung up on the shed, and everyone gathered around in lawn chairs to watch.
Unfortunately, we were so busy setting up and making sure everything was running smoothly that we both neglected photo-taking. I'm bummed. But the few photos we did manage to get still make me happy!