I’ve been planning Annalyn’s birthday parties for quite a while now. Since the week before last year’s Veggie Tales party, she’s been telling me she wanted a Dora party. I think it’s great that Dora teaches kids Spanish and how to read a map, but her voice still grates on my nerves.

So I wasn’t too thrilled about this plan. Thankfully, she saw me looking at a gorgeous Minnie Mouse cake on Pinterest and changed her mind. From that moment on, full-on party planning was in force – for a Mickey Mouse party.

(It makes sense, because she has taken to calling Mickey “her favorite guy.” Yep, Daddy is apparently second to the Mouse.)

On top of a million ideas, thanks to Pinterest again, I had the pressure of her first friend party creating some extra pressure for this shindig – now, two shindigs. But I learn from my mistakes, so I resisted the lure of the fancier, more complicated party ideas and I started preparing early.

[No late-night attempts at cake decorating like last year!]

Annnnd, it’s a darned good thing I’d made those decisions. A few days before Annalyn’s friend party, we drove up to northern Iowa for Sara’s funeral. But since I’d started earlier that week, shopping for groceries and making a streamer backdrop, losing an entire day didn’t stress me out.

The two parties were scheduled on Saturdays, two weeks in a row. After putting together the streamer backdrop and two long strings of balloons, I was hopeful that the decorations would last for that week in between. And they did! We lost one balloon, but after blowing up about 36 balloons and stringing them up (which is MUCH harder than it sounds), I wasn’t about to re-do the whole thing. We just made do with a wilted balloon.

Annnnd, it’s a good thing the decorations lasted all week. Because the morning of Annalyn’s family party (this past Saturday), I woke up with a horrible, red, itchy rash ALL OVER MY FACE AND NECK.

Without giving you the gory details (or pictures, because seriously, do you think I allowed any cameras near my zombie face?), I spent the morning in urgent care, getting a steroid shot and three different prescriptions for what may possibly be a severe case of poison ivy.

My house was fairly clean from the previous week’s party, and I was only doing snacks. The cupcakes were made and decorated (although the frosting totally melted and they looked awful), but I still had to pick up a bunch of balloons for the front porch and make the Mickey-shaped Rice Krispy treats.

Thankfully, Smitty had volunteered to come early and help. So when I finally arrived home – still looking like a freak and itching like a son of a gun – less than two hours before the party was scheduled to begin, I had help throwing the party together.

I had to just deal with the fact that I wasn’t going to get my floor vacuumed or my canned food put into the pantry from a grocery trip earlier in the week. I had to accept that my entire family was going to see me look ridiculous (although I desperately wished for a shirt that said, “Yes, I have a rash on my face. No, it’s not contagious.”). And eventually, I had to realize that between a lack of sleep from an itchy night before and the massive doses of medicine I was on, I wasn’t exactly up to par as a hostess.

And yet . . . the birthday girl had a great time. And I think most of our family enjoyed the party. It wasn’t perfect, but it turned out just fine.

Giving up on a perfect party is the subject of my much-discussed and much-less-written e-book, How to Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind}. And I’m excited to announce today that I’ll be launching that book in just four weeks on November 8!

I’ve got some exciting news to go along with the launch, so stay tuned for that. And make sure you’re back here in three weeks to check out my e-book!

Have you ever had a party disaster? I’d love to hear about them – and how you dealt with them, so share in the comments!

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