June’s spring flower party

19 May 2022

Back in the fall of 2020, when our preschool opened back up, we met two of our dear family friends.

The preschool opened up with more limited hours, and so the three of us all suddenly picked up at the same time. After a distanced summer, we were hungry for even casual interactions with strangers – which is what this started out as, as our children ran and played outside the school for a few minutes before loading into cars.

Day after day, strangers grew into acquaintances who grew into friends. By piggybacking off our kiddos, we were able to “hack” one of the oldest tricks in the book: making new friends at school – except this time, it was our kids’ school, not our own. This allowed us to quickly up the time quotient of the friendship equation, which can be hard to do post-graduation. Casual interactions, swapped stories, and frequent check-ins piled on top of another until one day, I realized these new friends were as close as many old ones.

We swapped phone numbers. We met up at a park. And then, after many months, we took a big step forward: one of the families hosted a weekend dinner. There’s just something about being in someone’s home that’s a huge leap forward for relationships, don’t you think? We had a lovely evening, and then several months later, the other family hosted us all at their home.

As we pulled out of the driveway, John and I chatted about how it was our turn to host, but that we wished our home was more conducive to having multiple families with kids over. (Our house is wonderful for our own family with young kids – the open plan makes it easy to interact while I’m cooking and they’re playing, for example – but it can get loud and chaotic and hard for both the kids and grown-ups to enjoy themselves when it feels like we’re all on top of each other and the floor is somehow suddenly strewn with every toy we own.)

Then, June piped up from the back in a sad little voice: “I wish we could have the friends over to our house.” Not realizing she had been listening, we fell over each other to assure her that we could have friends over to our house and that our house was wonderful, because the last thing I want her to think is that there’s such a thing as a house that’s not good enough to host friends, or that I was anything but grateful for our perfectly wonderful home. She was reassured, and we talked about how it might be nice to have a spring party so that we could enjoy our backyard. And then I forgot about it.

But she did not :) And so, a few weeks ago – apropos nothing – June asked when we were going to have our spring party. And so, a spring party it was. We set a date, and the planning commenced.

Friends, my big girl is her mother’s daughter, and she launched into party planning with great zeal. Here’s a sheet with some of her notes:

Over several weeks, we brainstormed food, we made decorations, we planned activities, we baked and frosted sugar cookie party favors, and on the day of, we did all the final preparations together. She was in heaven. In celebration of imperfect hosting, I thought I’d share a few photos…

The flowers for the back fence were the biggest project – they probably took 3-4 or so hours over several days. Does that seem like a lot for something we tossed in the recycling post party? Maybe, but it was a delight. June and I listened to the Yoto radio while we cut the petals out of paper plates (I still have a gigantic stack from pandemic preschool-at-home) and then Shep joined in to paint 60 flowers. I hot glued them onto twine and John helped us hang them right before the party. It was SO fun, and they looked so sunny and cheerful!

We also hung some honeycomb poms from my party-planning stash from our trellis and the branches of the trees.

For food, we started with a charcuterie spread from Raleigh Cheesy that one of the other families brought (SO GOOD!) and lemonade/lemonade cocktails for the grown-ups. We kept things easy for dinner with hot dogs and brats on the grill, plus fruit salad, cut veggies, and a tray of Chick-fil-a mac and cheese. Dessert was warm box brownies (Betty Crocker always) with freshly-picked strawberries and whipped cream spooned over the top. June’s sugar cookies (from our favorite baking book) were the take-home favors.

Whether you’re nervous to host or it feels like your circumstances are less than ideal, I hope this post encourages you to go for it if it’s something that matters to you! This night is such a sweet memory – and we’re all eager for the next one :)

And never forget – string lights make everything 100x more magical.

P.S. More about our backyard and how to regularly see friends.

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Kelly Strawberry
May 19, 2022 10:08 am

So precious!!! I love June’s enthusiasm. She always delights. :)

May 19, 2022 11:01 am

Please tell me that those swirly letters on her party planning list are her attempts at cursive, because that’s maybe the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

May 19, 2022 2:21 pm

Oh my goodness, the spelling of charcuterie is my absolute FAV <3

May 20, 2022 7:23 pm
Reply to  Kim

I was going to comment on that too! It literally brought a smile to my face. Also, the fact that she even KNOWS what a “sharcootere” board is! So precious!

May 19, 2022 2:52 pm

what a fun day! those string lights are such a delightful touch!

May 19, 2022 7:13 pm

The line “the last thing I want her to think is that there’s such a thing as a house that’s not good enough to host friends, or that I was anything but grateful for our perfectly wonderful home” really struck me. We haven’t hosted much in our new home (which we moved into in late 2019) and I’ve procrastinated on inviting new friends over since our house isn’t ‘picture perfect’. Thanks for the reminder that it’s not what your home looks like, but how it makes people feel.

May 20, 2022 10:07 am

Sounds so fun!???? Thanks for sharing.

May 20, 2022 1:28 pm

SUCH her mother’s daughter–her sweet, hospitable heart!!

May 25, 2022 2:37 pm

The “sharcootere bord” on June’s is the sweetest thing. I love that she’s already a list making lady! What a fun party.

June 1, 2022 10:15 am

Growing up our house was never especially „presentable“ as in spotless/tidy etc. (I have 3 siblings, ha!). And yet it was always the house to be. We had people over constantly. So, as much as I sometimes want to say „not today, our house is a mess“, I remind myself of how I don’t want that to stop me from having people over. And that most people really don’t care whether or not the floors are freshly mopped or if the coffee table is full of books and toys. I tell myself that if my house isn’t picture perfect when they visit it takes the pressure off for them, too, in a way. As in I most certainly don’t expect a spotless house when I visit either :)