Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Birthday Fiesta

Our neighbor Maria is the matriarch of the family next door, and all but one of her children live either with her or in their own homes on her land. One daughter, Antonia, lives with her husband John and two kids in San Antonio. Yesterday (Sunday), they had a party for their son, who recently had his first birthday. We were invited to the party a few weeks ago, and had figured it would be like many other parties of one-year-olds we’ve attended where the older kids run around out of control, all the kids eat too much cake and sugar, and the guest of honor generally gets overwhelmed by all of it and eventually cries and goes to sleep. That said, our plan was to put in an appearance and head home. Well, that was my plan anyway. Tom told me he doubted we’d be able to pull that off, and he was right. And that was a good thing, because we had a really good time.

A ton of people showed up for this party, and we found out after we got there that whenever John and Antonia have a party for any reason, everybody goes because their parties are always a ton of fun, no matter what the occasion is. Everybody was talking and laughing, with most of the adults sitting at tables on the patio, and the kids were playing games in the yard. I’m also not generally a fan of organized games, but these games were organized enough to keep the kids busy, but not so organized that the party was running like a business meeting, and everybody just had a really good time. Kids and adults played a game where we (yes, I played) had to get a balloon, run to a chair and sit on it and pop it, then go back and get a balloon (if you were a kid) or blow up a balloon (if you were a grownup), and do it again. The first to pop three balloons and run across the finish line was the winner. I didn’t win, but that didn’t keep me from laughing.

Then we watched the kids play musical chairs, and duck-duck-goose, and I don’t know what else, but just watching the kids was fun. Finally, the kids got to whack at the piñata, which is way more fun to watch than I ever would have expected. The little kids and girls just got to swing a stick at it, but the older boys really got into the game since they were blindfolded and spun around, and then John would yank the piñata up and down and back and forth, whacking the whacker with it if the kid was big enough and enough of a good sport to end up looking really silly. Finally one of the kids got in a really good whack, and the piñata burst open. At this point, there must have been 30 kids at the party, and they all swarmed the ground to get the candy. Everybody got some, even if they weren’t brave enough to head into the eye of the storm, and everybody was happy. We were actually disappointed that we had to leave before dark to get home and bring in the horses – but next time John and Antonia have a party, we’ll know to make plans so we can stay until the end!

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