Aptly for her nickname, my five-year-old daughter whom I call Snowy here on the blog, there has been an uninvited guest for many of her Midwestern January birthdays: snowstorms.
Three of Snowy’s birthdays, plus the original day she was born, have been complicated by snow. Even before she was born, snow and Snowy were quite entwined. The first time I went into early labor, when I was about 35 weeks pregnant, my sister-in-law had to drive in a snowstorm to get me to the hospital. Luckily, Snowy didn’t come that time; they were able to stop the labor. But the next big snowstorm 2.5 weeks later was when Snowy made her big arrival. It delayed my family from visiting until she was a few days old and I was out of the hospital.
For Snowy’s first birthday, we planned her party to coincide with the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is a big event in my family: both my parents have birthdays that always fall right around it, and my husband’s birthday is a day after my dad’s, so we combine all of their birthdays and celebrate them together at the Super Bowl. Growing up, the Super Bowl was a bigger holiday in our family than Christmas, even though only my dad liked football.
We lived five hours away from my parents back then, so coming into town for the party was a big deal. We invited over some family friends, some of whom had never met Snowy before, or had only met her once or twice. The weather was totally fine for our drive up that Friday, and for the entire day Saturday. But as soon as Super Bowl Sunday rolled around, so did the “snowstorm of the year.” I remember hearing guest after guest cancel. Even the last holdout got snowed in at her parents and was unable to make it. Luckily, my sister and parents were already there, and we had a good, albeit small, celebration (and Snowy was probably asleep before the game to begin with and didn’t even know the difference; she got cake, so she was happy!).
But the whole experience–how long I worked to plan the party, and how frantically I had to cancel it–put me off from wanting to plan anything big for a few years. We were in the middle of a big move by her 2nd birthday, so we ended up getting a few decorations and some donuts, and did something similar for her 3rd birthday. She thoroughly enjoyed both.
Her first “real,” big birthday party, with a bunch of extended family, was for her fourth birthday last year. There was a snowstorm scare the day before — there was something like six inches! Luckily, everything was clear the next day, and other than some bad back roads, her party went off without a hitch.
The success of her fourth birthday gave us a false sense of security in planning her fifth. We planned to do it the same way: at Snowy’s great-grandparents, with all the extended family that lives nearby. It’s about a half hour drive out to the country for us, but much closer for all the cousins and extended family.
But then, the Monday before the Sunday party, weather forecasters started predicting the first “snowmaggedon” of the season. I tried brushing it off; after all, predicting snowstorms doesn’t seem like an exact science, especially in the midwest, where sometimes “3-5 inches” means 10 inches or 2 flakes!
On Friday before her Sunday party, we started getting nervous calls. Were we going to cancel the party? There hadn’t been a single flake at this point, so we said no, we would keep playing it by ear.
It started snowing Saturday around noon, and it definitely dumped a lot down. But the snow was supposed to be done by midnight, and with an afternoon party on Sunday, we knew there would likely be plenty of time to get the roads cleared.
At about dinnertime the night before her party, everything started to fall apart. Her grandparents and relatives nearby with the snow and the cold temps didn’t feel comfortable having the party. They suggested moving it to the following weekend, which we decided not to do because who knew if that weekend would be clear. Ohio weather is super volatile and we easily could have had 2 snowstorm weekends in a row. So we decided to cancel the party and instead hold a much smaller one at our house with just a few family friends who lived closer by, and my one local mom friend and her kids.
Snowy was initially upset, but showed shocking maturity. She came up with the idea to have a summer birthday party with everyone, and was very happy that her friends (my friends’ kids) could still come. Thank goodness for built-in best friends!
Mr. Snowflake went to the store Sunday morning once the roads were cleared (they were cleared quickly around us, as expected), and picked up a store bought cake and some decorations. We still had all the taco fixings we had bought and prepped the day before, along with cookies my friend made. Along with her Nana and us, there were 7 guests, 3 of them children.
Snowy helped me decorate, and our cat Barnes wanted to “help” too.
One of our family friends made Snowy this amazing dinosaur gift!
Snowy decorated her own cake! I suggested just 5 candles, but she wanted to use all of them. And I ordered these cookies from another friend’s small business, Azalea Cookie Company. She shipped them from Texas!
We didn’t have anything structured planned. She played with her friends and showed them around the house, we ate, we did cake and ice cream, she opened her presents, and then she and her friends played some more until they had to leave. One of my friends’ daughters is only a few days older than Snowy, and she gets along well with her older sisters, too. They all had a blast playing together!
All in all, it actually turned out being my favorite birthday party for Snowy yet. It might not have gone how we originally expected, but she had a great time, and we will do something else to have a make up celebration with everyone who couldn’t make it in the summertime (maybe for her half birthday!).