The next day was the official extended family birthday dinner aka all the Caress side. Madison chose the menu: french dip sandwiches, oven roasted potatoes, ceasar salad, and a fruit tray with mango, grapes, blueberries, kiwi, fresh pineapple, and blackberries. For appetizer: hot cheetos, chips & salsa. For dessert: peanut butter blossoms (peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss) and brownies (that was the "birthday cake.") She wanted Limeade (Brooke Jensen's famously addictive recipe) so I had to call around and eventually call Brooke (welcome to blogging by the way and thank you -it was delicious) for the recipe. She got cute clothes, a CD, and her favorite: cash.
One tradition we have at Caress parties is to fill out a questionnaire about the person. This is a fun way to see how well you know the person and to get to know them better. Madison came up with her own questions.
What is the name of
How many states has
What job (that pays money) does
What is the name of
What do you like best about
Then on Friday, we had the party. Madison invited four of her closest friends to a mall hang-out session. We had Amanda, Kiki, Breana, and Katy with us. First, we picked them all up and drove to the mall. We ate dinner at Pat & Oscar's. The very kind and very generous manager kept those breadsticks coming. They did not eat too much salad, pasta or pizza; but boy can they eat breadsticks. Luckily we sat in a little corner so as not to disturb the other patrons. They had a "krumping" contest. They were pretty impressive.
Next we hit the stores: Bath & Body Works (where we got some party favors) and Limited Too (where they sales girl tried to get me to buy party favors - I don't think so) and of course the essential Claire's (we bought the best friends necklaces for the party favor so all five can wear matching necklaces to school.)
Then we hit the photo booth. Now I have always been a big photo booth fan. I seemingly have passed this gene to my daughters because there is nothing they like more than the photo booth. So for the last party favor they each took a set of pictures with Madison. Well then they could not stop, so they took a few more sets. Needless to say, if you were there that night, good luck getting a chance at the photo booth. We dominated the machine for about 40 minutes. Off to Cold Stone where they ruined every scoop with gummy bears (that is my own editorializing.) It was fun. No clean up, very little planning, small: everything a good party should be and of course: they all loved it.
On Saturday, we took out both older girls to Ruth Chris Steak House. (Thank you Lowells for watching the little ones.) We had gotten $200 in gift certificates during Christmas so we thought it would be nice to take them out for their birthdays (McK's was a little late but she is so sweet about knowing how busy we are in Dec.) So we ordered salads and steaks and lobster. We had tons of sides, we were living large knowing that we had our gift cards to cover the meal. We got two desserts. The check came and the server told us it was covered. No charge. The bill came to $250 and the general manager took care of the whole check. So not only was the food great, but then, it tasted even better. AND we still have our $200 for a later use. It was a nice surprise. (Ryan knew the GM and he had come to greet us and talked a little business with Ryan. After, as we were leaving, Ryan said "thanks, you didn't have to do that." the GM said "I know, I wanted too." What a total sweetheart of a guy.)
Happy Birthday Madison. We love you and are so proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. I just don't know how we are going to top that next year. But your gratitude, constantly saying thank you to everything, never throwing a fit when you don't get what you want, and complete lack of greediness, makes us want to be generous with you.