Last week, on Wednesday, November 15th, a monumental thing happened… Harlow turned 5!!! She has officially been on this earth for half of a decade. I know, this is somewhat of a shock, because judging by the comments on Instagram, most people feel like Harlow was just born yesterday. In fact, I hear that in some parts of the online world, she is still two.
I feel the same. I still think I have a baby.
Time moves at much more alarming pace when you have children. Our kids grow and they grow fast. I must come to terms with the fact that I don’t have a baby anymore. I don’t even have a two-year-old. I have a walking, talking, dancing, singing, posing, tutorial-making five-year-old kid in kindergarten.
How the hell did THAT happen????
Like most kids, Harlow had two birthdays— the actual birthday on Wednesday (featured in the pictures above) and her “birthday party day” on Sunday (pictured below). If you ask Harlow, she will tell you that her “birthday party day” lived way more up to expectations than her actual birthday. Apparently, eating cake surrounded by twenty of your closest friends, dancing your heart out under a disco ball and getting tons of presents is way preferable to a regular school day followed by dinner with your parents.
Color me SHOCKED.
Anyway, let’s fast forward through the uneventful birthday (which started off well enough but then ended with me having to divert my attention to Mazzy’s math homework and Harlow declaring it THE WORST BIRTHDAY EVER) and focus on the party.
The party was a RAGING SUCCESS.
We had her party at Downtown Dance Factory, which is where Mazzy had her Frozen Disco Party a few years back. It was actually Mazzy’s 5th birthday party too so you can take a look and compare and contrast. Downtown Dance Factory is a great birthday venue that splits the party into two studios— one for pizza and cake and the other for the dance party. There is also a comfortable waiting area for parents to convene in the middle.
One of my favorite things that Downtown Dance Factory does is put your kid’s name in the lobby marquee sign. One guaranteed Instagrammable birthday moment complete:
Harlow wanted a Descendants themed birthday party with a focus on Evie, which, based on her excitement over her Halloween costume, you probably expected. (Stay tuned for Mazzy’s Mal themed birthday party next month.) If you look online for Descendants birthday party items, pretty much everything has the faces of the lead actresses, Dove Cameron and Sophia Carson (I know way too much about this movie) plastered on everything.
And so, to create a look that gave a nod to Evie without using the official merchandise, I turned to my dear friend, Seri from Little Miss Party. Help us, oh wise one! After initially giving me a mood board that looked like Harlow’s most epic Evie dream come true, I paired down the budget and set everyone back on the sad course to reality.
End result? Still pretty awesome.
Seri picked out super huge black balloons and bunches of gold and red heart balloons to set along the middle of the table. Then she set red heart plates and gold napkins on top of a royal blue table cloth. Hanging red roses and gold party crowns at each place setting finished the look. We kept the official Disney merchandise (Descendants stickers, pencils, bracelets, tattoos, etc.) to the party favors.
Harlow was thrilled with everything. Thank god.
During most of the party, the kids danced their hearts out to music from the Descendants soundtrack, which made it really difficult to get a picture in focus.
However, I think the speed at which Harlow appears to be moving in the photo below is a pretty good indication of how much fun she was having at her party.
My favorite moment was when they formed a catwalk and had each kid was instructed to go down it acting like the animal of their choice (all set to Rotten to the Core). Harlow chose to go down as a cat and it was PERFECTION. I caught that on video so if you miss it on my Instagram story, don’t worry. You’ll see it in a future vlog, I’m sure.
My other favorite thing was watching Harlow interact with all her new friends from kindergarten. They danced and hugged and chatted and I got to see her in a new light. Clearly, Harlow is not the shy little loner she often pretends to be when I drop her off in class.
Next on the party agenda was pizza and cake. Luke and Charley snagged the seats next to Harlow, which was pretty perfect. Luke has been Harlow’s “boyfriend” since they were born. Charley is 11 years-old but has become one of Harlow’s best friends since our families spend a lot of time together. Charley’s younger sister, Skyler is one of Mazzy’s best friends and because they are always together, Charley has become like another big sister to Harlow. They get along wonderfully together.
I have no pictures of the kids at the table eating pizza, because I took a rare moment and hung out with my friends. Emily and Seri, I love you both.
Now let’s get to the cake, which was not made by a cake shop or a professional. It was made by Cara, who you might know as the person who manages my brand partnerships. She has been making cakes for her two nephews’ birthdays ever since I’ve known her and posting the results on Instagram. They get more and more impressive every year. I asked her if she would be into making Harlow’s cake, not really realizing what kind of effort she would put in.
Cara went above and beyond and the cake was pretty unbelievable. Now, she would probably tell you that it was a little lopsided and not exactly what she planned, but I thought it was perfect.
Clearly, Harlow loved it, as she took about 1000 pictures with it. I will post them all.
Okay, I will stop at three.
Actually, I’ve got one more. Did you notice that the bottom of the cake matches Harlow’s tutu? Because Harlow certainly did.
FYI, that was not intentional.
After pizza, everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and Harlow successfully blew out her candles. (Well, there was only one.)
Then we attempted to take the requisite family photo gathered around the cake.
Four things to note about this photo.
1) Mazzy does not suddenly wear glasses. We got two pairs of Funoogles with clear lenses sent to us as a promotion and the kids have been wearing them ever since. I had to work overtime convincing Harlow not to wear hers to the party.
2) Don’t you hate when someone else whips out a camera and confuses your kids so that everybody is looking in directions?
3) This is the only photo of Mazzy at the party. She refused to be in pictures and then got mad when she saw all the photos and realized that she wasn’t in any of them.
4) Luke is obviously not part of our family.
I feel like this is a good time to tell you that the inside of the cake was just as gorgeous as the outside.
Harlow also took turns taking pics with both Grammy and Grandma Toby.
We got two framers in a row! Imagine that!
All in all, Harlow had an excellent birthday. Mike said it was the most fun he has ever seen her have at her birthday party. I agree. She was happy, in her element and very much a five-year-old little girl.
Sorry, not little. I meant to say— beautiful, smart, poised, silly, sensitive and perfectly positioned to take on the world.
Just after she takes a nap.
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