Monday, January 25, 2016

Henry's 3rd "SNOW" Much Fun birthday! {the full story!}

Our middle child, Henry Edward, recently celebrated his 3rd birthday.

A January birthday in the mountains is full of deep snow, sharp wind, and picturesque peaks.
I decided to play those factors to my advantage and his SNOW much fun party was born!

I must admit, my dear Henry, that your early January birthday, following so closely on the heels of Christmas, makes for one tired and uninspired mama.  However, a good friend of mine had recently posted a few pictures of a snowshoeing trek at Mueller Sate Park and the wheels in my mind literally wouldn't turn off.

Sometimes parties plan themselves.
This happens to me quite frequently.
Sometimes I can see the pictures in my head first: the tablescape, the backdrop, the details.
And then I work backwards to build what I first saw in my mind.

Such was the case with Henry's party.
I had heard that a big snow storm was coming through on Friday, expected to drop a full foot of fresh powder.  I gave myself one week to create all I needed in order to get up the mountain pass and capture the drifts.  I typically like to scout a party location first, even going as far as to visit at the same time of the upcoming party as to see how the light looks behind my lens.

This party was planned so quickly and was so remote that a scouting trip made it impossible.
All the car seats were moved into David's Jeep {we weren't risking careening off the mountain in my van!}, my party supplies, handcrafted quickly over a few days, packed into the back, and we were off!

Mueller State Park is a gorgeous high country park full of deep pines and scenic overlooks.
The smells alone are captivating.  
Fresh pine, heavy with damp snow, fill your nostrils with long, winding hiking trails disappearing into deep wood at every bend in the road.

And the snow that day was deep.
Real deep.

So deep, I had to be extra careful about my location.

We narrowed down to two possibilities.
Both had mountain overlooks with a smattering of pines for a bit of juxtaposition.
But one location was so deep, the snow was hitting me mid thigh.
I almost lost my camera trekking the area while the kids and David waited in the Jeep.

We finally settled on the 2nd location.
The snow was deep, but only 12 or 13 inches.  The party table was submerged and the chairs had snow up the entire legs into the seats, but the kids could manage.

It was truly magical.

I set everything up alone- having David place only a few items that were too heavy.
We were cautious, at my prompting, to avoid leaving deep footprints in front of the table.  
I really wanted an ethereal feel- untouched and full of mountain magic.
This meant a great deal of tramping in a roundabout way from the Jeep, which was parked off road, to the location.

The kids, unaware, sat warm and toasty in the Jeep.

Henry was finally taken on a walk with his Daddy through the wood to the overlook.
And just as they crested the small hill, the table came into view, and Henry fully believed that they had "happened" upon a magical place, a party set just for him, created from the snow and the wind and trees. 

We were sad to party alone in such a beautiful, other-worldly location so high in the mountains.
We missed our families in Arkansas so very much.

Living away is hard, y'all.
We do our best.

After the party, we went sledding.
Mueller State Park has several dedicated sledding hills.

But with the newly fallen storm, we didn't pass but a few people; other adventurous souls, out braving the temperatures in the low 20s, who were also on the hunt for magic.

Happy birthday, Henry!
Your January birthday means that we always start each new year with a song in our heart!

I love you.

Have you ever seen a more beautiful section of forest in your life?

The sledding area we chose was stunning.
With the Rockies standing so proudly, it was all we could do to pay attention to our steps.

I'm so eternally grateful for this adventuresome daddy of ours.
He has such a wild spirit.
He is the definition of Carpe Diem.

I'm so thankful our children have him.

And I even put my camera down to breathe in that deep, free air myself.

Henry, life with you is always- always- SNOW much fun!
{I'm happy to share my work with you!}
This will print as an 8x10 on photo paper.
Cut out and attach to sticks for cupcake toppers.

If you would like to share this, just link to my blog, please.
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