I called their best friends and their best friends' mamas. I made arrangements and made them promise not to squeal once the kids came home.
I looked into fancy cupcakes and abandoned that idea when they were $4 each. Yowza. I got cookies instead.
We also planned chicken legs and hot dogs. And lots of water balloons. Seriously, I bought up the last stock of water balloons at two party stores in town.
I found decorations and hid them in my closet.
Then the night before arrived... and we decided to tell our four so that they could try to sleep through the excitement AND help us clean the house for guests. And clean they did.
The weather was perfect. About 90 degrees and high humidity - perfect for wanting to get wet!
One of Trevor's besties was first to arrive. He's a 6'1", 7th grader. He'd spent the whole week with Trev at football camp and the kid didn't say a word. Love him.
Andrew's best friend was at his dad's wedding on the day of the party. So another friend came to rock it out with Andy at the party. Wicked good with a balloon, too, that kid.
Trevor, Andy, and the two boys spent more than an hour filling up over 400 water balloons.
Which were gone in less than 5 minutes.
I took one in the face from Someone. Trevor took one in the ... boy parts. Bryon took eleventy five of them in the head from the boys. Inherent water balloon risk, see. Nobody was injured.
There was lots of football passing and trampoline jumping.
We made a huge slip and slide and soaped that sucker up. Children were running everywhere through the water - little, soapy people slipping everyplace. Bryon gets Best Form award. All in all we used up 3 bottles of dish soap (thanks to our neighbor for not getting upset when her son swiped it from beneath their sink - twice).
I enjoyed the slip and slide, too, but don't have any pictures of me in my Ice Man tee shirt to prove it. Bryon and I raced a few times and overlaunched the tubes. Funny. Love him so much.
Around dinnertime, Hayley's best friend came to spend the night. The girls ran and played hard through the sprinklers!
The twins from next door (including Mabel's bestie Peyton) came, too.
Grandma Sharon and lots of neighbors were there to welcome the kids back. We listened to Neil Diamond, Journey, and Def Leppard all day and soaked in the sunshine with our babies. Who aren't babies.
We had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows for s'mores.
Overall a raging success. I'm sure I won't be able to surprise them again, but I'm also sure we will repeat this party. It was a blast. Felt so good to smoosh them and kiss them and hear them giggle. They deserve to know how much we love our family of 6.
And all is right in the world again.