Okay, so I need to give you a little background to Laylah's party here at the Lion House in downtown Salt Lake City. Most people don't know that the Lion House even does parties. Well, they do! And they are amazing.
When I was a little girl, somehow my mother and my aunt started the tradition to have their daughters' 8th birthday party here at the Lion House since 8 is such a special birthday (what with that being the age that a child is baptized) and they wanted to have a special party to go along with that special age. I am not even sure how they knew about these parties (I should ask her sometime...), but I have 2 cousins that I am close with, and an older sister that all had their parties here before I turned 8, as well as my younger sister's and cousins. I remember being so excited at their parties, and hardly able to contain my excitement when my own 8th birthday finally came around so that I could finally be the special birthday girl at the Lion House. They provide a party hostess and do not lack one detail. The party girl (or boy) is treated like a princess (or prince) and it is the most special feeling. It is still one of my favorite and most cherished childhood memories.
So, imagine my disappointment when we moved away from Utah over 3 years ago when Laylah was almost 7. One of the first things that came to mind was that I wouldn't get to continue my Lion House 8th birthday party tradition with my girls. It might seem silly to some people (ahem, my husband), but it was a big deal to me, and I was really sad about it.
Fast forward to us moving back to Utah. I only do birthday parties for my kids every other year, so when Laylah's 9th birthday came and went, having her party at the Lion House didn't even cross my mind, because it was her year for a family party. And then as her 10th birthday party approached, it still didn't cross my mind, because it wasn't her 8th birthday, so I didn't make the connection. Somehow, she remembered my stories about the Lion House, and brought it up one day that she would like to have her 10th birthday party there. Oh my! How could I have not remembered that we were back in Utah and that that was even possible?! I called the Lion House that very day to ask about their parties. I was happy to find out that they only do parties for 8-10 year olds, and that Laylah could still have it there. I also found out that they are so booked and they usually fill up at the beginning of the school year, but that they had just had a cancellation, and that I could do it the day after school got out at lunchtime. It couldn't have been more perfect, and I booked her party for 2 weeks after her actual birthday.
Fast forward to the party day, and I found myself walking out of the Joseph Smith building with my mom and 10 little girls ready for a pioneer party!
I love how they attend to every detail, and I just had to sit back, snap pictures, and enjoy.
Laylah was the party princess, and wore a special crown. I was a tad bit disappointed to find that they no longer have the girl's dress up in old pioneer clothing like they did when I had my party there. Eh, small detail.
The hostess starts out with a tour of the Lion house, and telling the girl's all about the pioneer's and how they lived and did things differently than we do today. It is so interesting, and the girl's were enamored with the little tidbits of information.
We played pioneer games (hide the thimble and button, button) and then we had an old-fashioned taffy pull.
We had a delicious little luncheon, and Laylah was the bell ringer to start lunch.
We had cake and ice cream as well. The baker bakes a gumball into the cake (it was a penny when I was little, but that has changed for obvious sanitary reasons :) and if you end up with it in your piece, you will have good luck the rest of the year. No one got the gumball at the party, we found it later at home in Baron's piece of cake, which was INCREDIBLY delicious, by the way :)
(I have this exact picture of myself, sitting in this exact chair, at this exact table with my birthday cake, probably wearing this exact crown)
We went out in the beautiful back yard to open gifts, where Laylah received all sorts of fun and girly things.
Afterwards, we came back inside where Laylah got to choose a porcelain doll to take home as her gift from the Lion House. I still remember the excitement I felt as a little girl getting to choose my doll. She had long curly red hair, and the most beautiful floral dress. I still have her somewhere, packed up in storage.
Laylah chose a blonde curly girl with a black dress of taffeta. She gently carried her around the rest of the day.
It was so much fun to be able to take Laylah to the Lion House for her 10th birthday, and I couldn't stop smiling while we were there, having all sorts of wonderful memories come back to me during her party.
Happy 10th, my Laylah girl. I can't wait to do it again next year for Daphne's 8th!