Usually, we have a whole weekend of celebrations with two separate sleepovers and various friends and family members dropping in to see the girls, but this year I just didn't have the energy for a whole weekend of it so I persuaded them to have shared sleepover and party on Saturday night.
We spent practically the whole of Saturday tidying the house (why, when it would be a tip again?), shopping for party food, blowing up balloons and decorating with banners. The girls had invited a total of 10 friends and they were all due to arrive at 5pm.
When the doorbell rang at 4.40pm I was a little surprised that it wasn't one of the party guests, but my ex-mother-in-law in floods of tears, sobbing into a tissue.
I should just point out at this stage that my ex-husband's family are what is known as Hard Work. They could cause trouble in an empty house, and are known for their dramatic tendencies. Don't get me wrong I like my ex-mother-in-law and she's a doting Grandma to my two girls, but her timing could have been better and I have to admit to being a little irritated by it. She knew that the girls - her granddaughters - were having a party on Saturday night - and she chose that night to visit us in tears.
So, in between getting the food ready and making her a cup of tea, I heard of how she had had yet another row with her other son (not my ex). It's a tale I've heard numerous times before and no doubt will hear again, but one I'd rather not hear about.
Anyway, after a cuppa and sympathy she was on her way home again and the party commenced. It was good fun, albeit a little chaotic, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I even managed to get a decent night's sleep even though I could hear whispers and giggles long into the night.
This morning we had a houseful of girls in their pjs playing hide-and-seek before sitting down to a breakfast of cereal, toast, fruit and pancakes. It was lovely to hear them all sitting at the table laughing and enjoying themselves and by that time it was even better for me because I knew they would all be going home soon!
By 11.30am most of the parents had collected their daughters and taken a piece of birthday cake with them, although one piece of cake went missing but the crumbs were tracked to the dog's bed.
The party stragglers were press-ganged into helping to tidy the house (again) and after two cycles of the dishwasher, a binbag full of wrapping paper, some serious vacuuming and cleaning by 1pm it was back to normal.
So it's all over again for another year. Deep sigh of relief!