Today, back in Riga, I am totally exhausted from the weekend but happy that it turned out such a success. We had friends with kids come down and stay, and on Sunday (after hanging out all day before and having a sleep over) we celebrated Mikus' birthday in the new cottage/sauna house. Mikus himself had requested a "spook party" - probably influenced by pictures and stories of American halloween traditions - and although we thought it was a kinda bizarre thing for a 4 year old's party, we went along with the ghost theme, complete with spooky decorations, games and food (4-year-old style). Jeremy helped all the kids out with face paint before the celebrations, which added to the excitement, although it meant that Mikus looks a little ghoulish in all of his birthday pics!!
The most interesting event was a mini "šķēršļu gājiens" we organised, kind of like a storytelling scavenger hunt, dunno what the equivalent concept is in English. As far as I know, in Latvian its come from the scouting tradition - whereby you make up an adventure which involves going from point to point outdoors, solving clues along the way. So our little ghosts ended up helping a witch find ingredients for her potion she was brewing, found a head for a headless man, and helped out a lonely giant with company and singing. The adventure ended with the kids finding "golden apples"- colourful little presents dangling from the branches in the orchard. Not only did the kids seem to believe everything that was happening (well, the youngest kids, anyway), we discovered some fabulous acting talent in our adult friends. To cut a long story short (and boy, were we tired when we finally got in the car to drive back to Riga last night), a good time was had by all. But one thing I know for sure - I'm seriously considering renting out a playcentre for the next kiddies birthday we have to organise!!