Friday, October 30, 2009

Birthday Madness

This year my youngest child turned 6. I decided to invite his whole kindergarten class to walk home with me after school for a fun backyard birthday.

(Yes...he loves Hello Kitty!)

On the menu was 140 chicken nuggets (all devoured), a veggie platter (barely touched), plain pasta, pineapple, lemonade, and enormous Costco cupcakes. We put together our homemade waterslide invented 3 years ago when we endured a week of 105 degree temperatures. Almost no one in Northern California has air conditioning! Our play structure slide with two twin blow-up mattresses stuck end to end under it, and a hose at the top creates the perfect redneck waterslide.

We also rented a jumpy house that said Happy Easter, because Andy loved the bunnies on it. After helping to change 20 children into their swimsuits (no easy task), the party began. A few moms graciously offered to hang out, chat and watch kids. I should have paid them! As kids grew tired they played Legos and drew pictures. My son had a terrific time hanging out with his friends.

Some of the improvements I'm considering for next year includes handing out tubes of frosting to consume instead of cupcakes. I probably threw out 17 cupcakes even though each child acted like it was life or death whether they got chocolate or vanilla. Almost every kid scraped the frosting off with their hands and ate it, or licked it off. Why not just comply with their instincts...Easy...NO Cake!

(Andy made these cupcakes over the Summer. So cute...he should blog!)

An hour into the party a couple of kids asked if there was anything else to do? I resisted the urge to tell them, "Are you kidding? When I was a kid we had family birthday parties. You had a family dinner, ate cake, maybe played a round of pin the tail on the donkey, and opened 1-2 gifts." I didn't know any other kind of party existed. I thought it was perfect.
It is different now. More fun in some ways I admit. One of the first "kid parties" I took Hannah to included snow trucked in and dumped in the front yard for kids to sled on. Many parties now have special guests like Darth Vadar or Snow White, pony rides, face painters, or animal farms brought to your home. If you can dream most likely exists. As for goodie bags...they are a popular invention of this decade. The kids love them, and now expect them. My theory is this...only buy them if you love them too. Some parents do! I don't! I handed out blow pops as the kids left and they seemed perfectly happy.

Isn't it entertaining to consider how times have changed? What I really want my child to know is that celebrating this special day marks a moment in my life when a new capacity for love was permanently engraved on my heart. A love so precious, tender, and undeniable that it forever changed who I am. Everyone deserves to be celebrated at least one day a year!


Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

Looks like a blast! My daughter just turned 9 and we had an art party and she invited only girls. They painted a canvas picasso style. It was great. They took the paintings home as favors and the cake was shaped like a paint palette with paint on it.

ShellSpann said...

That looks like an AWESOME birthday party!

Ed Adams said...

"Yes he likes Hello Kitty"

I'm biting my tongue over here.

kys said...

Looks like a great time. You'd better watch. You might get kicked out of California with that slide. Then you'll have to move to KY with me!

LMJ said...

I will definitely be showing this blog to the hubby! He and I had an argument about this last night over the phone!

He thinks that parties at home are out of style. Children nowadays want to go have their party at a place like Chucky Cheese. Me, I think that if we enough enough activities for children to do, we can have a successful birthday party at home.
With me, back in the day, parties were more like a family gathering than anything else. You had food, a cake, a few gifts, and then go play with your friends and cousins. With my family, it's a good excuse for the men to drink out in the back yard, the women sit on the kitchen and gossip, and children just entertain themselves somewhere around the house.

But now, kids want a special character and all kinds of "cool" stuff in a birthday.

I told Hubby that we could keep it cool, if we keep an Xbox 360, with Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and American Idol games to keep them entertained; maybe also a blow up bouncing thing as well out in the backyard--we should be fine. Plus, we don't plan to raise her materialistic, so hopefully, she will be one of those gracious kids that don't need much to entertain themselves.

I'm hoping anyway.

Great pictures! Great blog!

5thsister said...

Happy birthday little man! Your mommy sure gave you a wonderful party and it looks like you had a blast! Being 6 is so much cooler than 5, don't you think?

Martha in PA said...

Sounds like fun. My daughter does not like cake, so we never have cake. (Well we did have a really good cake when we had her party at 1900 Park Faire in the Grand Floridian at Disney, but that was a different kind of party... GROWN UPS enjoyed that cake!) We've done giant choc chip cookies, or make your own sundaes.

Birthday parties are totally out of control. I'm glad she is past the age of having all the little friends! I finally convinced her just gets more if we don't have a big party, all the money is spent on HER! And the goodie bags, I LOVED making them, but I know so many moms HATE when they have to bring all that little stuff into the house!

Ramble Ramble, that's me today!

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

LOVE that picture you close with, of you and your boy :)

It sounds like a fantastic party, one I would have loved as a kid, and probably even now! It is funny how parties have changed since we were growing up. One trend here has been parties that charge the guests to come. My son will be like, "Mom, I need $10.00 to go to so-and-so's birthday party..." This, by the way, is not in lieu of a gift. After too many of these kind of requests, I started giving my son an allowance, and he can budget for the parties he REALLY wants to attend--and then I'm not the bad guy. How times have changed...

Willoughby said...

What a great party! I especially love your water slide! We tried something like that when my son was small, but our slide was the curly, tube type and we didn't have air mattresses at the bottom. The kids came shooting out the end at warp speed and went flying across the yard. It got a little dangerous and we had to put an end to it. I wish I had thought of air mattresses!

Martinis or Diaper Genies? said...

please throw my birthday party with that exact menu. thanks.

Corrie Howe said...

I'll pay you to do everything for my children's next b-days! If you saw my post today, my dad's heart attack was on the day of one child's birthday and two weeks before the other. Needless to say, they didn't have parties this year. They were troopers.

Allyson said...

how adorable is HE! i love how he's into hello kitty. awwww

love the waterslide! you are such a good mommy. :)

happy friday!

hurstburst said...

Beautiful post, especially that last paragraph. I always love to remind my friends on their oldest child's birthday that not only was a great kid born on that day, but also a great mom!

Love this picture of the two of you! You will cherish that forever!

ScoMan said...

Looks like a great party. I'll be glad when my niece gets to that age and my brother has to worry about organizing everything and cleaning up afterward, and I get to eat cupcakes and fairy bread and not look out of place.

Matty said...

I agree that birthday parties and the expectations that come with them have really changed since our days. I prefer simple to complex. At that age, the kids don't need extravagance. They just need a good time.

Looks like everyone there had a good time.

MJ said...

How wonderful you did not push him to have a boyish cake. Too many parents would have made a huge fuss.
I <3 the Redneck slide!!!!!!!!

We go old school for parties - at home with pin-the-tail, scavenger hunts, coloring, etc. I did cave and let Goose have 6 friends to the local arcade/fun place when she turned 5, but this year we will be retro again.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Dirty Little Confessions

Holly said...

Happy Birthday Andy!

I love the water slide much fun is that! I totally agree with just handing out tubes of frosting..that's a keeper! I too hate goody bags...BLAH! Hate those little toys! They only want candy anyway, just give them a lollipop...let's start a movement..."Moms Against Goody Bags!!"

That photo of you too is super sweet!
Holly @ 504 Main

our b life said...

Happy Birthday to your son. Love the Hello Kitty Cake.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

The entire class, are you crazy? Haven't you heard of the age/guest rule? My mom taught me, now I'll teach you! A child should get to have as many guests as they are old. Somehow that works into something almost tolerable.

Where we live, the birthday parties are so over the top that I have just been grateful that my kids were in college when we moved there 6 years ago. I watch my younger friends plan these things and I swear some of them require more planning than my wedding did!


Kathy said...

You are a good Mom! It is a big job to have that many kids over at once! Our biggest was for Seashell's 9th birthday. She had a Coconut (dog from American Girl) themed sleep over for 12 girls. What a long night!

Anonymous said...

omg...good for you! I would have had a nervous breakdown with all those kids, for sure. Looks like it was a lot of fun!

My name is PJ. said...

I really enjoy when you write posts, Holly!

First, I'd like to ask if you would adopt me or at least throw me a birthday party? Pretty please? I'm only a dozen or more years older than you. Technicality!

Then, I'd like to know why there were no water slides when I was young and could still do the jumping,diving, sliding thing.....

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

Happy Birthday!!

I no longer do the big parties because I found that we were spending tons of money on stuff kids didn't eat/use, and most of the parents used it as free babysitting. We now do the family b-days and the kids don't seem to care.

Ms Bibi said...

Sounds like so much fun. My youngest birthday is in themiddle of August which sucks. Perfect weather, but no children around.

I love at home backyard parties.

Liberty said...

What a FABULOUS party!!! We did big parties for the first several years of having kids, but now that we have four, we have reverted back to family birthdays. My kids love it just as much (thank good ness). Then, we invite one friend to go do something special. :)
I feel guilty at times, but I just can't keep up sometimes!


Amy said...

I adore the picture of the two of you at the end of your post, so sweet.

Let me just say you are a fantastic mom bringing his class home with you, bringing out the water slide and having a jumpy house! It sounds like a lot of fun to me. But I have been to many kids parties and sometimes it can be headache-producing!

Kids always seem to love the frosting, I guess the sweeter the better, uh?! I think it's best to have only one flavor, otherwise they sometimes compete over who gets what and someone always seems to end up in tears because they got chocolate instead of vanilla for instance!

I cannot believe some kids asked you if there was anything else to do...they are so used to being catered to today and the video games so many play result in short attention spans. I;m glad to hear a lot of the kids played with leggos and drew pictures!
When I was little we had cake, played games like pin the tail on the donkey and didn't have darth vader or other figures. It was simple and a lot of fun.

Andy's party sounds great! I wish him a wonderful year!

elvira pajarola said...

.....Your last sentence.....:( A love so precious, tender,and undeniable that it forever changed who I am. ).........
...You expressed so perfectly my thoughts!

Have a wonderful week!
ciao elvira