YESSSS, birthday season is over for the next 7 months!!!
Okay, so maybe not the ideal first thought to have upon celebrating the last of the birthdays for this past string of birthdays, but it really IS tiring, especially since they are all clustered around the winter holidays, too. All six kids celebrate their birthdays between late September and mid-February, and when the madness is over, it's a bit of a relief.
Being ever concerned that the two kids at the end of the birthday train - Isaac and Miriam - might get the short end of the stick if my burnout were to show, their birthdays usually end up being the bigger ones.
Miriam is my Valentine's baby, and truly, she is the perfect gift that keeps on giving year after year, for five years now.
Her Dad bought her a special chocolate croissant as a breakfast treat.
We gave her a recipe book for little girls, and made a yummy smoothie from it right away, which she enjoyed with her birthday gift of a decorated glass straw.
I now realize that I never truly lived until I had a daughter, and wow, we have been blessed with three! My husband, the pushover extraordinaire when it comes to his little sweeties, took Miriam on a date to Starbucks and Home Depot during nap time. You know, because now at the ripe old age of FIVE, she no longer needs to nap every single day. Having been deprived the joy of a close relationship with my own dad growing up due to divorce, I am so glad for our daughters who not only have a doting dad (mine was, too), but are also allowed to spend as much time with him as they wish.
Just four days later, Isaac turned 9 years old. Like every mother the world over, I am always reminded of their births on their birthday - he was our first home birth. Just one week ago, we had been at the hospital with him, so we were extra glad to celebrate another year of life and generally good health with Isaac. They each are so precious in their own ways.
For Isaac's gift, we were debating whether to get him some toys he had been interested in, or rather one single larger, more mature gift. He has been wanting a camera of his own badly. We went with the latter because he is usually very good about taking care of his things and being responsible with them. This one was on clearance at Sam's for half of the original price, and came with a coupon for 75 free prints. For $5 extra, we got a one-year store warranty added. After one of the girls almost immediately broke the camera we gave Solomon for his birthday, I knew this was money well invested. Plus, his camera does video, too, so I will be able to borrow it and share my own videos again on here! :) Isaac offered to let Solomon use the camera whenever he wanted to, because we have not been able to replace his yet (and he has never had a bad attitude about it, or his sister who broke it, which I think is great).
Our only other gift for Isaac was a glass straw for him, too. Solomon gave him a really nice (and sharp...) pocket knife, while John bought him a picture frame to put his newly developed photos in.
This year, Miriam and Isaac were still able to agree on a mutually enjoyable party theme, as well as willing to share their big day with each other. I'm hoping this is a trend I can continue for a few more years, as it does make things quite a bit easier on my part. The theme was "Under Sea Adventure".
Note: I cannot take credit for any of the creative aspects of this party. All "my" ideas came from the internet or various party planning books. I am not creative at all, I just know how to fake it.
The invitations - sandwich baggies filled with the invite, sand, and some shells.
pails instead of favor bags
a coloring activity to keep the kids busy when they first got there
squishy bags to entertain the youngest kids - they were filled with hair gel, foam sea creatures, and glitter
LOTS of pizza...
I loved how the kids just perched on the stacked-up chairs
Playing "sharks and minnows". It's hard to see in the pictures, but we had taped blue cellophane over the lights, which gave the room a blue glow.
A version of musical chairs - the kids were passing around a stuffed shark to some sea shanties playing. Whoever got left holding it when the music stopped was out.
In lieu of a pinata, I made this treasure chest. It was filled with candy and other goodies, as well as pasta shells and algae (aka cooked spinach pasta - gross!!). The kids had to find clues in a bottle for the treasure hunt leading to it.
HUGE shout-out to Whole Foods Chandler at Ray Rd. & 101: they decorated both of these absolutely gorgeous and equally delicious cakes. If you are looking for an adorable cake without any artificial ingredients, including food coloring, I HIGHLY recommend them!!!
The questionable but popular party favors
One of the funnest activities of the party for the kids? Stomping on the balloons when we were cleaning up from the party and setting the building back up for the evening service.
Many thanks to all those who came to the party, to those who helped set up and decorate, and to those who helped clean up afterward. All the kids had a blast!
Whew! I'm tired. It's always worth it, and I'm always glad when it's over! :)