I’m not one to reinvent the wheel so when I throw a successful kid’s birthday party, I mentally file it away and save it for another kid.
Hallie’s 6-year-old bubble party was a smashing success and I knew it would be the just right party for Cannon’s 6-year-old party.
I may have been wrong.
Despite what social media tells us, parties don’t always go as planned and it’s not always rainbows and butterflies and bubbles!
For the record, Cannon loved his party and had no clue that we were putting out fires left and right. It was almost comical. The kids loved all the activities but for whatever reason there was one problem or another and this kid was crying and then another was and so-and-so kept popping their bubbles, and this person isn’t sharing the wands…and that’s how it went.
I’m a photographer and I never have a problem hosting a party and shooting the photos, ever. But after this party, I had very few photos. We were just holding on until the end of the party!
Like I said before, Cannon was clueless and the kids walked away happy but Steve and I were both scratching our heads saying, “We’ve thrown this party before – but with much different results!” That’s just how it goes sometimes. At least we sent them home so fresh and so clean, clean!
Sometimes I feel like a rock star and I can take on the world. And other times, the list of to-dos is too daunting to wrap my head around. Lately, it’s been the latter. The list of to-dos is mostly trivial (with a few doctor appointments thrown in there) but none the less they occupy space in my mind which translates to taking up space in my day. We’ve had a busy few weeks and as much as I wanted to come up with new themed birthday for Cannon for his first friend party, I just didn’t have it in me. I kept putting it off and then his birthday was just days away.
I was talking with Hallie trying to figure out what type of party it should be and it hit me – re-do Hunter’s 4-year-old pirate party. My heart kept telling me he needed a party personalized to him – but my head told me there were not enough hours in the day to reinvent the wheel. Two days later we threw his first friend party and he had no clue that the pirate flag had already been used before!
We started with a special treasure hunt – I’d hid clues all around the front yard and back yard. We used a treasure map to update our route as we raced to find treasure: Pirate gear – bandanas, earnings and eye patches. Once they were dressed appropriately, they walked the plank and caught cannonballs (cheese balls) in large buckets. I made swords out of balloons (thank you youtube) and we had sword fighting lessons. The party was just as successful this year as it was 5 years ago and Cannon was a very happy boy.
As a sidenote: There are benefits to having older siblings, even if you do get their leftover birthday parties. Hunter didn’t have anyone dress up as a pirate for his party but Cannon sure did. A couple years ago, we were a family of pirates for Halloween – so just before the party, I dug through the costume box and found my costume. Hunter saw what I was doing and asked if he could dress up. Before long, Hallie, Bennett and Steve also joined in the fun. I asked Cannon if he wanted to dress up but he was happy in his red striped shirt. Having all these helpers for birthday parties sure is nice!
Bennett participates in a dual language program at school with most of his friends so it only made sense to capitalize on his love for Mexico right now with a Fiesta birthday party. It was hard to find a day that his friends could join him and it just so happened that the best day only gave me two days to plan. Not ideal – but it really limited the amount of time and energy I spent on the party which I realized wasn’t all that bad!
I did make time to design an invite – that I then texted to all the mothers. I did this for the last two parties and it’s my favorite.
Keeping 6-year-olds entertained can be difficult but we had enough activities that there wasn’t enough time for them to assemble their pitchforks. 😉
I designed “Fiesta Bingo” cards and we used black beans as the markers. We probably could have played this the entire time and the kids would’ve been happy.
Steve read the book Skippy Jon Jones in his best Spanish accent. He’s entertaining to listen to.
We did some taste testing. I went to a Mexican market and purchased several items for the kids to try. All the packaging is in Spanish so I really had no idea what I was purchasing – I relied on persuasive packaging. Out of all the things the kids tried – Mangoes were there favorite. Everything else was an unfamiliar taste and not nearly as sweet as what they are used to. Most the kids spit out the candy they tried, evidently they don’t like chili powder in their candy!
We played pin the tail on the donkey with a color engineering print from Staples. There was all sorts of giggling as they watched their friends place the tail in the wrong places.
And what’s a fiesta party without a piñata – filled with American candy of course! Here is Bennett’s poor hitting form – but he nailed the intensity!
He was happy as could be with his Jarritas soda and his deep fried tortillas with cinnamon/sugar posing as his cake – not to mention he was sporting his favorite shirt.
He talked about his birthday party for months. We planned it in two days. And within an hour and a half it was over. It was quite possibly one of the easiest birthday parties I’ve thrown together. Feliz cumpleaños Benito Panchito. (What his Spanish teacher calls him!)
I don’t typically like to duplicate themed parties that I’ve thrown for my kids. Every kid is different and they all have different themes. But sometimes it’s necessary to break the rule. Like when your baby is born on Dr. Seuss’ birthday – it’s necessary to have a Seuss themed first birthday even though you threw a Suess theme party for your oldest boy. (how was I ever to know I would be put in such a situation?!)
But as is usually the case, I’m now on my 5th first birthday and I’m starting to lose steam. Perhaps it’s because his birthday was sandwiched between a busy “Project week” and spring break. Steve was calling for simplification and yet I couldn’t let the last one come and go without some sort of celebration. I’m sure somewhere down the line, in some arguing match we would hear how everyone else got a first birthday…
So I simplified and with help from Hallie and Hunter and a trip to the party store – Briggs got his party/nacho bar with family that he will never remember, but we have pictures to prove that it happened!
I found the large 24″ balloons at party city. They might be my new favorite party decor. I cut one inch strips of fabric and tied them to the balloon string. The blue polka dot is wrapping paper from Party City that we cut and put on the center of tables. We gathered the Seuss books in the house and stacked them in the center. We made blue jello and put a swedish fish in each one (one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish). We gathered several red candies for the tables. No, we didn’t find a bag of red/white gummy bears. But when you buy a large enough bag you can pick out enough red and white to fill the tables. They were the first things gone.
His stranger anxiety is starting to get the best of all of us. His cousins are good sports and they keep trying to win his love. One way to do that is by feeding him!
After people were done feeding him, he found the spoon and started feeding himself. And once the spoon was in his mouth, it’s almost as if he couldn’t figure out how to get it out! He just sat there looking around, sucking off as much of the frosting as he could.
And while we were celebrating a first birthday, we might as well celebrate a 50th birthday. We should really start holding monthly family birthday parties!
Hunter’s baptism two weekends back seems like forever ago.
I was able to reuse the #8 marquee I made three years ago for Hallie’s baptism. It’s been stashed in the corner of my garage and it was good to pull it back out and bring it to life again.
I made the #8 marquee and the other #8 signs were picked up at Hobby Lobby. I sewed the buffalo check table runners made from this fabric at Amazon. We’ve used Hallie’s baptism runners over and over and over again. But I think these are my new favorite. I want buffalo check everything right now! Each table had a wood slice with some greenery and a succulent, all from Hobby Lobby. I’m finding it’s harder to decorate for a boy than it is for a girl!
Gathering everyone for a photo proved to be very difficult. We had gathered this group when we realized several people were missing including my mom and Briggs. By the time I gathered them, we were missing a new group of people. Between the two photos it shows the majority of the people! With our family and friends, we had a full house and Hunter could feel the love from all the support. I love this family and community with all my heart.
We hosted a soup and rolls dinner afterwards and enjoyed the beautiful weather. There was a moment that night that stood out among the others. The family was gathering their food and sitting down to eat. The backyard was lit only by the string lights hanging above. There was a TV that scrolled through pictures of Hunter Birth to present and music filled the air. And I paused. I stood to the side and watched for just a minute. I soaked it in. It was a thin place. Everything was right and my whole body felt peace and gratitude. If I could collect moments in a jar like people collect sand – this moment would be sitting on my mantle.