On October 25, 2012, our Charley turned 8.
Our tradition has been that every other year he gets to have a kid friend birthday party. This tradition started in Kindergarten. He had pondered ideas for an entire year...but, when I excitedly suggested a Halloween themed birthday party, once in his life, he grabbed on. Within minutes I had him committed and told him the plans were rolling so he couldn't change his mind.
I knew I could come up with at home fun for a Halloween party...but a Ninja party...not so much.
Some of his initial food requests were...a salad bar or a sandwich bar. But we convinced him hot dogs would go over better and would be way easier. But I love that our boy loves salad bars and making his own sandwiches.
So here is the run down on his party.
My blog is also my children's baby books...so, I apologize if sometimes it comes across that way.
Charley, as your friends arrived (some in costumes and some not) they were invited to decorate a treat bag and a cupcake (that they would eat later).
We had cupcake trays filled with all sorts of different candies...
(skittles, M&Ms, gummy worms, dots, skittles, sprees, candy corn, smarties, dots, and so many more)
Once they were done they headed outside, where it was about 40 degrees but they didn't care. They played tag with your daddy until mama had things finished up inside.
Once everyone was ready we gathered on the driveway, split into 3 teams of four, and were given a scavenger hunt challenge. You all ran around solving clues and collecting envelopes that had cut out skeleton parts. Once you all had all 7 envelopes their group had to assemble their skeleton. The kids worked together and raced around and completed this task - way to quickly :)
The kids assembled the skeletons on the picnic table.
Afterwards we sang to you and ate the cupcakes...yes, before lunch, and WOO HOO! Outside.
We all know that cupcakes and carpets don't mix
At this point we moved inside and daddy had darkened the basement a tad.
We sat in a circle and I read a story in the dark and passed around body parts in bags.
The kids giggled and had a great time.
After the story we went around the circle and each kiddo made one guess on a single body part.
Then I revealed the secrets.
Since I had them in a circle we also guessed a few jars of candy.
While I was doing all this with the kids my mom and Ed whipped up the lunch and then I served it up.
The kids had hot dogs, blue and orange finger jello, carrot sticks, and pickles.
And juice boxes that I had decorated like mummies.
Then we opened presents and headed back outside for relay races.
Things like...walk with an orange balloon between your legs...pass the balloon under over to all your team mates, run with a skull head on a spoon, and then we had lots of extra time so we played about 5-8 recess games that I pulled from my arse...thanks to my teaching days.
The kids had a great time, I think.
I had a headache when it was all done.
I could have used a hot bath and a glass of wine, but instead got picked up immediately by a friend and went off to conquer my first 4 mile running race.
My mom was here and watched over Sydney during all the chaos and snapped a few pics on her camera too I am sure. She pointed out little things that I didn't notice because I was so involved in the action. She loved seeing the kids hugging and cheering during the relay races and she thought the kids sat down in a cute row during cupcake eating on the deck. I wish I could have taken more pictures.
I hope Charley looks back at his 8th birthday party and knows that it was planned with love, that his mom and dad sat up the night before organizing the scavenger hunt for plenty of time, and that he was so lucky to have so many fun classmates and neighbors come and make him feel so cool.
I sometimes wonder if we will regret not throwing him a kid party every year. But I truly believe in soaking up these younger years with at home parties where simple fun is enjoyed by all. I know that probably in the near future he will request a buddy or two to sleep over and there will be no work on my part. These years really do just keep going faster and faster. And the every other year has to bring some appreciation, anticipation, and balance.
Happy Birthday, Charley.
You are the little guy who changed your daddy and I into who we are today.
You keep us challenged and make life so much more fun.