Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Try to Keep Up

Since my sister moved to Boston, I keep hearing about these birthday parties with 3 course meals, a hired clown, a rented bouncy mansion, and the like. Outside the upper-crust coastline, and back into Zion, mommies get over the top with hand-made 3-D birthday invites and gift bags for the party-goers that cost more (and look cuter) than the one sent with my kid.


So when Vanilla Wafer turned 4 recently, I wanted to lower the birthday party standards for all those moms wondering if they really need to build a water-misting outdoor obstacle course for that overheated summer birthday. Now don't get me wrong, big birthday bashes have their place, but just don't get in the trap that each year needs to be a little bit bigger or a lot bit better than the year before. Here's how we celebrated the life of our little guy this month...



since Vanilla Wafer has been wearing his Spiderman costume the entire month of August, I decided to go with that theme. Every good party must have a THEME mind you!


Rainbow Girl: "Mom, aren't there any balloons? I want to decorate!"
Mrs. Olsen: "...uuhhhhh....I made a cake!"
Rainbow Girl: "Never mind, I found some string. I'm going to make spider webs!"


For easily distracted youngsters, I like to follow this simple rule: Invite the same number of guests as the age of your kid. For us, we had 3 little cousins and the best buddy that lives next door. Sister was a bonus (and my helper!). Sorry if you wanted to come.

Of course, mutual cooperation helps. We insisted that birthday gifts be simple and happy, just like four year olds seem to be naturally. In this case, Vanilla Wafer got bubble bath, a sword, a kite, and total utter happiness. Anything bigger or better than that, and Mrs. Olsen can't sleep cause she just got burdened with birthday guilt.


We really pulled out the stops for this activity. Each kid got an old paper grocery sack to cut out eyes. If they had any sort of attention span, we were going to color them and grab each other and moan like a monster, then try to guess who they were. But alas, on to the next activity....

In this case, it was Monsters vs. Aliens playing as the last of summer matinee specials. $1 admission means I threw a party for under ten bucks! Yeah baby!



And lastly, reminisce all your kids personality styles and quirks. Like sticking out the tongue while he concentrates, obsessive love of younger brothers, and the fact that he wants to marry his mom and asks her twice a day in his crappy late-developing English: "Mwooom, will you mawr-rwee meeee?". Yes son, I will marry you! Here's some cake!


14 comments:

Jake said...

Now THAT'S a party! I love the spiderwebs.
My most memorable b-day party from when I was a kid: 5 friends, Goonies on VHS, cupcakes, and human pyramids. Does not get better than that.

Tara said...

Sounds like a great party! I'm sure the kiddies had an excellent time. Gage would love the paper bag over the head... I'll have to remember that for his next bday.

Lee Family said...

You're awesome and funny and I'm laughing my head off. Just today I was feeling guilty about the gifts I took to the birthday party that was an Outdoor cinema (in pjs and sleeping bag) Kung-Fu Panda complete with a pizza, juice boxes, and a candy buffet - oh, and glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets . . . for like 50 people. This is a fabulous and creative party that any 4 yr old would dream of. Well done and Happy Birthday!! Love you.

KayKayBe said...

Amber- thanks for the link of the week. It's refreshing to read respectful, straightforward parenting about such a loaded subject.
I'm a low key partier with a huge party MIL. We're trying to work out Emma and Eli's bday parties right now. Thanks for backing me up! -Kelly

LGH said...

Amber, you are the best...what a memorable party! Tell Rainbow Girl she can help me decorate any time; I loved those spider webs she made.

And, speaking of birthdays, happy birthday to you!

Candice said...

My favorite part was that he wants to marry you. I think that means that you are an awesome Mom. You have set the standard for his future bride.

Tami said...

Love the birthday rules...especially number 2. All SO true. Looks like the party was a hit!

jennaloha said...

I did the same thing this summer. Made cupcakes. Forgot drinks, plates, cups...decorations? That didn't even occur to me. I could have used Rainbow Girl's help.


(Welcome back to blah-gging. Have a nice sabbatical?)

Jenny said...

You sure do know how to throw a party! I love it! It's all in the details...

Mrs. Olsen said...

Just like Jake said, his most memorable party was Goonies, cupcakes, and human pyramids. I think its VITAL to start simple and small, so that they're not THAT kid who receives a gift (or gifts) at Christmas and birthday and unimpressed asks: Was that it?

KKB: I say that whichever kid is the oldest, let Grandma go nuts planning a party. Then let each kid have a Grandma party for THAT birthday. Like the 10th birthday or something (do you have kids that old?) It's an event, an exception, instead of the rule. Kids will be in a lather and Grandma can go nuts and be awesome to them. :)

Monica said...

I love the simplification and I am with you all the way! Who needs streamers, balloons, a clown, or a catered meal? You know, I must say that I haven't encountered too many over-the-top birthday parties in our area, though. Thank goodness! You rock, Bosey! And happy birthday to you, too!

cozy said...

Why do I always smile so big when I read any of your posts? I always think I have to write volumes to preserve a memory. Your write just enough and leave us feeling so good.
I loved the decorations, the simple crowd, the spiderman suit with paper bag adornment, and your wisdom about birthday parties. You got it right.

Wade and Marilyn said...

Happy Birthday--we called you our party chairman while you were growing up. Hope Vanilla Wafer finds someone as wonderful as his Mom to marry.

earwaxtasteslikecrayons said...

I'm totally with you on this. My kids only get a friend party when they turn 8 (just like I did growing up). We've added the tradition of a pinata, and sometimes invite the neighbors to join us on that. But otherwise, I'm pretty much the mom every other kid is glad they don't have.

Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha!