Saturday, April 09, 2011

Celebrating Birthdays

This year I told the kids we weren't going to go crazy with birthdays.  In the past, I've planned, organized, and stressed about elaborate parties that make for great memories, but leave me overwhelmed and the kids are left expecting bigger and better the following year.  When one birthday is over they seem to immediately begin talking about the next one.  It's not that I don't want to celebrate my sweet, precious children, I just don't want to add additional stress and expectation. 

Birthdays used to be a gathering of friends, a couple games, cake and ice cream and gifts.  We'd get dressed up to go to the party have an afternoon of fun with friends and then go home.  I think moms were expected to bake a cake, plan a couple games, namely pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and that was it.  You knew you hit a big time party if there was a pinata.

Nowadays, the gamut of parties fills internet websites.  I've known moms who created and painted barnyard scenes from huge cardboard boxes, hired professional entertainers, and built castle backdrops for princess parties.  I've created versions of television game shows for the kids to participate in, enlisted friends to help in pampering for spa parties, and the list goes on. 

Ususally, I have a lot of energy for the first family birthday in April, but run out of steam for our last June birthday.  My precious June birthday boy.  He has great birthdays, but they're usually to movies and then maybe a pool party.  They are more of the low key parties with a lot of fun, but not as much planning and preparation.  He's never complained.

This past week we celebrated the first of the family birthdays.  We do have an outing planned later in the month with friends.  It's kind of a big deal, so I'm not sure how well I'm sticking to my new plan, but...

On the day of the birthday, we greeted our girlie with much celebration!  She had been counting down daily for about the last fifty days.  She's our countdown girl.  Countdown to everything.  Now that the "official" day has past, she's counting down to her party with friends.  Then we'll begin counting down to Easter, then to other family birthdays.  The good news is she always keeps me on my toes and she is the one if the family who ALWAYS knows what the date is.

The boys woke up and made her a buttermilk pancake breakfast.  Love those boys!  Blessing their sister...AWESOME!  After breakfast we headed out to Barnes & Noble.  Kids who love to read, love books for their birthday.  And moms who love to read LOVE to wander around the kid section at Barnes & Noble checking out what is new.  We had a Groupon to spend and an Educator's Discount Card so the kids found many wonderful books.  (Note: if you're a homeschool family, parents qualify as educators and can get the discount- well worth it!).

Kids can also sign up for Kids' Club.  It's free and there are special rewards.
Our book purchases
Here's the collection of books we brought home.  My sweet husband reads to the kids every night and has read them the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull.  This is the last and most recent book that they haven't read yet.  I don't know about this series, but my sweetheart and the boys have enjoyed it.  The boys also found and autographed book by Brandon Mull from the new series Beyonders.  They were so excited!  My kids, so excited about getting an autographed book!  Love it!  We also purchased Book One from The Cronus Chronicles The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu, Hank Zipzer The World's Greatest Underachiever Niagara Falls, or Does It? by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick (Newbery Honor book to go along with our Civil War study), The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester, Book One of Warriors Series Into the Wild by Erin Hunter, and lastly for the Birthday Girl, her pick was Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams from the Goddess Girls Series.

After purchasing the books we strolled over to Starbuck's.  When my Grandma was visiting four months ago, she introduced the kids to a Carmel Frappacino with extra carmel and whipped cream.  Our girl has wanted one ever since.  So, for a late morning treat she was able to purchase her decaf fancy Starbuck's drink.  And when the barista heard it was her birthday he offered it to us at no charge.  Blessings!


After our Starbuck's treat and a little schooling she chose to enjoy her birthday lunch at In-N-Out. 

She finished her day off with a softball game.  It was a full day and I think she felt the love.

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