Read part one
As a new mom, of course I had fun with the birthday parties. Oh yes….like all new moms I went completely overboard with elaborate themes. For her 1st birthday….it was pink, girly & we had a picture of her on her cake. Her 2nd birthday was her care bear birthday….she started talking in complete sentences before she was 2, and yes….she knew all the care bears by name. But I think the birthday song scared her….I felt bad!
For her third birthday party, we did a whole Strawberry Shortcake theme since that was her favorite. I named all the food to coordinate with the names of Strawberry Shortcake and her friends. Thankfully all smiles that year.
The Little Mermaid was the theme for her fourth birthday, and we had it at a local park with the beach in view. In fact, it was at the same park & pavilion where we just had her 9th birthday. Ah…memories!
And for her fifth birthday she invited a couple friends to Build A Bear workshop which turned out very cute! After that (and my third daughter was born), I decided to follow suit of many wise moms before me and start establishing the birthday parties as every OTHER year for each child (except for their first 5 birthdays). At this point I had already thrown a minimum of 11 birthday parties between both girls, and now with a third child I was starting over with the parties. For each birthday through their 5th year, I like to have special parties for them where we gather with our friends. I’m currently doing that with my youngest while alternating parties for the two oldest girls.
It’s been a great compromise, and A LOT less work for mom. On the in between years we let them decide on something to do: have a friend sleepover and go out to dinner or a movie with the friend, or the mall. As the girls get older, they’ve been picking mall trips with friends that the moms and I chaperone. It’s neat to see how they are growing into young ladies who want clothes and accessories instead of plastic toys. I highly recommend keeping this in mind if you’re a new mom. It’s hard to believe…but one day you won’t want to see another goodie bag or party favor.
We’ve even “created family memories or weekend trips” as the birthday celebration. And living in Florida, and being such Disney fans mean we’ve done trips to Disney. We figured we’d spend the “party” money on making memories together….we did this for several of their birthdays. Mainly because of the 2 years we’ve owned season passes, we counted up that our oldest daughter has celebrated 7 of her birthdays at Disney! You can’t beat Disney!! Even at ages 12 & 9, our girls are Disney fanatics and can’t wait till we can go again. Our passes have been expired since last March, and we get twinges of Disney withdrawal now and then.
I’ve even learned to simplify the parties. They’re as close to our “backyard cake and Kool-Aid” parties we had as kids. In fact, that was my aim. All kids really want is to play with their friends, feel special, eat cake and open presents.
And as moms, we don’t have to keep finding and picking up plastic toys from favor bags all week. It really is a win/win. So Monday….we met at the park….moms, kids, capri sun and cake. Keep it simple….you’ll be surprised how easy and stress-free it can really be!!
** Your turn ~ How do you celebrate birthdays in your family? What have you done over the years to keep it simple, while still making the birthday child feel special? *Does your family also love Disney? **