With everything going on this spring (new baby, selling/building a house, long-distance travel, etc.), I was really hoping that Evan would want his fifth birthday party to be held at a party place: Pump It Up, Monkey Joe's, a bowling alley, whatever. I'd make a phone call, bake a batch of cupcakes, and have a dozen happy five year olds.
Instead, as soon as we started talking about Evan's approaching birthday, he knew what he wanted: A Cars 2/SPY Birthday Party. He loves the movie, and Finn McMissile is, in his opinion, the Coolest Thing Ever.
And so it was....a theme birthday at home. But I still kept it simple.....
I called upon Google Images to help me make the invitations:
...and the fill-in-the-blank thank you notes that just may be written on the plane this week...
For Party Favors, I found these cool puzzles in the Target party aisle, added some crayons and labels, and stuck them in a self-sealing poly bag.
I'm not a cake decorator, as evidenced by the Dinosaur Train Cake I attempted last year. So this year, we make cupcake toppers. The pictures were, again, from Google Images, which I cut out using a cool circle-punch that my future sister-in-law gave me. I glued two matching images together with a toothpick sandwiched in between.
And then, it was party time! Most of the hour and a half long party was just spent in free play. For most of the kids, it was their first visit to our house, so there were lots of new toys for them to discover. But, Evan wanted to play Spy Games at his Cars 2/Spy Party (which was WAY easier than trying to recreate a World Wide Racing Competition in our living room), so, with thanks to Pinterest, we played a few party games.
The first game was the classic I Spy game, in which 10-12 objects are placed on a tray, one is secretly removed and the players need to use their Keen Spy Memory to recall which is missing. Before the party, Evan and I filled the tray with "Spy Gadgets": a pen and pad, a cell phone, a magnifying glass, a small velvet satchel (for carrying found jewels), a pair of keys (for opening mystery boxes), a spy watch (for checking in with The Boss), a kaleidoscope aka: a looking glass (for "taking a Very Close look at clues"), an iPod nano (which we pretended was a secret recording device), a few gold coins (because they added some shine to the tray), and Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell matchbox cars. We played half a dozen or so rounds because the kids loved it....they especially loved the part where, before I covered the tray to remove an object, I told them to "Take a veeerrrrrrrryy close look at the Spy Gadgets..."
We then played Super Sneak, to practice our Spy Stealth. Each kid had a chance to be the Guesser; to sit in front of the group with his or her back turned and eyes closed. I (or Max) then silently (or not so silently for Max: "Ummmmm....I pick....SENNA!") picked one kid to very quietly sneak a sack of jewels (the velvet satchel from the I Spy tray) from behind the back of the Guesser. The sack was then hidden behind the back of the Super Sneak and the Guesser was told to turn around. "Look at your friends right in the eye," I'd say, "Because one of them STOLE YOUR JEWELS! Who's hiding them? Who is that Super Sneak?!" It was so fun to watch the Five-Year-Old Sneak try to keep a straight face. (And a really good indicator of which kids the parents had better watch out for come the teenage years...some of them pretty convincingly said, "Me? Nope. I don't have your jewels..." even though the entire room full of parents saw them take the sack!)
Finally, the kids were lead up to the upstairs hallway where we had set up, with big thanks to Pinterest, Laser Dodge...
This was a HUGE hit. One mom said she was going to set it up for her two boys as soon as she got home ("I just need to keep them busy this afternoon," she said, "and this will do it!"). And then, Cupcakes!
It was such a great party. The best part of celebrating your five-year old's birthday with his friends, is that his friends are, for the most part, also five. They were so much fun....and so polite and sweet. It was the first time I had spent any real amount of time with most of the kids who came. I can see why Evan has had such a socially successful year at school....these were all just Really Nice Kids. Their teachers are so lucky to have such a great group of kiddos this year.
After the Friend Party ended, the family came for Party: Round Two. There were presents.... AWESOME presents...presents that Evan (and Max, and the cousins) played with endlessly yesterday afternoon, and that Evan slept with last night. (And he was up four times in the middle of the night to ask how much longer until morning so he could start playing again...)
Some of the presents required assembly...and there were plenty of helpers for that (thanks Mom Mom and Uncle Will!).
And of course, there were MORE cupcakes....
(Don't you just love his shirt? He said, "I think I should wear a fancy shirt for my party today, don't you?" Love him.)
Although Other People's Birthdays are hard for two-year olds, Max did great. (The double dose of cupcakes helped...)
And Molly was surrounded all day by her adoring public...so she was a Happy Little Girl.
(Thanks to Meghan for holding her while she slept through the ENTIRE Cars 2 party! She really is the best baby ever. I'm just saying...)
This was my favorite birthday of Evan's yet. I'm not sad about him turning five. I'm ready for the changes this year will bring, and so is he. He handled the excitement and the craziness of The Birthday Parties so beautifully and really enjoyed himself. He was polite when opening gifts, he shared his new toys (for the most part) really well with Max and his cousins, and he was the perfect host for his friends. At one point, when just about all the kids had congregated in the play room, Sam overheard Evan say to the gang, "Just make yourselves at home."
What a guy.