Saturday morning started early, as birthdays often do. At 2am, Max tiptoed into my room. His face inches from mine, he whisper-yelled, "It's Saturday! I'm FIVE!"
"Ignore the clock. It's not Saturday yet because it's still nighttime. Go back to sleep."
He came back at 5:15 and crawled into my bed.
"I just can't sleep!" he whispered in my ear. "It's too exciting to sleep!"
He tossed and turned and hummed until 6, when I finally agreed to open my eyes for the day. And what a day it was.
Do you know how amazing this kid is? He's so amazing that he let his brother and sister each open one of his presents for him. That is amazing.
|Notice that it is, arguably, STILL nighttime when these photos were taken.|
|He couldn't watch. The excitement was palpable.|
And, after he helped Max open his presents, Evan went and amazed me, too, with something he pulled out of its hiding place behind the couch cushion.
"Hey, Max, close your eyes and open your hands. It's $2.75 from my wallet. Happy birthday!"
And I died. Because, as much as they can push each others' buttons like no one else, and as often as their wildness and roughness and self-centered behavior can drive me absolutely nuts, these three kids of mine love each other.
After a breakfast of very fancy store-bought frozen waffles, it was party time!
Max started planning this party a year ago. He bounced around from theme to theme for a few weeks last winter, but once he settled on Lalaloopsy, I was thrilled. I mean, come on, Lalaloopsies are just sew damn cute.
We went button-crazy for the decor...
Button garlands and "sewn" burlap buntings were hung in doorways and windows around the party space.
And for the table, I used my standard formula of cheap plastic table cloth covered with a "runner" of cheap wrapping paper.
We had centers set up around the party space for kids to go to during free play times or if they didn't want to participate in the party games.
Reading Tent with Bea Spells-a-Lot
Button Estimation with Dot Starlight
(This was adorable. As you can imagine, the four- and five-year olds estimates ranged from 11 to 150. Actual number in the jar: 736!! It blew their minds.)
Button Necklaces with Jewel Sparkles
Color Time with Spot Splatter Splash
"Lalaloopsy Land" was set up in the playroom...we got out aaaaalllll of Max and Molly's "Lala's" and every castle and house we have. We set them up around the playroom and ran a track of GeoTrax around the town. The kids loved this area.
For the party games, we played Stick the Peppermint on Mint E. Stripes.
Button Freeze Dance with Harmony B. Sharp
This games is like musical chairs, but with construction paper "buttons" instead of chairs.
I played music (Max requested The Imperial March, otherwise known as Darth Vader's theme song, which was super festive to dance to. I definitely should have gone over that with him before the party and picked a more dance-able song.) while the kids danced. When the music stopped, they had to find a button. The person without a button was out for the round.
This game failed for us because the kids who wanted to dance didn't care about ending up on a button when the music stopped--in fact, they didn't stop dancing when the music stopped. The kids who really wanted to end up on a button didn't get off their button to dance at all!
It ended up just being a dance party/watch your friends dance party. Which was actually pretty perfect for a party full of four- and five-year olds.
Pop! with Bubble Smack and Pop
This is a game Max insisted upon, as it's his favorite game he plays in school. All the kids sit in a circle. The birthday boy starts counting, "1." The kid next to him says "2," and so on, going around the circle until they count up to "10," at which point the kid says, "10. POP!" and stands up (and remains standing for the rest of the game). The game continues, skipping the kids who are standing until there's just one child sitting. We played with the slight variation of saying "10. Bubble Smack and Pop!" who is one of Max's favorite Lalaloopsy characters.
Max has wanted to have a pinata at his birthday party forever. This year, I found one that had Lalaloopsy girls on it, I could stuff it myself, and it had pull strings to release the goodies without anyone needing to beat anything with a stick!! It was perfect.
I only wish I'd gotten a picture of my birthday boy realizing his birthday pinata dream...
Finally, it was time for cake.
True to form, we went the cupcake and toppers route. I just don't do fancy cakes.
I don't think they cared...
It was a great, easy party. The kids, who have been together in school since last year, played so beautifully together. They get along so well and have such a special group relationship. I'm really going to be sad to see them split up when they head to kindergarten next year.
And my guys continued to do well together, too. At one point, one dad asked Sam, "Do they always play so well together?" My heart burst a bit at the compliment, though Sam admitted, "Oh, they have their moments...but they get along well for the most part."
And if there's anything as heart-bursting as seeing your kids love on each other at a birthday party, it's seeing them love on their cousins at the family party the next day.
Family parties are great around here because there's a LOT of family.
We had 19 here in addition to our five...so there was plenty of family love to go around.
(We missed you Kelly, Steven, Duke, Matt, Megan + Leo, Jack, Christina, and Jordan!)
And, always, more cake...and more singing...
And one giant Mother Smother kiss at the end.
Happy Happy Birthday, Maxwell!!
If you're a birthday party hater, go on and hate...I know it's very popular right now to make fun of the super-crafty, over-achieving, Pinterest mom. But I happen to love this stuff so I'll keep right on birthday party craft exploding over here. I can't help it. It just happens. I don't even Pinterest. It must be genetic...