A Third 2nd Birthday

Last year, I combined my baby’s first birthday with my son’s 6th birthday (meaning that I bought my son a smashable cake and we added his name to the birthday song at the party; we also made some cupcakes and gave him a birthday shirt on his actual birthday – we like to go all out, clearly).  I knew that he wouldn’t know he was being deprived and it just made more sense than planning a whole party for him when we really didn’t have many other “baby” friends at that time anyway.

This year, we could have done the same thing because at 2 he still wouldn’t know much about birthdays, but I felt bad since I already did the combo last year so we tried to put together a quick party for just a few friends and family.  Seeing as though my boys’ birthdays are less than 3 weeks apart, I didn’t actually start to think about my 2-year-old’s birthday until after my older son’s party, which is rare for me because I usually like to plan things way in advance!  Anyhow, much like the plans for my older son’s party a few weeks ago, I knew I couldn’t do anything other than pick a place and get a cake and favors, so we booked a table at a local bouncy house place and I extended email invitations to 4 other families.  Nope, I didn’t even get real invitations or decorations.  So sad.  But there it is. Still better than last year, although I am the first to admit that the bar had been set pretty low.

My “baby” is obsessed with the Lorax right now so I knew that I had to somehow create some favors and cake with that theme.  I will write separately about that because finding “Lorax-themed” items other than large books is quite difficult so I had to improvise in my usual scatterbrained way! 🙂  Anyhow, each family invited was able to come and as the families included some older children as well, my older kids had playmates too.

The bouncy house location had changed slightly since the last time we attempted to take our little family there so there was no longer a baby bouncy house like I was expecting.  This turned out to be ok (though disappointing) because they did still have a 3 and under house, a few houses with easy access for parents to “rescue” their children,

bouncing with big brother

Bouncing over to say hi to mommy

When he realized he was “stuck” in the bouncy house and needed to be rescued

a few rides,

riding in the jeep with a friend

a little climbing playhouse,

running through the maze to find big sister

a slide,

big sister finally getting into it!

and a few other games, like skee-ball and air hockey!

learning to roll the ball instead of hurl it

big brother in an intense game of air hockey

(not to mention aisles to run down like a psychotic chimp – this comment directed toward my crazy birthday boy who did just that).

After tiring themselves out for the first hour, we headed to the tables and had some pizza and cupcakes.

time for the food

When it came time to light the candle and sing Happy Birthday, my little monster decided he would have a spontaneous meltdown.  I had been waiting for this moment and he did not disappoint.  Here’s my boy “basking” in the glow of his 2nd birthday party while my husband tries to show him the cupcake and candle, clearly doing his best to burn the joint down with his balancing act.

who wants to sit still for a cupcake and the birthday song when you can just scream?

In the end, I think everyone ended up having fun, even though it was pretty hectic.  I just know that we made the right call by having a special party for my 2 year old.  Here’s how he said, ‘thank you’ for our efforts.

Too much partying will wear a kid out – and I love it!

Absolutely thrilled to be able to do it all again next year….but will definitely start planning in July!

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Putting The World Together

As I have mentioned, my oldest son just turned 7 and his latest obsession is anything space-related.  As such, he was very excited to receive a solar system kit and a puzzle of the earth as seen from the “space view” as a birthday present from his little brother and sister.

He was even nice enough to let his little sister help him put together the puzzle (but not the planetarium or the solar system model – hey, allowing her to touch one out of three is considered a success at this point).

searching for the right pieces

working together on this project (a miracle captured on film or disc or whatever is in a digital camera)

the finished project, Earth and the moon! (and as I helped them with this, I can attest to the fact that a circular puzzle is much harder than a regular puzzle!)

Once the puzzle was complete, big brother wanted to put together his new model of the solar system and mini planetarium.  This was a lot of fun as each planet was tiny and shaped like a ball, therefore little brother assumed he should try to steal each piece (and then scream when he wasn’t allowed to run away).  Good times.

We finally got everything together without losing any pieces (yet) and here the birthday boy is, ready for bed and hoarding his stash.

OOOOOHHH, AAAAAHHHH – the planets actually revolve around the sun individually on their own orbit path but when we tried to take a picture of that, it looked weird so he just pushed them back into line order

Each time I stare at a new picture of the planets, I am saddened that Pluto is no longer included.  I mean, Pluto and I were together all through my childhood and schooling.  So, this particular set made my day when I discovered that it had included a teeny tiny little ball on the outskirts of the universe that was meant to be Pluto, with the disclaimer that it was only a dwarf planet now.  I’ll take it.  Welcome back, Pluto.  (if you look closely right by his hand, you can see what looks like a freckle – that’s Pluto)

Then we headed upstairs to set up the planetarium.  It was not of great quality – hey, it was purchased because I had a coupon, don’t judge – but he was very excited to check out the Northern Hemisphere the first night and the Southern Hemisphere the next night.  A point to anyone who can locate the big and little dippers (for the record, I still can’t and the constellation locator map was right in front of me).

planetarium stars mixed in with his glow in the dark stars

He ended up really enjoying his presents and the process of playing with everything/putting everything together actually turned out to be fun for the whole family!  Who knew? 🙂

**It only took 2 days for the planetarium to need new batteries.  Thank God the solar system stands on its own….at least until my baby gets a hold of it**

A Third 1st Birthday

Lately, I have watched as many of my parent friends have struggled with how to go about having 1st birthdays for their subsequent children.  When you are a first time parent, you often feel the need to go all out for that special day when your child turns one.  Some invite the whole neighborhood; some hire party planners and/or photographers; some buy ridiculous decorations and gifts, and all this is for a child that will essentially do the following things no matter how dressed up he is: smile, scream, soil himself (usually in a big way), smash a cake, fall asleep.  As these same people enter the world of multiple children, they tend to step back and evaluate the pros and cons of repeating the process.

When I reached the milestone of having my 3rd child reach his 1st birthday, I was kind of limited with the amount of time I could spend on party planning (not to mention the money aspect).  Luckily, both of my boys have birthdays within 3 weeks of each other.  So last year, while my baby was blissfully ignorant, I simply added his name to my older son’s cake and bought an extra cake for him to smash at big brother’s birthday party. It was a fun celebration without an extra party!  Woo Hoo.  Ingenious.

But what to do on baby’s actual birthday?  I didn’t want him to feel like he missed out when he looks at his photo album in a few years (of course he has no clue right now) but I was not about to use up what little energy I had left planning a huge celebration.  So, I did what any lazy logical mother of 3 would do, I found the perfect birthday outfit and I made cupcakes.  And now, I am going to share my secret recipe for a magical third 1st birthday day with you!

  • Step 1: Outfit your child for the special day.  This involves diligently searching various stores until you find a cheap birthday tshirt/onesie in the clearance section at Target.  Add some jeans, shorts, or those diapers that look like jeans from the dresser drawer located in your baby’s room.  And, WALAH (sp?), you’re done with costuming, your child will be comfortable and you won’t freak out when he gets icing all over himself! Congrats.

    he’s the birthday boy

  • Step 2: The Cake/Cupcakes.  Dig through your pantry until you find an old box of cake mix that you bought when the mixes were on sale buy one, get one free and make sure that it’s not too far past the “best if used by” date.

made from scratch cake mix

Mix the ingredients up as fast as you can and pour them quickly into a muffin pan because pretty soon the baby will soil himself (as previously mentioned) and you don’t want to be in the middle of making a food item when he does.

Notice how I made sure to spill the batter onto the pan while pouring so that people wouldn’t think I was a professional baker

Find a clean spoon.  Scoop whatever is left in the mixing bowl onto the spoon and insert in mouth.  That wonderful taste and smell will help you ignore the aroma that is coming from the playpen as dear baby has started the soiling process.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ignore the spoon licking step or the cupcakes will not turn out!

Place the pan in the oven and allow the batter to bake for the appropriate amount of time.  Run over to stinky baby to deal with the soiling issue, then promptly wash hands and give big kisses to the baby before pulling the cupcakes out, letting them cool and placing them on the nearest platter you can find.

Yes, this is a chip and dip platter, but it works!

Pull out that can or bottle of frosting that you secretly keep for times of stress. Check that it is still fresh by pouring a large amount directly into your mouth.

I highly recommend this for your secret stash

Once satisfied by the frosting fix, decorate the cupcakes to your liking with the remainder of the can (they don’t have to be pretty because you can always hide them with a cute cupcake topper and your baby will just smash his to make it “prettier” anyway).  Hand out the cupcakes to your family and enjoy.

Looks like I bought it at a bakery, right? RIGHT?

  • Step 3: The Presents.  Save the boxes/wrapping paper that others used when giving your baby presents and present them to him for his enjoyment.  Nothing says I love you like an empty box or perhaps one filled with packing popcorn. (Be warned that if baby happens to swallow a piece of packing popcorn, you will have to revisit the “soiling” step.)

    Always up for a good time

    After all is said and done, your baby won’t remember a thing, but you can still get some cute pictures to remind him that you took the time to revel in the excitement that was his actual 1st birthday day, even if it is your third 1st birthday day.