My sweet Luke turned seven this year and I’m painfully reminded of the shortage of years left to give him birthday celebrations that little boys dreams are made of. So, I went all out and he had a blast.
I’m so proud of Luke. He’s one of those spirits that was born with endless passion, unquenchable curiosity, and a love of learning and exploring. He never fails to surprise us, move us, and remind us of what really matters in life. He is just that kind of human being-the kind that is lit up from the inside. This past seven years we’ve gone through many sets of stitches, trips to the principal’s office, broken household appliances, and more fun than I could have ever anticipated. There is so much energy and light bound up in that 50 pounds of blonde hair and freckles that it’s hard to contain. He’s always had a love of adventure, spicy food, water, and talking. Oh, so much talking! He must get that from me, but the rest is his Dad. I almost didn’t have a second child, and I have said many times throughout his life, “What if I hadn’t had Luke-our family just wouldn’t be complete”. We really would not be who we are without this little man-he’s made all of us grow more, love more, and live more.
I am on the edge of my seat anticipating the way this one will shake up the world.
Luke and I had fun planning his party. We had date night this Tuesday to spend some time together making up the final plans for Saturday. I wanted to make sure I’d dotted every I and crossed every t, so that his party would be one to remember.
As the guests walked into our backyard, they were greeted by a custom birthday sign we made using a chalkboard we already had. A 99 cent box of chalk and some latex balloons from the corner grocery store, made a sweet and special tribute to Luke.
We started out with a fun kid’s table. This was a special place for the little ones to have their dinner and open up their treat bags. Considering all we had going on, I figured the only way to make them sit down long enough to eat was to give them a colorful and fun table complete with party favors and treat bags.
I just used an old white table cloth that has seen better days and used a roll of dollar store wrapping paper for the runner. I filled some little red buckets with rocks and stuck pinwheels in them for centerpieces. All of the table setting pieces, treat bags, and favors were found at the dollar store. I find that using some kind of color scheme for your party an then accenting with your child’s favorite theme or character is much more economical that buying all of those themed plates, cups, and napkins. They are so expensive and they just don’t give you the bang for your buck in terms of decoration. Here, we stuck to primary and secondary colors and carried that over into the rest of the party.
For the buffet table, I just used a plastic table cloth dressed up with some cloth napkins, and I re-purposed things I had around the house to add height to the table. I made the back drop out of a jump rope and crepe paper tied with some curly ribbon. I found the cardboard L at a craft store that will later be used as a decoration in Luke’s room.
Some of my favorite little details:
We had a hot dog bar with several kinds of chips, dips, and macaroni salad. I used a jumbo muffin tin to hold the hot dog toppings, and another crate for the condiments. I used Chad’s Easter basket to hold the hot dog buns. I propped that onto an old wooden crate to give some height. I put some paper straws in a Mason jar and rolled plastic cutlery into colorful napkins. I placed those in a parfait bowl. I made some cake stands out of some dollar store plates, candle sticks, and Apoxy glue, and set some of the food on those. This creates so much more of an impact that just laying everything flat onto the table. It also makes things easier to reach with less spillage.
I made watermelon Popsicles by simply cutting a slit into the rind of the slices and pushing in a craft stick.
I borrowed a wagon from my friend, lined it with a plastic tablecloth, and used it as a drink station.
Now for the real fun!
We had a kitty pool complete with plenty of squishy water balls.
I painted a Twister game right onto the grass using some spray paint. I just cut a hole into a box using a ten inch round cake pan as the circle. I used that as a template to form the circles. I did end up spray painting the tops of my feet, but it was worth it.
We rented a big old bounce house from a great local Business The Guy With the Bounce House. If you live locally, I would highly recommend ’em. Their houses have been the hit of many a shindig here at the Havey’s.
Unquestionably the biggest hit of the night this time, though, was the cheese puff helmet toss. We put shower caps on the kids’ heads, squirted on a big glob of shaving cream, and armed them with cheese puffs to throw at each others heads.
This picture is Luke with my friend Joy’s son Joshie. It just melts my heart.
This silly game brought out smiles in everyone.
Oh, and the cake! Of course no birthday bash is complete without this beloved confection. I wish I’d have had a chance to take a pic of the inside because it was blue and red striped, but by then, I just wanted to get the thing served. I simply made a two tiered cake make of five layers and frosted it yellow. I used blue Sixlets for the border. I printed out some comic action bubbles, founds star candles at the dollar store, and the gold streamer is the top a of a balloon weight that we cut off.
All in all, it would say the whole thing went off without a hitch.
I know that to some, a party like this may seem like a lot of work, and I won’t lie, it is. I start planning at least a couple weeks in advance, and I start with just an idea and make tons of lists, tons of shopping trips, and spend a good couple of days setting it all up. I work full time, so I did much of this in the middle of the night. I was out the night before setting up tables at 1:00 AM with the light of only the back porch and my older son to guide me. My neighbors think I’m totally crazy which may be justified.
However, it is well-established here on this blog that I believe it’s our job as parents to celebrate our children’s lives. It is not about just day to day survival. This is their special day and they should feel like a King (or Queen) on their birthday. There are very few precious years before they’ll be celebrating birthdays with their friends, maybe far away from you. But they’ll also be saying, “I remember when Mom used to do those big parties for me as a kid”, and they’ll understand more then how much it took to pull those things off. They’ll have no doubt how special they are to you, and how much it meant to you to make their day.
Do you see this smile? It is what life is all about, in my humble opinion.
I’m so thankful to all our friends and family who came out to celebrate with Luke!