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Entries in birthday (13)

Saturday
Apr112015

In Praise of a Chuck E Cheese Birthday Party

Best. Day. Ever.

I’ll admit that when Nic decided over a year ago that he wanted his 5th birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, I was less than excited. As a kid, I LOOOVED Chuck E Cheese. But now that I’m a parent, I’ve seen too many episodes of Law & Order: SVU that get there start in an eerily similar place, and sometimes I have a hard time getting past the germ factor.

Nic stuck to his guns though, and when it was time to make serious plans for the party, he still wanted Chuck E Cheese. I knew the party would be loud and chaotic, but I also knew that I wouldn’t have to clean up, so I booked it. And I am sure glad I did.

He was a bit nervous the morning of the party—an upset stomach and a little slow getting dressed. I remember getting nervous before my parties when I was a kid and he seemed to really relax once I noticed how he was feeling and acknowledged it. As soon as we got loaded up in the car he was ready to shine, this was his day and he knew it.

I can’t even explain how happy he was at the party—it was easily the best day of his life. He laughed, he danced, he participated in ways that I’ve never seen him participate before. He soaked up the celebration and we all could see it.

From the special cape to the Chucky Dance to happy birthday song to his time in the “ticket blaster,” Chuck E Cheese really did a good job of making this day different than a regular trip there. They let the birthday boy shine, made it fun for his friends and made it a really easy party to plan and execute.

As much as I love a “Pinterest Birthday,” Chuck E Cheese made quite an impression on me. I’d guess that this isn’t our last party there.  

Paying close attention to Chuck E, the giant rat. With Grampy and his haul from the "Ticket Blaster."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(NOTE: This post was in no way sponsored by Chuck E Cheese.)

Thursday
Mar192015

And Now You’re Five

Dear Nic,A huge, genuine smile on your birthday morning.

You willingly shared your birthday balloons this morning. You built a complicated Lego kit almost completely on your own. You coaxed your little cousin into smiling for the camera. We bought you an ant farm and trust you will not try to remove the lid (and enjoy listening to your hypothesis about what the ants will do next). You are such a big boy.

Five seems like a pretty big milestone for a kid, and a pretty important anniversary of parenthood. We’ve survived FIVE years of testing each other’s limits (daily, if not hourly). It’s been a bumpy road. The first 18 months was sleep deprived, but full of sunshine otherwise. You entered the terrible twos a bit early and continued into about six months of the terrifying threes. But at three-and-a-half, I noticed a shift in you. You slowed down a bit, gained more self-control, learned to really focus on the things you enjoy.

When you’re there, in that state of concentration or doing your personal best at something you enjoy, my heart sings. This is the little boy that I know you are and the man I’m confident you’ll be when you grow up.

I’ll be honest though, you’re not always in that place. And when you’re not, it’s hard. Hard on both of us. In the next year, I promise to be more patient—to look at things from your perspective before having a big reaction. I know you’re working hard and that it’s exhausting. The good news is that your hard work is paying off and I see it. Your daddy sees it too. And so do your teachers.

You have so much potential Nic. I can picture you at 10, at 15, at 20, and it’s amazing. I’m excited to see who you become, but also glad I get to watch you become it, day by day, year after year.

I love you. Always. No matter what.

Mommy

Sunday
Aug102014

Baby Z is Two!

 

Sweet Baby Z,

Good natured. That’s the best way I can describe you. When I think about you, I smile inside.  You’ve definitely become a toddler, with all of the stubbornness and moodiness that entails, but I’m confident you’ll come out of toddlerhood with a smile on your face.

Here are some things that I’ve come to know about you:Birthday balloons!

  • You carry your emotions close to the surface. When you are happy, you bounce with glee, but when you’re mad, watch out! Your daddy has a hard time keeping a straight face during your face-down-on-the-ground, kicking and screaming tantrums. I’m just thankful that they are very short-lived and that you’ve stopped banging your head against hard surfaces when you’re mad.
  • You’re slow to warm in new situations, but you are so affectionate with the ones you love. One of my favorite memories of you this year was one morning a few months ago when I gave your brother a kiss good morning while he was eating his breakfast. I had already given you good morning kisses when I got you from your crib, but that wasn’t enough for you. When you saw me walking away from the breakfast table without kissing the top of your head, you said, “Zachy kiss too please.” It melted my heart. It also made me take notice that you are watching how our family relates and making sure you get what you need.
  • You’re funny. You have excellent comedic timing—like your daddy.
  • You share willingly (please don’t let saying this out loud be a jinx). I’ve never seen a two-year-old take turns with such relative ease. This is likely the by-product of being a sibling, and it makes me so happy to see you and Nic facilitate turn-taking on your own.
  • Eating is hit or miss. For the first year, you were a reliably good eater (except for breastfeeding, which you hated). However, at around 14 months, a switch flipped and you got picky and unpredictable. Some days you’ll still take down 3 bananas in a sitting, but other days we’re lucky if we can get a frozen waffle and some chips in you. I’m chalking this one up to being a toddler and expect you to be a hearty eater again in a few years (fingers crossed).
  • You are a mama’s boy. There are so many people who love you and who you love, but if you got to choose who you’d be with all the time, it would be me. I love this. It can make things difficult, but it’s so worth it.

Zachary, you are a silly ray of sunshine who loves balloons and long walks around the neighborhood. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings out in you. 

Wednesday
Sep252013

Alphabet First Birthday Party: A to Zachary

 

At a 3 am feeding when Baby Z was three weeks old, I had an epiphany. The theme for his first birthday party would be A to Zachary. Though deliriously tired, I somehow remembered this lightning bolt idea and almost a year later, we had an alphabet birthday party for our little boy.

The party was full of family, fun and smiles. But I know what you guys are here for. Pin-able party pictures! Without further ado...

I used a Cricut to cut a lot of letters for this party, especially for this sign in on our front porch (yes, I realize now that the C is upside down!). I also had a silohuette made on Etsy of my sweet little boy (I used this on the invites too).

I made this wreath years ago (for Jennifer's baby shower for Elle!), and I update it for the seasons or parties that I host.

Nic and I worked together to melt down old crayons and pour them into a silicon letter mold. These crayon favors were a bit more fragile than I had hoped, but were fun to make.

This is one of my favorite things about entertaining at our new(ish) house. I can WRITE ON THE WALL! I have horrible penmanship, but chalk is SO forgiving. I fully recommend sidewalk chalking your house for a big party impact (test an area first to make sure your chalk will wash off).

 

More letter decor. The Lego letters were a last minute addition to hold down the tableclothes in the wind. Grampy and Nic had fun putting those together the morning of the party.

 

I used letter cookies from Trader Joe's for Z's name and filled a cookie cutter with sprinkles for the 1. Then I filled the ring around the cake with more sprinkles! Inside, this is a funfetti cake.

BabyBetas Reese and Elle seranade Z!

Z enjoying his personal, dairy-free funfetti smash cake!

Happy family celebrating our birthday boy.

 

Thursday
Aug012013

On the Eve of Your First Birthday 

 

Dear Z,

That smile!You are so big and so small. Yes, this is possible. It’s hard to believe the way that life has expanded in the last year with you here. Our house is so much more full with smiles, messy floors and your endless range of noises.

I feel like I’m really getting to know you. You love games, and routine. I’ll be shocked if your first word isn’t “ball”—the only thing you love more is your brother, and “Dominic” is an unlikely first word. And you LOVE to eat.

You are finally getting much more of the attention you deserve. We’re all learning to share our time better, and that leaves me feeling much less anxious about giving you the focus that I want you to have. We have many moments together these days, and I treasure them. And the benefit of the few months that it took to find that balance is that you are a very patient little boy (except when you are in your highchair).

You and brother have loved each other intensely since you were born, and now you can actually play together. You roll the ball back and forth, chase each other around the house and sometimes even share toys. You even gave brother his first baby-induced owie—a scrape from a dino swipe to the face (I’m calling it revenge for an incident when you were three months old that involved a dino dropped from a height).

I know when we bring your birthday balloons into your room in the morning that your face will light up. Your morning smile is joy. It’s your joy. It’s Daddy’s joy. It’s Brother’s joy. It’s my joy. You are our joy.

All my love,

Mamamamama