Two year olds don’t expect a whole lot on their birthdays. In fact you have to talk up the fact that it is their birthday. We kept explaining to Briggs he was the birthday boy and he would get birthday cake and birthday presents. Even then it was still a little lost on him until he entered the kitchen each time and saw the balloons on the table – he’d then repeat over and over again, “Birthday”.
I’m pretty sure he preferred the frosting beaters over his cake – I figured that would be the case. Isn’t the frosting always the best part?!
His second favorite thing was blowing out the candles. Hunter had fun lighting the candles over and over again and Briggs just kept blowing them out – giggling after each time. (Side note: When we go visit my brother and his family, they always have a candle burning on their kitchen island. Their kids are older now and seem to leave the candle alone. Not my kids. Whenever we go visit – they simply must blow out the candle. If they see it burning, one of the kids blows it out. It’s like a secondary birthday candle.)
Paw patrol puppies, an airplane and a scooter? What more could a kid ask for? Besides lighting the candle just one more time!
He’s the caboose in our family and demands attention. He was a fussy and irritable baby but I think we’re passed most of that just in time for him to enter the terrible twos!
He loves his voice and is quite fond of screaming. If he’s excited – he screams. If he wants a bath – he screams. If his brother takes his toy he screams. Its a mode of communication I’m okay with growing out of.
He’s starting to talk more and when he wakes up from a nap he always asks for Cannon.
He loves bath time. He’ll be a fish in the pool in no time.
He loves the movie Trolls thanks to our road trip last summer and can’t help but dance when he hears the music.
He has a couple good friends in the neighborhood and the minute he hears their names he runs for the door.
He demands to get dressed first thing every morning. (Definitely not my kid!) He will grab clothes from his drawer or even the dirty clothes hamper and bring them to me. And shoes are a must. He has to have shoes on.
He follows his siblings everywhere. If they’re upstairs, he wants to be with them. If they’re out on the driveway, he’ll be there too. And he adores Hallie – probably because she is just so good to him and lets him play in her room and shares candy with him.
He’s a little sass and a little sweet and a little loud. And after holding my nieces baby, he doesn’t seem so little!
Hallie had her last themed birthday party this year. It was tricky to come up with a theme that was appropriate for the teenagers that were going to be attending. But Hallie seemed to have a clear vision from the start – she wanted a glow-in-the-dark party. Which took me longer to figure out than I thought it would – which meant she had a party two weeks after her birthday.
Originally I was thinking glow in the dark games in the backyard with glowsticks. Somehow that morphed to using a gymnasium and black lights and it was awesome.
Here’s a couple things I learned while planning this. I looked at renting backlights and they were a little pricey. I then started looking at buying them but a quick search on Amazon will tell you that the options are endless from all sorts of vendors and the prices range from cheap to expensive. I bought a set that had great reviews – only to realize, they weren’t really black lights, they were purple lights and they are not the same thing. I returned three spot lights and bought 4 bar black lights. They were more than enough for the space we were in and they made things glow great.
Here’s a little tip: When you go out shopping for things for the party – take a small black light so you can see if they glow. Some things seem bright and fluorescent and yet it didn’t glow. For those of you not in scorpion country, you may not have a black light readily available – I noticed several things at Party City noted that they would glow under blacklight.
I found bright fluorescent fabric at Joanns and my black light proved it would glow. It was by far the brightest decoration under the blacklight and Hallie made the fabric banner. We also used those strips of fabric and tied them around the girl’s head or waist to help them glow in the dark. (We also suggested all the girls wear fluorescent or white clothing to make sure they would glow.)
We started by painting UV friendly finger nail polish on all the girls and they each made a sign with their name using highlighters. I found that yellow and orange highlighters glow really well and I bought a huge box to make posters. When making the posters, the girls realized that highlighters used on their bodies would also glow. They used up a large box of 24 highlighters by drawing all over their bodies. I looked at buying UV face paint and I’m so glad I didn’t waste the money. Buy highlighters!!
Coming up with games in the dark took some thought. Here are three games that were a hit.
Cupside Down: A game where one team tries to turn all the cups upside down and the other team tries to turn them right side up. At the end of the time, whoever has the most their way wins. If you want to play with more than 2 teams, you can buy each team a different color cup, and the team with the most of their colored cups turned right side up when the time runs out wins. We played with four teams and four different color cups. After playing some rounds as individually teams we started pairing two colors together to form a single team. We set the clock for one minute and the girls ran around frantically flipping cups. These cups are UV friendly and were perfect for this game.
Hungry Hippo: I’ve seen these life-size versions of hungry hippo floating around the web and recreated it in a black light setting which was hilarious. It was hard to get any decent pictures but we used four long boards (skateboards), a couple of buckets and a whole lot of tennis balls (which are great in the black light). The girls took turns laying on the skateboards and their partner pushed them in and out of the center of gym grabbing tennis balls with their bucket. We had those girls screaming and laughing the whole time.
Ball Toss: Because the tennis balls were so fun in the black light so centered another game around them. We had multiple baskets worth different amounts of points and the girls tossed balls to try and gain the most points as a team.
The girls had the best time and Hallie was so grateful for such a fun party – a party which she played a major role in the preparation. I created a glow in the dark party bucket for the garage and I’ve got a feeling we’ll be pulling it out a few more times.
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Hallie’s 12th birthday celebration seemed to never end – which she was totally okay with. She didn’t have school on her birthday, so we kidnapped her from school a few days prior to give her the birthday lunch treatment – and she chose Panda express of course!
Hallie’s actual birthday was a Saturday and I’m not sure we’ve had a more busy weekend day the whole year. Tennis practice, two soccer games, neighborhood Halloween party and tickets to the ASU game. And yet all Hallie wanted to do on her birthday was go to the temple for the first time, so we made that the priority. Steve and I went with her to the Mesa temple and had a beautiful afternoon. She was so excited and had prepared so well to be there – it was rewarding and special to experience that with her.
Her other request was a birthday smoothie from Dutch Brothers. They know how to make a girl feel special (or embarrassed) with their loud singing and birthday antics, decorated cup and sprinkles. Dutch brothers is a birthday favorite in our house.
The next morning she woke up to a decorated door as she graduated out of her church primary class and joined the young women’s youth group. You can tell from her face she’s really sad to leave the primary behind! 😉
We had already given Hallie her birthday gift – a trip to Utah – so it seemed anticlimactic to not have any gifts. Luckily she had a gift from grandparents and I surprised her with a water bottle she’s had her eye on.
And her annual growth chart photos – she’s just growing up!
You’d think this would be the end of the celebration…but no. She had a friend party two weeks after her birthday (soon to come) – it’s always a party when you’re 12!
Sometimes I feel like a rock star and I can take on the world. And other times, the list of to-dos is too daunting to wrap my head around. Lately, it’s been the latter. The list of to-dos is mostly trivial (with a few doctor appointments thrown in there) but none the less they occupy space in my mind which translates to taking up space in my day. We’ve had a busy few weeks and as much as I wanted to come up with new themed birthday for Cannon for his first friend party, I just didn’t have it in me. I kept putting it off and then his birthday was just days away.
I was talking with Hallie trying to figure out what type of party it should be and it hit me – re-do Hunter’s 4-year-old pirate party. My heart kept telling me he needed a party personalized to him – but my head told me there were not enough hours in the day to reinvent the wheel. Two days later we threw his first friend party and he had no clue that the pirate flag had already been used before!
We started with a special treasure hunt – I’d hid clues all around the front yard and back yard. We used a treasure map to update our route as we raced to find treasure: Pirate gear – bandanas, earnings and eye patches. Once they were dressed appropriately, they walked the plank and caught cannonballs (cheese balls) in large buckets. I made swords out of balloons (thank you youtube) and we had sword fighting lessons. The party was just as successful this year as it was 5 years ago and Cannon was a very happy boy.
As a sidenote: There are benefits to having older siblings, even if you do get their leftover birthday parties. Hunter didn’t have anyone dress up as a pirate for his party but Cannon sure did. A couple years ago, we were a family of pirates for Halloween – so just before the party, I dug through the costume box and found my costume. Hunter saw what I was doing and asked if he could dress up. Before long, Hallie, Bennett and Steve also joined in the fun. I asked Cannon if he wanted to dress up but he was happy in his red striped shirt. Having all these helpers for birthday parties sure is nice!