There’s nothing like a festive birthday party! While my husband successfully pulled off a surprise for my 40th birthday, and I loved it, I also enjoy the role of party planner. With four kids’ birthdays to celebrate I have planned many celebrations over the years. Some were more elaborate than others. Right in our backyard, we have had inflatable bounce houses, pirate party treasure hunts, a Hawaiian luau with me leading my daughter’s friends in hula dancing, and even a visit from a magician. She wore a sparkly silver jacket and a super high-pitched inhaled-helium sounding voice. The kids were captivated by the pets she brought for her magic tricks: a bunny, a pair of birds and a poodle. It was a big show for a little 4 year old’s birthday. 

We have also attempted to make things easier by booking off-site parties. Chuck E. Cheese, Discovery Zone, Jungle Gym, Skate Town, and even the movie theatre have all been venues for our celebrations. I loved the ease of minimal set-up, clean-up, and a host assigned to our party. Those kinds of parties were easier to include more friends, so the kids made out like bandits (not that they needed more toys),  We also took great pleasure in the goody bag assembly. We would line up all the piles of candies, bouncy balls, silly putty, and goofy glasses, and fill a dozen decorative bags. The excitement built up as the party prep continued as the big day grew closer.

While the kids loved the highly stimulating, sugar overloading, cranky-children inducing birthday parties, my favorite celebrations were at our family table with just the six of us. The birthday celebrant ate his or her meal on the Red Plate. It’s our family tradition to pull out the Red Plate that says, “You are special today.” It’s reserved for birthdays, days of congratulations, and recognition for an achievement. No birthday goes by without a meal eaten on the Red Plate. The other part I love about our family parties are when we go around the table and each person says something they love about the birthday girl or boy. Almost always makes this Mama Bear tear up to hear the sweet love exchanged by these siblings.

So Koda and Summer turned 1, where is the big party? I’d like to think that we celebrated their birthday a day earlier, with a celebration they loved! We were out at the cabin, they were surrounded by their siblings. They ran all over the property, and even took dips in the pond. There were all kinds of cuddles and ear scratches from family. Who could ask for more?

Just this once, for Summer and Koda, I am going to break one of my rules and post a picture of the family that loves these puppies dearly and celebrated them over the weekend. My heart was full with everyone home!


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