These are my first sons.
The ones who ushered me from childless to mother. The ones who took the thrill out of Fridays because the weekends look pretty much the same as every other day. The ones who made sleeping in until 8 AM a luxury. The one who, to this day, have never allowed me to get a picture of the both smiling or even looking in the same general direction.
The ones who make Kevin & me wonder what we ever laughed at before they were around. The ones who are worth every ounce of energy they require.
The ones who turned 2 & 3 this month and had a fabulous park party to commemorate it all.
When it comes to parties (and pretty much anything else in life), low key is the way to do it, in my opinion. Walking up & down the aisles of Party City and scrolling though Pinterest party boards make my stomach twist with anxiety. So instead of parties, I throw "celebratory play dates."
This was my planning process...
I picked a weekend in November. Was it going to be cold? Answer: unknown. I can't be bothered with things like weather.
I decided on a local park next to my old elementary school as our party's homebase. Were there going to be a gazillion people there? Answer: unknown. They could just go ahead and join in on the festivities. (As it turned out, we did have to share the park's pavilion with a cute little Girl Scout troop.)
I sent out an evite, including several recipients living in other states or countries. Were my guests judging me for not hand making my invitations and actually utilizing the mail service? Answer: unknown. If so, they can go ahead and volunteer to address envelopes for next year's party.
I planned some games, knowing half of them would fizzle out before my gaggle of three year olds started to care. I put together a menu of toddler treats like goldfish and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.
And this was the preparation for my grande soirée.
Then...it was party day. Micah had been counting down since 13 sleeps ago. (That's how we count time in our family.) I guess you could say that the little buddy was excited.
Like any good party, we started things off where things should be started: food.
I made a little photo booth for the kids with my neighbor's costume closet.
Then the highlight of it all...races. I paid $.79 for a roll of crepe paper and used it as a finish line. Biggest.hit.ever.
Being the youngest kid to care, Sam was last place in every race. But that didn't stop him from trying.
The great thing about having a party at a park is that when you're out of planned activities, just set them loose for conventional park fun.
We did the whole sing & eat cake thing. I should more accurately say sing & eat brownies. Yes, I made boxed brownies. Yes, I burned them a bit (so much so that 1/4 of the pan couldn't even be excavated with a knife). Yes, the boys' friends ate them anyway (and some of the parents too).
An interesting thing I've noticed about birthday parties here is that kids don't open presents at the party. I guess it has something to do with toddler envy or their short attention span. But it made a fun conclusion to it all when we returned with a few gifts for the boys to open at home.
I realize these pictures might make it look like they were rolling in the goods. But in reality, our dear friends had helped contribute a few things to the boys' library. Since it's kind of hard to find good English books in China, I thought this would be the best way to bless our sons. Now I just have to figure out how to get this bounty back across the ocean...
I'm not sure how long I'll be able to get away with having combined parties for them. I'm also not sure if, based on the fact that our friend pool is much smaller in China, they'll ever have a party this big again. I'm not sure if they'll ever be served goldfish & ice cream cones at future parties (the imported price tag might defer that!). I'm not sure if G & Pop will be able to attend many of their later birthday parties. But what I do know is that this one was special & fun, if not simply for the fact that this might be the only one of its kind.