Both of my children turned another year older in May. I absolutely love celebrating occasions like birthdays with the children, whether it’s my own or theirs. Having children involved in these special days just brings that spark in to it, the magic that surrounded those events when you too were a child.
Here’s some of this year’s birthday memories-
Little R’s 1st
Little R’s birthday was up first in early May, and being his 1st birthday, this was a very special one for all of us. Because our kids’ birthdays are only 3 weeks apart, we’ve decided that each year just one of them can have a party, and we’ll alternate each year. So 2015 was Little R’s party year!
I wanted to ensure the older kids at the party would stay entertained, and I didn’t want to have the party at our house. So we decided on a local playground we used to visit in our old neighbourhood. This one is bigger than your usual suburban playground, but it’s not well-known and so it’s generally quiet. As a bonus, it has two undercover picnic tables, a barbeque, plenty of parking spaces in the surrounding streets, and a gorgeous view across a small pond and paddocks to the hills beyond. Lucky for us, the weather was amazing on Little R’s birthday too.
We kept the party to just family and close friends. There are plenty of kids in our immediate circle, which kept Moose entertained, I barely saw her for the whole party! The kids all had a great time running around after each other, playing on the playground, and exploring the pond nearby (with adults in tow, of course). I also brought along some of those cheap bottles of bubble mix, and some hula hoops, just as little added extras.
I wanted to keep the stress levels as low as possible (I was starting back at work two days after Little R’s birthday), so I decided not to stick to any particular party theme. The decorations were very simple, just some colour-coordinated party-wear such as tablecloths, cups, plates etc., and bunting. We held the party in the early afternoon, which not only worked best around children’s nap times, but took the pressure off us having to provide lunch for everybody. We didn’t have any hot food – just fruit, muffins, lemon slice, a cheese and nibbles platter, chips, and the birthday cake of course. I wanted to make Little R’s cake myself, and I chose a basic chocolate cake mix, in the shape of the number “1”, covered in chocolate icing and decorated with Smarties.
Little R spent the afternoon being passed around from person to person, and was all smiles when we sang him Happy Birthday. Then he sat down to tuck into a big slice of chocolate birthday cake…..and got it all over him. Promptly followed by a nap in his pram.
It was a really wonderful celebration. Just simple, and happy, surrounded by our favourite people.
Moose’s birthday fell on a Friday this year. I now have every Friday off with the kids as part of my part-time work arrangement, and Big R took the day off work so we could have a special family day.
I suggested we all go tenpin bowling as a fun activity we could all do together. Moose has never been, and it had been years since Big R or I had played. Moose was so excited, she was counting down the days from about a week out (and so was I)!
After a fun morning of opening birthday presents in bed and lazing over our breakfast, Little R had a nap and then we went to the bowling centre. I had made a booking online, thinking it might be busy with school groups, but it was really quiet. We practically had the whole centre to ourselves! We only played one game, but I think that was enough for Moose’s first time, and it was just the right amount of time for her concentration levels too. Moose played using a mix of free-hand bowling (with our help), and “the ramp”, that’s designed to help kids so they don’t injure themselves. She was fascinated with how the bowling ball magically pops up again out of the machine that places it back next to your seats, ready for the next turn (that machine has a name I’m sure, you know the one I’m talking about!). Big R ended up winning, and then Moose beat me by 1 point. Did I mention that I’m hopeless at bowling? Then again, she did have the advantage of the bumpers and the ramp….
After our game finished, we of course had the obligatory bowling-alley lunch of hot dogs, nuggets and chips. The quality was better than I was expecting, and it was surprisingly good value for money too. We spent some time in the arcade part of the centre, where we won enough game machine tickets to win Moose the prize of some plastic bangles and a Dora the Explorer ring. So far, a great day!
Then it was time for my usual Friday ritual with the kids – heading to the fresh food markets to buy our fruit & veg and meat, browse in the bookstore, have a play on the playground, and maybe buy a scrumptious bakery snack from the patisserie. We did all of those things, and this time we had Big R in tow which made it even more of an enjoyable family experience.
Later at home, Moose had some time to play with her new birthday gifts, before her Nanna came over to have dinner and cake with us. Moose got to choose what we had for dinner, and she kept telling me she wanted “chicken, meat, chips, and veggies”. I translated this as a barbeque chicken, chips and gravy, and a salad. Everyone was happy with that! I didn’t quite have the time or energy to bake another birthday cake so soon after Little R’s birthday, so I suggested to Moose that she might like to try an ice-cream cake, which she excitedly agreed to. Ice-cream cake is always a big hit for everyone concerned, and it is always going to look impressive too!
I think Moose was really happy with how we spent her birthday, I’m so glad we all got to be together even though it was a weekday.
And that’s the kid’s birthdays over for another year – phew!
Happy birthdays Little R and Moose!
Joining in with The Weekend Rewind at Maxabella Loves