Disclaimer– this was written before Ellis was born on Monday morning (the party was Saturday).
On Saturday after his Birthday, we had Garrett’s big party. He chose a soccer theme and we hosted at one of his favorite parks. The park is perfect because they have a big grass field where we could set up soccer nets and the kids could kick around the soccer ball. There are a few picnic tables around and I was able to snag one easily. Then the playground itself is right there and good for kids of different ages. They even have an old school Merry-Go-‘Round that all the kids love. (I’m still not sure how it hasn’t been torn out for safety reasons, but most parents aren’t complaining. The kids LOVE it!) And the most important part for the pregnant Mommy, there is a pool right there where they let you use the bathroom even if you aren’t a member. Believe me, I took advantage of their of kindness!
Garrett had a blast at his party. We intentionally kept it very low-key. I knew I was going to be either very pregnant or have a brand new baby and there was no way I was going to be coordinating a bunch of games. We set up a small soccer field with two nets and then put some extra cones around in case kids wanted to kick the ball around or through the cones. Mostly the kids congregated around one net and just kicked the balls in or played on the playground. We had lots of snacks and, as usual, I made a special cake. Going with the easy theme, I made a soccer ball cake and then surrounded it with cupcakes that made up the “grass”. Although the cake was easy, I still stayed up until 3am the night before finishing decorating it. I can never seem to get it together and not finish the cake well into the night before the party!
This was the first party where Garrett really picked the guest list. He invited all of his classmates from preschool and then our friends from the Mom’s group that we’ve had since Jack was a baby. He was so excited to have his friends there! Most of the kids G’s age have an older sibling the same age as Jack, so we had quite a crew of 3 year olds and almost 5 year olds. This year Garrett chose to have his guests donate supplies and/or money to the local humane society instead of bring gifts for him. I feel strongly that my kids receive all the gifts they could want or need from family at their Birthdays and don’t need more gifts from their friends. Every year I give the kids a choice of either doing some sort of book or puzzle swap or collecting for a charity. This year a friend said that she had recently attended a Birthday party where they collected for an animal shelter. Garrett thought this was a great idea, so in lieu of gifts we asked that friends bring a donation. I know my kids had a lot of fun picking out treats and toys for the dogs at the shelter. Plus, I like the idea of teaching my kids that their Birthday isn’t just about getting stuff but about celebrating being a year older. They don’t need all the stuff to have a fun party!
I made it through the big party without having a baby. That was my big goal. Just get through G’s Birthday and party and then baby could come along whenever it was ready. Success!!!