October is a busy birthday month for us. Our oldest's birthday is the 13th, and our twin's birthdays are the 24th and 25th (yes - different days!). This means I could easily get swept up in planning, making, baking, and executing crazy birthday fun. Pinterest is filled with so many fun ideas and some people feel pressured to create elaborately themed parties. It can be incredibly fun to put those types of parties together, but sometimes we need to go the opposite way and go back to simple.
Our oldest, Parker, really loves parties. For three years in a row he had a costume party with all sorts of crazy Halloween fun. Last year for the little guys first birthdays I did a "Little Man" theme complete with chocolate mustaches and little bow tie decorations. I had fun planning all this and it made for great pictures but this year I longed for simple. Celebrations of the kids rather than time and money spent on disposable products.
This lead us to doing an experience birthday for the kids with a small extended family party. Plus a special meal and dessert on their actual days. We planned a road trip to my parents house a few days before fall break and spent a day at an indoor amusement park. We spent money we would have spent on gifts and decorations on food and rides. Our kids got to experience thrills and excitement. We got to hunt for pumpkin displays around the park. We tried some new places to eat and some favorites. And there was no clean up!
The family party included both sides of our families - about 35 people total, including the 7 of us. We had a taco/nacho bar and cake with ice cream. Parker wanted a Toy Story theme so my parents made a pinata shaped like Hamm for the kids to smash open. I made the cake and used little Toy Story toys we already had on hand as cake decorations. My mom bought a few Toy Story wall decorations. Simple. And everyone had a great time.
Anders and Cade's actual birthdays were the absolute definition of simple. I made dinners I knew they liked since they aren't really to the point of picking favorite meals yet. I made a batch of brownies for Anders and a batch of cupcakes for Cade. We sang "Happy Birthday" and they opened three presents each. Simple. And they were thrilled. They got time as the center of attention but they also got to continue on with their normal day. Simple.
As much as the hostess side of me loves planning the elaborately themed parties this month of simple celebrations has really resonated with me. My kids aren't going to remember food that got names to match a theme or perfectly placed decorations. They aren't going to care if the cupcakes have a swirl of frosting or frosting that is smeared on with a knife. They are going to remember feeling special because it's their day, no matter what all goes into the celebration.
I'll still do fun parties on occasion, I don't think I can let go of that because I do enjoy it, but now I see that simple is okay. And in certain seasons of life when I can't pull off a million details I can embrace simple and see how wonderful it can be. A birthday celebration is a chance to be so thankful that God has blessed you with this person in your life for another year. I need to keep telling myself that when my planner brain kicks into gear.
Now I just need to keep the simple mindset as I start making plans for the holidays!
How do you celebrate birthdays? Do you ever feel pressured to create a "picture perfect" birthday party because of what you see online? What is your favorite birthday memory?
I'm linking this up over at 152 Insights to My Soul for Three Word Wednesday.