Ever since July, V has been planning her seventh birthday party. Yes, that means six months. She became fascinated with the moon in those summer months and it only grew exponentially. So naturally, I began looking at Pinterest for ideas, while keeping in mind the Martha Stewart Kids Magazine I still owned with an astronaut theme birthday party.
Now, friends, let's remember one thing about resources like Martha Stewart and Pinterest...most of it is unattainable without a stealthy budget, or you have a "knack" for these things. And by "knack," I mean you are of the 1% (okay, maybe more like 1.7%).
The finely manicured space suits, with each child's name precisely cut out of red & blue duct take, while fitting like a glove. What does this really translate into?
Go to the hardware store in search of painter's grubs only to find the smallest size available is L/XL for kids who are all 5-7 years old. Let's see what this looks like in stylized magazine world, shall we?
Okay, I know you cannot really see this picture (click on it and you can see it a bit better). However, you can clearly see how non bulky it is overall. Oh and those cute little American flags on their front and the belt looking so pristine. Immaculate right?
How do I do a birthday party?
- Do not have the space suits ready for them with their name on back (because I'm only going to take them out of the package if the kid really wants them. Otherwise if they say no, then I'm taking them back to the hardware store to get my money back).
- Gather as much of the painter outfit as possible in the back, then do a fold down while binding it all with duct tape. Picture the 90s shirt tuck in gone way bad.
- Next, roll up sleeves and pants, hoping no one holds you liable for tripping.
- Rather than going the tedious route of hand writing then cutting with an Xacto knife their name to place them with tweezers and magnify glasses on the back of the costume. Write their name in your best chicken scratch on their misaligned duck tape belt.
- When your daughter asks for a moon mission party, you transform the basement into the moon. You clearly do this by putting up a tarp, then using black garbage bags on the wall and dark blue plastic table cloths (because they were all out of black ones at the dollar store).
- You had high plans of putting mattresses on the floor and then covering them with blankets to create a "no gravity" zone. However, time got the best of you and you put one bed mat and hope by bunching up loads of blankets that somehow creates a "no gravity" zone (by the way--it doesn't).
- Your daughter wants to decorate cookies for her birthday with an astronaut, star, and planet. You quickly tell her how cool it would be to make donuts with the new donut maker from Christmas, and it's like Saturn's ring! Plus, you save money by not buying any other supplies.
- When one of the games is toss the bean bag to the different planets, you quickly improvise. Why? a. you don't own any bean bags. b. there's not a lot of space to put planets all about to toss said bean bags to. Daddy gathers various beany baby/stuffed animals nicely placed in a puppy pillowcase. You then quickly cut out circles asking the girls to color them to represent the planets. Ask Ben to place them along the wall above the steps going downstairs (every other step). Then, gather the kids one at a time telling them the goal is to land their animal to the step with the planet. Score!!!
- Every kid decorates their own donut with raspberry frosting and sprinkles. And they need a moon smoothie from all that anti-gravity jumping; but, really it's just a chance to show off your new Vitamix.
- Ensure each friend brought their own stuffy, because going to the moon without a pet is plain ole inappropriate.
- Open presents, give out favors and say thank you to everyone who came (and help Corban up the stairs realizing he wasn't goofing off to climb up, but the duct tape belt was slipping and the bigness of the painter's outfit was showing---the belt was around his knees).
Above picture is of the game via Martha Stewart. But I think ours was MORE awesome.
Birthdays are magical. My Veronica Storey turned seven, which feels so much more big than little. She has a lot to be proud of in these short seven years. I have seen her grow exponentially, gaining more control and learning how to be brave and courageous.
When she dreamed of going on a moon mission and inviting her friends along, I wanted her to experience it. There are few times in life when we get to dream of something and have them come to fruition. I believe a birthday party (with some limits) should be this time, especially when you live in a world that is more complicated than it is for others.
As I kneeled down, helping the children into these makeshift astronaut costumes, wrapping around red or grey duct tape and seeing how "unprofessional" it looked, I found self-doubt coming up. It wasn't staged or "fancy" by definition. In fact, if you were to "pin" one of the below pictures, I'm sure no one would repin it. But, as I allow myself to enjoy the world through V's eyes and the other kids, it's magical. They don't care.
V came down as I was finishing up the moon basement and let out "OH MY MAMA! IT'S THE MOON!!!!"
When the kids left, they raved about the experience. Jumping in a gravity filled zone with the lights out and flashing glow sticks. Even Caprice squealed being able to delight with the big kids. One friend wouldn't get out of her costume while doing errands with her mom.
Can I share this a source of encouragement to you?