In just under 5 weeks Princess Nagger will be transitioning officially into Tweendom.  Her 10th birthday is coming up, and we’ve been chatting about how to celebrate.  Growing up, our birthdays have always been cause for celebration, especially since my birthday happens to be just a couple of weeks before Christmas – my parents were good at segregating the birthday celebration so it wouldn’t be lost in the shuffle between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Add to that my brother and sister (the twins) were born one year and three days after me, we’d always combine our birthday celebrations together on the same weekend.  Of course when I was younger I was a little miffed I had to share my birthday with 2 out of 3 of my siblings, but when we all moved out on our own, having a birthday so close together turned out to be quite convenient to celebrate them all at once. It’s just another excuse to party.  Another reason I’ll be glad when we move back to Washington State next year so we can party together again.

Since Princess Nagger’s birthday happens just a week before Thanksgiving, three weeks before my birthday and just 40 days before Christmas, I try to make sure we celebrate properly for her, too.  Now Little Dude has been added to that mix, with his birthday falling just 13 days before Princess Nagger – and since there’s a 5-year difference between the two, and their interests are vastly different, I wouldn’t consider combining their birthday celebrations (though it is tempting for convenience and sanity sake).

I love planning the parties – like Princess Nagger’s first birthday party that was really just an excuse to have a gaggle of friends over for a party, and she turned her first birthday cake into finger paints:

Her second and third birthday parties were equally beneficial to our adult friends and their kids – another chance to have a big party and she loved being the center of attention. 

When she was approaching her 4th birthday, she was all Dora all the time, so she wanted a Dora party theme.  I got creative and made map invitations and set up an ‘adventure’ in the back yard, got little backpacks for all the kids and painted Map’s face on each one, then personalized them for each of the kids – those were the goody bags, plus had items in them to assist them on their adventure. 

Since Princess Nagger wasn’t interested in a ribbon-pull pinata, and we didn’t want to whack Dora, I tried my hand at making a paper mache pinata of the sun, instead:

The following year, for her 5th birthday, she wanted a Dora theme again, so I expanded my creative horizons and picked up tube mailers and created a map invitation to send rolled and tied with twine in the tube:

I then went all out on the adventure for the party, and drew a map for each guest to follow:

I painted the inside of a wardrobe box black, and the outside with stone paint for the Bubble Tunnel, and the hubby set up his bubble machine for the event.  I even built and painted a Rainbow Bridge for them to ‘fix’ so they could cross Crocodile Lake and save the baby duckies – Princess Nagger was in charge of her guests, encouraging them after they fixed the bridge to hurry up and save the duckies:

The final stop was the Jungle, where they could collect their Wishing Stars amidst the jungle leaves I cut out of green poster board, and spent hours twisting brown paper bags into vines:

A friend of mine even made an amazing Dora cake just for the occasion:

For her 6th Birthday she deemed Dora was only for babies, and wanted to do something different.  Our first time subjecting ourselves to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese:

We survived.  And she deemed it the best birthday ever.  Until the following year, for her 7th birthday when she decided in lieu of an actual birthday party, she wanted to go exploring at the Dinosaur Museum in Philadelphia.  She loved digging in the pit trying to find dinosaur bones:

The next year she decided she wanted to revisit the Dinosaur Museum for her 8th birthday, especially since the highlight this time would be to meet a real live Paleontologist Dr. Phillip Manning:

She ended up getting sick on her 9th birthday, so our plans for an Angry Birds birthday party that weekend had to be canceled.  A month later, she gathered some friends and we revisited Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate:

This year, for her milestone Tween birthday, she wanted to have a Hunger Games party, but I talked her out of it, thinking the parents of her 9, 10 and 11 year old friends might not think it appropriate to have their kids attend a party with bow and arrows.  Ahem.  She decided she’ll wait until next year when we’ll be back in the Pacific Northwest where we can stage the party in the forest-y area of where my parents live to make it more ‘realistic’. 

Instead, she’s gone back to last year’s thwarted idea of an Angry Birds party (where we’ll finally get to utilize the awesome decorations Denise of Run DMT’s daughter’s so generously made for her).  I’ve been plotting and planning – and hope I’ll pull it together since I only have 5 weeks to get ready for the fun.  Wish me luck.  And any Angry Bird ideas would be more than welcome.

Which brings me to this week’s question:

How do you celebrate birthdays?  Do you go all out for yourself or your kids, or are you like my hubby where a birthday is just another day on the calendar?

(yes, there’s another story there…)

Have a great weekend.


Happy Aloha Friday!

From Kailani at An Island Life:
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  1. I am getting so sad seeing her grow up in this series of pictures! Time! Time, where are you going?! *sigh*

    Depending on how old our kids are determines how big of a party we throw (however, we ALWAYS make it a big deal!). This year, we went to Disneyland for our son’s birthday. For my daughter, we kept it really intimate since she wouldn’t remember any of it! LOL!
    Jennifer would like you to read ..I Will Not Be Ignored, MommyMy Profile

  2. Damn girl! So far all of Emma’s birthday parties have been an excuse for US to have a big party! During the first two, she wasn’t even awake for half the party! I’m totally going to have to step it up in the future I know. Thankfully I have until August for the next one!
    Julia’s Math would like you to read ..Flowers Delivered by Julia’s MathMy Profile

  3. At our house, birthdays are celebrated with cake, presents and singing and lots of visiting family. We try to make it more special for our 6-year-old daughter by finding a venue in town to have a party for her and her friends too. At this point, I’d rather pay someone else to host a party for so many little ones lol! When she’s older, I hope it will be a few good friends and a sleepover.

    Happy Friday!
    Menopausal New Mom would like you to read ..Aloha Friday – Makeover Edition!My Profile

  4. Loved this post. It triggered so many memories of when my boys had “birthday parties”. The first couple of years were definitely for the adults and then once they started with a mind of their own, it progressed to Chuck E Cheese, bowling, skating, museum, etc. parties. Now that they are 29 and 26, both living out of state, things have changed. And as far as my husband and I, it is just another day but we do go out to eat.
    Cheryl “Mash” would like you to read ..Aloha FridayMy Profile

  5. Early Birthday Wishes for Princess Nagger. Love the photos. My son is three weeks after Christmas which was a better time frame than yours. We always made it special. Now that we have adult children and there are only six of us here in CA the birthdays are more about going out to a nice dinner and of course presents!!!
    Debby Pucci would like you to read ..BLEACHERSMy Profile

  6. You need to be a party planner because your parties look awesome. So if you ever decide Kansas is the place to be I’ll hire you!
    Kendra would like you to read ..Top 3My Profile

  7. I love that you separate the special days from the holidays.

    That looks like such fun!

    I have small party with me and the kids. I usually ask them what two things they want to do and take them to do it so they can enjoy themselves. I don’t have the money to do anything big, but I try to make it special.

    Happy Friday!
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