Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guest Post: Mariam {Just Keep Swimming}

I am so excited to introduce you to Miriam, she blogs over at Just Keep Swimming.  Her writing is fantastic and I can relate so much to what she writes about.  Make sure you go and check her blog out; it's truly wondeful!


Birthday Insanity

I really hope Amanda is off somewhere soaking up the warm sun and not having to chase her little ones too much. While she's relaxing, she invited me to write a guest post for her. I was of course thrilled. Thanks for welcoming me into your little part of the web!

Amanda caught me while I am in full birthday party mode. Two of my three children have birthdays within 20 days of each other so this time of year is hectic. Many of my waking hours are spent thinking about the kids' parties and how to make their day extra special. For some reason I feel compelled to throw the best birthday party ever. In my head there's a competition; with whom I'm not quite sure.

Usually, I browse web sites for ideas for next year's party the week after this year's party is done. I often have a theme and activities picked for the summer birthdays by Christmas. These ideas area always tossed out by May by my kids who have differing opinions. (Life would be much easier if kids didn't come with opinions!) I then borrow other's ideas (thank you Pinterest!) as I attempt to put on a party that is memorable for the parents who may not even show up.

That being said, last summer my 3 year old was invited to a birthday party. The mother invited everyone to her area pool. She had some goldfish crackers and grapes to snack on. Each kid got one homemade cupcake for dessert. The party favor was a small cookie to take home. If I had to guess, the entire party for twenty kids probably cost less than $100.

It was AWESOME! Everything was so simple. The kids loved swimming. What kid isn't happy with goldfish and grapes? And kids are always stoked when they take something home.* This was not a fancy party, but it was as fun as any other.

I am trying hard to remember this as I put together my almost six year old's birthday party.

My son doesn't care about fancy party invitations.

He just wants friends to play with.

My son doesn't know what a tablescape is.

He wants a cake with a few candles and people to sing.

My son also doesn't care if there are fancy printed gift tags on the party favors.

He just wants everyone to have fun.

For these reasons I am hosting this year's birthday party with the "less is more" philosophy. An evite will get all his friends to our house. A snack mix** will be the only thing on our tablescape. And his six friends can take home their $2 squirt guns after they have spent the afternoon enjoying them.

It takes Herculean effort for me to just sit on my hands when I want to add something extra to my boy's party. Eventually the urge passes. I am doing this because I am certain that whatever idea gripped me at that moment will not be missed by the guest of honor. I am sure that without the extra stuff that usually sucks away my time and energy, my boy will still have a great birthday.

This is the class gift we gave out this year. OK, so maybe I'm not completely cured, but I'm trying!

* I wholeheartedly support the "no party favor" position.

** Our snack mix is a combination of goldfish crackers, pretzels, marshmallows, and M&Ms. Mix them in whatever portions you desire. Kids devour it!


  1. Girl, I know the feeling. I just forked over 160 for my oldest Darlings party this month. I have a heck of a hard time with the 2 younger ones tho. Same day, 4 years apart. And to beat it all, they were born Dec 1. It's hard to plan parties for them because of it being so close to Christmas. Been thinking about maybe starting to celebrate their birthdays in October, or would that be completely wrong?

    1. Same birth date - wowzers. My birthday is the end of Nov (Xmas a month later) so my mom tried to convince my sister (begining of Nov; guess Feb was cold) and I to have half birthdays instead

  2. 2 kids born on the same day 4 years apart. That is incredible!
    My friend always hated her 12/1 bday because she said everyone forgot until they turned the calendar so her day got overlooked. But you can't even celebrate a week early unless you want to compete with Thanksgiving. That birthday seems like a loose/loose.
    You could always do a "Christmas in July" bday party. :-)

  3. I'm with you - there's so much pressure to make kids' birthdays memorable and special and perfect. But it IS good to remember that we care a WHOLE lot more than they do. :) Glad you survived to tell the tale!

    1. We did all survive. I'm thinking I might even start implementing the whole "you don't get a big birthday party" every year philosophy. That would be a huge breakthrough for me. Free therapy. Yeah!

    2. It's so true, my son was thrilled with his birthday last year, which was cousins over to have a BBQ. But I want him to have the memorable birthday, which is where bigger and better comes in.

    3. One thing we (read: I) like to do is do something speical on their actual birthday that's just family time. Last year we took Lynden to the Zoo, this year we may do Science World. It's nice to have just one on one time with them, espcially with more than one child in the household

  4. Love this post. Luckily, are kids are older now and their pretty easy to please. Their all satisfied with money and IF they decide they want a's usually just relatives.

    Thanks for linking up at the Unhinged Blog Hop today. I'm now following your blog. xoxo

    Gwen @

    1. Gwen, I am hoping that by fulfilling all their wildest birthday dreams when they're young, they won't ask for much when they get older. There is no way this plan can fail, right? ;-)

  5. Honestly, I always have more fun, as does my daughter, at the simpler parties! This is such a "keeping up with the Jones's " neghborhood that it gets out of hand!

    1. I think simplier parties are a lot less stressful too

  6. The simpler ones are always great fun and I look at them and think "why didn't I think of that?" The Joneses can go party elsewhere while my friends and I sit back, relax, and enjoy ourselves.

  7. Simple fun is the best fun! I decided to give hellium balloons as favors for my Red's 3rd birthday. I filled them, tied a ribbon, and let them collect under the tent in the backyard. They were the first thing each tiny guest noticed. They were so excited. The kids played, we went inside for cake, and then I led them all outside to select a balloon to take home. Only they were gone. Were they inflatablenaped? Was there a harried mother gopher who was totally stoked to find this part of her party prep complete? (I imagine mamma gophers have a hard time filling balloons, what with them not having thumbs and all.) The balloon disappearance will forever remain a mystery, but I learned an important lesson: Kids love simple long as you follow through with your promise. Otherwise, you are just a jerk who promised a kid a balloon and then took it back. No balloon for you! And that is just mean.