There have been birthday years with little friends and parties. But having moved two weeks ago, Dolly's birthday this year was a sweet and simple affair with crafts, a fairy movie and special foods.
A day dedicated to our princess.
As is our tradition the birthday girl chose the meals for the day. Let's just say I now need to be extra vigilant in our diet to completely heal from our colds (smile).
Being so new to the area and not sure what activities are available (art outings, bowling, swimming, etc), not to mention having just been sick for weeks, this year we decided to have at-home family birthday party.
What really blessed my mama heart in all this is how much joy and pleasure my children get from doing special things for each other and how much they truly enjoy being together.
There was gift making days in advance. Celine setting up the sewing machine in the dining room with a wall of moving boxes to keep her project secret. There is no sewing room in our little chalet!
Laurent following suit to make a painting. And the night before her birthday sending Brienne to bed a bit earlier so we could string lights and decorate our small space to make her birthday special.
oh yes, she does need new pajamas
Our children do not have strong peer ties, or really any peer ties. I know the day is coming when peers become more important but we see no point in rushing that inevitability.
We had friends in Maine (and we'll make friends here) but the primary source of our friendships (both adult and child) is our family. What this means is that we actually enjoy being together, day after day after day. This was a good thing for this birthday year where we haven't made any friends yet to invite over to celebrate with us.
Brienne wanted a princess day so we made princess party hats as an activity. Our first big craft session in our new home. Instead of a princess hat for Laurent I helped him make a felt top hat. He's always wanted a dress up hat - the kids love to dress up for special occasions like birthdays - and this was a good chance to make one together.
I found the princess hat tutorial here (we enlarged the pattern to fit on the girls heads) and the top hat tutorial here. We used these patterns as a guide and then made it up as we went along. Kind of like my cooking.
After grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch (oh yeah, we go all out for birthdays!) the kids and I watched Tinkerbell and The Great Fairy Rescue. Wow, that was much better than I was expecting. Very sweet. Very Brienne. It was perfect.
Then we decorated cupcakes. In the early years I tried making vegan, sugar-free birthday cakes and such. I'm no baker to begin with and those birthday cakes were just not very birthday like. I gave up on the notion of healthy birthday cake a few years ago and have been much happier with the results ever since.
Brienne's gifts were so perfect for her. Celine crafted fleece hats and scarves for Brienne's Bitty Twins (her birthday gift 2 years ago). Celine also gifted Brienne with a no-longer-loved-skort sewn into a bag. Brienne loves bags (and shoes).
The bag, adorned with rhinestones (part of the original skort), is lined with a different fabric and includes a pocket and fancy closure. The design and sewing was completely Celine's project. We are all duly impressed.
Laurent drew a bookmark, a beautiful card and painted a pink dahlia, one of Dolly's favorites. There was a locking(!) diary and pink headphones for her iPod from Nana & Papa. And nail stickers from an auntie who must know I never buy that stuff (thank goodness for aunties).
Our gift is still in the mail (a moving casuality) and there were some tears about that but now another gift still remains to be opened. Which is all part of the fun.
It was a sweet day for our princess and Brienne felt special and loved. That's what a birthday is about.
To be honest I have some mothering insecurities about small birthday celebrations. Our kids' birthdays have always been quite modest affairs. I do recall five giggling girls doing pioneer crafts at one of Celine's earlier birthdays. And there was the race car themed party when Laurent was seven, with a house full of boys playing matchbox cars and racing on an xbox (borrowed from a friend for the day).
But most of our birthdays are fairly low key affairs with one or two friends, special foods, and a family activity.
No bouncy houses, elaborate party favors, or pinatas. Or, on the other end of the cultural spectrum - no midnight sewing for mama making capes and hats for all the guests or buying expensive wooden toys or art supplies to send home with friends. Nothing wrong with either of those sceanarios - if that's your gig.
But if it's not I understand. It's not my gig either. And that's ok. Not sure who I'm trying to convince here - me or you! Lol!
Sweet and simple, gifts made (and bought) in secret, decorations strung with care, family movies. Some years an outing with one friend, or maybe a tea party. Almost always some art or crafts. This is how we celebrate.
If you're a blogger and have written about it feel free to leave links to really elaborate or really low key parties (or anything in between) you've had. I enjoy reading birthday posts. Good ideas for planning our childrens' own birthdays.