Annika, our resident party planner, threw around a lot of ideas for birthday party themes in the month or two leading up to Lucy and Elise’s birthday. (Because, according to Annika, you can’t have a party without some kind of theme – even for Brad and my birthdays she’ll ask “what kind of party are you going to have?) She was pushing for a Cars party, we talked about a pirate party, and I’m pretty sure there were ideas for a princess party. The twins agreed with whatever idea Annika presented to them most recently, so they really weren’t much help. I started thinking hard about what my girls actually love, and they love books. When we were staying at Brad’s parents house this summer if we ever wondered where Elise had gone we could find her sitting on the floor in one of the extra rooms surrounded by a big pile of books. We go to the library at least once a week, bring home a huge bag of books, and have them all read by the next time we go back. A book birthday party sounded like the perfect idea, and with the number of books we have laying around our house, decorating was a breeze.
I’m not sure I have too much else to say about their birthday except that it was the best kind of day. Brad was home, we spent time at the pool, we opened presents slowly through the day, and then spent the evening with friends and family. It was perfect, really. I hope that Lucy and Elise enjoyed it as much as I did. Here’s how to throw an awesome birthday party:
Balloons and streamers make anything feel festive. Good morning, birthday girl!
Open one present at a time, and enjoy it before opening another one. We opened presents all day, and I loved it. Annika saved up her own money and picked out this present for them – it was a new silverware set for each of them. She has good taste.
Decorate with what you have. I pulled out my favorite books and favorite toys and printed pictures of the twins reading. I made a big banner that said “Happy Birthday” to match the “Read” one, but forgot to take a picture. I just had to find a book on our shelves that Brad didn’t want and tear out pages to make a banner.
Go easy on the activities. They’re only three, right? We stamped canvas library bags, which may have even been a bit of a stretch, but it worked. Annika designed the “pin the book on the bookworm” game. Pin the (fill in the blank) is her favorite party game ever. When you include adults, and do a lot of spinning it is extra fun. But be warned, it is a bit advanced for the under two crowd. We blindfolded poor Noa, pointed him in the right direction and he just kept walking until he ran smack into the door. It was one of the more hilarious moments of the night.
If you can include a silly accessory as part of your favor bag, do it. Snapping pictures of everyone in their bookworm glasses was a highlight of the night.
If you put out a bowl of gummy worms, be prepared for the kids to do nothing but stand next to the bowl and eat gummy worms until its gone.
Let your kids do what they really want to do. I shouldn’t have been surprised that even with friends running around and games to play, Lucy and Elise just wanted to sit on someone’s lap and read books. Lucy and Jan are best buds, and Lucy couldn’t have been happier.
Those party favors are super fun, but we learned they tend to accumulate spit. Jordan’s face may actually be one of real terror, since he knows he is about to be sprayed with toddler spittle.
Give yourself lots of time to make even the simplest of cakes. Buy an extra cake mix in case the first one fails to come out of the pan. Or just enlist your husband to finish the frustrating task of decorating the cake. These are all lessons I learned the hard way, but Brad came through for me (again) and I think the cake turned out great.
I never buy cereal anymore because we all love it so much and eat it so quickly. It’s easier just not to have it around. But when we asked Lucy and Elise what they wanted for their birthday dinner they both said “cereal!” I protested, but Brad insisted that it was their birthday, and we can let them eat what they want. I think Lucy was pleased (and I’m guessing that Brad was too. He love cereal more than anyone else.)
Well, there you have it. How to throw an amazing three year old birthday party!
Now I have to get working on Annika’s party. She has some high expectations and has already created lists full of party plans for me. Wish me luck!
Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated our little girls’ big day with us.
And thanks to Taniel, who gave me almost all of the pictures from that night. It was nice to be at the party, without worrying about taking pictures, but I am so, so glad I have these. Thanks, Taniel!