Birthday Crazies

Our baby girl turns three at the end of this month.  I’ve been thinking a lot about her special day and, honestly, my head hurts just thinking about it.  The headline on the May issue of Parents magazine’s reads “Birthday Blowout!”  That’s what I feel my head is going to do if I’m not careful.

When I was little, birthdays looked something like this:

My family would gather together–aunts, uncles, cousins and a very small handful of friends.  There would be cake, ice cream, and perhaps party hats.  And love.  Yeah, love.

Here’s what Katie’s birthday party looked like last year:

We did a tea party theme (I know, right?!  When I was a kid, the theme was IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!).

The menu included shaved roast beef sandwiches with homemade creamy horseradish sauce, a variety of tea sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit salad, sliced strawberries, fruit kabobs, and fresh raspberry lemonade.

The goody bags were filled with necklace kits, bracelets, stickers, and the like.  We had thirty guests, twelve of whom were children.  We had balloons everywhere, we set up craft stations both inside and out, and blah, blah, blah, you get the picture.

How did this happen?  Keeping up with the Jones’, that’s how.

Parties these days are different and there is this overwhelming part of me that wants Katie to have the same things that her peers are having.  Over the past couple of years, we’ve been to parties at gymnastics facilities, indoor playgrounds, parties with bounce houses in the backyard, and I even have a friend who hired actresses to dress up as princesses to make the rounds at her child’s party.

Katie has loved attending these parties, and I while I applaud the mothers who put together these elaborate celebrations, there is a part of me that wished they’d knock it off.

Last year, I was so busy making sure thirty people were having a good time, that I barely saw Katie.  I feel as though I robbed myself of memories of my sweet girl turning two.  We’ve decided that we’re just not doing it this year.

So, I’m declaring here that we’re keeping it simple.  Just a small handful of people, lots of love, and a bounce house.  (Yeah, we kinda promised that one.)


  1. brandy

    We are bringing Barcelona's birthday back to our house this year. There will be a "theme," but my motto will be "easy. " :)

    (BTW, you did a fantastic job last year!)

  2. Nichole

    Thank you, Brandy. It was all just a bit chaotic, though.

    Easy is good. ;)

  3. Melanie

    I remember one of your birthday parties where we were all laying around in our sleeping bags watching The Love Boat, it was great!

  4. Nichole

    What's not to love about slumber parties and The Love Boat?!

  5. Jen

    Funny thing is that most of us parents feel the same way. The pressure to fit in and be seen as a "good" parent and wanting the best for your child.

    Maybe the best is all that love. We havn't done the big party for a few years – love it, and my boys don't feel any less special for it.

  6. Nichole

    Maybe we should all just make a vow to put down our party-planning weapons at once. :) Strength in numbers would be great!
    We're going to try it this year and see…you might hear of the scandal it causes. ;)
    I expect that in the years to come, Katie may ask for a bigger, fancier party, but for now I think she'll be completely content with something smaller.

  7. Lyndsey

    I apparently haven't been to ANY parties like the ones you listed!!!! Max's parties so far have been the cake, presents and a few friends type events. Went to Art Beast with a handful of friends and had his favorite food….peanut butter sandwiches & goldfish crackers! It was a blast…and yes the theme was easy!!!! I firmly believe in not bankrupting yourself for a birthday party every year. In the end all your kids want is "you" and a little love to go with it! Nichole you and Craig offer much of this…so Katie will be happy if there is something…blue! Her fav!

  8. Lyndsey

    Oh by the way we didn't do the Art Beast party package…just paid for our friends to get in and went back to our house for food!

  9. Nichole

    I'm actually so excited to experience a more relaxed party this year. I'm eager to be able to watch her enjoy her special day and be able to interact with her fully.

    I still can't believe that she is going to be three. But, on the other hand, I am so insanely in love with her, that it feels like she's been in my life forever.

    Her birthday marks the day that my life changed forever.

  10. Kat

    I am pleased to have come across your blogsite. You are not just an ethereal mother but a loving wife and a splendid one!
    You remind me of the person I once was before, and that I look forward to be that person once again. As a mother to my three children and three step-kids, I only want to give them a life of love and mold them into that person they want to be in adulthood. The world is frigthening in this century, but for my kids, as long as I'm around – nothing & no-one can do them harm. Not even their biological mother. (its a long story that one)


  11. Nichole

    Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment, Kat!

    I appreciate your compliments on the blog.

    Being a mom has proven to be the most challenging, yet rewarding job I've ever had. Without an instruction manual, it is so hard to know if we're doing a good job, but if we follow both our head and our heart, we can't go too wrong, can we?

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