Sunday, June 3, 2012

rock-climbing birthday party

I survived my son's first sleepover. Barely. It was deja vu of having a newborn, where I slept so lightly, wondering if every sound I heard throughout the night was a sign that I should go check on the kids. Gosh, I had forgotten that feeling. This momentous first sleepover kicked-off my older son's 9th birthday. (Never mind that his actually birthday was months ago... mom faux pas.) The eventual party? Awesome. In the grand scheme of things, what is one night of no sleep and a few month delay on having your party?

In past years, we have joyfully had the whole class over to our house. This was a small party-- just two friends. Not because he didn't want the entire 3rd grade... more because I decided I just wasn't up for an enormous soiree this year. Tag-teaming off an auction item we bid on at the children's school, the theme was rock-climbing. (Conveniently) that auction item was just for a few kids. Now, if I had my act together, I would have gotten all creative with the foods-- gorp, dehydrated camping foods, etc. Thankfully, I was saved from myself. Because really, the kids don't care... I'd be a little embarrassed if this were a Martha-type entertaining blog. But no, it's a real life, get-it-all-done blog for busy moms. So, here's the scoop:  

After playing in a ladies tennis tournament 9:00-1:30 (totally decadent, I know!), then having a health coach call 2:00-2:50, the school bus rumbled home at 3:00. The guests were due to arrive at 4:30, so I suggested a good snack and some downtime for my boys, and quickly whipped up (or poured out as the case may be with one of them) three snacks to have out in case the party people got hungry: ants on a log + Terra chips + mini fruit skewers. (The time-saving trick being to splurge on the "value-added" cut-up fruit this go round...)  

My husband said he'd try be home around 5:30... but I know Friday traffic, and I know my husband. So, I dashed up to my computer and banged out a 35-item scavenger hunt list, figuring it would take the kids, oh, at least 2 hours to hunt down all of the items inside and outside. I had visions of sitting outside with a glass of wine while they excitedly dashed around trying to find some of the more obscure items on the list.

Right. It took them exactly 35 minutes... and my husband got home sometime around 6:30. I doled out prizes of adhesive mustaches, glow sticks and whoopee cushions. But, the rest of the afternoon, they needed no direction or fancy games. I'd forgotten that just having two extra bodies around creates a party. Board games were hauled out, balls were kicked around, then I ordered pizza and salad from the local pizzeria.

The evening was capped off by a homemade-ish (note the "ish") cake. Yes, that is store-bought decorators frosting from a tube globbed on top of my delicious cream cheese frosting and lemon cake. I have no idea what was in it to turn in that bright blue. I don't really want to know.

What I do know, is that my son loved the cake. At bedtime, I read Everest to the kids.

The next morning, I fortified the crew with scrambled eggs + Alexia waffle cut potatoes + fruit salad + Alexia sweet potato puffs + Applegate chicken-apple breakfast sausage...

and then they met up with one of their teachers for a rock-climbing adventure! Talk about cool: this place was over-the-top neat... and they had one of their beloved teachers showing them the ropes.

Best part of all? My younger son was included in everything... the big kids let him act nine all night, and the next morning he, too, scampered up every wall.

It was a party to remember. Oh, and the goodie bags. Can't forget the goodie bags: copies of Hatchet and The Sign of the Beaver (for the big kids, My Side of the Mountain and My Father's Dragon for our 5-year-old) + a compass/thermometer + caribeener + a solar flashlight + a Lego mini figure + retro candies.


  1. What a fantastic birthday! That's one lucky kid. And it's really great you were able to reign in your inner-Martha. I can't always do that, but I'm so much happier when I do. It's true that no kid needs it to be magazine-photo perfect; they just don't care about that. Good for you!


    And great books as favors, too!

  2. Thanks Loren. It's so funny, one of my fondest birthday party memories is when we did a "beading party".... I think my mom must have poured a bunch of beads out on a blanket on our patio. Simple really is best, hmmm!

    Hey, I am coming to LA for a swellmom gig in July. I so hope we can connect. How fun would that be!!! I'll have my people call your people. xoxo

  3. Wow, that is an amazing goodie bag Eila! If you tire of the cooking gig (which I can't imagine you ever will!), you could go into kids party planning!

  4. Keep in mind, I was only making goodie bags for my two kids and the two guests. That's why they were so lavish!! For a big climbing party, I would just do the compass/thermometer keychain (REI) OR the solar flashlight (ironically, found at the checkout at party city?!) OR one of the books! That would keep it at the $5/each price point.

  5. Here's the list for any readers who want to cut/paste/modify for their future parties or weekend activities:

    1. 4 green leaves in different sizes
    2. a safety pin
    3. 4 blades of grass
    4. a pinecone
    5. a plastic fork
    6. a paper clip
    7. 4 pieces of Kleenex
    8. one blue sock
    9. a left flip flop
    10. a sand shovel
    11. a piece of stationery
    12. a piece of fruit with the skin on
    13. a green pen
    14. a wine cork
    15. a tennis ball
    16. one brown leaf
    17. 4 different sized rocks
    18. a piece of stamped mail
    19. a chocolate chip
    20. a tennis ball
    21. a medal
    22. 1/4 cup of sand in a zip-loc baggie (use a measuring cup!)
    23. the best fart sound someone on your team can make
    24. signatures of everyone on your team, each one in a different color, on a white piece of paper
    25. 4 different sized Legos
    26. the best pipecleaner sword your team can make
    27. a toilet paper roll
    28. 4 paper airplanes
    29. a golf tee
    30. a red pen
    31. a flower
    32. a shell
    33. a photograph
    34. a stomp rocket rocket
    35. a small car

  6. thanks for sharing.


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