Charlie’s birthday celebrations

I can’t believe that I actually downloaded all of these photos and videos so quickly. (It’s cause I knew Pawpaw had asked for them particularly, I think. I mean, I still haven’t done the pictures from last summer’s vacation!)


Charlie started off his birthday celebrations with a party at Fedkids. To my horror, I realized I had forgotten my digital camera, so I grabbed a disposable one on the way to the festivities. Charlie had a blast snapping away and making everyone say cheese. (Any blurry pictures are, of course, his.)

Two of his teachers gave him some books that he loved. (He even refused to leave one of them behind when they went to the gym, and when I came back to pick him up a few hours later he knew what guinea pigs were when I pointed to their picture in the book!) Two of his other teachers baked him a delicious cake and came by to visit with him as he blew out his candles.

It was a fun time, and Charlie really took a shine to everyone telling him “Happy Birthday” and giving him presents. (He has the “open please” and tearing paper thing down.)

The next day, Saturday, was Charlie’s party at our house. Many of his friends from daycare were there, but the highlight of the day was an appearance by his beloved music teacher Gina Samardge. He was delighted, and a bit confused, to have so many people he sees outside the house in the house.

I knew Charlie would love to have Gina sing just for him. (He talks about her every time he sees a guitar or a snake—you’ll see why in the pictures.) And so I looked into her schedule and fees when I first started planning the party, in February. That’s when I also looked into reserving spaces or hiring out a party package from a local kids’ store that included Gina’s talents. When I heard the cost, my Southern raised-to-be-a-homemaker brain kicked in. “I can do that at half the price!” I thought.

And I nearly did.

And nearly keeled over trying.

This was a decidedly small affair. Eight kids total. But now I know why people hire event planners or pay mega-bucks to have their shindig for two-year-olds catered and held at a location far away from the place where they plan to sleep.

After a month of doing the scheduling, the invitations, the planning of decorations, the buying of goody bags, and the enlisting of borrowed toddler tables and chairs, I woke up at 6 am to bake the cake, clean the house, rearrange the furniture and tape up balloons. Jesse and Charlie spent the day blowing up balloons, buying beverages and veggies, and trying to blow off steam somewhere besides our living room.

Here’s what it looked like when we were done.

The party was messy, loud and delicious.

The plan was for a full hour and a half of toddler entertainment. A half hour for arrivals and art, a half hour for pizza and cake and a half hour of Gina’s music. The toys in Charlie’s room were ready as back-up. With only a few snafus, and surprisingly few crayon marks on the furniture, it went well.


Of course, when we were done, we were all really done.

And after Charlie passed out in his bed, it only took Jesse and I an hour or so to get all the chocolate cake, apple juice and pizza off the floor.

Here’s to happy birthdays!


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