Sunday, April 7, 2013

6 Years Older and Wiser Too

Scarlet has been planning her birthday party since Rhode's ended in September.  "I want to go to Chuck E Cheese too, mom."  I then made it very clear that the succession of events would go like this: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, and THEN we would start talking about her birthday party.  

That didn't stop the frequent updates.  The cake changed, the guests changed, the birthday dinner changed but the Chuck E Cheese location never wavered.

Until a week before the final event.

"Mom, I don't really want to have a party at Chuck E Cheese anymore.  I want a party at the house with lots of games and a pinata."


The details just kept pouring out of her mouth at an alarming rate.  I promised her my whole afternoon to discuss details if she would let me get a little work done in the meantime.  When I returned to her full attention, this is what she had created:

Front Page

Party Layout in Pictures

List of Activities

pin the tail on the unicorn
open the pinata
play outside
freeze dance
dance contest
ring around the rosie
find the unicorn

Picture of items we needed to purchase

shopping list and guest list

Order of events leading up to party:

Walmart today
Library tomorrow
Winco after that
2 days later it's my birthday party.

And after admiring her tape bound homemade birthday book guide, I realized what Scarlet wanted more than anything was to plan her own party.  So I turned over the reigns and she took over.

The shopping schedule took a bad turn when Asher got the stomach flu on one of the days but she just rolled with the punches and we were able to get everything on her list.

One thing we had decided together early on was that we were not going to be doing any birthday presents this year.  After a very generous Christmas, Jon and I noticed a very negative reaction in our children.  Instead of enjoying their new items, they had so many they hardly cared about any of them.  When they were threatened with losing any of them, the response was usually, "That's okay.  I have more."  

It was not a reaction we appreciated nor a mess that was tolerable.  So, we decided to start something we have always planned on doing, turning away from gifts and encouraging experiences instead.

We asked all of our party guests to not bring gifts.  Many of them brought very sweet homemade cards that they had made and Scarlet loved them.  Coming off of this Christmas, the party was our only "experience" gift this year, but in future years we hope to give gifts like tickets to special events or fun things we can do as a family.

So, back to the party, her guests:

Scarlet, Bennett, Blaze, Rhode, Charlie, Jane & Simon.  Sofia and Ellie showed up a little later.

First on the list, the pinata.  I let her have full control but I should have insisted that pinata was not the first event.  I was the only adult at the party at that time and keeping a pinata afloat while keeping small children from whacking each other with a big stick is not an easy task.

Scarlet helped everyone get on their blindfolds and directed them to the pinata.

The pinata itself, what do you do when you can't find a unicorn pinata?  Give the donkey a horn of course.

Bennett was the strongest swinger of the bunch.  The pinata proved stubborn so we let Bennett go to town on it at the end and knocked that donkey... unicorn down to size.

And the rewards.  Our pinata was filled with a few treats, gummy snacks, rice krispy treats, and a few dollar store toys, one of each item for each person.  Scarlet was really stressed about the idea of people taking more than they should so the little kids didn't get any, so this was her solution.  The funny part is, she is usually the big kid at the party that takes all of the pinata candy....

Pin the tail on the unicorn was a big hit.  She designed the yarn tails herself and made enough for each guest, per her list.

Her lunch choice of the day was homemade pizzas so we let all of the party guests design their own.

They were exceptionally tasty, and sadly, for us adults, most of the kids finished their whole pizza.

She even made her own cake, after I did all of the baking, frosting and fondant-ing...

Food coloring markers, what a fun invention!

 Family members have been very supportive of our alternate gift ideas.  She received a lot of great cards in the mail from her aunts and uncles, including a gift card to Dairy Queen which she is dying to spend on all occasions.

Grammy and Grandpa Earl gave her and I a really fun experience, tickets to see Shrek the Musical at the new Smith Center in town.  The tickets were for a few weeks after her birthday on a Tuesday night.  So we got in our 'hit the town' finest and had an amazing evening.

We had great seats and enjoyed every minute of the play.  We brought along a few treats just for the fun of it and Scarlet and I got to sit and chat, munch on candy and just enjoy the night.  

I have so much I can say about Scarlet, I am so very proud of her and the amazing six year old she is. I'll save her academic accomplishments for her upcoming school project post.  But what I am most proud of is the sweet example she is to her brothers.  She has single handedly taught them how to be great sharers, to be considering to the people around her, to be excited about learning, and to try every food that comes in front of you, in case its secretly better than it looks.

She is sassy and silly and oh so very fancy.  But she is also very aware of right and wrong and is not afraid to be the girl that makes sure everyone else knows the rules.  I love her confidence.

Happy birthday sweet daughter!  It has been a wonderful six years.


Kylie said...

Scarlet is so brilliant. Seriously, my fourth and fifth graders couldn't write as well as she can (the new zealand school system is a little bit different...) And she planned her whole party! That is amazing! I love Shrek the Musical and mom told me she said her favorite part was fiona growing up in the tower. That was my favorite part too! Love it. I miss you guys!

Mindy said...

We love Scarlet!

Katie said...

Happy birthday, Scarlet! Also, I LOVE your idea about giving "experiences" instead of gifts, especially as your children grow older. Already, I look at the toys we've accumulated and think, "Where are more going to go?"

Kristy said...

Genius child. My favorite is Scarlet's face in the picture where Bennett is hitting the unicorn. Its a combination of excited and nervous, its adorable.

Peggy Dee said...

It's not my fault for spoiling your children! I give them awesome gifts and let them govern themselves!! Scarlet is a genius. No idea where she gets it from?? What a great mom you are letting her plan her party. Then again, she's really good at it!

Kendall said...

I love everything about this! And I really like your experiences instead of gifts idea! That is way more fun and really smart.