But let me be honest: all of the lofty, amazingly executed, creative ideas on Pinterest are intimidating. I can't do it all, especially with four kids with back-to-back birthdays (two birthdays five days apart in August and two birthdays two weeks apart in October/November). So aside from the usual party, cake and ice cream, we have a few traditions that our kids look forward to and that are easy to do.
1. Decorate their door: My kids KNOW they're going to wake up to streamers and balloons on their door, but they always act so surprised. One look at Pinterest, and it's clear this could be very cute and extravagant. But here, it's always done at the midnight hour, just as I'm going to bed and see their naked door. (I'm not a planner.) But it only takes a few minutes to whip up a cute sign for their door and tape up a few streamers. (Confession: These streamers were leftover from last weekend's birthday party, and I moved them from downstairs to her bedroom door at midnight.) Instant party on their birthday morning!
2. Kisses: When we tuck in our kids on their birthday eve, we make a point of telling them it's the last time we'll kiss them as an (8) year old. And they know that we'll sneak in and give them the first kiss as a (9) year old right after midnight. Last night when I snuck in to kiss Emma, she woke up and smiled, and hugged me. In the sweetest, most heartfelt way, she said, "I love you, Mama!" Melt me.
3. Breakfast with Dad: If it's not a weekend (in which case we'll make cinnamon rolls with sprinkles and a candle), Daddy takes the birthday kid to the place of their choice for breakfast before school/work. Addie's choice on her last birthday? The gas station for Hostess donuts and chocolate milk. Livin' large at age seven.
4. Birthday Dinner: I tell our kids that I can make whatever they want for dinner, or we can go to the restaurant of their choice for birthday dinner. I can't remember the last time I made dinner on their birthdays... happy birthday to ME! ;)
5. Desktop Picture: This is a new tradition that I love! Addie had the idea last month when it was her birthday month. For their entire birthday month, the desktop picture on my computer is of the birthday kid. I love it and so do they! Every time we open the computer together to do email, homework, look at pictures, play games... they light up when they see themselves and know it's their month to celebrate. It's been so fun!
Happy birthday to my sweet Emmaline Grace. Nine years old today! I can't believe it.