Last weekend Jake celebrated his birthday with his friends.
Jake's birthday is in December super close to Christmas. Most years when we have had a birthday party with friends we've had it during summer. 1) Late December/early January is a bear to schedule around and 2) we figured it was awful enough he got all his presents for the year within a couple days, this would spread the fun out.
We were going to celebrate in March, but then we kicked around the idea of a camping party and it was decided that summer would be better.
Invites went out and Jake was pretty happy with them:
That's right! They were going to be sleeping in a tent! Jake was pretty excited about that.
The day of the party the kids and I went into decorating and preparation mode. We mostly had to work to get all the goody bags packaged. This involved printouts, and a few IM messages to Mike who was downtown that day. Of course, on the day he's NOT working at home, we couldn't get the printer working.
We had decided to make "hobo" bags for the boys to take home. I found some small flashlights on clearance, and we repackaged some water bottles to personalize them.
You'll notice the labels are crooked. This might have bothered Maddie and me extensively. Jake was in charge of applying them and had done it on purpose because he thought they looked way better that way. He also drew on small "nails" (circles) with a silver pen out of my scrapbook stash.
Maddie was in charge of all pictures. I love that she "styled" the photos before taking them.
We also included s'more ingredients with instructions for how to cook them in the microwave.
(The s'mores really did include chocolate, you just can't see it.)
Everything was wrapped up in a bandanna.
Once the boys arrived we had them guess how many rocks were in a jar. Then they spent awhile swimming and "being boys". This involved an endless amount of yelling, jumping tricks, and references to body parts that just made me shake my head.
We roasted hot dogs over the fire. Word to the wise: don't feed 10 year old boys hot dogs. Things stink after awhile and the word "fart" can be heard almost every five minutes.
We had a "cool down" period of the greatest "boy craft" ever. We had them make necklaces similar to those baseball necklaces that are so popular. Jake and I had scoured the craft stores and found the perfect ropes to braid. We also came up with a way to attach them together that was genius, if I do say so myself. And I will. These boys were SO excited about these necklaces! We had put some stuff on the ends to stop fraying and the guys checked the necklaces every five minutes to see if they were dry. A couple boys even came up to me and said, "Thank you so much! I've wanted one of these necklaces forever."
After that it was war. I mean that literally. Mike and I sat on the couch. Jake had finished opening presents and then the boys broke into teams and literally ran up and down our two flights of stairs for a couple hours killing each other. There were double agents, sneak attacks, and secret meetings. We were amazed and flabbergasted. At midnight we made them head out to the tent hoping they would be exhausted and fall asleep.
I slept on the couch in the family room with our window cracked. Originally we were going to have Mike sleep in the tent with them, but realized that would be fairly "uncool". However, I wasn't okay with just letting them be out there alone (I was afraid someone would need to come inside during the night and fall into the pool). So, I was able to "keep an ear out for them" and still sleep relatively comfortable. After three trips outside (noise control) I told them it was 1:30am and they needed to stop talking (so loudly!) and go to bed.
They were up by 7am, ate breakfast, back on the warpath by 7:30 and swimming again by 9am. At 10am they were picked up and we all collapsed.
This was a pretty easy party to throw together and Jake said his friends told him they had a good time. One successful party down, one more and we are done for the summer!