Saturday, April 9, 2016

Jackson's 5th Birthday

Obviously Jackson's birthday happens the same day every year, yet it somehow snuck up on me this year. Birthday festivities fell to the bottom of my priority list thanks to Easter egg hunt preparations and a week of failed potty training.

Since Jackson's actual birthday was on a Saturday this year, I simply brought in cupcakes to preschool yesterday. His school requires store-bought treats and doesn't encourage parents to come for birthdays. I was disappointed I didn't get to pass out cupcakes, take pictures, or hear his classmates sing Happy Birthday, but it made me happy to know that Jackson felt so loved at school. 

I felt like such a slacker for not having any friend party planned. Neither Jesse nor I grew up having birthday parties with peers. I didn't necessarily plan on having a kid party for Jackson, mostly because we already have a large family party that requires a good deal of money and planning. Jackson didn't ask for a friend party, but I felt pressured to do so. Over the past year we've been invited to 5th birthday parties at bounce houses, Chuck E Cheese, parks, bowling alleys, and a gym. I confessed to my mom friends a few days ago that I had nothing planned, so they graciously suggested we meet at Sweet Frog on Friday. I was so very thankful for the opportunity for Jackson to be celebrated, without any extra cost or planning on my behalf. The kids got to all hang out and eat ice cream, 

while us moms got to eat indulge and socialize, too.

Jackson was elated to open his Star Wars presents and coloring activities.

When the kids started to get rowdy inside, we moved to the large courtyard area outside. One of the older siblings led the little ones in ring-around-the-rosie and duck, duck, goose, and hide and go seek.

Once home, Jackson spent hours working on his Lego kit. He missed a few steps, but was proud of his creation. It worked out well that Jackson spent so much time quietly working on his own because Jesse was out mowing the grass while I put the trio to bed and began working on Jackson's birthday cake.

For the family party, Jackson has been asking for a Star Wars party for months. I made invitations online and sent them out through Facebook last weekend.

Jackson and I sat down on Monday and made a list of things he wanted. He requested a pinata, Star Wars cake, and millenium falcon toy. We browsed through Pinterest after school to get cake ideas. I showed him options for pinatas. He more or less said, "Oh! I want that!" with every single photo. Finally, he picked BB-8 for both his cake and pinata. The trio and I ran errands while he was in school in order to fulfill his requests.  

Jackson really wanted to stuff his own pinata.
I stayed up 'til 1:30 a.m. last night making his BB-8 cake and storm trooper cupcakes. They weren't at all complicated--just tedious. And for whatever reason, I was in no rush.

The party was set for noon. Around 9 a.m. it dawned on me that I had no decorations or the traditional display of photos. My mom always made us huge posterboards with photos on them for the family members to sign. I'm pretty sure my siblings and I have all peeled off the photographs and thrown the posters of our childhood away, because, really, what else would you do with giant posters from your milestone birthdays? Instead of making a poster, I slapped some painter's tape on the wall in the shape of a five, then covered it with whatever miscellaneous photos I happened to already have printed.

Voila! Jack's photo display was finished in under 30 minutes.

Several family members couldn't make it (sister, niece, brother's family, and brother-in-law), yet our house was still overflowing with 27 family members. It's loud, crowded, and sometimes chaotic, but I love it! Jackson wanted pizza and chips. I tossed in a salad for posterity's sake. I originally planned on skewing grapes to make light sabers, but time was not on my side.

The weather was unseasonably cool and windy, but we enjoyed some time outside. The elementary school age kids had fun taking a swing at the durable droid.

The pinata proved to be a cause of frustration for James, Amelia, and Maddie. (Note to self: Do not get a pinata for the trio's birthday!)

The kids literally beat it to the ground.

I just so happened to capture this moment when my brother-in-law threw the candy up in the air for the kids to collect.

Next on the impromptu agenda was opening presents.

I am so relieved that Jackson does not take after me when it comes to opening presents. He was genuinely happy and enthusiastic with each present. He was eager to move on to the next present, but took time to thank the gift givers.

The kids took over the back yard while my sister and I set up cake and ice cream.

Jackson and his cousins must have inhaled their dessert so they could play with Jackson's new toys.

MiMi gifted Jackson his highly coveted millenium falcon
Jackson was smiling practically the whole day. He received everything he asked for and more. Now that it's over, I feel silly for worrying so much over kid parties and lack of decorations. Jackson has spent the past 24 hours surrounded by 50 classmates, teachers, friends, and family showering him with cards, gifts, songs, treats, hugs, and kisses. I pray that Jackson never once questions how much he is loved and how special he is. His past five years are most assuredly worth celebrating.

Happy Birthday, Jackson Lee!

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