To be fair, I chickened out and took the kids up to Nashville to see my parents for Labor Day weekend, so really I only had two weekends on my own. But even so, I was completely unprepared prepared for the reality of working full-time while simultaneously parenting two children. By week four, I think we’d finally fallen into a sustainable routine, but that second week nearly killed us all.
Anyway, Todd didn't get home until late on the evening on Micah’s birthday. Earlier in August, I had thought that even with Todd gone, we could manage some sort of birthday party on the 13th. I pretty quickly came to my senses, though, and when the 12th rolled around, we made do by celebrating with the usual birthday party animal tradition, a candle in his morning pancakes, and dinner out with my parents and my sister’s family. Micah’s biggest birthday present was having his dad walk through the door right before bed.
The next weekend was the real party. This year, I decided on a construction theme. Since we already have a million construction vehicles and I work in construction, I figured the decor would be pretty easy to pull off. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, and keep the cost below what I would have paid to have the party somewhere else.
I ended up purchasing four small construction signs, party favors, some construction tape, and plastic hard hats for the guests. Everything else we either already had, borrowed, or made.
To make the invitation, I downloaded a couple construction icons from FlatIcon, and threw them onto a slope with some text in Photoshop. (P.S. If you ever need vector icons, FlatIcon is definitely the place to go!)
I found several construction signs online and made a few more for the cupcake toppers. Everything else was kept as simple as possible. I set out some toys, threw around a lot of construction tape, and called it a day.
We dragged Todd's pull-up bar outside and tied a soccer ball to a rope using garbage bags. We scrounged up several boxes the kids could stack up as high as they could reach.
A while back, a friend gave me two under-bed Rubbermaid storage boxes that she was going to throw away otherwise. For a while, they contained Micah's collection of stuffed animals, but I dragged them back out for the party. A few bags of sand plus several small construction machines, and we had an activity that entertained all the guests WELL beyond the end of the party. Micah, Aerin, and the neighbor kids played in them the rest of the weekend. I think we finally emptied them out three weeks later.
Todd used some old lumber we had laying around to build a small wall and a balance beam. Using some cones borrowed from work and some warning tape, we laid out a course that took the kids up the ladder into the play structure, across the bridge, down a slide, across the balance beam, around the yard to the wall, then under a tarp. The kids really enjoyed it, especially the wall.
The same friend who provided the Rubbermaid boxes also brought us a couple Styrofoam coolers. I set up a table off to the side where the kids could use one of Micah's toy hammers to hammer golf tees into the Styrofoam. This game was also a big hit, but I totally forgot to take any pictures of it.
I was really torn this year, trying to decide if we wanted to have a party at home or pay to have one somewhere else. The costs, after food, were not all that different between the two choices. But one huge advantage to having it at home was that everyone could stay as long as they liked. The party was supposed to end at 5, but the kids were having so much fun that none of us had the heart to pull them away. The last guests departed at 6:30, simply because they finally got hungry enough for dinner.
Micah really enjoyed his party, and it was actually a lot less stressful to pull together than I would have expected. Happy boy, happy mama.