Mother Hen’s Fourth Birthday, Simplified

~ the journalistic conclusion to Mother Hen’s Fourth Birthday ~

…So now what?!

Some of you will have trouble believing this, but when that church-wide outdoor cookout cowboy birthday party dream so quickly escaped my grasp and left me with no plan, no theme and not even an inspired idea for Gideon’s 4th birthday party, I decided to keep it simple, stupid. Here’s how his planless, themeless and uninspired extravaganza went down:

Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ~ Chris’s team won their basketball tournament this morning and will play in the championship on Monday, Gideon’s birthday. Now it is on to the first part of Gideon’s weekendlong celebration, beginning with pizza and the zoo with Chris’s family.

8:00 p.m. ~ Chris’s family is amazing. Grandpa and Grandma, Uncle Todd, Aunt Bobbi and Baby Harper drove all the way here to spend the day with us. The weather could not have been more perfect, nor could the huge toy helicopter they gave Gideon as a gift. “How did you know I wanted this??” he asked. (“Because you called and told me you did.” said Grandma, which is very true. He did. I was there.)

Sunday, 2:00 p.m. ~ The kids are both asleep and Chris and I are in concentrated don’t-mess-with-me or waste-my-time-with-small-talk-or-jokes birthday planning MODE. Well…I am. I keep trying to pretend like I’m light-hearted and not tense, which translates into something like Woohoo! Isn’t this fun?!...don’t talk to me!!” Chris is filling up the helium balloons (very slowwwwwwly while watching a basketball game), and I am icing the cake and cupcakes and preparing all the food for tonight’s party. We have to finish these tasks and have the house cleaned and decorated before Gideon wakes up! I want him to come downstairs to a transformed house…a birthday wonderland!

2:20 p.m. ~ I just finished the cake, as well as one more minor breakdown. It came as I put the last M&M in place on the #4 on his birthday cake. That number was just staring at me in its primary-colored boldness, taunting me with its harsh and rigid lines, saying “Nanny, nanny boo boo, Gideon is four!” and I burst into tears at its candy cruelty…I much preferred last years’ graceful and whimsical #3.

2:21 p.m. ~ …Speaking of that birthday cake, the little birthday Toot saw the un-iced version last night as it finished cooling and said “Hmmmm…where’s the BIG birthday cake, like the one you made last year?” For the record, the one he was referring to is just like the one that was sitting on the counter, just what he requested to have again (a little individual chocolate cake with M&Ms all over it), but I thought “Humph, I’ll show him!” and scrapped the last planned batch of cupcakes so I could make another layer to add to his piddly little cake instead. Ha! Do not challenge your Mother Hen, you wee little chick. (Now I’ll probably have to do three layers next year…)

4:30 p.m. ~ My feet are dying, but it is so worth it. The house looks amazing and there are balloons everywhere. Mrs. Gore has decided that a child’s birthday without balloons is just a day. Gideon is ecstatic with the results, which is really all I cared about. Next to impressing all the guests, that is.

7:00 p.m. ~ I actually made it to church this year with everything done ahead of time. We’ve invited everyone present at tonight’s service to join us in a little birthday party at our house. Hope we all fit! And I hope someone is willing to periodically climb those stairs for me to check on all the kids that are sure to be upstairs…after church this morning and party preparations this afternoon, I don’t think I’ll be physically able to do so myself!

It is Mrs. Gore's greatest honor to be this boy's annual cake-bearer.

10:00 p.m. ~ It looks like our house swallowed too much birthday joy and vomited it up. I have gone to bed without even covering up the cakes, there are balloons dangling from every surface, wrapping paper is littering the floor…but what a party! There were kids and people and chatter everywhere. Now that was fun. (Although I’m still fuming that I opened the refrigerator after everyone left to find I forgot to set out the huge meat and cheese platter we prepared. But I do know what I’m taking to the ladies fellowship on Tuesday…)

Monday, 8:00 a.m. ~ His actual birthday is here! Gideon Michael Gore is 4 years old. He got to have a rare sleepover in Mama and Papa’s room last night, sneaking downstairs at our instruction after Rebekah fell asleep, and then reading books and talking until we were all too tired to keep our eyes open. Today we’re trying a new birthday ritual…just us, just doing whatever things make Gideon the happiest. I haven’t been this excited since Saturday night!

The best things in life are FREE...like birthday sleepovers!! (Make-overs, unfortunately, are not).

10:00 a.m. ~ We dropped Rebekah off at Grandmother’s house and have surprised Gideon with breakfast at the donut shop. So far, he has devoured two chocolate donuts and a half a dozen donut holes. We also let him take as many pictures of us on the digital camera as he wanted…I’m sure they’ll be quite beautiful. We could probably stop here and say this was a successfully fun birthday!

Only birthday boys get to eat that many donuts. And their pregnant mothers.

Picture #1

Picture #2 ~ "arm wrestle!" said the photographer.

Picture #3 ~ "now make shapes!"

Picture #4 ~ "now make more shapes!"

Turning 4 and eating lots of donuts give a boy some big ol' muscles.

11:00 a.m. ~ We stopped at the park to play, but because of the surprisingly chilly weather, only stayed for about five minutes. A combination of corduroy and raindrops caused Gideon to shoot down the slide like a torpedo, depositing him in the pebbles in a daze and giving at least two of the three of us a good laugh (hint: Gideon wasn’t crying...). He and his wet bottom have requested to go somewhere “warm and cozy,” so we’re off to the Wal-mart toy section!

On our way to "warm and cozy" Wal-Mart

12:30 p.m. ~ We played with every toy in Wal-mart, namely, the Nerf weapons…swords, hatchets, axes…thankfully Mr. Gore had enough energy for the both of us and waged a 40-minute battle against his son, running down aisles, hiding and jumping out like a crazed Barbarian maniac, engaging in dramatic sword fights…basically, giving Gideon the time of his life. (Will Papa be so eager to go to the toy section to play Barbies and baby-dolls come Rebekah’s next birthday?…Probably.) We even let the birthday boy ride a motorized 4-wheeler all through the movie section (who cares if it was pink and purple and made for a 2-year old? It’s Gideon’s birthday!!!).  And the best part is, we were there for at least an hour and only spent $10, not on toys, but on a bouquet of tulips for our beloved baby-sitter. Speaking of that great lady, we have come back to Grandmother’s house where a delicious lunch awaits us of Gideon’s favorite things: strawberries, watermelon, yogurt with M&M’s in it, hamburgers, french fries, chips and cheese dip, chocolate cake and tiny cans of Sunkist. Have I mentioned that my Mom knows how to throw a party??

The next best things in life are relatively cheap...i.e. candles. We have as many candle-blowings as possible.

1:30 p.m. ~ We were all too full to even touch the cake…did that same thing not happen on Valentine’s Day? My Mom should open a buffet. And Gideon adores his new presents, a Bruder cement-pouring truck and a chainsaw with goggles. Again, “this is just what I wanted! How did you know??” (Again…you told us.)

2:00 – 4:00 p.m. ~ The entire family is unconscious. Birthdays, even “the simple kind” are exhausting.

5:00 p.m.  ~ We’re on our way to Papa’s basketball championship, where Gideon will get to run wild with all his nursery friends.

7:30 p.m. ~ Run wild they did. And our church won the championship! So now Papa will still be happy to celebrate Gideon’s birthday!!

7:31 p.m. ~ Gideon is overwhelmed, after trying to give his cousin Anna her beloved toy Batman back, to find that when she gave it to him, it was for keeps. She loves him very much. I think he knows it now.

9:00 p.m. ~ Gideon, his sister, his cousins and his friend just had a good, long play in the Chick-fil-A playground. I didn’t even make him finish his food. He just played and played and played and played and played and he and his diehard slide-till-she-drops (which she never does) sister shoved their leftover chicken bits in their mouths allllll the way home.

And the best parks in life are also free. And indoor. ("warm and cozy")

11:00 p.m. ~ Gideon never arrived for tonight’s sleepover in Mama and Papa’s room. The birthday fun must have done him in…

Tuesday, 5:00 a.m. ~ Gideon came stumbling into our room, groggily saying “Rebekah is asleep now…can  we read some books?” He climbed in between us and fell back asleep before we could vehemently say “No.”

The morning after the birthweekend of FUN. You should have seen his Mother...

And that’s a wrap! I just have to add that it seemed the whole world celebrated with us on this relaxing and unscripted day – Grandpa’s prize colt was born that same morning (Gideon has requested that Grandpa name it “Drink” or “Fan Light”), and everytime we drove by the big dump truck on the highway going to and from our different excursions it was dumping a huge load of dirt. Believe me, on a normal day, that never happens! March 14th was Gideon’s day, through and through, as well as the days surrounding it. I can’t think of one thing I would change.

No pressure, no schedule, no expectations…it’s how I’m going to handle birthdays from now on. Unless I can get my hands on $750. Then we’re going to have the cowboy hoedown of the century. I can just see it now…

4 thoughts on “Mother Hen’s Fourth Birthday, Simplified

  1. This is how we do birthdays around here. I just HAVE to celebrate on the actualy day….which means big parties are often out of the question.. So we scrapped those and just spend their actual birthday celebrating from sun-up to sun-down. It’s pretty sweet if you ask me!

    And I cry as they age as well…..which means when Cambrey turns TEN in August, I might actually die of a broken heart.

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