So…speaking of “spirit-led parenting“, I’m really excited to tell you all about Gideon’s 7th birthday!
You guys know how I feel about holidays, in general, and birthdays, in particular. It’s my thang.
I love a good party, almost more than I love Hostess donuts.
Gideon’s parties have been especially fun and adventurous; if you were with me last year, you might remember that the first part of March was spent crafting Red Cross backdrops and collecting WWII memorabilia for the soldier party of the (last) century.
But this year was different, for some reason.
Even though I had a really fun (REALLY FUN!) theme in mind, I just wasn’t feeling it. My mind was picturing the entire party, but my heart was definitely being led in a different direction.
And so, finally, I listened.
The end result was that, rather than our typical birthday bash, we completely scaled back and spent Gideon’s seventh birthday in a more contemplative and simplified frame of mind.
Does this mean that I’ll no longer be crafting grandiose vintage-inspired parties for the kiddos? Heavens, no. I’m already planning Rebekah’s June picnic party.
But was this the right thing to do this year for this child? Most certainly, yes!
It was a BLAST.
Wanna see what we did?
(You’re in luck! I took lotsa pictures!)
The day before Gideon’s birthday, my Mom borrowed him for a bit, freeing me and the girls up to make him some special surprises at home.
This is a new tradition I want to incorporate into our celebrations from now on, because it was a really special time of thinking and talking about the birthday boy and working together to convey our love to him. I can’t help but think this will foster sibling affection, for both the recipient and the party planners.
First, we made him all sorts of paintings (like this almost-completed ship on the sea)…
Then, while Betsie slept, Rebekah and I baked a birthday cake and cupcakes.
Once Betsie woke up and the cakes had cooled, I decorated Gideon’s…
while the girls decorated the cupcakes. Rebekah used sprinkles. Betsie used her hacking cough. (What’s a birthday without a few germs?)
and here is their handiwork. Sweet sisters! They were as excited as I was!
Later that night, we made a switch, leaving the girls at Grandmother’s for the night and picking up Gideon.
His birthday celebration had officially begun!
First, he got to order whatever he wanted to eat from our local Drive-thru. Then, after supper, we moved our mattress into the living room where we watched a movie together and spent the night. Baby Shepherd was very pleased to join us, even donning his tie-dyed romper for the occasion. He is such a hippy.
SAD NEWS. Mr. Gore got came down with a stomach virus in the night and started throwing up.
But please, tell me the planning of this day was not indeed Spirit-led! If I had been trying to put together a big party by myself, I would have been devastated. As it was, I was able to keep a cool head and continue with our plans, even though my husband wasn’t able to join us until later that evening. I am VERY grateful to God for helping us have a great day, regardless of viruses.(And I am super proud of my husband for still managing to make Gideon a personalized Star Wars t-shirt that day).
So. After waking up and getting everything ready, I loaded up the boys and surprised Gid by picking up his great friend, Isaiah, and taking them to breakfast at McDonald’s. Isaiah is one of our favorite people in the world, and it was too cute watching him tote his giant gifts for Gideon all over the place. My son is blessed to have him for a friend.
p.s. these two can put down the pancakes!
After eating and taking Isaiah back home, we drove to Grandmother and Granddaddy’s house, where my Mom and the girls had been working hard all morning to surprise Gideon.
Our paintings were lining the walls…
and everything looked so clean, simple, and pretty.
After putting Shep and Betsie down for naps, Gideon, Rebekah and I embarked on what might have been my favorite part of the day, driving down to the creek to spend the afternoon doing some of Gideon’s favorite things.
Then, a picnic. The preparation was too easy, simply a galvanized tub full of Gideon’s favorite foods. Whole fruits and veggies, granola, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and…Pringles.
confession: The Pringles were for me.
U.S. Grown apple juice (and kids).
It was quite fun to sit in the sun with nothing to do but pop blackberries into our mouths and spit sunflower seed shells into the grass.
I think we should have days like this more often…
The kids agree with me.
Sidenote: have you ever seen anyone eat a bell pepper like this? He loves them.
After lunch, we drove to the road near the lake and gathered up a bucket of rocks.
Then we drove back to the creek and threw them in the water. Are you noticing yet that this is the easiest and cheapest party I’ve ever thrown?…
Now, if you’ll indulge me, a series of pictures of my seven-year old boy.
and, if you’ll indulge me a little further, a couple of my 4-year old country girl…
and now I’d feel badly if I left out Betsie…
(Sorry, Shepherd. If you wanted to be featured in this part of the post, you really should have woken up sooner. Snooze. Lose).
After several hours had passed, we loaded up and drove back to the house, where Granddaddy was waiting for us to give Gid a driving lesson. This was a pretty big deal! Sniffle, sniffle. My little boy, growing up and driving off into the sunset…
just kidding. They just drove through the pasture for a bit. I guess I can handle that.
Then (after switching spots) they drove to the lake for some more fishing. And what Gideon didn’t know is that his Grandpa, Grandma, and cousins were coming for his party. When they arrived, my niece, Abigail, and I tiptoed up to the lake to surprise him!
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing, eating freshly-caught fried fish (Gid’s favorite), and just enjoying the gift of family…
Lastly, to top off a day of favorite things, Gid got to do a little burning. If you find this strange and/or confusing, just trust me that it makes a lot more sense if you live in Oklahoma.
When the sun went down, we mozied inside where we popped all the balloons, played with all the new toys and enjoyed a sleepover together…
I share all of the above not just for my memories and not just to celebrate the beauty of life (my son’s, in particular), but to encourage all my fellow mamas – big party, little party, expensive party, cheap party, lots-of-guests-party, intimate party…it doesn’t REALLY matter. Just love on your little one, follow your heart, and the day will be a major success.
By the end of Gideon’s birthday, my goals for the day were completed: friends, fish, picnic, throw rocks, drive, cousins, grandparents, eat, cake, presents, burn the pasture.
And Gideon…now SEVEN YEARS OLD!!!…went to bed flushed, dirty, smokey, sticky and 100% happy.
And I went to bed even happier.
(and wayyyyyyy less tired than usual).
(with wayyyyyy less clean-up to do the next day).
(with wayyyyyyy more money in the bank).