Stalked by the Stork...a diary of raising twelve kids

Having twelve children is an amazing blessing and one heck of a crazy ride. Join us through all the joys, smiles, tribulations and trials as we navigate this fabulous journey!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Birthday Parties!!!

Today was a very busy day of birthday celebrations. In fact, this is a whole weekend full of birthday celebrations. This afternon, I picked Albert up at work for lunch. We went back to the old community we used to attend school in- to this mexican resteraunt...Las Palmas. When we had fewer children and they were smaller, we used to eat there quite's been a couple of years now since we went. Fortunately they were still in business and were actually quite busy. Apparently our little whole in the wall that we loved has become pretty well known and popular! We had a great lunch there, just me, Albert and the babies and...we took a little longer than the alloted one hour lunch break at his job! In fact, by the time we were finished, it was almost time for work to be finished! I dropped Albert off at his job and headed home and he ended up comming home just minutes behind me.
Almost immediately, I headed out to the conference with Brandon's teacher. She's concerned about his progress. He isn't doing poorly but his grades are slipping and she wanted us to be aware of it before it got to be a problem. I know its because of all his absences. Every year when he misses a lot of school, this becomes an issue. We decided to try to get him on a 504 plan for medical reasons to perhaps get him some accomodations.
After the conference, Brandon and I ran to the grocery store to pick up the cakes and some sodas, juice and water to drink. Then we rushed home to help Albert finish up getting ready for Jackson and Brice's pizza party.
For those that are's the deal. Jackson's birthday is Feb.19th. Albert and Brice's birthdays are March 8th. Jackson and Brice have mostly the same friends (my friends) and so we decided to combine their parties and have one so we wouldn't be asking the same group of people to come back twice within three weeks. We meant to have the joint party sometime in between the two parties, but due to Manny's basketball schedules, it didnt work out that way. So tonight was the big shin-dig. A pizza party with a chocolate cake for Jackson and a vanilla cake for Brice. We played relay races and my good friend Ora painted faces (it was the highlight of the party!)
During the birthday song, as I leaned over to light candles on the second cake, my hair and shirt caught on fire from the first cake. Not wanting to scare the kids, I got really calm and tried to quickly, quietly and calmly pat out the flame. But every time I'd pat out one flame it would spark up again somewhere else on my sleeve. It took a bit of patting and blowing (stop laughing Debi, Tonya and all the rest of you with dirty minds) to get the flame out completely and it was good for a really big laugh after. My skin wasn't burned at all...but I did smell scortched for a while after probably from my hair. Albert missed the whole thing and only caught the tail end when I put out the flame finally.
The kids had a great time at the party. It was a little bit hectic though...okay, a lot hectic. I definatley prefer the parties in the summer when we can throw kids outside. Drew and the twins usually have nice outside weather. This past year, even Brandon had nice outside weather. The kids are just so rowdy and loud in the house. We got smart this time though and locked all the bedroom doors, leaving only a certain amount of toys in the loft. Wouldn't you know, some of the kids picked the locks and went into th bedroom anyway! I sent Albert upstairs, since kids somehow respond a little better to Dads than to Moms.
It was a really fun party, and I'm glad it over with! Tomorrow is Drew's band competition. He's been practicing (though I don't think enough) for the past two months. I ask him about his progress every single day because I don't think he devotes enough time...almost like he's starting to burn out...we'll see. Then tomorrow night....we are going out for Albert's birthday! A DATE! My friend Ora is watching Sydney. I feel very comfortable with Ora watching her as she is a very nurturing, gentle person with babies. Sydney is comfortable with her and I know she and her family love Syd.
Okay, here is what I was saying about how we have made a committment to changing birthday parties at our house. In the years past we've always had parties where we'd spend way too much money thinking we needed to buy decorations and lots of food and gifts and things would get way out of hand. We'd end up in the hole for the month because of birthday parties. We have finally gotten wise and have had so many children that we'd be in the hole literally almost every single month if we kept on like that. So, we began to look for ways to have a party that kept all of the special-ness and fun but cut out the crap that wasn't really necessary anyway. Here's what we've come up with.
1)Birthday parties are held at our home. At least if you want to invite more than a couple guests. We simply cannont and will not pay for parties that charge ridiculous amounts of money per child. Although if our child would rather go somewhere and only invite a couple of friends that's okay too.
2) We decorate with things from The Dollar Store. Sounds cheap I know, but we have a really great dollar store here. We buy plates, cups, napkins, silverware, balloons, streamers and banners from the dollar store. If one of the kids wants a party with a theme then we'll go somewhere and buy a few decoration item in "the theme" and then buy the rest in the matching colors of the theme from....the dollar store.
3) The kids make the games for the party or we play things that are free. Of course sometimes we make exceptions but usually this is true. The older kids have so much fun making pin the tail on the donkey games with poster board. We do lots of free things like relay races, tug-o-war, musical chairs ect.
4) We cut way back on the food. We used to serve wayyyyyyyyy to much food at the kids parties. Now, we plan simple things. For instance tonight was a pizza party. We did pizza and cake and called it a night. So much easier on the pocket book. Pizza hut and Dominos both have $5.00 pizza's and so we ordered seven or eight of them and ended up spending far less than what we would have normall spents when we used to go to the grocery store and buy, say, chicken wings, an assortment of potato chips and dips, different casseroles, cookies, brownies and other goodies. You get the idea. Pizza and cake. Nice and simple.
5) We scaled back on the amount of presents. No, we aren't mean and yes our kids still get plenty but there's just no sense in spending small fortunes on kids presents. Now we find out what things are really going to be special to the kids and pick a couple of those. Remember that most guests will bring presents so there is no need for us to buy tons of stuff. A couple of things per kid will do just fine. Believe me, they still make out with more than they need.
6) We have started family traditions and plan to start even more . The book that I am currently reading "Natural Family Living" mentioned making a special table cloth that comes out only for birthday parties. I think we'll make one for the kids. It will be a nice momento for me to have when my babies are all grown.
I'll post some pics of the party soon so you can all see how it went.
I'll update at the end of the weekend with the results of Drews competition and our date for Albert's birthday. Have a great weekend.


TONYA said...

Okay, you were totally reading my mind with that last sentence, you just knew that I was going to ask where the dang pictures were LOL. I'm so glad the boys had a great birthday and have fun on your date with Albert tomorrow. Great party tips too.

Oh and I wasn't laughing about you catching on fire, I felt like I should've been able to leap through the computer to save you. See I have a fear of fire and the only time candles are lit in our house is for birthdays. I got 3rd degree burns from a tealight candle about 3 years ago, spent 5 days in hospital and still have a scar on my hand from it. That is so something I would do though, to catch my hair on fire LOL.

Lynn said...

All of that sounds wonderful! Wish I could go back and change some things in our family....

BoufMom9 said...

Ok, so I wasn't laughing. I gasped when I read you caught fire. I can't have my beautiful friend getting hurt now, can I?
The party sounded wonderful, aside from the lock picking. LOL Damn kids!
I too do the dollar store thing. We also do the theme, but do the same, buy a few things and then match colors. That's what I did for E & W's HUGE Backyardigan party. Just bright color stuff with a few "real" things.
Cute about the tablecloth. My aunt made us a special table cloth for birthdays, but we can't use it because it isn't big enough for our table. UGH!

Jenn H said...

Sounds like great birthdays! Can't wait to see the pictures from it all!

bestfamily said...

Glad the parties went good. I'll admit to laughing about you catching on fire! Only you would make it comical. I do alot of decorating from the dollar tree also. Why spend a fortune on plates, napkins, and cups when you don't have too! I also do the goody bags from there most times. A few toys and candy in each bag and the bank is still intact. Hope you and Albert have fun on your date.

CC said...

wow Ang! You and Debi... my super heros! I liked your ideas on birthday parties. I gave up long ago... although, I did let the older 2 have a group party and invite 7 friends each... to go swimming at the YMCA. It was nice and fun. They provided the cake, ice cream and activity. I felt like I had gotten away pretty cheap! We have also scaled back on gifts. Our children get so many gifts from everyone else. We do 1 gift and normally under 20 bucks! I don't think they are deprived! Our society has a way of making parents feel inadequate if your children don't have every toy made... but I figure I teach them to appreciate and give value if they don't have everything! Cant wait to see pics!

The Romero-Schroeder said...

LMAO about catching on fire!!!!Sounded like a great birthday party!

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