Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday - Here We Go!

Yesterday my son (Mr. Music, for those of you who "know" him) turned 4. I'm in disbelief that we've been parenting for 4 years! He danced around the house all day singing, "Today's my birthday! Today's my birthday! I'm 4 years old. It's my birthday!" to no tune in particular, dancing all the while. It was very cute. There's a definite difference in awareness from last year's birthday and this year's.

Today my husband took the day off work and we had a birthday party for him at the local watershed preserve to go on a hike. What a site seeing 25 people walking in line down the trail, looking at the plants, picking huckleberries and watching for birds with the 3 pairs of kiddie binoculars our son shared! We hiked a 0.6 mile path to get started, took a break with snacks and water and then they hit a second loop for a 0.3 mile trek while my mom, aunt and I got the food out and ready. It was the perfect arrangement for 13 kids (ages 18 months - 6), their parents, and one happy dog. I was also happy to see that the crew was armed with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen so we didn't have to worry about any sunburns - do you remember the days when sunscreen use was NOT the norm?

A hiking birthday party turned out to be a great idea - several families were even thinking of returning to the park for some family exploration another time soon since the trails are so young family friendly. Picnic blankets were the perfect landing places for lunch and relaxation after the hike and the dirt cupcakes topped with crushed oreo cookies and gummy worms were the proverbial "icing on the cake" for the event. As a surprise ending for the party, a gentleman walked over 2 HUGE horses for the kids to see (there are horse trails that start at the park, too). I couldn't have PLANNED for that excitement!

We did our best to inject some "green" practices for this birthday.

- I included a carpooling suggestion on the invitations and was happy that 2 families made the drive together!

- Instead of plates for snacks, we used cupcake liners (much less paper waste!). I usually use the reusable plastic ones for snack at home because they really are the perfect size for snacks, but didn't have enough of those to go around.

- My mom made cloth napkins for everyone out of a pinecone print fabric that became party favors (a few families even ended up with a family set!).

- I resisted the urge to get cute junky stuff from Oriental Trading Company and instead made bean bags for the guests out of tree and footprint fabrics that went with the theme of a hike

- his birthday presents from us yesterday were "wrapped" in pillowcases (bright kid-happy ones, no plain ol' white ones - we're not THAT boring!) and my parents liked the idea so his gifts from them were wrapped in fabric from my mom's sewing stash.

With the party under our belts now, I'm looking forward to having some more laid back days this week. Tomorrow I'll return to the grindstone of publicity and squeak out my first run in a week (*gasp* how did I go a week without running???!), unless I get in a run this evening and then tomorrow's run will be my second, which sounds like an even better plan.

Do you have any big plans for the week? Have you included any environmentally friendly practices into your celebrations?

Have a great week - and happy running!


teacherwoman said...

Sounds like a fun time! Happy birthday to the little one!

Running Knitter said...

What a great idea for a birthday party! Love it!

Anonymous said...

Great birthday party idea! I need to remember that for my son's birthday next summer. My son turned 4 yesterday and we had a regular (cake, ice cream, party games) party at our house over the weekend. The one idea I can share is that we always request no gifts at the kid parties. If the guests want to bring something, we ask for donations for the humane society. This way, we don't get a bunch of junky toys coming into our house, people can avoid feeling uncomfortable showing up empty handed, and the kids get the fun of delivering the goodies to the shelter and petting the animals.

JenP said...

What a fun birthday party idea! And of course super-creative. Perhaps we have a budding "green" version of Martha? :-) Happy Birthday to Ethan, I can't believe it's been 4 years already. My how time flies!