Ada turns three in a few weeks and I've been struggling to find the right balance of birthday party fun, cost, and number of invitees. After asking for suggestions from friends and family, they all encouraged us to keep it short, and simple. I finally gave in to a mom friend's suggestion of just inviting our little playgroup over for a craft, an activity, food, and fun. Five of her little friends and thier moms in my house is managable, with a little wine of course. Financially, feeding them all homemade pita pizzas, healthy juice boxes and some sort of cake I whip up is affordable and aligns well with the whole health food kick I'm on. Part of the party activity can be adding their own toppings to the pizzas, and surely I can come up with some sort of little craft. Instead of having party favors to give out, they can take their craft home--and maybe even give it to someone as a holiday gift. And instead of inundating us with more gifts at a time when Ada is likely to have three birthday parties and four Christmases in one month, I've kindly requested no gifts. Starting at three thirty in the afternoon should give all of the attendees time to take their afternoon naps. And two hours later, they should be fed and ready to go home for their bedtime routine. We won't have time to get too crazy, and that is exactly the point.
The best part? I don't really have to stress about any of it. We have Saturday to clean and cook. Everyone RSVPed last night over dinner at Mom's Night Out. I don't feel like I am leaving anyone out by doing something small with this group. And I don't feel like any of our friends or family are sitting at home saying, "Darn, I was really looking forward to going to Ada's birthday party this year." If they are, we'll let them take her for a personal party of their choosing--preferrably at a time when Rick and I can have it double as a date night (even better if Iain can attend Ada's party).
Moral of the story: Birthday parties can get out of hand quickly. Keep it simple, and focus on what's important, the cake.