My baby boy turned seven! He said, “Funny, I don’t feel any different than I did when I was six…”
Weird how that works.
As is family tradition, each of my kids gets a birthday party only every other year (because their birthdays are three weeks apart), and this was his year. Since his birthday fell on the weekend, we actually had his birthday party on his birthday, which I think he found extra special. After initial discussions about whether he might want a Pokemon party, he finally agreed to a Lord of the Rings theme. I was relieved; I hate when I have to do a party that is a bit too on-trend. The weirdest parties are my favorite ones.
We started the day off right, opening presents from family near and far.
Silas got a lot of books for his birthday, and he was actually pretty excited about that. JC got him a LEGO Hobbit set. I also threw in a few school things. My mom told me she hated getting school supplies for her birthday (also early September), but now it’s tradition, right? We got him a set of Pentominoes, which goes along with the book Chasing Vermeer, a book I brought back from my trip to Chicago, and which I highly recommend. He also got his own copy of The Secret World of Arrietty (building that Studio Ghibli collection!). Jacob found him an old N64 with some Pokemon games on it, which he was pretty thrilled over.
It was a good, if nerdy, pile of gifts.
After that, it was a day of crazy party prep. Silas wanted to do a night time party so we could have sparklers and a fire. We went along with it, but I still can’t figure out if it was a win or a fail. On the one hand, an evening party with a fire and kids running around in the dark is super fun. And we had the whole day to prepare. On the other hand, I spent the whole day going, “Don’t touch that, it’s set up for the party!” and the kids spent the whole day saying, “When is everyone coming?”
Also, apologies for the grainy photos, I had the ISO set way too high from an experiment I did the night before, trying to get ready for late-evening photos and…forgot to set it back. Whoops!
We had a lot of fun getting ready, though.
The kids have this tree fort from Magic Cabin that they saved up their money for literally years and bought together last spring. I suggested that we decorate it with some little fairy lights I picked up on Amazon Prime day, and some leftover silk flowers from Pam and Jon’s wedding, and then populate it with LEGO hobbits. The lights, incidentally, turned out to be a great gift for the Tiny Lighting Designer, as they came with a remote control that let him set blink patterns and speed, as well as some sophisticated dimming control. The kids had a wonderful time helping “festoon” the fort. I was unabashedly pleased with the result. So much so that I have a huge gallery of these pictures and I can’t pick my favorites.
Because the party started at 6 pm, I felt like we needed to do something substantial, food-wise. The theme we settled on was “Second Breakfast.”
I made lots and lots of waffles. Note to self: Making this many waffles is needlessly time-consuming, would not do again. But they looked like little round hobbit doors, and that was friggin adorable. We also had “Orc Bacon and Sausages,” “Samwise Po-Tay-Toes” (tater tots), “Gollum’s fishes” (goldfish), “Rings” (pretzels), “Bard the Bowman’s Skewered Fruits,” “The Council of Elrond,” and (for the adults) “The Wines of Moria.”
For his cake, Silas wanted “a chocolate-peanut-butter cake that looks like the Eye of Sauron.” I made a cake I found on Smitten Kitchen, and added the “eye” to the top, with some colored sugar for sparkle. JC got the candles that are sparklers (sort of), and Silas loved it. It was one of the best cakes I’ve ever made, too.
For party favors, I ordered some leaf broaches from Oriental Trading Company. They’re…exactly what you would expect for OTC, but the kids loved them, and I liked how they tied everyone’s look together.
Costumes are always optional at our kids’ parties, but I do dearly love when people come dressed up. Silas was too cool for school for a bit, but finally got a cloak. I mean, when your friends show up looking this hobbit-y, how can you not get your elf on?
For planned party games, other than playing with fire, we set up an archery target (which no one used), and I revived a memory from my childhood. When I tell people I grew up in the middle of absolutely nowhere in West Virginia, with minimal television, they often ask me what we did for fun. Well, sometimes what the adults in our lives did for fun was hang donuts from strings and tell us kids to eat them without using our hands. I used to think this was for our benefit, but I’m now pretty sure it was because this is what adults do when they can’t watch sitcoms on the regular.
I happened to tell Silas this story, and his eyes got large. “Mom. You mean you were on a quest for… the donut rings?”
And this is how Peter and I found ourselves tying donuts off the clothesline at a Lord of the Rings birthday party. For what it’s worth, when I was a kid, I’m pretty sure we had plain donuts, not glazed. This was… sticky (luckily I had a huge thing of baby wipes ready).
These photos, though, and the fun had by young and not-so-young alike? Priceless.
Happily sugared up, the kids set off on an adventure in our incredibly picturesque pasture. I couldn’t help following them around just to oggle at how gorgeous the light was when it hit their hair.
The little boys played closer to the house, but they were happy, and so the rest of us were, too.
And then, at last, it was fire time!
JC had stockpiled sparklers after Independence Day. He also asked the internet how to make fire fun colors. He put on quite a show with simple things like flour, sugar, and Borax. The best was the copper sulfate, which turned the flames blue-green for a long time. We couldn’t get over how cool it was.
And no one burned down the woods, so that was nice, too.
As we were finishing up and saying goodbye, I thought all over again of how lucky we are to have these friends. My kids genuinely love my friends’ kids. The friends they have chosen have awesome parents. I know some of my friends, and my friends’ parents, made my own parents pretty uncomfortable. But our family, so far, is pretty lucky that way. When we have people over, it’s just about 100% awesome.
And here’s to having a seven-year-old. I can’t get over how fun it is so far.
Previous Silas Birthday Parties: