Safari Time and Impromptu Prayers

At long last, I'm giving the low-down on Cal's birthday party last Friday. I was a little disappointed - I invited all of blogtopia, but none of you came. That's OK. There wasn't enough cake anyway.

I made jungle vines and leaves out of green construction paper. Easy. Cheap. Went a long way toward making the house jungle-like. The picture-taking was a little forgotten and a little substandard (my camera has never been the same since the beach...) but you get the general idea.

I read somewhere that the best bet for a preschooler crowd is a sit-down meal, and it really was a hit. We borrowed a low table and I had a couple of the moms bring their own child-size chairs so the guests could sit at a party table that was just their size. The kids started up their own inane conversation and were laughing and eating like crazy - one of the moms there said it was the first time she's ever seen her boy eat something besides a PBJ.

The Menu:
Baby Pythons (hot dogs cut in strips and boiled until they curled)
Beetle Wings (potato chips)
Zebra Tails (portions of string cheese alternated with black grapes on skewers)
Tiger Smiles (orange wedges)
Bug Juice (little bottles of blue "Bug Juice")

We played Wild Animal Charades - the kids pulled pictures of jungle animals out of a bag and acted out what was on the picture. When someone guessed what they were, all the kids got to act like that animal.

Then we made safari party hats out of newspaper and the kids went on two expeditions. The first was a small obstacle course in the dining room (no pictures, but David did an awesome job of creating a little trail with masking tape as well as snakes and a piranha pond and a cave with household furniture and pillows) - the kids wanted to run it again and again.

The second adventure was a Frog, Snake and Lizard hunt up in the "cloud forest" jungle. Everyone got their very own dollar store flashlight and went in search of little creatures in the upstairs hall jungle. They were THRILLED.
We finished up with opening gifts and eating the Alligator Cake and ice cream, then played Catch the Lion by the Tail (aka Duck, Duck, Goose / Lion, Lion, Hyena) until the parents came.

At the end of the day, Calvin said, "That was the best birthday EVER. Thanks for thinking of it, Mom." So, a success. And I don't feel quite as guilty about talking him out of a been-done-a-million-times-already Thomas the Train party.

If I were to do it again, I would have it only last 90 minutes instead of two hours, and I would freeze the cake before trying to frost it.


Sunday was Calvin's actual birthday and it ended up being rather mellow, with a family celebration after dinner. But more candles to blow out and a couple more gifts. Calvin took it all in stride and is so pleased with everything - it makes me excited for Christmas because he's just into the anitcipation and the joy of surprises, big and small.

Anyway, at one point during the afternoon, Cal and David were cuddling and talking and David was telling Cal about the day he was born and how special it was and how tiny he was, and so on.

Calvin piped up and said, "We're going to have a new baby, huh?" (We haven't told him directly because six more months is an eternity for a little kid, but he doesn't miss a trick...) David said, "Yes," and Cal asked if it would be a sister baby or a brother baby. David told him that Heavenly Father gets to choose that. Cal then said, "Well, I want a sister baby." David said, "Well, we'll just have to see what Heavenly Father gives us."

Cal was quiet for a minute then said, "Dad, I'm going to say a prayer right now." And without further delay, he started by thanking Heavenly Father for everything and then said, "And please bless that we will have a sister baby."

Sometimes I'm not as secure or confident in my own prayerful requests, but when a little boy prays like that - with the surety that if God is in charge of something, then He is who we need to talk to, and right away - I feel pretty sure that the sister baby is a done deal. I guess we'll see.


T.S. Eliot said...

WOW! What an amazing, fun, creative party you threw for Calvin. You do realize that there is a good chance your ideas will be stolen for future boy parties... do we have your permission?

By the end of the post I was in tears. What a dear, sweet boy you have. This will make such a great story to tell your baby girl someday. The day her big brother asked God to send him a sister baby. Precious!!

someone else said...

That's a little kid's dream party!!!

Gabriela said...

Wow! Way to go CYM. That looks like one fun party. Love your decorations. Very jungle-ly. Happy birthday Cal!!

Tammy said...

That looks like an AMAZING birthday party! Wow- you have so much creativity!

And that was so very sweet at the end. What a tender moment!

Super Happy Girl said...

Bravo!! love the cake.
What a cool party you threw for that cute little boy. Happy Bday Cal!, you lucked out with your mom dude :)

And that story at the end, just wow.
You (CYM and dad) are raising good boys.

Unknown said...

1st--I missed the baby announcement (because I've been a kind of sporadic blog reader lately), but the first thing I saw was your pregnancy counter thing, so then I had to go find it. Congrats! I hope you feel well enough to keep up with the boys.

And secondly, what a cool party! The cake and decorations were great. Who would've thought that a meal was a big hit? I'll remember that one.

Unknown said...

Also--when Amanda was 4 and I was expecting, we didn't tell her either, but she figured it out early on as well.

someone else said...

And I forgot to mention-- that cake is a masterpiece!!

Millie said...

Super, super cute ideas. I will keep this in mind for future preschooler birthdays. I particularly love the green vines. What a creative mommy you are! And I love the "sit down meal" idea! Who knew?

I'm excited to see whether Cal's "sister baby" prayer will be answered his way. I'm kind of hoping yes, not just for Cal but because it would be nice for you to have at least one girl. They're so much fun.

Amanda said...

That has got to be the cutest birthday party ever! EVER! How fun, and what a sweet boy you have. Only time will tell....

Gina Conroy said...

Love those leaves and that Cake! I used to make cool/fun theme cakes. Maybe next time!

BTW, did I miss the official announcement or something. I see a growing embryo on your header! Was there an official post?