5 Things To Keep In Mind When Attending A Kids Birthday Party

Birthday parties are an important part of any child’s life. Attendees will remember these events for decades, so it’s important to ensure you do everything right. From what kind of presents to bring, how to dress and how to act, many things need to be considered when attending a kid’s birthday party. So here are five essential bits of advice to keep in mind when attending a children’s birthday bash:

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Planning a Child’s First Birthday Party: Tips From the Pros

After many, many months of sleepless nights, worries, diaper changing, breastfeeding, and many other things, now it’s time for something much more entertaining. It’s time to plan the first birthday party for your child.

Unfortunately, your baby is not going to remember this huge day, however, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take a lot of pictures and videos that you can show him or her when he/she gets older.

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Thank You Mommy: Story time, Playtime, Water play, and Kids’ Choice for Dinner!

As I tucked in my little ones tonight we did our usual routine; pj, brush teeth, book, prayers, and bed.  And as usual mommy was starting to really start to drag, losing momentum, energy, and patience with each stroke of their tooth brushes.  I was thinking about the many chores that still had to be accomplished before the night was through, otherwise, if I did not complete the necessary chores I would hate myself in the morning.

As I tucked our girls into bed I started to think how nice it would be to just lay down and shut my eyes for a moment, knowing full well that if I did actually do that I would not awake until tomorrow morning.  So I sucked it up and carried on with the nightly routine.  I went through the various blanket options with our toddler.   I went back and forth with our kindergartener discussing what would be the best book to read in order to lose her in it and slowly trail off to dreamland without any concern for “scary dreams”.  Then I proceeded to our preschooler’s room where upon arrival I stepped in something wet and while cleaning up the water (thank God it was just water!) I simultaneously told him a story about when he was little at his request (like he is twenty or something?….Way back when you were 3 years old…haha) and stared making a mental checklist of my to-dos for the evening:  laundry, clothes for tomorrow, fill out forms for doctors and send into preschool, remind self to make doctors appointments in the morning,  sanitize water toys, remember to feed the cat (poor thing has been following me around all day), don’t be an ass to your hubby he is also tired from a long day at work, maybe make a meal for the neighbor…..make brownies for dance recital Sunday, don’t forget to go shopping for child’s b-day party Saturday, make grocery list for tomorrow, coupons….crap…coupons! Then, my mommy brain collided with my “to do” list and I sudden found myself expressing those memorable first steps our son took as this….you pulled yourself up, grabbed the couch, stood up, and then…the most magnificent thing happened… something I had been dreaming about since the day you were born…..I ran to get the camera ….and….and….and…coupons!! BUSTED!! I felt horrible he could tell I wasn’t paying attention, my mind was elsewhere, I hate myself when I do that, I need to stay in the moment more. 

I apologized to our big blue-eyed four-year-old who was hanging onto every word I uttered during that story. I told him that sometimes mommies get tired and we lose focus.  That mommy had a very long day and I still have a long night ahead of me before I get to relax.  I felt so bad…here he just wanted to hear something important about himself. Being the middle child and the only boy only added to my guilt. But then he said the most amazing thing, as if he knew I needed a little pick-me-up, he said thank you mommy for today. Thank you for….

Going to Story time at Barnes & Noble…

For going to McDonald’s Play area with our friends….

For the fun Water Play…

And letting us pick dinner…..the Macaroni & Cheeseburger muffins were so good.

And just like that, it was like I had just been given an adrenaline drip.  I suddenly had the energy to complete the remaining “to dos” to put aside tomorrow’s “to dos”, and to realize that my hard work as a mom was paying off, and that to me was priceless.

So what is on your “to do” list tonight? Do you ever wonder if anyone in your family ever recognizes all the planning, energy, time, and patience you give? Have you ever felt like surrendering and just going to bed early?

This weekend was LEGEN…wait for it…DARY!

This weekend was such a fun filled extravaganza. It all started Friday afternoon.  We started packing up the car around 3pm for our road trip to Dayton. We would be heading to Dayton to see my baby sister graduate the next day as a Dr. of Physical Therapy. Around 5pm the game of maneuvering the pack-n-play, stroller, diaper bag, 2 suitcases, swim bag, snack bag, and a few odds & ends to keep the kiddos occupied into my hubby’s car was complete. I made careful note of where everything ended up because I would be taking this trip solo since my hubby was ill and I would be the one placing everything back into the car at the culmination of our visit (Tip: take a picture of everything once it is packed into you vehicle you will thank yourself later, it is tricky remembering how you got everything into such a confined space). So by the time everyone had pee twice, we located my son’s preschool Olympic medal (yes, he is still wearing it, 3 weeks and counting), changed diapers, hit the ATM, went through Starbucks drive-thru, and gas station we were finally on the road around 7:30pm. Anyone else spend their first hour of their vacation/trip in their home town /city grabbing last needed items?


We arrived in Dayton at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites around 10:30pm. As we entered the room the kiddos jumped for joy when they saw what my mom, Nana, had in store for each of them. She had place graduation balloons in the room along with a sand bucket with Legos, coloring books, pool toy, etc. for each kiddo and for my hubby and I she had snacks and beverages, she is amazing.  She always manages to make the ordinary extraordinary, that’s my mom!  So the kiddos looked though their goodies wide-eyed and eventually the excitement from the day got the best of them and they fell asleep. I am pretty sure my son was dreaming about the pancake machine that would greet him in the morning with the continental breakfast.

Since my hubby had to stay home my brother kindly stayed with me and the 3 kiddos to help out in the morning with breakfast and the festivities the next day.  Keep in mind my brother is a now 26, his birthday was yesterday, bachelor who, while excellent with the kiddos doesn’t contain that daddy gene just yet. You know the one that tell Dads that grabbing a paper in the morning and trying to read it at the breakfast table with 3 kiddos 6 and under is not a good idea? Yep, that one!  So, while he sipped his coffee and read the paper I played mommy juggler with the diaper bag, bowl of cereal, banana, camera, and toddler. On the up side I think I put on quite a show for the other guest dinning that morning. Then, after picking up cereal from the floor the hundredth time I was lucky enough to visited the restroom, not once but twice! God forbid they both go at the same time, seriously! On the way back to the room I managed to take a sip of my then cold coffee and eat the bruised parts of 3 bananas, and while doing so my son asked why I was still hungry after all that food?  Funny, didn’t anyone realize mommy never sat down, mommy never ate breakfast? “Haha…I was a little busy during breakfast” I exclaimed to him. After breakfast we headed to the pool for a swim before going to the graduation ceremony.

My son’s Spiderman bag filled in as the diaper bag for this trip. The diaper bag was at home being washed, some weird unreconizable goo was lurking in the bottom of the bag. I know what you’re thinking, classy!! Right?

After our relaxing swim, what is it about a pool that lowers your blood pressure? We then got ready for the graduation, packed a diaper bag (my toddler was the only kiddo who didn’t have a BM and after swimming I thought for sure she would have a blowout during the graduation.  There are few things worse than sitting in a humid arena with a toddler who just had a massive poop). If that happened I needed a plan. Once we were seated in the Arena I noted all possible exits and restrooms, and which route would be the fastest and which would be the most discreet.  Yes, moms are also specialist in reconnaissance, we have to be! I was prepared. Then the excitement built as the music began and the students made their way down the aisles with their caps and gowns. I got goose bumps. I was so excited for every one of them. All the hard work, all-nighters, research, disappointments, progress, and emotions that comes with the journey that they had each experienced all to arrive at this point. Then I saw my baby sister and my eyes began to fill with happy tears.  She has been working so hard for this degree. She has put the rest of her life on hold and focused solely on her studies.  Since she started her graduate work she has attended numerous wedding showers and baby shower, a handful of weddings including 2 family weddings, has become an aunt again, a Godmother, and welcomed a new cousin into the family, all the while hauling books in and out of coffee establishments, looking for free Wi-Fi signs, sneaking in flash cards to movies and church not wasting any free moment to study. And guess what, it paid off!! I am proud to introduce to you my sister, Dr. Kunkle.

Then it was time to party like my parents had been paying college tuition since 1999!! (Because they had) They decorated the guest apartment where my sister lives and had bubbles at each person’s setting, they had balloons, champagne, and had dinner catered from a local Italian restaurant. Everything was perfect!

The party continued on till 2pm the next day during which we also celebrated my brothers 26th birthday.

It was such a memorable, LEGENDARY weekend. So many emotions filled the weekend, including, excitement, anticipation, sadness, joy, gratitude, and love, there was so much love.

Have you ever experienced a legendary weekend? Please share.

Happy Birthday Mama!!

I turned 32 this past week and it was awesome. I received so many warm wishes from family and friends, cool gifts, and surprises too!  I figure what better way to share my experience with you than by posting a few pictures. 

We partied like it was my birthday!!

As tradition would have it in our family my birthday began with birthday donuts for breakfast. (Birthday breakfast is the only time our family has donuts, that way it is truly special and a fun tradition. Although my hubby might not always agree, he is the one getting up early and going out in the cold/heat, depending on whose birthday it is, to get donuts and we all greatly appreciate his sacrifice).

It really means a lot to me to have the entire family sitting down to breakfast together on a school/work morning.

I can’t think of a better way to wake up on your 32nd birthday then being greeted by your 3 beautiful children and loving husband (and dog and cat too!).

After breakfast it was time to get ready. I did the morning drop off, afternoon preschool pick-up, and then during quiet time I received a surprise visit from my sister and mom as well as balloons and an iced coffee- AWESOME!

That evening we went to my mom and dad’s for dinner and cake.  My sister and brother also came over for dinner and before we ate they played with the kiddos, I loved it, it was such a genuine moment. As I stood watching them I realized how truly blessed I am to have family in town, family that speaks to each other, that loves one another, and enjoys spending time together. The two best gifts my parents have given me are faith and my siblings.  Faith is just as vital as breathing as far as I am concerned and my siblings keep me real, they don’t allow me to get a big head, they enforce humility in a good way.

And did I mention they are a lot of fun!

Earlier in the week my in-laws came over to celebrate my birthday and they brought a delicious cake.

Best gift, my toddler saying "Happy Birthday Mama"

I bought a new living room area rug with my birthday money, I love it!!

As an added bonus, in addition to the Scott Hahn Signs or Life book my sister watched my two younger kiddos so I could meet  friends for lunch.  On my way to lunch I received another surprise, my hubby called and informed me that there was someone interested in seeing the house that evening (we are talking 5 hour notice for a home filled with lively youngsters and animals, AHHHH). I was still in shock from the first surprise when I walked into the second surprise. 

Instead of just having lunch with two of my close friends all my mommy friends were there, it was a wonderful surprise but I fear my face didn’t exude happiness since I was still overwhelmed by the fact that the house would need to be clean in record time. (The image above is of a previous event but most of the mommies in the picture were present at lunch).  These women are amazing and I am so thankful they are each in my life. Most had to get babysitters to watch their children since we met during lunch and all are on a budget, amazing friends.

I received so many beautiful cards, presents, and spent precious time with family and friends.

My wish is that everyone cherishes the relationships in their lives and realizes that it is truly the people who add substance, value, purpose to your life.

Thank you everyone for your warm birthday wishes.

God Bless,