Owen & Kyle, just before guests began arriving for their 9-Year-Old Birthday Party
Kyle and Owen’s birthday party is a big deal to me (backstory can be found here). I do it up big. In a big way. Always have. And for as long as I can, I always will. It is an honor and a privilege for me to throw a huge bash for them. It is what they want. And I love doing it. This year was no different — except, for the big difference being that it was our first K&O birthday not in our old home; our first big family party on campus. It was very different than having their birthday party at our old house, and there was a part of me that was sad to not be there. But it was also very awesome in whole new ways.
These things are a lot of work. This year we had 80+ guests, and that’s a crazy big bash for what amounts to a whole bunch of people, including a huge slew of kids. A lot goes into it. And I question my sanity (numerous times in the days and weeks leading up to it). But in the end it is always, always, always worth it for the smiles on everyone’s faces and the really good, good times had by all.
Some year I’m going to have to try to document the planning and prepping process. This year, I only have one photo from that — Below: here we are, Braydon and me, one Saturday morning, stuffing envelopes for the invitation mailing.
This year’s theme was “Family Festival.”
We had hoped for a sunny day with lots of lawn games and many icy drinks. It turned out hot and humid (many icy drinks!), but with scattered downpours throughout the afternoon. Lucky for us, we had a great back-up venue right in our backyard! — Sayre Lodge (the community building right where we live). What lucky ducks we are! Before guests had even begun to arrive, these Birthday Boy lucky ducks were eating hot dogs and having their own little dance party for two. Watching that, alone, would have been enough to make the whole thing worth it to me. I love these 9-year-old boys so flipping much.
And then, guests started arriving, things got rocking, and the “Family Festival” really got rolling.
At some point, mid-way through the party, the rains stopped and the clouds cleared out, and blue skies appeared. So there was volleyball…
… and whiffle ball…
… and parachute games.
But still, the thing that really stole the show was the bouncy house that we had set up in my classroom inside the Lodge. The slide, especially, was the big hit. There were two 9-year-olds in particular who went nuts for it.
One nine year old went really nuts for it (he practically never left it for the entire duration of the party. And yes, looking at these pictures does make me contemplate the future of this party-loving girl-magnet).
And there was one special party-goer, The Sister of The Birthday Boys, who — in her classic style — was most happy slightly removed from the chaos and the crowds that her brothers love so much. She tolerates their birthday parties (as they will tolerate her’s). But Meera has a sense of grace about her that seems to help her glide right through. She also always seems to find ways to make a good time for herself amidst just about any scenario. She spent a long stretch of K & O’s party just sitting on the steps outside, eating popcorn and drinking lemonade, with her friend Isabelle. That is just so perfectly Meera.
And then, before we said goodbye to all the revelers, we had cake. Two cakes, to be precise, as is our twinny tradition.
In addition to virtually all of K & O’s classmates (from both classes), and a bunch of other friends from school, some additional VIPs were with us that day.
(Above: some of our most very favorite extra special super duper most adored students — Dana, Kathryn, Josh, and Rawle eat birthday cake. Below: some of our most beloved family friends — Stacey takes a pic of Ben and the boys.)
And then, once everyone was gone, the boys got to open their massive pile of gifts. It really warms my heart to know how well their friends know them– so many gifts were so perfectly chosen for K & O. It is sweet to see it.
And then we all zonked out for the night, exhausted from another great big birthday bash.
I do need to acknowledge the most VIPs of all: my parents. MorMor and MorFar have always gone way out of their way to be with us for the bambinos’ birthday parties. This is such a huge blessing to Kyle, Owen, and Meera. But, even more so, (honestly), this is such a huge blessing to me. They both help so much with the party-throwing. We truly could not do it without them. And in addition to being here for the actual party, they were here for the stuff on either side of it too— a couple of baseball games, a few great meals, and lots of time just being with us (the most important gift of all). I feel so grateful for them in our lives in this way. It is a rare thing: this kind of bond — especially when it is a long-distance situation.
Also, I feel so grateful to Lehigh University Residential Services and Conference and Special Housing Services. They have allowed my parents to use the apartment across the hall from us while the students are all away for the summer. This is huge for us! Below: eating dinner together in “MorMor and MorFar’s apartment” (where we are able to sit around an actual dining table).
We had to wait for the right weather (low wind, no rain) to do our traditional sky lanterns. But we made sure to do it. As I wrote last year: “sky lanterns, in honor of Kyle and Owen’s birthparents, sent out to the universe, from us, to them, with so many wishes, so much gratitude, and such depth of mixed emotion.” It is an important ritual for us.
An amazing celebration of our now 9-year-old precious boys. These little souls are growing and thriving. We thank all involved in that. Those of us who get to be around them– we are the lucky ones.
Kyle and Owen yesterday. (Not at all sure why, but for the first time in months they wore identical matching outfits. Today, they were back to different attire. Who knows?! One thing I’ve learned in these past 9 years: don’t question the twinny stuff too deeply… non-twins, like me, just can never truly understand it. It is just that special.)