Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All Spaced Out

Planning your (only) child's birthday party can be dangerous.  On one hand, you want your kid to feel special for that day, and you want his friends to have fun and for their parents to feel it was worth giving up part of their weekend.  But you don't want to go so overboard that you risk turning your kid into a self-important brat or you yourself into one of those competitive mommy monsters.  It's enough to put me into a psychological death spiral I tell ya.

So my main goal for Owen's party was to spark the kids' imaginations.  If it was extravagant, I hope it only seemed so in a creative way, rather than in an expensive or showy way.  We used mostly everyday stuff and many things we already owned, just with a re-imagined purpose.  If I broke the bank on anything, it was aluminum foil.  That stuff was everywhere.

When the kids first arrived, they went to Owen's playroom, where we'd set up tables for the kids to color and to stamp pouches they would later use to store 'moon rocks' they hunted in the basement.  I needed to cover up Owen's wall of toy storage (couldn't handle the idea of LEGOs and farm animals and Pixar characters strewn everywhere), so I tried to turn it into a Mission Control-style bank of TV monitors with different scenes from the Apollo missions.  I kept out his train table and put all his NASA toys on it and I put out a big pair of gloves on his toy work bench so the kids could see what it's like for the astronauts to fix things in space.  (Which reminds me, many of my ideas were borrowed or adapted from this party.)

Once all of Owen's guests had arrived and completed their moon rock pouches, we passed out glow bracelets and headed down to our basement, AKA: the moon.

We'd replaced all the basement lights with black light, and I had suggested on the invitation that the kids wear white so they would glow.  (My apologies, parents, for then feeding them purple icing.  I hope nothing got ruined.  Didn't think that one out!)  You can barely see the glowing rocks scattered around on the floor in that upper photo.  I should have had more; they went fast, and the kids really seemed to enjoy hunting and gathering them.  They were just rocks Owen helped me gather in the yard and dip into fluorescent paint.  Our camping tent served as a space capsule- wrapped in foil, Christmas lights punched through a sheet of foam board left over from the open kitchen cabinet project and hung from its roof, and three car seats placed inside on their backs.

There was also alien bowling.  I'd painted a set of toy pins with fluorescent paint and taped alien eyes to them.

And we let the kids take turns putting on Owen's halloween costume.  I believe there is even a blackmail-worthy photo floating around out there of me with the bubble helmet on.

After everyone had been playing on the moon a while, Scott sneaked outside and set up a model rocket.  We gathered up the kids, did a countdown, and violated a few city ordinances by setting it off.  

Then we turned it over to the kids to do some stomp rockets.  It didn't take them long to figure out they could be re-calibrated to launch at each other.  The foam rockets were pretty harmless though.

Finally, we came inside for lunch and cake.  I took aluminum cupcake tins and wrapped them up like MREs.  Seemed astronaut-ish to me.  The kids enjoyed choosing which planet pop to eat with their cake.  Strangely, none of them selected Uranus.

We sent all of Owen's sweet friends home with a rocket party favor.  My mom helped me make them from shipping tubes.  We left the removable cap on the underside so they could open it and add their glow bracelets, rock pouches and coloring sheets along with the sucker and planet stickers that were already inside.

Thank you again to everyone who was able to come.  We're honored that you helped us celebrate our little boy's fourth year, and it's a day we'll treasure for a long time!

Ok.  Spot anything in the photos I forgot to explain?  Ask away!


Anonymous said...

Log it!! Great post and a great time for all.

Anonymous said...

I seriously wish we'd invited Southern Living or something of the like to this party...you'd be famous!! Graham couldn't stop talking about going to the moon!


Aunt Pam said...

Very creative and I wouldn't expect anything less from you. You are a awesome Mom. Owen and his friends will remember that party because it was so exciting! Love ya!

Rebecca Davenport said...

It turned out perfect!!! Can't wait to see what he chooses next year! Love you!

Jennifer said...

I love all of the glowing elements!!! Great job. Love you all!

Shelley & Scott said...

Thanks everyone! It was so much fun to dream it all up and see it come together (with a lot of help!).

Anonymous said...

I can absolutely assure you that no one would ever think you were being showy!! And we are so grateful to benefit from your amazingly extravangant creativity!! Tatum had an absolute blast as did her daddy! I am so sad I missed it, but grateful there were pictures! You make boy parties fun!!!! Thank you for including our girl...and making her special with her fancy rocket!! Christine

Shelley & Scott said...

Thank you Christine!