Saturday was a big day for us. Finn’s birthday party started at two, which meant we started our day at six… Cleaning, prepping, decorating… And that was the easy part. Once the house was packed with four- and five-year olds, the cake really hit the fan.
Originally, Finn wanted to have a “Lego Superhero Party,” but I made the executive decision to edit if down to one much simpler theme; LEGO. Although I’ve been known to blow lots of cash on seemingly useless things in the past, I was determined this was not going to be one of them. If that meant that everything was going to be cut out of construction paper, I was fine with it. We had one activity that broke the bank, but more on that later…
One of my biggest conundrums was figuring out where to seat a whole bunch of kids; I don’t have an army of folding chairs. After going over the math on how much it was going to cost to buy enough cheapie end tables at Ikea to have everyone seated on the floor, I had a moment of clarity… I made Nae take the legs off the dining room table and cut short ones out of scrap wood. Then we sat everyone on the floor. We covered the cushions from the House with Wheels (our camper) for seating. It worked like a charm!
The cake turned out pretty good; though I skipped using fondant in favor of taste over beauty. It was far from my best work, but little kids aren’t what you call sticklers for perfection. We had Finn blow out the candles on the big Lego Man head cake, but then gave all the kids cupcakes. No forks, no cutting, and only one kid even mentioned that he wanted some of the big cake. Major crisis averted.
The cupcakes didn’t exactly turn out how I wanted them to. I envisioned red cupcake papers, blue cake, white frosting and a yellow candy Lego Man on top. Meh. At least they tasted yummy.
We had a bean bag toss and did “Pin the Face on the Lego Man…”
But the big event of the day was the Lego Derby. We ordered the parts to make a Lego car base (the plate, wheels and tires) from three separate sellers over on Bricklink and then ordered a giant box of regular Legos from Amazon. At the very last-minute (the night before), we made the trek out to Denver’s Lego Store to pick up steering wheels, headlights, fins, propellers, shifters, control panels and other random parts from the Pick-A-Brick wall. In the end, we dropped about sixty dollars on all the makings of fifteen Lego racers, but it was money well spent. It was our biggest expense by leaps and bounds, but when the kids lost their minds when I said they were for them to take home, it was worth it.
Since only about half the kids showed up (do not even get me started on how bummed I was that only three of the parents from Finn’s class RSVP’d), we had parts for extra Lego cars. I asked if the dads each wanted to make one. One of the dads promptly declared to his son, “Sorry buddy. You are on your own; I’ve got my own to build.” And he was equally excited when I told him to take both his and his son’s cars home with them. It was awesome.
And so we had a “Dad Division” to the race. The pull of playing with Legos follows us into adulthood, I suppose.
Nathan built a racetrack out of scrap wood we had leftover from Finn’s bedroom and the kids had a good time shoving the little cars to victory. Finn cheated (and was subsequently disqualified), Nathan came in DEAD LAST in the Battle of the Dads, but little Alice pulled a third place victory out of nowhere. In the end, all three winners were girls, and I had to fight the urge to bust out a 1998-Spice-Girls-ish “GIRL POWER!!” Though I totally said it in my head. With a mental fist-pump.
We had cake and made our own ice cream sundaes before the presents were opened. Finny always blossoms in front of an audience, I tell you.
Everyone got a goody bag on their way out, though it wasn’t epic by any means. Fruit snacks, a lollypop, a bouncy ball and some stickers never looked so good.
Both Nathan and I were exhausted at the end of the party; I have no idea how teachers do it for an entire day with three times as many kids… We ordered pizza for dinner and everyone crawled into bed in a Lego haze.
It wasn’t quite over, though. Finn’s actual birthday was Sunday. Nathan had a full day of work, so we woke the kids up at six to sing Happy Birthday, open presents and have cake. Since Alice’s birthday in December, I think we have a new tradition on our hands… Birthday cake for breakfast is the bomb-diggity, and they kids get all day to play with their new toys. In Finn’s case, twelve Lego sets to be exact.
Over the course of 24 hours, he put every single set together. I was on hand to affix decals and find little missing pieces that jumped and hid (or were pilfered by Alice), but by four in the afternoon on Sunday, he had everything done. He was still in his pajamas, but I figured if there was any day where he was allowed to forget the rest of the world, it was his birthday.
We took him to It’z (a bigger version of Chuck E. Cheese) for dinner, and when we got home, there was one last package to open from Uncle Mike and Aunt Tamara… A robot fish. Which made him squeal with delight. And made me breathe a sigh of relief since it was the only toy he had gotten that needed batteries. Robot fish for the win!
Lordy, I’m exhausted just reliving the whole weekend. But to see this look on Finny’s face;
… I’d do it all over again.