Today I am sending out Emersyn's birthday party invites. Quite a few of them actually. There are 25 kids invited, ranging from a couple months old to 10, as well as their parents, some family and family friends. I always hesitate when making a birthday party guest list. I never would want someone to think that I am inviting them because I want a present from them for Emersyn. In fact, I *almost* put "no gifts" on her invite, but I'll get back to that later.
I decided to branch out and invite a couple families that we don't get a chance to hang out with that often (but would love to) because they have kids Emersyn's exact same age basically and I know they will all grow up together in the nursery and in Sunday School at church. It is fun to start making memories at young ages. I have been to weddings, mine included, where there are friends from church in their slide shows starting at very young ages. I am so grateful to go to a church where both Brett and I have so much history. We have had the same group of friends, plus lots of new ones for the last 10+ years. It's been exciting to watch us all grow up, get married and now have babies. And that is the logic that I use for inviting friends to Emersyn's birthday party. I want to invite those who will join Brett and I in celebrating her life, people who I envision being in our lives forever!
I have decided to serve dinner at her party this year, a way for Brett and I to express gratitude for coming to share in our celebration. It won't be anything fancy, but it will be dinner and then dessert too. I am excited and know it will be a special day. Emersyn's party is on her actual birthday since it is on a Saturday and it is at the same park as last year, I like to keep things simple. :) I'm really trying to be on top of the party planning this year and ENJOY the planning process, versus stressing about it like I usually end up doing. I already have Emersyn's outfit, it's too cute and totally her (and similar to last years actually). The party is in the evening so we will have the day to feel prepared, in addition to taking Emersyn out for a birthday breakfast. :)
Back to the subject of presents. Brett and I, like many parents, fear Emersyn getting too spoiled. I always cringe at pictures that I see of kids at their birthday parties with piles and piles of presents and think, why on earth do they need all that stuff?? I have also been to parties where kids open the presents so fast and just tear through them ungratefully (these are older kids), to the point where it has been a turn off. I totally understand that it is an age thing and I don't think they are brats, I just wonder if they would be just as happy with a few gifts versus so many. Like I said, I debated saying "no presents" on her invite. I decided not to though, not because I WANT presents, honestly if our friends just come and eat dinner, cake and take pictures with E, that would make for a great party. These are my thoughts regarding birthday presents, from what I experienced last year at Emersyn's party and how I feel when I am invited to another kids party and buy a gift:
1) I loved getting new ideas of fun toys for Emersyn at her party last year. Just one example, my neighbor (mom of three) bought her a baby doll and a Leapfrog fridge magnet set. I wouldn't have thought of either of these gifts for Emersyn for some reason....maybe because I didn't realize she was old enough to appreciate either of them? But those two gifts ended up being a HIT with Emersyn throughout the last year. In fact, I gave the same Leapfrog set to a friend of mine's baby boy for his one year old birthday because I knew he would love it like Emersyn had.
Emersyn with the baby doll. :)
3) It is fun to go through clothes, toys, books, etc. and be able to tell Emerysn, "Did you know that Riley's mama bought you that outfit?" or "let's read this book from Miss Rachelle, she gave this to you at your birthday" or "your Auntie Marti loves to spoil you, this sweet little outfit is from her!". I have a really good memory for who got what gifts (even from my wedding, every single time I iron I think of our family friends the Sies, ha ha) and it's fun to be reminded of how many people love Emersyn and cared for her enough to buy her something for her birthday. I personally am so touched when I open something that someone picked out for my daughter, it's like I get the present too. :)
4) I know that kids don't need expensive things for gifts and I hope that everyone invited to Emersyn's party knows that too. I found a romper on clearance at Target that was adorable and gave it to a little girl for her birthday party; it was $3. I got her some bubbles too and thought it was a gift that I would have loved to receive for Emersyn too. It's not that I was too cheap to get her something nicer, I got a good deal and that's a great thing. I got a friends daughter a DARLING jean jacket for $5 too, regularly $20. I felt guilty for half a second because it was only $5 but then I thought, why?!? The Lord blesses us with bargains, let's run with it.
5) I love buying gifts for birthday parties. It is a chance for me to share something I have enjoyed as a mother or watched my daughter enjoy and it is a blessing to give.
I cannot believe that my baby girl is going to be TWO. Just typing that out makes me teary eyed. But in a good way. :) Wish all of my bloggy buddies could come too!! Wish me luck with all the planning. :)