Monday, June 23, 2008

Lucky 7

7 years ago this very minute I was experiencing my first real labor pains. In total denial that I was in labor, of course, never having had a baby before. Plus, it was a week before my due date and I was assured, repeatedly, that "all women in our family go late." uh-huh, right. Late. Which is why the personalized "my first year" calendar my sisters made for me/baby didn't even START until July. My due date was June 30, and I wasn't expected to have the baby until the first part of July. So labor on June 23? NOT POSSIBLE. Except it was.

26 hours of labor, including 3 hours of pushing, an epidural, and episiotomy, a "sunny-side up" baby, and a vacuum extraction later, Nicholas was born. All 9 lbs, 1oz of him. A full week early. So much for all of us going late with our pregnancies.

And now he's 7! (well, technically not until tomorrow, but we celebrated his birthday yesterday so as far as I'm concerned, he's 7.)

At first Nicholas wanted a bowling birthday party. Perfect! Love the idea. Bowling it is. I called the local bowling alley for pricing and availability and we were good to go. Until Mr. Chick and I went to Vegas for the weekend and Opa took the kids to the zoo, where they currently have a dinosaur exhibit. (Lauren: "Mom! They're REAL dinosaurs because all the animals at the zoo are real, right?!") And from that moment Nicholas decided he wanted a dinosaur birthday party. At home or at the park, depending on the weather. Which in Oregon in mid/late June is unpredictable and fate is sorely tempted if you dare to plan something for outdoors. But feeling reckless (and not feeling like I wanted a bunch of rowdy 7 year olds running rampant in my house), I planned the dinosaur party at our local park. Thankfully Mother Nature was feeling charitable and we were rewarded with nice weather!

Planning a party, or more accurately, planning this party,
took quite a bit of time. I planned a bunch of dinosaur-themed activities for the kids, including a dino dig in the sand at the park. Thankfully there are lots of good dinosaur ideas to be found online and plenty of dinosaur stuff available in a bunch of stores. However, to collect the dino stuff we had to stop at all the stores. Seriously, I went to at least 8 different stores shopping for dinosaur items. Plenty of stores have dinosaur-related items, just not much. So getting a few things here and a few thing there was required to execute the party. My gas bill was not happy, but my kid was.

We started out the party letting the early arrivals run around like freaks with silly string. God love the Dollar Store! It didn't take long for several 7 year old boys to kill several cans of silly string. Once all the kids arrived we started playing a game of Carnivore/Herbivore, which is essentially freeze tag. You divide the kids into teams and arm the Carnivore team with dino stickers. If they can get a sticker on an Herbivore, the Herbivore is "frozen" until another Herbivore can take the sticker off and unfreeze them. Play for 5-10 minutes and then switch teams so the Carnivores from round 1 become the Herbivores. The kids love running around and the parents enjoy the kids getting a little tired out. From there we moved onto the main attraction, the Dino Dig. We'd plotted out a small-ish section of sand and buried a bunch of little plastic dinosaurs, some T-Rex claws that I'd made with this recipe, and a big dino egg (one per kid) that foams up when placed in warm water and inside are parts of a dinosaur that you get to assemble. I gave each kid a bucket with their name on it and a shovel to use for the dig. The kids loved it! Afterwards I had the kids work on a dino-themed word-find puzzle that I'd created while we filled their buckets with warm water (had to remember to bring a big coffee carafe of hot water from home!) to let their dino eggs foam up and break apart. After everyone had assembled their dinosaurs from the eggs it was time for the pinata, in the shape of a giant "7" (couldn't find a dinosaur pinata to save my life! This was the best I could do...). We used a wimpy plastic bat for the first round to help ensure each kid would get a turn to whack the pinata, then switched to a real bat, which did the trick and cracked the pinata open. The kids were all over it at that point like vultures, grabbing candy and the various stuff I'd put in there. Again, the buckets I'd given each of them came in handy to collect the goodies. From there it was time for cake, then presents. 2 hours went by pretty fast and all the kids seemed to really have a lot of fun. Smiles were everywhere. I especially liked these two smiles with the matching gap-toothed grins. Nicholas lost his other front tooth recently and now has a big hole in the front of his smile, just like his buddy. How cute are they?!! Even little sister Lauren enjoyed herself and made sure to wear her dinosaur shirt to get into the spirit of the party. (I'd convinced her to let me put her hair in a ponytail because it made her look like she had short hair "like a boy", something she really wants right now, as well as telling her it's how all the soccer kids wear their hair. She was agreeable for about 2 hours and then pulled it out. Progress, right??). The kids all left with little goody bags containing a different form of hatching dino egg, some dinosaur "magic towels", misc. gum and plastic dinosaur toys, etc. Plus the buckets/shovels. Nice, right? You totally want to come to the next birthday party I throw/host, don't you?! I worked my ass off on that party and was happy with how well it went. Nicholas had a fantastic time, as did his friends. Complete success - the most I could ask for.

When we got home from the party we met Opa and let Nicholas open his BIG present: a Wii! From us and grandparents. He FLIPPED OUT with excitement and threw himself on me in the tightest hug he's given me in quite some time. It was awesome! He's been begging for a Wii for ages now. He visits the Wii website. He plays whenever he goes to my sisters house or the neighbors who have one. He plays so hard he gets sweaty. It's a big deal for us to get it for him, but we figured it would be something we could ALL play. So we gave Lauren the other controller as a way of emphasizing that the Wii is not solely Nicholas's. He understands and couldn't wait to get it set up. And promptly gave us all lessons on how to play. He and Mr. Chick played boxing and Nicholas worked up a sweat beating Daddy. What fun! It was quite a day.

Happy Birthday, Nicholas! You're the coolest 7 year old I know!

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!
What a cool, cool party! I love everything that you did. The pictures are great as well. You've given me an idea for Sam's 7th -- of course we'd have to bury them in the snow:)
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