How We Make Birthdays Extra Special for Everyone!

By Melissa

We have not one, but TWO birthdays this week! I distinctly remember two years ago as I was panicking that I just might have our new baby on Cohen’s birthday. Luckily it worked out that they are three days apart! Which is great! But now I have two kids to celebrate in a week, which can be a little bonkers. 

This year is obviously a little different for birthdays, but honestly, Covid isn’t going to change our routine too much. We are doing a little something extra for Cohen since he better understands, and I’ll go into that later. But for us, these three things are what always make our birthdays extra special for us all. Sure we would love to go out to celebrate as a family, but homebound for 4- and 2-year-olds isn’t the end of the world.

Here are our three traditions that make everyone excited about the special day:

SUGAR CEREAL

You guys, this one is so easy and is such a home run every time! I typically have the kids’ breakfast spot decorated and ready with a few gifts. And along with those gifts, wrapped with a bow, is a box of sugary cereal. That’s it! We usually defer to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but this year we are let Cohen try out Cap’n Crunch (mainly because Philip found it on sale at his store 😉). Shocker, he loved it. Because duh, it’s sugar. The part that makes it extra fun is that all the kids get to eat it. So it’s fun, and tasty, for everyone. 

ROOM DECOR

This is one of those things that I did as an afterthought a couple years ago for Maren and then last year she asked me if I was going to do again. Uhhhh, yes? You remember that? And you liked it? Sure! So it’s a little different each year. And also it depends on what I have on hand to do a little decorating with. It might be putting a bunch of balloons all over the floor and their bed, or hanging streamers on the ceiling above them. This year, since Cohen always wakes up first, I considered having balloons fall on him when he opens the door…but then the mom part of me thought, but I wouldn’t be able to see his reaction to that, so maybe not??? And thank goodness, because he slept in a bit!

We ended up sticking with balloons in his room, and streamers above his bed. He woke up and loved it! And bonus, his favorite color is purple, which I kinda didn’t want to use a ton of in his birthday decor, so I did all purple balloons and streamers in his room. And the kids will still go and play with the balloons in their room, because it is a novelty. I also should add, I probably won’t do this for Jade’s birthday just because I’m kinda lazy and she surely won’t remember it anyway. I’ll start with her in a couple years.

***Also, we are lucky enough that our kids sleep like rocks so they don’t wake up during the decorating. If you think yours might, then try streamers hanging from their door frame, they would love it!

PICTURES

This one is mostly for me. I said these traditions make ALL of us happy right? 😉 Well this one makes me happier than anyone else, because I love a good progression picture series. 

We have a table in our entryway that I always decorate for the kids’ birthdays. When Maren turned one, I plopped her on the table with the decorations and took a picture. It wasn’t necessarily something I planned on doing forever, but the next year when I had the same cute baby with the same table and diffferent decor, I decided to take one again. And then and there it became a tradition. So now every year, I spend much too much time decorating the dang table, but it makes me happy. And I am completely obsessed with lining up the pictures every year to see how much my kids have grown and changed. I will admit that seeing them change so much in just one picture, definitely gives me all the feels!

Bring back my fat baby Coco!

Now I understand that we are fairly unusual in that we’ve lived in the same house for all of the years that we’ve had kids. A friend of mine was telling me how since they have moved around a few times, it makes her sad that she doesn’t have ONE spot that she can put her kids every single year. And to that, I say, it’s OKAY! Maybe you measure their growth by having them sit in the same chair (we do that too), or having them with the same stuffed animal, or even having them stand next to a measuring stick! Honestly, I think that as long as you have a picture of them looking at the camera (or in the general direction) every year, you’ll be able to compare. Philip and I try to take a photo together every year on our anniversary (so we can watch ourselves get old and gross 🙃) and we are never in the same spot or same pose, but it serves the same purpose. But yes, take pictures. Even if your kids grumble and complain and you maybe yell at them on their special day because they won’t look at the dang camera, take the pictures. You’ll be so glad you have them.

I cannot wait to see her side by side after this weekend!
BONUS FOR QUARANTINE

This year since we can’t go anywhere or do anything, I sent a text to a handful of Cohen’s favorite humans (grandparents, aunts & uncles, teachers) and asked if they would send a picture or video of them wishing Cohen a happy birthday. You guys, it is the sweetest thing. I put them all together so he could watch them back to back, and he was just so thrilled and I could tell he felt so special. It was an easy thing, (though I did hate asking others when it was a little inconvenient) and the result was so fun. So keep that in mind as a fun idea.

And that’s it! It was such a fun day celebrating Cohen and we can’t wait to do it all again with Jade too! We will for sure be doing the sugar cereal and the table pictures and I just can’t wait to see how much she loves her decorations. I love traditions that are easy and that make everyone so happy!

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