Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ahoy, Mateys! James is FIVE!

So a month ago, sweet baby James became a FIVE YEAR OLD! A whole hand! How did that happen?!

We celebrated with a fabulous pirate party.  His actual birthday fell on a Saturday (just like the day he was born!), so the party was held that afternoon.  Here is the invitation (I had made a birthday card for James's pal, Chase, like the front last summer, so decided to use that design again!)

We had a great crew of six boys join James to celebrate.  A church friend, an "old school" friend, two neighbor friends, and one of his "original" friends and his little brother.  (Baby John slept through part of the party, then hung with Grandpa and Grandma--out of the way.)

The party was held mostly in the "tennis room"/"music room"/"living room"/"playroom".  We cleaned out the abundance of stuff that has been collecting there (including some of the random furniture), and created a great space for the kids to get their pirate on and the parents to watch.

 Other pre-party prep included cutting out cardboard hooks (the kids made their own hook hands) and swords. Oh, and cutting slots into the bottom of Solo cups (for the hook hands). James helped me figure out the proper sizing of the swords and also put together a hook (so I knew they'd be able to do it and find it fun).  Dan was the sword-smith.

 I also put together the goodie bags.  They had small bags of Pirate's Booty (the cheese puff snack), pirate stickers, and chocolate gold doubloons in them.  The kids added to the booty during the party.

I made the cake the day before the party.  I was pretty pleased with how it came out, and James had a great time helping me apply the decorations.

After James went to sleep Friday night, I personalized the bunting he had helped me hang on the wall. Instead of having only Jolly Roger pennants, I added a special birthday message.

The morning of the party we had rehearsal for the Christmas pageant, so in the couple of hours between that and the party, we ran around putting out snack foods, hiding pirate treasure, and making the pirate map.

The first activity once all the guests had arrived was to make pirate spy glasses.  The boys each wrote their name on a paper towel tube and used a rubber band to attach a blue cellophane square over one end.

 Then we looked around with our spyglasses to see if we could find a pirate map.
Once they had the map, they went on a scavenger hunt around the house.  Each red X on the map lead them to another treasure.  Each treasure was a piece of a pirate costume: mustache, eye patch, bandana hat, sash, jewels.

So much fun!  Especially when they couldn't find the last treasure (the box of jewels) even though they were all standing right next to it.  That gave the parents a good laugh!  (so did the facial hair)

Speaking of laughs, Dan shared lots of great pirate jokes throughout the party.  How much did the pirate pay for his hook and his peg? An arm and a leg!

The boys then played How Many Pretzels Can You Pick Up With a Hook Hand which was pretty fun.  Then they made their own hook hands and swords.  After a snack break, they grabbed their pirate gear and headed outside for some pirate play.  This was kid-lead.  They did a lot of running around the house and yelling "Argh!"  My favorite innovation was when they stuck pieces of firewood between the slats on the deck as cannons from the ship.  Clever!

Then it was time to head inside for singing and cake. (By this time most mustaches had been abandoned. They stashed any costume parts and/or swords in their goodie bags for safe keeping.)

After cake, it was time for all the little pirates to gather up their booty and head home.
Then the family (Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa, Grandma and John) enjoyed watching James open his gifts (and joined him to play with some too!).

It was a fantastic day.  I had so much fun putting it all together and having fun with my favorite little pirate boy.  I can hardly believe he's five! Time certainly has flown.  I love you, James!

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