Rosie’s birthday and why I’m taking a break from big birthday parties

I am on a big birthday extravaganzas for children hiatus. Forget Pinterest-worthy themed birthday parties, I’m not even having the party! We have reached a new familial low. Or have we? Quite frankly, with four children it was becoming unmanageable to have four big birthday parties a year. (And any party where we invite all of our close family members and friends is going to be big.) I had to clean the house, borrow a large folding table and chairs in order to have enough seating, spend a small fortune on paper plates, cups, napkins, food, drinks, and cake for everyone, and then figure out an activity that is fun for the children but won’t break the bank. And then after everyone leaves,  there is the epic clean up. I’m not saying all this to be whiny, it was a labor of love for sure, and we enjoy seeing all of our loved ones! However, with four little ones at home, doing all of the above four times a year every year was just too overwhelming for us. So Scott and I discussed it, and we decided to take a break from hosting large birthday parties this year.  And it has been liberating. 

For Ruth’s birthday, we travelled to Florida and had an intimate family party with our relatives we were visiting there. Ruth thoroughly enjoyed it. (And we did too).

For Rosie’s birthday this past weekend, we went to a pumpkin patch. And we thoroughly enjoyed that too.  



 Yup, my sister even looks gorgeous while making a silly face.  

RRuth’s grimace fake smile. Oy. 


Please pardon my awkward bangs are growing out stage. I’ve decided they are no longer worth the hassle of finding a babysitter and getting them trimmed every month. 

 Ruth will go anywhere if there is face painting. 

 We live in a weird time. I saw countless families bring their fancy cameras and try to prop up floppy and wobbly babies against pumpkins and just squat there snapping away between dives to keep the baby from face planting.  Has this always been a fixture at pumpkin patches? I even saw a couple bring their dog  and positioned it amongst the pumpkins so that they could take several pictures of it, waving dog treats around to get its attention. I felt very sorry for their Facebook friends who were about to be subjected to a 30+ picture photo album of Fido among the pumpkins. Unless they were doing it as satire. That I wholeheartedly support.  Anyway, fortunately for my Facebook friends, they have to actually click on a blog post to be subjected to endless babies and pumpkins pictures.  You’re welcome, Facebook friends.  I do it because I know if you see one more pumpkin patch picture, you are going to swear off October altogether. As for my beleaguered blog readers, I love you to the moon and back for trudging through yet another pumpkin patch post for me. I have the best readers in the whole world.  

For those of you with big families/lack of time and energy, how do you make birthday parties more manageable?  One friend of  mine said she has everyone bring a dish instead of gifts. That idea sounds intriguing.



About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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28 Responses to Rosie’s birthday and why I’m taking a break from big birthday parties

  1. We avoided a party for my son’s second birthday this last year. The first one was a disaster and I don’t want another disaster. We don’t have a place big enough to invite just family because both sides of our families are fairly large for just close family. We had the first party at two houses! (My in-laws live next door to me. Yay, I know right? -rolls eyes-) So for Robbie’s second birthday we just had a fun filled day with my mom and brothers. Then had dinner next door with GMA and GPA. If anyone wanted to hang out we would have. I feel it was nicer this way. Not as much stress. Then I didn’t have to worry about who was actually going to come and if there would be a scene or not. I hate adult drama when we’re supposed to be focusing on the children. So tacky.

    I’m not sure what I will be doing this year. Robbie and Morgan are a month apart and Christmas is in the middle of their birthdays. Maybe we’ll have a holiday/birthday get together till they have a say in the matter. Lol X)

    I hope you enjoy your family time and not worrying about throwing a party. As long as they’re having fun, that’s all that matters.


    • sylcell says:

      Yes! You are so right. We are in the midst of some adult drama ourselves, so I am rethinking my plans to have a first birthday party for Rhea. Instead, we’ll just have something small and low key. She’s 1, I think she’ll be cool with it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Poor Will- he’s the only (external) child and he’s not getting a party this year. 1. Because I’m not inviting people to my parents’ house. Hello, embarrassing. 2. We don’t really have anyone to invite. Instead we’re taking him to the zoo or the aquarium, weather dependent.

    Since this baby will likely only be a couple of weeks apart from Will’s birthday, I fully plan on joint birthday parties until they’re old enough to protest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Siné says:

    Some of the fancy camera and propping babies could be the result of photographer moms, but more than likely it is moms who thought buying a DSLR would make them a good photographer but they have never taken it out of auto (which really just means they have a fancy point and shoot camera that weighs a ton). I may be a bit of a snarky photo snob these days though. 😉

    As for birthday parties, we have done a total of 1 crazy blowout birthday party at this point. Otherwise, we have celebrated with friends at our regular Saturday night dinners and then we make their actual birthdays special by letting them have a say in the food and activity of the day. They love their birthdays the way they are and as a totally not pinterest worthy party planner, I love birthdays this way too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We do the party thing, the boys parties are more wearing since they’re 6 weeks apart, but G is half a year away from theirs so it may not be as tiring. We go on simple food, make yourself deli tray, meatballs kind of thing, and honestly I don’t theme or decorate much if its not with toys (we have had Cars, John Deere, and construction themes lol)! The more important thing to me is we take them each out for a night with just them for dinner on their birthday and the boys have each seemed to enjoy that more than anything. We don’t go out often to eat, so it’s an extra treat!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We have a big birthday party when they turn 1 and when they turn 10. And when they turn 13. Other than that, it’s small family parties or just a special family outing. Works for us. With 9 children we just can’t be having huge pin-worthy parties for every birthday!

    Looks like a fun day in the pumpkin patch!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chelsi says:

    So funny you mention the big party issue. Chad and I don’t even have kids and often discuss what all these big birthday parties are about. His friends often have to cancel plans with him because They have to go to a kids birthday party ! He adamantly tells me that he will not be doing that with his kids and he will not be pressured into going to a five-year-old’s birthday party that’s not family. I just laugh bc I don’t get it either

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rachel O says:

    So we have 5 (soon to be 6 in March). And when my older three were little we came to the same conclusion you and Scott have reached. Planning children’s parties is NOT a personal strength and it stresses me out! Of course it for my babies and I want to make their day special so we do it right?
    So the solution we came up with is this, we don’t do big parties until they are 5. Before that we do low key family parties with treats and gifts. After 5 yrs old we do family parties on even years and friend parties on odd years. I am reliving I may to tweak this because after baby comes I will have 4 of my 6 with even birthdays in a matter of 4 months each time,…..yeah well see how that goes ha ha.
    My big kids are 11, 10 and 9. And the last few years I have offered them a deal on the year they have a friend party. They can either have a party at home and invite lots of friends ( usually 5-8) OR we can take 2 or 3 friends to go someplace like a movie, children’s museuem, bouncy house, trampoline park etc. It been a fun way toake it special without spending a fortune! We are on a very tight budget because I stay home with my babies and my husband works hard as a production manager for a local wholesale art company. So far it has worked well for us. 😊 Good luck finding a solution that fits your family!


  8. Kim Johnston says:

    Our babies birthdays are 11/22 and 12/3 so until they know better, they’re getting joint Thanksgiving birthday parties. They get a turkey, so….done.
    Even when they are older, I don’t plan on doing something with extended family every year. My parents gave me a birthday party about every 4-5 years and I’m okay with not having family buying gifts every year for the kids. I also get too neurotic and desire perfection too much to have company over for big events. No one enjoys themselves when I’m in OCD mode.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      That is a good idea! We’ll probably space them out for years too. And I am the same. lt is very important to me to be a good hostess for all of our guests, and I cannot stand to have a dirty/disorganized house or not enough food and drinks for everyone. But when you are talking about 30+ people, that is an incredible amount of work!


  9. I enjoyed these pictures. As for the big party..I would rather stay away from that, well, atleast for sometime. No point spending so much money on something which my baby wouldn’t remember years later. He needs to enjoy and make some good memories and we have time for that!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mari Hobgood says:

    Well done! And yes it was weird how so many People were clearly there for the photo ops

    Sent from my iPod

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Boeta (at 2) do not know this big party thing…it is not who we are and I wonder if we would be able to manage getting lots of people together. We focus on intimate and doing special things, similar to your 2 birthdays described above.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. katylady says:

    Yayyyyyyy, satire! And yay to saying “no” to big parties…too many expectations (mostly my own), too much clean up. I’m already trying to psych myself up for Thanksgiving. Which I’m genuinely excited about! For now.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. rache823 says:

    Seriously though, there were SO many fancy cameras and babies propped! I was trying to figure out what the pictures were going to be for- Facebook really seems not worth the effort.
    Also, so honored to be featured! I’ll start my 15 min timer now.

    Liked by 1 person

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