Up first: Ryder!
Ryder’s Slug-Themed Fourth Birthday
Ryder’s fourth birthday was Saturday and can I just say how much I LOVE Saturday birthdays!? They allow you to truly just enjoy the day and immerse yourself in birthday fun rather than worry about weekday commitments, activities, etc. For Ryder in particular, a Saturday birthday where we could focus on time together close to home was the perfect fit for our big-hearted, hug-happy, introverted, family-loving guy.
Birthday parties are a BIG deal around here these days mainly because something about Chase turning six last year made him all the more aware of birthday parties and celebrating birthdays with friends and family. Chase repeatedly asked us what we were doing for Ryder’s birthday and this would just prompt Ryder to ask Chase what Chase wanted to do for his birthday in an effort to copy his big brother. Once I took the time to really chat with Ryder one-on-one about whether or not he even wanted his own birthday party, it became very clear he wanted a birthday party but really wanted it to be something with just our family.
We set out to create a low-key party with a slug theme because there’s not much Ryder loves more right now than searching for slugs under the rocks in our yard. As it turns out, according to the internet, exactly ZERO children have wanted slug-themed birthday parties. Pinterest inspiration for slug-themed parties was… um… sparse. We did our best to brainstorm a few fun games and LOVED the recommendation I received from a bunch of you guys on Instagram that encouraged me to make dirt cups topped with gummy worms for Ryder’s special day.
Thanks to the Harry Potter movies, I was able to find gummy slug candy and so the dirt cups ended up perfectly fitting our theme!
As for the games, they were simple but an absolute BLAST!
Game number one was “Find that Slug” and the big kids had to search a container of water beads and find six slimy slugs in order to win a prize. (Bless you, Amazon, for keeping weird things like slimy slugs in stock.)
Game number two was “Soak that Slug” and Chase and Ryder had to choose a water blaster to use to try to blast a slug across a chalk finish line to get a prize.
Game number three, “Search for that Slug” was the trickiest of the three! The boys had to work together to find three squiggly friends (slugs, worms, snails, etc.) within five minutes to choose a prize from the prize bucket.
Something about our simple Saturday birthday party at home served as a perfect reminder that kids don’t need the fancy, schmancy Pinterest-perfect kid birthday parties we see all over social media — complete with balloon arches, catered meals, party planners, the works — to have the very best time. Sometimes all you need is a water blaster and a fake slimy slug.
In addition to Ryder’s birthday party, our Saturday included some very special time with Nona! Ryan’s mom arrived in town late Friday afternoon and we are so glad she could stay with us for the weekend and join us for the birthday fun!
We filled the rest of Ryder’s fourth birthday with Chase’s second-to-last Speedy Meet swim meet, swimming at the pool, rock painting, homemade strawberry birthday cake (Ryder’s request and yet he only ate the buttercream icing off the top of his slice — ha!), butterfly catching and releasing and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for movie night (Ryder’s choice).
Ryder said he loved his birthday and I’m taking his sweet words to heart because our only goal for Saturday was to make him feel special and loved. He gave me one of his full-body, sprint-into-my-arms jumping hugs right before bed and I told him it was one of his very best hugs yet. Four-year-olds give GOOD hugs.
Father’s Day 2022
Father’s Day on Sunday began with gifts for Ryan from our family! The boys were excited to give him homemade banners, painted rocks and the lizard t-shirt he proudly sported for the rest of the day.
We had a day planned at Dan Nicholas Park, one of our favorite parks I’ve raved about on the blog a time or two. With Ryan’s only request for the day being that we spend lots of time outside, Dan Nicholas Park fit the bill since it offers a little bit of everything — playgrounds, a mini zoo, gem mining, train tides, a reptile house and more.
We arrived in the morning and made sure to do a little bit of everything before making the one-hour drive home in the early afternoon.
(And yes, our boys really do feel the need to bring nets and creature cages everywhere.)
By the time we made it home it was close to 2 p.m. and Rhett really needed his nap. While he snoozed, I stayed back with him and worked during the nap trap while Ryan, Diane and the big kids went to the pool.
Eventually we all reunited back at our house and rounded our Father’s Day with a cookout, homemade cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream and Kung Fu Panda, Dad’s choice for movie night!
As for our plans for the week ahead, Diane will be spending most of today with us before catching a flight back to Florida in the late afternoon so we’ll be soaking up the last of our time with Nona! Chase is also in his only week-long camp of the summer but he’s still done by 1 p.m. each day so I’m sure we’ll fill our afternoons with lots of pool time and play dates. The second half of the week should be a good albeit overwhelming one. My mom arrives on Wednesday with a goal of helping with the boys while Ryan and I go into GO MODE and begin packing up boxes and getting things organized for our big move in less than three weeks. Ah! I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it so if any of you have moving advice or tips/tricks you used when it comes to moving (especially a move involving kids and multiple moves into two different rentals before our “real” move), I’m all ears!
I hope you all have a great week and I hope to see you back here in a day or two!