Because the kids have their birthdays only 11 days apart, I decided last year that they would still have separate birthday parties, but Brady would do his a week early and Izzie would do hers a week late. This makes it a bit easier on us doing two parties and is also nice to space it out a bit for those who attend both parties (especially those driving long distance from out of state). Another plus to doing Brady's early is that his birthday falls during the week-long mid-winter break the area schools take and many people go out of town, thus being unable to attend a birthday closer to his real birthday.
We had Brady's party at the house last year, but the thought of having two parties at my house, four weeks apart was a bit daunting and overwhelming for me, so now that Brady has more friends, I decided we'd do it at another venue. He has had a number shirt every year since his first birthday and I buy ahead, so I've had this lion fourth birthday shirt for a year. I had done some research at that time and thought that Jungle Java would be a cool place to have it, although we'd never been there. Since then, we've been there a few times and Brady loves it! It was perfect for his party and fit in with the theme of his shirt. I asked if he wanted it to be The Lion King or Madagascar and he chose Madagascar, so his shirt is Alex the Lion to him ;)
Luckily, since I don't tend to buy too much animal print, Izzie got a leopard shirt from Andy's parents for Christmas and it was perfect for her to wear to a jungle party! I love when my kids have matching or themed clothing!
The gang at the table. The kids were so busy playing most of the time that it was just the parents. That was fine by us since the kids were entertaining themselves and having fun. For those from Pittsburgh, it's like the old Safari Sam's we had back in the day, with a giant, four-level climbing structure, including rope ladders, slides, punching bags, etc.
Brady sandwiched between his two best guy friends. Xander from school on the left of him and Sam Reese that he's known since before Sam was born on the right.
Across from Brady are Francesco and Robert who are new neighbors who moved in about five houses down this summer.
Look how happy he is! He was talking about his party for weeks since I booked it right after New Years. He would talk about who was coming and speculate about what kind of gifts he would receive.
The cake, which is one of my favorite parts. Not because it's good to eat, but because I'm in love with creating cupcake cakes. Last year, Brady had the Up party where the cupcakes made the balloons and this year. I won't force people to suffer through my baking or decorating attempts, so I had the pieces made, then put them together and did the face myself. I was very pleased with how it turned out!
Time for presents! I love Sam's body language in this one. He's so excited to see what it is!
A Jake and the Neverland Pirates game for the LeapPad from Sophia, Emma, and Ella.
A monster truck from Sam!
It's not hard to see how pleased Brady is with this gift. He went to Monster Jam only a few weeks ago and is still talking about it.
A sidewalk airbrush from Ainsley. Now we need the snow to melt so we can use it!
A super cool Transformers firetruck from Xander! Brady had this on his Wish List and was so excited to get it!
A fun collage that Xander's mom put together.
The plan was for my parents to come out for Izzie's party since it will be at the house. Brady was Skyping with my mom a week or two ago and when she asked about his party, he told her that he didn't want to talk about it because she wasn't coming. Weather permitting, they were going to try and make it, but we didn't tell Brady in case it fell through. They walked in the door about an hour before the party and Brady was so excited! He had a fun weekend with them! He cried when it was time for them to go and begged to go back to Pittsburgh with them.
It's been tradition since we moved back to Michigan, that anytime my parents visit, the boys go to lunch at White Castle before they leave. There aren't any White Castles anywhere near Pittsburgh, so my dad needs his fix when he comes and I dislike it so much that I won't even allow it in my house. They love going and Brady always talks about "boys lunch" whenever we drive by it. Brady loves the chicken rings.
My mom and I used to go grab something when the boys were at White Castle and now we have Izzie, so it's "girls lunch." We went to Mongolian Grill. Yum!
Even though Brady's party is over, his birthday is still next week and we have something super secret planned for him, in addition to his presents from us. Also, I am prepping for their birthday portraits early next week and am in full party planning mode for Izzie's first birthday party. Her birthday come first, so we'll be going full steam for the next three weeks. I am so glad Easter is late this year because I'm going to need a break!