Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Party Fit for a King (Kong)

Dawson turned three on Friday! I'm so in love with each of my boys for different reasons. It's becoming increasingly clear why God has placed this little individual in our family. He sees the world so differently than his brother, Bennett, and I love his point-of-view.
taken with Instagram:
Bennett and I decorated Dawson's door that morning while he was still sleeping (this boy sleeps late!). Bennett went in first and said, "Look, Dawson! We decorated your door!" And I heard Dawson in such a sweet, excited voice say, "Sanks, Bennett!" Its the saddest thing ever when your kids grow out of all their little speech impediments. 

Starting the day off right with a donut (I didn't start the cereal tradition with Bennett until he was four so we'll do it next year with Dawson. I wanted to make sure they were old enough to understand its a privilege, not a given!):
We ended his actual birthday with a family trip to (where else?) McDonald's playplace. Its actually kind of relaxing there which is all you can really ask for when you're dining out with three kids (relaxing environment takes priority over food quality these days. Chick-fil-A offers the best of both worlds but it's so dang far away from our house.)

And on to the party!! (Sorry, this is going to be a super long post. Come back when your kids are sleeping.)
I debated back and forth on the theme for Dawson's party. I convinced him to just have a Cars party since it would be easy. I even started buying stuff for it. But frankly, I just couldn't get past the thought that he's not really obsessed with Cars. I want my kids parties to be whatever they're obsessed with at the moment and something that feels a little more homemade (but on a very small budget). Dawson's been obsessed with King Kong forever. Ok, yes, it was going to take way more creativity and effort to pull it off but I seriously felt bad doing something just because it was easier for me so I returned all the Cars stuff and told my mother-in-law/party-planning-associate that somehow we needed to make a King Kong party happen.** His love affair started one Sunday afternoon last winter sometime when the 1976 film version was on TV. Jon watched most of it with the boys that day and Dawson was devastated when we had to turn it off. So the next day Jon got out the new version that we happened to own and showed him a select few scenes. That was it. Dawson fell head over heels in love with the giant ape and has been ever since. For several months he asked to watch "the T-Reck part" every day. It was like his drug. He'd be in a horrible mood, screaming and crying all day and then sit perfectly quiet watching parts of that movie. (He's since mellowed out a little)
The invitations--we just used an image we found online and personalized it a bit, printed it in color on cardstock and pasted it on a notecard. (I already had a giant box of plain cards and envelopes in cool colors from Target). We designed them together and Judie printed them up for me:

 Hard to see but Jon drew "King Kong prints" up the sidewalk:

My sister, Claire, and her boyfriend, Michael, couldn't come to the party but they came that afternoon for a few hours and helped a ton. Claire made the entire skyline backdrop for me:
Judie bought these New York City blocks as part of Dawson's gift and we used them to decorate the cake:
The treat bags-- It was a little tricky to find stuff to fit with the theme but they turned out ok.Wish I could have found a little gorilla to stick in there. The airplane kit was such a lucky find after wandering through Target for an hour!:
 Oh boy...the party hasn't started and he's tired already:
"Jungle Juice" labels made by Judie, with a screen print of a scene from the movie:
The spread. I really wanted a full dinner but wanted to keep it really simple so I decided on an appetizer sort of meal. I stocked up on good stuff from Trader Joe's. Fresh fruit, veggies, bagel chips with TJ's Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt dip (it was delicious), TJ's Mac & Cheese bites (I needed a party as an excuse to buy these. Worth every calorie laden bite), peanut butter and banana pita pockets for the kids, monkey tails made by Judie and meatballs with a mixture of TJ's General Tsao Stir Fry Sauce, barbecue sauce and a little honey. It was all so delicious and the best part, quick and easy, besides chopping up the fruits and veggies.
 On the monkey bars after dinner. Where's the birthday boy?
 Its my party and I'll pout if I want to:
 There he is, back in action:
I just love this picture:
Judie printed pictures of jungle animals and the kids played charades. It was a nice and quick game that the two year olds and seven year olds had fun with:
Dawson's turn. Or not...
And of course, my go-to party activity--storytime. This book was appropriately called, Gorilla, and was about a little girl who wanted a gorilla for her birthday. It was perfect:
 Judie made these fun masks for the kids:
 Not too much of a stretch for these monkeys:
When I handed Dawson his first present to open he looked at me and said with disbelief, "is it mine?" It was so sweet. And after presents (and promptly putting on his new "Super Dawson" costume), it was time for cake:
It was such a fun party for this wild man. So sad my parents couldn't be there for it. I think three is the best birthday party age. They finally understand it all but are still so little and adorable!
**Let me just clarify that I absolutely do not AT ALL think you're less of a mom if you choose to do commercial character parties for your kids. I believe we all need some sort of outlet for our creativity and talents as mothers. Being a stay at home mom is a draining job with very little instant gratification or praise. Planning parties for me is a huge creative outlet and something that I find fun (that and blogging!). Plus my mother-in-law loves it too so its something fun for us to do together. My husband thinks they're kinda pointless and not at all worth the hard work but he loves me enough to accept the fact that its important to me and so he helps me a ton with the setup. And I love him all the more for that. 


  1. So fun!! I always look forward to the boys birthdays to see what you are going to do!! Only wish we were there to help celebrate with you!
    Love you, Auntie

  2. What a great summation of a very fun time! I love planning these parties with you - it is so fun to see how creative we can get on the cheap! Dawson was so precious - my favorite is the Super Dawson picture.

  3. Adorable! What a fun party! Happy birthday Dawson!

  4. Another perfect party for the Colyer history book! LOVE IT ALL!!!

    I love planning kid parties too!! Maybe we should go into business together....

  5. That is amazing! You need to plan my kid's parties! I am not creative like that in the least and I wish I was. I'm so impressed.


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