Oct 5, 2010

No children were harmed in the making of this birthday party

In case I hadn't Tweeted about it enough, Nicholas' 6th birthday party was at our house on Saturday, and we'd planned a Super Mario-themed party featuring a homemade obstacle course.

My dad and I set up 10 obstacles in the backyard several hours before the party. NOTE: While none of this was difficult, it was more time-consuming than I'd hoped it would be. Still, worth every minute we spent on it.

Here you can see part of Obstacle 1 at the bottom right, which was a series of low hurdles crafted by sticking pool noodles onto wooden stakes about eight inches off the ground. You can also see Obstacles 7, 8, 9 and 10, which were climbing the rock wall, crawling under a big window screen, climbing up the ladder and down the slide, then jumping through a hula hoop we'd hung from the right side of the swingset.

Obstacle 1 was the toughest to build, since our house sits on almost solid rock and the stakes just didn't want to go into the ground. Dad was finally able to make it work.

I taped banana peels I'd printed off the Internet to several of the obstacles, including one of the hurdles. If the kids hit one of the banana peels, they had to go back to the beginning and start over.

Obstacle 6 was jumping into each of the circles of the garden hose, including the little one in the middle.

Here's a close-up of Obstacle 7, the rock wall, so you can see the two banana peels we applied there. Nicholas chose the peel locations himself. Birthday-boy privilege, you know.

We timed the kids as they ran the course and told them we were awarding $3 for first place, $2 for second and $1 for third. They could hardly wait to get started!

My friend Lisa's younger son DJ was one of the first to complete the course. He took the hurdles like a champ.

Um, yes, it WAS the day of the Alabama-Florida game. Why do you ask?

Nathaniel bounded up the rock wall like it was a cinch. He didn't come close to stepping on a banana peel.

My cousin Lesley's eldest, George Emory, sliced through the vertical noodles quickly, also avoiding the dreaded banana peel.

By far the most popular obstacle from the spectators' point of view was the hammock. Ironically, the one that was the most fun to watch required the least amount of preparation: I did nothing. They simply had to go over it and come out the other side. ENTERTAINING IN THE EXTREME. This is Lesley's younger son, Branum:

I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you that my natural inclination (as someone who's been addicted to America's Funniest Videos for over two decades) was to design more obstacles that were a higher degree of difficulty and/or involved a higher probability of contestant failure. However, I thought those kinds of obstacles might be better tested on my own kids first. I AM A VERY RESPONSIBLE PERSON, Y'ALL. But I totally wanted to do more of a Wipeout-style course ... maybe for his 12th birthday, in conjunction with signed waivers from the parents ...

Okay, back to the boring obstacle course from Saturday. Here's Lisa's eldest son Josh making tracks through the garden hose ...

And Nicholas scaling the rock wall. (Nicholas got to run the course twice, first and last.)

After everyone had completed the course and we'd awarded the Large! Cash! Prizes! to the winners, we moved on to the pinata. I'd never bought one of these for any of our parties before, but this seemed like an appropriate time to add one to the agenda. WIN!

We only made it through about four of the guests before the pinata split open and there was a mad dash for the spoils. Each child had a Ziploc bag in which to gather their candy, and everyone left with a full-to-capacity bag.

Finally, we got to the cake and ice cream, which were well worth the wait. Our cake lady, Vickie, is simply amazing. This was what she did with absolutely no more instruction from me than, "We're doing Super Mario."

The colors were dead-on ...

And the detail was flawless.

We lit the candles and sang Happy Birthday to Nick ...

And then he blew out the candles.

I don't mind saying that it was a little creepy when I had to cut into Mario's face, especially his blue eyes. Yuck! I tried to look slightly away while I was cutting. Only drawback to such a beautiful representation of a beloved character!

Nicholas' favorite gifts were definitely the Nintendo DSi XL and collection of games he received. All three boys spent an hour in the backyard inspecting it and trying it out.

Nathaniel took the lead since he's had his DSLite for a while and knew many of the "tricks of the trade."

I just loved watching them together, almost silent, no arguments, just captivated.

It wasn't too long until Jakey wanted to play with my dad's iPhone again.

He became quite the iPhone pro when my sister was here last month, able to turn it on, navigate through the apps and find what he wanted without making any missteps.

He hasn't lost his touch.

It's a good thing he had the iPhone as a distraction, since there are only two DSs in the house at the moment.

So there you have it, Saturday in a rather large nutshell. I'm happy to report that Nicholas pronounced it his "best birthday ever!"


paige said...

Well done! That looks like a huge success! I kind of want to do the course now.

Carry Grace said...

What a fun birthday party!

Sarah T. said...

So impressive! And that may be one of my favorite pictures of all time with Jake in Dad's lap. Love.

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Even with all the energy being expended, it really was quite a laid-back party. We had a blast!

HandyFamily said...

What a great party! The cake looked fabulous!

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