Ellis turned four this week! I can’t believe he is four. Last year it felt like he went to sleep a two year old and woke up a threenager on his birthday. This year the shift to four has been equally dramatic, but in the best way possible. Four year olds are lovey and inquisitive and curious and can carry a conversation. I think four might be my favorite year yet. At the very least I am happy to be saying so long to three…


To celebrate the birthday boy we had a creature party. We have been repeating the same party for the past three years, where we just load up the yard with vehicles (mowers, golf carts, trucks, a bobcat and a tractor.) For years Ellis loved that so we just kept doing the same thing, but this year his interests shifted to animals, so we changed gears to a critter party.

In keeping with the idea that anticipation increases joy, we started preparing for the party together about a week before all his friends arrived for the big day. Throwing a birthday party is the stay-at-home mom equivalent of a board meeting, but involving Ellis in as much of the planning as possible really made it more fun for both of us this year. Here is a short list of the things we did together to extend the birthday fun:

  • A special trip to the balloon store to pick out birthday balloons


  • Made necklace party favor for all of his friends


  • A grocery store trip (without little brother) to pick out snacks for the party (carrot “tiger tails”, grape “cheetah spots” and bugle “claws” were the highlights for me)


  • Baked and decorated birthday cupcakes together











  •                                                                                                                                                                                                            Made tiny party hats for the animals



  • Hung up pictures of his year in review


  •   Completed the milestone activities we do yearly (traced his hand, and did his birthday interview, and took his picture in his green chair)


That prep made for a great party. We didn’t have any structured games. Kids played in the backyard on the swing set and the sandbox. And we still did a tractor hayride, because it is a tradition at this point. It was a great way to ring in four.