Since moving from Philadelphia to Chicago, my husband & I have been so fortunate that we now live close to our immediate family (with the exception of my brother that lives in Florida…and I’m okay with that as a vacation destination). The unfortunate part — Kyle & I haven’t had the time we thought we would to visit our families.  As a part of my “work/life balance” I’ve been working on, visiting family is top on the list.

What better excuse to all get together?? My nephew’s 4-year old birthday party! But this wasn’t just any party, this was a SURPRISE party! There is something about the fact that at 4-years old, my nephew has a general concept of a surprise party that just cracked me up. Did he want Transformers? No. Did he want Spiderman? No. All he wanted was for us to yell “Surprise!” at some point during the party. You can’t help but smile around little kids.

Now, let me just start by saying I don’t know the last time I was at a 4-year old birthday party. So, the gift shopping process (and subsequent gift wrapping process) was just that…quite the process. Thanks to Amazon, a 4-year old who knew EXACTLY what he wanted (Transformers Rescuebots of course) & the Paper Source down the street, I was all set.  The Paper Source on Armitage St. is worth a blog post on its own – more to come…

Cards from Africa – birthday card
Paper Source – wrapping paper

My next big thing to tackle – setting up for the party. Now, I have always wanted in a second life to be a full-time hostess of parties. Luckily I am blessed to have creative sisters-in-law who let me live out some of my creative aspirations since I am not gifted on the right-side of the brain. My nephew requested a “hot dog bar” with all the fixin’s, green balloons, and cupcakes with green & black frosting. I couldn’t have picked it better myself.

Had to get the Spiderman balloon
Yes, Mac & Cheese is a topping
Once everything was ready, and guests started to arrive, it was time for the “Surprise!” We had my nephew go with my brother-in-law to get the cupcakes and when he got back we were all ready to surprise him…with a silly string attack. In theory, silly string I’m sure was a great idea. In reality, he was terrified (but secretly loved it).

And like any 4-year old, once the party got started, it was immediately time to open presents. I haven’t seen such pure joy in a long time. It’s so fun to hear him yell “Mommy! It’s exactly what I wanted!!” after every present he opened. It was a reminder to myself, to enjoy the little things, and share my joy with those around me. 
Glows in the dark!!
And last, but not least, was the birthday (cup)cake. Not quite understanding that you should wait for the song to end BEFORE blowing out the candles, you could tell he was so happy to be center of attention, and know that everyone was there just for him.

So happy birthday, nephew! Your uncle & I are so happy we could share this day with you, and watch you grow up & start to understand the world around you. We hope this year brings you as much joy as we saw on your birthday. We love you!
(Note to readers: If anyone ever plans a surprise birthday for my (ahem) 25th, please no silly string…)

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