No Stress, No Mess, and Just a Few Tears: Alexander and Nathan’s Second Birthday

Well, it’s over! The birthday festivities have died down and Alex and Nathan are officially two. The birthday celebrations – dinner, classroom party, and big weekend bash – are all over. Now that the madness is over, I’m ready to share with you guys all about it.

It seems crazy that the twins are two years old now. Two years old just always seemed like such a major milestone age. No longer a baby, I always had so many expectations of what a two-year-old should be doing – sleeping in a real bed, potty training, no longer using pacifiers – lots of things that my kids actually aren’t doing yet. #Oops Still, so many things have changed in the past year! Their last year, they were barely walking, and now they’re running, jumping, dancing, climbing. They’ve acquired an extensive vocabulary and speak in complete sentences to express wants, needs, and feelings and they talk my ear off. They’ve developed an even closer, more brotherly bond. They started daycare in January and have gotten used to socializing with kids they aren’t related to and being in a classroom everyday. They’ve grown like crazy! Just look at their one-year pictures vs. the two-year ones. I know I said this a year ago, but sheesh – they really feel like big boys now.

2018 Birthday Photos:

2019 Birthday Photos:

This year, we started some new birthday traditions and flipped around or ditched some we started last year. They started the day with me getting them up by singing and playing birthday songs and then getting to open some new toys before school – a new tradition, just because I really wanted them to make the association that it was a special day. Last year, we took them to Baby Storytime at the public library on their birthday wearing birthday shirts and hats. This year, since I’m back in the classroom, they had to go to school on their birthday, but make no mistake – they were still wearing birthday shirts. I left work early, and James and I went up to their school and served a special snack to their class – cupcakes, chips, and juice. Then we took them for a birthday “breakfast-for-dinner” at Metro Diner – kinda similar to their first birthday, when we took them for brunch at Another Broken Egg, so I guess pancakes are kinda traditional now? One thing we didn’t do this year that I really enjoyed last year was visiting our old NICU nurses. However, I was apprehensive about going this year. I didn’t know who still worked there and who would remember them, so we decided against it.

2018 Birthday Brunch:

2019 Birthday Dinner:

I feel like it was just yesterday I was posting about their first birthday party. In case you missed it, I went above and beyond for that party. I had a bunch more free time to spend on crafting since I wasn’t working at all, and I made every decoration, every game, every centerpiece, transforming a blank canvas of space until a kid party paradise. I look back, and I could feel silly for putting so much work into a baby birthday party, but in reality, it wasn’t for them – it was for us. A celebration of a year as a complete family; a celebration of a successful year of twin parenthood; my opportunity to indulge in what I’d always fantasized about – putting all the love, creativity and work I had once dedicated to my students into my own children. And I got to do that, and then some!

2018 Cake Faces:

2019 Cake Faces:

This year, though, things were a little different. I didn’t have the time or the energy to devote to the party like I did last year, but I honestly thought the way things went were way better! Things were a lot smoother, less stressful, and more fun. Here’s the difference between birthday one and birthday two.

2018 Party Highlights:

Birthday Party One:

  • Rented an empty meeting space at Stillman College, filled it with wall-to-wall decorations. (Free to rent, not free to decorate or create entertainment.
  • Decorations were made over hours of crafting, countless trips to Hobby Lobby and Michael’s, and lots of hot glue, cardstock, construction paper, feathers, googly eyes, styrofoam…
  • Entertainment was a ball pit, a bubble machine, and a ball toss game that took me forever to put together.
  • Invitations were designed, printed, cut out, and mailed.
  • We served a lengthy menu of hor d’oeuvres and lunch food cooked all day by my lovely mother-in-law and gave out painstakingly handmade goody bags to fit the theme (cute little monsters).
  • Cake was three dozen cupcakes from Publix.

2018 Party Highlights:

Birthday Party Two:

  • Booked a two-hour party slot at the Tumblebus Station, a local kids’ party place. O.M.G. $200, next to no decorations necessary because it was so bright and colorful with fun stuff everywhere.
  • Decorations were ordered in a quick 15-minute shopping session on Amazon Prime after searching for “Thomas the Train party.”
  • Entertainment was ball pits, mazes, obstacle courses, slides, basketball hoops, foosball table, gymnastics bars and beams, on and on and on. Tons of fun with no shortage of things for little people to do.
  • Invitations were sent via text and Facebook.
  • We served a menu of pizza from Pizza Hut and juice and gave out Thomas goody bags I made the morning of the party.
  • Cake was three dozen cupcakes from Publix – what can I say? If it ain’t broke…

See what I mean when I say party number two was no stress, no mess?! The set-up and clean-up took 15 minutes and we had to do next to nothing. Just show up, put a few tablecloths out, set up the food table, and enjoy the party. I don’t see it for me doing a big from-scratch party like I did year one again when this year was so much easier and so much more fun. In fact, we might keep having it at the Tumblebus Station every year until the twins request we stop!

Like most parents, the days leading up to birthdays are emotional for me. The difference between 30 and 31 is negligible, but the difference between 1 and 2 is titanic. Seeing how much they’ve changed and grown in just one year is staggering. Even now, looking back at memories from this time last year, floors me. They still seemed like infants, puttering along, speaking mainly in wails and babbles. And I know I’ll look back in another year and think the same thing, but as it stands, I just can’t believe how much they’re growing and maturing. They’re becoming so great at communicating, they’ve developed a real sense of humor, they’ve got a greater understanding of affection and share when they deem it appropriate. They’re more independent. They can entertain themselves (or each other) without me, as well as feed themselves and get the things they want, within reach. It’s all so fascinating and exciting to watch.

I’m excited to see what all we achieve in the next year! The possibilities are endless.