Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Captain Alexander of America's 8th Birthday

Last month we celebrated Alex's 8th birthday with an all-boys party at The Main Event.

Alex wanted a Captain America themed party, and we had decided not to have it at our house due to 1) the horrific state of the grass and plants thanks to close to 100 days of 100 degree heat and no rain, and 2) the mess from the flooding of my living room back in January is still present (although we have progress! Carl and I finally reached an agreement on the wood floor, and its been purchased and the installers arrive October 24 to make all my flooring dreams come true).

After studying the various boys-themed party locations, we ended up at The Main Event with sixteen boys,  and Tatianna (our neighbor whom Alex insisted be included, and when I reminded him she was of the female variety, he gave me a blank look like, Tati? A girl?) Cousins Connor and Matthew stopped by to watch the big kids climb and play.

I did my best to tie things in to the Captain America theme. Not sure that many people appreciated it other than myself, but that's enough to make it worthwhile for me.

First, the invitation. I went evite again this year, and only evite. No paper invitations, but since I'm moving towards only doing digital scrapbooks, who needs a paper invitation as a memento?

Decorations: happily, there is a line of Captain America themed decorations currently for sale thanks to the First Avenger movie. So I bought the Cap plates, napkins and cups. I bought red and blue plastic utensils from the Dollar Store, and the Main Event supplied me with red and blue tablecloths. We re-used the giant cardboard shield Carl had made last year for Alex's 7th superhero birthday party, and then I gathered up every Marvel Superhero toy I could find from the house, and we used them as table decorations. Ryan has a bunch of these little SuperHero Squad toys, so that made things easier.

Cake: I thought about trying to go all exotic, but since they actually have a Captain America cake in the current cake books at the grocery store - almost a first for me - I went ahead and ordered that one.

Party favors: red and blue bags containing: my handmade Captain America comic book, Captain America puzzles found at the Dollar Store (rarely have I been so happy with a Dollar Store find), the Captain America masks sold at Party City, the Captain America plastic wristbands, some various red-white-blue candy marked down after Labor Day, and some Marvel Superheroes candy (which, of course, includes Cap, but not everyone got Cap).  What I cried when I saw these at HEB two days after the party and wished I could have included in the goody bag instead of the aforementioned candy: Captain America themed fruit snacks. I kept thinking there was a chance these would come out, but were they there any time I looked prior to September 17? Nooooo...

More on my homemade Captain America comic book: I loved doing this! When I first started thinking party favors, I thought about buying a comic book for each child. But this was so much better, and a lot of fun to make. I was considering printing out a Captain America word search or MadLib for the goody bags, and doing some googling for good options, when I came across the Marvel kids website. Not only did they have great coloring pages and word searches, but they had a link to "Create Your Own Comic!" Which is how I then proceeded to spend an entire evening on this:

 On to the party... Although Alex's birthday was on Saturday, we had the party on Sunday since we don't receive the soccer schedules early enough for me to make plans. The party started with an hour of rock climbing.
We've been to rock climbing parties before, and the boys always love it, and its nice for the adults to be able to stand around or sit and talk with each other while they climb. Everyone had a chance to make several climbs, and both Alex and Ryan reached the top multiple times. Considering this was Ryan's first time to actually rock climb, we were most impressed with him. He had a blast, and even managed some of the more difficult climbs that Alex wasn't able to make (but don't tell the birthday boy!).

Then they moved us into the party room, where there was pizza, cake and ice cream. Alex wanted to open his presents, which he's never done before at one of his parties. I hate wasting people's time, and I'm always afraid of bad reactions from the guest of honor. Happily this was a success.

Then we were off to play a game of laser tag. I went into the laser tag room, and took several pictures. Of course, its completely dark while you are in there, so I was never really sure what I was photographing until later.

Finally, it was time for video game play.

And then everyone went home, and I went home to a clean house, with one very happy First Avenger.

I would have loved a cameo appearance at the party by my favorite actor, Richard Armitage, who just happens to appear as Heinz Kruger in the 'Captain America' movie, but somehow he never did respond to the evite I sent him. Too busy filming a little Hobbit film in New Zealand, I guess. Maybe next year Alex will want a 'Hobbit' party? Hmmm...

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