It was the best of parties, it was the worst of parties.
Now that we’ve run it through, there are some things I would change. Here’s the brief backstory. We’ve been doing a “triple birthday party” since I turned 30. My birthday is on June 12, Liv’s is the 16th, and Jake’s on the 27th. It was initially meant to be a money saver, but quickly turned into a way to make sure Jake has a crowd at his party. It can be really lonely when you invite a bunch of your friends, and nobody shows up. I’m sure you’ve by now seen the picture of the girl with autism who had just such a party last year. This year her cousin is asking everyone to send her cards. What a wonderful idea! It only takes a minute out of your day to send a birthday card, and it helps spread some global cheer. Anyway, I digress.
We’ve done a pig roast, a food fight, a Survivor party, one with a giant water slide, a princess party/luau (that one was fun). This year we went for Amazing Race. We’ve seen every episode of every season.
We invited a bunch of kids from both Jake’s and Liv’s classes, then set to work creating a network of roadblocks and detours around town. We made up some Amazing Race stickers to affix to our envelopes (that didnt’ tear open – those must be proprietary). We found templates for roadblocks, route info, and tours online and filled them in without our own clues and instructions.
Race day came and it was a big success! We had 25 competitors who were old enough to race, and a bunch of younger siblings and cousins who were also in attendance. We filled a kiddie pool for them, tossed some sidewalk chalk in the driveway, and the kids were all set. We broke the others into 8 teams of 3 (with Jake as a kicker – always the wildcard).
Everybody completed the first task of finding, donning, and lacing their teammates shoes before they could get their first route info.
Roadblocks: 1. Go to a neighboring house, memorize the Shel Silverstein poem tacked to their front door, and return to home base and recite verbatim. 2. Find the tree in the park with the ribbon tied around it that matches your team color. Around that tree, find a coin (amongst many) that matches the birth year of the birthday boy or girl. 3. Draw 10 cards from a deck, and do as many jumping jacks as the cards total. 4. Build a 50 piece puzzle. 5. Toss a football through numbered holes in a tarp until you amass 300 points. 6. Juggle a hackey sack for 5 counts with your partners (no hands or arms). 7. Toss beads into a glass without them bouncing out (x25). 8. Perform a number of stunts at the local playground.
It was awesome! Jake participated in everything, and his team even came in 2nd. Olivia’s team won the first prize (gift certificates to Barney’s Franks). Thanks Canaan.
Everyone had a great time, they really enjoyed the games, and many laughs were shared. The downside is the hours and hours and hours of preparation, and the fact that everyone was so spread out the whole time. I spent the entire party sitting under a tree in a park with my bucket full of clues, waiting for teams to find me. Also, since everyone was spread all over Hell and back, we had very little control – which Beth and I like.
We COULD NOT have done it without the help of Francine Leathers, Gail Wourms, Skip Lyons, Angel Danforth, or Kris Brackett. There was simply no way Beth and I could have been everywhere at once. Also, Kyle Leathers was a great sport, with a great attitude. He was the lone adult to “compete” and he was on Jake’s team because we know Kyle is cool and would keep a big brotherly eye on Jake. Thank you (as publicly as I can manage) to you adults who really rocked today!
The best part, and I hope this doesn’t sound too petty, is that Jake got lots of gifts! When we do these things, 90% of the kids are usually there for Liv, and therefore she gets 90% of the gifts. This time, there was a good split; either that or people bought gifts for both. Jake didn’t open his things when Liv opened hers, but he DID open them in the dining room afterwards, and he is very happy! Thanks for your generosity and for your caring. You totally made his day, which made mine!