So I've been officially a Mum for 4 years... and what an experience it has been! From the first time I held the little boy in my arms, life has never been the same again. He's made me not only a different person, but a better one, because I find myself somehow more forgiving, patient, and friendly. He's also 'settled me down' a great deal, made me a lot more contented, and learn to take life as it comes. He's shown me how wonderful it is to love unconditionally, and be loved in return.
This little boy, once dependent on me for a great deal of things - is growing up right before my eyes. It's a bittersweet feeling when he hits little milestones in life. He makes me so very proud, but tears a little piece of my heart each time, knowing that soon enough, he will not need me so much anymore.
I love you more today than yesterday, and less than tomorrow.
Happy 4th birthday, our little one.
We celebrated Caden's birthday at Build-a-Bear workshop this year. We wanted a gathering with close friends, and Caden picked the people he would like to share his happy day with. We didn't have a large party (read: no extended family involved!) this time round, and it left me free to plan an activity which the kids will enjoy without having to worry too much about entertaining, accommodating and feeding the older adults!
We're not into that gender specific thing, and I didn't care that bears or stuffed toys are generally associated with girls. I thought that it will be fun for the boys and girls to make their own stuffed creation, and it will be so different from picking one up off the shelf.
The possibilities are endless!
I like that the Build-a-bear party packages are no-frills and with no hidden costs whatsoever. You only pay for what you choose - so the entire party, inclusive of a party host to keep the kids entertained - is considered complimentary. It's as good as purchasing a toy to stuff in store, multiplied by the number of kids.
The party host kicked off the celebrations by encouraging the kids to play some games, and participating in a little story telling session.
They were then taken to the 'pick a best friend' station, where they are free to choose whichever toy they like.
The birthday boy was kept very busy with deciding exactly which bear he wanted. He initially chose a rainbow bear, but changed his mind at the last minute, proclaiming that he thinks the rainbow one is 'better for girls'!
So he chose a camo bear instead, and told me he is reminded of machine guns when he sees 'Igor'.
The kids were then taken to the stuffing centre, where they decided on names for their new friends. They were also given little stuffed hearts to insert into their friends, to bring them to 'life'.
Their friends were then stuffed, with each kid pressing on the stuffing pedal to determine how much cotton goes into their friends. If they want them softer and more huggable, less stuffing is pumped in.
The toys were then sewn up and secured.
I was hoping Caden would take the pony!! No such luck. He barely even gave them a glance :( The long suffering husband then whispered to me: "I get one for you?"
Er... tempting! But AFTER the party, lest I look like the one who wouldn't mind a build-a-bear birthday myself. That said, the adults actually seemed to have had fun, too! We were all attempting to influence the kids of their friend choice, with the only thing stopping us from forcing our choices on them being that we should all behave like mature, responsible adults. :)
After the stuffing was done, they were told to shower and groom their friends. They were given little bear brushes to get rid of all the stray cotton or fluff on their newly minted friends.
They were then tasked to clothe their friends. With an array of outfits ranging from Superheroes to princesses, they were spoiled for choice!
Caden first chose an army uniform to go with his 'machine gun' bear, but changed his mind when he realised that the starchy feel of it means that Igor wasn't as huggable as he prefers him to be.
The bears were then given their own 'condos' to keep them safe.
And here are the kids with their new friends, made even more special because they were made with love!
Caden and his cousin Atienne.
Here's Aden, whose Mum, Diana, is The Domestic Goddess Wannabe. She shares totally awesome recipes, kitchen tips and tricks on her blog!
Winston, the Blogfather, and Liza, Mother of Xander, are parents to Xander and his little sister Yvie.
Jordan loves all things pretty and girly and sweet. Her two brothers, Evan and Dylan, prefer to remain anonymous. Her mum, Shereen, never ever puts all her diapers in one diaper bag!
One bad thing about a party at Build-a-bear is the fact that they do not allow food or refreshments within the store for hygiene reasons. I find this totally acceptable given that they are a retail store. However, they are able to make an allowance for packed drinks, snacks and a birthday cake to be put out and consumed near the entrance of the store.
We opted to host lunch elsewhere, because what's a party without real food? None of those fancy cakes or finger foods for me - I'm extremely particular about the fact that all our guests have to be fed well regardless the time of the party. It's the least a host can do to thank the guests for taking the time to attend!
After our fill of fries, wings, pizza and pasta at Modesto's, Caden got to cut and enjoy his strawberry shortcake - which happens to be his favourite cake. Not any strawberry shortcake - but one from a particular Japanese bakery, which admittedly is worth the calories involved!
...and once our back was turned, he started smooth talking Jadelyn.
Thanks to everyone who came and made Caden's 4th birthday a fabulous one. It was great to catch up, and we hope that everyone had as much fun as we did!
Thank you to Adeline of ABSOLUTE, and Packrat of Diaperbag - for some of the pics featured here.