Today is a great day to focus on Kendra. Not only am I very remiss in posting her birthday post, (from… gulp…January!) but today I enjoyed her company for Lunch! The two of us went out alone to celebrate her completion of her 5th grade work! Congratulations to my newly 6th grade Kendra! In this blog post, I’ll flash back a few months to her 10th birthday–the festivities were almost 4 months ago, on a wintry January day.
Most birthday parties at our house are quiet affairs, with just our immediate family, a special meal, and a few gifts. We chose age 10 as the big party year, to honor a decade birthday, the birthday girl (or eventually boy) chooses a theme, and invites extended family, cousins, or other friends.
Kendra always takes the path less traveled, and it’s a delight to get glimpses of the world through her eyes. She debated several ideas for her party theme; a mad-hatter tea party, a garden party, and I’m not sure what else, but finally announced her decision, a music themed party. Music theme… hmmmm… music theme? “What will we do at such a party?” I asked myself. Well, like most Kendra’s ideas, it seemed odd at first, but turned out being fabulous!
Even the decorations ended up being more fun (and easier) than I initially anticipated. Using a few old vinyl records and dollar store candlesticks, I made a tiered tray for cupcakes and a matching relish tray. (Interesting note on the cupcakes: Kendra specified chocolate cupcakes with lemon icing. It’s an odd combination, I know, but it’s her party, and… it suits her. They didn’t taste as weird as it sounds–weird, yes, but.. not as weird as it sounds.) I molded chocolates in note shapes. We hung CDs from the light fixtures to throw light around the rooms, and I scattered Symphony bars around (these served double-duty as game prizes.) The main living space is already decorated in musical instruments, so that didn’t take much doing. We scattered music note confetti under the glass on our glass-topped kitchen and dining room tables, then I found a few music posters to hang, and that was it!
Every party needs games, so we played a musical version of “Go-Fish” in which players acquired notes necessary to fill their card with part of the “Happy Birthday” melody. The children smacked at a musical note piñata, and we played Name that Tune with Boomwackers. (If you don’t know what Boomwackers are, you are missing out; they are colorful, durable, plastic tubes, tuned so that each plays a note when bonked on something.) The players drew the name of simple, well-known, songs from a hat, then picked the tune out by ear on the boomwackers while their team-mates guessed. A few tunes were “all play” Pictionary style, and either team could guess. Pin the Middle C on the Staff seemed a natural fit.
As we planned the party, Kendra suggested that guests desiring to bring gifts bring only “the gift of a song;” They could offer to her only songs–no other presents. It could be as simple as playing a YouTube video for her, whether it be funny, inspiring, or just something the giver thinks she’ll enjoy. It could be a CD of special songs, or handwritten verses from a favorite and meaningful hymn. It could be a song performed by the giver; sung, played on an instrument, or presented as a dance. Initially, this stumped her poor guests, but as the date drew nearer, they found inspiration, and it was the most beautiful presentation of birthday gifts I’ve ever witnessed.
She was given:
- Piano sheet music that a Grandma had collected over the years
- The presentation of beautiful dances, choreographed and performed by her talented cousin, who shines in worship dance
- The performance of a fun sing-along song by a cousin with a great sense of humor
- A CD of her Grandfather singing and playing guitar
- CDs of music another Grandfather especially enjoys
- Performances on bodhrán and limber-jim by Uncle Jim (accompanied by my niece, KT, on piano)
- Vocal performance of Puff the Magic dragon by Kieran (accompanied by Kaira on Piano)
- Dulcimer performances by her daddy
- Harp performances by Kaira
- An action song (in which all the Prairiefrogs and their cousins participated) led by Grandma
- A musical note necklace
- And several other special music gifts
Most of all, she was given love, and special memories in the form of these very personal gifts.
Below–two video clips (videography credits to my sister, Lorelle):
Boomwackers in action: Keegan did a great job playing the tune he drew from the hat. His team guessed quickly!
Here’s Kendra’s cousin (my niece, KT) performing her own choreography of The Battle from the Narnia movie. The boys aren’t being disruptive, but are part of KT’s design–she requested they stage a sword-fight in the background as she danced. (This is only a short clip of the longer piece.)
After the main festivities, Kieran and his cousin CJ had their own brand of boyish fun while the others enticed KT into teaching them dance–she managed to teach them enough in an hour or so that they performed–to the worship music CD of Grandpa singing and playing guitar! It was a delightful, musical party, sucessfully turning Kendra ten. (She’s been in the role of 10-year-old several months now, and it suits her well! Kendra, you are a lovely 10!)