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(Photo is by Brenda Munoz Photography)

My son went to bed Saturday night and woke up on Sunday, a three year old.

And yes, I mean that literally— but it is more than just the actual age change that I’m referring to. It’s hard to explain, but everything about him was simply older that next morning.

His sentences had even more depth to them. His attitude (and ability to use it) had been fine tuned, overnight— and suddenly he was able to tell me exactly why he didn’t have to listen to me or clean up his toys or be nice to his brother.

He grew— I swear he grew. Suddenly, he could reach the sink all by himself and didn’t need me to help him get into the bathroom anymore. Suddenly, my baby was a little more grown up.

It was the greatest kind of day that a three year old could possibly ask for— starting with his party.

I told everyone that I was keeping this one very mellow, and that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t spend hours on Pinterest coming up with the best theme appropriate recipes, decorations, and signs. I didn’t craft until I couldn’t see straight or make everything from scratch. I didn’t even deep clean my house.

Instead, I shifted my entire focus to the kids. What would I want if I was Declan? Cleverly labeled food like “Goofy’s Phony Balogna Sandwiches” or “Minnie’s Mimosa Bar”? No. Nope. How about Mickey shaped waffles on a stick? Yaaaasss. Now we’re talking.

Mickey Waffles

Would I want handcrafted banners made from recycled paper and fresh flowers? Custom Montessori stations to cultivate learning? Or a bounce house, some chalk, and a backyard full of possibilities?

Guys, I didn’t even get tables and chairs. I literally just created a space for kids to roam free— with finger foods and a little booze for the adults (because, duh) and I’ve got to say, it was my favorite party yet.

The Non-Pinterest Party

Non-Pinterest Party

This was literally the full extent of my decorating… seriously, I’m not kidding.

At one point, Bennett was covered in mud and Declan was racing through the backyard, chasing his friends, and I swear I could feel the joy seeping out of their pores. These kids were jumping, and riding bikes, and having an impromtu pool party, and it was everything that childhood should be.

My heart was overwhelmed with joy watching all of these kids play with no rules, regulations, or “you can’t do that, you’re in your party clothes!” moments.

Declan blew out his candles in his undies— soaking wet. He ate two pieces of cake. He was covered in mud, and frosting, and happiness.

After everyone left, I tried to get him to take a nap, but he was too pumped. So instead, we stayed up together while Derek and B slumbered, and I sat on the floor with him while he opened all of his new toys— spending ample time with each one before moving on to the next. I cried as I watched him— this big kid who was once my tiny baby— and I pulled him in close for a hug. Time doesn’t stop for anybody, but I wanted to freeze right there, just for a moment longer.

When the crew woke up, we all made our way outside to have one last round in the bounce house.

Bounce house fun

Then it was off to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour for our traditional birthday dinner & ice cream. My parents, brother, and his fiancé joined us, and Declan received even more gifts there. He danced to the songs, told stories about his day, and dove into his sundae before we could even start singing happy birthday.

Farrell's

It was the perfect day.

I felt like the greatest mom in the world on Sunday, and it’s days like that one that I cling to when times get tough. He told me he loved me a million times that day. He told me how happy and excited he was. He told me that I’m his best friend.

I love crazy detailed parties. I love crafts. I love signs and food labels and custom goody bags. But I also really loved this party. This child focused, messy house, this is my real life party. It was beautiful in its imperfection and I know it’s a day my son will remember when he is older.

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