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bday 2

On Saturday, we celebrated Mabrey’s and Everett’s birthdays with extended family. (Mabrey turned two on Sunday and Everett will turn six on Monday.) Their birthdays are close enough to warrant a joint celebration – at least with extended family. Mabrey and Everett have such a close, unique relationship. They don’t mind sharing the spotlight with the other. At least for now.

On my kids’ actual birth days, the goal is to make them feel as special as they are. For us, that doesn’t mean oodles of gifts or an expensive party for all their classmates or even matching decorations. Extra cuddles, some balloons, a special gift, favorite foods, revisiting their birth story, maybe a visit to their favorite park and saying “I can’t believe you’re X years old already!” is all it takes. And we always read Dr. Seuss’s Happy Birthday to You!

bday 3

It got me thinking about how other families celebrate birthdays. Back when I working as a pharmacist, one of my co-worker’s had a Birthday Hat. It was a big, obnoxious (in a good way) hat that each person wore on their special day. They have pictures of each family member wearing the hat each year on their birthday. Such a fun tradition!

Growing up, my family took pride in singing the most horrible, drawn-out version of “Happy Birthday” you’ve ever heard. Loud, off-key, out of sync – that’s the stuff! The worse, the better. It’s always funny to see how non-family members not accustomed to our tradition react to the rendition. Usually, they look on in horror!

bday 1

How do you celebrate birthdays in your family? Any unique traditions? I’d love to hear ‘em.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

57 Comments

03.April.2014

So funny that your family sings a horrific, long, and drawn out “Happy Birthday” song – my family does that too!! We also sing it multiple times through and increase the speed each time. It always brings so much laughter which is perfect for birthday celebrations!

We also share a meal together (that the birthday person gets to pick) and usually go around stating our favorite memories with that person. It’s simple but fun and sentimental at the same time.

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03.April.2014

Forgot to add: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your two littles! I hope their days are full of joy!

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03.April.2014

Growing up we’d wake up to the Beatles’ Birthday Song being played really loud on the record player. That was the cue to get up, come in the kitchen and dance. Now that modern technology has taken over, it’s played from iTunes and mostly over the phone since I no longer live with my parents. But I still hear it every year, and even if I’m by myself, I’ll dance around the kitchen. Oh, and I still like the record version the best.

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replied on April 3rd, 2014

How fun!

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replied on April 3rd, 2014

I had the same tradition! My dad is a beatles fanatic and would wait by the stereo until the exact moment my sister or I started to walk down the stairs and then blast it :) Now that I’m an adult, he still calls me with it playing and sends me the youtube video by email. Such a fun tradition and one I hope to continue with my kids!

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03.April.2014

Funny you should post today about birthdays… ’cause it’s my {30th} bday! To celebrate my husband will cook dinner tonight and I’ll open the growing pile of gifts my mom has been sending me throughout the last few days. My parents love to call and sing me happy birthday over skype right at the time I was born. Growing up we’d call in to the time recording {popcorn, was it the same number everywhere?!} and listen as she counted down the minutes until the minute we were born.

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replied on April 3rd, 2014

Happy birthday Megan!

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03.April.2014

When we were kids, each of us got to pick a dinner of our favorite foods on our birthday date. My favorite was always homemade mac & cheese and green pistachio fluff “salad.” My son is too young to be able to do that yet but I’m excited to keep that tradition.
My birthday was only 3 days before my younger brother’s so we had a combined “party” with maybe one close friend for cake and ice cream and our grandparents (I also shared Grandma’s birthday). Our second baby is due days after our son’s 2nd birthday so I have a feeling that’s how we’ll be doing it too!

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03.April.2014

Cake for breakfast! No matter what else happens during the day, you’ve already celebrated with cake, candles, presents, and the birthday song.

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03.April.2014

I just celebrated my bday. My family has a history of serenading the birthday kid/adult with “Happy Birthday,” even if it means a phone call. I am lucky to have married into a family with the same tradition, so this year I had voicemails from my parents, my sister, and my mother-in-law, all singing to me. I started my day with a big grin.

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Our mom ALWAYS wrote a birthday message with lipstick on the bathroom mirror for us to wake up to! By far, my best birthday memories as a kid!! I hope to pass this tradition along to my children someday. =) It’s all about tradition, regardless of what that fabulous bday tradition is!

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replied on April 3rd, 2014

What a great tradition!

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03.April.2014

I make birthday crowns out of felt for my girls (and family and friend’s kiddos too!). They have piece of velcro in the middle and I have made felt circles with numbers on them with a piece of velcro on the back. So each year, they can use the same crown, but switch the number to their new age. They usually wear them all day long. :)
I also try to take a picture of them at precisely the minute they were born and we talk about how they came into the world. I am big on parties too – and go waaaay overboard with candy and special treats for their day.
I like the lipstick on the mirror idea….I think I’ll try that with a dry erase marker this year now that I have a reader in the house!

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03.April.2014

My definitely-carrying-on-this-tradition is actually half-birthdays! My dad ALWAYS remembers our half-birthdays. When we were little, he would come home with pizza and a cake, since my mom thinks half-birthdays are ridiculous. We would eat half-pieces of pizza and cake. So silly, but it made us feel special, since no one else we knew celebrated half-birthdays!

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replied on April 4th, 2014

My brother and I are almost exactly 2.5 years apart (off by two days). So we did half birthdays too, since when we were little it was hard to understand that one sibling got all the gifts. “What about me?!” So on the other’s birthday we would get one gift too. When we were older of course we didn’t need it, but it was a fun tradition for us.

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replied on April 4th, 2014

My grandma used to do this for me and my cousins when we were little. She called them “no birthday” presents. It was always something very small but nice to have something, too.

Also, my brother and I are 1 year and two days apart, so we always celebrated birthdays together and I don’t remember ever having a problem with it growing up. We love having our birthdays together. Especially now that we’re older it helps you remember that the other one’s birthday is coming up! haha

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03.April.2014

We do extended family gatherings for our birthday. We combine parties for people that have a birthday in the same month. Our family birthday song has a couple extra verses so guests are always surprised when we continue singing. We also get to have a birthday dinner at my parent’s and pick whatever we want my mom to make.

When I was younger, my parents would decorate the dining room with streamers so we would wake up in the morning to birthday decorations.

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replied on April 4th, 2014

What are the extra verses?

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replied on April 7th, 2014

We do the regular happy birthday song then…

Many more of them too
many more of them too
many more happy birthdays
Happy birthday to you

Stand up! Stand up!
We won’t stop singing til you stand up!
Stand up! Stand up!
We won’t stop singing til you stand up!

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replied on April 7th, 2014

So cute!

03.April.2014

We always had a special breakfast (usually pancakes) and the birthday boy/girl ate off a plate that said “You’re the Best!”. I had forgotten about that (even though it is in all of my childhood pictures) until my mother in law gave us a plate she had gotten at a yard sale. It says “Today is Your Special Day” and we use it for birthdays. The kids love it, and it makes me really happy.

I keep almost no seasonal decorations and am a constant purger of items, so the fact that I keep this one plate for use five days out of the year, really says something!

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03.April.2014

Happy birthday to your kids! Hard to believe Mabrey is already two! I celebrated my son’s 4th birthday a couple of months ago. We had a small birthday party at home for a few of his friends and for fun entertainment I created a centerpiece made up of animal balloons. The centerpiece provided for a big splash of color at the food table and later in party the boys played with their animal balloon swords and girls were happy with their flowers. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=707034906015226&set=a.184500628268659.58500.174319525953436&type=1&theater
Thanks!

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03.April.2014

Happy Birthday Everett and Mabrey!!!
Ack! Love the white bowl planter – wondering where it hails from??
Thanks: )
Leah
P.S. Geeking out about the hex floor tile and so excited for you to be getting that bathroom done!!!

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replied on April 4th, 2014

Ikea!

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03.April.2014

Happy Birthday to your younger cuties! Growing up my dad would always make a Happy Birthday poster in CAD with our name and age and print it out on a huge drafting plotter. It was always taped on the fireplace when we woke up and my sister and I have pictures every year in front of those signs. My mom also made sure that we got the same number of presents as our age (up until our 21st birthday). Of course none of them were extravagant but it was still fun to say you got that many presents.

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03.April.2014

My husband’s family does the same thing! The most horrible singing you’ve ever heard, but so fun!

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03.April.2014

Growing up my mom would sneak into our room while we were sleeping and decorate it with balloons and streamers and a big birthday sign so that when we woke up on our birthday it would be all decorated. The birthday person always got to pick what was for dinner.
A new tradition we have started in our house is to toast the birthday person. Everyone tells them their favorite memories, why they love that person, how they are proud of them, etc. It is great to remind those you care about how special they are to you on their birthday. The birthday person also shares what the best part of the last year of life was and what they are looking forward to about being X years old. It is really fun.

Happy Birthday to Everett and Mabrey!

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03.April.2014

Happy birthday to Mabrey & Everett! My daughter just had her first birthday last week. We don’t really have any traditions yet (other than special dinner), but I got an idea from Pinterest that I still need to do this year. Trace your kids’ hands each year on their birthday and stack them on top of each other in a frame so you can see how they’ve grown.

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03.April.2014

Our “littles” are now 23 and 25, and my only 3 nephews are also in their 20’s! Birthdays are still a big deal with a big family dinner party. Out of tune, loud, and extended Happy Birthday song and all :) I love the summer birthdays, and put all the neighbours on notice that we will be singing and not be alarmed at the strange “noises” they may hear!!

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I don’t like to focus on big friend parties either. I prefer to give them lots of love, special treatment, balloons, streamers, a birthday banner, a (always) homemade cake and, yes, a very out-of-tune rendition of Happy Birthday from our extended family.

http://www.themainemrs.blogspot.com

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03.April.2014

Today is my son’s 6th birthday and I just put cupcakes in the oven! We have a lot of family traditions, but my very favorite is my photo display. I put up 8×10’s of the birthday kid representing each year of their life, beginning with that sweet newborn photo. I just love enjoying the pictures of them showing their gradual progression to where they are now! Putting up photos on my 12-year-old’s birthday was a bit sentimental! Sniff!

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03.April.2014

Growing up we used to pick our favourite dinner and have cake and candles after. I married into a family that does a ‘birthday circle’. I love it! Everyone loves it! Birthday person sits in the middle with their cake. Everyone else joins hands and moves around the birthday boy/girl/grown man/woman and sings happy birthday. Our daughter is only 5 months but this is a tradition we are definitely keeping. Enjoy your family celebrations!

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03.April.2014

Several years ago my husband got me a birthday card with a pin attached to it that says another year sexier. So now for my sisters and mom’s birthdays we all pass around the pin and wear it on our special day!

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Love that off pitch singing- so funny. I’ll have to remember that one to embarrass my future children. Besides a very low key party, we got to pick our favorite dinner. Nothing too exciting unfortunately lol

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03.April.2014

My family, too, has a long version of Happy Birthday, takes like 5 minutes to sing and is wonderful in a horrible way…or horrible in a wonderful way! Today’s my 34th and I just wanted to play with the kids and not do laundry. And take a shower. Funny how it used to be more of an event. The hubs helped the kids make me the cutest book and he bought me expensive underpants I’m too cheap to splurge on. And he cleaned the gutters. Loved it all! It’s the simple pleasures :)

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03.April.2014

So random but where did you find those balloons?! My daughters first birthday is in a few weeks and the colors are pink gold and mint and yours just seem like the perfect soft versions of those colors but all the balloons I seem to be seeing are so generic and have a weird shade…happy birthday to your kiddies!

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replied on April 4th, 2014

They are from Target. They look neon in the package (my oldest child picked them out) but are less vibrant once blown up.

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03.April.2014

I love April birthday’s!!! My 35th birthday is this coming Monday (April 7th) and my brother’s birthday is April 8th, although he is 3 years younger than me. We too celebrated our birthday’s together, mainly with family, and we too share a special bond…even now. Growing up my mom always put streamers on our doors. Every time you would walk through them it was a party!! …and it was as though our birthday’s were for 2 days instead of one. Such great memories… Happy Birthday to your little ones! ….and many more….

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03.April.2014

We always sing Happy Birthday and May You Have Many More… use life savers (on the cake) for candle holders, and wrap a special gift the same number of times as the age they are turning! It’s all about the traditions, not the frill.

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03.April.2014

My parents still call and sing me Happy Birthday! And we have a special plate that says Happy Birthday, that everyone gets to use on their special day. My husband grew up with that tradition. Now my kids are all teenagers, and they really love that they get to choose their favorite meal, cooked by Dad!

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04.April.2014

All 3 of my daughter’s birthdays are in the summer, 2 in July and 1 in late June. They are close enough that we’ve been celebrating the two oldest girls’ birthdays on the same day. Our youngest will turn 1 in July and although her birthday is the last of the 3, I’d imagine we’d toss her in with the rest. It’s really the only time of year we have my parents, brother, in-laws and nephews all together even though we all live in the same town. We usually blow up an inflatable pool and put up some canopies and play out in the front yard and let the kiddos run amok. On their actual birth days we give them a little something special and my mom has started a tradition with fun balloons. Maybe we’ll add in the “you get to choose what’s for dinner” idea as well. My birthday is 5 days before Christmas. People always wonder if I felt “jipped” in any way, and honestly, I never did. I always got to have cool Christmas decorations up and the tree. Now that I’m older, I don’t expect much because I already have more than enough. A kiss from my husband, hugs from my girls. Lobster rolls for dinner! Happiest of belated birthdays to Mabrey and Everett!

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I just discovered your blog and fall in love :) you are amazing and I love here. I will stay for longer.
Happy Bday to your kids :) sound like fun

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04.April.2014

So refreshing to see you don’t go all pinterest-y with your birthday parties! My mom always brought us a cake to school during lunch hour! Likely wouldn’t be allowed today but the kids and teachers loved it then. Don’t know how she had time for it since there was 9 of us!

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04.April.2014

We celebrate Birthday Milestones.

1st Birthday Party
5th Birthday Party
10th Birthday Party
13th Teen Party
etc

The other years birthdays are low keyed, kiddo gets to pick dinner, I order a cake, open presents, if its a school day and it falls on a Birthday, I take the day off from work and pick up my child with Happy Birthday Balloons. I do decorate the house the night of the Birthday so my child wakes up to a Birthday filled house.

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04.April.2014

In our family my husband and I used to take a half day to celebrate each others birthday, and could do whatever the birthday person wanted. It could be flying a kite, going plant shopping, taking a hike, you name it. The best year was when my husband decided to buy an entire French silk pie from a famous pie store and insisted we eat it with two forks while walking the 2 miles home. Everyone recognized the familiar red box and honked and waved as they passed. It was both a new high AND low. My children have opted to visit the fire station, see a new library, sit at home and read, go to a casino (on the 18th birthday, not my favorite!), pick out a kitten…it has been amazing and varied.

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We always celebrate birthdays with a whole package: special meal picked by birthday person, cake, jelly, icecream… And after meal, we play outside and brock the piƱata fulled with a ton of candies. Sometimes we go to swimming pool if was the person choice. Decorate is important. A lot of ballons and confetti. We play and take a lot of pics!

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04.April.2014

This made me laugh because I just got an email from my daughter about an epic birthday fail. She read on Pinterest that it was nice to surprise your kids with balloons and a happy birthday message taped to their bedroom ceiling during the night. When she tried it, the birthday girl woke up screaming in the middle of the night because there were ‘monsters’ on her ceiling. After an explanation, everyone went back to sleep. At 5 am, my daughter was wakened again because her daughters wanted to show her the funny thing they did with the balloons!

My guess is that this will not become a birthday tradition.

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replied on April 4th, 2014

This cracked me up!

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04.April.2014

i love birthdays! my parents every year used to come into my room, sing to me an give me a birthday cupcakes. then my dad would almost always throw a bucket of water on me and we’d make our way out to the backyard and have a huge water fight. those were the best. :)

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04.April.2014

Growing up we always woke up to a large number (the number you were turning, duh) cut out of poster board taped to our door. My sister and I must’ve both loved it because without ever discussing it, we’ve both carried on this simple tradition for our own kids.
I have 3 kids with birthdays all within 11 days of each other, and so far we’ve gotten away with having 1 joint party. My oldest will turn 7 this year, though, and I’m starting to hear the cries of “I wish my birthday were in a different month”… So we’ll see. I am an over-thinker when it comes to this stuff. Part of me really wants to drive home the point of how lucky we are, and that we do not need 3 separate parties, etc., etc. And the other part of me must admit that if their birthdays were in 3 separate months, I’d likely be hosting multiple parties without worrying about it. It is hard to keep it simple when they see friends getting gymnastics parties, and bouncy house parties, etc. Also, having hosted cute “at home” parties and one “outside the home at a party place for kids” party in past years, I know that “simple” is a relative term. The kind where you pay for the venue and show up with the cake can often be simpler! Do your kids ask for parties? Invite over a few friends? Do something in lieu of a party, like an outing? Or are you able to keep things as (relatively) simple as you described above (family only celebration) without them ever having asked for more? Advice is welcome!

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replied on April 5th, 2014

My older kids sometimes ask for one best friend to come over around the time of their birthday for a playdate or special outing. I happily oblige. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with big parties and lots of guests – it’s just not our thing. It’s not my kids’ thing and it’s not my thing.

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04.April.2014

Birthdays are my favorite! Growing up my mom decorated, let us choose dinner and type of cake. We also had a visit from the “birthday fairy” which involved leaving a pair of shoes out the night before and finding coins in your shoe the morning of your birthday. It was never much – usually a quarter for each year and then a dollar for each year at 13 and a $5 for each year at 18. Subsequently…18 is also the year the Birthday Fairy stopped paying you a visit. :)
I absolutely plan to do that tradition for my kids (it was a tradition for my mom growing up and for her mom.)

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05.April.2014

As long as he’s the center of attention for the day my little guy doesn’t care what we do :)

Can I ask where you got the banner it would be perfect for our rainbow party

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replied on April 5th, 2014

Target! I think it was $5. I like that it’s felt and gender neutral so I can hang it up for anyone’s birthday.

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07.April.2014

Hello,
I was wondering where you purchased your light above your sink? I’m having a hard time finding a light the right size to go above our sink. I love following your blog and beautiful home. Thanks

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replied on April 7th, 2014

Barn Light Electric!

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07.April.2014

Funny you wrote about birthdays on Thursday because that 4/3 is my birthday! Awesome!!

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