Monday, June 23

Birthday present Extravaganza?

We have had a busy weekend... what am I saying? It is always busy here, this weekend was no different. Can someone out there tell me if you life isn't busy? I'd like to know your secret. Oh, sorry, I digress. So this weekend we had lots of family in town. My wonderful sista and her family were at my parent's house and my husband's sister and her family were at my in-laws home. We live in this sort of triangle. My parents live 4.98 miles NE of us and my in-laws are 4.12miles North of us. It is great, but when there is a lot going on and especially on holidays, we do the "back-n-forth." You know what I mean? I try so hard to be fair and spend equal amounts with everyone and it makes a girl weary. But we had a great time with everyone. Kathryn was really in hog heaven or I guess I should say, cousin heaven. Gracie makes us all laugh and we love to see her learning to walk and discover the world around her. My sister-in-law has triplets who are 6 days older than my daughter. So when we see them it is a whirl wind! They wear me out. I honestly think my sister-in-law is amazing. I feel overwhelmed with my one child and she is this calm presence in the midst of a storm of activity.

June is also busy because it is birthday month. This is the list of birthday's we have beginning at the end of May running through the end June:

my daughter, 6 cousin b-days, one grandma, one auntie, one great-grandma, and great aunt. I feel certain I left something out there... Oh Yes... Father's day is in there too!

That is A LOT of birthdays. Are you hearing me? I went to Walmart on Friday to buy 5 presents and got out of there having only spent $54, and that was with a few non-bday items. I have to say, I was happy with that. I told my husband, we have to add a few line items into the big Dave Ramsey budget for June birthday's next year. I don't know why it surprises me, but it always does.

So we had birthday celebrations all weekend at the different family houses. Now, this is interesting and I don't know how everyone else handles birthday presents for the kiddos. We are trying desperately not to give in and buy everything she asks for or that we see in the store. I watch her in her room with her toys and she can and will play for hours with the toys she has now, so I think, she doesn't need a bunch of new toys. I say all that to say this, I was overwhelmed at the amount of toys the cousins got for their birthday. I felt sorry for my daughter just sitting there watching them open all these gifts. It took forever. I could not believe it. I lost count but each child must have gotten 5-7 things including clothes. My daughter sat there and had this shocked look 0n her face as I guess I did too. Then I started wondering, are we terrible parents because we don't do this? Now, please do not get me wrong, It is there choice to buy these gifts for their children and they have the money to do so and that is great. If you are big present buyers, good for you. I just have a hard time bringing that much new stuff into an already full room of toys that still get played with.

My daughter's bday is next week. This is what she has consistently asked for... a gold fish. Now, she has started adding things to that list after this weekend (imagine that) they include a crab and a horse. The horse makes me laugh, I'm not sure where that came from. But this is what we have planned for and what she is getting: 1. a gold fish 2. a sleep mat for preschool (she has to have this for nap time and we did not have one 3. a new princess gown.

That is it. I know she will be getting other toys from family the few friends that we invited to the bday party.

So... that is what I am pondering this morning, birthdays and presents. I would LOVE to hear from some of you on the child birthday gift situations at your house. Do you go all out or are you birthday present minimalist? I really do want to know so send some traffic here and lets see what the consensus is, shall we?


Cammie said...


I think I am your older sister that got adopted out! We have a lot in common!

We, too, are birthday present minimalists. We buy about 3 things...that I know my kids will use. We then get a ton of junk from my sister and mother (that I have been known to take back and get store credit to use at another time if the item is something my kids will never use).

The other thing I do is when Christmas and birthdays roll around, I go into their room and rotate toys. We throw away toys that have broken or missing pieces and put some that are still good away in the closet. This makes room for the new ones and helps the old ones to not get boring. Then, in about 5 months, when they are bored with their toys again, put some away and pull the old ones out of the closet and...voila! they are like new again!

Let me just say this (as if I haven't said enough already!) I think you are a fantastic parent for not giving in to your child's every whim. My sister overdoes everything and now every time she goes to the grocery store, her girls expect to get something. There is a fit if what they ask for is not in the cart. For my kids, it is a treat if there is something in the cart for them. I believe my sister is doing a dis-service to her children...noone will ever be able to keep up with their expectations!

Anyway, nuff said! Hang in there!

Lisa said...

Oh, great comment, Cammie. We will accept you as our older sister. ha ha. Lana, you are doing the right thing. If I could have crocheted a crab for Kathryn, I would have. I won't give up the pattern search. Maybe her Auntie LIsa will come through on the crab. The horse, however, I don't think can be crocheted by me.

Christine said...

We budget for birthdays and Christmas. The kids all get $75 for each birthday (that includes gift and party and cake). If they let me homemake a cake, it doesn't count against the $75.

As they grow, they can just ask for the money. They can plan a party that only costs $25, and ask for (or buy) a $50 gift(s).

For instance, this year my daughter turned 10. She invited two friends to go to Build-a-Bear. They each brought $7 to help pay for gas and lunch at the mall. Each girl only had $25 to spend on their bear (that included bear and clothing). They all worked really hard at staying under budget!

My youngest turned five, and just wanted to go to Wal Mart and fill the cart til she hit $75. She did not want a party! ha! Her choice. She was very happy.

My middle child turned nine. He invited two friend to a game place where they each got an all day pass of games and food for $25. That was it. He didn't want a present. He wanted to hang out with his friends and rid go-carts!

My soon-to-be 12-yr-old wants cold, hard cash.

My soon-to-be 9-yr-old wants to take two friends to Chuck E Cheese (bring our own homemade cake) and play games ... although, she still changes her mind back and forth every day. She has another two months to decide.

At Christmas, the kids know the budget for each child, and base their gift list accordingly (usually asking for more than the budget, but letting us know what is VITAL and what is optional! ha!). We have a separate amount budgeted for stockings and one or two little unexpected gifts.

That's how it flies in our house.

lana said...

Thanks ladies! That is all great to hear. Christine...I love giving the options and believe we will begin that next year as Kathryn will be 5 able to understand that. I am loving this info. Cammie... Love the toy rotation idea!

The Rudd Family said...

Lana and Lisa - look what I found. If I had any spare time, I'd make it for you myself, but here you go...


lana said...

Julie- YOU ROCK! Thanks!

The Rudd Family said...

I am a tired dork. I thought it was lobster - here is a crab. duh, why would she want a lobster?
Going to bed now - Julie