prepping for tj's party was abnormally tricky this year considering his birthday fell only 4 days after thanksgiving & the day after family left island. thankfully, my job was minimal since tj has been planning his birthday party for the past, um, 4 months. basically, since he attended coop's treasure hunt party. some details have changed during his party planning process but for the most part he has had the event perfectly outlined. he wanted his brothers & best friend to attend. he wanted donuts & chocolate milk. and he wanted to bring his motorcycle. so we decided to go with a road rally party. his friends showed up with their favorite mode of transportation. we had races, an obstacle courses, & red-light green-light. they loved it. the kids made their own license plates, raced handheld cars on tracks, ate their little hearts out (or at least, the moms did), & left the party with winners medal & a few road rally goodies to keep them racing for days to come. tj loved cruising on his motorcycle, devouring all the powdered donuts he could get his hands on, & passing out the medals at the end of the party.
this experience was a real eye opener for me. you see, tj has always been shy (he gets it from his mama) in one-on-one situations but this was the first time he was the center of attention in a group beyond our family since his last birthday. and i was surprised to discover that he was a little crowd shy. he had so much fun participating in the games & playing but he did not enjoy the few moments when the focus was turned on him (cutting the cake, the birthday song, & present opening). looking back i feel so bad having put him in an uncomfortable situation but now i know better for next time. after the party he told me he had a lot of fun playing but he didn't like all of his friends there. he said he doesn't want to have anymore birthday parties (which is totally fine by me but i doubt his resentment will last until this time next year).
i'd have to say tj's favorite part of the whole day was happy meals at the park for dinner (he is so easy to please). he likes his friends but he really loves his family. he truly does feel most comfortable & happy when he has his closest loved ones by his side (he is so much like his mama). he was so excited opening each gift. every time he did a crazy happy dance all over the grass. it's moments like this i just melt.