Two years ago when you turned 4, Mommy and I paid around $300 to have a birthday party for you at one of those play centers. It barely lasted 2 hours and there was only space for about a dozen of your friends. While it was definitely fun, it was a lot of money for such a short amount of time.
Then a year ago for your 5th birthday, Mommy and I took you to Destin, Florida; celebrating over the course of a 4 day weekend. I would have loved to do that again…
But this year was different. You now have a 6 month-old baby sister. Plus, we just came back from a huge trip to San Diego last month.
So between being mindful of our finances and knowing it’s not a wise idea to take a baby to Florida on a road trip, we decided to do something cool and creative for your birthday party this year…
We took you to Opry Mills Mall in Nashville and gave you $100 cash to spend however you wanted. It was a win-win for everybody!
Fortunately, Nonna and Papa were able to drive up for the event and celebrate with us. It wouldn’t have been the same without them. Mommy and I were therefore able to focus more attention on you, the birthday boy, as Nonna and Papa took care of your baby sister.
I recognize that with Mommy and me both working full-time and taking care of a baby, an extra adult or two to help out is a huge deal; especially in the midst of trying to give you a true birthday celebration.
The first store you choose to visit was the Toys R Us outlet, where to our surprise, you bought a Puppy in My Pocket collection. Once you got home though, the choice made a lot more sense.
Your tiny puppy pets received quite the special treatment, as you had each of us 4 adults adopt 2 of the puppies from a plastic “doggie bag.”
Next on your tour was Claire’s, which confused me at first, until I realized you found a special holiday-themed “big-eyed animal,” a reindeer with a red nose. Immediately after, I had Mommy take my picture at Sprint, next to my cardboard cut-out doppelganger.
Similarly, you took us to a candy store next, called It’Sugar, but not for the sake of buying candy. Instead, you found a snowman big-eyed animal from Ty.
After that we made a trip through the Lego Store, where you picked up a few packets of Pixels.
Now that you had purchased smaller items with your stipend, you began moving on to bigger purchase items. At the Aquarium restaurant, you found a really cool alligator that I liked.
By that point, it was getting time for us all to eat lunch. In addition to the $100 cash, we also told you we would take you to lunch anywhere you wanted in Opry Mills Mall. I secretly hoped you’d choose Macaroni Grille or Chuy’s, but instead, you opted for Moe’s Southwest Grill. Granted, I had no complaints, as Moe’s is very accommodating to my vegan lifestyle.
Welcome to Moe’s!
We were also still celebrating Papa’s 60th birthday, from the day before. That means he got Moe’s for his birthday lunch too.
For your official birthday cake, we headed over to the Rainforest Café and ordered the volcano cake, which you thought was awesome. You loved seeing the animals “come to life” throughout our visit there.
Plus, you spent some more of your money there. You bought a shark tooth necklace and a snake slap bracelet.
But of course I would have to say that the main event was going to Build-a-Bear Workshop. Though I know you were tempted by Pete the Dragon, since we saw that movie back in August, you ended up choosing a blue reindeer instead.
You went all out: You had her scented with peppermint, you bought her a cloak, and you even purchased a backpack to carry her around in.
After all that excitement, we had been at the mall for nearly 5 hours and you had spent nearly all your money; with the exception of a few quarters.
So you used them for the toy dispenser machines, buying some little robots and monsters.
We all had a wonderful time! If it’s up to me, I would love to have your next birthday at Opry Mills Mall as well.
Not only is it cheaper than a birthday party at most party places, but it gives you more freedom to explore and spend the money according to exactly what you want.
You definitely had a Happy Birthday!