Friday, September 5, 2008

Labor Day - Part 2: The Party

We decided to have a party.  Given that our kids’ birthdays are in October through January, we never have a chance to have a fun [rain-free] outdoor kids party.  So we want to start a tradition of throwing a party in the summertime in lieu of a normal “friends” party.


Our first attempt is this:

Every tradition needs to start somewhere.  We selected a few close family friends with comparably-aged kiddos and sent them a copy of “The Pilgrim’s Progress: Young Reader’s Version”.  Their assignment was to read the book with their kids.  They had a over a month.  We were to design the party.  We procrastinated a bit. 

But that doesn't mean we didn't put a lot of work into the party.  Everyone helped.  Some more than others.

But in the end, we were pleased with our work.

Eventually it was time to start the party.  We gathered and the first question was, "Who read the book?"  Shame on you Bob!.  

[Actually, if you watched Bob read a book you'd think he was looking at the pictures.  He probably reads fast enough to get on Letterman.  He did read the book.]

Anyway, after hearing the instructions, we strapped on our "burdens" (backpacks full of heavy objects) and started our pilgrimage.

All the trials we'd set up seemed to be working pretty well.  Even when things didn't quite work exactly as designed we still had fun.

Families had to dig up their helpers in the "Slough of Despond". 

While other families tried to figure out how to "Stay on the Narrow Path"...

Cutzi looks athletic and fun in this picture so she'd want us to post it.  Plus Justin looks funny on the little bike.  There was an adult bike, but he likes a challenge.

Then came the game where you got to shoot a BB gun.  It had something to do with killing giants, but the point was that you got to shoot a BB gun at some targets.  Oh and it was a pink BB gun.  Don't ask.  It was on clearance.

Then came darts.   Real metal darts flung at a board with balloons on it.  Popping ballons with metal darts to free a soldier was fun.  There was a tie in to the book but I don't remember it.

After that the kids had to wade through our makeshift "River of Faith".  Don't laugh; it was harder than it looks.  Especially for the toddlers.

After taking on 11 different trials, it was time to build your own sword of truth.  You will need it for the battle with Apollyon.

But since every family went through the different trials on their own time, we needed a catch-up activity.  Though it was out of order from the book, we all decorated our own "Celestial City" er, well... castle... well, actually Tower.  But it's fun to paint stuff.  My T-Shirts acted as smocks for some.  

One family clearly had a bit more artistic talent in their gene pool.  Seriously.

That activity allowed everyone to get to the same place.  Now it was time to do battle with Apollyon.  An imposing green dinosaur piniata with homemade teeth, wings and claws, he had many would-be conquerors.

Each soldier had his or her own unique approach to the confrontation.  Some led with cuteness, then followed with the sword.

Some seemed to be just a bit too happy to be fighting this ferocious monster.

This one had the right idea, but was a little off on a key element of swordplay.  Then again, he does get lots of practice with [on] his brothers, so perhaps he was adapting an effective technique.

And the look on Amy's face is pretty funny too.

But once we got to the older kids, Apollyon had to know he was not long for this world.  When all that lies between a kid and a monumentous candy score is some green colored cardboard, you see the ferocity come out.

(click on it for full size; note the faces)

All in all it was grand time.  We finished up with food and ice cream.  I think we had more fun planning and preparing for the party than actually doing it.  The kids really enjoyed dreaming up all the activities, as well as testing them out.

I think we'll do another book next Summer.  Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Åny thoughts? Sure. Can you do this for big kids and adults who are young at heart? Looks like it was a blast!. Great job, you guys!

Jodi said...

Oh my word! Are you guys the funnest family ever, or what?! GREAT job to Mike and Amy for being such fun, creative, and cool parents, and GREAT job to all you kids for working hard to prepare such a fun party for your friends! I am thoroughly impressed. ;)

KAMILLE said...

When I told Ben that you planned a party around the Pilgrim's Progress he laughed and also said, "the Hollisters & their birthday parties (in a good way). I think it's great how much detail and fun that went into this party. Ben suggests: The Confessions of St. Augustine.

amy said...

Thanks for the kind words guys! You know Mike and I always love a good, "atta boy!"
And Ben? Confessions. Great idea! We may just do that! :)

Kristen said...

Amy this is incredible!!! I am posting today about an Anne of Green Gables party at the Kill house...might not go over too well at your house though! :) Halle is reading the Pilgrim's Progress for School this year and I just might swipe this idea for next summer. What a wonderful time it looks like you all had! Way to go!