This is my last post before I go on my trip -- too much to get done. Have a lovely weekend, everyone! I thought I published this on Wednesday last week, but I just saved it as a draft! Oops! I'm back from New York now, but the photos and recounting of the trip will have to wait as I'm still actually computer-less. My IT guy -- er, brother-in-law -- is trying to work on our other one, but for now I don't have it.
Many of you have contacted me about a source for our birthday ring. We got it 5 years ago from Magic Cabin. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they still carry them. The rings themselves can still be found in online shops, such as A Toy Garden or Nova Natural. You can get the ring by itself, or an entire set with all sorts of different figures. I haven't found anyone selling the peg people that we have anymore, but now that I'm doing more creating than I was five years ago, I realize how easy it would be to make the them using small wooden peg people (I've seen them at both JoAnn and Hobby Lobby, or you could look here), bits of wool felt & fabric, and some acrylic paint for facial features. It would be fun to have custom-made ones for your own family, incorporating your child's interests or favorite stories into the characters. If I were to do it now, I'd buy a ring by itself and create my own characters for it. Alas, I never even thought of it five years ago. Alexis did, though! Look at the beautiful one she created for her daughter's birthday last year! (More pictures of hers here.)
I get a lot of questions regarding our family's birthday traditions. For the most part, they're a mix of this and that, but several of the more "visible" traditions (the ring, the crown) are inspired by books like Mrs. Sharp's Traditions and things I've seen around the online community.
Anyway, we have a tradition of saying a poem before bed on the eve of the birthday. The poem we like to use is a pretty standard one. I'll add it at the end of the post. In the morning, the birthday child awakens to find the birthday ring and crown (more about those here) at his or her place at the table, and the birthday wreath hanging above. The candles on the ring are lit, and we say a (different) birthday poem (this year is was the same poem from Now We Are Six that I shared here on Elisabeth's birthday). We sing and the candles are blown out, and then we eat breakfast. Presents are opened after breakfast, and the crown is worn for much of the day. Beyond that, our birthday celebrations change from year to year, depending on the schedules of grandparents, and the day of the week. The birthday child gets to choose our dinner, of course. We like our celebrations special and full of family traditions, but simple at the same time. I once heard another mother say that before you start a tradition, you should make sure it's something you could do if you were sick, if your child were sick, if you were traveling, and ... something else. You get the point. I think it's so easy to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to celebrating. It's probably better to one small tradition at a time. (Sometimes I'm better at following my own advice than others.)
I'll leave you with our favorite "birthday eve" poem:
When I have said my evening prayer,
And my clothes are folded on the chair,
And mother switches off the light,
I'll still be ___ years old tonight.
But from the very break of day,
Before the children rise and play,
Before the darkness turns to gold,
Tomorrow, I'll be ___ years old.
___ kisses when I wake,
___ candles on my cake.*
*I don't know the author of this poem, it is listed anonymously in several books I have referenced over the last several years. But if the author of the poem is known to anyone, I will happily give credit here!