I didn’t plan on doing a big theme party, y’all. Really– I didn’t. I had every intention of reusing my tired old table cloths from last year, hanging a few puny balloons, and calling it a (birth) day.
But I forgot about my friend Melissa.
My friend Melissa is the queen of kid birthday parties. For her daughter’s recent Wizard of Oz birthday bash she found a child-sized Dorothy costume, made “Emerald City Fizz” punch, ordered ruby slipper cupcakes, and had all manner of Oz-tastic decorations and personalized treats. I’d bet my right arm she would have ripped out her hardwood floors and replaced them with yellow brick if she’d had the time. The girl’s a freakin’ birthday genius.
So when I told her that Sim’s party wasn’t going to have a theme this year she was all like:
|Except without the terrible hair.|
“But you have to do some kind of theme!” she said with palpable horror. “What’s Simeon into? There has to be something, there just has to be.” And she’s right. There is something. Simeon is actually really really into something. And that something is this guy. Yes, ladies and gentleman– this guy:
My son is currently obsessed with the 1980’s most lovable children’s singer. Raffi is Simeon’s jam and if you’ve been following my Instagram then you know that we are not kidding about this. Last fall, Sim watched the Raffi in Concert DVD until we ran out of library renewals and had to buy our own copy. He’s played it so many times that Greg has it memorized– and not just the songs, mind you. Greg can quote word-for-word the chatty conversations that Raffi has with the audience between songs.
Raffi is a big deal in our house. And here’s a little secret– it isn’t just my toddler who loves Raffi. I love him too. I grew up listening to Raffi and sometimes, when the concert DVD is over, I play it again just for myself. Raffi is like Cat Stevens for kids. He’s soothing, he’s all “peace-trainy” and love-your-neighbory, and he’s got a sweet beard. Listen to “All I Really Need” from his Baby Beluga album and you’ll know what I’m talking about. *Raffi, if you’re reading this– I love you*
Looks like we’d found our theme. Only problem is that when I Googled “Raffi birthday ideas” I found exactly nothing. We were in uncharted birthday-theme territory but I think we managed just fine.
Dress: 80s-chic of course (perms requested but not required)
Food: Holy Smoke BBQ (each dish named after a Raffi song title)
Music: Raffi (and yes we listened to it the whole time and no we did not get tired of it)
Gifts: Mostly musical
Our Etsy friend DeliveredByDanielle created these invitations (check out what she did for Sim’s darling party invites last year!). She was super easy to work with and didn’t make fun of me when I asked her to “make my son look like Raffi and please include a bananaphone.”
I decorated mason jars with raffia (haha) and photos of Raffi through the ages. A sign reading, “How do you Raffi?” instructed guests to select their favorite. Options included: Christmas Raffi, Bananaphone Raffi, Old Raffi, and (my personal favorite) Hawaiian Shirt Raffi. We named each dish after a favorite song: “Down On Grandpa’s Farm” Pulled Pork and “All I Really Need” is Mac & Cheese. We tried naming something after the hit song “Baby Beluga” but it just ended up sounding gross (“Baby Beluga” BBQ? Yuck! Gag me with a spoon and call the American Wildlife Federation…).
The costumes were tubular to the max (so many scrunchies, you guys!). My dad looked like a cross between Tom Selick and Chevy Chase, my sister-in-law went full Punky Brewster, and my mother wore her real-life mom jeans from the 80s (bravo for still fitting in those suckers, Mom!). In true Raffi-style, Sim wore a matching Hawaiian print shirt-and-shorts combo with his signature red cap.
Sim has been real into looking over his glasses at people lately. Not sure where this is coming from but it gives him a distinct Professor Minerva McGonagall air that cracks me up (and makes me feel like I’m being reprimanded by my toddler).
Sim actually enjoyed opening presents this year and only took his hands off his guitar when he needed a djembe break (thanks Uncle Joel and Aunt Sarah!). All those hours of Raffi watching meant Simeon knew exactly how to hold his instrument– what’s up now, screen-time naysayers?
New basketball hoop from Uncle Wes and Aunt Camille!
“This party is totally fresh, mom! All other parties can eat my Hawaiian shorts!” -Simeon
The party was so much fun— so much. Melissa was right. Nothing gets you in the party mood like a kooky theme. Thanks to all our friends and family for making Simeon’s birthday completely Raffi-licious!
And here’s a cruddy iPhone video of the Smith Family Band’s first ever performance. Not quite the Von Trapps but we’ll get there– don’t you worry…
Any other Raffi fans out there? Tell me I’m not alone…