Last week was the great eight SPY TRAINING party.
The planning for this party has been such family fun. The boys and I scouring the internet for party favors. The whole family exclaiming over Pinterest ideas. The headlamps and glow sticks and see-behind-you spy glasses arriving in the mail. Planning the “spy training stations” and deciding how many spy points would be awarded for each mission.
Jake was more excited for this party than I’ve ever seen him in his life.
I remember the hours before Christmas Eve dragging out…the excitement so strong I could barely handle it. I remember anticipating trips for so many months that the excitement before the vacation and the remembering afterwards were almost more fun than the trip itself. I remember.
These days it seems that I don’t have a chance to get excited about our big life events until they are right upon me. I want to become like a little child again. Make space for anticipation.
But sometimes you can find the best fun amidst chaos, busy-ness, noise. And at the big Spy party, we certainly did. Here’s a recap:
The invitations above set the mood. They were easy to make by cutting apart file folders and distressing with brown ink. I love the spy picture of Jake that we paperclipped into the “file!” All the boys wore black or spy related gear, and we had mustaches on hand for disguises!
We started by choosing spy alias names by drawing adjectives and nouns out of two jars, creating code names like Agent Mozarella, and Camoflauge Pickle and Sneaky Knife and such. I put the names on nametags I had printed out from photoshop, along with the labels I printed for their individual secret agent tubs here.
Then we did the game where you see things on a tray and try to remember them after they are taken away. The boys all thought this was going to be a breeze, but most boys could only remember 4 or 5. Jake tied for first place by remembering 12 items! (Angie, I must tell you that Noah was the other top “rememberer!) What smart boys we have.
Then we started our spy training stations. At one station they took the worksheets out of their boxes and tried to crack codes, solve sudoku puzzles, do mazes, etc. Another station was the laser beam training. Take one hallway, add a piece of red tape at a time, and watch boys crawl and roll their way past the “laserbeams.”
Another station was the midnight mayhem darkness scavenger hunt. They each had headlamps and had to use them to look at all the toys on the floor of the theater to find eight toys with letters taped to them. Find all eight and unscramble the words, getting “spy points” for each letter you find individually, and more points as a group for solving it. It was pitch black, so obviously this was taken with the flash to see what they were up to!
The other rotating station was a daylight scavenger with rhyming clues that took them all over the house and backyard. I love writing clues for scavenger hunts at Christmas, so this was a lot of fun!
While all the rest of the stations were rotated with three or four spies at each station, we all met up upstairs for the bomb squad game, involving throwing balls from one side of the room to the other, trying to catch the other team with more balls on their side than you had on yours. We had a few minor injuries, but lots of fun.
After all of the stations, we came down for cake and ice cream and the boys ate while I tallied up the spy points. The cake was not my favorite homemade cake yet, but Jake said it was the best ever, with the bomb landing right on the words, “Happy Birthday Jake!” which he thought was great.
After the cake, we announced the top three spy point winners who got cool prizes. Planning ahead for disappointed boys, that was the moment I told them all that they’d be getting their own headlamps to take home, along with some “see behind you” spy glasses. It was nice that because the party was at home, we could use the extra money to give out cool party favors instead of paying for a venue to provide the fun.
And like I said, creating the party was as much fun as actually having it. The spy stations were such fun, and the end of the party, although total chaos, was a boys’ dream.
Happy Birthday Jakey!