We held Islay’s winter woodland birthday party last weekend and – despite my nerves – everyone had fun. An outdoor birthday party is most definitely our children’s preference and we’re well practised but this year I was very anxious – which, I think, was a combination of the weather in the week leading up to it and the fact that we didn’t really know any of the girls invited. We’re still very much at the stage of getting to know the children’s friends and, since they go off to school on the bus, I am only beginning to know their parents. I was unsure how the idea of an outdoor party in December would be received and worried that if the girls weren’t warmly enough dressed they wouldn’t enjoy themselves.
However, the day was still and dry and was the best we’d had for days. I don’t think it rose above freezing point but the girls were warmly dressed. All went well. I heard several declarations that it was the best birthday party ever. I know that 8 year old girls will bestow this sort of praise fairly readily…..but only if they really are having fun.
I had laminated some pictures of woodland animals which the boys and their friends hid around the woods. We pointed the end of some sticks and the girls went hunting animals with their ‘spears’ – this worked really well and they were very keen to ensure that all the animals had been found, setting off a couple more times when I told them some were missing . Next they split into groups and samples of nature to match paint colour chips……they enjoyed this but it didn’t hold their attention for very long. Poking their spears in the fire, cooking sausages (actually just heating them up – I always feel it is safer to cook them in advance!) and toasting marshmallows kept them happily occupied for a very long time. We had to tear them away from the fire when it was home time.
We held the party in Feddanhill Woods just a mile or so from our house. The woods are privately owned by a very lovely man who spends his retirement pottering around looking after his trees and the paths he has put in. He actively encourages locals to use the woods and the boys have spent very many happy Friday evenings there with Cubs and Scouts. We left a large slab of birthday cake on Graham’s windscreen to say thank you!
A brief health update – Angus’ cold deteriorated and he ended up with a perforated eardrum (but antibiotics and lots of warm clothes, especially to cover his poor ear, meant he was able to join in the party fun), Finn broke his toe almost three weeks ago and is beginning to hobble much less (but it is rather like living with a caged tiger as he can’t do anything other than walk until it is fully healed – hopefully only a few more days as he really isn’t made for inactivity) and Islay’s arm is healing well (she had her big heavy cast removed last week and now has a lighter below-the-elbow cast which also frees up her fingers a little more, we’re hoping that will come off early next week)
I’m hoping to make less use of our GP and hospital in the coming weeks! But they have been wonderful and I am very grateful for their good work!