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Party Planning Tips for the Tired and the Poor

alec vanderboom

If God hadn't made me the mother of four children, I would be a professional party planner! I was made for cheerful conversations and party hosting!

This week, however, I thought I'd finally reached my limit. I'm pregnant and tired. I'm still recovering from Hannah's First Communion Day on May 1st which maxed out both our energy levels and our finances. This week I found myself exhausted at the thought of planning two birthday parties (one for my husband, one for Mimi) in the midst of multiple doctor visits and an end of the year home-school review.

I thought my husband's 38th Birthday would be a dud.

An amazing thing happens when you pray, however. Jesus can do anything-including birthday part planning! Here's my story.

I took the kids to cheap birthday section at Target and gave them 10 dollars. They had total creative control for the decorations for Jon's surprise party. We got an Iron Man table cloth, funny birthday hats, those crazy plastic parachute guys and a pin the tale on the donkey game. Then when my husband came home for lunch on his birthday we yelled "Surprise". Lunch was so simple. I didn't even make a cake. It didn't matter! The kids were so excited about "their" party for Daddy that everyone had a great time. Jon enjoyed a great pick-me-up in the middle of the work day.

As for my gift, I used the theme from the "5 Types of Love Languages" from my current read, "How to Love Your Kids." My goal for Jon's birthday was to try to love him in each of the 5 different types of love in one day: physical touch, affirmative words, quality time, acts of service and gift giving. The first three are easy, those are my primary love languages and I do them naturally for my spouse all of the time. The last two languages were a challenge. Through prayer, I found a $20 gift at Target which really touched Jon's heart.

My favorite part of the day was coming up with acts of service. I have such low energy at this stage of pregnancy that I'm physically limited in what I can accomplish in a day. Yet I chose two of the most "guy-like" things on my husband's long To Do List and did them as a special gift.

The funniest part was registering the warranty for our new computer online. Of course, the Office Depot website was written in computer geek instead of normal English. I stood there for the longest time debating about whether my computer was properly classified as COMPQ_COM, or COMPQ_COM.SYSTEM. Then I had to find the serial number which had me crawling around on all fours with my giant belly. It was so hard to find where the manufacturer had hidden the serial number on a solid black computer tower. I was so out of my element but it felt great to give a hard act of service to my husband.

Then I ordered us a new modem box from our telephone company. Our current one has a short in it and we'd been meaning to order a replacement for about 3 years. To order a free replacement I had to sit on hold with an operator in India for about 70 minutes. Do you know how long 70 minutes can take when you have 3 young children in your house? The kind lady from New Delhi kept telling "Thank you for your patience Mrs. Benjamin. I will need to place you on hold again for another three minutes while I complete your order...." Meanwhile, there are blood curdling screams emanating from my children's bedroom. I kept wanting to say "I don't know if I have another 3 minutes. We might be making an immediate trip to the emergency room!"

But all that hard work was worth it! My husband was SO excited to get a new computer part from UPS this morning.

On his big day, my husband felt so loved and appreciated. A day based on the five love languages! A great birthday party idea for tired, cash-strapped but oh so loving Catholic spouse!