Big bro and his just-younger brother pose for a photo with one of his birthday gifts. In our family, we have a tradition of hiding gifts throughout the house, one for each year of the child's life, and then we play the 'hot' and 'cold' game as they search to find the gifts (we say 'hot' when they are getting close and 'cold' when far away from the item). It is a fun way to include the whole family and to make receiving the gifts an adventure--and I like not having to wrap gifts! This was on the morning of his 9th birthday.
Here's the birthday boy (center) below. Later that evening, we held a 'family party'. He chose carrot cake and pumpkin pie for his desserts to share with the extended family who came to celebrate with him. The candles on his cake were "6" and "3" to signify his age (9!) The group was large enough to play one of our son's favorite card games, "Bang". It was a fun family party.
It has been a few years since we have held a 'friend party'; last year I tried but only one neighborhood child attended. This year was very well attended, with 10 boys who came to eat pizza, go on a treasure hunt for goodies, and have a silly string fight. (Sorry, no photos of that party; I didn't think the parents would want their children on the 'Net)
The requested cake for this party was a chocolate "dirt" cake: chocolate cake and frosting with crushed cookies and gummy worms on top. All the boys had a nice time and the birthday boy himself has a good time. Success!
His Dad and I are so pleased with how he is growing up--our oldest son is a bright, curious, leader-type who is also becoming the resident floor washer and do-er of household jobs so he can earn money! He is quick to soothe his little sister when she cries or wrestle playfully with his two younger brothers. He is enjoying his third season of soccer practices and games right now and is learning more soccer skills from his coaches, who are very kind and capable. He is learning to play the recorder, something new!, at the homeschool co-op we participate in. He is continuing with his main interests of Lego building, constructing weapons with household items and strong tape, playing with friends and at family members houses, interacting with computer and video games, building his reading skills, and attending Cub Scout activities and earning badges. He is a great kid and just a wonderful person--we're so glad to have him in our family!