I think a birthday is such a special time to celebrate the gift that your child's life is to you. I love to make it a special day- but in little do-able ways.
Tomorrow is Peter's NINTH birthday so it's a perfect time for this post as I follow Ginger's lead at Clark Family Chatter and talk about how big families do birthdays. I feel kind of silly because I think we BARELY qualify as a "big" family. However, I suppose that if we only had 1 or 2 children perhaps we'd be a bit more extravagant with our celebrations.
Here's what we do-
When our kids turn 5 and 10 they get to have a "friend party." They invite friends from Sunday School, our homeschool group, etc. It's not a blow out with pony rides or anything like that, but I do my best to make it special.
Apart from the special years when they get a friend party, on the actual day, the birthday kid gets to choose what they'd like for dinner. Sometimes we go out to eat as a family, but for the past year we've taken them on a "date" with us. Last year we took Peter to a movie and to dinner at Red Robin. Two of the girls chose McDonald's and an indoor jumping place, we took Kate mini golfing and to Red Robin (she wanted to eat where Peter did). It's such a great experience to have that one on one time with them. We have moments of one on one time at home and we take them one or two at a time on errands with us, but this is different because it's several hours and it's for fun!
As far as gifts, we usually get them one special new thing and sometimes a new outfit (mostly when the girls were younger I liked to get them a new dress to have their picture taken in. oh no!! that reminds me that i haven't had charlotte's picture done yet and her birthday was in september!!!). I'm really excited about what we're giving Peter tomorrow!! We are taking him bowling and out to Red Robin (is there any other restaurant? apparently not!).
There's always a celebration with Pete's family (usually that is a combined party with whichever of the cousins/aunts and uncles/etc has a birthday that month as well). We celebrate with my parents at some point, but it may be a few weeks before or after the actual date due to their distance from us.
One other thing that I started doing when Peter was five and then for each of them once they turn five is they paint a self portrait. Each year after their fifth birthday I get them an 8 by 10 canvas and they paint. It is so cool to see how they perceive themselves! We've had some amazing works of art. And we've had some that are...uh...interesting. One of these days I will try to take pictures of their paintings and post them on here.