My oldest son turned THIRTEEN on January 31st….!!!!! I have a teenager living in my house now – how did this happen? I’m definitely feeling older thanks to those two words thirteen and teenager. Funny thing is, Ben doesn’t feel any older because he has always felt and acted older than his true age. It’s a running joke, in our family and with our friends, that Ben is a little 30-year old man trapped in a child’s body; he’ll tell you that he feels closer to 60 though… So, when I think about Ben turning 13, I think, “Well, he still has 17 more years to go to catch up to his true age!”
For Ben’s “13 going on 30” birthday party, he wanted to invite his friends over to play board games – way to make his parents, especially his Board Gaming Dad, PROUD!!!
So, we typed up a cool Tabletop invitation, ordered this sweet Tabletop cake, and then walked into the office to choose what games to play from our family’s Tabletop game collection. This was an easy peasy birthday party to plan!
A really epic note: Gregg posted a photo of Ben’s Tabletop birthday cake on twitter, and Wil Wheaton (host/creator of Tabletop) re-tweeted the image AND wished Ben a happy birthday! His exact message was: “Happy birthday, Ben! PLAY MORE GAMES!” There was quite a bit of buzz surrounding that tweet online in the board gaming community – lots of “favorites,” lots of “shares” – even the creator of the Tabletop logo was excited to see his design on a cake!
To accompany the board gaming theme, I attempted to make some Scrabble tile candies. They didn’t turn out as perfectly as I had envisioned, but I did the best with what I could find:an alphabet mold purchased from amazon, chocolate candy melts, white candy melts, and a marker with edible ink (which they only sold affordably in the color black) hence the mismatched colors on the tiles. I wanted brown ink…
As long as I was able to spell these words, then I was fine! Spelled out “Happy Tabletop Birthday, Benjamin” and then threw in a couple of extra words as well. The kids at the party were more than happy to snack on the less than perfect candy tiles. It’s all good!
Ben started off his party with a couple rounds of “Zombie Dice” while waiting for everyone to arrive. The boys LOVED this game!!! They were rolling dice to see who could accumulate 13 brains first, which seems easy enough, except that there are gun shot wound dice to worry about (3 gun shot wounds in one round and you are dead….). So, the boys were rolling and exclaiming and cringing and laughing and trying to decide whether or not to take a chance rolling again. It was hilarious to watch! THEN, the girls, Tatyanna and Abby, showed up and they were much calmer and practical about the brain collecting venture; they kicked some dice rolling behind! Go Abby!
As soon as the group started playing “Once Upon a Time,” which is one of Ben’s favorite games because you get to weave a crazy, random story from start to finish (based on the cards in your hand and a whole LOT of imagination), then I started to back away so that the kids could have their fun. I had previously explained to everyone when they arrived that I’m in the habit of photographing EVERYTHING, that photography is a passion and a hobby of mine. They just smiled and said, “Yep!” because apparently, Ben had already filled them in at school. 🙂
The game “Quelf” was played next; a definite party game! You must obey the cards, and the cards make you do and say crazy things…. I learned my lesson about this game, after playing it with my family, and ended up having to smell my daughter’s feet twice… not my favorite… but the kids thoroughly enjoyed!
Ben truly wanted to play board games ALL night long, and while his friends did a great job participating, they were starting to get a little antsy sitting at the table. We took a break to open presents, and I was so surprised and impressed that Ben’s friends knew him so well; he received an Imagine Dragons CD, a sketch book with charcoal pencils, a Game Stop gift card, Pokemon cards and GUM (if you know Ben then you know that he’s obsessed with chewing gum). They even did a great job picking out birthday cards and personalizing them. I think it was during this portion of the party that I realized these kids really are growing up, becoming self-sufficient, becoming independent!
Ben’s friends kept calling Christian “Mini-Ben” and “Ben Jr.” because they thought that the boys look so much alike. Christian was eating up all of the attention; he was definitely showing off for the older crowd – it was so funny!
After the dance party, after the pizza, after another dice rolling game, it was time for some yummy CAKE! It took everything in my power NOT to dig into that cake the night before the party…. and now that I’m looking at pictures of it, I’m craving more cake…
I think that Ben’s first teen party went really well. He laughed so hard and almost lost his voice from talking/yelling over his lively group of friends. He just looked like he was having a really good time.
And, with that, the Bolinger’s are done with kid’s birthdays all the way until November – hahaha!!!! Happy to have such a wonderful, caring, smart, responsible THIRTEEN year old! HAPPY Birthday, Bean Bean!!!