Our “twins” turned 8 this month. One of my favorite stories about these two: Being as they were born same year, same day, we started jokingly referring to them as “the twins” and it stuck. One day, when she was about 5, India came to me and said she knew they weren’t real twins. On account of how much taller Kembe is. THP-KH-0155(photo by Trever Hoehne) Sure, sweetie. That’s the giveaway. It’s gotten harder figuring out their join birthday parties as they’ve gotten older. I am a fan of the destination birthday party.  After years of throwing my kid’s birthday parties at our house, I made a discovery: having a party at my house costs me twice as much as a destination party.  (A large part of this is due to the fact that I tend to go into frantic remodel mode anytime I have a big group of people over, and a simple birthday party suddenly means repainting the bathroom and re-landscaping the backyard.)  But beyond my own perfectionism issues, I also hate how hosting a party causes me to be too busy to just enjoy the experience with my kids.  In the past, I’ve found myself running around refilling ice or passing out cake or trying to lead the kids in games . . . only to feel like the whole party passed me by in a whirlwind of activity. Last year we decided to do two separate desintation parties. India had hers at a girl’s clothing store with makeovers and a dance party, and Kembe had his at a rock-climbing center. They were both fun parties but all of us felt like it was odd having them seperately. (It was also a lot of stress and a lot of work for me.) This year they agreed to have their partes together again. These two extroverts have been collecting a list of friends they wanted to invite to their party since last year.  The birthday list is their favorite point of discussion (and threatening to un-invite each other from the party is their favorite bargaining tool when arguing).  That list was getting longer and longer, because it included family friends, friends from church, friends from the preschool they attended last year, friends from Royal Rangers, neighborhood kids, and friends from school. So I need a place that would be good for both genders, and could host a lot of kids. Fortunately Pump It Up came to the rescue, with a venue big enough to hold 25+ guests.  IMG_2511 (Small) I was curious to see if this place still held the same interest for my kids, since their last party here was when they were 5. Would it still be as fun for 8-year-olds? IMG_2357 The answer is yes. IMG_2370 The boys found themselves in various stages of wrestling for most of the afternoon. And of course the slides were a big hit. IMG_2408 IMG_2415 (Small) IMG_2429 IMG_2444 (Small) IMG_2448 (Small) They also had fun building with the giant tinker toys. IMG_2456 IMG_2468 And more sliding . . . IMG_2487 (Small) IMG_2490 (Small) IMG_2496 (Small) They were active and having a blast the whole time. And SO SWEATY. We spent an hour between two bouncehouse rooms, and then it was time to eat. IMG_2503 (Small) One of the things I love about Pump It Up is that they do EVERYTHING. They ordered the pizza for us and even arranged the cupcakes. They set the table and served the food. All I had to do was take pictures and remind the boys that wrestling time was over. IMG_2520 IMG_2529 IMG_2586 (Small) A fun new feature at Pump It Up is that they have a photographer who takes pictures while you are there, and then they show a slideshow of the party at the end. The kids loved this. IMG_2550 (Small) IMG_2556 IMG_2566 (Small) IMG_2578 The kids had a great time, and I didn’t even have to clean up. IMG_2600 A huge thanks to Pump It Up for providing the party for promotional consideration, and for facilitating such a good time! All of my kids want their parties here from now on, and that’s fine by me.