Motherhood

Toby’s 7th Birthday Party

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

This weekend, we had Toby’s seventh (!) birthday party at Jane’s Carousel, which was really fun. Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

As Toby requests every year, we had a picnic under a tree with pizza and donuts. Alex made spiked orange juice for the adults, and we all hung out for a few hours.

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

My mom’s smart rule of thumb is to invite the same number of kids as your child’s age (so, if your child is turning seven, invite seven other kids), but, as always, we completely ignored that rule and invited a ton of people from school and life.

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

Toby's 7th Birthday Party

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

The adults chatted, while the kids ran around and played.

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

Toby got a magical fish hook as a gift, and Anton felt VERY cool and brave wearing it over his shoulder. “I’m a Roman,” he explained, NBD.

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

My friend’s little guy always gives me baby fever. :)

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

Even though we spend months brainstorming cakes (a Moana cake came in at a close second this year), Toby always ends up choosing donuts for dessert. The kids love them, and they require zero utensils, plates or even napkins — perfect for a picnic.

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

After a few false starts (the wind kept blowing out the candles), Toby blew them all out — hurray!

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

Afterward, the kids were thrilled to ride the carousel — I love how Toby and the horse on the left are basically making the same expression ;)

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

Anton is scared of the up-and-down horses, but luckily he found some fellow partiers to join him in the chariot.

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

Toby's 7th Birthday Party at Jane's Carousel

It was such a great afternoon for my sweet, sweet boy who has somehow turned seven! My only request would be for time to slow down already. :)

Thanks for reading. xoxo

P.S. Toby’s first and second birthdays; and Toby’s week of outfits.

  1. Becky says...

    How fun!!! Jane’s Carousel came from Idora Park in my hometown – Youngstown, Ohio!!! Happy Birthday Toby!

  2. Stacie says...

    Yay, Happy Birthday, Toby! I love your birthday traditions. I also remember the year he cried when people started singing to him. So sweet. Also, the photo of Toby and the horse is hilarious.

    • KS says...

      Yess. Btw Joanna , do you know that that picture of Tobey crying at his birthday party is listed in a post on Pinterest and many forward updates called “Kids crying for the funniest reason ever”. I saw it and was like ‘I know this kid’ and realized I read the blog and don’t personally know him. :D

  3. Erin says...

    i can’t BELIEVE Toby is 7! I have been following this blog since before you & Alex were married.

    Such a beautiful, lovely boy & life you lead. Well wishes xx

  4. Tracy says...

    It looks like such a happy day. I LOVE the original donut cake!

  5. The Horse and Toby picture is hilarious! What a moment to capture! haha!

  6. Adriana says...

    Sharon Beesley! Where the f has she been. I miss her posts. Happy to see I’m not the only one.

    • Anna says...

      Ahh, was gonna make the same comment! It’s so interesting how attached you can become to someone’s blog and miss it years later! They are like the kindred spirits, found and lost in the world wide web.
      And, Toby, stay cute and sweet and ever the dapper little gentleman! xx

    • Sharon Beesley says...

      This has made my day. Thank you.

    • Ana says...

      Oh! Me too!! She looks great

    • JA says...

      Me too!

  7. Laura C. says...

    Hapoy happy birthday Toby! Sorry to be late!
    Joanna nle you MUST oost a picture of twins Alex and Antoni, both in stripes!
    Ps. I sort of envy you all, it seems you are parenting so damn good and my six years old is getting me nuts every day. I can’t handle it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, we have our daily struggles FOR SURE!!! look at my instagram stories from last night if you’d like one example haha :)

  8. Kristen says...

    One more longtime reader here chiming in to say Happy Birthday Toby — our sons have grown together — mine is 7 years old this week also. We live in Brooklyn and we’ve seen you out biking and walking but we’ve never been quite close enough to stalk and say hello! ; ) And please tell Sharon you’ve heard from yet another reader who would love to read her posts again!!
    I spy one of her adorable boys and would love to hear how she and her family are doing. Like CoJ, her blog was fun to read and I loved her honesty.

  9. Happy belated birthday Toby. Wishing you good health and long life.

  10. Happy happy birthday Toby! I still remember before he was born – I’ve been reading your blog a long time! I’ve read ages 7-12 are the most enjoyable (though I didn’t find 7 that great, 8.5 and now 9 are lovely!).

  11. Anna Cohen says...

    I’ve loved this post every year – also because my 2nd son turns 7 a few days after Toby. But it looks like it was colder this year – more jackets and sweaters, less t-shirts and shorts – or am I wrong?

    – long time COJ reader :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      happy (almost) birthday to your son! the weather has been so weird in NYC this year — it was 90 degrees one day and 60 the next. saturday ended up being pretty chilly!

  12. Kristi says...

    Oh my gosh, where has the time gone? I remember reading your blogs on Glamour, and now Toby is 7! Happy birthday :)

  13. M says...

    Awesome party for Toby and great that Anton is a Roman who rides in a chariot lol

  14. Why oh why did I never think of this idea for a bday party?! We have a beautiful carousel at our Detroit Zoo! Now my boys are big! Maybe for my fiftieth?! You are brilliant!

  15. Sara W says...

    SO Sweet. He looks so happy :) Such a beautiful family.

  16. Angela says...

    We did a simple muffins and juice party at our local botanic gardens for my daughter’s first birthday. The kids ran around, got dirty and sweaty, and ate their weight in muffins. It was the best time, cost us like $50, and we all went home happy.

    Any ideas on doing something equally as simple as Toby’s party, or my daughter’s, for winter birthdays? We are in Texas, but my son has an early January birthday, so the weather is normally not the best.

    • Angela says...

      Also, Happy Birthday to Toby!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds so wonderful, angela! for winter, hmmm… could you ever do a smaller party at home? i know some kids around here who love “sleep unders,” where you come in pajamas, eat popcorn, cuddle up in sleeping bags and watch a movie — but then your parents pick you up :) that could be fun! or maybe a winter picnic where everyone bundles up and runs around (just for an hour or two) and you have hot chocolate in thermoses? i’ll keep thinking! :)

  17. Mariana says...

    Happy birthday Toby! What a sweet party :)

  18. Inbal says...

    Mazal Tov & happy birthday to sweet Toby and his parents!

  19. Jane says...

    It’s so weird i’m here in London saying to myself wow how is Toby 7 already when I have never met him or you!! I see parties like this here and I think those are cool parents having proper laid back parties where kids are allowed to just roam and have fun.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aww, you are sweet, jane! :)

  20. Katie says...

    Happy birthday to Toby! What a sweet party–and I am happily borrowing the magical fishhook idea for my Moana-obsessed daughter who will be 7 in June.

  21. TifNels says...

    Oh Momma, I feel ya. Happy Born Day Toby!!

  22. Carrie says...

    This post makes me ache to be a mommy.

  23. What a wonderful celebration! Proof that what matters most at a party is the company. Happy Birthday to Toby!

  24. Jules says...

    Happy birthday, Toby!

    I love that this birthday party is so laid back. Growing up, as the youngest of six, our birthday parties were always just aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. I can only remember one friend birthday party. We are doing the same thing for our three boys, but since we don’t currently live near a lot of family we just invite our closest friends. There are so many people that go all out for their children’s birthday parties. I think that’ll be very hard to do for 18 years. Kids just want to feel special and that can be done so easily and inexpensively.

  25. Karen T. says...

    Such a fan of simple kids’ birthday parties (no goody bags, no face painter with a balloon making clown!)– love just letting the kiddos run around and get crazy which is all they want anyway. Btw, I got on the Peaky Blinders train thanks to you and OMG–Tommy Shelby and those baby blues. Only two episodes left until I’m all caught up and I’m sooooooo bummed. My husband is hooked too but I’m pretty sure for very different reasons. :)

  26. Christy says...

    This is just beautiful. As someone who just spent hundreds of $$ on a party for my 2 year old son, what a wake up call! I will definitely do this next year. I can’t be a Pinterest worthy mom every year, right?! Maybe once a decade? Thank you for showing that simplicity is so real and meaningful.

  27. Lindsay says...

    What in the world to do about that pesky baby fever?? I haven’t figured that out yet?

    Happy Birthday, Toby!

  28. Karen says...

    A great post and party,happy b-day to Toby,started reading your blog around the time of your wedding!How can that be?

  29. Social media is a weird thing. Here I am sitting in my living room, witnessing your family’s life for the past six years, seeing how your sons are growing and shouting to myself “OMG, Toby is 7??”, like he is my own godson and I have the right to do so. It’s nice to know I can be related to your blog community this way, but it’s also scary not to lose a track of the world around you.

    On topic about kids: I would really appreciate if you could talk a little about the idea of wanting kids. I am almost 27, married for the past 3 years. My husband is 10 years older and wants to have kids, but is not pushing me. Some of my friends are already with kids or pregnant. But for me – I can’t get this idea into my head. I don’t know why, but for me having kids is like saying goodbye to yourself. I feel like its the end of your life, travelling, flirting. I am not saying I will never have kids, but how do you know when is the time? And how to say goodbye to your freedom?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, egle, you are so sweet. and that’s such a great (and hard) personal question about if/when to have kids. we have done a couple posts on this topic (below, if they’re helpful), but i’d LOVE to do more. thank you again for your note. xoxo

      women who chose not to have kids: https://cupofjo.com/2012/11/motherhood-mondays-would-you-ever-decide-to-not-have-kids/
      how do you know you’re ready? https://cupofjo.com/2015/05/how-did-you-know-you-were-ready-to-have-a-baby/
      how many kids you may have: https://cupofjo.com/2014/11/how-many-children-do-you-hope-to-have/

    • Christy says...

      I found that once I had my son I was hooked and now I can’t imagine my life without him. I had him at 37 so I had spent many many years as a free woman, albeit married or in relationships. Now that my little guy is here, it’s hard not to wonder what another child would look like if we had one. What would their temperament be? How would the two kids get along? I can see how people have 2, 3, 4, etc. It’s hard to describe until I had one of my own because I never liked other people’s kids. They annoyed me or flat out irritated me.

      My advice? Take your time, if you aren’t even somewhat interested in kids, then don’t start yet. You’re still young and have time. It consumes you and yes there are days where you forget who “you” were and wonder if you’ll get that person back. For me it’s been worth every sacrifice but I know not every woman feels that way.

  30. I have been reading your blog since before Toby was born, so it shocks me to see he’s seven already! I cannot believe how old he is and how long I have been reading your blog! Time sure flies by!

  31. Heather says...

    I had the same thought as so many others: it’s Sharon! I miss her blog and love her coat/outfit here.

    Was there a line for the carousel, or were all the kids able to get right on? I’m thinking of taking my toddler son to Jane’s Carousel when we visit NYC this summer, but wondered if there would be a long wait.

  32. My son is going to be 7 next month! He is asking for a party but not in my budget. This is a nice idea for a party! Happy birthday Toby!

  33. shannon says...

    How did the slap bracelets go over? Sounded like an amazing idea!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so well!! they were the safer ones, which weren’t quite as snappy/cool as the metal ones, but the kids still loved them!
      http://amzn.to/2r1hIcB

  34. My oldest is five, and it makes me so happy that the kids at Toby’s party still look like joyful little kids! I’m so glad I get at least a couple more years of that!

    My five year old also insists on donuts every year, and it’s a huge hit! Everyone love donuts, and it’s soooo easy! My three year old son had blue cotton candy this year (blue is is favorite color), and he’s still talking about it months later, so I think that might be his birthday thing moving forward!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      cotton candy is such a fun idea for little kids!

  35. Holy moly this is so precious! Happy birthday big guy!!

  36. liz says...

    Re: nail biting due to election results – I started eating 4 dinners to calm down and sadly that hasn’t stopped either. (Well Im down to 2.5 to 3 dinners so that’s good, right? right?).

  37. Claire says...

    How is Toby 7! I swear, he was just 4! I’m with you on time slowing down. It’s too much sometimes. I’ll add that to the list of things that makes me feel old – declaring that time needs to slow down.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha same.

  38. Melissa W. says...

    your family are so so sweet. happy birthday toby!

    on an unrelated topic, started watching peaky blinders yesterday and immediately thought of you! that tommy shelby ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YAY!!!! :) :) :) you’re going to love it, melissa.

  39. Lauren E. says...

    Oh my gosh, Toby’s face on the carousel! Makes me think of Knocked Up. “I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.” I wish anything made me as blissfully happy as that carousel makes Toby!

  40. Tania Barnes says...

    <3

  41. Jessica says...

    Oh that is so sweet! Happy birthday Toby! Love your ourdoor parties! xoxo

  42. Nathalie says...

    Looks like a fun birthday party for both kids and adults! Was the dress code stripes? ;-)
    My kids don’t like cake – they certainly didn’t get that from me – so we often have donuts instead. My daughter will celebrate her next birthday in Canada and we’re going to try ice cream cake (it isn’t available where we live in Germany).

    • Gwen says...

      As a Canadian living in Switzerland…god I miss ice-cream cake! Enjoy :)

    • Rebecca says...

      I wondered about the stripes, too! Too much reading about Pippa’s wedding reception, I guess. After all, I’m wearing stripes 80% of the time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha no it was just a coincidence! we were laughing because alex and anton looked like twins :)

  43. In a day when every birthday party seems to be bigger and “better” than the last/a total Pinterest explosion*, I have always so, so admired your approach! Bravo for a good old fashioned picnic, simple and entirely lovely.

  44. jaclyn says...

    It’s my 33rd bday in a week (which I kinda forgot about)! EEK! So, I was going to freak out, but instead I am going to just steal all Toby’s ideas. Picnic? Check. Pizza? Check. Donuts? Check. Bunch babes? Check. I don’t drink, but there will be an ocean of La Croix on hand. HBD TOBES. <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!!! sounds perfect :) :) :) and happy birthday!

  45. aga says...

    lovely! you seem like such a great mom. :)

  46. The pic of him riding the horse made me smile so much!

  47. Happy Birthday, Toby. He will surely remember this day.

  48. Cynthia says...

    Looks like the party was fun. I think it’s great you keep the parties simple and the kids play, the adults talk, and everyone has fun. There was a carousel like this one at the amusement park at the beach we used to go to once a year when I was a child.

  49. I love this! Such a simple yet fun party idea and it looks like everyone had a wonderful time. Happy birthday, Toby!

    Briana

  50. Sarah King says...

    this party is so sweet! i love how you guys have a strong tradition. toby will always remember this!

  51. Amoreena says...

    This post just made my day. Happy birthday Toby!

  52. Adele says...

    Oh Sharon from NYC taught me ?! Tell her I miss her posts :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes it is! i’ll tell her :)

    • Mary Colette says...

      Same!

    • Katie says...

      me too!

    • Agnes says...

      Me too! I checked in on her blog a week ago because I was hoping she might have revived it …

    • Effie says...

      She’s such a funny and intelligent woman! I miss her down to earth posts.

    • Rachel says...

      That’s it!! Nevermind, Jo for the other comment. I’ve missed her blog too!

    • Kelley says...

      me too!

    • kate says...

      I’m obsessed with that coat she is wearing! do you know where its from? i also miss her blog! I cannot believe toby is so grown up now!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      she says her coat is from jcrew, thanks for asking! :)

    • cs says...

      I just looked at her blog because of your comment and she actually has a new post today!

    • Anna Cohen says...

      Ditto, I miss her too!!!

    • Sharon Beesley says...

      Omg haha!! Hi!! Thanks for the kind words. :)

  53. I see you’re back to biting your nails like a boss! :) The struggle is real. I yo-yo back and forth, too. Right now I’ve got my grown (as in short and square;) and ready to paint…but a month ago, there was bleeding. Eek!

    Also – that photo of Toby on the carousel! I’m on my phone and tried to double tap it. Ha! So much like.

    Happy birthday, Toby! Congrats on seven years as a mama, Joanna. xoxoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, it’s the worst! i started biting them again the night of the election and haven’t stopped! insert cringing face here.

  54. Audra says...

    I love the simplicity of this party. No huge rented venue or over-the-top decorations/invitations. No caterer. No epic cake and fanfare. I think its important for kids to realize that they’re special and that their birthday is a special day of celebration, but over-celebrating sets them up for disappointing birthdays as adults. This is simple and sweet and awesome.

    • Yes to all of this! Being surrounded by love is the precedent we want to set. I love the way you articulated this. :) xx

  55. Alyssa Gordon says...

    “I love how he and the horse on the left are basically making the same expression ;)”

    Thanks for making me laugh aloud, Joanna :)

  56. Maywyn says...

    Happy Birthday Toby!

  57. Brianna says...

    I want to have a pizza/donuts/carousel birthday party!

  58. jill c. says...

    how sweet! i love seeing how you celebrate Toby’s birthdays throughout the years!

  59. Marie says...

    Sharon from NYCTaughtme is alive! I miss her blog so much. I Wonder What she is up to these days. :)

    • bethviola says...

      Totally had the same reaction!

      And happy birthday Toby!

    • YES! We miss you Sharon. I believe she’s in grad school to become a social warrior, I mean, worker. Go, Sharon! But we miss you dearly. xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aww she’s going to be touched!

    • Lola says...

      Yes​I too have missed her.

    • Sharon Beesley says...

      Haha this is such an unexpected reaction! Thank you all.

  60. Carrie says...

    How fun! Joanna, do you still have your eyelash extensions in?

    • Krista says...

      Yes! Tell us about how your eyelash extensions are holding up!! I got mine done and in spite of asking for a “natural” look they were so extreme that I actually trimmed them at home with fingernail clippers! The aesthetician was also a little less careful than yours and there were clumps sticking off in random directions. If anyone in the Northern VA/DC area has recommendations, I’d be happy to hear them!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for your notes! i don’t have extensions here; i miss them! :) krista, sorry to hear about your experience — hope you find a good one!!