Moving to Utah in November of 2004 was a huge change for our family. We left behind in our home state of Oregon both sides of our extended family. It was a difficult transition, and we missed our families terribly, especially over that first Christmas. When the first birthday after our move came, our youngest's (at the time) first birthday, I was at a loss for how to properly celebrate without having his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins joining us.
Fortunately, my resourceful dh had a plan: Chuck E. Cheese!
At first I thought it was silly. We didn't have any good alternatives, though, so we went ahead with dh's plan. And we had a great, great time! The noise level was loud but not unbearable, the food was suprisingly decent, and our kids had an absolute blast playing games and going on rides.
Since that first birthday away from all our friends and family our options have grown: we have good friends here now, and we've even had family visiting over a few birthdays. But our kids still love going to Chuck E. Cheese, and we go at least every other birthday. Last night we spent Valentine's evening in a delayed celebration of dd's 8th birthday, and once again our children had an amazing amount of fun. I have to admit that I love it just a little bit, too, because of the good memories I now have of family celebrations we've made our own.
Oh, and our then-youngest is now #4 out of 6, and is a very happy four year old. He's pictured above on the little carousel, having a ball at "Shucky Cheeeeeeese"!