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Old 11-25-2012, 08:31 AM   #21
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If you can afford a pottery painting place, you can afford a box of cake mix and icing....don't schedule the party over a mealtime and it's cheap!

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Old 11-25-2012, 09:21 AM   #22
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Re: I could use some advice...

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Maybe you should have a family party then. Having just family and something low key is probably just as expensive as going to a pottery painting place or the zoo. You don't have to go nuts.
We've done this some years, but we have a large family so once you buy food and decorations it's too much. We usually just give the kids a choice what they want to do. They usually choose to do something fun.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:23 AM   #23
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Re: I could use some advice...

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If you can afford a pottery painting place, you can afford a box of cake mix and icing....don't schedule the party over a mealtime and it's cheap!
My oldest chose painting on pottery this year...it cost $12. Can't beat that!
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:18 AM   #24
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Re: I could use some advice...

I think it just depends on the person how you are going to feel on this one. My aunts and uncles never called me on my birthday growing up, and we were super close, they were like second parents to me. It just wasn't something we did. I don't think twice about it now when my kids aunts and uncles (15 of them) don't call on their birthday's.

We do try and throw a small family party for each child every year, but it is nothing expensive or fancy. I make a main dish and a cake, everyone else brings a side and we just hang out at the house. We've never spent more than $100 on even the most extravagant party we threw, and we have a HUGE family. That way each child gets a little bit of acknowledgement for their special day.

My MIL has 10 kids and does even less, she invites whoever wants to come over for dessert on the child's birthday, we sing happy birthday and bring a small gift. It probably cost her $5 for the cake, but we all get to celebrate.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:59 AM   #25
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Re: I could use some advice...

My mother was one of 5 children. She was the one that remembered all the brothers and sisters' birthdays but never really the children. I never got calls from my uncles and aunts on my birthday. Birthday parties were for school friends and occasionally my cousins who are my closest peers would be invite (Most were 5 years - 15 years older). It never felt strange.

Now that I have kids, my in-laws (husband's family) have one who sends cards for every single birthday and holiday (including Halloween!) One that sends gifts once a year when she gets around to it (she works 80 hour weeks as a cpa) - so it is either for a birthday, or Christmas, or this year it was my kids' Halloween costumes. The brother never does anything for us, including calling to find out if we're okay (if we don't call him, he doesn't call).

On my side it is only me and my brother. Each of us has only one (biological) child. Let me tell you, it won't go well if either of us forgets any of the family members' birthdays. Each time the man, the woman and the child has a birthday a call has to happen or a Facebook message. They are not that great at remembering my step children's birthdays but they have never ever met or spoken to them. They are vague concepts to my brother and sil. They have met my biological daughter (money is tight so only she and I flew to South Africa once before she turned 2 and we only paid for one plane ticket). My step children do not feel like they are left out because they also only think of their step family as vague concepts. They have no emotion invested in them.

So, I'd say you need to figure out what it really means. As demonstrated in my example above it is not merely whether it is your sister and her nieces and nephews. It is the closeness of the bond and whether the kids feel hurt.

By what you said, it does feel like the kids are hurt and then I'd address it.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:29 PM   #26
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Re: I could use some advice...

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I have 6 siblings as well and dh has 3... I would be hurt if they didn't call to tell my kids Happy Birthday!!! I call all 11 of my nieces and nephews on their birthdays and send them gifts even with no party. That's the joy of being an Auntie and having an Auntie!!! My mom was one of 7 and my dad one of 4 and the married ones always sent gifts for bdays and Christmas or at least took us out to do some activity (which was even better since it meant individual attention). It's the same way for us now.

I have 4 kids and am busy too, but I, personally, feel it's part of being a family (taking time out to relate and talk to one another). One of my sisters conjoins bday gifts with Christmas gifts and I'm fine with that, but she still calls on the day of to sing happy birthday to the kids. We just write it on our calendars to remember. We don't spend much on each other's kids' gifts... maybe $5-10 dollars at most, but it's the thought and even kids love a dollar store coloring book and crayons or a gift card for a free Kid's Meal or a ticket to a movie theater. A lot of times the birthday gifts are late in the mail, but that just stretches out the fun and surprise.
We do a combined birthday party for all my kids because 4 parties a year is just too expensive. It doesn't mean the day of is not important by any means.

To the OP; I would ask when your kiddo's birthday is coming up, "Hey, Sis, can you call to sing her 'happy birthday' on her big day? It'd mean the world to her." It takes 4 minutes out of one's day (and I can totally see how an older kid would be hurt if no one calls them on their big day). As far as gifts, I wouldn't bring it up.

I do have one sister-in-law who has not even acknowledged 2 out of my 4 kids' existence, doesn't do gifts for any of them, doesn't even really talk to me (she has issues, but that is a whole other can of worms... I wish her jealousy wouldn't get in the way of how she doesn't relate to my kids ). Anyway, I still send her children gifts and talk to them. It's not their fault their mother is psycho and hurtful to my children (yes, I think it's hurtful behavior with the ignoring). Sigh...
I have 18 nieces and nephews and several of them are my age and ttc. There is simply no way myself or my siblings can keep up with that many birthdays nor afford that many gifts, so we mutually decided many years ago birthdays aren't a big deal. We are all still very close and love each other no less. The same was true for my mothers family (she is one of 15 children), and they too are all very close. Buying each other stuff isn't what makes a family. It's a nice thought if that's what you want to do, I just don't think it is something worth getting upset over.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:43 PM   #27
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Re: I could use some advice...

She probably doesn't realize it's so important to your girls to hear from her. I'd just casually mention that the girls said that for their birthdays they want a phone call from their sweetest auntie
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:05 PM   #28
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Re: I could use some advice...

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I have 18 nieces and nephews and several of them are my age and ttc. There is simply no way myself or my siblings can keep up with that many birthdays nor afford that many gifts, so we mutually decided many years ago birthdays aren't a big deal. We are all still very close and love each other no less. The same was true for my mothers family (she is one of 15 children), and they too are all very close. Buying each other stuff isn't what makes a family. It's a nice thought if that's what you want to do, I just don't think it is something worth getting upset over.
I wasn't specifically saying "you", just saying I, too, come from a big family. oops, should have said that first. I'm sorry. I hope to have 18 nieces and nephews someday! Half of my siblings aren't married and having babies yet, so I think I'll get there. As long as you all are happy with what you all agreed on, then it's not a big deal. It is hard when it's not discussed firsthand though before doing away with a tradition... that is where hurt feelings probably come into play. It's not the buying, but the "thinking of you". Like I said we don't spend a lot, but calling is a must. We, siblings, talked awhile ago and decided not to give each other birthday presents (adult siblings), but I still like to give a $5 gift card or mail some homebaked goods to them but know not to expect anything back (which is perfectly fine). I do expect a lot of phone calls on my birthday though and catching up if I'm home!
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