posts tagged with 'birthday'

this moment

Grandpa David blowing out his birthday candles, Lijah by his side

happy birthday Grandpa!

A moment from the week.

Harvey's strawberry party

Harvey at work in the strawberry field

birthday boy at work

On Friday we celebrated Harvey's birthday with friends. After having some trouble scheduling we expected a small crowd and decided to treat a few friends to strawberry picking—but as it turned out fully 14 kids, including ours, were able to make it out to help Harvey with the harvest.

Harvey and Ollie carrying a tray of strawberries they picked

good friends

Theoretically, at least: the party was at 10:00, and the fields closed for picking at 10:30. And some people were late. But I picked extra berries to share, and there was plenty of time to feed the animals.

a black sheep eating out of Zion's hand

he has them eating out of his hand

A worse problem, though, was that the farm staff freaked out at the idea of us sharing a picnic at the farm (on one of the two dozen picnic tables they have out front), so we had to come up with a plan B for the explicitly birthday part of the gathering. Luckily we had smart phones and a double stroller.

the double stroller full of party supplies

have stroller, will travel

Eventually—though not without a significant amount of confusion—the party moved to the playground of the local elementary school: a hot, dusty spot, but with plenty for the kid to do. Add a couple tables, and it was all we needed for a proper celebration!

some of the kids sitting around a table on the playground

food and company

After they ate lunch (and cake!) the kids headed back to the playground.

Harvey and friends on a plaground spider web

two of them must be flies...

While the big kids ran around the slower ones did some more relaxed playing with their mamas.

mamas and littler ones playing in the sandbox, big kids in the background

almost shady

Elijah had a great time playing music on a metal globe.

Lijah playing with a playground music feature


We finished up by watching Harvey open his presents. They were all hits: he read the Tintin book first (on the way home), then he built the lego set, then he dug a hole (and buried a treasure) with his new shovel—all while wearing his new hat.

Harvey opening presents, friends looking on

enthusiastic audience

Happy Birthday Harvey!


this moment

Harvey and Ollie behind the strawberry birthday cake

happy 6, Harvey!

A moment from the week this morning.

party preparations

We're up late this evening getting ready to host our first ever destination birthday party: to celebrate Harvey turning six we'll be picking strawberries, looking at animals, and sharing a picnic lunch at Parlee Farm. Sure we need to pack up lots of food and utensils, but on the other hand we're not worrying about cleaning up the house, so I think it's a win. The cake, though, took some time, and it's not even done yet: four chocolate layers in the fridge and ganache and strawberry puree reduction are ready for final assembly tomorrow.

It's a good thing the party is in the morning, because I think I'm going to need to be in bed by mid afternoon.

Zion's blue monkeys

When asked what he wanted for his birthday this year, Zion would pout and mutter, "Everything," or "Nothing." Sometimes he would just put his thumb in his mouth and scowl at me. To other people he announced that he was turning two, not four.

The pour child. He has some issues.

Despite his obstinant regression, I still wanted to make Zion a present to commemorate his birthday. I still love him, even if he's not the baby anymore. Even if he craps his pants four times a day and tries to kick me in the tits when I unbuckle his carseat, I still love that little gremlin. He had asked a while back for a sock monkey just like Harvey's, only BLUE, so I whipped up this striped lady.

blue because Zion likes blue

But that didn't seem to be enough, given the emotional intensity of the situation. So I sewed an additional component. Zion had a pair of wool socks he never wore. He is super particular about his socks; they have to be dark blue cotton with scratchy letters on the bottom. Indeed, he's said to me, "Even when I grow as big as you I'll still wear socks with scratchy letters." So in honor of Zion's definitiveness on this and every other subject I took his non-standard wool socks and turned them into a baby monkey.

baby because baby is an important concept in our emotional universe

Mama and baby monkeys both have velcro hands and feet, so that they can hug Zion or each other as he sees fit. It's my subtle way of saying to my stubborn child: You can't get rid of me that easy. Hit me, hate me, my love for you is like mother-f-ing velcro.

i love you Mama monkey

Zion is going to be okay in the long run. I's legitimately hard being four. It's hard not being the baby, being little, being bossed around by the person you love most in the whole world, your dominating older brother. Zion's anger is good and honest resistance to the difficulties he faces. As a resistor myself I want to tell him something like: Go on with your bad self. It's okay. Just come to me when you need a hug. You crazy little monkey.

i love you baby monkey.


Zion starts to turn four

the cake: white frosting with blue sugar and blueberries

blue cake

We had Zion's "friend party" today, kicking off at least three days of birthday extravaganza for our favorite middle child. Should be four days, now that I think about it. Since he's a little brother, the red candle in the cake pictured above is a hand-me-down, but the rest of the cake is blue to his specifications; those blodges on the top are meant to be flowers.

There were 15 kids kicking around at one time or another, but it felt like a pretty small, relaxed gathering. We started off with lunch: spaghetti, chicken nuggets, and quesadillas as requested, plus watermelon and chocolate milk. Ollie made sure to get a good seat for the feast.

Ollie enjoying lunch on a big lawn chair

concentrating on the food

Then we opened presents—we decided to do it before desert when we found Zion sitting on the stairs inside. "I'm lookin at my presents," he told us. From his friends he got bubbles and a golf set, a pirate puzzle, and a popgun that instantly captured his attention.

Zion shooting his new popgun, birthday guests in the background


I didn't have anything for him, but Mama more than made up for me with a pair of beautiful blue sock monkeys (I also expect she got some good pictures that she'll put up here soon!). Both of them are tucked in bed with the birthday boy now, along with the blue cow that Harvey sewed him last year.

I suppose my part in the celebration was the cake, and I had a great time making it with lots of help from Zion this morning. The frosting was a great frustration later, but I'm almost ready to let that go, and I'm grateful to Zion that he happily accepted my icing "flowers", never mind they don't look anything like the ones on the cakes at Market Basket that gave him the idea. I bet they were a lot tastier, though.

While he enjoyed the flowers and the top layer of blueberry cake, though, he saved most of his desert appetite for his true love.

Zion concentrating on his chocolate ice-cream cone

that's the stuff

Over the past couple weeks Zion's been showing some apprehension about his birthday, so we were glad to see him having fun. When I asked him at bedtime what was his favorite part of the day, he said, "my birthday party" (never mind that he could have picked a more specific moment out of the five hours of fun). He also said, earlier, that he didn't want his party to end. I had good news for him on that: there's lots more celebration to come!


birthdays and other stressors

We're feeling kind of stretched around here these days. It's not so much that the three kids outnumber us, since the older two are good on their own for long stretches of time; but they do like someone to pay attention to them sometimes, and Lijah also requires some attention himself. Does he ever—day and night. After putting him to bed Leah this evening wanted to put in some work on the present she's making for Zion's birthday this weekend, but after the third baby wakeup she gave up in frustration. Just as an example. So there's lots I'd like to write about here that I am not writing, in favor of cleaning and reading to kids and even spending some quality time with Lijah. And, the past few days, getting organized to make birthday cards for Leah.

Because, even as she plans for Zion's party, we couldn't entirely ignore her own birthday today! I managed to pull the boys away from their books Sunday and friends yesterday to make cards, which came out pretty nicely; hopefully their elegance and creativity makes up for our lack of tangible presents for Mama this morning. I still owe her a couple. She's not super excited about her birthday, which I understand; I feel kind of the same way, which is why I was happy to have my own subsumed into Lijah's for the first time last month. The first time of many!

But still I can't let the day pass without marking it here: Happy Birthday Leah! And here's hoping that Lijah will give you the best present a baby can give: a reasonable night's sleep!


A lion for Lijah

Leading up to Elijah's birthday I was thinking about what I could make for him by way of a present. Suddenly I had a terrible realization. In his first year of his life I made exactly ZERO original items for him. Knitting and sewing for Lijah has been a null set, due to 1) the abundance of hand-me-downs and 2) his complete lack of giving a shit about sewn or knitted items. And it's been a hard year too - a lot of evenings punctuated every half-hour by screaming. Most rational humans would shy away from the noisy sewing machine under those conditions. Still, I couldn't let this continue past his birthday. S in 20-minute bursts (punctuated by screaming) I cut up a sweater and upcycled a cute stuffed lion.

cuddle rawr

I repurposed a sweater with a bottom ruffle that came to me used and proved completely unflattering on my body. The ruffle became the mane of the lion, which wasn't as self-explanatory as I originally assumed. Here's my tester piece for reference - you can see that sewing the ruffle on straight didn't work and I had to gather it in the final version.

lion ski bum?

Also in the final I added a tail with a ball on the end made from a button and its frog closure (which I meticulously un-picked). The second closure I unpicked to turn into ears.

loves you

Lijah liked the present just enough to drop it from his highchair repeatedly. He's not very into stuffed toys, like I said — justification for my laziness over the past year. Still, it's nice for him to grow up with homemade toys. Even if they never really PLAY with them, my older boys often ask, "Did you make this for me?" I like to pretend it's a tangible way that they know they're loved. Especially since I enjoy the challenge of making new things from unflattering sweaters.

Meanwhile, Elijah is into toys that he can gum more effectively. Here he is stealing a plastic ball from another babies at his party. Kid can stick up for himself. Nobody has to hear him rawrrr.



Elijah's first

a birthday cake in front of a chalkboard birthday message

Happy Birthday Elijah

This weekend was full of birthday fun with Lijah. Saturday we went to my parents' house for a party for him and me both—with a cake for each of us! Grandma Judy made mine (cheesecake!) and I made one for the birthday baby (applesauce vanilla cake, with peach jam between the layers and a buttercream glaze).

There were some very nice presents, but Lijah might have been more interested in the lovely—and easily reachable—appetizers.

Elijah standing at the coffee table amidst food and presents

party time

Luckily his brothers are always available to show him how to play with his toys (they even let him have a turn after a while!).

Harvey, Zion, and Elijah playing with Elijah's presents

helping hands

After a tremendous birthday dinner (thanks Mom!) it was time for cake. It was Lijah's second candle, but while he might be figuring out the routine the mechanics of candle-blowing still escape him.

Elijah in the dark looking at his lit birthday candle

will he blow it?

Then all that was left was to eat the cakes (though Lijah, healthful baby that he is, mostly stuck to the blueberries and strawberries).

Lijah and Zion at the birthday table with cake

big one-year-old and big brother

We had another party yesterday, but I didn't take any pictures of it. Leah did; I'm sure she'll post some as soon as she has a moment.


this moment

Elijah looking at a birthday candle on a pile of muffins, Zion singing in the background

Lijah's first

A moment from the week (this evening).