posts tagged with 'birthday'

happy birrrrthday, Zion!

On Saturday, we finally finished up celebrating Zion's birthday with a party for his friends. It was our first ever themed party.

the presents harvey and I wrapped for Zion, and a treasure map

embracing the theme

Since we'd never done one before, our friends weren't sure how we'd manage; and their concern was warranted, since especially in our destroyed-by-tiredness state we weren't really on the ball with forward preparations. For example, I had no idea what I was going to do for a cake until Friday morning. But in the end I was pretty pleased with how it turned out!

a cake: blue sea with island, sea monster, and pirate ship

it looked bigger in real life

Of course, not everything had to be pirate-oriented. Rather than jerked meat we had plain old hot dogs, along with mac-and-cheese and chips. General kid food.

hot dogs cooking on the fiery grill

think it'll be enough?

Not being used to themed parties, the kids were all happy running around after lunch, like they would any other time—the only difference is that lots of them were in pirate hats. I really had to work to get their attention for the planned activities. First they painted telescopes and treasure chests.

the kids, many in pirate hats, sitting on the grass painting

do pirates concentrate on their work?

Next up was a treasure hunt—two treasure hunts, actually, since I didn't want the older siblings to take over all the thinking for the birthday boy and the three other kids he actually invited to the party (there were ten kids total). So the older kids had a picture-based scavenger hunt, while the five-year-olds got to do a real treasure hunt with digging and everything! They only hit each other with the shovels twice (by accident!).

Zion and friends digging by the shed

collaborative digging

The treasure was bead necklaces and chocolate—those Hershey miniatures that look like gold bars. That was Leah's idea, and it was a great one. Finding the treasure stirred up Zion's acquisitiveness, so then we went inside so he could open his presents.

Zion opening presents with friends watching

what is it?!

There was some good stuff, including a stomp rocket that occupied the crowd for the next half hour.

Zion airborne about to land on the stomp rocket

ready, go!

Then his new lego sets took over Zion's attention; lego-building is less communal, but they made it work.

Zion assembling a lego set on the front porch with a crowd around him

riveting

Some of the kids—like Harvey—really really wanted to help, but Zion wanted to do it all himself, and we managed to make it happen. He also blew out the candles himself (in three puffs). But we all could share the cake!

Zion blowing out the candles

mid-blow

And also the apple pie that I made on Zion's request, only to have him say, at the table, "actually I meant pumpkin". Oh well.

The party started at noon and was still going pretty strong at 5:00, when we packed up and moved venues—rather than making dinner we thought we'd just head over to another party we were invited to. We brought what was left of the cake and stayed until almost 8:00. So I trust Zion now feels properly celebrated, and can start acting like a five-year-old!

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happy birthday Zion

Zion turns five today! Seems like just yesterday we were meeting him for the first time. No wait, no it doesn't! Zion, you're pretty awesome; we're lucky to have you in the family.

Zion at a picnic table holding a carrot

our intense, silly boy

struggling with birthdays

We're having a tough enough time around here with the regular requirements of daily life, so celebrating birthdays as they deserve to be celebrated seems a little out of reach. We did manage to get the waffle maker (which the boys and I tested out with some non-paleo waffles this morning—it works great!) and some cards for Leah, but I still owe her a gift or two. And now Zion's birthday is upon us. The beginning of his birthday, anyway: with our lack of forward planning we failed to reserve a day for his party with his friends, so it's been pushed back until the end of the month.

That was a bit of a failure. But at least I managed an outing this morning to pick up a present for him—one I had been thinking about for weeks! I wrapped it and gave it to him this evening. Leah is better at working ahead and she had something all wrapped up, so it was sort festive; marred only by Lijah's general upsetness and further unpleasantness fighting over the new toys. There was no cake.

But the birthday banner is up ahead of the actual day tomorrow, and Zion has ordered his birthday breakfast. And after breakfast he'll be headed off (along with his brothers) to Grandma and Grandpa's for the day, where I'm sure he'll get some solid celebrations in. Then he has a birthday outing scheduled for Thursday, and he'll have a share of a family party Sunday evening... and there's still the kid party to look forward to. So I think we'll do alright by him.

Then next year I'll be more organized, right?

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awful waffle birthday

As Harvey planned, we took advantage of Leah's absence to get ready to celebrate her birthday this evening (the 15 minutes she's home before bedtime this week is the perfect length of time for her to think about her birthday). We wrapped the present—a waffle-maker—in brown paper and decorated the wrapping, and water-colored cards (washable tempera for Lijah). Harvey wanted to include clues to the present's contents both in his picture, and in a poem inside the card—he's just that excited about the work we've been doing for National Poetry Month. After he thought for a while he admitted, "this is going to be just a rhyme, not really a poem," but I think it does the job.

Harvey holding the card and the waffle-maker

a poet and he knows it

No, it's not a commentary on the edibility of paleo waffles—that's just where we are in our first grade poetry study. Proud of finding rhymes! (and indifferent to rhythm, mostly).

The present was really from the boys (though I put it on my credit card, and they haven't paid me back yet...). I got my mom a waffle-maker for Christmas one year, and it was the gift that kept on giving—to me! So they're definitely on to something. But they were also very excited to be celebrating Mama, and put a lot of effort into the presentation. Even if she doesn't care so much about her birthday, we care about her and want her to know it!

So happy birthday Mama, and here's to some delicious awful waffles.

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it's your birthday it's your day

kids at the table digging in to birthday cake

looks like a party!

Lijah turned two today! We celebrated his birthday with a big brunch bash yesterday morning (and well into the afternoon...). We couldn't get him to really focus on the preparations, so we just invited a few of his closest friends and age peers—who of course brought along their siblings and parents. So it was a pretty good show. I made a lot of pancakes.

birthday bruch food on the table: lots of pancakes front and center

pancakes pancakes

This was the first time we've done a kids party with the entertainment planned for inside the house (yay for May and June birthdays!) so I was a little nervous, but in the end it all went wonderfully. Pancakes were perfect, because they keep coming off the griddle and you want folks to eat em up hot, so as guests arrived they could just grab a plate and dig in. Weighed down with up to five pancakes each (that was Taya), the kids were slowed enough that they didn't destroy anything. And then since the weather was fine, they ended up going outside anyway!

Lijah in the wagon, holding a sword

knight of the rectangular wagon

I won't always pull Lijah up and down the street in the wagon as many times as he wants, but it was his birthday! All the big kids delighted in the wide range of bikes and scooters we have available, but of course when you have not-quite-two-year-olds at a party, they don't always all feel like doing the same things.

a heavily-coated Henry watching the chickens in their run

this is where the action is

Eventually we got everybody back inside for cake (and as an aside, it's a good thing the party was fun for Lijah, since it distracted him; before folks arrived he spent a solid two hours asking if he could start eating cake!). In the days before his party he expressed some trepidation about being able to blow out the candle, so he enlisted Harvey to help; as it happened he made a solid attempt at it, and then they did it together in fine form.

Lijah and Harvey getting ready to blow out the birthday candle

one, two...

Then present-opening, which was such a scrum I could barely see what was happening—to say nothing of getting a good picture (the dubious best is featured in the weekly photo post from earlier). But when the crowds cleared—the big kids back outside, the littler ones to their various entertainments—he very much enjoyed exploring each present. Somehow along the way he lost his clothes, but that just means it was a great party!

Lijah in just a diaper looking at a birthday card, new toys at his feet

who needs clothes when you've got presents?!

The card he's holding there is maybe his favorite part of the whole birthday experience: it has a picture of some gangster/barbershop dogs (really! I have no idea), and when you open it it plays music. Shades of Harvey's delight lo these many years ago. I now know the song very well; the first line is the title of this post. How long to those batteries last?

Happy birthday Lijah, and here's to a great year!

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moments from the week

a

happy 2, Elijah!

Scenes and moments from the past week. We do more things than we have time to write about; photos help us remember it all!

Harvey in the voting booth holding the ballot

primary day

the boys playing on a ramp in the skate park

run park

harvey and rascal sleeping together on the couch

sleepyheads

the boys having a picnic by a steam vent outside the Arlington library

a warmer spot for a picnic

three boys reading three comic books in three car seats

common interest

lots of kids crowding round as Lijah opens a present

birthday party madness

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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

bong

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!

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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.