posts tagged with 'birthday'

celebrating Harvey

Harvey's birthday was a long time ago. But somehow it never seemed the moment to have a party for him all through July, August, and September. Partly the problem was one of responsibility: who is in charge of inviting teenagers to a teenager's birthday party? And of planning the food and activities? In the end Harvey and I worked out a collaboration (I would do the food and he would do the activities; he'd invite his friends, I would confirm with the parents). And then after one further week of delay—one of his friends was away—we finally had the party on Saturday. It was a delightful affair.

a yellow-frosted cake with flowers on top of it

with elegant food and drink

It was a costume party, but a relaxed one where the guests were in no way obligated to keep their costumes on or act in character. Or even have a real costume; one of Harvey's friend just wore a t-shirt reading "404: costume not found". Harvey ordered an awesome feathered mask and wore his cloak from Halloween a few years ago; he said his costume was "someone at a costume party". Elijah was a white ninja with a face-paint scar. Zion's ninja costume was in the wash so he went as himself. It was all fine.

The kids all played outside for a while, first running around and hitting each other with things (enough of them were warriors of some kind as to make it inevitable) and then they sat down around the picnic table and played Mafia. Harvey had planned a water-balloon activity, with candy prizes, but his friend who was going to bring the balloons thought the party was Sunday so he wasn't there (so much for all the delay to make sure everyone could come!). So they just ate the candy. Then there was the taco lunch, with beef, two kinds of beans, and soy crumbles, plus homemade flour tortillas. And lots of chips.

the food being served up

taco party

After lunch they all went and played Smash Bros for a while—not my favorite but definitely something 11-15 year olds can get together on (Elijah and his friend played outside some more). Then there was cake—a yellow cake with lemon buttercream frosting was what Harvey asked for, and he liked the fall-hued zinnias I decorated it with—plus ice cream and also apple pie. The kids had eaten a whole bag of peanut-butter cups at that point, along with a fair number of twix bars and smarties, so I have to say they didn't do the real dessert justice... but on the plus side nobody threw up and we've been enjoying the leftovers since.

It was a good party, to be sure. But maybe not enough to make it up for Harvey for being so late. We should have another one!


happy birthday Harvey!

Harvey turned 13 today. Amazing! He is not yet invested in the idea of being a teenager, though; he doesn't feel that he has changed in any way. Fair. Unfortunately we don't feel organized enough to celebrate him properly: on Saturday, when his party might have been, we had two other birthday parties and a solstice party to attend (or at least drive to). And the problem with a midsummer birthday is that his friends are all traveling. So while his grandparents have made him cakes and showered him with gifts, his immediate family is definitely falling down on the job. We'll make it up to you, Harvey!

celebrating Zion

On Saturday we hosted Zion's birthday party for his friends, which, as tradition dictates, was a pretty big affair with some friends for the rest of us too. In birthday season Zion's fancy turns to thoughts of baseball, so once again his party had a baseball theme. Which in this case meant we played an hour or two of whiffleball. Never mind that it was the hottest day of the year so far: kids and adults alike were committed!

Zion up at bat in our yard with a crowd of kids on deck behind him

hey, batta batta

The kids started up with batting practice as folks began to arrive, and then chose captains for a game with real sides. Then after a break for drinks and chips—despite my concerns, Leah put the chips out before dinner thinking that kids needed to keep their electrolyte levels up—we reorganized into kids vs adults. Not everyone played, but it was still a good-sized game, and fiercely fought. There were home runs, aggressive—not to say foolhardy—base-running and a triple play that was called back because of a general lack of understanding of the rules of "tagging up". I had to bow out before the end to start to get supper ready, but not before I hit a towering home run into the woods over the shed. Very satisfying! Still, the adult side ended up losing something like 24-12. Those kids were just too good.

For supper we had hamburgers and hot dogs on the fire (plus garden asparagus), along with salad, veggies, and lots and lots of chips (electrolytes!). Adults ate under a tent that Leah bought in the morning, thinking we'd die otherwise under the baking sun. It's the best thing ever, and even though the day cooled slightly as the party got going it was delightful to be gathered under its shade.

As the party entered its fourth hour the kids abandoned organize sports for a more typical game of battling and domination—and, apparently, courtroom trials? I'm not quite sure. The adults were having civilized conversation elsewhere. There was also some bike riding and rollerblading, and Zion built some of his new legos (most of his presents from his friends were legos, which is good because he didn't get any from his family; only sports equipment). The party started at three, and I think everyone was gone by 7:30, but I'm not sure... it was kind of hazy by that point. A good party!

kids and adults around the table under the tent as Zion waits to blow out his candles

pure delight


happy birthday Zion!

Today is Zion's birthday. I haven't managed to plan his party with his friends yet, but we'll get to that—and we've done plenty of celebrating already, with more to come in the next few days!

Zion in front of his cereal-with-a-birthday candle, as we sing him Happy Birthday

b-day breakfast

That was this morning; besides his birthday treat breakfast of cereal, he also had cards from all of us and the first of his presents (new shifter and grips for his bike). But that wasn't the first of the birthday delights: we kicked things off yesterday evening with a celebratory moment at Bible study, with cake. We were having too much fun singing to get a photo of the candle moment, but here's what the cake looked like as it waited for everyone to be done playing and come eat it.

a cake with buttercream frosting and one candle on our picnic table

Zion's birthday is in apple-blossom time

Then this morning before breakfast I made the same recipe into two dozen cupcakes, which we frosted with our friends during our "school time" this morning to share with more friends at Park Day this afternoon. That gave us yet another chance to sing, but because it was kind of rainy there weren't actually that many friends there. And plus most of them also brought celebratory treats. So we had plenty of cupcakes to bring home, to go with the quarter cake left from yesterday evening.

Zion picking from a tray of cupcakes, each frosted with a pink Z

he gets first pick

So you can see why he doesn't need a party with his friends right away. We need to eat our way through all that cake, and I need to have a couple days of not making cake. But I trust he's had enough celebrating from us to tide him over for a little while!

[edit: I see that last year I said that you can't put a candle in cereal... we sure proved that wrong!]


a birthday like old times

Do you remember March 2020, when Elijah's birthday was the last party we had where we were able to invite people into our house? Well, I don't know if the pandemic is really over, but the weather the last two weeks seemed determined to force us into a symbolic statement about where we stand now virus-wise, two years later. The poor boy had his actual birthday a couple weeks ago, and his party was scheduled for the 12th—outdoors, like things have been lately. But the forecast was terrible, so we postponed it a week. Then, after a week of beautiful clear days, the next Saturday was wet too. But Elijah was determined to wait no longer, and with the extra week to think about it all our friends were fine with coming indoors to celebrate with us. And what a party it was!

Elijah blowing out the candles on his cake with a friend looking on

he still remembers how to do it

Of course, it wasn't all inside. Elijah's biggest hopes and plans were a game of freeze tag at Fawn Lake and a piñata, and neither one of those were really possible to do in our house. The Fawn Lake part was first, and while it felt kind of bad to be leaving our house in downpour by the time we reached the pond—all of seven minutes away—the rain had faded to falling mist. So all the kids were able to have a great time playing tag, and all the grown-ups were able to stand around like grown-ups do, mostly without even needing their umbrellas.

kids in the field at Fawn Lake

I couldn't ever get them all in one photo

After about an hour Lijah called a halt and we headed home (through another rain squall—good timing!). The birthday boy was so excited about presents that he opened them before lunch. Lunch itself was amazing: all those kids around our table for the first time in two years! Amazingly loud, too. The adults stayed in the other room. Besides the pizza the highlight of the at-home part of the party was smashing the piñata, which we did on the front porch—not because it was particularly wet, but because the thing was so big and heavy I didn't think anything but the ring bolt for the porch swing would be able to hold it up! It survived two rounds of kids whacking it with a plastic bat (though it was looking definitely battered and leaking a fair bit) before Elijah dispatched it with the wooden one.

Zion hitting the pinata

Zion showning good form

Then we had cake. At that point it was 1:00, the official end of the party (which had begun at 10:30). We weren't kicking anyone out, though, and I was very gratified that everybody who didn't have somewhere else to go stuck around til almost 3:00. Just like that last birthday, back in 2020! I guess we still know how to throw a party.

Elijah's cake, decortated with sunglasses

the theme was "cool kids"


longest birthday ever

Elijah's birthday banners are still up. His party Saturday was postponed, which was probably a good call even though it didn't pour as much as the forecast predicted; it was still pretty wet and windy. Waiting yet longer was a tough prospect for him, so to make it up to him Leah took him and Zion to stay in a hotel in Lexington Saturday night. They swam in the pool and jumped on the beds and watched TV yesterday, and then this morning they enjoyed the breakfast buffet before coming to church. Unfortunately Leah came home feeling pretty sick, so I haven't had a chance to hear what she thought of the experience. It was a win for the boys though, that's for sure! And Elijah still has his party this Saturday to look forward to, and those banners have got to be up for another six days.

Yesterday was also an important milestone: it marked two years since the world shut down because of Covid. That seems like something worth marking as mask mandates end—for now?—and we're once again able to sing in Kids Church. But I don't really have anything to say about it: Elijah's birthday is much more interesting.

birthday joy for my boy?

After my birthday on Saturday, Sunday it was Elijah's turn. He didn't have the best day; come to find out that Sunday is actually a hard day on which to feel special in our house. The birthday banners were up, sure, and he got a card first thing, which was all fine. But church is church, and while it definitely has its fun parts, it was hard for him to feel special when I was paying attention to all the other kids... and there were two other birthdays to celebrate too! Even his birthday breakfast was messed up by it being Sunday. Even though I would have made him whatever he wanted—waffles, muffins, fried potatoes...—the Sunday tradition of cold cereal couldn't be resisted. At least we tried to make his chocolate bunnies a little special.

Elijah getting ready to blow out a birthday candle in his cereal

always a birthday morning candle

Luckily, his actual birthday isn't his only chance to be celebrated. On Saturday he and I shared a party at my parents' house (with Leah's parents in attendance too) and he got way more presents than I did. Plus he's got more celebrations to come. His party with his friends is this coming Saturday, and he's really looking forward to it—not just for the presents and cake, but for the epic game of freeze tag he's got planned at Fawn Lake and the totally cool piñata which'll be stuffed with the wide selection of candy he picked out (we've never done a piñata before! so exciting!). Only... it looks like it might rain that day! What'll we do?!


age and beauty

When I was a freshman in high school I don't know that I ever imagined being 45 years old, but I do know that if I had I would not have expected that I would, on my 45th birthday (which came this past weekend), be dealing with a big pimple on my face. Ah, the indignities of age: the ways that you'd like to remain youthful you generally do not, but then you still have to worry about your skin. Not that I worry too much, because nobody actually cares very much what I look like. And I really shouldn't complain at all, since it's not only pimples that are keeping me feeling young. My plan of subjecting my body to a constant stream of falls and indignities continues apace, and I think it's working great! Most of the other parents I hang out with are nervous about falling on the ice; there aren't many other 45-year-olds who are out there trying full-speed running penguin slides (well, I suppose technically since I last did that on Friday I was still 44, but close enough). And with all the snow that melted over the weekend I'm starting to think about taking my bike up to the skatepark again soon. That's a young person thing to do, right?!

By the way, as I wrote about being a freshman it occurred to me that I began this blog a mere 13 years after my freshman year in high school, and I've been writing in it now for 18 years. Imagine that! Only nine more years and I'll have been blogging for half my life! What role does blogging play in keeping one feeling young?


happy birthday Grandma!

Yesterday we celebrated my mom's birthday with a breakfast feast and a trip to the mall so that Elijah could pick out his birthday present. Ah, the selfless life of a grandparent! (I'll not that my dad did not accompany us to the mall; he's a little less selfless). To make it even worse, we didn't have any presents for her! We will, we will, but we weren't ready in time. The boys did make some nice cards, though, and I made some food. That's my love language. Happy birthday Grandma!

Grandma blowing out a candle stuck in a pile of muffins

you see Elijah blowing along, and Zion pragmatically reaching for a biscuit

Harvey's boat

I've shown the picture, I suppose I ought to tell the story. Harvey's been wanting his own boat for a while, and even thinking about trying to buy one for himself. But to be honest, he doesn't have a great deal of access to shopping. Then as his birthday got closer, he started to wonder about getting one for a present. He didn't feel like it was particularly likely, but really all he needed to do was let the grandparents know his desire... they make things happen!

Harvey paddling in his own kayak

complete freedom

We took the two boats to the pond last week for their first outing together. It was a bit of a challenge getting them on the car, but we managed; it was also challenging getting into Walden Pond on a hot day, but we did that too. Then once we were there the boats made it easy to find a spot where we could swim away from the crowds.

Mama and Lijah resting on the steep rocky shore above the two boats

private lake access

Of course, Harvey isn't the only one who wants time in a boat by himself! It'll be a while before Zion or Elijah get one of their own—if for no other reason than we have no way to carry them!—but Zion at least can certainly do some practicing. Harvey wouldn't let him take out his brand new craft, but the Green Gecko is always available for solo runs.

Zion paddling the canoe by himself, Harvey and Elijah swimming

he needs independence too

Even Elijah got in on the action, though only briefly: it was so breezy it was even challenging for Zion (he had to get out and swim once to pull the boat back upwind). I was worried Lijah was going to get blown all the way down to the main beach, so I didn't let him get far from shore. But he'll have lots more chances to try this summer!