Monday, May 3, 2010

Birthday Bashes - The Remix Version

Backtracking from Aaron's big day was the combo birthday party that has become our family tradition. With the kids' birthdays so close in time, and Easter generally sandwiched in the middle somewhere, it just seems to make more sense to get both sides of the family together to celebrate once, rather than try to find two dates that work for most people.
It's got nothing to do with me not wanting to clean the house to big-party-standards-level twice in a month.
Thankfully the kids really seem to enjoy it. In a way, I think it makes celebrating their birthdays easier for each of them to cope with. Kids' emotions are so much more honest than a grown-ups and it's easy to understand why it's tough for them to watch another child open gifts when they are opening none. Don't get me wrong, I abhor the practice of giving a child a gift so they don't feel "left out" on someone else's special day, but I do appreciate what a tough lesson it is to learn. Our joint family party is the day the kids receive the bulk of their presents and they're generally so enthralled in their own loot that they haven't got a moment to notice what their sibling is getting.
Or, if you're Aaron, you're so deep in a gift bag that you wouldn't see a herd of zebras if they ran through your house.

It was a wonderful day, and a terrific reminder of how fortunate we are to be surrounded by the love of our family and friends on these important occasions. Our house felt like it was bursting at the seams with people who genuinely love our kids for the special small people they are. When I tucked Meredith into bed that night she said "Oh Mommy, today was totally the best!"

Now that's worth cleaning the house for!

This year's choice of birthday cakes was exponentially less labour-intensive than last year's Atomic Betty and Thomas the Train cake frosting marathon. Meredith has decided she doesn't actually LIKE cake (Auntie Krista is shuddering somewhere....) so opted for an ice cream sundae buffet instead!

Aaron is still just young enough to not have formulated a specific request for a cake, so I tried a recipe my friend Linda has made every year for her son for at least 16 years. The title seemed fitting for our little whirling dervish, and Dirt Cake was made! It was delicious, most likely owing to the main ingredients being Oreo cookies, whipped cream, pudding and cream cheese. Topped with gummy worms and a front-end loader, of course.

Aaron wanted to eat his serving of the cake with the front end loader but settled for licking the cake off of it intead.

As if two birthdays to be celebrated wasn't enough, it was also the perfect opportunity to give Dave his 40th birthday present in anticipation of his upcoming birthday in June. I've been cooking up this plan for a year now, and was so excited for him to finally find out! Dave's headed to the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pebble Beach in June, so I figured finding out about it in April would be enough lead time to arrange flights and car rentals and all that jazz.

He was completely surprised, which was the best part of all!
Still to come, the blow-by-blow of Meredith's big day. But maybe another day, because this party girl needs her beauty sleep.

Birthday Bashes

I'm three or four birthday parties behind at this point. No time like the present to catch up, before the memory fades to black because despite my attempts to argue to the contrary, if my kids are getting older apparently so am I!

Spring is the birthday season in our house. Meredith and Aaron are born six weeks apart, so spring brings anticipation of their two birthdays, Easter, and the melting of the snow all in a short period of time!

Today is Aaron's birthday, and we've finally ascertained for certain that he is three. He's been campaigning for weeks to be considered five, but I think we've settled on three as of today. I can only speculate that he's entranced by the age of five because Meredith seemed to be five for sooooooo long and there are some amazing things five-year-olds can do.

Like chew gum.

Anyhooo, today is the big day and furthermore it's his champagne birthday. Three on the third. We celebrated with milk instead of champagne, spoilsports that we are. He didn't need to get his kicks from champagne, he got them from his brand spanking new guaranteed-child-wearer-outer, also known as a trampoline.

I'm sure he burned a thousand calories before he even ate his birthday breakfast of Froot Loops. We're a no-sugary-cereal household except for two times a year. The kids get to pick a box of any kind of cereal they like for their birthday, and his choice was Froot Loops. Good thing we got the trampoline!

After breakfast it was off to daycare. In honour of his special day, we asked one of his favourite people to come by and provide a little birthday fun for him and his daycare pals. He is lucky enough to have a music session every week with the amazing Sonya from Wee Be Jammin' music. She does a music program for each of the age groups at the daycare, and Aaron has most of her material memorized. Wednesdays are usually "Sonya days" and he brings his fancy green guitar from Mexico along with him. Today he got to jam out with his guitar idol.

He and his friends also jumped, played, danced, threw scarves in the air, and generally had a rockin' toddler-sized good time. Nobody cried, and nobody peed their pants, so it was an unparalleled success.

After daycare he did another stint on the new trampoline, then chose the ever-popular grilled cheese as his special birthday meal. Good thing we pay closer attention to the four food groups the other 364 days of the year! To cap the day off, he picked ice cream at Sargent Sundae over dessert at home, so off we went. I was curious to see if turning three had magically improved his level of cleanliness when eating an ice cream cone.

It hadn't.

Good times, nonetheless.
Just imagine what the next year will bring...