Friday, July 31, 2009

Alex's 2nd Birthday Celebration, VOL.3

Earlier this summer, I attempted to grow grass in the backyard, and while we now have a backyard that is almost 50% grass, 50% simply wasn't good enough for my darling child's 2nd birthday party. So we decided to have his party at a local park that has 100% grass, along with swings and slides and lots of other fun stuff.

I had originally planned on just inviting family and a few friends, then two weeks before the party, I totally freaked and decided to make invitations so we could invite Alex's classmates, too. He goes to "school" twice a week and has lots of friends, so I thought that inviting them to the party would be a great way to meet some of the kids he hangs out with and their parents.

I quickly decided on a "generic" train theme, (and I don't think I need to go into my whole anti-Thomas spiel again, but if asked, I would gladly accommodate), followed by days and nights of whistle-painting and tag-making and cupcake-baking...

I was a bit of a basketcase the morning of the party, and luckily my family is completely aware of my neuroses and know to stay out of my way until I start barking orders. My sister baked perfectly delicious cupcakes that I completely botched with my sloppy excuse for icing, we were running late, it was hot, and the stuff that I had packed into the car early, thinking I was on the ball, was starting to melt. I think around that time, I made a mental note to have Alex's birthday party at McDonald's next year - just me, Tim, Alex, and super-sized box of chicken nuggets. I'd even been willing to go the extra mile and find one that has one of those stinky, germ-filled Playplaces, and maybe, I'd even let Alex play in it. Because it will be his birthday, and that's how much I love him.

But that's next year. This year, I finished shoving things into the van and sped off to the park, where the madness continued right up until guests started showing up. We had box after box after box of food and decorations and cupcake toppers and drinks, and eventually, I got to a point where I was all, "It is what it is". And what it was was a really fun time with Alex and his friends and our friends and our family.






It was pretty hot that morning, although not unbearable. And while, "not unbearable" may not sound like ideal birthday party conditions, this is Dallas. In July. "Not unbearable" is about as good as it gets.





I was all about delegating (big surprise, eh?), so Dad and Nick grilled the hot dogs, Rachel took pictures, Bill and Vicki took care of the drinks, and Mom was my personal assistant, taking care of everything from placing cupcake toppers to reapplying my lip gloss.


We were really happy with the turnout. Several kids from Alex's class came, along with some friends from our Sunday School class. I'm sure Alex thought it was a strange coincidence that all of his friends happened to show up at the park at the same time.











We also had a party crasher who was very interested in our ugly-but-delicious cupcakes.


Oh, and did I mention that the party had live music? Yeah, that's how cool my parties are.


I have to assume that Alex had a good time, although I couldn't say for sure. I think I spent all of thirty seconds with the birthday boy, just enough time to sing him "Happy Birthday" and help him blow out his candle.



The cupcakes were a big hit, despite their unsightly appearance.




After the cupcakes were eaten, the kids were off and running.






It seems that the train whistles were a hit, too. They were just loud enough that the kids had fun blowing them, but not so much that the parents wanted to shove one down my throat for giving their kid such an annoying party favor.



Finally, the curtain closed on Alex's second birthday party, and we got a little family time after everyone else left.





A was pretty pooped after such a wild and crazy time.



If memory serves, everyone went home and took a well-earned nap to prepare for Phase 4 - Present Opening.

To be continued...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

staying in...around...near the lines

Okay, I just need to brag a minute...even though I don't know whether my news is bragworthy...but here's the thing. I think my kid is an artist in the making. That, or a totally neurotic basketcase in the making. Either way, it's nice to know he might be getting something from me.

This is a picture that he colored tonight.

Notice how each of the stars is yellow, the characters' mouths are orange, toes are green, eyes are blue...And this has nothing to do with the colors - I still think the kid is colorblind - but rather, the way he has colored each thing separately as opposed to scribbling haphazardly all over the page. And this isn't a one time deal, this is how he always colors now. Do all two year olds do this? If they do, then I am totally impressed by all two year olds.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Alex's 2nd Birthday Celebration, VOL.2

This installment of Alex's Birthday Celebration starts where we left off, with Alex and Rachel and I playing outside in the front yard. Alex got a nasty rash on his neck and face because...well, that's what he does. So we came inside and I pumped him full of Benadryl, because that's what I do.


He (and his bad-hair-havin'-self) played with Aunt Rach while I painted and cut and cleaned and cooked.




Eventually Tim came home, and I had TWO grown-up helpers at my disposal.



My mom and dad were driving in from Peoria and got to our house around 7:30pm, and only dad knew that Rachel was going to be here. So imagine my mom's surprise when she walked into my living room and saw Rachel sitting on the couch. I wish I had a picture of her face so that you wouldn't have to imagine it because it was pretty funny. Once she got over her initial shock, she and A got to doin' what they do best.


And this is what they look like in the morning after a late night of dishwashing.





Then Grampa joined the fun.


Hmm, now what could make this birthday any better...How about if I woke up in the morning, walked into the living room, and found MY LITTLE BROTHER NICK asleep on the floor!!?? Tim had gone to the airport in the middle of the night because his flight from Chicago had been canceled and brought him back to the house to surprise everyone. I mean, seriously people, does it get any better!!!???

As a matter of fact, IT DOES!! Later that morning, Grammy and Poppa and the Mamaws showed up at our house, and while I knew that they were coming, it was just awesome to have so much family together in one place. Other than Chris and Leah, who would be heading our way later in the day, Alex had his whole family there to celebrate his birthday. I wish he knew how lucky he is.


Unfortunately, our little family celebration only lasted a few minutes before I started freaking out because, HEL-LO, I had a party to get ready for. Lucky for me, I have a history of freaking out at party time, so everyone already knew to stay out of my way and wait for me to start shouting orders. (It's so nice to have a family that knows how neurotic you are, who accepts it and is willing to cater to your whims - in-laws included! Have I mentioned how great my family is?)

To be continued...