Tag Archives: kid birthdays

big apples and seventh birthdays

Do you love New York City? I had never been before a few weeks ago when we went there on Naomi’s seventh Birthday. It was not a specific trip just for that, the timing just worked out as part of a larger excursion (next post will cover the rest of those good times!) As a farm girl and homeschool mom who relishes her space and crowd free life, I wasn’t sure how it would be spending a day in The City with my family in tow and no real plan. I needn’t have worried. Lessons were learned that day and seven years of life were celebrated in a way that was perfect for Miss Birthday Girl.

Not to sound finicky right off the bat, but I like London’s “Mind the Gap” better. More flair and style. Because I need flair and style…riiiight…We did love the trains though and I learned that people on trains are both nice and super tolerant of high pitch excited squeaks coming from my girls and my boy.

Crowds were no worse there than in Vegas so we were golden. I learned that it raises a place’s awesome factor if you can go from impromptu naked water play at a hidden park then go to a primer art gallery in 5 minutes and 100 yards. We were walking through Central Park (after an over-priced and under-quality hotdog on the grass) and we saw a park. That was a good solid hour of bliss for everyone. Bliss makes me brave and we attempted The Met.

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Three words. Bed Knobs and Broom sticks. Am I right? We hit ancient Egypt (Naomi’s request) and arms and armor for the boy. Samurais were imitated and Mummies were grimaced at. I learned my kids take on museums like champions.

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My mom said we had to get Mr. Softee soft serve ice cream. So I put it on the list. I asked at the museum and they said yeah the truck out front. Great, asked the guy in the truck and he said yes of course this right here (pointing to swirly ice cream cone picture) this is what you want. I learned that I’m a naïve tourist and you aren’t really in the club until you get hoodwinked by a local. Well. I’m in the club now. To be fair, it was still the best soft serve I’ve ever had.

There is a book called “Micawber” by John Lithgow. We love it and it’s the only reason I even knew that there was an old carousel in Central Park. Since Micawber, the art loving squirrel, lives in the top we had to go and check it out. I learned that kids do not even see crappy paint and hear awful carnival music. They truly experience things as they should be expierenced…no judgement, just joy in the moment. Pretty sure little man said this was the best thing he’d ever done. Like three times. The kid has been to Disneyland, but that didn’t matter in that moment. img_1694 Because we had just walked 8 millionty miles from The Met to the carousel, we crashed on the grass before embarking on more subway travel back up to Harlem for an IHOP dinner (birthday girl’s request of course). I learned that Central Park is stupid big. Like kicked my trash big. My poor sweet husband and children. They love me, even when I don’t deserve it.

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Her birthday was complete the next night with collective cake decorating, ice cream and presents. Everyone did a bit of decorating while Naomi consulted her sketch of the cake and bossed I mean managed the whole deal.

Munchkins have been missing their aunts and it was nice to cuddle and have some down time.

New York City was great. It was exhausting being a mom with 4 littles, no idea what I was doing, and a whole day to fill. But I had my husband who navigated all subway travel and overall we had a great time. Obviously, I know we only scratched the surface, but that just means we might have to go back some day.

This girl though. She pushes me and challenges me in ways no other human being on earth does. It’s good and bad and I’m sure someday she will have her own little Karma child to mold her into a better mother and person. I know the adventure is only just starting and I’m equal parts terrified and eager to see what else she brings to my life and the lessons she’ll teach me. Whew.

Next up the rest of our Ohio / New York trip!

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Eight

So we are Mormon and that means the Eighth birthday is a big one because that is the age at which a kid can decide to be baptized. Also happens to be when our Little man started cub scouts and got his first pocket knife (thanks Grandpa Todd!) so life is pretty rosy around these parts.

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Garyn is a studly little dude…even the photo-bombing, escaped puppy thinks so. His sisters think he’s pretty great and I’m glad he loves them as much as he does.

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Actually lots of people think he is great.

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But I’m pretty sure nobody loves him as much as we do. This was supposed to be one of those life moments where I’m mostly really proud but a little sad that my baby is growing up. Nope. Not even a little bit sad. I’ve worked very hard to savor each moment…even the crappy ones. There’s been lots of those, by the way. But I can look back on the past eight years and not mourn times I should have, could have and didn’t. Most every bed time story and song he’s wanted me to read and sing I’ve dragged my exhausted self off the couch and delivered (sometimes very off key) so that I could celebrate his milestones without wishing he was small again. I will not begrudge them their growing up. Sigh. [Soap box disengage]. It’s funny though that this is one of those epic life events that you remember forever and he is a highly intelligent and intellectually mature boy so I was kind of expecting some deep and profound comments on this deep and profound occasion. Nope. Not even a little bit deep. He was thrilled with the presents he got and the new batch of people to play “Rock em Sock em” with him. The fact that he is still solidly an eight year old little dude, is very comforting and strangely makes this whole growing up thing easier. I’m not sure if that makes any sense but bottom line: I’m grateful for this crazy kid who happily is my guinea pig for this whole mom adventure that I’m on. He makes my heart happy.

P.s.

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Neckerchiefs!!! YES!!!

 

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Robot cake

I asked what he wanted on his birthday cake since there was no party to dictate theme. He said a two layer robot cake with the top layer smaller than the bottom layer and a robot toy on the top that could be one of his birthday presents and he wanted Funfetti cake with maple frosting in the middle. Because Little man obviously has a hard time with decisions and details…riiightt…. Once he saw pictures of robot cakes he changed his mind to an edible fondant robot on top (which I “accidently” threw away before he could eat it because 1) fondant, even home made, is nasty and 2) I’m a mean mother).

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Night before and All finished. So around 10:00 pm the night before his birthday, it dawned on me that a solid chunk of fondant would sink into the cake because it’s so stinkin heavy. I called my amazing husband guy who was back at Wal-Mart for the second time that night to buy an new inner tube for the birthday boy’s new bike because the puncture-proofing slime stuff broke the first one. He graciously picked up a box of rice crispy treats. Which we are still trying to finish before the baby comes and I go on a health food kick. Did I mention that tangents are my friends lately?

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I needed this cake to be really, really easy, so I did what I did for his Lightning McQueen cake. I got white sugar paper and I drew on it with edible markers. Then I just wrapped it around the bottom of the cake and it worked out really well.

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Overall, if you could get past the fact that I didn’t read the labels and put a bit of peppermint extract in the filling instead of almond… And if you didn’t mind the fact that I forgot that one cake mix really only make 1 decent 9″ round cake instead of two leaving you with a very short cake… And if the fact that two little sisters poked the cake escaped your notice…then this cake was a success. Little man loved it so really, that’s all that matters. Maybe someday I’ll let him be his father’s son and eat fondant decorations.

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two years old: installment one

It will be in installments because that’s how birthdays work in our family. There is the big birthday dinner at Grandma’s house, and then whatever else happens after that. The dinner happened early because of scheduling stuff, and it’s not like Little Little birthday girl cared. There was cake. And just to warn you…this might be a long post. Babies turning two make mothers wax philosophical.

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Three words. Elven Princess Hair. It’s not often I leave it down, as her conditioner of choice is bananas and what ever lunch was. Not to mention she has my tender head times 87. But it makes me sigh with giddy mom-joy (I’m serious) when I leave it down, especially right after I’ve washed it and pinned her down while she screamed so I could brush it. It is so soft and long and perfect. Someone knew I couldn’t take another bald baby girl, so Layna has long beautiful hair. [sigh].

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Dinner was great. Fruit salad and steamed broccoli are her favorite things in life, but we added baked potatoes for the rest of us. Then we dove into presents. She was thrilled that someone gave her a big gold bow. I think she would have been perfectly content with a bag of bows…kids, man.  Daddy helped her understand that there was much more and with two very expert siblings she quickly was tearing through. Get it? Tearing? Yay for birthday puns. Ahem.

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So the cake. This is what started me off into philosophical land. Cake will do that to a person.

Sometimes it sucks having a daughter with Down Syndrome. Mostly because there are stupid, pesky things like birthdays to remind me that she even has it. 99% of the time she is just Layna. Perfectly herself, some what ageless and always super cute. But then a birthday (or obnoxious person at the store, or therapy eval, or, or, or) comes along and reminds me that, to the rest of the world, she is kind of behind. A bit slow. On a kid’s first birthday you expect them to not know what is going on at all. Mom chooses the cake and the party is for the pictures. By two, though, most kids have an opinion and they are starting to get that all the hoopla is for them. Not so much for her. She loved it but didn’t get it was for her. She loved the cake but doesn’t like anything enough for me to easily do a themed cake. Garyn had Curious George and Naomi had this. It was a hard reminder that she is different and that while someday she will be a Party Queen, right now she is behind and slow and all the other crap that goes with Down Syndrome. I didn’t want my baby to be broken. People say, “But she’s not, she’s perfect just the way she is, She’s so [fill in trite sugary platitude].” Nope, she is broken. Her body didn’t form correctly. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t supposed to be this way or that she won’t do amazing things or be perfectly who she was meant to be on this earth.  But no one chooses this.  And that’s ok. She doesn’t need to be sugar coated. She is awesome and has her own inborn supply of sassy glittery sugar, thank you very much.

Speaking of Sassy Glitter Sugar, right about when I was really starting to cry and be sad about all of the above…she started taking steps on her own. Totally made me cry for different reasons. And as if taking steps wasn’t showing off enough, she is saying “more.” Her own variation, but it’s consistent and it’s spoken words. It reminds me that someday she’ll call me “Mommy”.  I know it will be worth the wait and there is nothing like a two year old showing off to snap you out of a pity party.

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Back to cake. After a preliminary poke, she promptly double-fisted it into her mouth. It was a cheesecake with ground nut crust and only sweetened with honey, so we could both eat it (I think gluten and her tummy don’t do so well together). Crust here. Rest of cake here. It was a hit with everyone, including my sisters who usually ask (with arched, concerned eyebrows), if I make anything, “is this…healthy?”

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It’s always a good night when you get pictures of goofy siblings , and a gruff old man reading fairytales to his great-grand daughter.

More to come from her actual birthday on Monday.

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Six Years Old: swim party

I decided that we would have Garyn’s party at the Lagoon. That was before I remembered that he is old enough to have an opinion about stuff. He wanted Dinosaurs. Oops. Dino Swim Party it is! Actually having a swimming BBQ party with dinosaur everything else worked out really well.

 

Dino footprint cookies and a T-Rex watermelon head. Good times were had.

 

 

These pictures just about sum up what these two were doing the whole time that little man was doing this:

 

Layna had a great time eating, splashing, and looking stylish until the heat rash kicked in and nap time became painfully overdue. I’m pretty sure that Naomi ate at least half of that bag of Doritos, and might have stopped eating long enough to play in the water with her aunts. Maybe. Birthday Boy took a few breaks to eat and open presents, then he would be right back to making a sand pool and squirting anyone in range with a squirt noodle that he stole from some other kid. Pure birthday heaven.

See? Birthday heaven.

P.S. Don’t order anything party related online with your birthday kid sitting next to you. You might get talked into a miniature Godzilla piñata that would survive a nuclear holocaust. Seriously. After all 12+ kids took multiple hits at it, I had to rip it up the back and then let them all go at it again before any candy came out. Gosh.

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