I feel like I'm finally recovered from last week. My parents came from Colorado on Friday the 5th and then left on the 6th to head up to my sister's place in the Twin Cities. Mike also left on Saturday to go to Baltimore for 5 days for a conference of sorts. They all planned to return on Wednesday sometime. During the time that everybody was gone, Zach started t-ball, the boys and I had our first music class, I planted a bunch of flowers, and I got everything ready for Zach's birthday party, including stopping at about 4 different places to find enough PEZ dispensers for all the kids. Thankfully, I am lucky enough to have 2 sets of great in-laws, and they all helped out by watching the boys at different times so that I could run a bunch of errands, work out, etc.
When my parents returned on Wednesday afternoon, I put them to work. My mom worked on some more planting for me, and they watched the boys so I could work out again. After we got both boys in bed Wednesday night, my mom did most of the work getting the party favors wrapped up, and my dad got to work on putting together the Playmobil pirate ship Mike and I got for Zach's birthday. Here's a warning for anybody thinking about getting any large Playmobil toy- the estimated time for completion stated on the box is probably a gross underestimation! The pirate ship box said it would take about an hour and a half to put together, which is why we decided to put it together rather than wrapping it in the box. My dad started at about 8:15 p.m., and he and my mom finished it a little after 12:15 a.m., a mere 4 hours later. My dad is more meticulous than most, but I don't think that was really the issue here. This pirate ship has about a million parts, and they were all scattered about in different bags with no rhyme or reason to it all.
This picture was taken around 11:30, I'd say.
While my mom worked on party favors and my dad worked on the ship, I was busy baking Zach's birthday cake and 48 cupcakes. Personally, I like cake from a cake mix and frosting from a jar (or plastic container, I guess) better than cake from a grocery store or from a professional baker. Zach told me a while back that he really wanted a cake shaped like a fire engine. Not a flat cake with a picture of a fire engine- but really the shape of a fire engine. So a few weeks ago I did a practice cake using loaf pans, and I thought it really looked like crap. I'm glad I did that, though because it helped me decide to use small loaf pans to make a smaller fire engine, and then make cupcakes for everyone else. Anyway, here are the cupcakes as I lined them up at the party the next day.
And here is the cake. I used a book we have with a picture of a fire engine in it to help me see what it should look like. I just could not put enough detail on it to make it look really real, but I thought this would work out ok. I figured it'd be good enough for Zach, which would have to be good enough for me. The problem with me is that I have a very strong desire to make the cake look perfect and like a professional did it, but I definitely do not have the skills to match. But, I ended up being pretty happy with the end result. Again, I am so glad I did the practice run.
Mike got home a little after midnight, expecting us all to be fast asleep, but was surprised by a very awake household. Thankfully we all got to bed soon afterwards. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for all your help!
Thursday morning the boys both had their well baby/child visits, and the rest of the day was spent getting ready for the party and playing. They both did great at their doctor's appointments, but it was clear they were both pretty nervous. Zach gained just under 5 lbs. in the last year, putting him at 36 lbs. even, which is the 52%ile. He also grew 2.5 inches, which puts him right at 40 inches tall, just the 44%ile. Drew gained almost a pound and a half in the last 3 months, putting him at 23 lbs. 6 oz., which puts him in the 33%ile, and just 12 oz. more than Zach was at the same age. He also is about a half-inch taller than Zach was at 15 months. So, in short, our boys continue to be very small to average in size. Drew only had to get one shot, which was good, but boy was he upset. He was so cute, though- as he got his cookie on our way out the door, he took a breath in his sobs to say, "Baaah!" and wave good-bye.
Thursday evening was Zach's birthday party at the Rainbow Play Systems Showroom, which was fun. Rainbow makes backyard wooden playsets, and their showroom has lots of different models, a bunch of basketball hoops, and a trampoline. We ordered pizza for everyone and just let the kids go wild. It was perfect, especially because I didn't have to clean the house for it!
Here's a funny picture of Zach and Katherine playing together.
Here's Zach, his preschool friend Sam, and our friend Jack from playgroup.
Here's Aunt Katherine, her boyfriend Sam, Grandpa Kevin, and Drew enjoying some pizza.
Zach was excited to have his birthday cake in front of him. He was at the wrong angle, I guess, for blowing out the candles, though, because he blew once, blew twice, blew three times
and finally Sam had had enough and decided to help out. Zach didn't mind, though.
I thought it would be easier to make red frosting if I used pink frosting as my base, and this really worked out to my advantage, because I absolutely love chocolate cake with cherry frosting. Mmmmmm, cherry frosting. The thing about richly colored frosting, though, is that it turns your teeth that color!
After the party ended, we had family members come back to our house to open presents. Here Zach was happy to model his new pirate hat.
And here he is after he got his new pirate ship, which has been, in Zach's words, "a big hit."
I was so ready for bed after all the present opening, especially considering I'd gotten about 4.5 hours of sleep the night before. It was a good party, and Zach had so much fun. There's nothing better than seeing the joy in your child's face; it makes all the work totally worth it.