A couple of weeks ago, Drew turned five. I can hardly believe he is that old already. I know I say that for every kid on every birthday, but it's always true. I think the big deal about turning 5, though, is that it means Drew is no longer a toddler, he's a kid, and he is now old enough to go to kindergarten, which means my days with him the majority of the day are seriously numbered. Sad. And exciting.
At any rate, it seemed like Drew had the birthday that would not end. Seriously, I felt like we were celebrating in ways big and small for a whole month. Really it was just about a week, but it still felt like one celebration after another.
We started with Drew's birthday party. This kid has never had a birthday party with friends before, so I was pretty willing to do whatever he asked (within reason, of course) for his party. He knew long ago that he wanted it at Monkey Joe's. In fact, he said last year that he wanted his 4th birthday at Monkey Joe's, and Mike was out of town, so I took Zach, Drew, and Jake to Monkey Joe's to play. It wasn't until a few weeks later that Drew asked why he didn't get to invite any friends. I knew this year I wouldn't be able to get away with that. I normally don't like doing parties at a place like Monkey Joe's because it seems like you have to invite a ton of kids to really get your money's worth. However, MJ's has a deal where you can invite just 8 kids and it's not nearly as expensive as inviting 25 or even 16. I decided we would go that route, and I told Drew that after we figured in him, his 2 brothers, and his cousin Anders, who was coming down for his party, he could pick 4 friends to invite. He was perfectly happy with that and had no problem choosing who to invite. He selected his 2 best friends from preschool, Carly and Zeb, his best friend from preschool last year (who is his teacher's grandson and is just in another class this year), Clay, and his buddy and our neighbor, Cooper. You might think Carly would feel a little weird being the only girl at a party full of boys, but that girl held her own. In fact, I'm pretty sure that during the dinner and cake time, Carly's voice was the loudest of all.
We arrived at Monkey Joe's just before the 5:30 start time, and our assigned helper, Tyro (I think that was her name) greeted us and pretty much took over. She didn't let me do anything all night, which was both kinda nice and kinda annoying. I mean, I'm the mom, and it's my kid's birthday party. Let me cut the cake. But she was really helpful and engaging with the kids and definitely earned her tip. The kids played for a while, then ate pizza and had cake. We asked Drew's friends to please not bring him gifts, and if they felt like they couldn't come empty-handed, we asked that they instead brought something for the Animal Rescue League. I think 2 friends did that and 2 did nothing, so we don't actually have a lot to deliver to the ARL, but I am sure I can gather up some more donations. Anyway, that meant we didn't have to take any time out of the party to open gifts, which was nice.
Here is the whole group eating dinner. We were lucky to be joined by my mom and my sister Sandy, who of course accompanied Anders.
Here are Anders and Drew as they look for Monkey Joe to come into our party room.
At first, Jake wasn't sure about the big purple primate.
But as he got into the room, Jake seemed a little more comfortable.
Drew got to have his picture taken with him.
And then we did a group shot. Jake's face cracks me up. Actually, a few of the kids' faces crack me up in this picture. We've got Clay in orange, then Drew and Carly, Anders in front, then Jake, Monkey Joe, Cooper, Zach, and Zeb. Zeb is about to turn 6 and is just a smidge taller than Zach, who will be 8 in June. Poor Zach- he's such a shorty.
This picture kinda makes me smile because Drew is doing what Zach always does, which is squint and cover/rub his eyes when he gets his cake with candles. What on earth will these boys do when they hit double-digits and actually have a lot of candles on their cakes? We'll need to start using sunglasses, I think.
Drew wanted a lemon cake with cherry frosting. Weird, I know, but I have a feeling it's a combination he'll ask for again in the future. It actually was pretty good, if you like lemon and cherry.
I never think to get ice cream with my kids' birthday cakes because I never want ice cream with my cake. This time, I actually thought of it before we left home. And then I forgot. So, we ended up paying for individual cups of ice cream at MJ's. Jake was happy with his chocolate ice cream.
One of the perks of being the birthday boy is that you get to go in the little prize thing and grab tickets that are blowing all around. Drew was excited to do that and ended up getting enough tickets to get some candy necklaces for his friends, a stuffed snake, and some other junk that I can't remember.
I can't stand party favors or the idea of party favors. They usually end up being junky things that you just throw away, or it's candy that I either end up eating myself or I throw away after giving the recipient a piece or two. So this year, I was going to do something different. I considered buying each kid a small Spider-Man book, but then, one day when Jake and I were in Michael's trying to figure out how to make a Thing 1 shirt for Zach to wear on Dr. Seuss's birthday, I spotted the Spider-Man duct tape and had an epiphany. So for party favors, I ended up making each kid a little duct-tape coin purse/wallet, a personalized duct-tape bookmark, a punch balloon, and a Spider-Man pen. I'm not saying it was all high-quality stuff, but it didn't seem as junky as some party favors.
So that was Drew's birthday party, held on Friday, March 1. Sandy, Anders, and my mom were here all weekend (my mom even stayed for the whole next week, which was great), so on Saturday the 3 of us moms went shopping while Mike held down the fort and the 4 little boys. Sometime that weekend we let Drew open his presents from Aunt Sandy, Uncle Will, Anders, Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Dick, and Aunt Becky, Uncle Tom, Cam, and Myles. At this point, I think something must have happened to the setting on the camera, because all the pictures after this seem a little fuzzy.
Zach of course had to help, and Jake was so sad to not have his own presents to open. Drew, Jake, and Anders all wore their Superman shirts.
On Monday night, we had Mike's family over to celebrate Drew's birthday. So I let Drew pick any dessert he wanted out of one of my cookbooks, and then I had Grandma Ruth make it. Actually, I planned to make it, but somehow it worked out that she did. Drew started the evening out with some snuggling with Grandma Linda while he showed her a Lego booklet.
Uncle Sam was tricky and wrapped Drew's present in layers and layers of newspaper.
For the second year in a row, we got Drew an Angry Birds toy for his birthday. This year I picked out a Star Wars Angry Birds AT-AT Walker game, since Drew pretty much never stops talking about Star Wars Angry Birds. You can tell by his face here that he was in awe.
Now the pictures really aren't good. Maybe we turned the lights off? I'm not sure. You get the idea, though.
Jake was very upset that we were not singing the happy birthday song to him and that he did not have candles to blow out. I forgot to mention earlier that he asked me to sing the birthday song to him when he got his piece of cake at the Monkey Joe's party.
Look how sad he is!
We put an end to that by sticking a candle in his dessert and letting him blow it out. Sweet kid.
Drew didn't mind sharing the specialness (for lack of a better word) just a little bit. I can't get this picture to center, which is driving me crazy.
Tuesday, March 8, was Drew's actual birthday. Because my mom was here, I was able to go to school with Drew for a little while while Grandma and Jake went to story time at the library. It was fun to play with Drew and watch him interact with his friends at school. Then it worked out for Grandma and Jake to meet us back at school in time for Drew's birthday treats. I think Jake and Drew thought it was pretty fun for Jake, Grandma, and me to all be at school together having treats.
On Friday, though the birthday celebration was finally over, Drew and I got some more one-on-one time when I took him to the doctor for his 5 year well-child visit. Definitely not a celebration! Drew had to get his finger poked and he got 4 shots. He cried and flailed a little and carried on, much, much different than Zach when he went through the same thing. Poor kiddo. I had bribed him before hand by telling him I'd take him to the new cupcake place in town. We did go there, and Drew ended up eating basically just his frosting. Crazy kid. The poor guy also had an ear infection and blood in his urine at this appointment, so it wasn't a great one.
As far as stats go, Drew is 42 inches tall and 38 pounds, 10 ounces in weight. Both of those are around the 33rd percentile, so he's not tall, either. Just to compare, Zach was 41.8 inches tall and weighed 38 pounds 4 ounces at his 5 year check-up. I wonder how Jake will stack up against these two...
At 5 years, Drew can count to 100, read easy stuff (we're working on sight words), knows all his letters and can write them all in upper case (not sure if he can write them in lower case), enjoys doing addition, can identify numbers to 100, picks up great vocabulary words (he recently used the word prosthetic correctly and surprised my parents) and ride a bike. This summer we need to work on tying shoes and writing his name with a capital D and the rest of the letters lower case. We also are going to work on mastering some more sight words before he starts kindergarten. Drew is a sweet kid, but he has kind of a short temper. Or he at least knows what he wants when he wants it, and he's not as laid-back as his big brother.
Happy fifth birthday, Drew! We love you so much!