Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Birthday Bonanza

As I've written before, November is a big birthday month in our home-- three of us have birthdays in November, all within about 8 days. And that doesn't include friends or other family members (like my brother). Marcie particularly benefited this year from an extended birthday celebration. Rather than describe it all to you, I've uploaded a ton of photos (not really-- for some reason I didn't snap many pictures this year-- so if you took photos at Marcie's birthday party, I'd love a copy!). Here's the Birthday Bonanza in review:

Early November-- Jason's birthday.

We attempted a family dinner at the local Sushi Lounge, but the kids were pretty cranky and we wondered why we were pushing our luck. After dinner out, we returned home for carrot cake. Casey, Marcie and I sang Happy Birthday to Jason, then Casey stole the show by blowing out the candles.

Mid-November, Marcie's actual birthday (and mine)

Marcie started the day full of smiles, drinking chocolate soy milk-- a special treat for her special day. She picked out her own clothes (and Casey's because he owns a matching shirt). I thought it was cool because she'd picked her I love Mommy shirt.

Here she is trying to show me how old she is. She knows she's 2 now, and she'll tell us that, but she can't quite grab the other three fingers with her thumb, so this is how she shows us the number 2. Yeah, it's confusing. But we understand her-- and she's cute as can be doing it.

I stopped by Marcie's classroom before the academic day (if you can call it that) began with muffins and juice for Marcie's class. I'd planned to return during snack to help her classmates sing her Happy Birthday, but she turned into a weepy mess when I showed up. She started with "No go, Mommy!" and that quickly became "I go with you, Mommy!" A brief conversation with her teacher, and the decision was made that my presence would be more disruptive than special. This is Marcie trying to grit "Cheese!" through her tears. She was fine not 5 minutes after I walked away (which I know because I didn't actually leave campus-- I was scheduled to volunteer in Casey's classroom).

After volunteering at the writing center, I read the class a book. Then Casey's class made me a special birthday crown and they all sang Happy Birthday. Instead of tickling me once for each year of my life, we let them tickle Casey instead. He loved being the center of attention.

This is my office at work. The door was closed when I arrived, so I was a little worried about what I'd find. I hadn't told anyone in advance my birthday was coming up, but when they discovered I was going to be a little late, they connected the dots. Yes. It's messy. Lots of piles. Really, does that surprise you? But the streamers and the brightly colored papers all over the place-- that wasn't my doing. The papers all read "Happy Birthday Karen (and Marcie)". I still find a slip of paper every once in a while-- when I open a book, or in my gym bag. It's pretty funny. And if you're wondering, that's an elephant on top of the shelf. She wandered into my office, with Miss Piggy in her trunk on Halloween morning. I hear she takes walks on her own, and she'll be with me until she's ready to move on.

After work, we met up at a restaurant for our second attempt at a family birthday dinner out. This, again, was a pretty huge mistake on our part. It was just too much for the kids. Casey had a major meltdown and we kind of had to rush out. Not to mention my anxiety level was high because bar results were about to come out in less than 24 hours' time. In any event, after we got home, Marcie and I opened our presents. Marcie's favorite was the princess dress-up stuff (which Casey really did pick out for her all by himself, after telling her -- and me-- he was going to get her a Mack Truck, Chick Hicks, and Lightning McQueen).

This is Marcie in her princess stuff-- high heels, red gloves, and a ruby necklace. Oh. And her pajamas, of course-- because even princesses wear pajamas to bed.

That was the end of her birthday, but it wasn't the end of the celebrating. Marcie's birthday party was this past weekend.
Here's Marcie all dressed up for her party. Despite the fact that she is enormous, these slippers, which she got last year for Christmas and are size 24 months, fit her beautifully.

The day before the party, Casey and Marcie helped me make cupcakes. I stole the idea from Mary-Mia over on Salsa in China, who had these made for the twins' second birthday

I did make some with Nilla Wafer ears instead of Nutter Butter ears for the kids with peanut butter allergies. I brought the leftovers to work, and some people had trouble identifying them as monkeys. One person thought they were cows. I'm not offended by this. I'm wondering what other animals they might look like. Any ideas? On that note, Casey has asked for Lightning McQueen cupcakes (not cakes) for his birthday. Any suggestions on how to do that?

Anyway, at Marcie's party, I set out different activities to keep the kids busy. This is the arts and crafts station. There were crayons and markers, a monkey magnet, and bookmarks and door-hangers. Lucas is the only one who expressed any interest. But that made it worthwhile to me.

There were plenty of trains and plenty of tracks for the kids to play with the train set. Here you can see Joey with Thomas and Casey with Henry on a collision course. Casey's friend Thuan is in the background, chasing after Casey with Gordon.

Then there was the play-doh station. The girls spent quite a bit of time over here-- especially Katelyn. One ball of play-doh did get away, but I found it after the party under a chair, and it wasn't mashed into the carpet. So that was good. And lucky.

When it came time to sing Happy Birthday to Marcie, I put two candles in her cupcake. But instead of having all the kids rush her to try and blow out her candle, we set up a cupcake for each child, and we lit a candle in each one. That way, after the song was over, everyone got to blow out their own candles. The kids really seemed to like that.

Marcie surprised me with her extreme interest in her cousin Ethan. He's currently the youngest in the family, at only 4 months. Marcie kept asking me if she could hold him. He kept reaching for her ear and hair. Here they are together.

Not pictured is the impromptu balloon chase, where each kid managed to grab a balloon, and they proceeded to chase each other in circles through the main living areas. Also not pictured was the Curious George pinata. It was one of those ones with the pull strings, so we didn't have to worry about anyone getting smashed accidentally. I forgot that I'd given away most of the Halloween candy to Casey's school for class treats, so I only had enough to fill up half the monkey. I improvised by filling snack-sized ziplock baggies with graham cracker sticks and miniature Nilla Wafers. It turned out the kids didn't care if they grabbed candy or cookies-- they were just happy to get "stuff." I'll have to remember that around Easter. Anyway, when the kids pulled their strings, the pinata didn't open, so I had to break open George's bottom with my hand and start pulling out the goodies. Again, I don't think the kids cared much-- they just like collecting the prizes inside.

Last, we did let Marcie open her presents. I'm not a huge fan of opening gifts at parties. I never know how the kids will react and I don't want to offend someone if Casey or Marcie shows disinterest. Plus I think it could create a weird sense of competition. But Marcie's party was a dinner party, and I wasn't going to make her wait yet another day to open her presents. So she opened them at the party. Casey's grandparents also brought him this giant car that lights up and has doors that open. He was in heaven, and he and his cousin Joey played with it for the rest of the evening.

Oh. And there was a champagne toast in there, too. Although my joy in learning that I'd passed the bar was tempered, I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to raise a glass to this success-- the first big hurdle of my career as a lawyer (well, after law school, anyway). Lots of people go through divorce, dump their friends, and become a huge mess during law school. I'm lucky-- I have a large, supportive, extended family and friends who really believe in me. Plus a husband who held me up through it all. It's been a long four years, and I hope it will have been worth it. But I know I couldn't have done it without the patience and love of the people around me.

So there you have it. The 2007 Birthday Bonanza.


:::delinda::: said...

I love all the photos. Your cupcakes most certainly look like monkeys, not cows. :) And champagne is definitely in order!

Anonymous said...

i absolutely love the photo of you and casey at school. you have the best smile. and casey loooks so proud to have mama sitting with him.

alison frm. dallas

Femeros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Femeros said...

*LOVE* the monkeys!! What a great birthday round up... good times. *wink*