Today is the big day. According to the kids it might be a day that is Millions, if not Zillions, of years in the making. A day that has emerged from either somewhere near 10,000 BC or near the beginning of time, depending on which expert on such topics you ask. This particular day has waited more 20,454 days to emerge from wherever such days might come. A moment that has somehow squirmed its way through nearly two BILLION seconds of history, 1,767,225,600 specifically – but after 1.5 BILLION who really counts anyway, until it landed square in the lap of today.
Violet turned five this year while we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Indiana. Surrounded by grandparents, and great grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins and various other people whose relation isn’t quite known, Violet had a great turning of age. Lots of kids, lots of food, lots of gifts, and most importantly lots of cake…although I bet if you ask Violet it would be the gifts that won out, with the cake a close second.
Violet had a blast and I think we even found a genuine moment of both awe and surprise when she pulled out “Dreamlight“. She had been talking about this “thing” for a long while but there was no way daddy was shelling out $50 bucks for a glorified flashlight shoved into a stuffed animal – we did that as kids and while the stuffed animal might not have liked the extra orifice that was created, the effect was the same. Thankfully, Mommy Carol found a great deal on one and Violet’s precious “Green Kitty” was spared the agony that was certain to come otherwise (granted they make flashlights much smaller nowadays…)
On top of the normal birthday cheer it was great to be able to celebrate with the extended family. We don’t get to see them very often, let alone during birthdays or other non-holiday events, and it was refreshing to celebrate with everyone.
Jacob is now well on his way to becoming a teenager. Turning 11 in May you would believe he was rounding the corner to 13 already. I think I have even heard the first evidence of a squeak…Next comes girls right? Sigh. But I digress. Happy birthday Jacob!
Jake wanted to spend some time with his buds this year, also something new, for his big day. On top of a military theme, it was shooting time at the local Laser Tag, pirate ship, multi-level, dark, smoke filled battle arena. There were about eight of us altogether and along with the other players about twenty or so in total, it was a blast. In stead of hiding and sniping while others searched frantically for “that guy”, the laser guns along with the added smoke in the arena allowed you to see both the targeting laser and the shot. Red lines flashing everywhere during the height of battle and sometimes that solo red line tracking through the smoke looking…waiting…for another victim. Even the wall in the arena were against you should you stand still for to long, automatic lasers alarms would warn you to get a move on and only then start firing, rarely missing their mark. Several rounds later we emerged for fresh air and to collect our scores and focus our attention on the more important things like arcade games.
This was Piper’s birthday weekend. The little princess has turned seven…Taylor Swift Style.
Piper wanted to have an evening out with the family and was insistent that bowling was the perfect thing. Why not. I haven’t been bowling in years. Friday after school and work we packed into the car and headed to the Lanes for a few rounds and a pizza. It was certainly fun to watch. Carol and I threw a few balls for the kids but mainly just let them take turns figuring out each and every way you can either throw or roll an eight pound ball down a slipper lane to knock over some stubborn white pins. All of them did pretty well for not really having any history playing. Violet whom had never played held her own and came in second to Jacob on the second game. Isaac threw the only strike of the night while playing with a sixteen pound ball, threw it down the lane and took out the lot of the pins. Great idea Piper.
Piper’s party for Saturday has been planned for a while. A great mix of Family and Friends. She chose pancakes and bacon for her meal and Taylor Swift as a theme. Outside of the labor of mixing enormous amounts of batter and flipping dozens of pancakes, I don’t think it gets much easier to cook for a large group – mix pour flip repeat.
It might have been a few months back but that certainly doesn’t change my admiration for Carol getting one over on me for my birthday. I was prepared the night before that the kids wanted to go to breakfast at the Rexall Grill for my birthday. Sounded great to me. We typically spend the day with each other just hanging out and sometimes have over friends and family. I recall specifically mentioning to Carol that I was looking forward to just something simple with the family this year and did not really want to have a get together or party – just a cake some time with the kiddos. Next time, as a husband should know at this point, I will tell her just the opposite of what I am looking for….
Getting an answer as to what Violet wanted for her birthday dinner was a challenge. She has been staying with Grandma and Grandpa the past few weeks prior to her birthday and upon asking her she offered as many different options as there were nights that she was away. In the end it landed on Corn Dogs and French Fries, one of her favorites. It is amazing how many corn dogs and batches of yummy fried potatoes a crowd can devour. It is also great that Costco sells them in bulk. It was weird for us this time around. All of the past meals the kids have chosen have required some amount of time laboring either at the grill or on the stoves. This time the oven and deep fryer did all the work and we got to relax and hang out with the family.
With full bellies we moved onto let Violet open her Gifts. I think the only way Violet could have been more focused on opening gifts or on the attention she was getting was if an actual horse happened to pop out while she was tearing away layers of wrapping paper. It would not have matter if it didn’t weigh in at a certain number of stones or wasn’t so many hands tall. She wouldn’t have cared. It would have received a huge hug and she would have declared: “It is exactly what I was asking for”. Now there was no real horse of course unless you count the adhesive in the tape but that did not discourage her. Violet was quietly excited sitting behind the little table as she received and opened her birthday cards and gifts.
Jacob recently celebrated his 10th birthday. Long before this day came he had it all planned out. Dinner was going to be Taco Salad, cake was going to be white with white icing, and presents were going to be had. Ah, the tough life of a ten year old. He got his wishes though and then some – even some special bits, purchased months ago that he didn’t know about until the next day.
Jacob was certainly shy this year for pictures and while opening gifts but he had a great time and when the spotlight wasn’t pointed in his direction he opened up and enjoyed himself. I guess ten is that magic age where things start to change and you notice when you are center of any type of attention.
Upon request the now 6 year old princess Piper wanted to celebrate her special day with a Breakfast Brunch for family and friend. Pancakes were a must, and as we have learned they are a large part of every up and coming princess’ diet. The pancakes as were liberal helpings of syrup, scrambled eggs, bacon, yogurt and fruit. A morning feast if you ask the cook. There was even an option to build your very own BLTs, complete with bread and mayo for those party goers so inclined.
After breakfast was consumed and we all had full bellies it was time to make things official. Once we stopped singing Piper made her wish and tried and tried to blow out the candles. Must have been some wish….
She didn’t want to waste any time getting to the gifts (and a few of her guests had to leave early) so we skipped the cake and headed for the treasure. Plus I think everyone’s bellies were still full from pancakes and BLTs. She had been telling everyone that all she wanted for her birthday was Pet Shop, My Little Pony and Zu-Zu Pet toys. Well they certainly listened and delivered and Piper was overly excited and thankful. After each gift she ran across the room and gave hugs and kisses and thank yous to everyone. Another thing that she had been asking for was “girlie” games for her Game Boy or one of the other game systems around the house. Most of what we have (and most of what is out there) is focused either on some generic market or boys – well she wanted girl stuff. “Uncle” John delivered along with Carol and I at helping with this fix. In particular Carol found a copy of a My Little Pony game for the Game Boy, something she had been asking for over and over for the past few months.
Auntie Autumn picked up a hula-hoop as part of her gift. Piper wasn’t really sure what she was supposed to do with it so Autumn decided to demonstrate for her. Piper still didn’t give it a go but it was certainly worth the entertainment.
The best part though was when Piper received a Justin Bieber book. I didn’t even think she knew who he was, let alone cared. Wow! Can a dad be wrong or totally oblivious. Piper turned into a pile of mushy fawning pre-adolescence girl, going on thirteen….I’m not sure I am ready for all that.