Sunday, June 24, 2012

Party Time!

The last couple days have been insane!  I took off Friday to try to get ready for Jacob's party.  I had some cleaning, yardwork, and cooking to do.  I knew I couldn't get it all done otherwise.  It was a very busy day--a quick run in the morning (figured it would keep me in a better mindframe), lunch with an old friend, an unfortunate minor car incident (scratches on my bumper, just a broken license plate frame on the other car--darn terribly designed parking lot), and a bunch of yardwork that culminated in scrubbing our siding.  Ahhh, home ownership.  Craig gets out of work early on Fridays in the summer, so he came home and joined me, and by the end the yard was looking pretty great. 

That evening we went outside with Jacob to enjoy our very warm pool.  He's now totally into the pool, thanks to his basketball hoop and new Puddle Jumper float.  He's been in three days in a row, probably four today!  We had a great swim that night and I spent the rest of the night getting things ready for Saturday.  Oh, and we tried out Jacob's new clock that night, too.  It turns color in the morning to let him know it's time to get up.  That also meant we took the safety doorknob thing off his door in case he wants to use the potty at night.  It's a bit of an adjustment having him able to get out of his room without us.  So far he's been pretty good about staying in, though I'm sure we're going to get some surprises.  It's been nice to have him get himself up in the morning, though! 

From the time I got up yesterday, it was non-stop.  Second batch of pork into the slow cooker.  Second batch of cake baking.  Preparing jello.  Frosting the first part of the cake.  Oh, the cake.  Last year Jacob's cake was a disaster.  I tried to do a rice krispie treat lacrosse stick to decorate his cake.  It didn't go well, for a couple reasons.  In the end we had to get a store-bought cake and I even managed to mess up that one because the condensation on it ruined the gel writing.  Ugh.  Each year Jacob's cake has created problems--issues with sticky icing (and absolutely NO decorating experience) for his first birthday, problems with getting red enough icing for his second birthday, and then last year's ultimate failure.  This year I was setting myself up for a disaster because Jacob wanted a soccer ball cake.  The good news is that our nephew has outgrown part of his egg allergy, meaning I could make the cake according to the directions, which would give me a much sturdier cake than usual.  I bought the spherical cake pan, and decided to use only half of it, just to be safe.  No need to risk a cake rolling off the table.  Anyway, decorating the cake would be a labor of love and it was my main source of stress leading up to the party.  I'll reveal it later, but I'm happy to say that all went well.  It took a while, but it was worth it.

I had a ton of work to do once the party started, but I had great help from my mom and Lori.  I couldn't have done it without them.  I finally had a couple minutes (literally) to venture outside, and it was a beautiful day.  The kids were having a blast in the pool, the snacks had been eaten up, and everyone was chilling in whatever shade they could find.

My Uncle Bruce had brought a couple water guns, one of which the kids were loving.  When I came out of the house, we dragged Jacob out of the pool to open his water gun in my presence.  We tried to get a good picture, but alas...distracted child.
The water guns were a hit, and I retreated back to the kitchen to finish up.  We had quite the spread--pulled pork, hot dogs, salt potatoes, broccoli-cheese-rice casserole (family favorite), pasta salad, fruit salad, layered jello, and cole slaw.  So much food, and all so good!  We also had apple pie and amazing chocolate chip cookies waiting in the wings. 

After dinner, we started into presents.  Jacob noticed golf balls attached to one card and gravitated to those immediately.  Next up was the hit gift of the day--my aunt got him a tank top and ironed on the letters "REF" to the front.  There was also a whistle in the bag, which finished off Jacob's referee outfit perfectly.  Jacob loves to be a referee--he has for years--and this was perfect.  He had it on first thing this morning and we've been hearing random whistle blows all day!
He put on his shirt and whistle right away.  Here he's showing off the second thing he put on this morning--his Spider-Man mask and jumpsuit.
 He also got a Lego fire truck...

And a Lego Batcave!

He got some clothes, a sprinkler toy, some football guys, and a nice boost to his bank account.  All in all, it was a fantastic haul.  It was great day, the pool was perfect, the food was delicious, and the company was lovely.  My biggest regret of the whole day was that I didn't get to spend much time enjoying it all.  I barely got to see people, but I did take a few minutes to eat dinner (lunch was basically a piece of excess cake!) and talk to whoever I could near the end.  It's fun having everyone to our house (a handful of guests hadn't been here before), and the house got rave reviews.  Nice to get that reminder now that we've been here a couple years.  So, the party was a lot of planning and a lot of work, but it was worth it.  I just wish I would have had a few more minutes to sit back and enjoy it all. 

So...back to the cake.  Fortunately the pans I bought to make the soccer ball came with really good directions, and by some miracle I actually did it right.  I made a two-layer yellow cake base, had good luck frosting it (minimal crumbs and no breakage), and then baked half a ball and made cupcakes with the rest of that chocolate batter.  Lots of frosting later, we had this:
Not gonna lie, I almost had tears in my eyes when I finished this.  It took four years to get a cake I was proud of.  This one was truly a thing of beauty.  Fourteen hours after posting the picture on Facebook it has over 40 "likes", so that was cool, too.
Jacob did well blowing out his candles...

...and ended up preferring his cupcake to the cake itself when it came to eating.
Must have been the sprinkles :)
I had a great clean-up crew and we got most of the mess taken care of pretty quickly.  It was awesome to not have the massive mess to clean up later, because we headed right out to a lacrosse game after the last guests left.  Craig actually left right after cake because he had to work the game.  The team he works for, the Hamilton Nationals, were playing against Craig's former team, the Rochester Rattlers.  Going to a game was probably the last thing we really wanted to do by the end of the day, but it was a gorgeous night and games are always fun, so we prevailed.  Lori came with us and we had a nice time. 

Today has been a lazy day.  We hung out in bed, put together Legos, and relaxed.  The fruits of our labor:
I put this one together--the middle panels flip up (DeLorean style), and the white doors open up, too.  It came with a flaming tree, as it's a forest fire-fighting vehicle.
And Craig's task...
The Batcave, complete with Bane's drill and a Batcycle, a jail, command center, "magic" quick change room, and a few characters.  Pretty awesome.
Maybe we'll motivate ourselves to do something later, or maybe we'll just play in the pool and nap.  Either way, it's been a full but fantastic weekend.  And it couldn't celebrate a more awesome little boy.  Happy Birthday, Jacob!

No comments: