Sunday, July 7, 2013

Belated Birthday

Because of various scheduling difficulties, Jacob's birthday party with the family had to wait a couple weeks.  His birthday didn't seem quite official without it.  His actual birthday was pretty low-key, and there weren't even really any blockbuster gifts so everything just seemed a little quieter than usual.  And with two weeks before his actual party, it was even stranger. 
 
Finally the big day came.  The weather was hot and humid with a chance of rain, but it ended up being dry and a perfect pool day.  Of course, with my hacked up finger I couldn't go anywhere near the pool, but I had plenty to do in the meantime...I had a cake to worry about. 
 
After a couple near-disasters and one total disaster, last year's soccer ball cake was pretty awesome.  This year Jacob had gone back and forth between a few different concepts, including a hockey rink and a cowboys-Indians-type cake, but settled on a baseball diamond.  I wasn't sure how it would go, but I pinned a few versions on Pinterest and plotted it out as much as I could.  I baked the cakes Friday night and lucked out with a fantastic nap by Carter Saturday morning to get as much of the cake done as I could.  Jacob kept coming in to watch me do the first layer of frosting, and was trying to be supportive for a change, which was cute.  After I finished the grass part of it, I called him in to see it, and I asked him if it was okay.  He told me it was better than okay, which was really sweet.  As a kid that doesn't get truly excited about much, it was nice to get a good reaction from him.  In the end, I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out, which let me enjoy more of the party than usual...but more on the cake in a bit.
 
I was outside enjoying the day while everyone was in the pool, and at one point I walked back to the house to work on some food when our niece came out of the house and said, "There's a bird at the front door...", to which I responded, "What?!"  When I walked upstairs to the door and saw our houseguest, I immediately remembered--Craig had set it up to have the Knighthawks' mascot, R. Thunder, come to the party.  Jacob LOVES the mascot.  He has for years.  As a little bit of background...R. Thunder is an eagle who was added as a second mascot for the Amerks a few years back.  He also did Knighthawks games, and when the teams' ownership situation changed a couple years ago, I guess you could say that the Knighthawks got "custody" of R. Thunder.  That is how the Knighthawks ended up with an eagle as their mascot.  Jacob just calls him "The Eagle".
 
Well, when "The Eagle" walked into the backyard, Jacob freaked out!  He was SO excited.  He instantly started yelling to him as he paddled frantically to get out of the pool and go see him.  Here's a shot of him trying to paddle... 

And here he is once he was out of the pool...

Immediately Jacob ran into the house to get changed into his lacrosse stuff so they could play.  Now, as you look at this picture, keep in mind that it was about 85 degrees and humid...
Taking a break after the first round of lacrosse
And now think about how 85 and humid must feel inside this bird...

R. Thunder took a couple water breaks, but in between he played lacrosse like a champ...

I'll admit, it was really entertaining seeing Jacob and all his cousins playing with a giant fuzzy bird.  They had a blast and everyone posed for pictures at the end...

Shortly after the Eagle finished up his visit, it was time for presents.  There actually ended up not being a lot to open.  His present from Craig's parents (Legos) didn't arrive in time, one of my parents' presents wasn't wrapped, and godmother Lori ended up giving him money and offering to take him shopping to spend it.  He did have a lot of cards, and did open up some Legos from Craig's brother's family. 

The unwrapped present from my parents was a kid-sized table and chairs for his room. We had discussed getting him a Lego table, but all of the real Lego tables were surprisingly small (better for 2-3 year olds than for the big kids who actually play with Legos).  Just around the time we were trying to figure out other options, my mom stumbled upon a top of an old Lego table at my aunt's yard sale.  She scooped that up, had my very handy uncle work some magic with it (there was a hole in the middle that used to lead to a mesh storage bag), and got a taller regular table.  The good news is that instead of having to clear off the Lego side of the real Lego table to flip it to the flat table side, Jacob can just remove this topper...
What's this big one?

Lego table top!
However, we don't know yet exactly how it will work.  It has some felt pads on the bottom but may need some rubber pads too, to make sure it doesn't shift.  I tried to put the table and chairs together today, but there was a crack in the table top (ugh) so I put in a request with the company (after confirming that none of the Toys 'R' Us locations here have the right one to exchange).  I've had good luck with requests like that in the past, so hopefully this one will have a quick and successful resolution.  I can't wait to get it all set up and get all (or some) of the Legos off the floor!

Now, back to the cake.  As I said, I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.  Jacob was a little critical of my original design, so I ended up grabbing an image of a baseball field off the internet and using it to map out where everything needed to go.  I also changed the orientation of the field at the last minute, but everything worked out perfectly...
There's a "5" behind the second baseman.

Those baseball guys were actually used as potty training prizes a few years ago.  They were a couple bucks at the party store (I had gone looking for them after he became obsessed with hockey guys that Craig still had from one of his birthday cakes as a kid).  He earned three of them before it must have lost its lure, because I still had three of them put away.  I found the other three in with his sports guys, and voila...a full infield.

Jacob really liked the cake a lot, which was great.  It's not often he shows gratefulness for anything, so to see him so excited about this cake made me so happy.  And it was pretty darn tasty, as well. 

All in all, it was a great day.  There were a couple minor hiccups (mostly related to Jacob's ongoing problems with obedience), but everything went well--from the food to the cake, from the weather to the entertainment, from the presents to the company, everything was really pretty successful.  We were all exhausted, though, and everyone slept well! 

Now on to another week...

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