Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birthday Boy!

Fun fact: Jacob and Carter were both born on Friday, which meant that their first birthdays fell on a Saturday.  It worked out perfectly with Jacob where we could have his first birthday party on his actual birthday, which felt just right.  Ever since it's always felt weird when we can't have his birthday on the actual day.  I was happy when I realized that Carter's first birthday would fall on a Saturday as well...that is, until I saw the Knighthawks schedule and saw a road game on Carter's birthday.  So, we had to wait an extra day for his party, which was just fine because it gave me an extra day to plan!

Carter's actual birthday was pretty low key.  Craig left late the night before for his roadtrip, so it was just the kids and me on Saturday morning trying to pack up and get on the road at a reasonable time.  The actual packing went well and Jacob was extra well behaved.  The biggest problem of the morning was that we needed to take Carter's 12 month picture and he was not being cooperative.  He kept trying to crawl away or grab the 12 sign, or he just wouldn't smile.  I was feeling pretty frustrated and even Jacob tried helping me distract him long enough to get a smile or two.  We tried at least twice, hoping the break would help, but in the end we only got a couple decent ones and none that were perfect both with their smile and with the continuity with the other months' angles, coloring, etc.  Oh, well.  At least that's done! 

We got on the road around 11:30 and headed to my parents' house for the weekend.  The drive was fine and we just spent the day hanging out.  Jacob was great and Carter was trying to get into everything!  I had to spend some time baking during the afternoon, including figuring out how to bake the big cupcake for the main cake.  All things considered it went relatively well, and I pretty much left it all for the night and would figure out the construction next morning.  I worked on a couple of the major elements of the decorations, though, afterward.  I did capture this cute shot of Carter before we headed out to another birthday party in the evening, this one for his second cousin (on my side), whose 10th birthday was early last week. 

Carter had a few moments of desperately needing to be with his mama, but what else is new?  Still, both kids were really good and went down pretty well at bedtime.  I had to stay up to meet Craig nearby on his way back from Toronto, so my night was a little later.  Carter woke up a couple times whining, and I ended up cuddling him for a while just so he didn't wake up Jacob.  Needless to say, I was really tired when it was time to get up.  I also panicked that I wouldn't have enough time to get everything done for the 1pm party, so we stayed home from church and I got working on the cake situation.  It took some maneuvering, but in the end it went relatively well.  And the end result of the main cake was absolutely lovely.  I was thrilled with how it turned out!
Take that Pinterest fails!!
The top decoration was inspired by Pinterest, and I learned that you could use the cake mold (thank goodness I got the silicone one!) to coat with candy melts and make a molded shell for the bottom of the cupcake.  It makes it look so much more finished and polished than leaving it bare or trying to frost it.  I was thrilled with the look, though I did get nervous when it was a bit of a squeeze to get it in.  In the end everything looked so pretty and picture perfect!

In the midst of my decorating, all of a sudden the party was starting!  Carter was still in his jammies since I wanted to save the birthday outfit for the party and a lot of things were still in progress.  My parents and Craig were also working away right up until the start.  My parents were hugely helpful and I am so grateful for all they did to help with the party.  The house was full of people, but everyone had plenty to eat and seemed to have a great time, including all of those mingling between sides of the family!

Carter had taken an early nap that morning which threw off my ideal schedule for the day, and by the time the party started and he was finishing his lunch, I knew a nap would be hard to come by.  I learned a hard lesson during Jacob's party when he was so cranky during the end of presents and for his cake, and I had so hoped to avoid that this time.  Carter was still having a lot of mommy moments during the party, which had me nervous, but by the time people were finishing eating he seemed to be in a decent mood so we moved on to the presents. 

He really liked that card, for some reason!

Lori did a great job of catching him smiling when I handed the camera over

He was probably even less into unwrapping than he was at Christmas, but I'm sure he was thrown off by the chaos and being the center of attention.  Still, he did great.  First gift up was his own set of mini hockey sticks with a soft ball and puck! 
Sticks!  And paper!
Very appropriate since he's been stealing Jacob's whenever he gets the chance!  I actually think Jacob was possibly more excited about it than Carter, almost like it dawned on him that, "Wait, he WILL actually be able to play with me someday!"  Of course, when Jacob saw on the back of the packaging that there's a full ice rink mat that you can buy, that became his new future gift of choice!

Uncle Brad and the rest of the fam got him a Mercyhurst teddy bear (Daddy's alma mater!), and it looks like he liked it!

His Bacie (Craig's mom) has added to the collection of sports-themed clothes floating around our house with this cute onesie (with orange shorts to match--so cute!)...

He did open his gifts from us since we ran out of time on Saturday.  We gave him a shape sorter (Jacob never had a good one and I think they're one of those staple learning toys--anything without batteries these days is music to my ears!) and a Mega Bloks dump truck that I had won a couple years ago in a blog giveaway.  I won three items, one of which I gave as a gift, one of which Jacob got (a big bag of Mega Bloks), and one that I stashed away for the future.  Carter doesn't have any specific interests, though sports and cars are slowly climbing the charts, and he's shown some interest in the Mega Bloks so I figured he might enjoy the truck.

There was one intriguing large gift in the pile which I later figured out was a joint present from Lori and her parents, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a ride-on toy, which was a new one for us.  While big toys can be a challenge to store, after two boys it's hard to find toy categories that you don't already have, so that was a nice surprise. 
He can sit on the car and pull the gear shift, which makes balls pop out the front.  The balls can go back in via the hood or through a hole in the steering wheel.  It's really cute!
Since his mood was hanging in there and he showed no signs of being able to nap, we rushed right into the cake.  In addition to the giant cupcake, I did a set of gluten-free chocolate cupcakes for Jacob, a smash cake for Carter, and a few more cupcakes with the remaining batter.  It was a lot, but it went very smoothly.  Here's the finished smash cake, which was the same size as Jacob's (it was a last-minute afterthought sort of decision when I did it for Jacob...I think I had batter left over there, too, and didn't even realize until I did it that it could be a smash cake!).  I just adorned it with a simple star and left it at that.  I did accessorize with the same candle we used for Jacob (upper right corner), but we didn't bother lighting it since babies and fire don't really mix.

Waiting to be sung to...with the cake at a safe distance since he almost dug in early when I accidentally got it too close!  He's also wearing the same "1" bib as Jacob wore.
He was very tentative about digging in initially and almost needed to be shown that he could touch it.  We then tried with a spoon.  When he finally got it up to his mouth he seemed intrigued and went back for more. 

In this picture he's almost saying, "Why is everyone looking at me?"

Eventually it was time to cut into my masterpiece, which always breaks my heart a little bit.  But good cake makes a lot of things better...

In the meantime, Carter was making a pretty good mess, per the teaser picture in my last post.  These were taken shortly before I scooped him up and took him up for a bath.  He literally had frosting from head to toe!

I salvaged one side of the cake to add to our leftovers and snuck him a bit after he ate his dinner last night.  He earned it, right? 
After his bath we went back down to the party, and after a few minutes in my arms he conked right out and slept for at least a couple hours.  We headed home after his nap and dinner (none of the rest of us were hungry!), and I felt bad because he was bored and whiny during the drive and eventually fell back to sleep, only to get home, have a bottle, and go back to bed.  I guess the sleep was good, though, because he slept through the night as usual.  Birthdays are tiring!

All in all, it was a pretty crazy weekend but it went well.  Carter did well, the party was great, the cake was perfect, and Jacob was amazingly good.  More on that in another post!  But suffice it to say, I was so pleased with how the weekend went...despite the fact that I'd really just like to go back to bed right now!  Happy Birthday Carter!

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