Thursday, September 22, 2011

Birthday Slam!

I wonder how rare it is for a grandma to have all three of her grandchildren born on the same day? (It does help that the first two were twins!) The easy part is that I only have one date to remember....the harder part is squeezing all that celebrating into one really crazy day, especially if the two moms involved don't know when to quit when its time to plan something really cute! This year, the big day (August 29) was on a Monday. We compromised by having Brielle's party on Saturday, followed by one for the twins on Sunday.

Brielle was one year old this year, and mom (Christy) decided that "Princess in Pink" was going to be the theme and the whole world (or so it seemed!) would be invited! Note the tutu. Yards and yards of unlimited "fluff!"

Another adorable item was a decoration made by Bree's talented Nana (her paternal grandmother). She took 4" x 6" pictures of the baby at each of her first twelve months, mounted them on pretty paper, accented them with little jewels, buttons, ribbons and all kinds of special little "curlicues" and strung them up in a garland on the banister. The best part was that after the party, they became a beautiful keepsake book for Brielle!

Lots of cute gifts for Brielle to open....but I received a gift too! My wonderful "neighbor-friend-sister," Sheila, attended the party and made a photo journey of the event for me! This is something she has done for every family wedding and bridal shower (including those she herself hosted!) and those have been treasures that are not fully appreciated until after the big day is over. That is when you start trying to remember small details and wish you hadn't been such a "nervous ninnie" (I speak for myself here!), too distracted to take more photos. That is when I sit down at my computer and find that my "angel-sister" has taken care of ALL that for me! She has such a great way with people, greets them at the door, and takes their pictures as they enter! She is there with close-ups of the cake before it is demolished - as well as wide angle shots that capture the spirit of the entire party! What a priceless gift! And I don't think she even realizes how thoughtful and unselfish such a service is to someone like me! I mention this not only in gratitude, but as a suggestion to others; this is a gift you can give that will last far beyond anything anyone can ever unwrap!

Finally, here are the twins, sharing birthday cake with their little cousin!

And now.....we turn to a completely different type of celebration for turning THREE! This one was a little easier on my nerves. Immediate family only; eleven total. Now that's a number that a control freak like me can handle! - especially since I did none of the work! That part was handled by the twins' mom, MaryJo, and it acknowledged very adequately the boys' current fascination with anything that moves on four wheels, in particular - CONSTRUCTION VEHICLES! I must insert here that I have learned to never say that a three year old has nothing to teach me. Gone are the days when I would whiz past a construction site and absently think "yellow trucks." No! Those are not "yellow trucks!" To think that is to be unsophisticated - to have never spent even a moment with a bulky book and a little boy nestled in your lap while being tutored on the difference between a "skid loader" and a "cement mixer." Yes! There most definitely IS a difference - and having been corrected numerous times, I now know what it is! 

The boys woke from afternoon naps to find their room full of helium balloons, and a trail of more of them to follow downstairs to the party where we all waited! A plastic "construction zone" tape was carefully wrapped around the dining room table work area with a wonderful (home baked by mom) dump-truck-shaped-mini-donut-wheeled birthday cake presiding!

Safety First! Note construction hats and vests for all partiers!

The boys were beyond excited.....but was this all? No way! What is that rumbling noise out in the street? It can't possible be Mister Bob, the BOBCAT DRIVER, can it?!

But it WAS!

And the boys got to sit in it and have daddy drive them up and down the street! So, how did this all come about? Well, mommy put on her "construction zone thinking hat" and called around to see if anyone knew a bobcat owner who wouldn't mind hiring himself out to make two little boys ecstatically happy. She discovered Mister Bob almost right around the corner, eagle-eyeing this little gem parked right in his driveway! Mister Bob the Bobcat Owner couldn't have been nicer about agreeing to make the surprise visit that brought this celebration truly over-the-top!

One half hour later, it was back inside for presents and cake and something grandma had up her sleeve for the girls to participate in. This one has a background story!

When the girls were young, I explained to them that my generation didn't live in a world of "toy gluttony" like they do today. If we wanted fun, we were usually on our own to invent it for ourselves. And, I do think that was a good thing to experience; it has made me very resourceful! Anyway, I told them how my two sisters and I fashioned homemade shoes for ourselves. We used cardboard for soles and strapped them on with nasty tasting brown paper tape that needed to be licked to become stick-able. We embarked on neighborhood walks, carrying spare rolls of tape, well prepared for the (frequent) broken strap accompanied by a wail of "REPAIRS!" - our signal to stop and wait until the limping sister was restored for another dozen or so steps! Well! The 80s generation screamed with laughter at each telling, totally missing the point of courageous creativity in the face of 1950s "entertainment poverty!"

2011: Time to teach those 20-somethings a lesson!

My daughters usually don't need bribes to encourage their participation in any kind of crazy, fun stuff, but throw in a few dollars worth of prize money and all three are immediately on board. This time, they were dying to see what I had stashed in three mysterious boxes I was about to hand out!

Each one contained identical items - 2 cardboard sheets big enough to trace an adult foot (I think you know what's coming here!), scissors, tape (couldn't find the nasty lickable stuff - gone to live with the dinosaurs, I imagine!), ribbon scraps, fake flowers, paper scraps, etc!

The girls had 20 minutes to make themselves a pair of shoes, and then we would meet for the race!

Karen, the fashion-minded/scientist in the family took a very methodical approach which proved to be her undoing. Too much emphasis on daintily tied, geometrically arranged fragile bows! Still, she placed first in the "Prettiest" category!

Ladies! Strap on your SANDALS! The contestants line up for the grueling "last woman running while still clad in home made shoes" relay. (And, as in high school days past, "no one" can tell me where the beer bottle came from!)
The race whizzed by so fast, my camera caught only errant puffs of smoke! You will have to rely on results in narrative only. Karen, as previously mentioned, bombed out first. Christy (center) lasted a little longer in a real "mean girls with elbows" battle with her older sister. She had to settle for "Most Entertaining" contestant. The husbands were supposed to select that winner, with grandpa as the tie-breaker. All four of them (wisely, I believe!) opted out of casting votes! With the fierce determination usually exhibited by an eldest sibling, along with some pretty crafty paper engineering, (perhaps observed while viewing "Bob the Builder" alongside her set of twins?) the top prize went to Mary Jo, whose practical, sturdy "mukluks" handily defeated the two pairs of silly little beribboned cream puffs worn by her younger sisters!

Unless you're playing to WIN, don't even bother playing!
And, we STILL weren't done with the evening! We decided to start a family tradition of celebrating our "three-birthdays-in-one" with an annual launch of Asian Wish Lanterns. (I found the best price online at Just Artifacts and received excellent service.) The weather was perfect. No wind and clear skies. So peaceful to watch them slowly drift upwards....later, we heard that some friends launch them every year on Christmas eve. We might have to do that, too! Wouldn't that be pretty if there was a light snow?

Very easy to light and to use....a wonderful experience!
Highly recommended!

My personal wish was that every child would be as loved as my own are.