Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trains, and Candy, and Presents, Oh My!

We had Ben's big Thomas party to celebrate his 3rd birthday last Saturday morning. I don't know if the other boys (SIX of them - all around 3 years old) were more subdued because it was early, or because they were unsure of their environment, or because there were no older kids to get them riled up - but they were a very quiet group!

As kids were arriving and for the first 10 minutes or so, they started working on the coloring booklets I'd put together:

I cleverly made sure I had 8 of everything, including the coloring books and goodie bags, so that Ben and Leah each got one as well.

I had planned a couple of easy little games, but as soon as those little guys spotted the train track, all plans pretty much went out the window. Which was just as well, really - we fortunately had enough trains and enough spots around the track to avoid any arguments, and they played very nicely until I decided that the moms had had enough photo ops - seriously, those boys were totally surrounded by momarratzzi.

Next activity: Decorate the mini train cakes that I'd baked using this mold, borrowed from a friend. They turned out beautifully - I used a yellow cake mix and baked them according to the directions for cupcakes...plus a couple extra minutes.

Again, what's with the mystery sideways photo? Anyway, here was my strategy for decorating: 1. Purchase blue, yellow & red ready-to-shoot frosting (blue & red take SO much dye to get right) and a variety of candies (gummy Lifesavers, Twizlers Pull n Peels, Sixlets, mini jelly beans, snack size Airheads).
2. Put a mini cake on a plate for each kid.
3. Have a mom shoot some frosting onto it in strategic locations.
4. Put some candy on each kids plate and let them go at it.

Granted, I'm sure a fair amount of candy bypassed the cakes entirely and went straight from plate to mouth, but it was fun, and they actually let us get a photo before digging in to eat.

By this time, the "family" portion of the party had arrived: my mom and dad, my Grandma (now called GiGi) and my great-aunt Marion. The kids didn't care about the order of cake duties, so they cheerfully ate theirs first, then sang "Happy Birthday" with us for the fam.

I also made this little cake, but it didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped - perfectly serviceable, of course, and still very yummy. But that blue dye, I tell ya - it was definitely more "Ocean Blue" than "Sky Blue" as promised! Also, it would have helped if my square cake pans had been the same size, instead of one being an 8x8, and the other a 9x9. Oh well!

New toys! Ben kept asking when he was going to get to open presents - and FINALLY Mommy said it was time! We have the giver(s) sit in one chair, while the birthday kid sits across from them in another chair...

...and after opening, a "thank you!" and hug is only appropriate!

Great-Aunt Leona set this cuddly panda book - Ben gives it the hug of approval! This was the genuine article, but he also re-hugged the thing several more times for other photos! What a sport.

The "big" present of the day was this Thomas roundhouse playset. It has four little cubbies, and each had a new engine in it - Ben is checking them out. It was a hit, and Ben is positively in love with his new trains.

Here's the official birthday photo - Happy Birthday, our sweet Benjamin! This has been a fun year for you, full of self-expression and asserting yourself. I'm praying that you keep your goofy sense of humor and your love of helping Mommy in the kitchen and hanging out with Daddy. Mommy and Daddy love you! (So does that sister of yours, too!)


Ruth said...

Great recap! great pictures!

yay for ben and stealing birthdays!

Blue Castle said...

Ben has one of the greatest little faces. Looks like you all had fun.
Lyz, you do not even look pregnant in the one picture of you full-length.

Joanne said...

Fun times!!! Very nice pictures too!

Beth said...

Fun birthday! Both our babies with same bday, same name? I've quickly gotten over the fact that yes, there are other kids named Ben. We just didn't know any personally, and it seemed like a good fit, and I'm over the whole "my child must be unique in every way, starting with a made-up name" thing. Anyways, happy spring! Back to baby care...