Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Baylor's 5th Birthday!

Baylor's fifth birthday fell on a Saturday (in September ... *sigh*) this year, but it worked better for everyone to have his birthday party on the Sunday after his birthday so we were free to go to the Michigan State University game.  We had to sneak in some birthday gifts beforehand, though!

We didn't even bother changing the kiddos out of their pajamas ... Baylor was just too excited.

We gave him a bunch of Imaginext Batman toys, including the Batmobile, Catwoman and her catcycle, and the Joker and his tank.

I like to encourage the kids to buy gifts for each other so they can start to learn to think of others, so Mollie had her own little gifts to give her big brother for his birthday.

First up, a Star Wars Lego set.  He was beyond geeked.

And then a Star Wars Tervis tumbler!

Ordinarily we don't celebrate half birthdays, particularly with gifts, but I found something too perfect to pass up.

Every little girl needs a Wonder Woman so she can accompany Batman on all his adventures.

After playing with their respective super heroes a bit, Baylor was ready to sidle up to the bar to put together his new Lego set.

Mollie, though, wasn't ready to let go of Wonder Woman that easily.

After a quick breakfast and changing into our Spartan gear, we headed off to the game with Oma, Grandpa E, and Aunt Christine.  Unfortunately, not long after we arrived there was a threat of lightning, so we all had to head down into the stadium concourse with 70,000 + of our closest friends to wait it out.  At one point they started telling everyone they had to leave the stadium entirely, but we - and many, many others - decided to ignore that idea and hunker down in an alcove near the ladies' room.  Soon enough, the kids got hungry, so we bought them a Melting Moments ice cream sandwich to tide them over until a real lunch could be procured.

And while you're not supposed to bring much into Spartan Stadium, I broke the rules and stashed as much as I could in a purse tucked into my pants.  That, of course, included some activity sheets in case the kids got bored during the game ... or the hour-long storm delay.

Grandpa E entertained the birthday boy with a little "elevator" time.

Then Baylor arranged the seat pads for some sort of game for us to play.

Then he insisted we all hop on.  Anything for the birthday boy, right?

The clouds finally parted, and once the stands were filled back up the game began.

Mollie looks sullen because she had just spilled water on herself before the lady in front of us kindly took our picture.

And by the time the lady was ready for a second snap, Mollie had lost it ... she was just too wet to be comfortable.

So she and I went back down into the concourse and scoured every last stand for a new t-shirt for her.  In all of Spartan Stadium there was only one, ONE shirt remotely close to her size, so I snatched it up as quickly as I could and we got her back to a happier, more comfortable state ASAP.  Popcorn always helps, of course.

The kiddos needed a walk about halfway through the first half, so Mom and I headed down with them to stroll the concourse.

Once we got back to our seats, Mollie decided to look the part of a devoted fan and use her hand to shield her eyes from the sun.  It was adorable!

Baylor, on the other hand, used his fingers to shield his ears from the noise.

Halftime finally came and we were all smiles for it.

And then it started to rain again.  Have I ever mentioned that the little man isn't a fan of rain or being wet when he's wearing regular clothes?  Well he's not, and the mid-game rain coupled with the hour-long weather delay to start the game pushed Baylor over the edge.  He started crying and asking to leave, so we decided enough was enough - especially on his birthday - and got out of there.  Of course, by the time we got to the middle of campus the sun was back out, but it was for the best.

We had initially planned on going out to eat for dinner, but Baylor really wanted to eat at Oma's house, so that's what we did.  Plus, that meant he got more time with his birthday presents.

A new Lego set, Rush Hour Junior, and an awesome Lego table with matching Lego chairs ... who could ask for anything more?

After Baylor's initial run at Rush Hour, Mollie decided to try her hand at it, and it turns out she was really awesome!

As is common with birthdays, we sat there and reminisced about how much Baylor has grown in the last year, and with that the little man decided it was high time to find out just exactly what his stats were.

Mollie, of course, had to get in on the action, too.

Then it was time for candles and cake.  Lemon bundt cake, to be exact.

Mollie, ever our salty girl, ate most of the frosting off and left the rest of the cake untouched.

As soon as the last crumbs were eaten, the kiddos returned to Lego creating.

All in all, I would say it was a pretty good birthday for the little man.  I know he wouldn't have chosen to go to the game, but I think he had a decent amount of fun anyway and I knew it was important for us to be together.

Because of a ton of scheduling conflicts, Baylor's birthday party was held a couple weekends later.  He, of course, asked for a Lego-themed party, so I went to the internet to find ideas.  The internet is a double-edged sword for moms these days; on the one hand you can find amazing ideas for just about any sort of party, and on the other hand you can feel disappointed by your own efforts because you end up seeing parties put on by professionals that would take ungodly amounts of time for little ol' you to pull off, if you even could.  Oh, and did I mention that Baylor wanted games as well?  It was a first for our little family, so I had to go to the internet to get some ideas but I think I was pretty good at keeping my crazy in depth internet searches to a minimum.

The first game I came up with was "Guess How Many Legos are in the Jar"; this was the only game that could be played by all our party guests, as the rest were just for the kids.  Baylor actually ended up winning this guessing game, if I remember correctly, and I was a little stumped as to what to do; I hadn't intended for him to have any of the prizes for any of the games (since he was getting a bunch of gifts as it was), but he won fair and square and none of the other guesses were even remotely as close as his was.  In the end, I gave him a prize because he deserved it, and everyone else seemed cool with that.

Aunt Christine worked her magic again and made two Lego cakes for our birthday boy.  Baylor asked for two blue ones but wanted different cake inside each, so she made one lighter and one darker.  This is the darker of the two, and I believe it had yellow cake inside.  Yum!

It's nearly impossible to find Lego-themed party paraphernalia without ordering it directly from Lego itself, so I made due the best I could.  I used Duplo Legos to make a napkin holder and a utensil holder.  The plates I chose were yellow and square, a nod to the standard Legoman head.  I used primary colored streamers from our vast collection of streamers, and I bought yellow balloons and drew Lego faces on them.  (I also bought a Batman balloon because he loves Batman right now, but within minutes of having it home he took it into the living room and ended up slashing a big hole in it with the ceiling fan.)

Besides the games I had cooked up, I also had a little activity station for the kids ... but a bunch of adults ended up participating as well.  I found an outline of a Lego guy and printed off a bunch of them so people could color them in as they chose.

Oh, I almost forgot the other decorations!  Mollie and I sat down the day before the party and made a couple of signs.  Mine is the large one on the left that reads, "Happy birthday, Baylor!" (the blue things are 5's), and Mollie's is the small one on the right ... the colored bars.  She was so very proud of it, and I couldn't help but encourage her budding creativity.

We ate pizza, our standard party food, for lunch first to make sure all the kids were fed and ready to play.  Lest you think I just fed the kids a bunch of pizza and sent them on their way, we also had a fruit salad, another party staple for us, and a veggie tray.

Our next activity was "Pin the Head on Lego Man".  Creating this was a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be, but Bryson stepped in and saved me from myself and found an easier solution to getting the outline I had found printed off in color.

From there we just blindfolded each kiddo that wanted to participate (two didn't) and let them try to find the Lego Man.  Admittedly, I should have put it up a bit higher.

None of the kids ended up remotely close to the Lego Man's body, so Bryson had to whip out the measuring tape to see which three kiddos won.  (I had bought so many prizes on clearance and with two kiddos not participating in any games, we started having to give out three for each game.)  Baylor, of course, was one of the winners and got yet another prize at his own party.  *sigh*

Later on, the two boys who originally didn't participate made a couple heads and stuck them on the Lego Man's hands.

Our third and final game was "Drop the Duplo into the Jar".  I had played a similar game, only with clothes pins and a McD's bag, at a party when I was a kid and had always thought it was so simple yet so clever.  We gave it a go, but so many of the kids are still so close to the ground that it ended up being a bit easier than I thought.

In the end, I made sure all the kids got prizes for participating, and they all went home with goody bags, each containing 1 Lego minifigure (hand-chosen by my sister who can actually discern which figure is inside just by feeling the bag and going off a picture of the options), 2 card stock bookmarks with two Lego guys printed on them for coloring, 2 or 3 Lego pencils, and 1 pair of glow-in-the-dark star sunglasses (just because they were cool).

Baylor then got to open up his presents and got a few Lego sets, some books, the game Trouble, and other assorted toys.  He was one happy kiddo!

While her brother opened his presents, Mollie admired her handiwork while standing atop her aunt.

Finally, it was time to enjoy some cake.  As usual, Baylor requested we not sing "Happy Birthday" to him, so we just gathered everyone around to wish him well and watch him blow out his 5 candle.

Unfortunately, some joshing about singing to him had him in tears right before the lighting.

He managed to pull himself together in time to blow out his candle, and then set to work devouring the cake.

Were you wondering how in the world she made a Lego cake?  No molds were used here; just some standard square layer cake with shortbread cookies baked just to the right size for the nubs.  Here's a cross section picture of the light blue, chocolate cake.

Overall I would say the party was a success.  It was definitely different having it earlier in the day - we're used to having people over around dinner time, but since it was a Sunday and most of the kiddos had school the next day we had a lunch time party instead so as not to keep them up too late, as has been known to happen - but everyone seemed to be having fun anyway.

I would like to thank all everyone who helped pull this party off, particularly my sister who always puts so much time and love into making the birthday cake(s)!  You guys rock!

And to my amazing five year-old ... happy (much belated) birthday, Baylor!

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