Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Birthday Boy

I love birthdays and get so much satisfaction from planning unique ways to celebrate the people I love.  And while I tend to splurge a little when it comes to my boy's birthday parties, I love adding a spark to the simple birthday traditions that follow afterwards.  It's kind of like what I remember about getting married - while the party was fun and I was a little sad to see the wedding day go, the quiet days that followed as newlyweds is what I love to remember the most.  Simple routines with a little bit of sparkle.  

And plenty of candles.  You can never blow out enough candles around your birthday.  

Cruz turned three on Saturday and we celebrated on a picture perfect fall day.  I told Cruz that he may just have picked one of the prettiest calendar days of the year to be born.  The weather was crisp, the sun was shining, and the leaves were finally starting to put their fall sweaters on.  On the eve of his birthday, we snuggled together and read the children's story, "On the Night You Were Born."  Then, after he fell asleep, Beau and I exercised our lungs and created a festive entryway for our boy to parade through in the morning.  I looked at his photo book, read old blog posts, and recalled vivid details of the night my boy was born.

Saturday morning felt like Christmas morning, only it consisted of a lot more colors than red and green.  Cruz slept 'til 7 before crawling in bed with us to talk about common things like pirates, Lightning McQueen, and itsy spiders.  Soon, our birthday boy discovered his balloon door and thought it was pretty amazing.  After slashing a few down with his sword, we got to work in the kitchen and whipped up our first batch of birthday pancakes.  We had sprinkles, we had candles, and we had chocolate milk, three of Cruz's favorite things.  The pancakes were easier to whip up than a cake and a wonderful way to start our day of celebration.  I have a feeling birthday pancakes will become a regular staple around here.

The rest of the day felt like a simple fall Saturday, with snapshots of The Lumineers, balloons on the floor of every room, a mid-morning bath, and a free Fireside apple for the birthday boy at the Farmer's Market.  Beau used the last of our garden tomatoes to mix up a fresh pot of chili, which simmered on the stove top all afternoon.  And no birthday would be complete without a quick stop downtown to celebrate with a cupcake from Scratch.

But of all the surprises, sugar, and candles our boy got to celebrate with on the day he turned three, there was perhaps one that truly made his day one of the best.  He's been a fan of this place since spotting their frequent rotation of commercials on Disney Junior since he could barely talk, and can spot the logo a mile away as we drive by.  It may be a money pit, a bit cheesy, with mediocre pizza and a germ-haven for children, but to my boy, this place was a whole new world just waiting to be unlocked.  He had been patient long enough and tonight was the night we would let him see what it was all about.

On the way to Chuck 'E Cheese, I told Cruz we were taking him on a big surprise and asked him to guess where he was going.  He put his finger to his chin before smiling and guessing that we were going to McDonalds for a Happy Meal.  Although he got a little crabby when we explained we had far better plans than a night under the golden arches, the look on his face said it all as we pulled into the parking lot.  I haven't seen my little this excited, in maybe forever, and Beau and I knew we were in for a fun night ahead of us.  You know you're indeed a parent when nothing could make you happier than seeing that smile on their face.

I must admit, I was skeptical about the whole idea at first, but the three of us had a blast.  We did eat mediocre pizza and did get roped into 80 tokens that bought us one measly Laffy Taffy, a swirly straw, and a page of Chuck 'E stickers, but we had three hours of watching our child fully enthralled in his element.  We raced each other in Mario Kart, spent a half hour throwing these little plastic balls into a frog's mouth, and took turns scoring lots of tickets on the crane game.  Cruz clapped, danced, and raised his hand high when Chuck 'E asked if there were any birthdays in the house, and we laughed so much just watching how happy he was.  It was admittedly fun for Beau and I, too, reliving our childhoods and attempting to beat one another at skee ball.  It was a fun little family adventure to a place I have a feeling we may likely revisit this winter before baby arrives.

And just like that, we have a three year old.  It's bittersweet to see our babies grow, but so fun to share all these new experiences together.  There's nothing in the world better than creating happy moments for the people you love and seeing big, goofy smiles on their faces.  

And plenty of candles, of course.  Yet another good thing about turning one year older.  Just one more candle to wish upon. :)


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