Birthday Celebration I: We bought the kids' tickets for a ride on Lake Michigan for the 2010 Tall Ships Tour. (Daddy was supposed to come, but had "very important plans" that day and couldn't cancel. So Grammy happily joined us instead.)
Our vessel was the Appledore IV:
Hurray for Google images! This isn't our ride, and obviously isn't
Chicago, but it IS the Appledore IV!
After sailing, we spent a few hours walking around Navy Pier through large crowds of people. I recently learned of a great tip for taking kids to crowded events: write your cell phone number on your child's arm, so if he gets lost, someone can instantly call you. That day, I also learned the caveat to this tip: you actually have to have a pen that writes well enough on skin so someone can read it. Instead, I settled for writing it on a scrap of paper and shoving it into each boys' pocket. Happily, we stayed together and never had to find out if this trick actually works or not. (When the boys came home, Todd later was telling me, in amazement, about the random piece of paper that he found in Joel's pocket with my phone number on it. I'm not quite sure how he thought it got there...?)
We came back and brought the boys to our new favorite restaurant, Red Robin, to celebrate with a birthday dinner. (This is "our favorite restaurant" because they are very allergy friendly and have a great plan in place to keep things as safe as possible.) They ended the meal with a song for the boys, to which each child promptly hid his head in Daddy's arms. They brought out the obligatory ice cream dessert, which the boys could not eat (due to allergy risk), but the adults could (except for me, as I'm allergic to milk.) So instead, the boys were given birthday mandarin oranges. Mmm, mmm!
Birthday Celebration II: We were scheduled to have a small birthday party with some old friends in our backyard. The theme was a campout, and I had great plans to make it the greatest campout the boys had ever experienced! (I chose the theme at the beginning of the summer, assuming we'd be taking the kids camping a couple of times this year. We never did. So this would have actually been the only campout they've ever experienced.) But, seeing as our family motto is "plan a little, change a lot", the week before the party, sickness+mosquitoes+whatever else forced us to cancel the camping party. Instead, we decided to go a local bouncy land called Monkey Joe's. It's filled with giant inflatable slides and mazes that the kids can enjoy to their little hearts' content! Everyone had a great time!
After finishing playtime, we headed over to Colonial Cafe for dinner, presents and birthday desserts.
Playtime with friends, waiting for the "surprise" to arrive.
When the waitress brought out "The Kitchen Sink" (a giant sundae served in a sink), we anticipated a slightly different reaction from the boys. Evan Matisse laid his head down, and Joel got up from the table and stood behind me. At least the rest of the kids enjoyed it!
Don't act too enthusiastic, Evan Matisse!
After the singing, everyone (including the twins) dug into their giant dessert. Luke didn't get a bowl, but he did get to eat the bananas!
And of course, what's a birthday party without cake? I made these ice cream cone cupcakes to fit the setting:
Some kids ate them up; others (like mine) wanted nothing to do with them. I'm just going to tell myself it's because they were too full.
It was a great birthday for the boys, and very stress free (a first for me!) The celebration isn't quite over; we'll be getting together with my dad's side this weekend to celebrate. Lucky kids, they don't just get a birthday, they get a birthday month!
Three year checkup stats:
Joel- 30.5lbs, not very tall (I forget the heights), will be needing glasses in a year or so (astigmatism in both eyes). Tiny, but otherwise healthy!
Evan Matisse- 28lbs, not very tall either, great eyesight, healthy boy!
Oh, and just to show how much they are indeed "boys" now (not babies), you notice my new way of referring to Evan? That's because he and Joel have both decided they prefer to call him Matisse (his middle name) instead of Evan. We parents are slowly trying to make the switch (which I actually agree with, since Evan seems to be way too popular of a name these days.) If I show the boys baby photos of themselves, they will tell me the one picture is "Goal" (their way of saying "Joel"), and the other pictures is "Teese" (what they usually call
Evan Matisse.) They've really committed to the change!