Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Robot Party for Wilder's 4th Birthday


it completely blows my mind that it was already four years ago that i gave birth to this boy who has continued to steal my heart more and more every day i know him. these past four years have gone by so fast (SO FAST), and yet i can barely remember life before him. he very specifically asked for a robot party, so of course, we had a million ideas running around in our heads of what we could do, and of course may have gotten a little carried away with it all. but it was definitely a lot of fun to create this party for him, and i think he really enjoyed it. :) i had a lot of fun making the robot crayons and robot cake especially, but you should have seen it during the making process! i'm pretty sure j opened the fridge at one point before i had done the fondant and was like ew! what is that!? haha! it was terrible looking as i was trying to figure out how to get the shapes i wanted using an insufficient number of box cakes and the circular cake pans, etc. it was quite the study in geometry for a little bit there. ;) i think the kids enjoyed the robot boxes and tunnel that j built the most. tied with the water guns, of course.

as always when i'm hosting or just dealing with kids in general, i find it hard to take all the photos i want to take at the same time, but i did get a few. and thanks to our friends who got a few for us as well!

J made this punch box in lieu of a piƱata, and it was so fun! every kid got to punch a circle and inside were some little prizes. 

the robot ball shoot

robot crayons made with a silicone robot mold. i also did chocolate but forgot to hand those out.

robot or alien? hahaha

evienne's new best friend, woody. she LOVES him and is clearly taking good care to keep him fed.

punch box!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ten years.


on the tenth anniversary, we drove to the grave site for the first time in ten years. i didn't remember any of it, except that the drive seemed longer the first time. we found the small paved road that led into the graveyard and parked next to the massive mausoleum that i also didn't remember. maybe it wasn't there ten years ago. we put on our coats and gathered up the white and pink-tipped roses i had picked out. then my brother and i fanned out, he going to the northeast and i to the south, searching for the stone; neither of us remembering exactly where it had been. we searched for what felt like half an hour. i carried the flowers and watched my boots treading over grass and soft earth, forgetting from time to time that i needed to actually read each stone i passed, forgetting i was looking for something, thinking maybe that my feet would somehow lead me there. and as the light started to fail, we met back up in the middle and started to search again, this time together, me walking somewhat angrily, thinking about the irony of what if we couldn't find it and what would i do then with these beautiful flowers for which i had told the florist i didn't need plant food.

and then as i was stomping around, looking more determinedly this time, i heard my brother call my name softly. "it's here," he said, looking down. he stood near a bank of not very tall cypress trees, and something in me recognized that that is where i had known it was all along. i walked towards him as he knelt down and began to clear the small stone of the grass and weeds which were growing over its edges. i had wondered if ten years was long enough to cover the stone entirely. i wasn't prepared for how i would feel to see it neglected, as if we didn't care, as if we hadn't been there in spirit, daily.

i knelt down, barely seeing what i was looking at, placing the flowers next to it. and then i stood and after a minute my brother said, "You didn't touch it. You should touch it." and i laughed through swimming eyes because it was so much a thing he would say, a thing i might under other circumstances be irritated by, and i did and didn't understand what he meant and why i didn't want to. my husband has often said that i remind him of a bird and maybe he is right because i do so much better seeing things from the side. but i obliged.

the marble was smooth, the lettering chiseled deep and sharp and less legible in some places where dirt had gotten in. i read the verse—all there was except a name and date—which i hadn't even known was there. then i learned my brother had chosen it, and i marveled not for the first time at the man he has become. and at the simplicity and perfection of the verse he chose, so much better and truer than any other words would have been.

we squatted there as night fell and spoke of things we never have before. i told him how happy she would have been about his wife and son. we talked of who spoke a few days later at the funeral. most i didn't remember. i held his hand. and in those moments, the night was strangely peaceful and beautiful, and i lost some of my fear of graveyards. and then a small owl, nearly silent, nearly invisible, landed on the ground a few feet away for but a moment before flying away again and i felt as if we'd been visited, briefly, by some kind of magic. by God. by peace.

and then it was dark and time to go.

"as made sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; 
as having nothing and yet possessing all things." 
— 2 Corinthians 6:10


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

evienne's 2nd birthday tea party


for evienne's second birthday we ended up having a simple family tea party, which turned out to be the best thing, and i think we might have enjoyed it the most of any party we've ever had. or at least i did, and in no small part i credit it to the cake that i made — mimi thorisson's salted butter chocolate cake from her french country cooking cookbook. i made a few adjustments, most notably substituting gluten-free flour, leaving out a third of the called-for sugar and frosting it with a buttercream frosting. it was perfection. or near enough to leave me in raptures about it, anyways. i always feel that the important part of celebrations is the cake, and i was thrilled to finally produce a cake that lived up to my expectations. i'm not sure why, but most birthday cakes I've made have only been ho hum and not worth duplicating. this cake, though, made all my dreams come true.

tea parties are some of my absolute favorite favorite favorite things in the whole world, and right now the book that evienne most frequently requests is little bear's friend, in which there is a tea party. so of course, i started having dreams of a tea party for evienne's birthday and then trying to make the logistics of a tea party for a two-year-old and her equally small friends work with my vision for it which was getting complicated. so when we originally planned to have friends over, i scrapped the idea of a tea party and just knew there would be cake. at the last minute, basically the day of, when i realized it was just going to be us, i decided to throw together a tea party for her. it was super simple and contained all her favorite things: cake, berries, cheese, crackers, popcorn, cashews and drinking/eating from adult-sized dishes, flowers, and a hat (flower crown) to wear. and the birthday song, which she also regularly requests i sing, usually directed towards everyone in her acquaintance, no matter that they are not actually there to hear it. we forgot her balloons and did nothing except eat and eat some more and open a present for her dolly, named lucy after the doll in the little bear's friend book. she blew out candles (with some help) and ate her cake and was so happy, dancing in her chair. it could not have been more perfect, and even though i am sad to think of my little girl growing up so fast, i was so happy to see her so happy and to celebrate her wonderful birth. this is so sappy, but everything about this celebration made me so happy. probably because this little girl makes me so happy.

happy birthday evienne! i love you.