Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Declan's Third Birthday

I love birthdays, and so does Declan.  He was extraordinarily excited about his birthday this year.  In the weeks leading up to the big day, there were many times that he would insist that it was his birthday today, and demand to be taken to his party forthwith.  When I would gently explain that it was not quite his birthday yet, the tears would flow.  Finally the big day arrived, and it fell on a Monday this year, so this was his invitation: 

Marginally funnier than last year's I think...

But still not as funny as the year before...

 Which still slays me.  It's funny because it's true.  For example, on the morning of Declan's third birthday, when I woke him up for school, I started getting all verklempt, telling him the story of the day he was born, how excited his Daddy was, and how nervous I was, until the moment when the doctors and nurses stepped aside to let me see him, and in that second, I thought "He's perfect" and I can still see exactly how he looked at that first glimpse.  To which story Declan replied "Stop talking Mommy".

So yes, they do indeed grow up so fast.  

For the party, we bought a small bounce house.  I really don't want to become "those people" when it comes to kids' birthday parties, but somehow it just felt right to finally get Declan a padded room.  The kid likes to bounce around.  I was able to justify the bounce house aquisition to myself on the grounds that his party got cancelled last year at the last minute.  Notice I didn't make dinner for 50 this year; we ordered pizza instead.  I'm learning.

 As an offhand thought, I asked my dad if he would keep an eye on the kids in the bounce house and make sure that nobody got hurt.  Well he sat himself out there like a sentry, putting a stop to any shenanigans like unauthorised shoe wearing, and I swear he didn't abandon his post for like 4 hours!  He took his BounceHouse Master duties very seriously.  I love how in all the party pictures you can see him stationed at the bounce house door, regardless of what else was going on.  heh.

All four of Declan's grandparents were at the party for the first time ever, which was a special treat.  I forgot to take a picture of all of them together.   My mom took this picture, and here is a picture of her taking a picture, so now there's 4 of them altogether.  Will photoshop Declan in later.

The party was pretty freeform- I just put out a bunch of rideon toys into the driveway, and made a tent maze, and let the kids just run around like maniacs while the adults could visit unmolested.

The only "organized" activity was a pinata, but I am going to put those pictures in a seperate post,
because this one is getting a little lengthy, and apparently I like pictures of little kids whacking on things with sticks because I took dozens of them.

I asked Declan ahead of time what shape he would like his birthday cake to be, and he replied "a circle".  Heh.  So I had them draw a big old circle on it, and then at the last minute told the bakery to throw a robot in that circle.  That is what happens when there is no theme to your party- or there's a theme, but it's "Zoo animals and robots with occasional guest appearances by Lightning McQueen." But I thought the cake looked pretty cute, and so did Declan as he couldn't help but gently put his face in it, when it was set out before him.

I like this picture because how afraid of fire is Amelie?? heh.

I consider the party a success, as Declan looked pretty much like this the whole time.  He had a ball.  And it must have scratched his birthday itch as he hasn't been clamoring for another party since.  Woohoo!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!


We were excited to see a picture of Declan in the Sunday paper this morning.  We were going to the Easter egg hunt for dogs yesterday, and when Declan saw that I put Phoebe in a costume, Declan demanded to wear one too.  So I opted to put him in a dog costume.  As you do.  Only Nellie was allowed to retain her dignity.  The event consists of a hunt for 5,000 plastic eggs with dog treats inside hidden in the woods, a doggie Easter bonnet parade, and a dog-owner look-a-like contest. 

 Here are our three dogs posing with the Easter Bunny himself.    So of course we had the cutest crew there, so the photographer from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette took about 500 pictures of Declan with Phoebe and Nellie.  Alas, Phoebe got left out of the newspaper, because she just doesn't photograph as well as Nellie, even when she's in her cute bee costume.    We have often told people that we named her Phoebe because it is Greek for "where light goes to die".    Anyway, there are supposed to be more pictures of the event posted online, so I'm hoping there will be a good one with Phoebe in it too.

I hope Declan of the future will think it's cool to have a newspaper clipping of himself 30 years from now, when physical daily newspapers probably won't exist anymore.  Or maybe he will resent being photographed in a dog costume.  It could go either way.
Sharing the hunt spoils with Phoe-bee. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Last week, our neighborhood got hit by an actual honest-to-goodness tornado. The tornado warning sirens woke us up at 2 am, we pulled a sleeping Declan from bed, and went to wait it out in the stairwell to our garage. The storm didn't sound like much, and after half an hour we got the all-clear, and went back to bed. It wasn't until the next morning that we found out how close the tornado had been to us- its path ran just a block south of our house. This kind of made me retroactively scared, especially when we figured out the next day that the sirens went off *after* the tornado had hit, by a minute or two it seems.

This tornado was an F1 - class, the weakest grade, with winds between 86 and 110 mph. All the damage comes from felled trees rather from the strength of the tornado itself. It is very strange how localised the damage is. The path where the tornado ran can be clearly seen- all the trees are gone- but 25 metres in either direction and there's no damage at all. The only evidence in our yard was a few extra leaves blown on the ground. And our power was out for 24 hours, and we went without internet for five days. I believe this means I am a real Arkansan now.  This is also why there are so many unanswered emails in my inbox.  I've been without power and connectivity!

This tree pulled up the whole patio.

The morning after the storm everyone came out onto the streets to chop up trees and clear the roads.  It turns out that we are the only family in Little Rock that doesn't own a chainsaw.  Now I want one.  That, and a tornado shelter are on my list.