Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Birthday: A Post-Mortem

Hey kids,

It's been forever since I last blogged, and guess what? I'm STILL sick with that damned sinus thing. Four days before Christmas was when all this started. Throat was infected, eyes were infected, sinuses were DEF-CON 4. I've gone through two courses of antibiotics and am just now (touch wood) on the mend. Still stuffed up, still coughing and wheezing a bit, still can't hear too good. But energy's up a bit, can sleep through the night without tossing up a lung.

I am paranoid that all the coughing has detached a retina. Seriously. All of a sudden I have a plethora of floaters in my right eye. Well... two or three. One appeared a couple of weeks ago, toward the bottom of my field of vision, and I thought it would drive me insane. Just when I thought I could possibly make peace with it, a second one appeared, three times as big and right in the middle of my vision. It's shaped like a seahorse, with a long stringy tail that curls up under it when I look to the left, and then the tail flows out behind it when I look to the right. So yeah, I can make it do tricks. Am I the only person in the history of the world to name my eye floaters? I've named this one Seabiscuit. Or Wilberforse. I can't decide yet. But don't worry about me yet, kids. I'm making an appointment later this week with my eye doctor. I need new glasses anyway, and our new vision plan has finally kicked in.

Enough about my ills. It was Jakob's birthday!

I mean, THIS is what I had kids for. You guys are finally old enough now for Momma's big payoff. The planning, the baking, the research, the spending, the spending. I LOVE THIS SHIT!

So Jakob had his first real birthday party.

Inspired/Ripped off by the following book cover:

I ran off a few of these at Kinko's and spray-mounted them onto blank cards. We reserved the party room at the bowling alley down the street, and I let you invite your four closest friends. I invited a couple of my friends, and then with me and daddy and Nana and Papa and your sister, plus your friends' parent/s, we quickly filled up our 16-person limit. After that, it would supposedly be an extra $10 per person.

The party room is pretty danged cool. There's four whole lanes that we got to ourselves, plus a disco ball and blacklights and crazy Top 40 music. The staff fed everyone a choice of corn dog or hot dog or chicken tenders with fries and soft drinks.

I made a cake, of course. It was my secret dream that the league bowlers that saw me bring the cake in from the street would inundate me with requests to make similar cakes for their league nights. I also went on to dream that I would charge them $250 each, and that I would quit my day job. But alas, I got a few friendly "hey, that's cool!"s from the leaguers and a "best birthday cake yet" from the bowling alley kitchen lady, but so far, no orders. Bah.

Upon review, it is a bit plain up top, but I will be honest with you. I simply ran out of steam. I was still pretty much sicker than a dog at that point, and a cake with cookies takes at least a week of after-work nights.

One night the previous week: make and refrigerate the cookie dough
Sunday: Bake the cookies
Monday: Make the fondant
Tuesday: Apply fondant and royal icing to cookies
Wednesday: Bake and freeze the cake
Thursday: I actually took this night off cuz I felt like utter crapola
Friday: Frost cake and cover with fondant and decorate, wrap up remaining cookies for favors

I had wanted to get all fancy with the top layer of cake, maybe with some fondant stripes in accent colors, something-anything, but what-ev. At this point I just wanted to send SOMETHING down the runway, even if my model was half-naked. Whoops. Sorry. Lapsing into Project Runway-ese. But for anyone keeping score, I used this devils food chocolate cake recipe, this fondant recipe and this chocolate frosting recipe. Oh dear GAWD, the frosting. So, sooo delicious.

Party favors: wanted to send kids home with something substantial, so I went to Borders and bought a bunch of fairly nice books from the cut-out bin on 50% OFF DAY. Then set them out and let each kid pick out which one they wanted to take home. I even accounted for the one uncouth mother whom I KNEW would bring the whole fam-damly, rather than just the one daughter who was invited. And I wasn't wrong... she brought all four of her kids. Which is fine... I'm not bitching. She's a nice lady. Plus, no bowling alley management ever showed up to do an official head count, so we got away with it.

And the bowling! Apparently, you and Wavy were the only two kids who had never bowled before. You loved it. Even Wavy, who I had figured would be all stand-offish and shy, really got into it, especially with the bumpers up and the special bowling ball ramp for kids and differently-abled adults:

I was worried and anxious that it would be hard to get kids organized enough to bowl, and then to stop bowling to eat and do presents and cake, and then to bowl again, and then to stop when we had to. But it all flowed pretty well with a bare minimum of poking and prodding and everyone seemed to have a great time, even me, after I unclenched my teeth and my butt cheeks and just let everything happen.

You enjoyed it so much that you are already hoping to go back this weekend to bowl some more. And then you mused for a bit, and asked me, "Isn't your birthday coming up in March, Mom? I'm thinking of a kind of birthday party that you might like..." Oh yeah? "A bowling party, Mom. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?" Yes, Jakob, it certainly does...

Daddy was in charge of the camera that day, so needless to say, ha ha, we didn't get a whole lot of quality photos of quality things. We did get a dozen shots of the back of your head while 20 people sang Happy Birthday to you, but zilch-o shots of 20 people singing Happy Birthday to you. And hardly any shots of you bowling. Go figger. I think the following is my favorite that daddy took:

Isn't that PRECIOUS?!?!?

So, final words about the whole process, this whole first birthday party thing. Even though I was at death's door the entire time that it took to throw this together, it was still thrilling and fun and just an overall hoot. I even had just enough steam left over the next day to make THESE for you and your classmates for your school birthday party:

Granted, it was 99¢ Duncan Hines cake out of a box, but it was that same sinful chocolate frosting that was on your birthday cake. And so pretty! Too pretty for you little animals.

Let's do this again! Throwing parties is fun! Why do we have to wait for a birthday to throw a party and unleash my inner Julie the Control Freak Cruise Director. Let's have a Welcome to Spring Party, and a Fourth of July party, and and and...

Good night.... Love love love you both.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the invitations! You could market those just in case you had not thought if it.

You are a great mom!