Thursday, February 16, 2017

Barrett turns three!

"I'm SO EXCITED for Barrett's party!" said William all week long.

I'm so thankful we don't belong in a circle of friends that throw petting-zoo, ice-cream-truck, multiple-bouncy-house, to-the-max parties because I keep it SO simple and the kids are still beside themselves with excitement. While I was buying Barrett's streamers, I spotted a $2.99 Paw Patrol birthday banner and picked it up on a whim. They went nuts.

"I can't WAIT for our friends to see our Paw Patrol banner!" cried Will. "I will stand here [on a chair] and say to all our friends [one hand gesturing toward the banner], 'Welcome to Barrett's party'."

"That's AMAZING!" yelled Barrett.

The party was mostly our friends, with two kids there for the boys to play with. Keelyn and Kurtis are their best friends and the two of them were PERFECT. "More" does not always equal "better," and that is true when it comes to kids at a party. The four kiddos ran around and played nicely all night long. Keelyn is a bit older than the boys, and she kind of doubles as a little mama. Barrett ADORES her.

Hannah and Philip, Becca, Nick and Kathleen, Matthew and Kass, Erin, and Mom and Dad made a fun group of Barrett's "friends." He got some fun presents: "Amazing!"

"What was your favorite present?" I asked him. "The Captain 'Merica one!" he replied, referring to a big, Barbie-sized figure from Aunt Hannah. Sure enough, he's carried it around every day since then. He also got an Army "dress-up" kit from Auntie Erin, and he's been wearing his helmet, badge, and watch since then. Two cool cars from Aunt Becca like to be Captain America's friends and rescue him from laundry baskets, and "laser guns" from Grandpa are a huge hit. (Grandma and Grandpa bought him some fire truck Lego Juniors, which they are allowed to play with at the table for limited times, but Grandpa also visited the Dollar Store the day before and brought LOTS of stuff for the boys.) When Barrett opened an 8-inch-long wiggly rubber centipede, he at first held it at arm's length, a little nervous. "I didn't want a centipede," he said. But ten minutes later, he came running up to me. "Look, mom!" he exclaimed. "It has eyes!" He pointed to little bug eyes on the front of the face and then hugged the toy. "He's my best friend." Keelyn and Kurtis brought him a talking Lofty truck and although Barrett has played with him every day, he can't get his name right: first "Lizzy," then "Lostey." They also brought him some Magformer-type toys, which I am super geeked about! I *personally* have wanted those for a long time, and I already have plans to expand the collection for Easter. (squee!) Aunt Kathleen gave them each a new, warm, animal hat: Barrett got a sock monkey and Will, a big-eyed puppy dog. They love them! Brian asked, "What the heck happened to our 'no gifts' instruction?!"

We gave Barrett a couple of Brio train sets and a steal of a table that I found on Craigslist about a month ago. It had a table top with a full layout of Brio track screwed on (pretty well done, too! a lot of cool stuff- different kinds of lifting bridges, a train station, a coal elevator) as well as a plain, blank table top to make your own layout (the tops just lift off the frame). The table reveal coincided with the inauguration of Brian's newly finished basement floor. It was so cute: when Brian asked the kids if they wanted to see a "surprise in the basement," they rushed down the stairs. Will and Barrett spotted the train table right away: "WOW!" But Kurtis (4), yelled, "A NEW FLOOR!" The floor is smooth, tough, and shiny; the walls are painted a very bright white, and Brian installed 100-watt bulbs to make the space feel even brighter. Although the basement is still "unfinished" by definition, the change is amazing. It was a LOT of HARD WORK. What a guy!

For food, we just had snacks. Barrett's cake could not have been easier. I psyched him up: "Barrett, do you want a DONUT cake with SPRINKLES?!" Of course he did. So I made Kentucky Butter Cake with sprinkles mixed in to the batter, and then glazed it and poured more on top. I showed the boys that morning. "THAT'S AMAZING!" Barrett exclaimed. (His new favorite word, which he uses for everything, both amazing and unremarkable.) Having the party after church complicated things a bit; we got home with about two and a half hours to go and almost nothing ready, but Brian was my hero and did everything from chopping a huge platter of apple slices to mopping the floor. I love that man. Of course we made too much food; when will I learn?

Barrett (and Will) had a fantastic time at the party, and I did too. I'm so thankful the boys can enjoy a simple get together, with simple decorations. Their wonder and amazement at small things make my heart hurt. I hope to soak in all of these moments, so that, like the memory of a sunny day in dreary winter, I can look back and be warmed by their recollection.

Building the Lego set from Grandma and Grandpa. 

Barrett, for his party colors, wanted "pink, purple, and white."

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