Saturday, July 31, 2010

Its all in the details

I promise, this will be the LAST post having anything to do with Joseph's birthday, now that his birthmonth is ending today. But this is my favorite stuff, so no less important to post!

So how did we end up with that cake?

I remembered seeing a cake decorating book years ago that had a pirate ship in it. So I scoured every bookstore I was ever near until I found the one that I remembered......except it was a cake of a sunken ship, so I had to improvise just a little. It actually starts out as a simple 10" square cake. Went with a marble cake from Martha Stewart's Wedding Cakes book.

The you carve it up, glue it together with frosting, coat it with more frosting, and then cover it with strips of fondant to look like wood planks.

Then I made a treasure chest and a little pirate boy out of fondant. It was so easy to type that, but the drama it took to create those 2 little things! I had to remake the arms 5 times (always too freakishly long), went through at least 10 sets of hands, gave up on feet and went with shoes....OY! But I do love him, even though he has no neck. I also love the sparkle dust on the coins in the treasure chest, and the ocean waves of blue buttercream.

There was another whole sheet cake underneath the boat for the ocean. No way that little boat was serving 40 people! I am always furiously trying to finish his cake the night before Joseph's birthday party, but you can tell we were still able to have some fun.

And here's what always makes it all worth it:

Some other details you may not have seen in previous pics:

A parrot hanging from the chandelier over the buffet, which was set up using silver and pewter platters from many good friends and neighbors. The (tarnished) silver serving pieces we already had reminded me of some pirate booty. The various mini sandwiches had jolly rogers and cocktail swords in them to hold them together.

I had plans to make 5 different types of cookies, but I always plan big and scale back when reality sets in. There was just not enough time for the intricate icing on pirate ship and treasure chest cookies. I have a whole set of number cookie cutters, so I used the 3 and turned it into a treasure map. But what kind of pirate party would it have been without skull and cross bone cookies? Unfortunately they look a little like ghosts.

The treasure chest favor boxes (from Oriental Trading) were the best I saw. And we personalized them with some stickers that say "pirate treasure, from Joseph." There were bubble gum coins from the pinata, plus tattoos, rubber ducks and finger puppets, eyepatches and telescopes, and lots of bead necklaces.

Boy, was there some serious loot! What a lucky little guy! Reminds me, I need to get those thank you cards out....
His absolute favorite was the Mack truck from the Cars movie, that holds all the cars inside, just like his cousin Leyton has.

And this is too funny - a picture documenting me documenting everything in sight! What kind of lunatic takes pictures of sandwiches?! And then blogs about it?! For 2 weeks?!

To wrap this up, here's the last few lines from one of Joseph's pirate books:

"I spend my life a-plundering.
My treasures bring me joy.
But there's nothing I prize more than you,
my dearest pirate boy."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Joseph at 3 years

We had Joe Joe's check up with Dr. Moe last week, and he measured in at 40.5 inches and 41 pounds ("almost a square"), growing 3 inches and 3.5 pounds over the course of the past year.

He is going to be One. Big. Boy. He already seems to be growing out of the 4T wardrobe we had to buy for the summer, so anything new is already into size 5. No T, just a 5.

It's much harder summing up all the developmental changes that have occurred over the past year. Joseph is a totally different child! He's so much more verbal, is getting faster and stronger, is out of the crib and into a big bed, is potty trained all day, and is going to start preschool in just about a month.

You can have a real conversation with Joseph and pretty much understand everything he says. He's got an active imagination and can play independently forever with his trains, cars, and trucks, and even sit and "read" books to himself. As long as Papa isn't around, that is, 'cause he's stuck on him like white on rice. Every morning when he wakes up, Joseph calls for me to get him and read him a book, yet while I'm getting the book he asks "Where's Papa?"

Joseph can pedal a tricycle well, surprising since he's always been a little slower with gross motor skills. He's just now running faster without falling and going up the stairs without holding on. He's working on his jump shot.

No big changes in appetite or diet. He's always been a good eater, and the boy is a milk junkie. Typical toddler that's good with carbs and fruit, needs to be convinced to eat his veggies. No big changes in sleep either - still a 12 hour a day guy, but his schedule has shifted in a positive direction. He sleeps from 9pm to 7am, and naps from 2-4pm most days. Gone are the 6am wake up calls!!!!

Our Joe Joe is a sweet and gentle guy, aside from the few brief weeks of pushing around 2 very tolerant younger ones (sorry Benjamin and Ashton!). He'll now share, take turns, and get excited about seeing his friends. He's always been very loving, and it melts our hearts every night at bedtime when he looks at us sweetly, grabs our neck and pulls us in, and asks "You sleep in my bed?" I can't get enough of hearing "That was a good plan, Daddy" and "That was fun! Let's do it again!"

Some of the funnier things he does right now that I hope I will never forget are:

At any given meal, when asked what he wants to eat, he always says "cracker jacks." He has never had a cracker jack to the best of our knowledge. But bless him for trying.

Every car trip must start off with a countdown to BLASTOFF! And whenever we have the GPS on, he must repeat at a deafening level every direction he has just heard. "Go 2 miles, THEN BEAR RIGHT!!!" Then I say "Done!" and he says "Good job, Daddy!" The. Whole. Trip.

Whenever he thanks us for something, anything, and we say "You're welcome," he then asks "Is it your pleasure?" Guess we say "It's my pleasure" a lot.

Whenever we ask him for something, like "Can I take you to the potty" or "Can we read a book" he answers "Yes....(dramatic pause) may." Good manners, that boy.

And my favorite.....You know how they repeat everything, right. So you have to watch what you say, and we try not to curse at all. Now whenever Joseph is getting frustrated, upset, or even surprised, the 1st thing out of his mouth is "Jesus Christ!" Could be worse!

King George I

Just as we were losing power (for a day and a half, from the wind storms on Sunday) we were heading out to George's 1st birthday party. A Sesame Street celebration fit for a king!

Joseph is always excited to sing happy birthday. But seriously, what's up with this "too loud" thing? He's louder than anyone I know. Well, it seems that way.

And oh boy, that cake was delicious! Who cares what was underneath, but that was some of the best cream cheese frosting I've ever had. And it's from Costco! Guess I need to rethink all this baking from scratch I do.

George sure loves his frosting too! Smart boy. Happy birthday, George!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Conquering Fears

Every week after music at Glen Echo Park we've been staying and having a picnic with all of our friends from class. And every week after our picnic all the kids race over to ride the carousel. Except Joseph. He has fussed and cried on too many other carousels to even bother, so we head home. But I always ask if he wants to try each week, and he always says no. "It's scary!"

Last Thursday it was only us and Caroline with her mom Heather. Caroline loves the carousel, and she got Joseph interested in checking it out. This time he kept saying yes when I asked if he wanted to go for a ride. I didn't buy it one bit. But they kept watching it go around and saying they were excited.

Genuine bliss:

Genuine apprehension:

And the inevitable "too loud!"

And then out of nowhere appeared a very nice man who asked if we wanted "ear protection." Didn't know that was an option. Sure, let's give it a try. And wouldn't you know, he enjoyed the ride almost as much as Caroline! Looked a little special, but he had a good time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Swashbucklers & Landlubbers

More party pics, and props for the people that helped me prep.

I just told Suthern "Decorate!" and "Dad, please help her!" Blow up the balloons, hang the banners, stage the event...they were awesome!

While Mom, Mimi, and Brent took excellent direction in the kitchen with me, making sandwiches, plating food, cleaning up...phew!

While L'il Glenn......wait, what was it he did again? Looks like he was just relaxing.

Kidding! He was watching the kids watch TV while blowing up a dozen or so swords. And Big Glenn took pictures of everyone's efforts.

All of the kids and some of the adults really embraced the theme. (Thanks Uncle Matt, I know you always have my back!)

The kids seemed to enjoy all the props outside.....

....but they all always tend to congregate at the train table. Even all the girls in their party dresses wanted in on the action.

It was such a beautiful day that we could relax outside and enjoy the day.

And when the party was over the grandmothers sat down and got pirate tattoos with the birthday boy.