Monday, November 16, 2015

Fishing and Climbing and Being 8

Birthday season is upon us and the first celebration happened last weekend as our second turned eight. We started the weekend with a Star Wars movie night, celebrated with family on Saturday and rounded out the weekend with our birthday date. Wes originally requested a LEGO birthday party, but was persuaded to indulge his fishing passion instead. I think it was the promise of a shrimp boil that sealed the deal. So the party planning began.

Let's start with the dessert. There were so many great options that I couldn't decide on just one. 

 photo DSC_0609_zps6o0xklay.jpg

The more Evie and I watch cookie tutorials, the easier it all looks. WRONG!!! While the YouTube cookie masters easily outline, fill and detail their beautiful cookies, the rest of the world struggles. I am the rest of the world. But armed with a fish-shaped cookie cutter, some royal icing and a few piping bags, I set out to create the fish for Wesley's fishing party.

 photo DSC_0611_zpsfkqxgivg.jpg

Next on the dessert menu were cake pop bobbers. Chocolate cake mix is greatly improved with the addition of some dark chocolate ganache and candy melts. The best-loved part of the pops were the buttons on top. The kids were surprised to learn that a slice of hot tamale could double as a bobber button.

 photo DSC_0615_zps0xtpi4jk.jpg

The final addition to the dessert menu was the cake. Since the sweets were plentiful and the layers were many, a 6-inch cake was sufficient. A little fishing island in deep water wished Wesley a happy birthday. My favorite part of the cake is the stand, cut from the branch of a fallen tree at Wesley's favorite fishing spot; Grandma & Grandpa's cabin. 

 photo DSC_0617_zpsqssoxusx.jpg

 photo DSC_0610_zps4tipqgnl.jpg

 photo DSC_0737_zpsvkwdkcct.jpg

To decorate, we hung a string of paper lanterns painted to look like bobbers,

 photo DSC_0623_zpseyhm0ylt.jpg

and strung some fish on a line. Cattails in vases helped us feel like we were lakeside.

 photo DSC_0619_zpsccxxqjrs.jpg
When I told him what a seafood boil was and then told him that's what we could do for his birthday dinner, he couldn't contain his excitement. Probably because we're constantly telling the kids to use their forks and now there was promise of food spread ALL OVER THE TABLE and NO UTENSIL RULES! We covered the table with butcher paper, set bowls out for shells, ensured the napkins were big and plentiful and, when it was ready, dumped it on the table.

 photo DSC_0621_zps0icyqa6g.jpg

In all of the excitement, I forgot to get a before picture, but here is an after. Our seafood boil was shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn, served with mac-n-cheese, coleslaw, fruit and cornbread on the side. 

 photo DSC_0716_zps5lswf7pf.jpg

The birthday boy chose a cookie and a cake pop after a lively rendition of the "happy birthday" song.

 photo DSC_0731_zpslnnvhd9s.jpg

The generous gifts went along with his fishing theme: a fishing vest for all his gear,

 photo DSC_0695_zpsfbtuz6bn.jpg

a 7-foot fishing pole,

 photo DSC_0696_zps8krd3rul.jpg

and a bait-fund.

 photo DSC_0705_zpsmtuffrzd.jpg

The day after the party was Wesley's birthday date. The birthday kid gets to choose where we eat on the birthday date and Wesley's choice was White Castle. 

 photo DSC_0739_zpse4yve5ex.jpg

Two thirds of us really enjoyed it.

 photo DSC_0742_zps3jivn3wz.jpg

After lunch we headed to REI for Wes to try rock climbing.

 photo DSC_0745_zpscv30th54.jpg

With shoes and harness fastened tightly,

 photo DSC_0750_zps0d2thh6r.jpg

he began his trek up the 40-foot wall.

 photo DSC_0760_zps3dggxjfd.jpg

Although there were a couple moments of hesitation and exhaustion,

 photo DSC_0765_zpsf25fgqit.jpg

he triumphantly rang the bell at the top and happily climbed back to the ground.

One of the greatest joys of parenting is watching your kids accomplish something that pushes them beyond what they think they can do. Even though he was scared, he put on the shoes and harness and took the first step. Even though it was hard and he was tired, he pressed on. Even though his strong will frustrates his parents at times, the Lord knows Wesley will use that determination to press on to accomplish the work God has for him. Happy birthday to our wild, adventurous-spirited boy! May God continue to bless you and refine you and draw you to Himself this year. We love you more than words could say.