January 30, 2014

Hunter's 8th Birthday

Hunter-Roo turned 8 this week!  I can't believe how much he's changed over the last year, and then again, how much he is exactly that same.  Kids are awesome like that, aren't they?

The kids agreed to alternate having a friend party one year and then a family party the next - thank goodness because friend parties can get, well, big - and 2014 is the family party year.  

Hunter planned his cake and his party activity himself.  He spotted a dinosaur shaped cake pan at the kitchen store a month or so ago and begged for it.  I told him that I'd get it IF his birthday cake was homemade this year.  I mean, when else are you going to make a dino shaped cake?  He instantly began planning the details of the cake.  Sprinkle filled cake (AKA funfetti), blueberry fruit filling (I have never made a filled cake in my life, so, yay!), and purple frosting.  Also, the dinosaur made by the cake had to have a smaller toy dinosaur in its mouth with blood coming out.  Okay, then.

When it was all done, it looked kind of like a gruesome baby shower cake.  The pastel purple, the pink smile, the light green sixlet spikes on his back added up to a color pallet of many a well planned baby shower.  The fact that it hinted of Barney (he really doesn't like Barney, but he loves dinosaurs and his favorite color is purple) only now occurs to me.  Anyway, he loved it and thought it was perfect.  When we finished making the cake, it was time to go meet Joe for the festivities.  

We stopped for batteries for my camera on the way and saw the first homeless person on the corner that we've seen in years.  The weather here doesn't make for good corner sitting, so it's a rare sight.  Hunter begged for us to do something for him, calling it his birthday service.  I caved.  The kids came up with a rotisserie chicken, root beer, gloves, and Hot Hands.  We walked down and chatted with the man as we gave him our warm food offering.  I was kind of shocked and pleased by how comfortable the kids were looking him in the eye and chit chatting with him there as the cars went by.  I guess the whole look the other way thing is something we learn as we get older because kids aren't the least bit uncomfortable with those who have significantly less.  I was proud of their courage and of the thoughtful discussion they had in the car after.  Impromptu birthday service was a success!

We met at the outdoor ice skating rink that afternoon.  Now, I have never skated outdoors so I had no idea what I was in for. Small town outdoor skating ain't like Rockefeller Center, folks.  No Zamboni here.  It seems that when there's a crack or a rough spot, maybe they just dump a bucket of water over it because the entire west side of the rink is hilly and uneven, with ripples and slopes.  If you're barely able to stay standing, hitting a ripple is enough to send you into a Bambi maneuver.  

But Hunter loved it!  He was clearly the best of the family on the ice.  It shouldn't have surprised me because he's the most coordinated in our bunch and the one that lacks even a safe dose of fear.  While his lack of reasonable fear makes me worry, it's also kind of admirable and makes him fun to watch.  

Hannah Jane hated ice skating.  It surprised me, really, because she loves roller blading.  But with blading, there's a wall to cling to until you get your feet beneath you, and there are places to sit when you're tired.  There, there was no rail or wall to help you figure things out and if you needed a rest, you had to plop your rear end into a snow bank.  Not her cup of tea so she turned her skates in early and sat by the skate shack and watched until we were done.

Haven tackled ice skating like he tackles all of life - like a little bull dozer.  His gate was that of John Wayne on ice, elbows bowed out to the sides and a heavy, intentional stride.  He fell a lot, but he just got up and tromped onward.  

When we finally had enough spills on the ice, it was home to cut into the dinosaur and open gifts. When we cut the cake, he asked for the teeth.  I carved out the teeth perfectly and what resulted was a big smiley dinosaur.  It looked so friendly and excited to be eaten that we all cracked up.  Watch for it in the video.  Too funny. 

Hannah Jane has been working on sewing a dinosaur scene for him for months.  Haven gave him a new Hot Wheels car and Joe and I got him the big dinosaur toy he's been wanting.  His big surprise was a generous gift card from my mom to go to his favorite roller blading and laser tag place.  He also racked up on birthday money from family and used it the following day to buy his new dinosaur a friend.  

All in all, it was a spectacular day for Hunter.  He beamed most of the day, and he seems to be taking this whole one year older thing very seriously.  In the days since, he's been pretty mature and mannerly, mentioning that he has noticed that Haven will follow his example, so he's going to try to be super kid!  I'll take it!

Enjoy the highlight reel of the day!  

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