Monday, May 06, 2013

Peter Turns Five

Peter turned five-years-old last week. We celebrated as a family on his actual birth date, and then on Saturday morning we had a birthday party with Peter’s friends.

The first official picture of Peter on his birthday. He started the day by watching TV. Splurge!

Melanie decorated our dining “room” with 5’s dangling from streamers and a chair decked out in honor of the birthday boy.

Even before breakfast, Peter wanted to open up his birthday presents. We try to let the kids call the shots on their birthdays, so we went straight to the gifts.

Peter and his brothers pose behind a tower of gifts. Exciting!

The first present Peter opened was one I had chosen for him. For years now, one of Peter’s best “friends” has been a stuffed hippopotamus named “Dinky.” Recently, Peter and Edison started pretending that they had a pet platypus named “Puggle.” They seemed really enthusiastic about it, and so I decided that getting Peter a Puggle for his birthday was a must. I found one on Amazon and ordered it. I wrapped it and pasted a poem on the outside of the wrapping paper. The poem read, “If at night you want to snuggle, take to bed your new friend….” Once he unwrapped the gift, he would see the stuffed platypus with “Puggle!!!” taped to his tag and completing the poem. I’m happy to report that Puggle has undoubtedly been one of Peter’s most cherished birthday gifts this year. He’s kept him in tow and seems very affectionate toward him. It was a success!

The remainder of gifts that Melanie and I gave to Peter were mostly dinosaur-themed. Peter is quite a fan of dinosaurs, and his birthday party was going to be dinosaur-themed. As a result, he received a dinosaur bone excavation kit, some dinosaur stencils, and some monster feet that appear rather dinosaur-like. Unrelated to dinosaurs, Peter also received a bow and arrow, and Edison gave him a Play-Doh ice cream set that Eddie picked out himself. It was really quite perfect for Peter, who’s a fan of Play-Doh.

Edison tests out the Monster Dinosaur Feet.

After opening his presents, Peter wanted to go to Village Inn for breakfast. It’s possible that Edison put the idea into Peter’s head, but Peter was very determined to go there. And so, we did. The boys enjoyed their Vill-Inn Funny Face pancakes (chocolate chip pancakes no less), Melanie enjoyed some French toast and fruit, and I enjoyed a spinach and bacon omelet (which also came with pancakes). I did not enjoy Creegan’s shenanigans at the restaurant, nor did I enjoy Peter’s meltdown when I accidentally poured the tiniest bit of blackberry syrup on his pancake instead of the requested maple. My blunder almost derailed the entire day. It took a while to get past that little travesty.

After calming down and getting out of Village Inn, we went to Zoinks. We went to Zoinks for Peter’s birthday last year, too. Unlike last year, Peter wanted to play the arcade games as well as bounce on the various bounce houses. The Zoinks employee was kind enough to give us extra tokens, so each kid ended up with 20 tokens. Most games cost two tokens, so the tokens didn’t really last all that long. Peter scored himself a ball out of one of those drop-the-claw-and-grab-at-crap games. He did it on his first try, and the ball he scored wasn’t even perched precariously atop the pile of potential prizes. Impressive! Zoinks was almost entirely bereft of customers, given that it was a weekday morning and most kids were in school. (Losers!) It made for a relatively relaxed visit for Melanie and me. I even fell asleep for a few minutes in one of their oversized not-really-leather not-really-La-Z-Boy recliners!

Creegan riding a Tonka truck at Zoinks. Looks well worth three tokens, doesn’t it?

Puggle came along for breakfast and to Zoinks, as evidenced here.

“Peek-a-boo, I see you!” … says anybody within two city blocks of my bald spot.

After winning numerous tickets from games like Skee-Ball, Peter earns enough to get himself a piddling little sucker.

When we got home from Zoinks, a package was sitting at our door. It was a box full of birthday gifts from Melanie’s parents. Thus, it was time to do another round of opening presents. Yay!

Someone tipped someone off about the dinosaur motif.

Because we split Peter’s birthday celebrations into two days, he got two cakes. (Lucky!) The cake we had at home as a family was, you guessed it, shaped like a dinosaur. Peter chose to have chocolate cake, despite the fact that chocolate dinosaurs never really existed. He also chose Red Velvet cake ice cream, just in case there wasn’t enough cake in the cake.

 Almost completely decorated.
Now we just need a candle… 


This dinosaur head tastes delicious!

“Your cake or your life … you choose.”

Creegan is at that stage where smiling for a camera inevitably entails closing one’s eyes.

 Melanie and the birthday boy.

Literally the best picture of me during Peter’s entire birthday.

Melanie did a fantastic job preparing for Peter’s Saturday morning birthday party. Though we had originally intended to celebrate outdoors, the forecast called for rain. We moved things indoors and were then somewhat thankful that several of the invitees were out of town and could not make it to the party. We ended up with only seven kids in attendance, including our own, which was quite manageable.

The snack table, just before guests arrive. How professional!

We let kids get a snack when they first arrived. We had a dinosaur movie playing on the TV, which kept kids distracted as we waited for everyone to arrive. Once a sufficient numbers of guests had arrived, we had them color dinosaur pictures and/or use the dinosaur stencils. The kids liked it quite well, I think.

Chilling and waiting for more guests. That girl in the forefront is surprisingly good at winking for her age. So much so that I feel the need to point out that she is not a disabled kid who’s simply missing an eye.

Stencils! That’s Peter just out of view on the right side of the photo. I feel obligated to point that out since this post is about him.

The next activity Melanie had planned was breaking little toy dinosaurs out of ice. Melanie had frozen something like eight dozen (!) miniature plastic dinosaurs, each in its own ice cube. We went outside (where it wasn’t raining too much after all) and had the kids repeatedly throw the ice cubes down on the ground until the dinosaurs had been freed. The kids quite enjoyed it, although I felt a bit intimidated at times by all of the ice debris flying through the air.

Next up was a dinosaur excavation. The night before the party, Melanie and I had filled a large plastic storage bin with sand and buried dinosaur skeleton figurines in it. At the party, we had the kids dig out the dinosaur skeletons using paintbrushes and shovels. (Peter later told me that this was his favorite birthday activity, next to opening presents.) The storage bin was super heavy. We poured two 50-pound bags of sand in it, and I swear it must have weighed at least 100 pounds.

It was then time to put Peter’s new dinosaur feet to the test. Melanie had cut out dinosaur footprints, and each kid attempted to follow in them while using the dinosaur feet. Most of the kids struggled with it, but all of them were excited to try it out.

After the dinosaur feet, we erupted a science-fair-esque volcano. Each kid at the party had a chance to make the volcano overflow. We then attempted to break open a dinosaur-shaped piñata. As is the case with every piñata I’ve ever seen, it was almost impossible to destroy. The stick with which we whacked the piñata broke before the piñata did. Eventually, we laid the piñata on the floor and let the kids tear it apart like ravenous wolves. That worked quite well.

Going once!

Going twice!

Going thrice?

Aw, screw it.

And then there was cake. Rather than making two homemade cakes, one for his actual birthday and one for his party, we let Peter choose a cake from the grocery store. He selected his favorite, guided in part by the chocolate inside. The cake had whip cream frosting, which made it not unbearably sweet. After cake and ice cream, Peter opened the gifts from his friends. He received a Nerf-like dart gun, a Batman costume, and a VTech Switch & Go Dino. The latter has been Peter’s very favorite gift, perhaps bypassing even Puggle (who has since taken a backseat to Peter’s affection). Peter loves Switch & Go Dinos and, as you may recall, had received one for Christmas.

Batman in stealth mode.

Creegan tries out the Batman mask.

In my estimation, Peter’s birthday was a smashing success!


  1. This is absolutely a smashing success. I've never seen more fun games to play and things to do. Very creative! Wonderful.!!!!!

  2. I am so impressed! Looks like some really fun days. Happy Birthday to Peter. We love you!