Get comfy cause we're gonna be a while while we catch up. Gracious, so much has happened! So much that I've forgotten half of it already before I've had the chance to blog! Gee, that sounds silly. But it's true.
First things first, I suppose. We spent last weekend visiting The Viking's brother and his family in the Poconos. They are the only kindred spirits we have in The Viking's family, which sounds kind of sad, but it was such a relief to find a healthy branch of an otherwise diseased family tree. They are delightful, sincere, and very, very dear to us. They're considering a move which will make it much harder for us to visit with them in the future, which will stink, but it does seem to be a good change for them so I'm happy for them.
My BIL (who somehow bears an eerie resemblance to The Viking without being very Vikingesque himself) has access to a camp in the woods near his home so he and The Viking took Man-Cub over there to spend the day tubing and climbing rock walls and basically acting like the wonderfully testosterone-fueled males they are. Six inches of snow accommodatingly fell while we were there so the tubing was super. According to eye-witness reports, The Viking and Man-Cub hurtled fast enough down that hill to cause fearful dread of them being dashed to bits against trees and such. According to the hurtlers themselves, it was nothing short of "awesome" (Man-Cub's favorite word lately).
Prepped and ready.
Photographic proof of him climbing the walls.
The day after we returned from the Poconos was Man-Cub's 7th birthday. It's hard to believe my baby (shhh, don't tell him I called him that--he hates it) is seven. I remember lying in my hospital bed, trying very hard to convince myself that the time would soon come when I'd have a seven-year-old boy running around getting into everything and the misery of a high-risk pregnancy and bed rest would be a distant memory. It didn't comfort me then, and it certainly doesn't now, though I'd much rather face the bittersweet reality of having a rapidly growing boy than that the uncertain one of wondering if the infant in my womb was going to survive. But enough profundity for now.
We took the children to Dave and Buster's in Philly for a birthday celebration. I had never been there. I was expecting it to be more than just a glorified Chuck E. Cheese. I was disappointed. I hate places like that and had to keep reminding myself, while trying frantically to keep both children within my line of vision (I have a deep and abiding fear of someone easily snatching them in places like that), that we were there for Man-Cub's enjoyment, not mine. He was so overwrought from being worn-out and over-stimulated by the time we left that he was in tears. It was hard to tell if that meant the evening was a success or not. Daria came along, too (visiting from Chicago) and we had fun making fun of people's clothes, particularly the young woman who looked like a Hooker From Mars. Great fun, that.
The next night, we the Grandparents and EGOD come over and had the proper cake, candles, and ice cream thing. The decorations were a bit of a mish-mash as Man-Cub decided he wanted Transformer paper products and a race track cake. Then Daria insisted on Pirates of the Caribbean balloons and my mom wrapped all his presents in Harry Potter wrapping paper. It was like a marketing executives dream!
Look at that sinister-looking shadow surrounding his head. Kind of like an evil halo.
Balloons! Delivered to the door by the florist! The Viking's parents do that every year and he just loves it.
I mentioned the race track cake already. Did I mention I made it? With help from Daria because I can hardly draw a straight line with a pencil let alone with a tube of sticky icing? I'm not the best cake-maker, but I can manage enough to satisfy a smallish child. I found the recipe and instructions online somewhere and threw the thing together in an afternoon. Wanna see?
It really bugged me that this looks like a giant "8" and it was his 7th birthday, but, thankfully, no one was confused. I set it in front of him sideways, like an infinity sign, so it looked more like a race track than an "8". Daria made the banner and checkered flags and The Viking practically wrestled the pastry bag away from me so he could "paint" the white lines on the Oreo cookie pavement (apparently the icing doesn't lay well on the crushed cookies and that's why the lines are so crooked), but otherwise I did it myself. I had some problems with getting the icing green enough (which is why some mint-green is peeking through the dark) until Daria, the artist, took over the mixing of the colors for me, and it was a bit un-level, but it was yummy! There's still some sitting in the fridge, maybe I'll go sneak a piece...
What I really need to do is get some of those pesky chores done. Beds are unmade, clothes are unwashed and my menu for next week is still blank. I'd best go accomplish things besides improving my Spider Solitaire score before the kids come home!