The weekend before Nathaniel's birthday, we celebrated as a family. We'd planned to invite his friends to come over and do the whole "party" thing that day, so I'd ordered his cake from our cake lady, but it didn't work out that way for various reasons. But when you order one of Vickie's cakes, you don't cancel.
You EAT. THAT. CAKE.
Nathaniel had said he didn't care about a themed cake this year (sniff, sniff), that he just wanted it to be his favorite "Vickie flavors" of strawberry cake with buttercream icing.
So she just went with Christmas-y colors and did a big 12 in the middle, which was perfect.
Amelia was desperate to help Nathaniel blow the candles out.
I didn't realize it at the time, but apparently Jake was, too.
So he had plenty of helpers when it came down to it.
And they were out in milliseconds.
I couldn't cut that cake quickly enough for that hungry crew ... and it was everything we'd hoped it would be. FABULOUS.
We spent the rest of the day playing around the house -- including the kids' favorite game, one in which I chase them around the house and the stairs are "base." They are CRAZY for that game, but it wears me flat out. Still, they love it so much, and it makes us laugh so hard ... I can't say no.
The next weekend, we finally got our act together and took Nathaniel and his friends down to First Avenue Rocks for a few hours.
It was a family affair, so all of our kids were with us, plus Nathaniel's friends Blake and Dillon.
They were both really nice kids whom he's been friends with for years through Scouting, even though they aren't in the same school system.
As soon as I'd taken their picture (it was like pulling teeth -- don't let their smiles fool you), they were off and climbing.
We tried to get Amelia to climb one of the short walls at the very front of the gym, but she wanted to "BE AN AIRPWANE!"
I'm quite sure that didn't bother any of the other 25 people in the gym at all.
The boys, meanwhile, were like monkeys, scaling every wall in sight.
Before long, though, Nick convinced Amelia to at least TRY the lowest wall.
He lent her a hand, and I guess the challenge appealed to her sense of competition. IT'S STRONG IN THAT ONE.
She didn't hate it.
Once Nathaniel realized what she was doing, he abandoned his middle-school friends and ran over to help out.
I encouraged him to go back to his friends, but he was like, "No, I'm good here."
And guess what -- it paid off! She made it to the top.
The kids all had a great time, as usual, although Jake was ready to leave after about 30 minutes.
In the end, I took Amelia and Jake home after the first hour, and Nick, Nathaniel, Grayson, Blake and Dillon stayed for a couple more hours.