It was the Weekend of Train Insanity.
Okay let’s back up. The week was busy. It was also insanely hot, so aside from a trip to the city baby pool one evening (missed that place SO MUCH, omg but we’re going at least once a week) we pretty much kept to the indoors.
And now we finally get to the weekend, Pete’s birthday party and all the other good stuff. It is kinda funny, what happens after your kid’s first birthday. Peter’s first birthday party was planned to DEATH, I started months before his party, MONTHS. I lovingly planned the theme and color palette and designed the stationery and picked fonts and did DIY projects and photo montages and got that menu planned down to the brand of pickles like ONLY THE BEST ORGANIC CHICAGO-MADE FANCY SHMANCY PICKLES FOR MY PRESHUS BABY’S BIG DAY. And then the day got there, and we all got to the magical little park shelter (that I reserved solely for the fact that there was a rocket in front like HELLO MATCHED THE THEME), and it was like 100 degrees and humid as all get out and everyone tried their best not to die right there under the park shelter. No, really it was hot. And the photo montages were blowing away in that furnace-like wind and the cupcakes were melty but everyone chatted and ate and politely complimented the handmade clay robot cupcakes toppers anyway, because it was Pete’s birthday and we were going to do this thing, darn it.
So flash forward to this year. I was pretty much over the “Let’s Plan This As If It Is Our Wedding 2.0” thing. I hemmed and haw-ed and half-heartedly researched a few train things (I mean really, was there any question as to what kind of party he’d have). I never really got the bug like last year, though. Then Gross Virus 2011 hit, and I had to postpone, which was a semi-relief because I was woefully unprepared to have it that weekend anyway, so I was able to procrastinate even longer… It was awfully close to the date that I finally started real planning. I made a stop at the party store and at Hobby Lobby, I ordered some balloons and then ordered the cupcakes, I slapped some favor bags together, and then Friday while shopping I nailed down a menu. And wow man, but it turns out that this whole party planning thing is so much less stressful when I don’t overthink it to death. Who knew.
Make no mistake though, just like last year I photographed the bits to death and will lovingly post them below. You’re not getting off that easy 😉
We had a few snacks – hummus quartet (not just any hummus my darlings, but from TJs!!!!!!exclamation-overload!!!!!!), fruit and veggie trays. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the reason I even mention it – once I got that set out Pete sneaked into the room, parked his rear in front of the fruit, and proceeded to stuff his face with strawberries whenever I was out of view. I had to refill it. Twice.
Okay there were two areas where I got a little Martha Stewart on this party (you gotta let the crazy out somewhere, right?). One was the cupcake toppers – I made them myself, as the bakery only had a Thomas-the Train topper option, and then had trouble getting them ordered. No worries, dude. I had vintage stripey straws I was itching to put to use anyway.
The other Martha-esque part was the kiddo lunches. I made a Big Chopped Salad for the adults for lunch (this one, to be exact), but the kiddies got their own pre-packed lunches tied up in train-engineer scarves: grapes, Pirate’s Booty, juice boxes, and kitty-shaped PB&Js (we didn’t have a train cookie cutter and as far as Pete was concerned, kitties were the next best thing).
The pinata, the favor bags, the birthday boy.
Decorations were the bunting I made last year + some cheap balloons from the neighborhood grocery store. The “Dirty Dillons” to be exact, which is a little gross but only like 4 blocks from our house. Um, so funny story: I went to pick up the balloons and didn’t want to drag my giant (very new and very beautiful, if I do say so myself) bag into the place. So I just had my wallet when I went into the store. Turned out the balloons weren’t ready, they forgot to fulfill the order, so I went back to the car to grab my phone to play around, blow some time. And I noticed I forgot to lock my car door… Yeah: no purse, it was gone. GONE. So I promptly lost my mind right there in the parking lot, wringing my hands for a good 2 minutes before I sprinted back into the store and proceeded to hyperventilate in front of the cashiers of Dirty Dillons. I am so not the person you want around in an emergency situation, guys. So the nice lady working the register nearest me ushered me over to the Courtesy Desk and kindly handed me the phone to use. And first thing I do is call my poor dear long-suffering husband. And I am trying my best not to sob and am telling him on the phone OMG MY CAMERA BAG WAS STOLEN OUT OF THE CAR YOU NEED TO CALL TO GET MY PHONE TRACED AND I’M STUCK HERE HALP HALP HALP AM GOING TO DIE and he was all, “um, no”. And I was like NO I’M SERIOUS THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING PLEASE FOCUS and he was all, “no, Really. I’m staring at your bag right now, you only took your wallet and left your bag at home”. … Oh. So I immediately
stopped blubbering composed myself and had to apologize to the nice Dillons employees because Ha! False Alarm! Silly me, carry on!
So yeah, where was I? Oh yes, the balloons! So I used the bunting and balloons and then Friday felt a little crafty so I cut out a bunch of choo-choo shapes and taped up a few around the room. Yeah, those choo-choos are a little Elementary School circa 1991, but we rocked it out anyway.
So all Pete’s chums came over and we played and choo-chooed and noshed the morning/afternoon away. And a good time was had by all (I think anyway). At one point I was stuck in the middle of a toddler mosh pit and somehow Kiri’s hand ended up in my bra. It was a wild party, my friends.
After the party Pete took a nice long nap with his two favorite kitties. Which was good, because he had a busy afternoon as well – time to head to Baldwin for the Day Out with Thomas.
It was a gorgeous day to head out and spend some quality time outdoors – sunny, in the low 70s, not much humidity.
We didn’t buy train-ride tickets: they were pricey, and Pete’s a little iffy when presented with a train ride. Sometimes it’s a complete joy and other times it is a horror show and frankly, I wasn’t about to spend $20 apiece to have my kid possibly scream bloody murder in a teeny train car for half an hour.
That was okay, though, because there were a bajillion other things to do there. Of which, our son only had the desire to do only one: play in the train-table tent. He played with the train tables and watched the electronic Thomas go round and round the one model-train table, and then went back to playing again. Repeat that by about twenty times. That is what he did, until they literally kicked us out because they were closing up for the night.
He is a train junkie, it is official.
Okay so I had to take a quick picture of one of the corners of the electornic train table – most of the table surrounding the tracks consisted of pretty diorama set-ups of people strolling, out for a ride, walking dogs, etc. Then in this one corner there was… this. What in the hell is this? It’s like bears and wild dogs snacking on an obese man, I don’t know what is happening here but it is a little bizarre.
And that pretty much concluded our Saturday, it was jam-packed and we all pretty much crawled into bed and passed out for the night after that.
Sunday was much more relaxed. We cleaned up and did some laundry, some grocery shopping. My parents stopped by to see us for a little bit, and dropped off Pete’s toddler bed along with some gifts (toddler bed! whoa!). Scott’s parents left some strawberries and peaches with us when they left Saturday evening, fresh from the Farmer’s market and ripe ripe ripe. The berries needed to be used immediately so I tried my hand at freezer jam, making a batch with the strawberries, a peach, and a handful of blueberries. Oh. My. Goodness, people – had I known freezer jam was this easy and delicious I would have started making the stuff years ago. Delish.
Pete watched some choo-choo videos, played with his train sets (yes, setS, he’s spoiled rotten), ate all meals from his new choo-choo dish set, wore his train engineer gear, and when forced away from all that choo-choo stuff he climbed into our bed and fashioned a choo-choo out of pillows for himself and his new kitty to enjoy.
Yeesh. I find it endearing, this obsession of his, and I mean this in the nicest possible way – I would be fine with never hearing the word “train” or “choo-choo” ever again in my entire life. Ever. EVAR.
Hope your weekends were all lovely and at least some of you didn’t have to talk about trains nonstop. Will check back in soon, I have recipes galore to share. Until then: have a great week!