Sunday, August 18, 2013

Happy Birthday to James!

James turned 12 this month. 12. Can you believe it? His voice is changing, he's only got another inch to go before he's taller than me, he walked ten paces ahead of us at the zoo yesterday, and the protagonist in his latest novel has a love interest. Yep. 12. I am so excited. I wasn't sure how I would feel about having teens, and I know he's not technically a teen yet (unless you ask the folks over at Math U See), but he acts like a teen, zits and all, and I find that I am delighted, amused, proud, relaxed, and smiling at the future. :)

We started his stretched-out birthday extravaganza with a friends and family party. I could stare at the faces in this pic for hours. Each expressions tells such a story.

I made this cake. And decorated it. All by myself. I wanted to say "Happy Birthday, James! We love you." Or "We're proud of you." Or something like that. But those sentiments seemed inappropriate for the cake of a 12-year-old boy. So I settled on "You seriously ROCK." He liked it.

I'm pretty sure I can hear smaller boys singing, "You know it's true-oo-oo. I wanna be like you-oo-oo. I wanna walk like you, talk like you do-oo-oo." I don't think the bigger boys can hear their song. But I optimistically continue to nag the bigger boys about their grave responsibility, so hopefully at some point, it will sink it. Because I want my boys to be men of honor.

Also because I am completely in love with a rather large number of spectacularly adorable nieces and nephews.

Some of whom were too busy playing to hang around the grownups and get their picture taken.

Speaking of grownups, here are some.

My sister and brother-in-law.

My mom, my brother, and my sister-in-law.

My father-in-law and his son.

It was very wonderful to have so much family at James's party, and we were especially blessed and totally thrilled that Jeff's parents drove up from Oregon to join us. They hadn't seen our place yet, so we had a wonderful time giving them the grand tour and visiting with them late into the evening. We hope they come back for Jonathan's birthday next month. ;)


I took no pictures at all of part two of James's birthday extravaganza, so I'm not going to give that portion its own blog post, but here's what we did on his actual birthday:

1) I made his requested breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, and orange juice. Everyone ate and was satisfied.

2) We went to the zoo to hear a keeper talk about wolves (James loves wolves), because the zoo website said there would be one, but there was not one. So we just looked at the wolves for a little while. Then we had lunch at the zoo. A slice of pizza and an ice cream cone.

3) Then we drove downtown and parked strategically partway between Pacific Science Center and Top Ten Toys.

4) We walked .7 miles to the mall and rode the escalator to Top Ten Toys, where James promptly purchased a Batman lego set for himself with his gift certificate and birthday money. Then we took the elevator down to GameStop where Jonathan bought himself three new Skylanders. Then we walked back to our parking garage and stashed our purchases in the Jeep.

5) After that, we walked to Pacific Science Center, got our tickets for the afternoon IMAX documentary, and got in line just as the doors were opening. We watched a documentary called Air Racers 3D, which was about airplanes that race. Restored WWII bombers. Some kid won, and he broke his dad's world record. Or something like that. I slept through part of it, so I'm not really sure.

6) We gave ourselves about an hour to meander around the science center. I especially enjoyed the NASA pictures of hurricanes. Jonathan enjoyed figuring out how much he weighs on each planet in our solar system. James liked the scale model of the solar system. Earth is small, yo. Our favorite part was playing giant checkers with red and white traffic cones on a big rubber mat. James had never played before, so I taught him how, and then I let him win, and then he was annoyed.

7) The highlight of our day was our visit to PSC's planetarium. It's small and interactive, and our presenter was super excellent at her job. I will never forget that Sagittarius looks like a teapot, and if you tip it over and pour it out, you'll find the center of our galaxy. Also, I finally saw the bear claws of Ursa Major, and now it finally makes sense, and now I can finally sleep at night. Phew.

8) Then we came home, had more pizza for dinner, ate leftover cake, sang happy birthday, opened more presents, and watched Star Wars.

James had a happy birthday. And got quite the haul.

Part three of his stretched-out extravaganza was the family zoo trip we took yesterday. More on that later.