We had our first ride on the local trolley prefaced by a stop at the train depot where the commuter train awed them both as it roared in. We had presents, introduced slowly which the boys quickly learned held some enticing new play things. They got the hang of presents really fast.
Saturday we had a visit to their new preschool, slated to start in September. And then a momentous trip to Griffith Train park, a wonderland of rusting yet beautiful old locomotives and a train ride on the mini train made famous by the Jerk.(Pictures to come, I promise, Gramma).
And then we finished up their birthday week with a party. I had mentioned in a few posts that I had a lingering guilt due to my avoidance of a one year birthday. I wanted to take the time to make a party happen but I also wanted to avoid any stress, the kind that ramps up as expectations and plans and guest lists grow and grow.
I figured we would invite all the little ones we know and that did not seem like a big number. But along with them come their parents. And then a few more friends, child less but always so great. And then the fam, ah, the fam. Their numbers dwarf the kids. Not really, but there is quite a few family members. So, it looked like 10 or so kids and then lots of good natured adults.
I had fun with the preparations. The sandwich rings were ordered from Claro's, a great little local deli, we can highly recommend them if you need food and are nearby.
Omi and Gramma got in the kitchen and made their signature dishes, hot salsa and gaucamole and tuna stuffed sweet peppers. Mmmm.
That gave me time to make my favorite cupcakes using a recipe that is not too sweet but very delicious. And I had time to try my first real buttercream icing, using SK's simple instructions. And 23 tablespoons of butter. Yum.
And then I tried my hand at coloring and rolling out fondant to dress up the little cakes. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to color and roll fondant. I found it in a prepared package in the cake decorating aisle, added a bit of blue food gel, kneaded it in (with gloves) and cut the shapes with a biscuit cutter. I really like how these came out. And I really like the buttercream icing. Though a few of the kids did not and kept bringing me their cupcakes to wipe them off. I swear I did not eat it. Really.
We had a generous giving of presents which the boys were on in a heart beat. Luckily they opened the Thomas stuff first and every other bag paled after those were out. Uncle Alon scored a yard sale find of a classic Hot Wheels track that was a big hit, boys and girls alike.
We met some new little ones, had fun with some old friends and survived the chaos that is 12 little ones under 4 running amok.
A party project I loved was the photo time line where I printed one photo for each month (I mixed some of them up, but whatever, it was all okay).
I loved walking through the year and seeing just how much has changed and so did our friends.
It was fun and would have been easy if my hard drive had not crashed on Friday night (and I had not obsessively tried to gather the photos anyway). I am going to have to save those prints as I am not really sure if I can access any others. (Note to self :: Back up is essential).
A party project that got a lot of laughs was the home made pinata. I contemplated making a truck, then found a brilliant idea. A rock.
A pinata shaped like a rock. And so that is what we did, my reasoning that they were just going to whack the crap out of it and that they are 2 and cannot be embarrassed yet. It got quite a few laughs and sent our kids into a sugar coma due to the Skittles mini bags.
We had favor buckets filled with bracelets and magnifying glasses and kazoos.
I wish I had audio of the sound of 12 kazoos being 'played' at one time.
We had a little bit of singing, crowns intact.
We had a little bit of climbing, waiting out the sugar high in the backyard with our friend Zac.
And we had a little bit of beer with friends as we all laughed at the zany antics of our now two year old boys.
We had a good time. And I think I finally assuaged my whole guilt issue with this party. Now, if I can just get through my 'working' Mama guilt, I think we will all be just fine.
:: A blow-by-blow account of the train park experience with full recommendations for the locals.
:: Featured artist of the week, my amazing sister and her amazing gift to the boys that blew our minds.
You can get a sneak peek and see all the pictures here.