Monday, August 31, 2009

Jackson's birthday, version 6.2

Saturday morning, three of Jack's best friends from Oakhill joined us at Chuck E. Cheese for one last birthday hurrah.

Though it opens at 9 a.m., we got there at 10 'til 10 and were the only ones there! We got the first spot in the parking lot and had the whole place to ourselves.

Waiting for his friends to arrive — Jake, Jake and Jacob (I felt like we were on "Newhart").

JD and his dad playing Artic Thunder.

Then it was JD and Jack's turn.

I think this Bumbo Safari game was the only one that Jake played! He was really good at it and racked up lots of tickets. Even when he was out of tokens to put in, he got to play much longer from all the bonus points he had scored.

Jake pedaling high on the Superfly.

Mr. Chuck E. Cheese, himself.

JD in the cockpit. He really did have to wear the seatbelt, 'cause the hydraulics tipped him from side to side.

JD's dad said he didn't realize that he should've dyed JD's hair blond.

Chuck coming by to give high fours.

On the outside of the gift that Jake brought, there was a great color photo of the two of them that Jake's mom had taken last year.

Jack was very appreciative and grateful.

Part of JD's gift were these two homemade "books" he had made just for Jack. His dad said that earlier this summer, JD spent an entire day coloring, cutting and taping them together.

Then it was back to more toys and games.

They all played so well together.

Jake and Jake.

Since all four of them now go to four different schools, it was really neat to see them together after such a long time apart.

Havin' fun up in the tunnels...

...and down the slide.

Then it was time to wrap things up at Chuck E. Cheese and run over to...


Instead of a cake, Jack opted for his favorite frozen treat — concretes. Can you blame him?

After having just redeemed their Chuck E. Cheese tickets, it wasn't easy to get them to sit still and not play with their new toys. See some of their antics here. Ah, to be 6 again.

Shoot-out at the Dirt 'n' Worms Corral.

By then, Jake's younger sister Anna had joined us. Isn't she a doll?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jackson's birthday, version 6.1

Jack's actual birthday was on Thursday and, for the second year in a row, we started the day off with breakfast in bed. (What a difference a year makes — last year in our former house he was still in his crib, um, day bed, 12 inches off the ground. Now in our hew house he has a loft bed nearly 12 inches from the ceiling.)

Jack had requested a pancake man with a chocolate chip face and bacon for the arms and legs. So that's what he got.

Blowing bubbles in his chocolate milk.

Mid-morning, I went to his school to take special birthday treats for snack time. While waiting outside his classroom in the hall, I found some of his work up on the bulletin board. Most children filled in the blank on this worksheet with "dog" or "cat" or some other domestic animal ... not "saber-tooth tiger."

The class singing "Happy Birthday" to Jack.

Singing some silly songs about peanut butter on your underwear and Tarzan swinging on a rubberband. It was "green" day, can you tell?

Notice a few things different from my own kindergarten days: an anti-bacterial hand sanitizer pump on each table; a ceiling-mounted projector showing what song in the playlist the teacher will click on next; but the inability to identify themselves by either "morning" or "afternoon" kindergarten, which isn't even an option today.

Right after snack time is recess, so — twist my arm — I decided to stay.

All the kindergarten classes have recess at the same time. Though they're not in the same class, here's Aiden, one of Jack's friends from summer school.

He waited patiently and finally got a swing. Still quite popular with the kindergarten crowd.

Jack and Zach, another friend from summer school who is in his same class.

Jack's birthday present from us was surprising him with a whole-room transformation — a makeover, if you will. Since we moved in almost a year ago, we haven't done a thing with his bedroom, other than get the loft bed. I'm a little embarassed to show you these, but here are the "before" pictures of exactly how his room looked when he left for school that morning.

And here are the "after" pictures with his new "All-Star/All-American Sports" theme.

I felt like I was on an episode of "While You Were Out," trying to get it all done before he came home from school.

A couple of notes:
• The Chiefs pennant is autographed by Trent Green.
• The toy box is older than I am.
• The vintage Chiefs helmet and should pad set is at least as old as I am.
• I stayed up late the night before staining the wooden shelf.
• Jack caught a glimpse of the clock the day before and begged for it to go in his room.

Every kid needs a bean bag chair, right? It's a toss up for what's his favorite — that, or the real coach's whistle as the pull cord on the lamp.

Jack hadn't previously seen his T-ball picture (on the left) and I made the ESPN The Magazine cover at Walgreens just the afternoon before.

Jack's really getting into learning the states, so we added this colorful map as part of the "All-American" theme.

Because we did all this, we didn't have a single gift for Jack to actually unwrap on his birthday and it was a big risk, wondering how — or if — he would even like it. But when he got home from school that afternoon and we told him there was a birthday surprise in his room, his reaction was priceless. He LOVED it. He was amazed, and thankful, and in awe, and walking on his tip-toes looking at everything, and very appreciative, and screamed like a girl.

Up until climbing into bed that night, he just wanted to sit in his bean bag chair and take it all in.