Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Nels turned eight last month. Shaun had deemed eight to be the official pocketknife birthday, and the knife was the one present Nels opened on his actual birthday. What has he done with his knife so far? Well, he has used it to whittle several other knives out of pieces of wood.

For dinner we went to our local fancy pizza joint. The joint is not fancy, but the pizza is. And delicious. I am including this dark, blurry picture because in it I can totally see that Nels is related to me. Very few such pictures exist.

In this one he just looks very handsome.

I dread the coming of the boys' birthdays every year. Birthday party planning is one of many parenting skills that I suffer a dearth of. Nels wanted a robot-themed party, so I ordered some robot "piggy" banks from Oriental Trading Company. I thought the boys could paint them as an activity and then take them home as party favors, killing two birds with one stone.

I wasn't sure how that would go over with a bunch of active boys, so it was a huge relief when they all sat down and got absorbed in the project. It was hilarious to sit in the next room and listen to their conversation as they worked. First they discussed their relatives who had served in the military in various wars (uncles, grandpas, etc.), and then they moved on to trying to one-up each other in the sharing of obscure and gross biological facts: Some snakes have babies that come right out of their stomachs!

Yep. Definitely made of puppy-dogs' tails.

A Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots game was the hit of the party.

In the middle of opening his presents, Nels remembered that he had a gift for Willem. He'd gone to his friend's birthday party at an arcade/bowling alley the day before, and he'd used half of his prize tickets to buy Willem these teeth. Yes, glow-in-the-dark fangs did happen to be on Willem's birthday wish list.

Here's why Shaun makes the cake and I don't:

A thousand years from now, kids will still be licking the frosting off the birthday candles.

Once we got the kids all hopped up on cake and ice cream, it was inevitable that a heated Rock 'Em Sock 'Em tournament would break out.

We wrapped up the festivities with Nels's requested dinner, chicken wings. The recipe calls for a rosemary-garlic-balsamic vinegar marinade, which is considerably more sophisticated than the dinner Willem wants for his birthday this week: sloppy joes.

More sophisticated, perhaps, but just as messy.

I am thankful for eight sweet years so far with our sweet boy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Luckiest Almost 6-Year-Old Boy Ever

You'd better believe he wore short sleeves to show off these bad boys to his fellow Kindergartners.