the best laid plans…

We had a weekend of non-stop birthday-ing.  Theo turned three (three?!  how did that happen so quickly?) and had his very first real birthday party:  a red train party (his request).

I will admit to going a little hog-wild on the entire concept, but in my defense, it was his first party and we are in the dog-days of summer vacation, a time when we’ve done every craft there is to do and visited every museum there is to see.  Simply put, we are fresh out of time-killers, so ridiculously crafty party decorations it was.

The boys helped me make the banner above.  We hung it in our house a few days early, clearly establishing the “party all weekend long” mood.  On the day of Theo’s party, we hauled out a 12-foot ladder and strung the banner over our driveway between two trees.  We floated a few (red) helium balloons from the branches, just to add to the mood.

We put a big “3” balloon on our mailbox, along with a sign pointing to where the trackless train was going to set up.


We even had silly little wrappers for the water bottles.  Martha Stewart would have loved it.


We set up a Train Wheel Trinket area where guests could make necklaces from “train wheels” (wagon wheel pasta that Jack and Tucker had dyed with food coloring a few days before).


We baked and decorated a train cake.  I insist (much to Russ’s chagrin) on making my boys’ birthday cakes, but they are usually of the round or square–or once, just to be really crazy, the rectangular–variety.  I once had a surge of mock-creativity and for Tucker’s 3rd birthday Snowman Party made three (get it?  three for being 3? clever, no?) round cakes stacked together like a snowman.  It was, without a doubt, quite pitiful but was made with love and sweet Tucker adored it, which is all that mattered.


So, using the above catastrophe as a base, just check out Theo’s train cake–also made with love at home by yours truly…


(I know, I know…cake decorating is not going to be my future profession…)

Ok, so for those of you playing along at home, we had a homemade banner hanging from trees, oodles of helium balloons, a red tub filled with fancy water bottles, a “dining car” with sliced strawberries and watermelon, a table set-up with dried pasta…all looking cute and ready to go.

Then came the thunderstorm.  And not just a quick little summer-sprinkling; no, this was a power-deluge akin to Noah’s flood.

The banner fell apart.  The balloons deflated.  The pasta got mushy.  The fruit bowls filled with water.

And the birthday boy fell asleep.


All of this action (or, in the case directly above, inaction) took place in the fifteen minutes or so before guests started showing up.

My mom and I ran around like maniacs trying to salvage things while the guests began arriving.  Luckily, the guest list was a bunch of unassuming, easy-to-please toddlers, so they marvelled at the train track Jack and Tucker had built that morning for Theo while we roused the Birthday Boy and waited for the train-guy to start rides.


The train rides were a huge hit.  Huge.  Here, the birthday boy takes the train on its inaugural jaunt through part of our neighborhood.




The cake was a hit, too.



Even the ridiculous macaroni project dried out and the children all really enjoyed it (amazingly).



We wound up having a hot and sweaty, loud and funny afternoon with eight of Theo’s pals running back and forth between the train and the snack table.  They decorated our driveway with chalk and they squealed with delight when the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song came on.  We wanted a party our Theodorable would not forget and I think we got it.


Happy third birthday, little guy.

From the very moment you arrived, you’ve been nothing but a joy.


You are easy-going and a very good sport (a trait that’s required, I think, when you are the third little boy in a family)…



You smile more than anyone we know…


You are a champion hair-grower (though you’re still not wild about having it cut).

Theo at one week

IMG_5143Theo at 9 months, having his third haircut…


You are cuter than anything.

First birthday, July 30, 2009

Second birthday, July 30, 2010

IMG_4146-1third birthday, July 30, 2011

You are (and always will be) our Theodorable…and we are so, so proud of you.

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