Because Dom wasn’t going to be able to get off from work early, we decided it would make life much easier if Anthony opened his presents at breakfast. That way we could focus on going out for his birthday dinner and coming home to eat cake without trying to cram in opening presents (and satisfying the desire to play with them) as well. This was a Good Idea.
We have so many toys, that I felt a need to make this minimalist. One toy: a dump truck per his request. Three books, coloring books since I didn’t have any books on my wishlist which seemed perfect for Anthony and I’m feeling overwhelmed with books anyhow. It was sufficient. Really, how much stuff does a three year old need?
Anthony was thrilled with his truck (and so were the other kids, especially Ben and Sophie) and everyone loved the coloring books and took turns coloring because Anthony is the soul of generosity.
For dinner Anthony opted for the family’s favorite local chain, Halfway Cafe, which is right across the street from church and so not at all a big deal for a midweek dinner. They have pub food, nothing extravagant, but pretty good. Anthony was torn between his usual pizza or chicken fingers. He opted for the chicken and was quite content. Dom and I made the rookie mistake of forgetting to ask that the kids’ entrees come out with our appetizers so the kids had a bit of a wait; but otherwise everything was great. (Our usual server doesn’t need to be asked, she knows, so we’ve been a bit spoiled.)
Dessert was homemade chocolate cake. I cancelled school in order to spend the morning baking. I just knew there was no way I could manage both. I did an experimental mashup of two recipes that came out a little dry, but a good chocolate flavor and not too sweet. The frosting was perfect though. A cream cheese ganache that was richly chocolate but not at all cloying. Anthony picked out little pearl sprinkles that he and Ben and Sophie and Bella used to decorate the cake. We’re fancy like that.
The cake split in two but I covered up the crevasse with plenty of frosting and you couldn’t tell at all. Not that anyone would care. I deliberately keep the bar low for birthday cakes. No fancy shapes for me, thank you very much. I enjoy baking and trying new recipes but cake decorating is not my thing.
The highlight of the day was served up by Mother Nature: a balmy, sunny day with temperatures in the high 40s. Ben, Sophie and Bella went out in their boots to tramp in the snow. Anthony and Lucy stayed on the back step, barefoot, and screeched delightedly and touched the snow and basked in the glory of the day. This was the first time Lucy has gone outside under her own power since she’s gained mobility during the too-cold winter months. She was in heaven leaning off the step to grab fist fulls of snow to eat and play with. She got wet and muddy and didn’t care a bit. Our first foretaste of spring and a very much welcome respite from what has been a very cold, very snowy, very long winter.
At the end of the afternoon after they’d come inside and taken off their boots, Ben and Sophie ran back outside barefoot and Anthony joined them, laughing. Note that Anthony was wearing shorts and a t-shirt as well as being barefoot. I think they must all be hobbits. They did come in pretty quickly and complained about their feet being cold, but willingly ran back out for a photo op when they saw I’d grabbed the camera.