Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Ever so clever

June 23, 2014

Babess is six. I have no idea how that happened so quickly.

We had a lovely day. She opened her presents in the morning – a bookmark from Pearl (from Iceland), a big Lego set from our hosts, and a small book from us because we agreed her “big present” from us is more pocket money to spend in California next week.

Then we went to our friends’ wedding which was absolutely lovely.  The bride gave Babess a posy of her own in recognition that it was a big day for both of them, and Babess beamed with joy.

Babess & Fainjin spent the afternoon playing with the new Lego set and entertaining our hosts while Pearl, The Dad and I went to the wedding reception.  When we got home, Babess had had so much fun that she had fallen asleep!  So we woke her up to take her out for dinner, where we were joined by a few friends including Babess’ best young friend from here (whom she first met as a baby three years ago and hasn’t seen since until this week).  The kids had a wonderful time doing puzzles and colouring in and sticking stickers, and then most people came back “home” for cheesecake and tea or coffee.

Babess had originally asked for a home-made cake, which I was happy to provide, but on a trip to the local supermarket we pointed out the bakery cakes – which are very impressive – and she decided she’d have a bought one instead.  We said she could choose whatever she liked, within size limits, prepared to pay to have one decorated if she so chose.  Initially she liked the look of a plain tray of cupcakes, but then she spotted a package of mixed cheesecake slices – four slices each of plain, caramel, chocolate and berry.  Ever practical, she decided that would be perfect because then everyone could choose the flavour they wanted.  Very nice it was too!

It was a cooler evening, so there weren’t many fireflies,  but I think she’d had a pretty good day even so.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.



January 3, 2014

It’s Fainjin’s birthday today.  He woke up early, and for the first time remembered to “sneak” around the house as he got up and dressed.  Every other morning he has bounded out of bed sometime between 5:30 and 6am, landing like a ton of bricks, and thundered through the house to the loo, only to thunder back again a few minutes later and apparently bounce off every single wall on his way.

The Dad was up first, and wished him a happy birthday, telling him he was seven now.  “I’m not seven yet, Dad,” he was informed.  “I’m still six.  I’m turning seven today.”  I suppose he’s technically correct – he wasn’t born until late afternoon…

We’d held his birthday party last month, before school ended.  We’ve found in the past that lots of people are away at this time of year, and even the ones who aren’t tend to lose track of the days.  They say yes they’ll come to the party, then the day after ring and apologise because they’ve realised they missed it.  Much easier all round to hold the party during the school term.

So today was a family day, with Nana and auntie and beloved cousins coming to help mark the occasion.  Presents were opened, jelly and cake and chippies consumed…

…and at some point during the day Fainjin turned seven.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Party planning

March 2, 2013

“For my birthday,” Babess informed me, “I’m going to have a picnic party!”

“But, sweetheart, it will be winter!” I told her.

“Whut?!” she did a classic double-take.  Her father laughed and echoed her, “Whut?!”

It’s hard to believe, because we think of her birthday as being “soon”, and the weather has been and continues to be incredible: fine, sunny and calm for stretches of up to 10 days at a time, the best summer many people can remember in a long long time.  But it’s true.  Already the days are noticeably shorter, the mornings cooler and there’s an occasional nip in the breeze.  Although Babess goes to school “soon”, it’s more than three months away, and she is a mid-winter baby.

“We can wear our jackets!” she said.  “But the ground will be cold and damp,” I argued.  “We will sit on a picnic blanket!” she countered.  “It might be raining,” I pointed out.

“We can have an inside picnic!” she triumphed.  I can host an inside picnic party in June.  OK then.

She’s not prepared to wait until then for a party though.  This morning she said to me, “Soon I will be four and three-quarters, and do you know what you have to sing to me?”

“No… do you get a song when you’re four and three-quarters, then?”

“Ye-es!  Here’s what you sing:

Happy Birthday to you!

Squished tomatoes and stew!

Bread and butter in the gutter!

Happy Birthday to you!”

4 3/4-year olds certainly have the best party songs.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Fainjin is 6

January 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Fainjin!

It has been a scattered sort of birthday this year – a party just after Christmas with most of the Australian family, and more birthday presents from NZ family when we gathered to “do Christmas” yesterday, so there was only the big present from Mum and Dad to open this morning.  He confidently predicted it would be Lego “‘cos everyone always gives me Lego” (he says this with a huge grin), and sure enough it was the big Lego mining set he has been drooling over for a while.

A special “birthday present” was that his grown-up cousin had slept over the night before, having babysat so The Dad and I could go to a concert.  Fainjin adores this cousin almost to the point of worship, so having him not only babysit but be around for breakfast and to play for the morning was simply heaven.  And grown-up cousin is very very good at playing with the little ones.  He stretches his extremely long frame out on the floor to put the Sylvanian Family babies to bed in their little cottage with Babess, happily helps with the trickier bits of Lego, and then throws the Frisbee around in the yard for them to chase.

We had the traditional extended family dinner at the usual restaurant, and the chocolate cake had a dinosaur on it again – this time a mosaic of lollies.  I’ll put a photo up later.

Happy Birthday, young man!

© UpsideBackwards 2013.


January 1, 2013
Wombat you looking at?

Wombat you looking at?

Since we were driving to and from Grandma & Grandad’s house and Brisbane this trip, we were able to take in some scenery and attractions on the way.

A major stop on the way home was a day spent at Australia Zoo.  The Dad had visited this place once before, way back in the mists of time when Steve Irwin was a teenager and his parents ran the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park.

It has changed a little bit since then.

Changes. I've seen plenty in *my* lifetime.

Changes. I’ve seen plenty in *my* lifetime.

Babess was mad keen to feed an elephant, and Fainjin wanted to see the tigers.  Luckily, they are close together.  Oh, and I should add that there is a “birthday club” – if your child’s birthday is within a week of your visit, they get in for free and the rest of your party gets a 10% discount.  Well done Fainjin for being born at the right time of year!  So anyway, we wandered towards the tigers, admiring various animals on the way, and made it back to the elephant feeding at exactly the right time to spend just a few minutes in the queue.

Babess was still mad keen to feed an elephant.  I wasn’t quite so keen, but took her in the line.  We were warned that if anyone hesitated, the elephants might get bored and wander off, ending the feeding session.  We got to the front of the line and were given a chunk of carrot each.  I held mine out, and Sabu took it neatly off my outstretched hand, leaving me with a slightly slimy palm.  Babess froze, her eyes wide and her hand clenched around the carrot.  “Hold it out!” I urged her, but she was fixed to the spot, staring at the 4-tonne hungry animal in front of her.  Fearing the reaction of the crowds behind us if the elephant decided we weren’t worth the effort, I grabbed the carrot and held it out.  Sabu took that one too, and we moved away from the feeding mat.

Babess was more relieved than disappointed, luckily, and we have some nice photos of her nearly feeding an elephant that she can show her friends at daycare.

We saw the Wildlife Warriors show with the Irwin family.  Pearl was breathless at the experience of seeing Bindi in real life.  Bob fed a crocodile:

Bob Irwin feeds a croc

Bob Irwin feeds a croc

And then Terri fed one too:

Terri's bigger than Bob... so is her croc

Terri’s bigger than Bob… so is her croc

Bindi wasn’t left out.

Bindi is just a little bit older than my niece... eeek!

Bindi is just a little bit older than my niece… eeek!

Of all the exotic animals in the zoo, the one the kids were most keen to see was… a pony.  They all had a pony ride, and we got some lovely photos from the zoo’s photographer (these are not those).  Babess got scared when her tiny pony moved, though, and had to be rescued without actually getting a ride.  We were offered our $5 back, which I declined – after all, we got the lovely photo, and it wasn’t their fault Babess baulked.  I was impressed at the offer though.




Pony rides!

In general, the customer service at the zoo was exceptional.  Any time we interacted with the staff they went just a little bit further than you might expect to make sure our day was a great one.  We saw a keeper walking a very large snake towards the “Wildlife Experience” photography studio.  He stopped so Fainjin could pat it.  I was very disappointed that the family had split up briefly, and The Dad had the girls with him – and the camera!

The kids got to pat a koala, and meet a kangaroo:

098 100

In short, a great time was had by all.

If you’re thinking of going, I recommend taking your own lunch – there are lovely picnic spots and this is encouraged.  The food in the food court is pretty good, but it all adds to the cost of the day.  Take plenty of water too.  Splash out on ice-creams or a photo session with a huge snake, instead of the basics.  Make sure you see the Wildlife Warriors show, and take the opportunity to feed an elephant or interact with the camels, or whatever other activities they have on the day.  And definitely take a kid who has a birthday within the week!

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Pre-birthday party

December 27, 2012

Since we first decided that we would be in Australia for Christmas this year, Fainjin has been talking about having his birthday party with his cousins.  In his mind, his birthday is immediately after Christmas (it’s about 10 days after), and he couldn’t think of anything better than celebrating with the gang of boy-cousins here.

So today we packed a cake (a bought one, horrors! but actually rather nice) in a chilly bin with lots of cold packs, some chippies, some lollies and plenty of cold drinks and met the rest of the Australian family at a local playground.

Presents were… presented.  A candle was lit, a song was sung, there was much feasting and then the kids all played on the playground and the parents and grandparents hovered, watched or ignored them according to each family’s age group and inclination.

“Is this a good party?” I asked Fainjin, just checking in to make sure we’d met expectations.  “Yeah,” he said quietly, and gave me a grin.  Babess, overhearing, was more exuberant.  “This is the best party ever!”

I hope she’s not planning a June repeat for her own birthday!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

10th birthday party

October 27, 2012

The Dad and I are still getting our heads around the fact that we have been parents for a whole decade.  It seems only moments ago we had just met and were trying to figure out who was going to move across the Tasman to live with whom.  But Pearl has been 10 for a whole month, and last night we had her “home” birthday party.

We were in Canberra on her actual birthday, and wonderful friends there put on a lovely celebration for her, but of course she wanted to have something here for her school friends too.

She agreed to keep it simple (whew!), and invited five friends around for a pizza dinner and to watch a movie.  I set out a couple of bowls of chippies and some lollies for them, and they were allowed to eat in the lounge (quite a big deal in our house).

I did make a major discovery – how to get Pearl out of bed and into action in the morning.  Just tell her that if she moves now, she can make her own birthday cake.  She was up, dressed, and measuring butter and flour almost before I could draw breath!  The cake was baked before we had to leave for school, and that gave her plenty of time to decorate it in the afternoon.

Everything went very well.  All the guests arrived at the same time, and parents arrived to collect them again right on the appointed hour too, which helped a lot.  They each had their own pizza (take-away), and seemed to enjoy the movie.  There was very little clean-up for me to do afterwards, and the whole event was relaxed from my point of view.

All we have to do now is ensure the thank-you letters get written!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Dear Mummy

July 19, 2012

Today Babess wrote me a letter.  It must have taken her quite a while.  Her teacher wanted to put it in her profile book, but Babess insisted it had to come home because it was for me.

“Dear Mummy, Happy Birthday.  I hope you had fun at your birthday.  I wanted to say happy birthday because I wanted to come to your birthday and I wanted my birthday to be in Australia.”

Further, the word in brown is “chocolate”, because that is one of Babess’ favourite things, she says.  Some things don’t change.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Birthday party fun

June 24, 2012

Today we hosted Babess’ birthday party.  Six of her closest friends came bouncing down our driveway, parents in tow, to be greeted with squeals and laughter.  There is nothing more exciting than seeing friends you normally only see at daycare come to your house.

When everyone had arrived, presents opened and ooooohed over, The Dad took them all outside with a bottle of bubble mix each.  Thank goodness it was a lovely day!  We’ve had a few shockers recently, but we got sunshine and no wind when it really counted.  The neighbourhood was awash in bubbles in no time, and there was – again – much bouncing and squealing of laughter.

Bubble mix exhausted, they came inside and tumbled over each other to wash their hands and sit up for afternoon tea.  I had made a “caterpillar cake” – about 20 cupcakes in a row, with gummy-snake “legs” on each one except the head, which had marshmallow eyes and a drawn-on smile.  Each segment/cupcake had a letter of Babess’ name, a “4”, or a heart/star/swirl design.  I was quite proud of it.  I did notice that most kids ate the lollies but not necessarily the cake part though.

Birthday feast!

Apart from cake, there were chocolate crackles, chippies, fruit, milky-way racing cars, sausage rolls, cheerios (cocktail sausages), fairy bread and juice.  Much too much food.  Never mind, fairy bread for dinner won’t kill our family!  Attending adults were well-fed too, and a couple of large pots of coffee went down well.

As the sugar took hold, we shooed the kids outside again and my wonderful niece set up a “tattoo table” so all the little ones could choose temporary tattoos for arms and hands – and even legs.  Then there was much running around and exploring the house and playing with toys, as the adults chatted and enjoyed a bit more than the two-second “oh hi, nice to see you” conversations that you tend to get at daycare drop-off and pick-up.

Babess’ birthday ink

Eventually, things wound down as kids got tired and were taken home before reaching meltdown.  I did not do “goody bags”, and no-one missed them (huzzah!).  I did threaten to send extra chocolate crackles home with anyone whose present contained more than 100 pieces, but it was all good-natured fun.  Even the ones who gave Babess a huge beading kit laughed.

HOW many beads?!?!

Babess thought it was a great party, and Fainjin enjoyed it too.  I’m pretty sure the guests had a good time, and we didn’t set fire to anything, spark any allergic reactions, or have any accidents drawing blood.  I think we can call it a success.

(I still want to be invited to a Lego Robotics party at Stimey’s house, though!)

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

So old

May 7, 2012

Fainjin called his Poppa to say Happy Birthday to him.  Poppa was clearly charmed, and asked if Fainjin knew how old he was.  “No,” said Fainjin.

“Can you guess?”

“No,” said Fainjin.

“I’m really ancient…  even more than twenty-one!”

Fainjin let out a shout of laughter and dropped the phone.  “More than twenty-one! Poppa’s twenty-two!”

Possibly the best birthday present Poppa got this year…

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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