we invited mom, dad, shannon, gram & gramps, aunt mo & family, and uncle larry & aunt debbie over for brunch. we did make-your-own breakfast burritos - eggs, pinto beans, cheese (cheddar and pepper jack), arugula, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, roasted yellow peppers, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa, sour cream. i had also made a spicy sweet potato chili, but with all the good fixins for the burritos, no one had much room for chili.
fluffy vanilla frosting. this is my new favorite frosting recipe, because it actually worked. (my history with making frostings isn't a good one.) we found a spiderman / green goblin action figure pack at target for the cake toppers.
i think i hit the mark.
he was able to blow out the candles all on his own. is it strange that this impressed me? i consider him a "big boy" and yet i am always surprised by the things he can do.
after cake and ice cream came presents, which is always exciting. he scored some pretty awesome stuff and barely knew what to play with first. lucky kid!
with all the excitement, we weren't too hopeful that he would take a nap, but he conked out in seconds without so much as a peep. which was good, because we had evening activities planned as well.
bryan's company had organized an outing to Apple Holler. we drove down a little early so we could check out all the kids' stuff. oliver had a blast, but i'm not sure i'd ever go again - what a racket. $5/person to get into the kids' area (playsets, mazes, animals, etc.), and then any rides and games cost extra (we skipped those). they do have a real apple orchard, but at $15/person to go picking, we did not partake in that activity. we did venture into the pumpkin patch, where oliver had a BLAST running bryan ragged in order to find the perfect pumpkin. so while oliver loved it, it's just not our kind of place - too touristy, packed FULL of people (i'm not a fan of people), and i'm not convinced they make anything on site. there's a "country store" (which bryan confirmed just contains a bunch of crap), and their cider donuts come in boxes labeled "Pre-Fried Frozen Donuts - Ready To Eat." we know actual farmers and can visit actual farms, so this was totally not our style. but, it was still worth the $16 we spent ($10 to get in + $6 for the pumpkin) to watch oliver run around.
the one part that got me was watching oliver run around the giant "big kids" sized playground. he was running around, climbing, and flying down the slides right alongside the older kids. he didn't need my help, and i didn't feel the need to stand right behind him and make sure he wasn't going to fall (though that will never stop me from telling him to be careful!). it really dawned on me that he is a kid, and not really a toddler anymore. when did that happen? it's crazy. i can't believe he is turning 3 and becoming so much less dependent... bittersweet for sure.
the pumpkin patch was a blast. not sure if it's the actual field where they grow the pumpkins (didn't look like it), but there was a pretty big area where already cut pumpkins were spread out. bryan chased oliver all over, as oliver felt it necessary to run through every stand, small and little, of timothy grass in search of the perfect pumpkin. the weather could not have been more beautiful for it. and while this was what i would consider a fake farm, the scenery was gorgeous nonetheless.
after nearly 2 hours of this running around, we met up with the other IBM'ers for the hay ride to our bonfire. it was a small group, and everyone had kids in the same range (ages 2 - 5). the hayride (which didn't actually have any hay) was right at sunset, which made for a very lovely ride.
once we had eaten, he kept reminding me that he ate TWO hot dogs, and could he please have his smarshmallow now? i told him to wait until everyone was done eating, and asked him to sing me campfire songs in the meantime. he told me, "i will sing campfire songs after i have my smarshmallow." the little bugger is catching on.
once it got dark, they lit a bit stack of pallets on fire to create a very large bonfire. all the kids (and let's face it, the men) thought that was pretty darn wicked.
we got a hay ride back to the gate, and were on our way shortly before 9. i made a smart parenting move and brought pjs to change oliver into for the drive home (hey, sometimes i think i'm actually catching on to this mom thing!), and sure enough, he fell right asleep in the car. another sign he's turning into a kid. with all his terrible sleeping as a baby and even a toddler, i never thought we'd be planning activities past bed time, and relying on him to fall asleep in the car - and it actually happening. and yet here we are! (not that i'm willing to make a habit out of it, because i'm not so stupid as to tempt fate regularly!)
all in all, a pretty awesome birthday for the boy.
more pictures in the gallery.