Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Decade of Phlip

Happy Birthday, Philip!

This is the actual big day although we had his party on Sunday so there wasn't much splash and excitement today. Shortly after JT's 10th birthday I announced that for the next two years anyone turning an even age would get a party. This is a big deal since parties don't come 'round these parts very often. We usually figure by the time we pull off cake and ice cream with the other 12 family members, we've pretty much had a party. So this way it gets divided fairly evenly - 5 this year and 4 next. You might notice that JT sort of got shafted in the deal and now has to wait until he turns 12. In this world of instant gratification we're considering it a counter-cultural lesson. In the meantime Philip's tenth kicked off the party train. JM will get a party next month, then Betsy in September, Miriam in October, Ben in November and Jesus in December (although 2007 is an odd year, I'll let it slip this time.... ).

Our neighbors went out of town for three weeks so we thought it would be a great idea to host a pool party at their house (yes, Michelle, we did ask them...). So since we had a pool with water I thought Philip would enjoy a piratey theme and we ran with it. The whole shebang was m.c'd by Cap'n Daddy who did a bang up job of talking like a pirate for two hours straight as he directed the boys to "Walk the Plank" for a canonball contest, hunt for treasure Ben had hidden in the bushes, dive for gold coins in search of the ones bearing a black spot and beat him in the Talk Like a Pirate challenge. Ben's creativity was invaluable in creating a wonderful setting for the event and keeping things moving quickly with fun activities.We did arrest the theme long enough to kick a soccer ball around for a while to meet with Philip's dream of playing soccer with all his buddies at his very own party.

In lieu of gifts which are always confusing and disappointing to Philip, I risked a social faux pas and emailed all the moms ahead of time offering an opportunity for all the party participants to pitch in together and get him a lego crane he's been showing us in the lego catalogue for about the past 3 years. Normally way out of our price range, this turned out to be a real blessing for all - Phlip got what he really wanted, all the guests were united with a joint blessing for the party boy and nobody had to run to the store, wonder what to get and wrap in the car. Philip couldn't have been more thrilled with it!

I had found a great idea for a pirate ship cake and went at it starting at about 9:00 the night before. "Round about 10 an entire 1/4 of the ship simply fell off the side. I laughed a bit, decided to do without that bit and as I was re-icing the starboard side, the port side began to lurch and lunge but I knew the water beneath was made of nothing but butter and sugar. I was in trouble. We watched, then, as the entire middle of the cake imploded and within minutes I had a mangled mound of chocolate cake. It was an Ace of Cakes nightmare if ever I saw one. Undaunted, I grabbed the wooden skewers bearing skull-laden sails and burned them over the gas stovetop. I stuck them willy nilly into the whole mess, crammed a couple of playmobil pirates head over tin cups next to them and announced that I had finished what was of course my original plan all along - a Pirate Shipwreck. Fortunately, I was prepared with the desert island baked into a large pizza pan and arranged the remaining playmobil guys to look as if the ship had crashed upon the shores of the island. It all turned out quite cute and I was very fortunate to be planning for a boy party as Philip thought it was a hoot. Had it been Betsy, alongside the disaster of a cake, I would have had tears and dramatics with which to contend.

Notice the captain wading onto the shore while two others have already discovered treasure on the island.

This picture sums all the fun...


(Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

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