Monthly Archives: May 2013

Batman Bounces Again

Last week we celebrated Batman’s actual birthday on Wednesday with his favorite dinner:  white chicken enchiladas.  He first tasted these wonders at Grandpa Vernon’s, and when he was choosing his birthday meal he asked not only if we could have them for dinner, but could we please have Grandpa Vernon make them, “So they’ll be good.”

Ah, the appreciation of children.

I knew that Grandpa Vernon was very busy during the week with his own (biological) grandchildren, so I convinced Batman to let me make his dinner.  It actually turned out pretty well, though Batman was way more focused on his second birthday celebration: a family bounce party scheduled for Sunday.

Ever since I made the mistake of had the fantastic idea of renting a bounce house for Batman’s birthday party last year, and then again for Annabelle’s celebration in September, a birthday is not a birthday around here until we have blown all the circuit breakers on the property trying to get a large plastic house inflated in our front yard.  We follow that up with big kids bouncing on little kids until someone is crying and most likely bleeding as well.  Then we light off a bunch of rockets in the attempt to keep our small-town firefighters practiced up with a grass fire or two.

Oh, and we usually catch the horses so that Reno can break free from his handler and give some poor toddler the ride of his life running loose like a wild mustang with several adults chasing frantically after him.

Yep, that’s how we do birthdays around here.

Since we had no choice schedule-wise but to hold Batman’s party on a Sunday this year, I decided to scale back the size of the shindig.  It really is fun to have tons of kids running around like crazy, but since it was a school night at the end of a very busy week, and the day after Annabelle and I were to be horse-showing all day, I kept the guest list to just family (and a couple of adopted family members).

The result was a smaller, quieter celebration, but the kids still had a blast bouncing, riding the four-wheelers and chasing after a rocket or two.

The day dawned sunny and clear, a perfect day for a birthday party.  Of course the highlight of the morning was the arrival of the bouncy.

Which the nice young attendant from the bounce house company efficiently inflated with nary a circuit breaker flicker.

Up it goes

The day was off to a good start.

Pirates Bounce

And it just got better.  Cousins slowly trickled in from around the valley.

Brotherly Love

I admit that I didn’t get many pictures of the party this time.  I took advantage of the reduced scale to, well, actually mingle with the guests and enjoy myself.  It was divine.

The bounce house was put to good use.

Bouncing it up

After a couple of hours, Desperate Hubby grilled up some burgers and dogs for an early dinner, then it was cake time.

We decided to sing happy birthday on the back porch, and with the slight breeze it was a challenge to get the big orange “5” candle burning.

And to keep my hair from sticking to my chap stick.

Windy Day

I had taken Batman to Costco earlier in the week so that he could pick out his cake.  He was very disappointed that Costco did not have a cake featuring a decoration of worms.  Being in the fishing mode right now, Batman is very interested in worms.

But wait…..the people at Costco are nothing if not accommodating.   Though they did not have a worm cake, they did have a cake pattern with a cute, smiling caterpillar on it.

After some discussion with a decorator and very specific instructions on the part of Batman, the cake person agreed to make a cake with the caterpillar form, out of all-brown frosting, with no legs and small antennae.

And just like that a Worm Cake was born.

I was pretty excited about this particular birthday development, and couldn’t wait to see the cake when it was finished.  On Saturday afternoon, after a warm day spent at the Ontario, Oregon fairgrounds showing at the Gem State Stock Horse Association show, I loaded up Batman and headed over to pick up the cake.  We left Annabelle sleeping in her bunk bed, exhausted from awakening at 4:30 am and then riding all day long in the hot sun.

We searched through the cake stand located in the cold produce room for our cake.  Though there were a dozen other pastries there waiting to be picked up, we saw no sign of our special-order Worm.  We strolled back to the bakery and saw two nice young gentlemen washing the floor with buckets of soapy water and brooms (which Batman found quite fascinating, having never seen a floor washed like that at home before).  The closest worker approached me and asked how he could help. I explained about the missing cake, and he said “No worries.  It is probably in the cooler.”

Fifteen minutes and three separate searches later revealed no cake.  I was disappointed, and hoped that Batman wouldn’t be too emotionally scarred by the failure of his much-anticipated Worm Cake to appear.  I looked at him pensively as I explained that they must have lost his cake order, and would it be all right if he chose a cake from the case and the nice young janitor/cake decorator put his name on it?

Batman only sighed, and barely short of rolling his eyes said  “It’s just a cake mom.”

So there we were.

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After he blew out his candle, with a little help from the wind, Batman sat and enjoyed his cake and ice cream.  I’m not sure if he was thinking about the Worm Cake or not.

Birthday Contemplation

Anyway, after the cake was finished DH fired off a few rockets.  We sent Annabelle and Kampbell into the park next door to retrieve them.  One of the them disappeared over the fence into the (locked) baseball field of the school next door.  Oops.

Rocket Retrieval

Finally the moment all the kids were waiting for arrived:  present time.

Batman was spoiled by the largesse spread before him in the gift department.

Legos

Some of the gifts were so large they required teamwork to unwrap.

Teamwork

Batman received many wonderful things.  He loved all of his gifts, but the present I personally found most creative was a roll of bright green duct tape.

Batman used some leftover pipe cleaners from his sister’s school project to make this “robot” which stands on it’s own legs and measures about 15” high.

Was that a great present or what?

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Among the many other cool presents was a little set of real golf clubs from grandma and grandpa.  Batman spent most of the evening arranging his golf bag with all the balls, “little sticks that you put in the ground to hold the ball,” and the extra large driver he had gotten from Uncle Mike.

The next evening as soon as DH came home Batman dragged him out in the front yard for some golf lessons.

He hit it

The next day after that DH signed Batman up for real golf lessons with a pro from one of the courses in Eagle.  He starts this Saturday and boy is he ever excited.

So is Batman.

When the party was over even Winston was dog tired, snoozing away on the porch couch.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Winston is Tired

Thank you to all our family who came over to make Batman’s birthday party so fun.

And by the way, Costco Cake Department called bright and early on Monday morning.  “Why didn’t you pick up your Worm Cake?”  the nice young lady asked.  I just sighed and told her the whole story.  She apologized profusely for the lost cake, explaining that it had been in the cooler the whole time.

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I just laughed. “It’s OK,” I said. “It’s only a cake.”

Categories: Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Batman

Five years ago yesterday, at about the time of the morning I start to write this, we welcomed into our family a precious baby boy, Zachary Morgan, more commonly known here as Batman.

In an early preview of what has proven to be one of his strongest personality traits, Baby Batman stubbornly refused to join us in the cold bright world.  My doctor reached in through the incision she had performed for my caesarean section and gently put her hands around the baby.  He squirmed away, right up to the very top of my tummy where he shrank against her touch until she actually had to have her assistant push him downward from the outside so she could get ahold of him.

To this day, it is very difficult, nearly impossible in fact, to get Batman to do something before he is good and ready.

Here he is, at about thirty seconds into the world.

Hello World (2)

Batman joined us during what was a somewhat tumultuous time in our family history, and I think that somehow my tiny man knew I was about tapped-out in emotional strength right then.  He was from day one the sweetest, calmest and happiest baby I’d ever seen.

While I had loved every second of his sister Annabelle’s infancy, she was a spitfire from the moment she was born, colicky and fussy; impossible to please most of the time. I have many, many pictures like this of her early months.  And I didn’t take them because it was so cute that she was crying.  There was never another time……she almost never stopped.

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Batman was exactly the opposite.  When it was time to leave the hospital, he just looked up at me as if to say “Let’s get going mom!”

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He rarely cried, even after we brought him home.  He just looked calmly around and took everything in.

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His sister waited eagerly for him to be born.

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And though she was just nineteen months old when he arrived she loved him without reservation, rarely showing a hint of jealousy or impatience with the change in family dynamics.

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Batman was a great sleeper as an infant and toddler.

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He slept after he played.

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The bouncy chair was one of his favorite spots.

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He slept after he ate. (Yes, I did have the tray on the high chair. I just took it off for the picture).

Eating is exhausting!

He slept for pretty much any old reason or in any place.

Note that he is wearing his sister’s underwear over his shorts and my bracelet on his wrist.   More on his cross-dressing tendencies later.

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He still loves a nap now and again.

In the chair with a friend…..

Zach sleeping

or in his car seat after a chilly trail ride.

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Even under the dining room table after a fit of rage when he was really mad at daddy (did I mention he has quite a stubborn streak?).

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It takes a lot, though, to make Batman angry.  The sunny demeanor which has been present from his birth has not failed a day since.

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I think the phrase “his smile could light up a room” was created for my little boy.

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When he was about five days old I started walking along the dirt roads around our house with him in the baby sling and his sister in the stroller.  He was never so happy as in that sling.  He’d snuggle in and go right to sleep.

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When he got big enough to ride in the stroller himself he loved that too.

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And he rode miles and miles in the double jogger with his big sissie, through uncountable laps around fields and town, and through lots of 5k races too.

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My little scholar loved books from a very early age, showing an unusual amount of focus for a little boy.

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He still loves books, but perhaps even more he has retained that extremely high level of focus, and he channels it to make remarkably intricate and creative art projects.

Like this collage of eight “paper robots” (his word) that have individually pieced legs (average eight each), horns, and tails. After each piece was completed he painstakingly taped it to the prior ones to make the whole family.

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Or this vase of flowers that he made all by himself using leftover muffin cups and pipe cleaners from a project his sister had completed for kindergarten.

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He will sit and work on his projects for literally hours at a time.

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And he draws too.  This is his rendition of a deer family.

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No roll of tape or pair of scissors is safe from my little artist.

Daddy's Present

Especially the tape.  I certainly hope we don’t have any electrical emergencies around here anytime soon.

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He’s fairly fond of markers, too.

Painted Zach

My boy got his nickname of “Batman,” because, of course, he loves Batman.  He dresses almost exclusively in t-shirts that have some Superhero or other on the front.

Outside of that, though, he has his own sense of fashion, a fact which cannot be disputed.

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He wore his sister’s Dora swimsuit all one summer, even at the “Y.”  I just let everyone tell me what a pretty girl he was.

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He wore this to the local Wal-Mart.  In January.

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And he loves to just throw together a few things from his closet, too.  Along with a few from his sister’s.

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Yes, he put together this little ensemble all by himself.

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Despite his proclivity for dressing up in female clothing, he is a manly man of sorts.

He has loved camping and fishing from an early age.

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A little boating when he gets the chance.

Zach on the Boat

Paddling around the lake.

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And hunting with dad.

The Hunters

He is thrilled to get come home with game, and recounts with glee the process of stalking, and yes, even killing the birds.

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But at the same time he loves animals as much as anyone in the family, and has a soft spot for every living creature, especially the family dogs.

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He is a bit of a sports guy.

Kick it thru

With quite a kick on him.

Z's Form

And a truly hard worker.

Put your body into it

He loves to pitch in to help get chores done.

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He’s always been a good eater.

I like my food!

Yes, that is mayonnaise. With an artichoke on the side.

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He will share a sandwich with the dog now and again, but his favorite foods are actually beets and asparagus.  I’m not making that up.

Hunting Sandwich

He’s very attached to the horses.

Reno and Zach

And he’ll go for a pony ride on occasion.

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And sometimes even hit the trail for an hour or two.

But his favorite mode of transportation is still his trusty four-wheeler.  Or his sister’s.  Wearing his ninja costume.

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Batman is unfailingly affectionate.  He tells me that he loves me at least five times every day and is constantly hugging me and kissing me.  I hope he never outgrows that trait.

Even though he’s five now.

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Happy Birthday to my little man.

Don’t climb up that slide of life too fast.

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Categories: Cast of Characters, Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Leave a comment

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