Mike and I decided to keep the kids' 2nd birthday celebration pretty simple: invite our family out to Sunday brunch and then go to a nearby park where the kids could ride their "new" tricycles for the first time. (We bought the tricycles used at a mom-to-mom sale last fall.)
Even though the plan was small, I ordered a handful of photo invitations and had a rough theme of "colors" in mind. Michael and Sophie have become big fans of crayons and love identifying colors. They're pretty right-on most of the time, but we occasionally still get a completely original name like an enthusiastic "Blarbla!" for red. I adore their attempts at "lello,"geeeen," and "boo" and not-so-secretly hope they hold onto those mispronunciations for quite a while.
These are the beautiful Jello cupcakes I made for the occasion.
Ok, "beautiful" might be a stretch, but they are far more attractive than my attempt at this adorable crayon cake. I had seen some pictures of some not-so-successfully executed versions, so I tried to prepare for the worst. I looked up cake decorating tips, bought some green sugar sheets to ensure crisp edges for those parts, and had lots of extra frosting on hand.
Thankfully I also mentally filed away the Jello cake idea after eating some at a recent staff meeting. It called to mind the yellowed image from a magazine of a Christmas layer cake with green and red drips that I had seen countless times in my mom's recipe book. If I failed at the crayon idea, I could pull the color theme in that way. I also picked up a cupcake decorations package at TJ Maxx on a whim; their similarity to the invitations caught my eye. If I failed at the crayon idea...
Perhaps it was all that worst case scenario business going on in my head that kept me from simply getting a solid layer of yellow frosting on that chocolate cake. I've never had an issue with crumbs before, but they plagued me that Saturday afternoon. The ice cream cone crayons looked fantastic, but the whole shebang just wouldn't come together.
(Last year I made a ducky! I impressed the heck out of myself with that one and am shamelessly showing it off again here. Crayons, you can kiss my rubber duck.)
As I tossed my sad crayon box into the garbage--yes, I'm wasteful--I tried to embrace the new theme that was emerging for this event, something along the lines of "let it go and just enjoy your kids."
The brunch didn't follow that new theme entirely; all went smoothly and we enjoyed the heck out the kids' excitement. They were thrilled with the restaurant's trains, one going on a track around the room and one real one that passed by the window.
However, fitting with the new theme, the park and cake festivities this year ended up looking like this:
Notice Sophie's hair blowing to the side and her lip mid-quiver. She burst into tears as we sang "Happy Birthday." Sentimental, I guess, or half-frozen.
Only days before, it was nearly 80 degrees in the area, and it was supposed to get up to 60 that day. Eventually it did, but at 11 a.m. the biting wind wouldn't even let us light those 2's. Full from brunch and too cold to bother, very few cupcakes were touched. (They made fantastic after school snacks for me later in the week.) "Let it go..."
Sadly that wind did nothing for the balloons that lost their bouancy overnight in our basement. Our gathering was on a Sunday morning, so I thought ahead and got the balloons on Saturday when the party supply store was certain to be open. When Mike brought the tricycles up on their way out to our van that morning, the balloons' droopiness fit perfectly with the newly developing theme. "Let it go..." They had been soaring a few feet above the tricycles. We just tightened the strings and trudged on.
Insert photo here of my mom and me fighting those balloon strings off so the kids could take their first ride. I had looped them on pretty simply, but the wind did some tangling. "Let it go..."
At this point the wind started to let up, and Michael and Sophie took their new trikes (and their grandparents) for a spin!
The dress Sophie wore that day was one my grandmother made for me, and the little kitchen pictured behind the tricycles was a DIY project that Mike and I completed. Those are details I'll save for future posts.