The good news is that Lea is a few weeks away from being 2.5 years old. The bad news is that her moms, in their constant state of being harried parents who are finding it increasingly challenging to juggle parenting, two full time jobs, the great search for an appropriate kindergarten, and general household duties like folding laundry, taking out trash, and changing yet another failing garbage disposal, have somehow neglected to blog about their second kid's second birthday. It's a pathetic truism that there are fewer pictures of the second child than the first, but this seems less motivated by intentional neglect than the exponential speeding up of time that ensues when one is chasing two kids in two different directions and still attempting to remain centered. Whatever that might mean.
So in the spirit of attempting to rectify this situation, I present you with a brief (and I mean brief) pictorial timeline of the week long celebration of Lea that occurred at the end of January.
Behold the Cookie Monster cupcakes:
These were very much a collaborative endeavor. Lea was really into a cookie monster phase (which we find interesting and a bit odd considering that the kid does not watch Sesame Street at all. Instead, she favors her sister's 'shows' -- this is what Hallie calls them. So Lea's viewing tastes run in the direction of Ni Hao, Kai Lan! and Dora the Explorer, which Hallie is only beginning to sort of outgrow). Anyway, Lea loved/loves Cookie and we decided to make her these cupcakes.
A few observations about cupcake making:
1. Do yourself a favor. If you are going to make 36 or 63 or 122 cupcakes to bring in to preschool, buy a mix. Duncan Hines has some great ones. This runs counter to everything in which I firmly believe (apparently, my mom's lessons about baking from scratch sunk in completely despite the fact that she rarely let me actually help in the kitchen and tried to pass off doing the dishes--which she abhorred--as a glamorous component of baking). But cupcakes are a major pain in the butt; kids like things sweet, and no one eats them anyway. So just buy a few boxes.
2. Don't be afraid of taking this task on. After all, someone else can do the actual decorating. Preferably someone else like Sharon, who is, after all, an architect who is meticulous and detail oriented. So, really, all you have to do is buy the materials. A couple of trips to Wegmans, finding a nice recipe for frosting on the internet, and a couple of emergency trips in medias re to the grocery store to procure yet some more confectioners' sugar and you are set.
3. Be tolerant of sweets. The whole house smelled like powdered sugar for a several days running. Cooking dinners that involved the consumption of lots of garlic helped restore the olfactory pH of the place by the end of the week.
4. Buy an awesome cupcake carrier. Buy this one. Ours is an oh-so-fashionable lemongrass and really works. But don't plan on balancing it on top of your double stroller. This is impossible to do once it is filled with 36 cupcakes and is still not advised when empty.
5. Plan on showing up at school for the event, even if you need to be at work. Attempts to get teachers to both take and send you pictures often prove futile.
Anyway, this explains why we have no pictures of Lea blowing out her candles at school, but we are assured everyone had a great time. No one seems to have suffered in a long lasting way from sugar shock, either.
Of course, we were not satisfied by the notion of just having a school party (especially since neither of us were able to attend). It's kind of hard to figure out what to do to celebrate a two year old's second birthday when said birthday takes place at midwinter. Fortunately, we are blessed with kids who love to see shows and who are excellent audience members. We are also extraordinarily lucky to be living in the middle of a city that has a lot of cultural offerings for kids, many of which are quite reasonably priced. So after some major research, we decided to take Lea and a few of her/our friends to see a matinee of Harry the Dirty Dog: The Play, which was being produced at the oldest theater in the United States, the Walnut Street Theater.
Given that we needed a whole bunch of tickets and got a comparatively late start on things, we ended up with nose-bleed seats. No one's nose actually bled (though there was some running here and there) and we all had a good time despite this.
The kids got all dolled up for the production:
After the theater, we came back to our place for some snacks, followed by cake.
The theme of the day was dog (though we did not serve hot dogs. At that point Lea did not eat hot dogs, so that would have been a poor choice).
Instead, we went with Snoopy and a Peanuts theme:
This time we outsourced the decorating to Wegman's. We drew a mock up of the cake and purchased all sorts of plastic/PVC figures to place on the cake ourselves (since apparently Snoopy/Peanuts designs have fallen out of favor and have been supplanted by the likes of Dora, Diego, Elmo, Disney Princesses, etc. We are finding that the same is true of Puff the Magic Dragon, who is the guest of honor of Hallie's upcoming 5th birthday celebration).
Anyway, Lea thought her cake was grand (and so did everyone else. Wegman's does mighty tasty cakes for a mere $26.00 for a half sheet. We highly recommend them).
Here's a picture of Gina, Jake's mom, with Lea:
The girls loved the Mickey Mouse ears that they got from Aunt Laura, Uncle Bryan, and the kids (not a birthday present, but a souvenir from the cousins' Christmas/New Years trip to Disneyworld). And everyone really enjoyed (and still enjoys) the awesome keyboard that Jake and Gina gave Lea for her birthday:
As the day wound down, Hallie was able to have some quality time with her sister (which she devoted to giving Lea some raspberries--still a favorite activity of our belly-button obsessed two year old).
And, since we have the benefit of some hindsight here, suffice it to say that being two has proven to be a grand thing for Lea: she is much more self-sufficient (don't even try to help her get dressed in the morning!), capable (she can count to twenty, sings the lyrics of numerous official songs and makes up many of her song lyrics and melodies), and dramatic (despite her incredibly advanced language skills, she knows how to use the well placed whine and shriek in her favor, sadly enough). She is also a great younger sister and has a wonderful relationship with Hallie and a great pet mom who is always looking out for her cat Zen (and making impassioned pleas for why we need to get a dog sooner rather than later).
We are thrilled to have Lea in our lives and happy to celebrate everything about her and with her, even when we do neglect to blog about it for a good four months! So happy belated second, not so little one!