The strike ended, life resumed. For a couple of days, at least. Then it was time for Carnaval.
Time for another week off school! At least this time we could get out of the house!
We spent a good chunk of the Carnaval break up at a retreat with some of the other Churches of Christ in the area. It was held at a school on the edge of town which made it convenient for us to just go home for the night instead of sleeping several nights on the floor of a classroom. Russ and Randy both spoke at the retreat, although I missed Russ’ talk because Jackson fell and hit his head about twenty minutes before. I took him home and left Randy and Jenn to do my job of being supportive and give him a ride home after.
Jackson went back to school again AGAIN on Thursday and we’re finally able to get back in the swing of life. We had his birthday party at school Monday morning. This is the point at which some mothers would wax nostalgic about their baby boy turning four and how they just can’t believe how grown up they are and where has the time gone, but I’m not going to do that because I don’t feel like crying today. It’s enough to say that Jackson is growing up nicely and four seems to be a much nicer age than three.
And now, if you’re a man or just don’t care about this stuff you may as well stop reading because I’m going to share some details about the party. I enjoy throwing his little parties at school and it’s always a fun challenge to try to pull it off with the random supplies I can find here.
Last fall I bought a voucher for Paper and Cake off of Zulily. I had used them last year and I love the fact that the printables were customizable so I could make the birthday banner say “Parabéns” instead of “Happy Birthday”. They have tons of cute themes and as long as you give yourself a few days to do the cutting out, it’s a great way to have a cute party for pretty cheap. Jackson and I sat down and picked out a theme–he chose space.
We did this all while we were on furlough so I was able to pick up some fabric for making goody bags. And with the strike I had a little time on my hands to get the sewing done! (I can’t believe I’m “that” mom now, who sews goody bags. I went to school with a kid whose mom sews goody bags and presents and even at 8 years old I found it ridiculous. But that was before I had bills to pay and discovered that I really do enjoy sewing.) I figured that four year olds love nothing more than putting stuff in bags and carrying it around so if I gave them all a bag, they wouldn’t really care about how much candy was or wasn’t in it.
But of course I’m not so stingy as to give empty bags, so I put a space pencil, a little bag of gumdrops and some playdough in them. Playdough that I made myself. Because yeah, somehow I really AM that mother. But again, four year olds.
Glitter “Starry” playdough is just the ticket.
For Jackson, birthday parties=hats. Our craft/party/housewares/etc store carries plain-colored party hats and this year they actually hat black hats! But they looked a little morbid so Jackson and I attacked them with stickers. Stickers are pretty expensive here and hard to come by so we improvised. I stole some gold stars out of a couple of his workbooks (don’t tell him!) and we bought some round dots from the office supply store. Voila–space hats. (Sorry, forgot to get a picture of them.) We did last years hats too with dinosaur stickers. It’s becoming our tradition and it’s a fun way to have him help out with the preparations.
As far as food went, Jackson was very clear. Two Christmases ago, I got a Cake Pop recipe book and it is truly one of Jackson’s favorite books. He loves to sit and look at the designs and talk about the procedure for making the pops. I promised him that we would do cake pops for his birthday. With the space theme, I figured planets would work out nicely. They didn’t quite turn out how I would have liked but I decided I would rather sleep than fiddle all night. At the end of the day, they worked well with the theme and the kids liked them (except for the ones who were totally weirded out by them).
(I admit I may have called Bakerella a few names while I was making them. She makes it look so easy!)
The quintessential birthday treat here is brigadeiros, little chocolate truffle-y things rolled in sprinkles. Delicious. I admit that even though chocolate and my body no longer get along, I may have licked my hands a few times while rolling them. (And I reassure you that I also keep a large bottle of hand sanitizer beside me as I work!) I found some star sprinkle so I jazzed them up according to the theme.
Seriously I could look at pictures of brigadeiros all day long.
We also served mini-pizzas, which weren’t that exciting. Jackson’s been on a gluten-free diet for several months now so I needed something that he could eat. I’ve discovered how to make an amazing pizza crust out of pão de queijo mix so it wasn’t too tough to whip up a batch of pizzas before the party.
Here was the table all decorated. I decided to make the pizzas last minute so I really hadn’t figured out how to arrange everything nicely.
And really, the birthday boy didn’t care that there weren’t enough different heights on his table. He was excited that we were at his school and that there were cake pops. The rest could have been boring old everyday stuff. He was so proud to get to be the birthday boy and be sung to.
The candle is on a silly little cake I had to make when I realized late Sunday night that I didn’t have anywhere to put the candle! Fortunately I had a few cake pops that remained un-coated so I pulled them off their sticks and molded them into a cake-ish shape. The next morning I attacked it with the leftover frosting and some candies.
It was a fun little party. I got to spend some time dancing with Jackson and his friends. I know they probably think we’re the weirdest parents but I’m totally okay with that. The important thing was that Jackson felt honored and special.
So that was our February. It’s been the weirdest month and I have mixed feelings about it being over. I know that March is going to hold all kinds of things (including a visit from my in-laws!) and I look forward to seeing what God has up his sleeves. But I also feel like February slipped through our fingers and kind of wish I could get a little of it back!