Shortcake's birthday celebration started Monday late afternoon and wrapped up with her birthday party (featuring Diesel) last night at the MC compound. Here's a look at how we celebrated her very special day.
Because we were going to be away from the house the entire day of Shortcake's actual birthday, The General and I (okay, mostly me) wanted to give Shortcake her gifts the day before so that she'd be able to play with them. Our daycare provider had a Wii and Shortcake fell in love with it immediately asking at least twice a week for one at our house. After playing ourselves at Relish & Elizabeth Taylor's birthday party The General and I (again, mostly me) decided that our house was less of a home without a Wii of our own. For her birthday Shortcake opened two Wii games - Wii Play and MarioKart - and after opening the second present looked at us and said very matter-of-factly, "I guess we're getting a Wii!". We explained to her then that yes, we are getting a Wii but the Wii is for the entire family and the games are for her. She accepted this fact graciously and although she's slightly possessive of the system she's been very generous letting the rest of us play. Of course, we often rely on her to show us how to navigate through certain portions of the games which she's happy to do.
The girls were told a couple of days before Shortcake's birthday that the four of us would embark on a very special birthday adventure. The morning started out with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" by Punkin and I followed by Shortcake blowing out candles stuck in her blueberry pancakes. The General and I didn't tell them where we were going or what we were going to do once we got there, and I think by Tuesday morning the suspense was driving Shortcake crazy. She spent the three hours between waking up and leaving the house asking for clues and hints. We arrived at our first destination around 10:30 am.
Turning five years old must hinder Shortcake's reasoning skills because after observing the train tracks and commenting on them, after watching one northbound train arrive and depart, and after checking out numerous passengers with luggage waiting themselves, it was a solid twenty minutes before Shortcake finally guessed, "Are we going on a train?".
Our southbound train finally arrived and after searching for seats in an already packed car we were on our way to Bloomington-Normal for the next leg of our adventure. Upon arrival to our destination we set out to find a place for lunch. A note to my readers: It was discovered during this meal that eating four different types of fried food in one sitting can be hazardous to your health, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
Following our grease heavy lunch we walked back toward the train station to the Children's Discovery Museum in construction heavy uptown Normal were we spent the rest of the afternoon. The museum was not crowded and all four of us thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent there.
Following our two and a half hour run at the museum, we took a little walk on the search for a place to rest and quench our thirst before the next part of our birthday adventure.
We ended up at Bone Student Center and it was here that I discovered my wallet was missing (holding my license, an ATM card, a credit card, some cash and GASP! some dairy queen gift certificates) and was most likely left on the train. Luckily, as The General stated, there are still good people in the world. Before leaving that night for home I asked the station attendent if there was a number I could call to see if my wallet had been turned in somewhere. She immediately got on the phone and within minutes found out that my wallet had been recovered and had traveled all the way to St. Louis. It was returned to Bloomington by 9:30 the next morning and everything was intact. Big props to humanity and Amtrak for that!
Around 5:30 pm we walked back outside to show the girls the next adventure: dinner with Gramma & Papa Poke! They had arrived to drive us to Chili's for Shortcake's birthday dinner. Shortcake enjoyed the company and her quesadilla but especially enjoyed her birthday sundae (or, more specifically, the hot fudge and caramel on top of the ice cream).
Killing time before our departure, we took a trip to Hobby Lobby before heading back to the train station. By this time we had two tired girls, one who was slightly more slap happy and less rule abiding than the other, and I think both The General and I were relieved when the train finally pulled into the station just before 9 pm. We boarded the train, the girls frantically waved good-bye to my mom & dad, and we settled in for the relatively quick ride home.
Final consensus on our day of adventure: The Children's Museum rocks, Pub II food when consumed in large quantities may do a number to your digestive system, and riding public transportation via railway? Two thumbs up from the ladies of the house, but The General is not a fan.
Last night we traveled south again, this time in the luxury of our own vehicle, to the fourth annual Shortcake and Diesel birthday bonanza. The food was delicious (and plentiful), the company was lovely, there was only one trip to prompt care (story coming later this week - stay tuned for details!), and the birthday kids made out with some good loot.
In addition to eight pizzas at dinner, we had four desserts on hand as well. Shortcake had long ago requested strawberry pie for her birthday treat and Gramma provided as asked.
Dean enjoyed his standard fudge marble cake, this year with Bears helmet embossed in the frosting. And really, seven candles? Impossible, I say! When are these kids going to stop growing up? It's very stressful and taxing on my emotional well being.
Shortcake also felt that a dessert matching her Tinkerbelle theme was necessary and after much negotiation and stalling on my part I finally caved the day before the party. Behold, the "firework cupcakes" courtesy of our local Wal-Mart bakery.
Today we are slowly recovering from the birthday fun with a healthy dose of Wii Carnival to hopefully nurse our sore throats and fatigue back into good standing. This turning old stuff is exhausting!