in 2020, Miles got in just under the gun with his unforgettable 5th birthday celebration. It's not that COVID wasn't alive, well and slowly invading all of our lives, but most of us were still fairly naive to what lie ahead during those last, fairly innocent weeks of February. After having our usual family birthday celebration at home (which included my mom last year, of course), we headed to San Diego, the first weekend of March to visit the Safari Park, having no idea what was coming down the pike. We had an incredible weekend in San Diego and still view that getaway, and Miles birthday, as our last big hurrah before normal life as we knew, as everybody knew it, simply vanished.
This year's celebration was bound to be a radical departure from last year's, on so many levels, but I was determined to make it special for Miles. We are nearly a year into COVID and most of us have the celebrating protocol down by now. We know how to make the most of what have to work with, while keeping ourselves and those around us safe.. What was most notable to me this year is how our priorities have shifted so significantly in just one year's time. So, although Miles birthday was not the exciting destination birthday celebration it was a year ago, it was special and touching nonetheless, and perhaps even more. Please join us in celebrating Miles!
Our celebration started on Sunday, the day before his birthday, with a brunch of delicious, hot Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes. That is actually the name of the recipe from The New York Times and they more-than lived up to their name (you have to give them a try)! They were as gorgeous as they were tasty, but unfortunately they were eaten so quickly that I didn't have a chance to photograph them. In the late afternoon, we suffered through our usual birthday photo shoot. Despite the fact that this never goes over well with the kids, I continue to coerce them into it anyway, figuring that someday they'll thank me or at the least, forgive me.
As a reward for indulging me with the dreaded photo shoot, I promised them an early evening walk, which is always a family favorite activity.
Graham set the Birthday Boy's table perfectly, which was a woodland animal theme, perfect for our aspiring zookeeper, Miles.
Miles scored on both of his requests: Mommy's special chili and cornbread for dinner; and scrumptious chocolate cake served with ice cream for dessert.
The chili was a huge hit with the partygoers. The birthday boy was the first to finish.
The Big Moment!
Miles about to make his big 6-year-old boy wish.
Present time. His siblings all made him over-the-top handmade cards, including a 3-D popup one from Lady. Garin's card took days to make and defied description with both with its intricate planning and painstaking artistic detail. Embarrassingly, I stooped to a level that I don't normally go and bought him an obnoxious singing, overly-priced fart card. I experienced a moment of weakness while at CVS (Oh, poor Miles, it's COVID and his birthday is going to be so simple and small. I'll just buy him a crude fart card to make him laugh). Needless to say, my poor judgement ended up being one of the highlights of everyone's night!
He also loved his new cozy dog sleeping bag from FAO Schwarz (sourced from none other than Homegoods) I out ran yesterday morning in haste to fetch him something when I realized that his other presents would not be arriving until after his birthday. Mommy did good!
Miles loved his new sleeping bag so much that he suggested we have a family slumber party in Mommy's room on Sunday night (and Monday night too). It was probably not the best idea on a school night, after watching a movie that ran late, but once again my guilt got the better of me, so I acquiesced. No one got vey much sleep, least of all me.
Monday morning! Rise and shine. Happy "real" birthday Miles! There's nothing like starting your birthday with a nice hot breakfast of scrambled eggs and a sticky cinnamon bun right out of the oven. A fun fact: Miles not only shares his birthday with George Washington, but also Steve Irwin, which I find to be uncanny given Miles deep love for animals and penchant for the untamed outdoors.
No sooner did he finish breakfast (not that he doesn't always have room to put away more), than this scrumptious box of donuts arrived at our door, via PostMates, from Shelley. What a wonderful surprise indeed! Miles devoured his adorable panda donut in short order. I quickly realized that Monday mornings could be more tolerable around here if a huge box of delectable donuts showed up at our door every week.
After finishing some of his schoolwork (and unlimited donuts), I treated Miles to a trail walk alone with Mommy. He was over-the-moon to spend time alone with me, a rarity these days. It was a special treat for me as well. The weather was absolutely perfect, in the low 70's, with a brisk breeze and not a cloud in the sky.
Birthday Dinner #2: Miles got his wish again, Pizza!
Miles' gifts from Godmother Tessa arrived at our door on his birthday, including, but not limited to, a hand-crocheted octopus made by her multi-talented daughter, Lindy. Miles hasn't let the octopus out of his sight since laying eyes on him. He is destined to be a favorite and a lifelong keepsake.
Miles in his PJs and school issued birthday crown all ready for bed, after two full days of partying. Lots of good food, gifts, fun and love. What else could you ask for on your birthday?
Remembering back.....Last year my mom joined us for Miles' family birthday dinner here at home. It would be the last time we saw her. with the COVID lockdown hitting just a few weeks later. She passed away seven months later without us having had the chance to see her again, hug her again or even to say goodbye. However we know this year she was celebrating with us "virtually," 2021 style, only she didn't need Zoom to be with us. No need for such encumbrances when you reside in heaven.