The twins turned 8 on Thursday. I would like to say it was an exciting day or even a normal day, but it wasn't. It was the second day back at "school" (that would be pandemic hell-on-earth distance learning school).
I tried to make the day special by preparing the twins their favorite breakfast, pancakes. That was a bright moment and a nice way to start the day. But immediately we had to rush to get everyone on their zoom meetings, so the moment didn't last.
After that, it really didn't feel like their birthday again until their friend Moriah stopped by in the afternoon to surprise them. That was a special treat since they hadn't seen her since March 13th, the last of school.
After we finally tied up school, we had a little zoom party. That felt celebratory, in a pandemic sort of way and the twins were very touched by the good wishes of friends.
From there I headed out to pick up their favorite BBQ chicken pizza and cake (see the details of the cake debacle below).
Once I got home from running those errands in the triple-digit heat, it really started to feel festive. The table was finally decorated had all the cards out that everyone had sent. We had a lovely evening of celebration.
It may not have been the most exciting birthday ever, but it was their eighth birthday, during a pandemic, so it might be one of the most memorable.
Once upon a time, they looked like this. This is one of our favorite videos to watch when we want to laugh. Lady has become more affable since those early days (she spent a lot of time crying back then) and Graham is not quite as unflappable as he once was, although still quite easygoing.
Catherine and Graham had a politically correct, socially-distanced and masked front yard surprise visit from their friend Moriah, earlier in the day.
The requisite yearly twin birthday portraits.
The requisite yearly individual birthday portraits. "Are we done yet, Mommy?"
Catherine and Graham chose a Harry Potter-themed birthday this year. Graham has read the series three times he loves it so much. Catherine has only enjoyed the movies so far but is working her way up to the books.
Catherine chose an Oreo cake from Gelson's. There were a few snafus with the cake when I arrived to pick up it at 5 PM on the evening of their birthday (note to self: Do not wait until the last minute to pick up the cake). For starters, they told me that the cake had already been picked up by another woman. That can't be? After that was confirmed to be incorrect, the news got worse. The cake had not been prepared at all. That's not good. The gentleman who took our order last Saturday (not Jesus, the master cake maker we usually deal with, but a new guy), had neglected to enter the cake into the system, despite the fact that I had a receipt for the cake, showing the date it was ordered and that I had paid for it in full. At that point they had they to contact the gentleman (Junior), who made the error (of course he had just left for the day) and try to get the image that was supposed to be on the cake (which was on his phone), so they could make it on the spot. When they brought the finished cake out (after about 30 minutes), it was the wrong image and Catherine's name was spelled with a "K." I had a hot pizza in my car waiting, that was no longer hot, and four kids at home. I had them change the "K" to a "C," voiced my disappointment, and went on my way. The good news is the flavor was right and the cake tasted yummy!
The twins got over their disappointment about the cake being wrong really quickly. The pandemic does put things in perspective, at least.
It helps to blow out the candles when there are two of you blowing.
Miles went shopping for their gifts in the backyard. There, he found an old neon golf ball, a used yogurt spoon, and a sprinkler head that Jim had changed out the day before for a new one and given him. He was very clear that he made sure to wash everything off (well, that's a relief). He even asked me for a decorative party bag and tissue for his gifts. He was so proud when he gave them to the twins, along with a big hug and birthday kiss. There is something to be said for economizing in a pandemic.
Garin, of his own accord, said that he wanted to get the twins gifts this year, with his own money. He has never done that before. I was so touched by his maturity, generosity, and thoughtfulness, as were the twins. He was set on getting Graham a sloth since Graham is wild for sloths. Catherine presented more of a challenge to him, so he decided to give him money so that she could pick out her own gift. What girl doesn't like green cash to go shopping with?
Anna made the twins these gorgeous hand-sewn journals with custom-made Harry Potter fabric. They even had pencil holders sewn in. There is no end to her creativity!
Tessa gave Graham roller blades (she gave Catherine roller skates recently), so they could enjoy the activity together. Catherine is already a pro and Graham is catching up quickly. Tessa gave Catherine a gymnastics beam for her to keep up her skills at home. She is a talented gymnast and has missed her weekly classes at her gym since the pandemic started.