Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Lord of the Rings Birthday for Andrew

Last Friday, we celebrated our son Andrew's 11th birthday.  Parenthood requires a constant and consistent dedication to the formation of our children physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The amazing side-effect to all of our efforts is that in that process of personal self-donation, our children actually make us better people.  Andrew has definitely made Steve and I better people. Without loosing any of his crazy, ornery boyishness, or his undeterred focus and drive in sports, he has this unassuming way about him, a way that draws others in to his goodness, and they leave him feeling good, wanting to do good and to be better themselves.  I see it in their smiles, and in the way they are eager to visit with Andrew whenever they see him.
Andrew with our long time friend, Elena, who came down to celebrate his birthday and watch his football game.
I'm not sure where or how Andrew has gained such virtue and wisdom at his early age. I often think about the sufferings he endured in the first few years of his life with severe colic, full-body eczema, having to wear a cranial corrective helmet for 18 months, and I wonder if those discomforts have played a roll in his remarkable sensitivity toward others, his purity, joy, humility and genuine love for those around him.  I cannot explain what a privilege it is to be this boy's mom.

We don't usually put on big birthday parties for our kids, celebrating with family is our general birthday procedure.  But, since we are living in a new community, and our boys are trying to get to know other kids their age, I thought that maybe we would make an exception this year and let each one of the boys plan a little something more than the usual.
Andrew immediately knew that he wanted to have a Lord of the Rings themed party.  He asked a few of his football buddies to come over for supper and a backyard camp out.  I think that Steve and I had as much fun as they did. These boys were hilarious! They would go from being so polite, "Thank you Mrs. Husband!" to cracking each other up with crazy arm-pit farts.  Typical boys!
The great thing about hosting a party for 11 year old boys is that they completely entertain themselves. I didn't have to scour the internet for them-related games or activities to keep them busy.  Between the football, basketball and two hours of running around the neighborhood playing flashlight tag, there was never one look or complaint of boredom. With all of their constant running,  I thought they would be curled up in a chorus of snores by 10:00 p.m., but I was completely mistaken!
One of the boys gave Andrew a sack full of gag gifts, which he thought was an absolute scream! We knew that some tricks would be played with the whoopie cushion in the tent that night!
The next day, after each boy had left, I was helping Andrew get ready for his football game when I asked him if he enjoyed the party.  He turned to me and said, "Oh yes, mom, I just felt so loved all day."  Well, you are, buddy. Every single day, you are.


Birthday Breakfast Shenanigans:
Hamming it up with the bros.
Andrew and Henry are buds.  This was their "let's have a peaceful birthday" pose.
Muscles.  Of course.  Every day it's muscles.  Except from the pre-teen who is still half-asleep.

A bike was the only gift Andrew asked for, and since he had truly out-grown his old one we were happy to ablige.

Party Props:
Some of the boys who came to the party didn't understand why we had this crazy paper door with a hole in it hanging up.  One of the boys was asking Andrew about it, and Andrew just laughed out loud and said, "Dude, it's a Hobbit door! Seriously, you have to watch the movies!" I retrieved the idea from Pinterest.
I was a little uncertain as to how I was going to make a L.O.R. cake for Andrew.  The boys always insist that I make their cakes - store bought is for emergencies only!  I put together a few ideas from Pinterest and blended them together with a few of my own.  Amazingly, I think it turned out just fine!  
The cake is 1-9 x 13" and 1-6" pan.  The road is crushed peanuts, the door is a fudge stripe cookie, and the stones are m & m's.  Ben helped with the placement of the Lego figures.  I think if I could have found stone-like candy, it would have looked better than the m&m's, but I just used what I had on hand.
Samwise Snack Mix:
Vanilla Chex
m & m's
dried cranberries
Gollum's Goodies is just a bowl filled with a mixture of gummy candies.  
We used worms, fish and bears.
The Elvish Elixir label was Ben's idea!


  1. First, Happy Birthday Andrew!! Secondly, fantastic cake and labels for all the food.
    I just love when you post photos of the boys. They really show the boys' love for each other, the fun you all have as a family, and the pure "boy" in all of them.
    My heavens, going from a trailer in the middle of a farm to a house in a neighborhood has got to be an adjustment. It seems you are all settling in beautifully.

    1. Thank you, Christine! Yes, living in town has been a HUGE adjustment. But we are praying and we are hopeful that we will find a place with some acreage (or maybe even some acreage where we can build) very soon.

  2. This is so great, Susan! The cake turned out really well - good for you!
    My heart just melted when he said he felt loved all day. What a sweetie!

    1. Oh, I know, Bonnie, those are the words we long to hear from all of our kiddos!

  3. LOVE this!! Your boys are so cute! My boys are Lord of the Rings fans. My oldest read the books and watched the movies . . . I may just have to do this for his next birthday party!

    1. It was actually a lot of fun to put together. It wasn't super professional - I kind of threw it together fast and on a budget, but Andrew was happy, and that's what counts!

  4. You have serious cake skills!!! I would never dream of attempting that!
    My oldest is fixing to be 15 and loves Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit - in fact he has an ongoing countdown until the next Hobbit movie comes out (50 some days I think!!).
    Happy birthday to Andrew!!

    1. You are so funny! Sometimes my cakes turn out great and sometimes they really bomb - but the boys never care! They love whatever I make! We are counting down to the next Hobbit movie too. :)

  5. Can you tell me how you made the little house part of the cake? :) I'd so appreciate it!!

    Shawndauganda at gmail dot com

    Gotta make my sons cake Friday!!! :)

    Thx a ton!


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