Birthday Blitz(es)

The tragedy of falling behind on blog posts is the resulting conglomeration of multiple events into one post.  I hate to do it, but I'm afraid that if I don't, I may not get around to getting everything documented as I want.  We always begin the year with a birthday bang!  Four birthdays in a matter of 4 1/2 weeks.  I look back on years past and honestly wonder how I used to have the time and energy to create such fun and special celebrations for each of the kids.  During these particular birthdays, it is increasingly difficult due to tax season and the busyness of kids' schedules to crank out a birthday celebration every week.  Tim makes it a priority to take the time to celebrate...he says having all of these kids during his busiest time of year is God's way of reminding him of what is important.

Regardless of the cake or the decorations, we really do make sure that we do our best to make each of the kids feel extra special on their birthday.

 Joe turned 8 this year.

 We clearly have not evolved into boys who wear shirts.  I wonder what they will all think of all of their shirtless pictures through the years?
 See?  No shirts!

Joe's cake this year was a bunch of individual cakes in a can.  The idea was that each can would have a pop-top and when opened, would reveal sprinkles and frosting with a yummy cake beneath it.  I peeled the fruit labels, cut the bottom of each can open with a smooth-edge can opener, emptied the fruit into a big bowl for dinner and then proceeded to pour cake batter in to bake.  The girls made labels for each can.  
Pretty cool huh?  It was supposed to be.  I didn't take the time to think about how the frosting worked, so I put the frosting and sprinkles in the can and topped it with cake batter, then baked it.  When they came out of the oven and cooled, the lids were carefully glued back on.

In hind sight, the cakes should have been baked, popped out of the cans, sprinkles and frosting put in the bottom of the can (that would become the top) and then the cake put back in and put the lid back on.  What I did resulted in something that looked pretty disgusting as the frosting and sprinkles melted into the cake.  The taste was fabulous though, and come on...we are talking about my family here!  They all said "Ewww..." and then proceeded to gobble them down!

Happy birthday Joseph!!  We are so glad you were born and love to celebrate YOU every single year!

Joshua is now old enough to practice driving!  Yikes...two drivers.  The only problem I see with that is now having to deal with refereeing who gets to drive and who gets to drive the truck and when!
  Our normal breakfast in bed had to be modified because Joshua had to leave the house at 5:45 for baseball practice.  We did dinner in bed instead!

Josh did a great job of pretending though.  Sleepy-eyed like he would have been 12 hours earlier.  :)  Biscuits and gravy, hash browns and eggs...hmm, maybe we should do dinner in bed from now on?  I definitely couldn't have pulled that off before school!

 The "Joshua-traditional" chocolate eclair birthday cake...
 Celebrating with friends after dinner.  Since the school day was actually a late-start day, Josh and I got to go have a cup of coffee before he went to school.  I think it may have been a bigger treat for me than for him.  I love any extra time I get to have with these big boys! Happy 15th birthday Joshua!  We love you.

Benjamin is next in line!  He turned 10!  Double digit celebration!!
 I'm pretty sure that he laid in bed awake waiting for us.  He always has been extra eager to celebrate his birthday!  See that pillow?  There is a great story about it:  That other little thing sticking out from under the blanket used to be the outside of the pillow.  It is a true, old feather pillow and Ben LOVES it.  For some reason, he would NOT leave a case on the pillow ever, so the cover got really dirty and gross, but he would NOT part with it.  My mom opened the pillow up and transferred all of the feathers and down into a new blue-ticking fabric, washed the previous housing and created a pillow case from it.  We thought this would create the perfect pillow for Ben...same pillow, same cover that is now washable.
Old habits die hard I guess.  Ben took the cover off, sleeps on the bare pillow, but the old-cover-turned-pillow-case has now become a security blanket of sorts.  He must always have BOTH elements.
 Two-handed birthday!

 Dinner per request...chicken, biscuits, gravy, fruit...
 and dirt cake for the birthday cake...with a roaring 10 year old flame!
 Happy birthday Benjamin!!  You're our favorite Ben in the whole world!!

And last but not least in this birthday blitz is Amelia.  Every year she eagerly asks how long until her turn?  She is getting older, so it is a little easier for her to understand the idea of waiting until HER birthday.  She does quite a bit of planning in those 25 days between Joe's day and hers.
 Six years old!!  Oh happy day!  That's a sausage-in-a-pancake-on-a-stick for breakfast, not a corn dog.
 Part of her plan included a party, which is part of the kindergarten birthday right-of-passage.  She had friends over for breakfast before a birthday movie.
 Seven little girls, plus Mathilda and Willa to see Cinderella in the theatre

...and back home in the evening to celebrate with family and "cake"...unable to decide between a cookie or a cake...I guess when it's your birthday you can have your cake AND cookie, and eat them too!  :)
Happy birthday dear Amelia!!!  We LOVE you.

We couldn't let March pass without celebrating one additional birthday.  Miss H. helped each of the kids celebrate their days, so we insisted we celebrate with her too!
 Black and Tan's, rainbow jello and lots of love!!
 Happy birthday Emily!!