Happy Birthday Big Guy!

What a week. Yes, we had thanksgiving, but almost outshining one of my favorite days of the year was the constant awareness of Ivan’s 4th birthday. With family arriving for the week, but leaving just before the big day, we planned to celebrate Ivan’s birthday early so that everyone could be there.

His birthday was Sunday the 29th…but we had his party the Wednesday night before. We did not invite his 4 year old friends. This time of year is busy and adding a 4 year old’s birthday party the day before Thanksgiving is not something I wanted to do to our friends. Ivan is not a crowd loving sort of guy anyway…he is experience driven and often tells me of the adventures he will have when he gets big. The latest is his announcement that he wants to go scuba diving. I love it.

Ivan has a love for trains and we have often driven to the train station after dropping Owen off at school just to watch the commuter train come into the station, slow down, blow it’s horn and head to Lebanon while we wave at the conductor. He has asked us countless times for a chance to ride the train and there is never a really good or practical opportunity to take him.

For his birthday I did a little research and there is a passenger train that makes a trip from Nashville to Watertown and back for a pretty hefty price. It’s an entertainment package and I’m sure it’s worth it, but not something I want to ask all of our family to pay for. Finally, I realized I was over thinking this idea. A trip on the commuter train from Mt. Juliet to Nashville would be just as (if not more) exciting for Ivan than the passenger train. So that’s what we did. Dad met us downtown at the restaurant, Joe’s Crab Shack, while we walked there from the train station downtown. After some very slow service but pretty good food, we rushed back to the station and made the last train back to Mt. Juliet. Ivan LOVED it! He was so excited and surprised and just perfectly happy and almost smug in his delight in where he was. Even at the restaurant, he seemed to have a very keen sense of his own importance while we all ate dinner together. This is very unlike Ivan.

When we returned to the house his birthday cake and gifts were waiting. I had made him a pretty simple but theme aligned train cake. He enjoyed it very much even though it wasn’t what he asked for.

What he asked for was basically a repeat of what we did for his birthday last year. Like I said, Ivan is experience driven. He loved our quiet little family party last year, with his requested little round blue cake with a “3” on it in sprinkles. His “straight” balloons and some round balloons and his brothers. That’s all he asked for this year, so I was delighted to add some surprise to it for him.

However, last Sunday being his actual birthday, we asked him on the way home from church if there is anything special he wanted to do today and he asked to paint. No problem. Then he asked if he could please have some birthday cake. The train cake had been eaten but I had a couple of square cakes (leftover batter from the train cakes) that I could pull out in a pinch. Apparently I was already in a pinch just days later. He requested the yellow cake over the chocolate and told Kris that he wanted a “4” cake. So after naps we held another small family party just for Ivan’s whims and he has met his quota of birthday experiences for the year. He still asked for another train ride this afternoon and I’m sure that we’ll be hearing that request for some time.

Owen and Ivan talking to Uncle Kevin.

He was able to talk to his uncle Kevin for a few minutes before we ate cake and just before bedtime Grandma and Granddaddy called to wish him a happy birthday too. While talking to Grandma we overheard him describing some of the Christmas decorating that has been going on around the house. Kris and I laughed when we heard him describe the boy’s Christmas stockings “…and we have bags shaped like socks.”

I love four. It is probably my favorite age for little boys and I’m excited to see what Ivan will do with it.