This is my week! I'm almost completely back to normal. I've had my last day of antibiotics and I'm a new woman! Life is good!
While I was being lazy, my son was growing up into a new man.
We decided to keep things rather low key. In the past I have always gone all out for a birthday. This year is going to be one of rest for me, at least when it comes to parties. We're keeping things very simple. Simple isn't a bad thing at all, it's just different.
Gabriel was talking about his 8th birthday for months before it happened. He wanted to invite some friends and have a sleepover at a hotel here in town. I thought this was perfect for him.
We usually put in a bid on Priceline to get the cheapest rate for a hotel. This has always been a way for us to get a good deal on a room. The only problem with this, you never get to choose and you never know what you're going to get. On a normal outing for the family that doesn't matter. This time, Gabriel had a specific hotel he really wanted.
Over a year ago, Ariel attended a hotel sleepover for one of her friends at Holiday Inn. This hotel offers an indoor swimming pool with a 3 story high slide. That is the climax for my son. Every pool we visit he spends his entire time on the slide if they have one.
I'm sure this goes without saying, Gabe really wanted to stay at the Holiday Inn for his birthday party this year. We have Pricelined hotels for years here in Topeka, and never were we given that hotel. We've stayed at some really nice places, but none with a 3 story high slide. If I purchased the room outside of the "Name your Own Price" feature on Priceline, it would be $90 plus tax. That's crazy when we can get a hotel for $45 total!!
I talked Gabe into one of our regular hotels because the swimming pool wasn't the reason for the party. He really wanted a sleepover. He finally conceded it didn't matter where it was at. He just wanted a hotel party.
Since I had no planning to do for this party, I kind of forgot about it. A week before his birthday, Gabe stayed home sick from school. He was excitedly talking about the next weekend when it suddenly hit me; I didn't book a hotel yet! Whoops...
As the bar was sliding across my screen choosing the hotel for me, I prayed over and over again. "God, please give him the hotel. Please let it be Holiday Inn. Please let it be Holiday Inn." I knew he really wanted it, and I always hate to have my kids settle for less than they desire. I know life is not about getting your way all the time. I understand that. But when it comes to certain things, I want to give my kids the desires of their hearts.
When the screen came up saying, "we've found you a hotel" I couldn't believe it. We got the Holiday Inn!!!! God is so amazing! We have done this over and over again, putting in the same price, the same location, and never before have we stayed at the Holiday Inn here in Topeka.
In retrospect, God has always given us the hotel we wanted. The first time we took our kids on an overnight getaway for our "Johnson Cottage" they wanted to stay at The Capitol Plaza hotel. They had driven by and thought it looked beautiful. That was the hotel we were given.
The next year for our "Johnson Cottage", Ariel had prayed we would get to visit The Ramada Inn. That was the hotel we were given.
This time, Gabe really wanted to party at the Holiday Inn, and we were given exactly what we wanted.
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this." Psalm 37:3-5
I don't know why I ever seem surprised. God is so good! This was such a neat thing for Gabe to see on his birthday.
And now for some party pictures!
We picked a very busy time to have Gabe's birthday party. The swimming pool was full of kids!! I counted 40 heads that night, and it's not a very large pool. There was a 10 minute break when a birthday party went off to get pizza that we had the pool to ourselves. Those 10 minutes were fun! By the end of the swimming part, I was so tired of counting heads. 1, 2, 3, 4... 1, 2, 3, 4... 1, 2, 3, 4.... I must have counted those kids over 100 times. Titus came to the party too, but he spent his time following Zechariah around. I sat outside the pool counting children. As soon as I would finish finding my four heads, I would start all over again. It's amazing how everyone looks the same when they don't have shirts on, their hair is wet, and they are surrounded by other children. I felt like I was looking for Waldo all night long! Most of my pictures were taken during our 10 minutes of fun.
We were given the room right next to the top of the slide. In my picture above, you can see it in the middle of the three levels, behind the stairs.
I took a few pictures from outside our room. We had a perfect view of the slide from above.
Zechariah loved that he was invited to the party. I was a little bit worried when we first arrived at the hotel. In order to get in the swimming pool area, you must be wearing a green bracelet. For each room you are only allowed 4 bracelets. With Gabe and his 3 friends, we didn't have enough for Zech to wear one. This was a perfect opportunity for a WWJD moment. Would He sneak the kid in? Or would He take the chance He would get turned away? We explained the situation when we were checking in, and the woman told us, "I'm not supposed to, but I'll give you an extra bracelet for him." We offered to pay if that was required, but they wouldn't allow it. They said it was fine, and he was free to swim. Honesty is always the best policy. I wouldn't have felt right doing it any other way. If it came down to it, I would have found a babysitter for Zechariah. I'm so glad that wasn't necessary. We did have to find somewhere for Ariel to hang out. Luckily we have friends who can help us out in a bind.
After 2 of the longest hours of mine and my husband's life, we all headed upstairs for a night of snacks and sleepover fun. It's amazing what we do for our children because we love them so much. The boys all had a blast swimming!
Normally because I plan so much for a birthday party, the cake is something I request my mom's help on. This time the cake was one of my only responsibilities. Me and Zech had quite the fun time decorating the cake and cupcakes that day. Gabe wanted his party to be a soccer theme. I wouldn't classify cake decorating as one of my skills, but it was still fun to do it for Gabe this time. Zechariah helped me out by continually counting the cupcakes as I decorated them!
After eating cake, Gabe opened his birthday gifts from his friends. Something really funny... one of his friends got the exact same DS game that we bought for Gabe. What are the odds? It wasn't even a game that Gabe had played before. It was just one we thought he might enjoy. I guess his friend had the same thought. Luckily Gabe had opted for us to wait on his gifts and save them for his real birthday. I made sure to exchange the duplicate game before he even had a chance to open it.
We were very pleased that all of Gabe's friends he invited were able to come for some part of the party. One of the boys, a friend from school, wasn't able to spend the night, but he did get to swim with us. It's so nice that Gabe got to spend time with his friends who are closest to him!
I wanted to jump in for a picture before I went home for the night. Titus spent the night with all the boys, and Ariel and I had us a girl sleepover at home. When I started to leave one of the boys seemed very uneasy about me going. He couldn't understand why I would leave them by themselves at the hotel. I reassured him that Titus would be perfectly capable and they could have themselves a guy night together.
I think the party was a success. I know it was for Gabriel and that's the most important thing. After I left, they watched a couple soccer movies, and woke up to a deluxe breakfast waiting in the dining hall. Titus said two of the boys brought back plates piled high with bacon and sausage! I don't believe anyone could have left hungry.
When the sleepover was all over and done with, Gabe came home and took himself a 5 hour nap, not waking up until 5pm at night! I asked Gabe what he thought about the hotel party and his words were, "that was my most successful time ever." I think that means he enjoyed himself.
On the day of his real birthday, we invited all of my family to the party. We were going to play a game together, however Gabe had other plans. We always enjoy the show put on by the cook at Kiku's Japanese Steakhouse. And Gabriel likes to pretend to put on the same show at home. His idea for fun, we all took turns with a hand towel, putting on a show. The towel got thrown in the air, caught behind our backs, spun in circles, it went through our legs, and it transformed us into Mary, and Karate Kid. It was quite the night of laughs.
When it was my brother's turn, he requested a volunteer, and gave birthday spankings with the towel. The boys loved it, and kept asking for more. We were cracking up laughing because of the sound it made, snapping their backsides, yet they begged for more. Zech was especially funny because of the material of his pants. It snapped extra loud, which sounded painful, but he would still crack up laughing.
If you remember last year we bought Gabriel a DS for his birthday. We found it on Ebay, but it didn't turn out to be much of a bargain. We only saved ourselves $30 by purchasing it used. They promised it was in perfect working condition, however that was incorrect. It would constantly freeze up on the boys unless it was plugged in. We tried buying a new battery and that still didn't fix the problem.
This year we decided it was only fair to replace the gift from last year. We originally got him a DS lite, but decided this time to upgrade and go for a brand new DSi. He loves it.
Last year he enjoyed opening his gift so much, I knew I had to do it again. We wrapped his DS in multiple boxes, one inside of another. This time instead of putting notes about treasure, I taped a birthday joke to each box. (He loves to tell jokes.)
When do candles burn up?
Never. They only burn down.
What did the frosting say to the cake?
Mind if I "stick around"?
What is the only letter of the alphabet we sing Happy Birthday to?
If you've noticed, yes, that is the same exact birthday cake from his first party. We only ate cupcakes at the hotel and saved his cake in the fridge for his real birthday on Monday.
For both of Gabriel's birthday parties Ariel was not able to attend; one out of her control, the other of her own doing. She was very upset by this. At the second party we saved her piece of cake overnight, and then used it to sing Happy Birthday to Gabe again when she was able to attend the party. We cut it into little tiny bite size pieces and shared it as a family.