The best birthday in the whole world

We spent a good chunk of the weekend celebrating Gabriel’s fourth birthday with family and friends.  Four is indeed a fun age, as evidenced by his excitement and enthusiasm for [almost] everything.


The first present he opened was a pirate ship.  This was an unplanned gift — less than two weeks before his birthday, I was searching Craigslist for a pirate costume (he specifically wants a Captain Hook costume).  I didn’t find any costumes (not really the right time of year), but I did find someone selling this fabulous wooden pirate ship.


It’s in really good condition, and it was quite a steal.  G is a big fan!


But he was equally elated about the little things, proclaiming, “I LOVE banana chips” as he opened this [bandana-wrapped] present.

After gifts and breakfast, Matthew and Gabriel headed out to the garden for the day, leaving me time to prepare for Sunday’s party.  (I was pleasantly surprised at how easily G separated from his new gifts.)

We met up that night for dinner at Papa and Nana’s house.


We enjoyed a delicious birthday meal of spanikopita, Caprese salad, and fruit salad.  Then is was time for the main event . . .

Seeing the birthday cake for the first time

. . . a homemade (by my FIL) black forest cake!


The above picture was a little fuzzy, but I loved his pose.


Spontaneous joy at turning four!  After eating his piece of cake, G declared it, “the best birthday cake I have ever had in the whole world!”

After dinner, we headed over to the fireworks show at Sublette Park.  The display is usually closer to the 4th of July, but they also always choose a Saturday night, and I’m guessing they didn’t want to compete with the fireworks on the actual 4th.  It worked out well for us though — fireworks on your birthday, what could be better?


Well, a lot of things, as it turned out.  The above photo was taken at the very beginning.  A few moments later, I looked down to see G with his hands over his eyes.  He was wearing earplugs, but it was still quite loud, and we had front row seats, and I think it was just too much sensory input.  (This was also WAY past his bedtime — the first time we’ve ever kept him up for something.)

I tried to help by covering his ears, but he just didn’t look like he was having a good time.  I finally asked him if he wanted to stay or leave, and he said leave.  We were parked a couple of blocks away (parking was a mess, and we regretted not biking, but we didn’t have time to go home for the bikes after dinner), and as I carried him to the car, he was able to look back and see some of the show.  He seemed much happier in that position.

Once we were a block-and-a-half away, I paused to look back with him, and a woman sitting out on her front steps invited us to sit with her.  My arms needed a break, and Gabriel was game, so we sat.  She then offered Gabriel a popsicle.  I temporarily shushed the “corn syrup and food dye” monologue in my head, and said yes.  It was his birthday after all, and I wanted to end the note on a good night.  (When people asked him on Sunday what he thought about the fireworks, he simply responded, “Good.”  I think we’ll skip a few years before trying that again.)

Sunday was “friend party” day.  We rented a pavilion at a local park.  Gabriel and I made a piñata, and I brought musical instruments so the kids could have a parade.  Otherwise, we kept things fairly simple (though I wouldn’t mind simplifying further for future years!).


My MIL made angel food cake (“the best angel food cake in the world”), which was G’s special request.  After cake, came the piñata.


He did have a breakdown when it came time to let his friends have a swing at the piñata, proving that turning four is not a magic pill for such issues, but he recovered fairly quickly.


As the party ended, he declared it “the best birthday party in the whole world!”


  1. Jennifer says:

    I don’t have a captain hook costume but I think we may have a variety of pirate costume bits (hats, vests, a hook, and an eye patch). Let me know if you want to borrow or have any.

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      If there’s any pirate costume materials that your boys have outgrown or aren’t using, we would be interested! Otherwise, I’ll check resale shops (and CL) as we get closer to Halloween.

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