Freddy's birthday is next week, but as his big brother will be on holiday and his big cousin Tom will be emigrating to America, we had an early family birthday barbecue to celebrate last Sunday. My guest list included all the family - meaning that all four generations (aged between 1 and 81) would be together for the first time ever. I was so happy to be able to pull this off, especially as this was Tom's final visit before he heads off to make a life for himself in Georgia with his lovely American fiance. I will miss him so much but am so proud of him for achieving his dream. It was a nice opportunity for everyone to say their goodbyes. He stayed with us for four days around the barbecue and I cherished every moment and may have drank a few too many beers and shed a few tears!
Freddy's party had a construction theme. His birthday cake was going to be a three tiered chocolate cake with diggers on top, digging up the top layer of sponge, but Freddy was adamant that he wanted a vanilla tray bake! So I put my thinking cap on and topped the vanilla frosting with crushed Oreos and decorated the cake using Playmobil construction workers. Cadbury's Pebbles made good rocks for the wheelbarrow and bucket! It was a very easy birthday cake and I'll use the idea of making a tray bake as a base for a themed scene again.
I bought some sand toys; buckets, spades, a wheelbarrow and a big truck, which were used to hold crisps, biscuits and sweets. The little ones loved digging for the goodies with the spades! A tool box made a good holder for some of the snacks and I used tin cans decorated with a construction themed label to hold cutlery. We had a veggie barbecue served with an assortment of salads and bread. We had construction themed plates, cups and napkins, and we had balloons with diggers and trucks on them to decorate the gazebo. Freddy's JCB toys, die cast vehicles and toy trucks were dotted around. The theme worked well and I was pleased that everything came together.
My parents are now both in their eighties. They have a total of 13 grandchildren and two great grandsons. It's been years since they have had all their grandchildren in one place at the same time and the great grandsons had never met before. Ted is my eldest son Joe's little boy who is 18 months old. My adorable great nephew Baby Michael is my niece's son and has just turned one. These newest additions to our family mean we have four living generations, which is a great honour. Seeing everyone together made my mum and dad's day.
With everyone together we had to try and take a family photo of my parents with the grandchildren and great grandchildren. One of my nieces had left by this point, but 12 out of 13 wasn't bad going! Unfortunately Freddy decided not to pose and little Ted was not going to cooperate and run off half way through. However, this is my favourite shot of our slightly chaotic family - it really tells a story!
The kids loved playing in the newly refilled sandpit, blowing bubbles and bashing the pinata. I had ordered a truck pinata but it was out of stock, so I got a fire engine instead. It was well and truly bashed and eventually spilled its contents of sweeties to the delight of the little ones. Thankfully, bar a little shower, the sun shone. It was a lovely day and I loved having my children Joe, Megan, Ella, Kizzy and Freddy all together at home. It makes me feel whole again.
Once most of the guests had left, I remembered that I hadn't cut the birthday cake! So Freddy blew out his candles watched by his Nana and Grandad, his sisters, a couple of Ella's friends (who Fred adores and wanted to invite), two cousins Tom and Kate and Baby Michael. (At least it meant more cake to go round!) He had a wonderful day!
We'll be celebrating some more next week for Freddy's actual birthday. He's a lucky little boy!
PS. Thank you to Freddy's Auntie Debbie for the fantastic Angry Birds onesie that Freddy wore all day long!