[Edit ] Since we were visiting Oregon family and friends I didn't feel I could commandeer a kitchen to make a cake for T. On our first grocery run (Safeway) we looked through the cake book and T became adamant that he had to have a Spiderman cake. He has been adamant for months that this would be his Elmo birthday, and now, in a blink of a cake book, all that was gone. Elmo becomes VERY cute when compared to a Spiderman cake, but Spiderman cake is what we ordered. I asked our friends and family and they said Albertson's was the place to get the cake. We ordered carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and it was quite yummy, if ugly with it's gray and black frosting and plastic building/Spiderman toy (which he loves.)
Our first couple of days in town we scouted out a couple of the public parks and chose Avery Park for the birthday celebration. This park is near downtown/campus and a pretty park with a rose garden, playgrounds, picnic shelters an historic steam locomotive (Georgia-Pacific no less) and an art sculpture called the dinosaur bones. The latter two are magents for kids to play on and T made a friend on one of his visits that he had a blast with. The little boy was four and quite happy to play with T. They ran up and down the engine and 'fixed' it many times.
On the big day we met A&K at the Radiation Center where I got to say a couple quick hellos to folks and show off my offspring. They all of course loved his hair. We had hoped to walk with A&K, but A's hip/knee/ankle wasn't cooperating. After looking at the sheep near the Wave Lab, they left us to see more sheep and the cows at the other barns nearby.
We saw eggs being harvested from a very docile cow, met a poled bull named Blue, and looked at more sheep.
A lunch downtown was all we had time before T went to nap. I ran to Borders to pick up some books, then to the dollar store for Elmo plates/cups/napkins, forks and candles. Next was cake, organic lemonade, Tillimook French vanilla ice cream, and a Sesame Street mylar balloon at Albertson's. At about 3:30 we, T's grandparents, and our friends Rob, Dylan, and Sydney* gathered at a picnic table under a huge oak tree at Avery Park. The grass was bright green, the sun golden, the air warm and crisp. T was quite excited.
There was quite a breeze so lighting the candles was a trick and a half (oh to have had the annoying magic candles that day!), but it made T blowing them out that much easier. T could barely contain himself and was almost already on a sugar high before he had cake. In fact, he had about one bite of cake and a lick of ice cream. We opened gifts: brontosaurs dinosaur toy, T-rex grabber toy, and some books from us (later on a very nice running bike), Shiffer elephant and a car that moves on it's own when you pull it first from our friends. B's parents had earlier given T a wooden log truck and I think put money away for him.
Then T climbed on the train, and then ran with Sydney down to the 'dinosaur bones' sculpture where we all spent the remainder of our time. T had a blast with Sydney there and I think his crush on this 13 year old long legged blond was cemented. B and Dylan talked, Rob and A, K and I. It was a nice afternoon.
When we finally packed up, our family and B's parents headed to the Mexican restaurant they haunt and had a nice dinner. I got my usual tequila headache on one margarita and felt like passing out from my jet lag accumulation. Back at 'the ranch', our friends house where we stay, Sydney read T one of his new books, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Then it was off to bed for a sleep three year old and his parents.
* On a quite sad note, I later learned that some other friends who had thought about coming, and have a son about a year younger than T, didn't because of a tragedy. My friend was into the second trimester of pregnancy and discovered the day before that the baby had died in utero. While we were celebrating, she was preparing for a D&C. We saw them four days before and all was grand, or so we all thought. Very, very sad. [edit, she got pregnant again and her second son was born in October of 2010.]