What a day! Dollywood in the morning. Party in the evening. What more could a 3 year old ask for? I mean, really? Brogan had a blast and so did we.
Good Weather + No Crowds = A Perfect Day at Dollywood. We hit the park at about 10 a.m. The weather was a little on the cool side but still nice. There weren't many people there so lines were nearly non-existent. The fun began immediately: Brogan loved the tram that we took from the parking lot to the gate. Oh, to see life through the lens of a 3 year old. Once inside the gates, he wanted to ride every ride. Every single one. Not just in the Kiddie Area. Everywhere. Even the big scary rides that give Mommy a hint of motion sickness just thinking about them. Yep, even those. As fate and safety standards would have it, though, our 37-incher is still a bit vertically challenged for 75% of the rides. Phew!...As far as Mommy was concerned, anyway. I'm not quite ready for that level of parental anxiety. But bravo to him for wanting to try them. He surprised both his Daddy and me with his boldness. We'll try again in a few years once he satisfies the 48-inch requirement. Hopefully he'll retain his unabashed gusto for all things that zoom, dip and flip. We shall see.
Park fatigue set in shortly after lunch so we headed to the car around 2 p.m. A quick nap on the ride home recharged Brogan's (and Daddy's) batteries for the party that evening. And what a party it was! Here are a few of the highlights...
The Dirt Cake was a hit!
The first words out of Brogan's mouth when he saw it were, "We can eat it?"
Then it took him no more than 3 seconds after blowing out the candle (safety first, after all!) to start playing with the tractor. No one that has known him for any length of time was surprised by that. Especially me. Hence the pre-party cake photo shoot.
What was a little surprising, though, was that Brogan was a bigger fan of playing with the cake than actually eating it. Not that we had to twist his arm, of course. He liked it. As did everyone else, including his best friend, Preston (seen below with the sugar-induced yet genuine look of glee plastered across his face), who had been asking to "eat the tractor" since his Mom let me hide it in their fridge the day before. (Thanks, Mo!)
If you're interested in seeing if you dig it (sorry, I couldn't resist), here is the intriguingly delicious "cake" recipe.
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 (3.5 oz) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
3 1/2 cups milk
12 oz. whipped topping
32 oz. chocolate sandwich cookies with creme filling (2 bags of Oreos)
1. Chop cookies very fine in food processor. (The white cream will disappear.)
2. Mix butter, cream cheese and sugar in a bowl.
3. In a large bowl, mix milk, pudding and whipped topping together.
4. Add cream mixture to pudding mixture.
5. Layer cookie and pudding mixtures in your container, starting and ending with the cookie mixture.
6. Chill until ready to serve.
Then there were the presents. The kid totally racked up. It was like Christmas in May. As you can see by the look on his face, he totally gets into the excitement of opening gifts now, which is great fun for all involved.
Among the many treasures he received from our generous friends and family members were:
...a Handy Manny construction set from Mommy and Daddy...
... a bath fishing set and police gear from Grandma and Grandpa, a real fishing set from Nana and Papa, and a bubble stick from Preston and Lillianna. All of which Brynna was nice enough to hold on to for Brogan while he was busy entertaining...
... a "pet" frog and frog kite from Brogan's Godparents, Gene and Barbara...
... and a cool fishing hat from Uncle Jeremy!
This post would not be complete without a quick mention about what an unbelievably good baby Brynna was. Despite not logging the best naps earlier that day, she was more than pleasant the entire evening. She spent at least an hour in her excersaucer completely unattended to and entertaining herself. We would check on her from time to time but she never needed more attention than that. It was amazing. Thank you, Sweet Girl!
And many thanks go to our friends and family--both those that could make it to our house and those that celebrated from afar--that made our little man's day so special. Happy Birthday, once again, to our dear, sweet Brogie!