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Rockman T-Rex celebrates his third birthday
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GAYS MILLS - Monday of this week marked three years of Thatcher. I was so busy on Monday doing the career mom thing that I hardly had time to reflect upon the last three years with the guy. 

In case you haven’t gotten a feel for the kid by following along at home with my column, he’s quite the character. He’s smart, empathetic, kind, loving, and occasionally sassy. He loves animals and birds and seems to know so much more than we realize. 

Just yesterday as we sat at the dinner table at his grandparents’ cabin he gazed out the sliding glass door and squealed “Look mama! There is a humming burrrrrd on doze flowers in that hanging basket! It’s taking all the nector from the flowers mama!” 

I was rather stunned.  Just nearly as stunned as when he stood up straight on the footrest of his brother’s stroller, as he heard the school bus barreling down our hill and exclaimed, “Look at meeeee mama, I’M LIKE A MEERKAT! They stand like THIS to look for DANGER MAW MAW!”

Thatchy, or as he calls himself ‘Rockman T-Rex and Spiderman’ celebrated his birthday on Saturday with a typical big Schendel-Dremsa Todo–complete with smoked trout, several macaroni salads and Chasca’s crazy honey limeade beverage that was an apparent hit with our guests and child. 

Chasca and I diligently worked until midnight preparing for what we hoped would be quite the bash. I had kept an eye on the weather and was fielding calls all week from people expecting us to reschedule. However, when you’re celebrating a three-year-old, the show must go on. 

It felt as though no sooner did our heads hit the pillows than Thatcher was peeling back our eyelids to ask “are ya sleepin, ma?” Typically, this wouldn't be greeted with a chirpy or friendly response from me, but, today was the day of his party. It was effectively the actual birthday to him. So we peeled ourselves up from our sheets, grabbed the half asleep infant and plodded out to the living room where the freshly wrapped pile of gifts laid. 

Once the room was properly trashed with new toys and wrapping paper, I set off to go and set up the shelter at the Dragon Park in Viroqua; all the while begging the sun to please come out and shine.

Decorating for a party isn’t exactly my strong suit, but I had enough streamers, paper flowers, fans, and balloons to hopefully hide that fact. What I didn't anticipate though was the shelter having extremely high ceilings. So when my best friend Stephanie showed up to help (also known as the only one with artistic skills), we were at a bit of a loss. Ultimately, we did the best we could, but it was apparent that the 5’2” person was the tallest one decorating, as the streamers and other delightful party accessories, abruptly ended. 

Family and friends began to trickle in and the birthday boy disappeared. The temperature dropped but everyone remained a trooper, even Chasca’s poor sister, who at one point was wrapped up tight in a blue and white serape someone had unearthed from their car.  

The cold, wind and rain was all made worth it however when my friend Tina showed up with the most amazing cake anyone had ever seen at a three-year-old’s birthday party–three layers of lemon cake with a creamy raspberry filling in between each. It took two adults to carry it up the hill to the shelter, and slices of two finger widths was just fine. I’m almost sure everyone forgot about Thatcher, the cold, the rain and even the amazing smoked trout we served (previously caught by Thatcher!), once they took their first bite of that cake. 

When I saw Thatcher’s Grannie Jannie a couple of days later, she commented on what a wonderful and memorable party it was, but followed with “now you won’t have to do it so big next time.” 

I laughed and responded “it just happens!” We are so lucky that we and our children are well-liked enough by a whole lot of people that they show up in the cold, in good times and bad, to hang around with us for a few hours. The least we can do is make copious amounts of food and send them off nearly in a food coma–full of good cheer. That’s something we may have learned from Grannie Jannie herself, who, along with Markie throws an excellent party. 

We’re off the hook for a little while though since our next little whippersnapper, Mister Baby Waylon, won’t be turning one for another six months. Being a November birthday however, we’ll have to get creative. Hopefully, I have enough time to plan….