When they look at Eli like this, he brings them cans of cat food, but (luckily) he doesn't know how to open the cans yet! Anyway, we started with baking a cake - chocolate with homemade chocolate icing. And, of course, no cake for a one and a half birthday is complete without a decimal point! I was really shocked that they made decimal point candles! The cake says "Happy 1.5, Eli" - though the M&M words were a bit hard to read.
We took everything (cake, presents and all) to the local park. The next step was to put together some of Eli's favorite toys from gymnastics class: balloons!
Here comes the birthday boy!
While Aunt Joy and I decorated the table and got organized, Eli enjoyed playing with his daddy!
We had a bit of hilarity when I tried to hang the pinata from a tree limb that was fairly high. I kept trying to throw the string over the tree branch. After 7 or 8 tries, I got smart enough to use a stick on one end of the string so that it would arc over the tree branch instead of flying aimlessly through the air : ). Aunt Joy was could hardly catch her breath because she was laughing so hard at my sad attempts to hang the poor pinata!
Finally, everything was ready to go...especially Eli! Here's one of Eli blowing out his candles like a champ : ).
Since I know how Eli can be when he eats (when it's a food he loves, he DIVES IN), we removed his favorite shirt before we let him eat his cake. His grandma was not very happy about this, but after Eli's first bite, she understood the method to our madness! To Eli's credit - he STARTED to use a fork, but decided fingers were much quicker!
Next, we decided to let him break open his pinata (I stuffed it with a few of his favorite soft peppermints and a few fun size bags of M&Ms). He saw a pinata at his cousin Rilynn'a birthday party, but never took a swing at it, even though he seemed to want to. He had a lot of fun trying to whack his, though! Here's a video of him having a good time with it:
And a few pics, for good measure : )!
Hitting with one hand!
Swinging with all his might!
We tried hard to get the pinata to break, but it definitely took a while - and a few solid hits from Patrick - before we could show Eli what was inside : ).
We did give Eli a few presents for his "1.5" birthday that he is already thoroughly enjoying. His Grandma (my mom) got him a cool miniature bowling set to set up in the kitchen and a toy xylophone (that Eli LOVES).
Opening presents : )
We got him a recorder (which is like a plastic flute - and yes, he knows how to make sound with it), a few small things (like cool placemats = he already picked one for his place at the table!), and - get this - a tiny (made for toddlers), motorized, Tow Mater. He pushes a button, and the Tow Mater goes! We decided to get it because of another toy that he has and loves. At home, he had been playing with a toy four wheeler that he sits on and pushes with his feet to make it "go," but he has trouble with it because his legs aren't quite long enough to get in good pushes. So, we decided that he might enjoy the motorized version (it only goes 2 mph). And since he LOVES his "Cars" toys (though, oddly, he's never stayed awake through much of the movie), I though Mater was a good way to go.
HE HAD A BLAST!!!
Getting driving help from us.
Test driving his new wheels!
Oma! How do I turn??!!
Giving Eli advice on how to sit down and drive instead of standing up!
Learing to steer = watch out for that TREE!
Getting off road driving advice from his daddy
Although we left the park after giving Eli some time to play with his new toys, no Randall birthday is ever complete without a pony ride! So when we went to feed the horses, we saddled up the best horse EVER - Reno - and bribed him to trot through the back yard a few times.
For those of you who don't know, Reno is a 32 year old American Quarter Horse (born in 1980). He has been in the family for a loooonnnngggg time (my mother - Eli's grandma - bought him about 20 years ago). Reno and I used to show a LOT, and he's very special to me. It is my goal to teach Eli how to ride him one day, when Eli is ready to learn. Because of his age and experience (and gorgeous personality), Reno is super steady and a wonderful teacher. Every time Eli clicked his tongue for Reno to go faster, Reno did!
Riding off into the sunset : ). What a long (though very nice) day!