Background Switcher (Hidden)

Liam is Nine!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nine years ago this day, I was holding a very small boy in my arms. His hair was the color of champagne, a blonde I'd never seen before, with a silvery cast. His head was the size of a Delicious apple. His hair is still white-blonde. His head is bigger now, and stuffed with thoughts.
Saturday, we celebrated his birthday. I arose at 5 AM to begin wrapping presents, baking his cake, and straightening the house. Liam and Phoebe helped me bake the cake--they're trying to get egg cracking and using the mixer down these days--and clean up the house. The weather was glowery and cold, but I decided that the first thing we would do would be to take a good hike. Maybe it would burn off some of the almost unbelievable ya-yas that five 8-year-old boys generate when they are together. If there were a way to harness that energy to some purpose other than total chaos...But then they wouldn't be 8-year-old boys.
Barely contained chaos.Phoebe just towers over them at 5'3". My gosh, she's within a couple of inches of towering over me. It's not fair that she got the willowy gene. Managed to get them lined up on a log like little wood ducks.
Ethan cracked me up. He wouldn't smile; he looked like he was posing for a Polo spread. "I'm used to not smiling," was his laconic answer when I ribbed him about it.

On the way back, Liam's introspective side came out, and he let the other boys rampage far ahead as he dropped back to walk quietly with me. "Don't you want to catch up with your friends?" I asked, just making sure. "That's OK. I want to walk with you. Thanks for my birthday, Mommy."
In the meadow, we checked our little persimmon tree, that came up a few years ago in the middle of a clump of sumac. The fruits we'd been watching eagerly all fall were finally ready to taste.That is, they'd frozen solid a couple of times and were mellow enough not to make our throats close up and our tongues fuzz out. At least not too much. I tied into a handful with little groans of pleasure. Liam liked them at first, but the bitter aftertaste was too much for him.I have to say, he's a game little guy, and he'll try anything once. But there's no mistaking this look. "What did you feed me?"Soon enough, we were back home, and it was time to open presents and blow out the candles on his butter cake with bittersweet chocolate icing.
He somehow got the idea that he'd turn nine when he blew out the candles on his cake. So here he is, turning nine.

After cake, we repaired to the stairs to throw water balloons off the towertop.

The culmination of the party was throwing a large whole pumpkin off the towertop. I did the honors, mostly so it wouldn't land on the roof, and because at that point in my day I needed to throw a pumpkin off the tower. The sound it made when it hit the ground 50' below--a muffled SBBBBLLLLOOOOOOPPPPBBBTTT!!! was the most exhilarating thing I have heard in a long, long time, and the perfect anodyne for having planned and executed a boy party. They loved it too and we all cracked up and high-fived.

When everyone had gone, Phoebe and Liam set to excavating Liam's new "I Dig Dinosaurs" kit. Some clever person got the idea to encase a jumbled up plastic skeleton in a block of coarse grit, and give a kid a chisel and hammer with which to chip out the prize. Genius, if a bit messy. This is the kind of toy that would have caused my mother to deliver a barnyard animal on the kitchen floor. Grit and sand were flying everywhere. I banished them to the guest room, spread newspapers, and resolved to vacuum it out of the carpet when they were all done. Big deal. The cheesy little chisel and hammer were too delicate, so we got busy with a real wood chisel and a screwdriver. That made it go a bit faster. They worked peacefully together, chiseling away, until almost two hours later they emerged with a complete Tyrannosaur in their proud little hands. Phoebe did the gross excavation and Liam did the detail work.

Bacon was so tired from chasing little boys that he fell into a dreamlike stupor, sucking on what remains of his Vo-Toys Gigantic Fullback (one of the best toys he's ever had, and one I must replace this Christmas).
Happy birthday, sweetest Liam. You're growing up so fast, changing every day--you won't be my little boy much longer. Know that I treasure every moment with you. There never was a sweeter Shoomie.
photo by Ric MacArthur


Happy Birthday Liam!
You are a neat kid!

Awwwwwwwwwwwww... too wonderful! Lucky Liam!!
And "buttercream cake with bittersweet chocolate icing" YUMMM! -- you hereby have permission to make all my future B-day cakes (...I'll pay the shipping).
Lastly, thanks for yet another great Scrabble word: "SBBBBLLLLOOOOOOPPPPBBBTTT"

what a happy birthday, i think chet is enjoying it as much as liam!

Happy Birthday, little Loo.

Verification- tativing
Dunno why I felt the need to do that.



With hand over mouth and tears, I read

"Don't you want to catch up with your friends?" I asked, just making sure. "That's OK. I want to walk with you. Thanks for my birthday, Mommy."

You had physical stamina to throw a party for boys and that's something! Girls' parties require a different type of stamina, I think.

Lovely Phoebe is towering over me already. My God!

And Baker, sucking on whatever it was, tells the story of what seems to be the aftermath of a deliriously fun Christmas morning.

Liam, Happy 9th Birthday! You don't know me, but it's been a pleasure watching you grow for two years. You're a great guy.


Oh, you've brought back memories of the boy parties I threw back in the day--those pictures of still-little boys with windmilling arms and wide open mouths--*sigh* My boy will be twenty (20!) years old in less than two weeks. How did that happen? He is still as sweet as ever, though, as I'm sure Liam will be. Happy birthday, Liam!

Happy Birthday Liam!!!!
Wow, they do grow up way too fast, looks like the party was a hit; you done good Julie!!!
Poor Chet, worn to a frazzle! LOL

Happy Birthday, Liam!!!

I've only had to do "girl" parties, and that's all, "Oh, isn't that CUTE!" a million times and glitter and flitting about. A boy party...that makes me tired just thinking about it.

You did good, Mommy-of-a-Nine-Year-Old Boy.

No pumpkin photos!??!
Happy Birthday Liam!
Phoebe- my verification word is pregular.

Great Mom! Great kids!
Happy Birthday Liam from the sunshine state!

Happy Birthday Liam! I wish someone had gotten a picture of the pumkpin chucking! (And Phoebe is already taller than me - sheesh!)

Gravel and grit and a wood chisel! I hope that chisel wasn't sharp to start with because it's sure not any more :D . I would recomend some looking into sharpening after the Dino info. I'm quite fond of my sharp chisels, much more fun than dull ones.

Kevin--sorry about the tool abuse. My dad kept his tools wicked sharp, but he sure would have loved to see these two use them.

Eejaydee. Sometimes you gotta put down the camera and throw the dang pumpkin. I wasn't about to hand my Canon to one of the boys!

Happy Birthday to Liam! Treasure each moment. The years go by so fast.

Happy belated birthday Liam.

Your Hog Island Buddy

Jared from Denton Texas

Tears... I can't believe he is NINE. Has it really been that long? I can close my eyes and picture rocking him to sleep in the grey leather rocker, pudgey cheeks, picey in mouth, like it was yesterday. I still see that little baby in the boy, as I am sure you do. He'll always be Po-Po to me. Happy Birthday, Po.

Oh, and I LOVE the Phoebe-and-Gus hair against the late-autumn color of the Ohio hills. Perfection.

Congratulations to Master Liam on turning nine.

Great job, Julie, on a boy party. I loved the pumpkin moment. Satisfying, indeed.

We did the swirly candles on Vivi's cake, too. They look great.

Time flies ... too fast.

Awww---happy birthday to Liam. One more year and he'll be in double digits.
And kudos to you for pulling off the party. I do love that Liam hung back to walk with you--and that he said thanks. Good raising, there!
Poor Chet Baker--tuckered out! I will definitely check out said dog toy for two dogs I know!

A belated Happy Birthday to Liam!! Wow, I'd bet no one else's mom would heave a pumpkin off a tower.... too cool! ;c) Glad a great time was had by all. Oh, how fast they grow.

Happy Birthday, Liam! What a guy - you are growing up so fast!

Way to go, Julie, for pulling off what sounds like a great birthday party. A hike in the woods, cake, water balloons, and to top it off, a pumpkin smashing. Will you plan my next party?

Phoebe is shooting up like a bean sprout. She is all leg. She is going to be a knock-out.

Poor, poor Chet - it must be rough, wrangling all those boys. You did yourself proud, Bacon. Get your rest.

~Kathi, coming late to the virtual party

Happy Birthday Liam! I am off to the deepest, darkest part of the Amazon to find you a fitting birthday gift. My nephew and best exploring buddy turns 9 next week and he is having his first "kids only" birthday party. Don't grow too fast, please!

Happy Birthday, Liam! Julie, sounds like a perfect party. It always helps me to "deal" when you post Laim's birthday messages. It gives me time to adjust to the fact that in January, my 8 year old will turn into a 9 year old. I doubt we'll hurl squash from a tower but no kid can have a PERFECT party! :) Thanks!

You are really growning up fast Liam, just look at the great moo-stash you've grown.

Pump throwing is an inspired idea Julie. Even 90 year olds can enjoy that, and the sound word is perfect.

BTW I'm a Mc not a Mac, tow demerit points on the pumpkin thrower.

Rest Baker, more birhtdays are coming.

Boy I wish I could type.

My boy!

Happy Belated Birthday Liam!! Sounds like a fun and exhausting time was had by all.

Happy Birthday, Liam! Boy, do you look like your dad in that post-persimmon picture! But mostly, you look like you, and that's a very good thing.

Word verification: unkrin

A belated happy birthday Liam. What a wonderful day for all.

I bet you were stretched out there with Chet not long after all the feastivities were over.

Happy belated! Keep on growin'!

Phoebe is taller than I am... hmph.

[Back to Top]