Joel has always loved that his birthday usually coincides with summer vacation! He spent his 1st, 2nd and 5th birthdays at the Kenyan coast, and was thrilled to get to spend his 8th there too! After all, 1+2+5 = 8.
The day started quietly. Our family tradition is that on their 8th birthday each kid gets a full-sized Bible of their own. Here Joel reads the dedication Kent wrote to him in the front:
The morning was spent at a sort of Vacation Bible School with lots of friends. Perfect birthday for our social Joel, or what? :) He planned out his travel wardrobe to save the blue Lego Star Wars shirt for the big day!
The hotel surprised us with a small cake at teatime. We ordered a large one at lunch to share with his friends, specially made without flour or sugar, so it was disappointing to have a surprise cake we couldn't eat. But he took it all in stride, and didn't mind having more people sing to him!
At lunchtime we ordered up a big pile of 'hedgehogs' (what we always called at home 'criss-cross mangoes'), which is Joel's favorite fruit. We flew in a few small boxes of 100% juice and added that to the blue-colored club soda to make a 'Blue Splash soda' without the Sprite (corn syrup) - more about foods later!
He ate to his heart's content:
Then the singing, clanging began and the floral chair and special-order cake arrived! It was gorgeous chocolate banana-peanut honey cake covered in honey-vanilla whipped cream and decorated with 8 sticks of mango chunks and Enjoy Life GF Mega chunks. The best part is the huge grin on his face:
As a bonus, it was the best cake I had eaten at this hotel in several years. They are not famous for desserts... So many people asked for the recipe and wanted a bite! The hotel felt bad about our food restrictions and only charged us about $8, half what you pay for the smaller, less tasty cakes! Here's the inside view:
No kids seemed to mind a less-sweet cake. And it might have been the first birthday party where no one left with a sugar high!
His friends lined up with plates right away! :)
We brought out the presents after the cake and singing. This one had been carried across the world to Congo and then back across Uganda and Kenya in the suitcases of two other MAF friends just to be there for him on his special day. Transformers!
This is one of several presents smuggled into the suitcases of colleagues all the way from Grandma and Grandpa's house. The most anticipated was his Star Wars Lego set of Ewoks, but I didn't get any stellar shots of that...
Super Joel, we love you and
had so much fun celebrating your first 8 years!