A Birthday Carnival

Axel is three today.  Three.  I can hardly believe it myself.  It seems like just a few weeks ago that he looked like this.

He still makes that face, only now it’s when he rides down hills on his bike or takes flying leaps off of the couch.  He’s three – he puts together puzzles, drizzles frosting on cookies, does somersaults, puts on his own shoes, tells me my hair looks nice (especially when it’s in a messy ponytail).  While I’m focused on slowing things down, Axel’s already talking about how many birthdays he has to have before he can drive a fast race car.

To celebrate, we hosted a Halloween carnival.  For decorations, we had lots of red and orange balloons (note – do not attempt to walk home with two dozen balloons while pushing a double stroller in a wind storm, unless you want to be under attack by helium and plastic), red and white strips, and orange pumpkins.

Sean was the ringmaster, I was the fortune teller, Jonas the lion who decided he did like his costume/baby manning the kissing booth, and Axel the spaceman (who you can hear talking about his costume here, along with his classmates, on Colorado Public Radio).

What, you’ve never been to a carnival with an astronaut?  In honor of the astronaut, we had a cardboard space shuttle for coloring and quick trips to Mars.

For carnival games, we had a bean bag toss, temporary tattoos, and a felt fishing set (Sean made the poles, I sewed up the fish).

And we had Pin (or tape) The Pumpkin on the Patch, which Jonas thought was fantastic.  Not as fun as running away with crayons, but still, pretty nifty.

The fishing set and the space shuttle got a lot of use, but the most popular activity was running around the yard in the lovely fall weather, being firefighters.  Three guests arrived dressed to put out the flames, and Axel decided to join them by throwing on his own firefighter coat and hat over his astronaut costume, becoming the first intergalactic firefighter.  Fairies and ballerinas also took rides on the trucks and hoisted around the imaginary hoses.  We have a lot of fires and emergencies at our carnival – elephants kicking over candles and causing fires, trapeze artists bumping their heads. Luckily, our trusty crew was there to help, and to give firefighter hugs.

Axel kept wanting to look at this picture – firefighter hugs for everyone!

The yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting looked delicious (and got good reviews, although I made way too many, as I always do because I assume every adult will eat a cupcake, too), but Axel, whose only request for the party itself was cupcakes with candles, didn’t even take a bite.  I think he was saving room for Trick or Treat candy.  Later, after cleaning up, Axel opened his presents – including the one we got him, a bike with pedals.  He’s mastered his wooden balance bike, and has been asking for a bike with pedals for months.

The bike itself, he loved.  But his first trip down the sidewalk was a little wobbly.  Putting together balancing and pushing pedals around is pretty complicated.  Before bed, he asked if he could ride his bike to school, so I think he’ll be pedalling around town soon enough.

Then, after making a batch of sugar cookies for Axel to take to school this morning and changing Axel into his pirate costume (the all-white astronaut costume/Old Navy pajamas were covered in dirt and food, and we already had all the pieces for a pirate costume), we hit the neighborhood for candy.  Jonas was just happy to walk around and look adorable while eating pretzels.  Axel liked giving out candy as much as he liked getting it, though he did enjoy discovering Nerds and Twizzlers and Heath bars, and Sean and I enjoyed the candy smorgasbord, too.

(We re-used the popcorn basket as a candy holder.  Until some kids took it off our porch while we were giving the boys baths.)

But even more than the candy, Axel liked holding hands with his best friend, Mateo, and running down the street yelling, “Happy Halloween Happy Halloween Happy Halloween” before collapsing onto the grass with laughter.  This may be the best Halloween I’ve ever had.

Happy birthday, Axel!

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