Monday, October 15, 2018

Alexander's party

Well, he did it! Alexander is one! He's survived his siblings for a full 365 days and is still going strong.

We partied all afternoon and into the evening. Kelli and her family arrived around 4:00. Matthew and Andrew (my nephew) played some games to entertain Zoë and Benjamin. Here they are playing London Bridge:

Andrew and Matthew couldn't remember how it went, exactly, so they didn't remember to try to catch the children and lock them up, so Benjamin and Zoë stood there taunting them:

They also had fun playing with the balloons that Auntie Kelli brought:

Here's Benjamin loading Uncle Allen up with a bunch of pumpkins:

When the rest of my family arrived we had a light dinner together to celebrate both Kelli and Alexander's birthdays and my mom cousin John and his wife Ellen's mission (they enter the MTC on Monday and leave for Germany in a week to work in the family history center in Frankfurt, I believe).

Here are some of the cousins (and, you know, Aunt Josie) around the kitchen table:

Alex, Josie, Andrew, and Rosie (with Rachel and Miriam's heads)
 And here's my mom showing off some of David and Ruth's wedding pictures to everyone:

We had fun visiting with everyone while we waited for Andrew's family to arrive for cake. John and my mom told a lot of stories—stories that my mom needs to write down on her blog! I feel so lucky to have the biographies of my Grandma Conrad and all of her siblings but I feel rather in the dark about my Grandpa Conrad and his siblings.

For example, my mom shared the her cousin John baptized her when she was eight years old because my grandpa had recently had a run-in with the beet topper (some beets got stuck so he tried to kick one free but instead the machine grabbed his leg and mangled it up rather severely (John said he was lucky to get away with his life and it was a miracle he ever walked again)) so he was all bandaged up and couldn't get in the water. And so the honour fell to John.

The problem was that John was a bit of a tease so my mom didn't quite trust him.

She never learned how to swim and was terrified of the water and John would always tease her and say, "Let's go throw Myrna in the pond!" So she was rather concerned that he'd try to drown her at her own baptism.

But he didn't, of course, because although he's a bit of a tease he's also very nice.

Here we all are together:

Back row: Austin & Rosie Barker, Matthew Boel, Myrna Layton, Andrew Boel, John & Ellen Conrad
Front row: Josie Layton, Nancy, Andrew with Benjamin, Rachel with Alexander, Miriam, Kelline Jones with Zoë Heiss, and Allen Jones

Alexander was actually fairly brave with his guests. He let Auntie Josie feed him, he let Auntie Kelli hold him, he lovingly (and very purposely) kicked at Ellen while we nursed beside her on the couch, and then wanted to play with the buttons on her sweater.

But then Alexander looked at Matthew, who in turn said, "Hello!" and he started bawling.

"What did you do?" Kelli asked.

"I just said hello!" Matthew said.

"How could you?!" Kelli gasped, feigning shock.

"And on his birthday!" John added, in a sarcastic chiding tone.

It was rather funny (and it's nothing personal, Matthew; Alexander is simply rather particular about who he interacts with (and how and when)).

For example, several months ago when Kelli was visiting she was chatting to Alexander and mentioned that he'd never have a birthday to himself as long as she lived. "Every time there's a birthday cake for you we're going to stick a candle on the cake for me, too!" she said, and Alexander, who had been fine in her arms moments before, chose that exact moment to put on a big pouty face (complete with a quivering lip) before breaking into a ruckus round of sobs. He's fickle like that.

He didn't seem to mind sharing his birthday when it came right down to it, however. Probably because she came bearing gifts and shiny balloons. Here he is opening his gift from Auntie Kelli:

He had many helpers:

We told him to look inside the bag and when he leaned over and peek inside everyone said, "Awwww..." because he's just too adorable for his own good:

She got him a "noisy book," which he was rather ecstatic about. We haven't really ever had any (and not by accident, either, but because I'm a mean mom), but Riley has some (which are in our house now) and the kids all love them (which is why we've never had them). Alexander, especially, loves to push the buttons though all of the kids will play with them for (what seems like) hours. I often find myself saying, "Who is playing with that noisy book? If it's Alexander I will tolerate it. If it's anyone else, take it into the basement so I can't hear it!"

And now Alexander has a noisy book of his very own:

And he's thrilled about it:

Here he is opening Naanii's present:

She gave him a little book about a frog, a hopscotch mat (and some bean bags to go with it). He's a little young for the hopscotch mat (which she knew) but the older kids were sure excited about it (which she figured they would be). Rachel put the present bag on his head as a hat, which caused him some distress:

When Andrew's family arrived it was time for the cake. Alexander was so interested in the cake (and the fire) that he didn't even mind that it was Auntie Kelli holding him!

He was so sweet sitting there with her (though I suppose we also should have taken a picture of him alone with his cake (sorry, buddy)). He only got nervous a couple of times:

He didn't know what to do about that candle at all, so it's a good thing Auntie Kelli was there to help him blow it out:

He was quite mesmerized by the flame and then by the smoke:

Here he is trying to use his spoon like a big boy:

And here he is giving up on that nonsense:

He ended up getting gloriously messy:

Here are Alexander, Rachel, Kayl, and Miriam enjoying cake:

Here's Grandpa, Grandma, Alexander, Aunt Shayla, and Daddy relaxing after cake:

And here's Aunt Katharine with Uncle Trevor and Aunt Linda:

By this point in the evening, the kids were all down in the basement being rowdy as could be. They were playing Captain America: Civil War using the bean bags Naanii had just gifted to Alexander as weapons and box lids as shields. Here's Kayl and Benjamin in an epic battle:

And here's Alexander enjoying some floor time without a million people milling around him:

Here's Alexander sharing some of Grandpa's apple:

He was stealing food from everybody this evening: pasta salad from my mom, bits of bread from Auntie Josie, apple from Grandpa, and probably much more that I don't know about!

Here's Grandpa (with Alexander, Rachel, and Miriam) showing the company to the door:

We had twenty-seven people in our house for Alexander's party (why are our families so huge?!):

  • Naanii
  • Josie
  • John
  • Ellen
  • Kelli
  • Allen
  • Andrew
  • Matthew
  • Rosie
  • Austin
  • Grandma
  • Grandpa
  • Katharine
  • Todd
  • Kayl
  • Jacob
  • Shayla
  • Carter
  • Linda
  • Trevor
  • Andrew
  • Me
  • Rachel
  • Miriam
  • Benjamin
  • Zoë
  • Alexander
Oh, and Benjamin made Alexander this charming birthday card. I love his spelling of "yeirr" as well as the "boom" at the top of the page. I know that the "boom" is there because of the thunder cloud that he drew but when I first read it I read the boom as an emotional interjection, like, "Boom! My baby's one!"


  1. That was a very fun birthday party! Thank you for being the hostess with the mostest.

  2. A (way too detailed) description of the accident that damaged your grandfather's foot can be found at

  3. Bruce's post references one that I did about it in 2009. With lots of comments, even from Auntie Colleen. I wonder if hospital records or Taber Times Archives could give us the actual date this happened.