(That title was bad and I should feel bad…)
This year we decided to have a “destination party” for Damien’s third birthday, instead of having a party at home like the previous two years (well, one was at home and one was at my parents’ house a half mile away, so close enough.) Since our family doesn’t live nearby this made sense, so we ended up in Sacramento for the afternoon. We invited my parents, sisters/brother-in-law, and grandparents and Dan’s mom and her boyfriend, and were excited when everyone was able to come.
The plan was to eat lunch at the Round Table in Old Sacramento, then walk over to the train museum. I know the museum isn’t exactly meant for preschoolers but I had a feeling Damien would enjoy it (spoiler alert: he did). As for the pizza, I wanted a place where we’d all fit and it would be okay for us to be noisy; I’d been to that Round Table several times before and knew there was plenty of space with a very kid-friendly atmosphere.
Surprisingly, for a party planned from afar (we couldn’t make reservations or anything) everything turned out perfectly! Everyone made it to the restaurant in time for the party. We provided pizza and drinks for everyone (and salad bar for my two gluten-free sibs) (sorry about the lack of pizza, sibs) and I made a cupcake train, as seen on Pinterest:
(The cars are made of Graham crackers; the wheels are Oreos attached to marshmallows with frosting, with a toothpick between each wheel to support the car.)
It turned out really cute but it wasn’t exactly sturdy. I should have used full-sized marshmallows to attach the Oreo wheels, but we had mini marshmallows so that’s what I used, and it wasn’t at all structurally sound. At least I got a picture though. The cupcakes are alternately blue vanilla (Damien’s choice) and GF chocolate (my personal favorite; I swear the gluten free mix is better). We didn’t even light Damien’s candle because he was afraid of it at preschool! (Also I forgot matches/a lighter. Oops. At least I didn’t forget the cake!)
Once we ate it was present time! As usual, everyone totally spoiled Damien with all kinds of amazing toys and cute outfits. (I may have been a lot more excited about the latter than the birthday boy, lol. New clothes for kids are exciting for two reasons: one, they’re cute, and two, that’s less laundry for me to do. Double gift for mom!)
After opening his gifts Damien decided to get up on the (empty) stage and entertain us. He also did a whole lot of running around the place (which is what most of the kids there were doing. We were next to the restaurant’s arcade so it wasn’t exactly a stoic atmosphere.)
When we were done eating Dan, my dad, ad my grandpa took the presents and party stuff to the car while the rest of us walked over to the train museum, which was about two blocks away.
Once we were all together again we went inside. Damien was definitely interested the museum, even though a lot of it was over his head (I mean figuratively but I guess literally too, haha.) He loved looking at the big trains (some of those trains are HUGE), especially the ones he could board. I didn’t even try to follow him everywhere, as long as he was with at least one adult (and there were plenty to go around) so most of the time I was wandering behind the group with Rowen and Dan. But even though I wasn’t with him all the time I could tell Damien was having fun.
After exploring the downstairs we went upstairs, where there were wooden trains to play with and model trains to watch. I’m pretty sure that floor could have been the whole museum and the birthday boy would have been happy.
After a quick walk through the gift shop…
…we made a stop for coffee (and delicious donuts for Dan, appropriately named too) and then ate dinner at the Spaghetti Factory, which was probably a mistake because both boys fell asleep during dinner and then were up until the wee hours of morning, but Mama wanted spaghetti (and spumoni too; that stuff is amazing.)
So there it is: another birthday in the bag! I’m thinking next year we’ll aim for an early party rather than a later one, because having it a week late put us way too close to Christmas and it was overwhelming (stressful for the adults; way to present-y for Damien.) I’ve considered having a half birthday party for him instead but I feel bad about taking his birthday away – it’s not his fault he’s a December baby – so I may have a mini half birthday celebration for family and a bigger party with less gifts on his actual birthday. We’ll see what happens. I did like doing something fun with him (Chuck E. Cheese plus the train museum) in lieu of getting him a bunch of gifts (and he got plenty of gifts anyway) so that’s something I’d like to do again.