Friday, February 3, 2017
Celebrating Jaden's 9th Birthday
Saturday birthdays are best. And Jaden's this year also happened to fall on his only Saturday without his own basketball tournament for the next several weeks. So with a blank slate for a change, we were able to ask Jaden exactly what he would want to do and filled the whole day with all his favorite things. He's pretty easy to please. Basketball, food, family, cake and presents. That's what he asked for - and we delivered.
We woke up slowly to fresh cinnamon rolls and purple and yellow birthday sprinkles. We packed up our silver van for its last road trip before we would be trading it in for its newer model, and then hit the road for a two hour drive to Des Moines. UNI was playing at Drake that day, and ever since the basketball schedule was released in the Fall Jaden was hoping and wishing for his chance to follow his Panthers on a road trip. He loved his experience in St. Louis last year, and has been looking for more chances to see his favorite team play in different venues around the Midwest.
The 1:00 tip time made the day flow easily and allowed us plenty of time to fit it all in. We got to Des Moines before lunch - just in time to join the Alumni gathering on Drake's campus - filled with free food, lots of Purple and Gold clad fans, and plenty of cookies and brownies for the birthday boy and his younger brother. ;)
I was able to score tickets in the arena right in the heart of the UNI section, and we had a great time at the game. The Knapp Center was packed, the Panther faithful were out in full force, the atmosphere was exciting - as was the game. And in the end, our Panthers pulled out the victory, securing their fifth win in a row. Coach Jake tweeted a picture of Jaden out to all his followers on Twitter, and Jaden was feeling the love via social media and messages all day long. Brandon was a peach, doing his best to honor his brother's special day, and when we pulled out of the parking lot after the game, Jaden requested basketball road trips "a lot more often." We might have created a monster here. ;)
After the game was over, we headed to downtown Des Moines to grab a bite at the infamous Zombie Burger, a dining establishment that was recommended to me by all my Des Moines friends as a fun and unique place to take a birthday boy. We each ordered a variation of the Zombie Burger itself (except for Brandon - who chose mac and cheese of course) - and Friends was showing on the TV directly above us - which just happens to be the show I was binge watching in the hospital room the entire day that I was in labor with Jaden. :) Zombie Burger did indeed have a fun vibe, but Brandon was not its biggest fan. He was afraid the Zombie baby above his head was going to give him nightmares. ;)
After taking the boys to see the state capital up close and personal, we headed home for an evening of cake and presents with the whole family.
Jaden received a lot of nice gifts perfectly suited for him, including new Under Armor basketball shoes, a baseball bat bag, a football helmet 3D decorative light for his room, an awesome Under Armor basketball hoodie, Star Wars Risk, basketball clothes, vintage electronic football - and a new Star Wars Infinity set for the PS4, much to Brandon's delight as well.
Ivy was a big help. As long as we kept reminding her to give the presents to Jaden rather than open them herself. ;)
That's a happy boy!
"Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you..."
We were done singing at this point, but he spent a full minute thinking up his wish!
It was a good day - a day perfectly fit for Jaden and a day of new memories created for our whole family.