We had a sunny, warm end-of-summer day; perfect for Lyle’s 6th birthday party at a local Park District pool and playground! I chose an outdoor venue this year since Lyle wanted to invite more kids than ever before (he invited 18, we were so happy that quite a few of them could make it!). You may recall what happened when we hosted last year’s party at our house. I knew we had to move beyond these four walls this year!
I decided that rather than focusing too much on the venue or providing a full meal for everyone, this year’s centerpiece would be the cake. As many of you know, I have historically either made a box cake or bought something simple from Costco or Dominick’s. I’m not opposed to those options, but this summer I became aware of a new cake-baking genius who had opened up shop (in her lovely kitchen) right here in the neighborhood. Her name is Michele McAtee and she is the brilliant mind and hand behind Maddiebird Bakery. I “liked” her page on Facebook (you can, too: http://bit.ly/cOq6ce – or view her photos on Flickr!) and have been taunted by the sight of her incredible creations all summer, so I knew we needed one of those cakes this year! The cakes are highly individualized and after weeks of debate Lyle decided on a swimming pool cake. The second runner-up was a Toy Story 3 green alien cake, so Michele incorporated the cute little guys on the pool floatie she put her adorable replica of Lyle in! It was awesome (and incredibly delicious!). Take a look at the details: the ladder rails running into the realistic-looking water, the incredible beach towel on the edge, the tiny pair of goggles, the pool tiles on the sides and the depth numbers! Michele spent a lot of time on the phone with me discussing what would be meaningful and fun for Lyle and she pulled it off with style.
The party moved from the playground to the pool and then back to the playground. Lyle was incredibly happy to be racing around with his brother, a few friends from school, lots of neighbors, and his cousins. It was a very happy afternoon and when I asked him at bedtime what the best part was, he couldn’t begin to say.
“All of it,” he smiled.