Cardboard boats and birthday cakes

Today Eve is 6 years and 6 days and we are officially done celebrating this birthday!

We had a fun and exhausting day today. I was talked into entering a cardboard box boat competition at the aquatic center. It was part of their annual Spring Fling to celebrate their 4th anniversary. It sounded like fun and I hoped the kids would enjoy it. We got to the aquatic center at 9am and were given a plastic garbage bag, a box cutter, scissors, packing tape, and a long list of rules. Oh, and plenty of cardboard boxes! Off and on over the next few hours we built a cardboard boat! We took breaks for snacks and for rubber duck racing.

A bored Lex

The whole project wasn’t quite as exciting for the kids as I was hoping. They did a lot of waiting around while engineer daddy did his engineering.

Trying the boat on

Trying the boat on for size.


They didn’t provide us with any measuring devices (and we weren’t allowed to bring anything of our own!) so we did the best we could. Fortunately Eve just had her well child visit and we knew just how many inches tall she is!


As usual I didn’t know the schedule of events, so the kids had about one minute to decorate their ducks before the big race!

duck racke

There were lots of ducks racing so they did them in groups. Lex and Eve’s ducks were in the final group. We had no winners in our family.


The boat is coming along nicely.


First cake of the day. They had three different cakes, so Alan and both kids got a piece and we all shared.


We decided to give our boat higher sides. Alan did some calculations about displacing water and such and the short sides were a little too short for comfort.


Now, for the moment she’s been waiting for, time to decorate!


Look how closely they are paying to Alan’s attempt at giving them rowing instructions. It was loud and busy in there. We were all tired by this point!

Smiley kids.

Smiley kids.

After we got the boat done we had about 45 minutes left until race time, so Alan and the kids changed into bathing suits and went swimming. I stayed dry. I don’t enjoy swimming when it’s so crowded.

final pratice

Suited up and ready for a dry run.


Listening for final instructions.

I really need to test the video settings before making movies. I don’t know why they keep changing and I never think to check them before starting the video, right at the moment I want to capture! Sorry for the blue tint and extremely low quality. If the aquatic center posts any better videos I’ll link to them later. What you can’t see well in this video is Eve completely panicking when the boat rocks and disolving into tears. She didn’t crying stop until about 10 minutes after she got out of the water.

in the water

This is the final picture before they went under. If you zoom in you’ll see Lex looking a little nervous and Eve completely in tears.

boat rescue

Alan jumped in and rescued the boat.

wet boat

Two happy boys, one wet boat.

So, a few lessons learned here. First, the kids are not very good rowers. Second, they were so excited about winning that the idea of NOT winning didn’t even occur to them. You can see right from the beginning that they got off to a slow start and were immediately distracted by the other teams. Third, Eve apparently didn’t think our boat was sinkable and when it started taking on water she panicked and it was all over from there. Maybe we should have spent some time discussing what to do if/when water gets into the boat.

With their young age, lack of rowing abilities, and complete lack of focus they didn’t stand a chance! Oh well. Lex had fun (though he also cried a bit because he was sad the boat sank) and I suspect if you ask Eve next week she’ll tell you it was fun too. Give her time to recover. :)

After that excitement we rushed home, inhaled bagels for lunch, grabbed the castle cake and party supplies and rushed out the door again. We were barely home for 15 minutes before leaving for her birthday party.

Gymnastic was fun. We had seven of her pre-K classmates, plus Lex and Eve. They bounced around like crazy people for awhile, then went down on the floor and did the routine for an hour, then back up for cake and presents. It was over before we knew it!

cake p1

My lovely princess castle cake! I won’t go into details on my thoughts on this cake as I know I’ve mentioned it before and everyone tells me it was wonderful so I’m going to be ok with that.

cake p2

Side view.


It’s impossible to take a good photo in this place!


Happy Birthday dear Eve!!


Alan entertained the crowd with jokes. They were all amused. :)



The gymnastics place is fun, but it’s not my ideal location for a party because there is very little time or space for the kids to just play together. It’s also a very rushed party. You get one hour of gymnastics and half hour for cake and presents. They had parties back to back today too, so as we were arriving the party before us was leaving, and we were rushing out the door at the end to allow room for the next party. Most of the kids didn’t have time to finish their cake and Eve rushed right through the presents. That said, she has been asking for a gymnastics party for a few years now and I was happy to not have to clean for and plan another birthday party! An hour and a half, in and out, and we’re done celebrating Eve’s birthday!! I’m done party planning and cake baking… until next month!

Tomorrow morning we have brunch plans with another family, and then we can rest. Monday it’s back to school!

But now, I need sleep.

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