She's SEVEN! How is that possible? When April 1st rolled around, Kai looked at the calendar and declared, "it's my birthday month!" In her defense, it is entirely our fault that she thinks of her birthday as a month-long affair. We have gone a little over the top in year's past. And, this year was really no exception.
We started the month celebrating with my parents, who were here for over a week, which was a huge treat. And, Katie was here, too. Kai got lots of books and art projects from Katie and doll house furniture from my parents. But, more importantly, she just got to play and hang out with them -- which is one of her favorite things to do.
The weekend my parents left is when we headed to Tahoe, which I wrote about previously. Somehow Kai had fun despite the hospital drama. She is such a good natured kid, and so compassionate towards others (especially her brother).
The following weekend, we headed to Fairy Tale Town with friends and had a blast. We also went to a birthday party for one of Kai's classmates and went to another friends' house for dinner and more playing. It was a weekend full of friends (and, also, Alden got his burn --so it was also another weekend of worry and hospital visits for Alden... poor little guy!)
Then, the next weekend, was her actual birthday weekend, when Eric's mom came to visit. On her actual birthday, we made cupcakes and brought them to school. Making cupcakes on a Thursday night when Eric's mom had just arrive in town and both kids were wound up was a bit of a production. I've been swamped at work lately, so didn't wrap up the day until about 6 PM, which is precisely when Eric, Kai and Eric's mom walked through the door. Then I was fixing dinner, cleaning up dinner and digging into the cupcake project. Kai was not happy about whatever it was I cooked for dinner (I think it was fish) -- so there was lots of drama through the meal. By the time I turned to the cupcakes, it was almost Kai's bedtime. And then I realized I was out of baking soda, powdered sugar and buttermilk. It turns out you can substitute baking powder for baking soda (just triple it for the baking powder), you can make powdered sugar if you have regular sugar, cornstarch and a blender, and you can make buttermilk if you have regular milk and a lemon. So, the cupcakes were saved, but they weren't really done until about an hour after Kai's bedtime. She helped decorate a couple and then we sent her off to bed while I finished up. It was exhausting.
But, her birthday was a fun day, and worth the production the night before. We met her at her school at lunch time, and all had lunch with her and her classmates (we've done this with her a few times -- it's such fun. And, her school makes such awesome lunches for them!). After lunch, we stuck around through recess. Alden was very popular with Kai's classmates. They all wanted to take turns holding him -- which he quite enjoyed.
After recess, we went to Kai's class and sang her happy birthday and handed out cupcakes. We picked her up from school a little early and let her go home to open her presents. We got her kid-sized gardening tools and made her a raised bed of her very own where she could plant whatever she wanted. Eric's mom got her a badminton set -- which has been totally fun.
Once the gifts were open, we headed to a movie theater where we met Kai's friend Leanna (and her parents) and watched Monkey Kingdom. The girls were SO excited. At first, they picked seats in the theater all to themselves. But, when the lights went down, the yelped and moved to the row where the rest of us were sitting. It was funny. I love watching them try out independence, even if it doesn't take the first time!
After the movie, we gave the girls some money so they could take photos in one of those instant photo booths. They were both so hyper -- the pictures are just shots of their noses and their teeth (their mouths were open so wide from the hollering and hysterical laughing).
Then we went to Round Table Pizza for dinner and let the girls play the arcade games. It was a late night and they both had a blast. And, it was only Friday night!
We spent the weekend in the yard, playing games and gardening. We also had Julie, Malachi and their kids over and made chicken enchiladas and let the kids fill Kai's bed and do some planting . They all had a total blast.
Eric's mom left on Monday afternoon and I had several days of budget hearings and other bill hearings and meetings for work. On Friday afternoon, at about noon, it suddenly dawned on me that the main event -- Kai's actual birthday party - was the next day. At 11 AM. Of course, I had a few things for decorating the house. And I had ordered the cake. And figured out a live animal show to come. And then figured out a REPLACMENT to that show when the original group I booked canceled on me with only about a week to go. So, I had been doing a few things in anticipation of the party. But, I hadn't really thought about food. And, it was supposed to RAIN, which meant we had to take down all the paper lanterns and come up with a back up plan (I really didn't want 20 plus children in the HOUSE! But, alas, that was the back up plan). So, I spent Friday afternoon running around and trying to get some things together to make the party a hit.
And, it was a ton of fun. It rained all Friday night, but was crystal clear in the morning. We got up early and prepped food and cleaned the house. I picked up the cake. Eric put the lanterns back up and cleaned the yard. We set up the food table. We finalized the gift bags. And, somehow, at 11 AM, we were mostly ready to go.
The kids had a total blast. They played on the swingset. They seriously put Eric's construction skills to the test. Luckily, he is a master, so there were no issues. But, we probably had 15 kids on the play structure at once, with all the swings in use, and jumping, banging and climbing going on. It was impressive. We also had a scavenger hunt for the kids, that they got into. Of course, I just printed up a list of things for them to find from the internet -- I didn't spend much time checking it. The kids were looking and looking for a feather and finally one of the moms asked me if I had, indeed, put any feathers in the yard. Well, no... I just assumed they would find one. They did manage to find most of the things on the list and had a good time.
Then we had pizza and then the animals showed up. Not all the kids were into the lizards, geckos, and snakes -- but, a lot of them loved them and Kai was very into them. It was sort of perfect, because we set up the animals on the brick patio in the back, and the kids kind of came and went. So, they all got a lot of time holding and learning about the animals -- but, in a very individualized way.
Then we had cake and the kids played more. They got into the gardening and the badminton set and just had a blast running around the yard.
It really is a house made for entertaining. That night, we went to dinner with Deb at a sushi place in town. Alden ate two bowls of miso soup, a half an avocado, a huge piece of salmon and more. We were all duly impressed. The waitress brought Kai a special treat for dessert. And, after that massive meal, Alden was all jazzed up and making everyone laugh with his goofy antics. It was a fun dinner.
The next morning, we played croquet (Deb bought us a croquet set -- now we have every yard game imaginable!) and then she had to go. Then we had some neighbors and their kids over for lunch and a playdate. They have an almost one year old, and it was clear that Alden was THRILLED to be having his own playdate. He kept going up to her and cocking his head to the side so they could be eye to eye and then GRINNING at her. Such a flirt.
It has been a busy birthday month with a lot of playing, a bit of drama, a lot of work and - mostly - a lot of fun. But, seriously, I need a nap.
Happy Birthday to our wonderful, creative, caring, fun-loving daughter!! We love you!