Stretching out the big day

E recently turned 4 years old (gasp!), and we have been celebrating in short bursts over the past week! We like to stretch our birthdays out as long as possible! :o)

It started two weekends ago with a birthday party at my sister's house. The party was actually for my sister, my mom, my brother-in-law and me (all of us celebrate birthdays in February and the last of January, in addition to my dad, who lives in Colorado), but my younger sister was going to be out of town at the time of our little family celebration just for E, so E got a gift at the catch-all birthday party, too! Thanks, Margo, Tyler and Gage!

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By the way, I get frustrated that we have so many birthdays in the same month. I was really trying to have a day that was special just for E, but it meant that two of Chad's and my siblings (three counting the out-of-state brother) were not able to come. Ugh. Poor girl is going to have to grow up sharing her birthday celebrations like I did, I'm afraid. I was really trying to avoid that. Birthdays are pretty special when you're 4 years old. And take it from a girl whose birthday was just two days after her mom's, when you don't have a day to yourself, it kind of takes the magic out of it…forever. (No offense or bad feelings toward my mom, though. Just the way it is. Can't do much about that.)

ANYWAY…

On her big day, I took brownies into E's daycare class for after-nap snack. When I did this for G, he loved it. He loved having the attention and having people sing to him and having his mom visit. Not so much for E.

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She is rather shy, and she absolutely hated it that the other kids were looking at her because her mommy brought her a balloon and was serving snacks that day. She couldn't even eat. She just sat there, staring back at the kids with her head bowed, uncomfortable and probably wishing it would just get over ASAP. I felt horrible for her. When all of the other kids had finished their snacks, and it was just E and me left at the table, I asked her what was wrong. She leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, "I don't like all the kids looking at me." Poor girl. I wish she weren't so shy. But it's who she is, and I'll try my best to help her through it. That's a whole topic in itself. A future blog topic, perhaps.

I digress again!

On her big day, E chose her favorite place to eat and play:

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This is not my favorite place to go, and there was an obnoxious little sassy girl that kept squealing/screaming at the top of her lungs, I'm not kidding, about every 10 seconds for about 20 minutes. She was mean, loud and sassy, and the grandmother that was with her did nothing to keep her under control. So that little girl put a bit of a damper on our evening, but E had a good time anyway. G did, too!

We opened a few presents from Mommy and Daddy there. Her main present was this:

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A set of twin baby dolls. She has a million babies but can't seem to get enough. She loves every one of them.

She also got a purse and a cute little outfit from our neighbor friend and G's bus-stop buddy, Sophie. Because Sophie wasn't there to be with her when she opened it, I thought I'd post a pic for her mom to share with her.

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She liked the purse! (By the way, she got three purses for her birthday and loves every single one of them. She's definitely a girly girl.)

We had to get the standard shot before we left: How old are you?

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That's also how long her time-outs are now that she's a year older. She got a taste of that yesterday. And soon she'll start hearing the, "take four more bites and you can be done" prerequisite for ending dinners she doesn't like!

After McDonald's, we went to Dairy Queen. Our local one is seasonal and closed until March, so we went to Plainfield's. It worked out OK, because she had picked the Plainfield McDonald's over the Avon one (our two choices for ones with Playplaces), so we were close.

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This weekend, we had her "official" birthday party for family. Ernie (my sister's nickname) and Eric could only stay for a short time, so it was a small gathering: the two grandmas and our friend Michele and her two girls, who are both close to E's age. They love each other. They were doing this little hand-pile thing where they put their hands on top of each other in the middle of the table and then screamed, "We are best (raised hands quickly!) FRIENDS!!" It was pretty cute.

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She opened presents, of course, and got lots of very cute things!

Papa and Omi: E got your gift! The outfit is really cute! Thanks so much for sending it. We're glad you were here in some way. E and G (and Chad and I) miss you guys!

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She got a tea set from Grandma Farnsley, too. I like this shot, because I have a feeling this will be a common Friday activity for me and E. We love our Fridays together. It's perfect for girl time, when Chad's at work and G's at school.

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That little blue purse was made by my friend Michele. Too cute! She got lots of great gifts…but I won't put a picture of each here. I'm already getting a little long on the post and getting tired of uploading pictures! :o) But a big "thank-you" to everyone who brought her gifts and came to her little get-together. She had fun!

Not done yet, though.

The cake was a story in itself. For a year (and I'm not kidding…I'm sure this started right after her last birthday), E was telling us she was going to have a Dora birthday. Then after that, she'd have a crayon birthday, and after that it was either Hannah Montana or Barbie. Well, at our little trip to DQ on her big day, she snubbed the Dora cake and adamently said she wanted the Barbie one. So after a short fit, we ended up with the Barbie cake. We didn't really care to start with, but we didn't want to buy the Barbie one and have her change her mind (in typical E style) right after we bought it. So we had to make sure she was set on Barbie. She was.

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I'm discovering that my beloved camera doesn't handle super-low-light conditions as well as I originally thought. I think I'm going to have to start shooting in RAW.

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And even after yesterday, the party wasn't over. Today, we were surprised to receive a package in the mail from E's Great-Uncle John and Great-Aunt Colette. (No, I'm not sure that should by hyphenated…not going to go look it up right now, though.) E opened it tonight before bed. We made her wait because she was extremely grouchy until then. She did not come home from school happy today! But the presents helped!

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Thanks so much, John and Colette, for sending the goodies! She loves them!

Oh, and this little book, Bats at the Library by Brian Lies, also from John and Colette, will be one of our favorites, I think. (Colette is a book editor for the St. Pete Times, so I guess she's naturally good at picking great books! She and John are the most well-read people I know.)

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It has such a fun little rhythmic rhyme to it, and E loved the illustrations, too. She giggled at every single page when I was reading it. Every single one. By that time, she was in a giggly mood. A fourth day of birthday celebrations was enough to get her over her crankiness and into bliss-land.

Thanks to everyone who helped our little girl celebrate her birthday! She was looking forward to it for a long time, and I think she really enjoyed herself at every stop! I don't know how she'll threaten us from now on, though. For the last couple of months, when she's been frustrated or when she has been disciplined, she would fold her arms, crinkle her eyebrows and say, in her sternest voice, "You're not going to come to my birthday party." I wonder what she'll come up with now.

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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