Monday, February 28, 2011

5th Birthday Start to Finish

Molly’s first birthday was spent in the orphanage in China. There were no pictures. There wasn’t a cake. No celebration. I can’t even tell you if someone whispered happy birthday into her ear or even noticed that it was her birthday.

This isn’t a slam on the orphanage. Seriously. They took very good care of Molly while she was there. But they were caring for over 400 kids. Hardly time to get the essentials done each day. I would think that birthdays came and went without much fanfare.

On Molly’s second birthday, I decided to document the entire day with pictures from start to finish. We weren’t going to have a birthday slip by unnoticed ever again. Somehow it became a tradition.

Today was no exception. I had my camera handy all day long and snapped away.

Molly’s big party was on Saturday and Daddy left to go out of town very, very early this morning, so it was just me and Molly on her special day. But that’s okay, we still had fun.

Here’s is this year’s installment of Molly’s Birthday, Start to Finish:

The day started with Mommy waking Molly up at o’dark thirty. IMG_5716Molly is sooo not a morning person.

She got dressed for preschool and enjoyed her favorite breakfast: Pumpkin muffins with sprinkles, scrambled eggs and a yogurt smoothie.IMG_5720

After getting her hair done, she watched Four Golden Princess sing Happy Birthday to her in Chinese.IMG_5721

Then it was in the van and off to preschool.IMG_5726

At preschool the kids all sang Happy Birthday to Molly and they enjoyed white chocolate covered Rice Krispy treats. She even got to be a special helper in the classroom.IMG_5728

I told Molly that I would take her anywhere she wanted to go for lunch and she chose Panera (she’s a cheap date!). She likes their chicken noodle soup because it is so salty and deliciously yummy!IMG_5740

Once home, I had the DVD player all cued up with Molly’s Favorite: Snow White. She’s only watched it twice in her life so this was a mighty big treat for her…look at her beam!IMG_5748…and of course I had to rewind so that she could watch the part that she missed while posing for  this picture.

Then it was time for some random silliness like playing balloon toss…IMG_5749

doing gymnastics…IMG_5752IMG_5754

and some interpretive dancing. Nice!IMG_5757

The afternoon was spent with a two hour gymnastics practice which culminated in a big jump into the foam pit.IMG_5759

Back at home Molly requested fried rice in the shape of bears, turkey rolls, broccoli, cantaloupe and yogurt smoothie left over from breakfast. I guess that is considered fine dining when your five. Personally I would have ordered the prime rib.IMG_5761

Molly already had a cake at her party, but golly gee, how can you have a birthday without cake. I found this one at the local Walmat and it was absolutely disgusting delicious with close to an inch of lard based frosting. But ooooooh! It had Cinderella on it!IMG_5762IMG_5771IMG_5774I would say that Molly was sugar heaven. Love those blue lips!

Molly opened a few birthday cards…IMG_5781

…and talked to several people who called to wish her Happy Birthday.IMG_5785

By this time it was well past her bedtime, but hey, it was her birthday. She took an extra long bath, splashing and playing in the bubbles.IMG_5790

Then it was time for a bedtime story. Aunt Shel gave Molly this book when she came home from China. And since the title is Every Year On Your Birthday, that’s when we read it!IMG_5797

Finally, time for bed. Molly came to us with two fingers in her mouth. For about two years they never came out. Now they usually only go in when she is sleepy. She still kind of looks like my sweet little baby…IMG_5800Just a little more grown up!

Molly, you bring so much joy to our lives. Everyday you giggles and smiles make our hearts sparkle. You have grown from a helpless baby into an independent and feisty five year old!

We love everything about you, from the kind, compassionate, silly parts to the not-so-pretty parts that come out from time to time, because they all combine to  make you the special girl that you are.

Happy Birthday, baby. Five years old, four years a family. We can’t wait to see what your future holds.

Just don’t grow up too fast, okay?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Let’s Get This Party Started!

My baby turning five. Five. It doesn’t seem possible.

Five seems so old, relatively speaking I mean. Five is no longer a baby. I guess she hasn’t been a baby for a long time but four-year-olds still  hang out at home with Mommy. Their life still revolves around the family.

Five-year-olds leave and go to school…sometimes on a bus (gasp) all by themselves (double gasp). Their lives expand beyond home. They become so much more independent. They have more opinions and more ideas of what they want.

And now my little girl is going to be one. A five-year-old.  I’m not sure that I am ready.

Ready or not, five she is, so I guess its time for a party!

Last year I had a party at home for Molly . It was very fun, but required a lot of planning, preparation, stress, decorating, shopping, stress, hard work, and stress.

I loved doing it, really, but it was exhausting. The party was a huge success, however, I swore I would never do it again. At least not to that level. It was kind of over the top.

When it came time to plan a party this year, guess what I did. Umm, yeah. I threw another at-home party. And this one was even more over the top than last year’s, at least in terms or organizing and implementing.

We had a bento box party. A bento box is a Japanese box, stuffed with some of the most adorable food you’ve ever seen. Now I could have filled all of the bento boxes myself, but nooooo, that would have been way too easy. I decided I would teach the girls how to prepare their own bento boxes.

The food we prepared in our bentos took 15-20 ingredients. Logistic nightmare, as I quickly found out. Oh, and each girl had a dozen or so “tools” that they needed as the assembled their food boxes.

In the end, it was a success.  I think. The girls did a fantastic job making their bento and everyone seemed to have a great time. And after a few Xanax (joke), I had a great time, too.

But next year…next year I am having Molly’s party somewhere else. Just sayin’.

Here are the party pics:

Dining room AKA craft room. IMG_5629

Crafts waiting for party goers.IMG_5631

Family Room transformed into the Hello Kitty Café.IMG_5633IMG_5637

The Living Room became the Bento Box Chef’s Academy.IMG_5638

The Birthday Girl (in case you didn’t notice the t-shirt!).IMG_5649IMG_5656

All of the girls received an apron and chef’s hat. They decorated them before we started cooking.IMG_5665IMG_5666IMG_5668IMG_5669IMG_5670

Presenting the Junior Bento Chefs!IMG_5672

We played a quick game before cooking. It was called the Big Candy Grab. Each girl had 30 seconds to get as much candy into their cup as possible.

Except they had to pick up each candy one-by-one.

With oven mitts!IMG_5682It was fun to watch the girls work so hard to get candy but, alas, no one go too much. All part of the plan. Don’t need a houseful of little girls on a sugar high so early in the party!

Time for making Bento!IMG_5686IMG_5687IMG_5688I wish I would have taken some pictures of the finished bento boxes as the girls did a great job. But, I was just a bit preoccupied with other things.

Eating Bento in the Hello Kitty Café.IMG_5689IMG_5690IMG_5691

Time for presents! I had Molly open each gift with the gift-giver seated next to her. I think this was wonderful. Molly could really show her appreciation to each friend and each girl got to share in the excitement of the gift opening.IMG_5694IMG_5697IMG_5698IMG_5699IMG_5700IMG_5701IMG_5704IMG_5706

And then there was the cake. Yum! IMG_5709I had it made by a local Chinese bakery. They even wrote Happy Birthday in Chinese.

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you…IMG_5711

Happy Birthday dear Molly, Happy Birthday to you!IMG_5712

Let the sugar rush begin!IMG_5713IMG_5714IMG_5715

Molly’s friends are the sweetest girls ever. Truly. You couldn’t ask for anything better. Molly thoroughly enjoyed having each and every one of them celebrate her birthday with her. And if my girl is happy, well them I am happy. Even if it means that I throw another party at home next year. Did I just type that?

I hope you have the best year ever, my great big five-year-old girl!