Friday, September 25, 2015

Family Party

Like we did last year, we planned a separate little family party for Miss O.  I knew that Olivia would be focused on her friends at the dance party, so I wanted a little time where she could also focus on family - having everyone come back to our house afterwards for a more intimate party is such a special treat for Olivia and I know she was thrilled to celebrate with everyone.

While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, we played school and, of course, Olivia was the teacher.  This is one of her new favorite games.  We played it a lot at the lake house a few weeks ago.  I'm not sure if her games mimic her actual school, but someone always ends up sent to the corner.  At the lake house, Yazzie and Naz spent most of class there and at her party, poor Tutu was relegated to the corner as well.

And once everyone arrived, we got down to opening the presents!

She has been super interested in "reading" lately, sounding out letters and pointing out words she knows.  She got some awesome beginning reader books from Popo and Tutu that have already been a huge hit!

"Reading" her birthday card from Popo & Tutu

And, as much as she liked the books, they were old news once she saw her new Ariel costume.  This thing is ADORABLE and fits her like a glove.  It was perfect!  Popo and Tutu did good!

She immediately got naked and put on the new Ariel costume!

And, we even got a present from Great Grandma Geri, Great Aunt Shelly and Great Aunt Suzi - a new Elsa doll that sings.  This was another huge hit.

So, we all got a little show with new Elsa...

And she loved this new dress from Yazzie/Grant, Naz/Tyler

(PS - I am not exaggerating when I say she loves this dress.  Despite the Houston 95 degree weather, she insisted on wearing her new dress + her new boots to school on Monday where she brought in some cookies for all her friends!)

My parents got Olivia a new baby doll - a little boy baby to include in the tribe of baby girls.  She initially said his name was Luca (the same name of a cute little boy in her class).  But the next morning she was talking about him and called him Frisbee.  Harris has a baby boy doll just like that whose name is Fritz and I think she was thinking about Fritz and got confused.  But she thought it was hilarious that she called him Frisbee and now the name has stuck.  So, here is Aunt Yazzie with Elsa and Frisbee.
My parents also got Olivia tickets to see the play "Goodnight Moon" when it comes to Houston in a few weeks.  They gave her a Goodnight Moon puzzle and a card with the details of the play on it.  I read the card to her and she looked at my parents and said "Do you really want me to come to a play with you?"  They said "Yes!"  She said "Fine, I'll go!  And I'm going to wear my Ariel dress!"  Not the most grateful thank you I was hoping for, but I know she will have a blast.

(Note - this birthday - FOUR - has seemed pretty big to me. - with Kindergarten and more "big kid" activities upon us.  So, I have been a little teary about no longer having a "baby."  But, on this night as I tucked her into bed and we talked about the day and all her presents, she said "So Mimi and Grandpa will take me to the play and take me to dinner but then I will come back home, right?"  I assured her that yes, she would definitely be home after.  Similarly, when Popo and Tutu left they mentioned they would see her again in a few weeks when she was going to spend the night at their house in the Woodlands.  She quickly asked "Who is going?  Everyone? Mommy and daddy too?"  Again, we quickly assured her that yes, mommy and daddy were coming too and not going to leave her.  So, even though my girl is getting bigger, I am so grateful for these little reminders that she's little "little-ish" and - at least for now - remains a mamma's girl who wants to stick close to me!)

After presents, we had dinner.  I got some breakfast tacos (Olivia's favorite!)

And for dessert, I made a "frozen yogurt bar" complete with orange sherbert (her fave) + all her favorite toppings.

And, we sang another round of Happy Birthday!

And then, we put our little THREE year old to bed until about 5:00 am on Sunday morning when we were woken up by her screaming "MOMMY!  DADDY!  ITS...MY....BIRTHDAY!!!"  More to come...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pig-tastic Party

This year we celebrated Olivia's FOURTH birthday with a Peppa themed dance party.

I got there early to set up and all the grandparents + sweet Aunt Yazzie came out to help me.

When Olivia arrived, the room was all decorated and she was so excited to see everything!

And then Aunt Yazzie did her hair in this adorable braid/bun that she (and everyone else!) LOVED

We took a few pics with the pretty birthday girl

And, while we waited for everyone to arrive, the kids played around in the kitchen/with the toys

Once everyone arrived, the first activity was a craft where they made puppets of the whole Pig family.  We cut out the family members before-hand and each kid got a little box with their name on it filled with crayons, the family members, and popsicle sticks.

Olivia got some help from her aunts!

After the craft, it was time for the dance class.  So they all lined up, and Miss Ashley took them into the dance room.  This same studio (Claire's School of Dance) comes to Olivia's school weekly for dance class, so most of the kids were familiar with the teacher and the class.

Practicing walking fast and then slow....(or in the case of these four girls, at a constant pace with a constant giggle!)

The kids didn't "dance" so much as run around the room like crazy kids.  But they all LOVED it.  I swear I have never seen anyone get as excited about running around in a circle as these kiddos did.

Olivia and Cate were pretty inseparable at the party and spent most of the time whispering and cracking each other up with whatever four year old's whisper and joke about. (I love these pictures that show them talking x2 with the reflection in the mirror!)

And, I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Here is a flash back to Olivia's second birthday party.

Each kid also had a chance to do a little "solo" performance where they crawled through a tent, leaped over some little cones and then posed at the end.  Olivia went first and was not shy at all!

The teacher had told me ahead of time to let her know Olivia's favorite song and they would play it for the "free dance" song.  Olivia has been loving the song Best Day of My Life by American Authors, so I knew immediately that we should use that song.  It turned out to be pretty perfect.

And, when the dance class was over, they all "leaped" through the hoop and came to have a little birthday snack.

While the kids were dancing, our sweet family was kind enough to set the table and lay out all the food.

I kept the food pretty simple with "Grandpa Pig's Fruit"

"Peppa's Parmesan Popcorn" (PS - if you like parmesan popcorn, this recipe is our latest obsession and the kids at the party all seemed to like it!)

And "Piggies in a Blanket"

Along with Peppa's Pink Lemonade + some Wishing Well Water

The kids were all hungry after their dance work-out so everyone seemed to eat well!

Little Miss Minah likes to constantly give Uncle Matt this look and was apparently trying to teach Olivia how to master it....

And, then it was time for the cake!  (Let me say that if you live in Houston, I can now recommend our go-to "cake lady."  She is a woman who lives in our neighborhood and makes cakes for about everyone we know.  And now we know why - it was beautifully decorated and tasted amazing!  I was worried about having too many left-overs, but that entire cake was devoured!)

A birthday song for our sweet little dancer

Finger-lickin' good!

And while the cake was delicous, apparently it was not so easy to cut.  Thank goodness we had Mimi and Aunt Naz to help us.  That Naz - her reflexes are quick like a cat!  She saved more than 1 piece from falling on the floor!

Matt considers it one of his greatest accomplishments that Olivia's friends LOVE him so much. (And I think all the moms are happy when Mr. Matt is there to entertain all the kids!)

We had a little bit more playtime around the room before it was time to go.

Once all the friends were gone, Sofie and Minah helped us clean up and gave Olivia her present.  And what a special present it was!  A "best friends" charm for their matching charm bracelets.  When I was little, Kate (Sofie/Minah's mom) was the "st ends" to my "be fri."  And I cannot put into words how thankful I am that a first-grade friendship turned into a life-long sister.  Nothing would make my heart happier than watching their friendships span the years as well.

Note about presents - for the past few years, we have been on the "no gifts please" train.  I figure, this way all the kids just come celebrate Olivia and it gives me the liberty not to do "gift bags."  This was the first year Olivia really noticed and she was none too happy.  We assured her she would get plenty of presents from her family but she still seemed skeptical.  And, apparently her bestie Minah was just as worried for her.  So much so, that I received this note via text message from her.

When Minah arrived, the first thing she asked Olivia was why the invitation said "no gifts."  To which Olivia quickly responded, "Well you can still bring me a present even if the invitation said no."  Relieved, Minah ran over to Kate and said "Mom!!  We can still bring her a present!"  Kate and I are going to have our work cut out for us with these 2.  They definitely stand up for each other against their mommies!  

I think our little one had a wonderful birthday party and we were so glad all her friends came to celebrate her.  Up next -- our "family" party back at Casa Dean...