Like last year, we're celebrating the girls birthdays together. Maddy is just too young (and sensitive) to accept that her sister can have something as spectacular as a birthday party while she sits there and gets nothing. They're 36 days apart in age but 36 days is much too long to wait for your own birthday cake and presents. So, for the foreseeable future, we'll be celebrating birthdays together. No complaints since it's actually much easier for Mom and Dad this way!
This year, the big present was bicycles! Beautiful pink and purple girly bikes with streamers on the grips!
Both girls mastered the trike long ago and it seemed like age 4 was the perfect time to bring in the 2 wheeler. Okay, it's technically a 4 wheeler - since there are training wheels - but we're working our way down two two wheels. Gradually. We also picked up a Razor Scooter for their birthday but, so far, Mommy has been riding around on it and she probably needs to work on sharing. When the kids get a turn, it's teaching them some good stuff about balance and they're already making some impressibe progress with it. We have a friend who has a child who learned to ride a bike without training wheels just one week after his 4th birthday. He did it because he was already able balance on the Razor Scooter. Even though we're not rushing the girls to master the art of balancing on two wheels, it makes sense that a child could learn from something like this scooter. Maybe Mommy will let them play on it more often.
Here are some sweet pics of our big bicycle surprise yesterday (that went slightly awry). There are many other really great pictures from our fun Birthday Weekend but I'm struggling to find time to turn them into pretty collages and post them. Geesh, it seems like there's really no time to do this bloggy stuff as the girls get older and require more and more of my attention. When they were two, all I really needed to do was make sure they didn't kill themselves while they toddled around the house. Then, at three, they were a bit more challenging but they didn't seem to want my attention every-single-minute-of-the-day but now I have to spend hours and hours sitting with them and singing or playing games or reading books or coloring pictures or pushing them on the swing or playing catch or collecting flowers or bugs or leaves outside.... AHHHH! It never ends! And they absolutely HATE to see me sit at this computer!
Here are some Birthday Bike photos from Saturday. Gwen was actually 4 on June 25 and Maddy won't be four until July 31st but this is the weekend we picked to have their little party. Last year, we had more than 50 people at our house to celebrate birthday #3 so this year we decided to keep it small and simple. Well, at least it was small. So much for simple....
(click the images for a larger view)
We had such a wonderful Birthday Weekend! We had cake and presents and even Michael came over to help us celebrate (Maddy LOVED that!). The girls insisted on wearing their Princess party hats everywhere we went and they drew plenty of attention and smiles from everyong. They played with their helium filled balloons every moment we were home - which wasn't very often since we were BUSY and always on the go - and this morning the balloons were suffering from the attention and laying listless on the floor. But the girls didn't seem to care. As long as there was air in them, there seemed to be fun in them! Maddy's big balloon, Minnie Mouse, was the last mylar survivor but she's now floating somewhere over Santa Cruz (and Maddy hasn't noticed that she's missing). All the rest are flat and "taking a nap" in the trash in the garage.
For the past two nights, we've sang the Happy Birthday song at bedtime and I've had to sing it at least three times before being allowed to leave the bedroom. Tonight, Gwen told us she wanted to have "more birthday!" so there's going to be some unpopular discussions about calendars and months in her future.
More birthday pictures will be posted soon but it's after midnight so I better go to bed. Tomorrow is an important day for us as we're finally meeting with a surgeon at Stanford Hospital to talk about how necessary it might be to correct Maddy's cleft palate (it's just a level 1 cleft). I'm really hoping that he'll tell us that it's too minor to require surgery but I'm bracing myself for a different opinion. More about that later.
About three weeks ago, I was backing my car out of the Marshall's Department Store parking lot when I spotted a pretty mommy walking towards me with her cute Asian baby girl in her arms. Since the mommy wasn't Asian and since I don't seem to possess the normal personal editing system that most people use to restrain their curiosity in moments like this, I rolled down the window, leaned out, grinned and asked the woman (hereafter referred to as Jeanine) the obvious question: "Did you adopt that little cutie?"
Jeanine smiled and gave her baby a proud squeeze and told me that she adopted Brynn from China last year. I told her we also adopted from China and our girls are now 3 years old (but not with me at the moment because they're in preschool and I'm about to go get them). Then I noticed that I was gesturing at the two juice-stained unoccupied Britanex Marathon car-seats behind me in the van as if they were proof that I wasn't making up the whole story. Jeanine asked if I was Donna and it turned out that we kinda already knew one another from email (we used the same agency) and the MSN China Adoption Forum.
Anyway, we exchanged pleasantries and little slips of paper with scribbled email addresses and promised to try to get together soon. After several weeks of hit and miss, we finally got our schedules to align and met today at Emma Prusch park to climb on tractors and poke some farm animals in the nose.
Thanks for letting your mommy come out and play, Brynn! And thanks for sharing your snacks with us! I hope we'll see you again soon!
Saturday afternoon, we took the girls to a local nightclub for some wild and crazy disco fun at an event set up by "Baby Loves Disco"! There were hula hoops and kid friendly snacks and juice boxes and lounging pillows and books scattered hither and yon. There was a bubble machine and a kiddy coloring station and face painting and bright red balloons and about 70 or 80 little kids (and twice as many adults). And lets not forget the music! It felt like we were stuck in the late 1970's for about three hours! We weren't sure what to expect but it was incredibly fun and we'll be sure to do it again!