Well, at long last, I'm finally getting around to posting pictures from the multiple birthday celebrations that Hallie enjoyed this year. In the interest of actually getting this task accomplished, I will try to keep my verbiage to a minimum (well, a minimum for me, at least).
As I think I mentioned, we sent in 25 single-serving sized containers of Hallie's favorite dessert--Haagen Dazs Ice Cream--to preschool on the actual anniversary of Hallie's birth. We also brought in Dora and Diego birthday hats, which were at least as great, if not a greater, hit than the frozen creamy treat that accompanied them. Who knew that hats priced at $2.99 for 8 would make such a splash with the preschool set?
The ice cream itself, though, was irresistible. The teachers served it at the 10:30am snack break (rather than after lunch, when they deemed it more likely to lead to sugar high and interfere with the schedules of those kids who still napped). When the teachers whipped out the bag of treats from the freezer and distributed them to the kids, the preschoolers could not wait to indulge.
Hence, they had to backtrack in the middle of their snack to sing Happy Birthday to Hallie. Hallie loved it, and really relished being able to blow out her own candle (she couldn't quite do this at ages two or three but is now an expert at this art form, as we'll see in a bit).
After a chorus or two (one little girl insisted on singing Happy Birthday a second time and Hallie did not protest, the kids went back to eating their treats in earnest.
In some ways, it appears that Hallie feels that this was the most memorable and important aspect of her birthday celebration. For at least a week after the preschool party, Hallie kept mentioning it to us. She also, apparently, has a good handle on her peers' ice cream flavor preferences. She can still tell you who chose Vanilla, Strawberry, or Chocolate (she, of course, opted for the last of these). I don't think that there's a single thing that eludes this kid's powers of observation or a minute detail that she overlooks and/or forgets.
But the preschool party was just the beginning of Hallie's official celebration this year. After I picked Hallie up from preschool on her birthday, we came home and got ready for another party, this one with Aunties Renee and Kim and their little girl, Taylor.
After a quick dinner, we got ready to have some of the yummy chocolate cake that I had procured from Wholefoods in honor of Hallie and Olivia's birth earlier that day:
Hallie independently blew out the candles on her cake (she did this at school, too, but we weren't there to capture it on video). She was thrilled. So were we.
Then, on Sunday, we had her big birthday bash at Bounce U. It was the perfect venue for a party for Hallie. Hallie adores trampolines and jumping on inflatable structures (and is getting more independent at handling the big and somewhat scary slides, too). What better way than to share this love of vestibular motion with her close friends and family?
Here'e Hallie saying "Cheese" (but not quite managing a smile while doing so) in the reception area at Bounce. Please note the really cute shirt that Hallie is wearing, which was adorned with her name, age, and a dragonfly motif (to commemorate Olivia); it was made by a fellow micropreemie mom who sells birthday shirts and a whole lot more over at Pixie Stitch Boutique. The quality of the shirt is wonderful, the detailing is delightful, and the colors of shirts and fabric patterns that they use for appliques are really spectacular. It's hard to find something other than whites and pastels, and Hallie does not look nearly as good as these as she does in bright colors.
Hallie was thrilled to be at Bounce and to see so many of her friends there with her. She gave a nice big hug to Eliza (whose mom, Anne, took many of the pictures I am posting here).
Everyone was super excited when it was time to go into our first bounce room. The Bounce birthday party package includes the exclusive use of two separate rooms, each for 45 minutes. This is great since the kids don't get bored and we weren't running over/into/onto a million other kids whom we did not know and, since the doors were not opening and closing all the time, we were pretty much assured that none of our kids were going to escape the premises. Other than the fact that we had to talk over the noise involved in keeping those inflatables nice and full, we adults were able to converse with one another and bounce along with our kids if we so desired.
A bunch of the girls, including Hallie, took off for the climbing wall that led to a giant slide.
This thrilled Eliza, who loves sliding and knows no fear.
Lea, who is quite enamored of slides, went down with Sharon and very much enjoyed the experience (so much so that she is now turning everything into a slide, including our very dangerous stairs, much to my chagrin).
None of this prevented Hallie from having a grand time in the first bounce room. She just decided to do some heavy jumping instead:
Here she is in one of the bouncing structures with her brother Jake:
And here's a short video clip of Jake and his mom, Gina, doing "Ring Around the Rosie:"
But all was not lost on the sliding front. Some gentle persuasion, coupled with some lap sitting and hand holding convinced Hallie that it was okay to slide down the really big slide in the second bounce room.
Here she is on Gina's lap with Jake by her side:
From the look on her face at the bottom, you can tell that Hallie had a great time:
So did Jake (who has now asked for his 5th birthday party to be held at Bounce; Gina has granted this birthday request and I know that all of our kids will be thrilled).
Hallie then began to go down while holding hands with her cousins. Here she is with Hannah:
Adam followed right along:
Sarah descended while holding Lea:
Some of the kids were a little too small or timid to make it onto the giant slides, but they also had a great time.
Here's our micropreemie friend, Maggie:
Here's our micropreemie friend, Maggie:
Hallie had a wonderful time turning four. For those of you who sent gifts, I'll be getting to the thank you notes at some point soon! At least I did manage to finally post this entry. Stay tuned for highlights of our New England road trip. I'm hoping to get to it before the fall!
Then it was time for pizza.
Finally, it was time for cake. Hallie put in a special request for this one (a very delicious chocolate cake layered with chocolate pudding and frosted with chocolate butter cream from Wegman's):
She was mesmerized by the candle lighting.