Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Grace's Birthday

I was pretty dead-set against throwing a party for Grace this year. She hates that kind of attention, she has more toys than 99% of kids in this world, and she's had one every year since she was born--i thought we could take a year off :) Yet as her big day got closer she somehow convinced me to do it!

About 3 things i was absolutely positive. First, Grace had everything any almost 4 year old girl could ever need. Second, there was a part of me, and i didn't know how dominant that part might be, that thirsted for a charity-based party with hippie-friendly party favors. And third, i was unconditionally and irrevocably going to force everyone who came to re-use one of their "less-used" toys as a gift for Grace.

The party was a complete success. At the end of the day Grace and I were both really happy with how it all turned out :)

Grace LOVED the princess cake i attempted to make (this was one of those times when i was really, really grateful to not be a perfectionist--sorry to all you who are, just scroll down really fast....)

The main activity was painting flower pots, and planting the pansies that Grace and I would deliver to a Senior Care center just up the road from our place. It was so much fun. The kids mostly seemed to understand what they were doing, and who they were doing it for. And, for the party favor, all the kids got to go home with their very own white pot, a couple paint pens, a bag of soil, and a pansy to plant once they got home. Grace helped me paint all the pots white before the party

Here are the kids on a tarp in our dining room (it was freezing outside!) painting their pots

Reid was in charge of filling their pots with soil

My dad helped the kids pick which pansies they wanted to plant

The final product!!
We delivered these a few days later and the people there were so appreciative and loved knowing that a bunch of 3-4 year olds had painted these just for them!!

We played a few games outside (it was colder than we'd hoped for, but the kids didn't mind) and Reid had this AWESOME bubble-maker going

The kids are lined up ready to play Red Light, Green Light. This game is definitely more fun when half the kids don't have a clue how to play it!

The kids all ate cupcakes because it somehow seemed easier to make cupcakes than figuring out how to cut into and serve the doll cake.

Here are all nine of the kids at the party: Isabelle, Violet, Zach, Karly, Grace, Brae, Izzy, Maryn, and Ashton. Grace has some awesome friends!

Grace's friends all gave her the best gifts ever--and they didn't have to go BUY anything!
We also did a Toy Drive for the Denver Rescue Mission--so people brought toys/clothes/formula/diapers, etc that their kids no longer need for the kids in the shelters downtown. It took almost 2 weeks to get the stuff there, but in those two weeks we talked and talked and talked about how many kids there are that don't have any of the luxuries we have. And i really think that Grace gets it. She just kept adding toys of hers to the pile. She even got to the point where she was adding toys that she liked to the pile! That felt so huge to reid and me.

When we dropped the stuff off, there were a few homeless people in the park across the street, and Grace just looked and looked at them. And then, a few blocks down the road she said, in a really pensive kind of way, "I have lots of things, don't I." I don't know how to explain it, but I knew right then that a tiny little part of her really does understand how fortunate we really are. We've been talking about these children who don't have homes, who can't just go to the store and buy whatever food they need, who don't know about God and how much He loves them--and I really know that she understands a little bit of what we've talked about. Let's be honest, I'm 30 years old, and I still don't even have a clue about most of the heartache that exists in the world. But doing all of this with my sweet 4-year old has taught me a log about giving, spending, charity, selfishness, and about what things really matter to me and what things i want my girls to learn and know. I could write and write about all i've been thinking about lately, but really, no one now, or 30 years from now is gonna want to read my rambling :)
And now for the About Grace portion of this post:
Grace has been so sweet lately, i'm thinking that i'm really going to love the 4's! She's got such a big heart--i learn that more and more every day. She's such a good sister. I know i've said that so many times before, but she really is! As soon as Eliza wakes up from a nap Grace is the first one up there, playing with her in her crib, helping her sit up, and then doing silly things that make Eliza giggle uncontrollably. If Abby needs help, or gets hurt, Grace comes running to find me (and usually sends an unnecessary surge of panic thru my veins). Just today at the park Grace sat next to Eliza on the blanket and broke her crackers and cheerios into Eliza-bite-sized pieces and fed them to her. She often refers to her sisters as "sweetie" or "sweetheart"--the terms she hears me use :) She was wired to be a big sister!

Some things i love about Grace:

I love that she still announces it to whomever is in the room when she's got to go potty.
She has an AMAZING imagination--she can play with her toys by herself for almost 45 minutes--as long as at least one of those toys is some sort of a princess doll
She LOVES food! She eats just about everything. Her favorite foods are grapefruits, pears, bell peppers, grapes, smoothies, and applesauce. Her favorite sweets are ice cream and M&M's, and really anything that has sugar in it....poor deprived girl! :)
She has a way of making all of her little friends do exactly what she tells them to. We're not at all sure how it happens, but she controls them somehow...and i think it's hilarious!
She's still convinced that any toys left on the floor really will be sucked up by the vacuum...i have no intentions of EVER telling her that her life-sized Seraphina cat could never be vacuumed up :) She loves listening to the Shel Silverstein CD of poems we have
She is, by far, happiest when she's wearing a dress
When she's trying to convince Abby to do what she wants to do she slows down and repeats the first syllable of certain words. For example, "Abby, do you wa-wa-want to watch Ti-Ti-Tinkerbell with me?" or "Abby, let's go ju-ju-jump on mom's bed u-u-upstairs, okay"
I love listening to her sing the phrase "the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam"--it's almost like she's playing that MadGab game--the sounds and syllables are all there, but the words just ain't
She asks so many questions that are getting REALLY hard for me to answer! Like, "How are we all going to die?"--seriously, what do you say to that? she was NOT okay with the simple "No one knows" bit, so we talked about it for like 10 minutes!
She has her very own vocab. Here are a few examples: alotter=more (e.g. i have alotter apples than Abby); matter=mind/care (e.g. mom, do you matter about this dress or can i wipe my hands on it?). Also, her superlatives aren't always quite right, e.g. "i'm more beautifuler than her right now" (she equates beauty with the amount of accessories/clothing wearing--that's it.
She loves to give her toys away to her friends. almost every day she'll be playing with some toy and she'll say, "mom, i want to give this to so-and-so, forever. i don't even matter about it anymore."

Oh, I just love this girl!!! Happy Birthday, Grace!!!


Stacey Mom said...

That was such a cute post, what a sweet girl!

Kyrsten said...

Thanks for the great party. You are truly inspiring. I sometimes think Izzy is too young to understand certain things, but when given the task to give her things away to somebody that can't get things she was more than willing. I also needed a reminder of how blessed we truly are.

Reid said...

Great party. Great post. Love you.

The Busby Family said...

Great idea! You went to a lot of work! I can't believe Grace is 4 years old already. Happy Birthday Grace!!!

Karen said...

Awesome party Emily! I love you Gracie! Btw Em, nice use of twilight quotage :) It took me a while to figure out where I'd heard that before.

Marie said...

What a great idea for a party. Having fun and teaching compassion at the same time.