Saturday, June 29, 2013

American Birthday Girl

Sophie turned lucky number seven, although we feel like to fortunate ones, just having her around.  You know what they say about small packages...  I tell you what -- this kid is a good thing!  

Art is this lady's passion, in a way I haven't seen before.  She can smell a colored pencil or oil pastel or watercolor a mile away, and is compelled to pick it up and put it to creative use.  She also loves science and nature.  

Here's a funny tidbit: she's a selective thrill-seeker.  She gets uncomfortably shy around new people, yet there's never any hesitation when it comes to thrill rides at amusement parks or watching movies with a spooky edge.

Kiddo is up for a good time, but she's also got an internal maturity about certain things.  For example (and I'm sorry this is a little graphic): she is an incredible barfer.  She has fantastic timing and aim, with no sort of afterdrama.  She just takes care of it.  Sometimes I don't know until the next morning that she's been sick.  With my own history, I consider this a little miracle from God that she was born this way.  And she's particularly watchful and sensitive to her sister, whether Millie is hurt or busted by Mom.  She's ready with a tender back-rub or hug.  She was also born with an unbelievable memory.  

We've been impressed recently with her thoughtful problem solving techniques.  Sometimes she'll plan ahead when she anticipates a sticky social situation by explaining to us what her game plan for a fair resolution might be.  A few days ago, she faced the awful situation many adults encounter -- she had to choose between two great things.  It was difficult to watch this kid wrestle internally, but we let her.  She made a choice, and explained her rationale.  It was awesome!

Favorite books:  anything she can read herself.  Favorite movies:  anything with Haley Mills.  Also the Pirates of the Carribean series.  She really wants a bunny for a pet.  

For her birthday un-party, Sophie asked if we could just have a few neighbor friends over with their American Girl dolls for a picnic.  Ummmm.... yeah!  We chose an all-American patriotic theme.  Same deal: short and sweet and simple.  And again, decor just fell out of the sky, by way of a collection of American Girl paraphernalia coupled with dollar store treasures and leftover wedding flowers (in adorably perfect vintage containers) in just the right colors that our friend offered up that very day!  Can you say "meant to be?!"   

Cute girls and their dolls enjoy a simple picnic on gingham blankets: grilled hot dogs, watermelon and Sophie's favorite sour cream & cheddar chips with vintage sodas.

Our retro wagon

Here's what is left of our activity.  We made vintage style patriotic crowns the girls could take home and wear for the 4th of July, with miniature versions to decorate for their dolls.  Within moments, the table was strewn with metallic ribbon, ric-rac, flag motif emblems, tulle and sparkly stars.  Instead of guiding the girls in any particular creative direction, we let them be personally inspired!

This was one of those last-minute-the-guests-are-coming-and-mommy's-reviewing-the-sewing-machine-owner's-manual deals, but oh boy, was Sophie proud to have matching outfits with her Caroline doll!

Did I mention this girl would take apple pie over fancy cupcakes any day?!  Here she goes again, making a wish on a crumble crust birthday pie!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Birthday Fairy

Sweet Millie turned four this summer!  She has truly graduated from toddler to little girl.  She remains the most affectionate and validating little person I've ever met; it is as though her default language is compliments, snuggles and "I love you"s.  Her trademark blonde bob is befitting her cheerful personality.  

Favorite books:  Princess Baby, Kiki's Blankie, Millie's Marvelous Hat, Rainbow Fish and anything by Mo Willems (but particularly That is NOT a Good Idea!).  Far and away, her favorite movie is "Babes in Toyland" with Annette Funicello.  It is so sweet.  Purple is her clear choice for anything with color -- clothing, crayons, game pieces, candy.  

She still sucks her thumb to sleep at night and snuggles with her blankies, though we've made a rule they must stay in her bedroom now.  We don't mind a few soothing tools but we don't need a Linus, after all.  Soon, these habits may change, as the doctor reported she needs a tonsillectomy.

She's so tall and leggy, she once reported her preschool teacher told her she should be a "baskee-ball girl" when she grows up, but with her femininity and sparkle, I think she's more likely to put those legs to use in ballet.  Still, who knows?  Millie is a child whose interests and strengths are still to be discovered.  I can't wait to watch her grow!  

This year, we opted for a short-and-sweet neighborhood playdate with the girls instead of a blowout birthday bash.  I committed to spend very little money and the fewest man-hours possible, and just make it about Millie.  From a stash of dress-up wings I picked up at the dollar store a while back, a fairy theme grew.  The day before I stumbled upon a few ridiculously inexpensive little whimsical woodland fairy village type pieces, so I added a little decor to the day, with plans to add them to our new garden in the future.  It was the simplest and most relaxed celebration to date -- and it was so great!

Pixie homes were tucked in our front planters, with little wooden ladders for fairy access.

Our front door, with banners made of images of flower fairies from a vintage children's book I found online and a wreath featuring the birthday girl.

Started off with coloring pages, as usual

We had a simple craft activity -- I nabbed some tree branches from our other property for woodland fairy wands.  Each girl affixed a tulle ball on top and tied a few ribbons for extra magic.
Then, the ladies used their wands for a fairy hunt Sophie coordinated all on her own.

Our supply/display table with more woodland fairy villages -- including a darling windmill and a garden bench!
She seems happy with her digs.
Multitasking fairy wings -- I hung them as a decorative overhead banner, then passed them out as favors. 
On our way to the bakery to pick up a cake, the girls excitedly asked if they could bake one instead.  You know what?  I just went with it.  I turned the car toward the grocery store to pick up a mix, pre-made purple frosting and a few random embellishments of Millie's choice.  It turned out the be such a fun experience to create this cake!  It was just what she wanted!
Make a wish!