Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Happy Birthday Kate!

On January 19th, our darling little girl turned 4 years old. We still can't believe it! We're so grateful that Kate was HOME for this special day!

We started the morning of her birthday with chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a candle. She told me she was si bpi (4 years old) and so was Pooh, Belle, and Bunny (so they each got a happy birthday song too!) She LOVED the 4 balloons we tied on her chair (I'm not sure if she's ever had a balloon before?) She called them "baboons" and played with them for more than an hour... pulling them around the house, giggling and clapping her hands!  (Friends and family with our password - you can watch the video of our morning below!)

The plan for the day was simple - to say "YES" as much as possible and to give Kate all of our attention. We thought we might take her to feed the ducks, get ice cream, and ride the train at the zoo - but it rained ALL day, and she was honestly happy to stay at home as long as she got to play with both of us. She sat at the window and watched the rain fall several times throughout the day, exclaiming "Fon!" (Rain!) again and again. Most kids would be sad that it rained on their birthday, but our little raindrop (Namfon) loves the rain!

We played playdough for at least an hour that morning, played with her balloons, and then coaxed her out for lunch at Surin (she was so happy to eat Thai food again! She loves Pad See Ew!) Bunny came with us to lunch, and she was SO excited when she got her own wearable baby carrier (just like ours) to put him in!

When we got home we watched Enchanted (one of her favorite movies), played playdough for another hour or two, and then Uncle Brent came for a surprise visit. Then it was time for "rockabye bunny" and reading books to her bunnies. We surprised her at the end of the night with her very first bubble bath, and she giggled all the way through it!

The night ended with one of our many beautiful Nancy Tillman books, lots of kisses from Papa, Kate singing "There's Just Something About That Name" with me, and finally falling asleep on my chest.

It was such a simple, sweet day - but it filled my heart to overflowing. We adore this beautiful, smart, funny, brave, silly, kind, compassionate little girl, and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to get to be her Mama!

On Saturday we had the sweetest little birthday party full of precious friends for our beautiful little girl! I still can't believe I was able to throw it together after only a month home with Kate (especially when that month also included Christmas and my birthday! Whew!) - but your baby's first birthday party is too special to skip (even if it's for her 4th birthday). ✨

When we got matched with Kate at 3 years old, I grieved the lost years with her hard (and still do at times). I was heartbroken to know she'd experienced so many years (and 3 birthdays) without a family. I prayed hard for God to help us get her home before she turned 4, and dreamed of a party with 4 little cakes to represent and re-celebrate each birthday we missed. I'm so grateful that Carrie Faucher Allen (a very talented baker here in Birmingham) could fit us in to make these gorgeous cakes without much notice. Aren't they just darling!? Those delicate, gilded ruffles were almost too pretty to eat!

We kept the party short and simple. Just cake and punch with us, my parents, and the handful of neighbor kids she plays with regularly in attendance. She gasped when she saw the decorations, and spent all morning telling me in Thai that her friends were coming and that it was her birthday! Kate loved the attention, and happily stood on her chair in her tutu as everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to her 4 times! (For family and friends with the password, you can watch the video below!) I know she missed her friends from Thailand on this day (she asked for her best friend first thing that morning) and that broke my heart for her. But I'm so grateful for her new friends here who came to celebrate her! 

Kate dug into her smash cake (she may be 4, but we gave her cake #1 all for herself just like we would have on her first birthday) and it was adorable! She also let her friends help her open her presents (she is so great at sharing!) Her favorites were definitely her baby carrier, stroller, and pink umbrella!

She would not take off her birthday tutu for the rest of the day - and she was just the cutest thing wearing it around! She went outside after her party to play with her new toys in the (unexpectedly warm) January sunshine. She blew bubbles with her new bubble wand from Auntie Shell & Uncle Jaron, and pushed bunny around in her new stroller for hours. She had so much fun playing "Mama" to him!

I wish I could show you all the photos from Kate's beautiful birthday shoot, but we cannot share her face publicly (as we are still meeting our post placement requirements and waiting to finalize our adoption). She was such a little ham though! She had so much fun modeling for us! We were thrilled for the opportunity to finally do a professional shoot with her, and we're completely in love with how the images turned out. After taking pictures of families here in Birmingham through RJackson Media, and children around the world for The Sound of Hope - it sure was special to photograph our own little girl on her special day!

(Playing peek-a-boo with Mama during her first photo shoot!)

Happy birthday darling! We loved celebrating you this year, 
and we look forward to many more years of singing Happy Birthday to YOU! 

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