I know you have all been waiting for the party update - and perhaps some pictures to go along with it, so here goes!
M absolutely LOVES to play in her sandbox - which happens to be the same turtle sandbox that my sister played in when she was a kid. You know, the big plastic kind with the lid. Yes, we still have it (a true testament to 1- my family's inability to throw away something that may be useful again "someday" and 2- the truth to the statement that plastic will not break down for millenia). But I digress....
M LOVES to play in her sandbox, so I decided to expand that idea a little bit for her birthday party and have 3 sandboxes and some other fun outdoor toys - it was Extreme Playdate: Birthday Edition! I used 2 small plastic kiddie pools, 200 pounds of sand, 5 sand pails , 4 super-duper shovels, 3 gigantic pinwheels, 2 track-making toy trucks, 1 gigantic beach blanket and more to complete the theme.
It was just a little bit warm outside, and as morning moved into noontime, our shade quickly disappeared. We had plenty of drinks on hand (40 juice pouches, 24 bottles of water, and four 2-liter drinks, to continue the counting theme....) to keep both kids and parents cool, refreshed, and happy. See that smile on our youngest party guest?
After some light snacks, we got down to business - time to blow out the candles and cut the cake!
See that birthday cake? Made by Grandma RL, it's the famous turtle sandbox in miniature! By the way, that's not really sand. Now, take a close look at the pink bucket on the table - the one that barely made it into the shot. For two birthdays in a row (yes, for those of you out there counting, that would be both of Miss M's birthdays) I have provided a non-traditional sort of cake. My Mom thinks you have to have something to actually cut, so she provides the baked-in-the-oven sort to complement the party theme. Again, I digress.... That pink bucket holds my creation - Sand Cake! It was loads of fun to make, and yummy, too (not just patting myself on the back, there, either!). It, too, was made with "fake" sand - aka Vanilla Wafers pulverized to sand-sized bits by the food processor. Hooray for small kitchen appliances!
To all the folks who had cameras at the party - if you have a family shot with no eyes winking and fingers pointing, could you email it my way? I know there's no way to make my hair look any better (in addition to hot, it was also humid...). For those of you wondering, my kids really can't sit still for pictures. J will either wink, give a thumbs up, or cut his eyes away at just the "right moment." M will wink, reach for the camera to "see it" even though you haven't had the chance to snap the shot, or just generally wiggle and try to get away. It's like trying to photograph that crazy squirrel from Over the Hedge.... If anyone did get the "miracle shot" though, would you email it to me?
Maggie is great at blowing out the candles, but instead I decided to include a shot to show you how much Miss M enjoyed the "cuttable" cake (and prove to you that it wasn't really sand on the cake!).
Finally, some shout-outs to the folks who really helped make the day extra-special:
Grandma RL and Aunt L - for helping with the day-before-the-party shopping and other prep work, especially the turtle sandbox cake
Grandpa H and MeMaw M.A. - for making a (long) day trip to come and celebrate with us (can't wait to see you at the beach - and see the new bikes)
Grandma and Grandpa R - for also making a (long) day trip to come and celebrate with us (by the way, J wants to come and play on your swingset soon - he forgot to tell you until you were already driving away!)
Of course, all of our friends - our local "family" - who came to celebrate with us. In the hustle and bustle of the party, and of daily life in general, I know we don't tell you often enough how much each and every one of you means to each of us. With our parents and siblings living so far away, you truly are family to us. We are so thankful that you are a part of our lives, and treasure you so very much. Thank you for helping us to celebrate another milestone in our lives, and in the life of our sweet Miss M.