We kicked off the festivities with our annual trip to Chuck E. Cheese. To see how Bryn has grown since previous years, check out this link from last year. This year, we got smart and ate dinner at home beforehand, since trying to keep the kids in the booth with all the lights and noise is definitely a losing task. Both Bryn and Shay loved the rides and games, and Ben and I were kept quite busy chasing them around all night!
Here's one of our big girl opening her mound of gifts. These were the presents from me and Ben, with a few from Grandpa Dave and Grandma Diane mixed in. She had a whole separate gift-opening spree with gifts from Nana Helen, Papa Tom, and Grammy Tina. She even got to open her presents from Aunt Jill and Uncle Jim this past weekend, and we're hoping to meet up with Uncle Brian soon for some delayed celebration. So she has certainly been a busy girl! Most of the gifts from us were books, although she also received a Strawberry Shortcake DVD, a "big girl" belt (which she had been asking for), some new shirts, and a purse shaped like Minnie Mouse's head, which she adores.
Here are the birthday girl and her mama following her party at preschool. As you can see, she is holding up 4 fingers to advertise her age. :) She decided that she wanted an "animal party" at school, so we got animal cups and plates for snacks, which were frosted animal crackers, and made gift bags with all kinds of animal-themed snacks (Goldfish, Teddy Grahams, animal-shaped fruit snacks) and games (coloring book, craft) in them.
As a side note, can you believe her outfit? Way too trendy for me! She is obsessed with those boots and wants to wear them every day. Such a little fashion diva!
And another side note - yes, I know that I'm getting big. More baby news to follow....
Bryn's big birthday bash was the Saturday following her birthday. Let me tell you, this party wore me out. I worked on getting it ready literally every day for a month beforehand. Yes, I am THAT mom, who goes totally over the top. But hey, our next-door neighbors had a bounce house in their backyard when their little girl turned 4! I can't shell out that kind of money, but I can get crafty, so that's what we did. Bryn wanted a Strawberry Shortcake party (she actually says she loves Strawberry Shortcake more than princesses these days--whoa!), so I got creative and set up all kinds of games, crafts, food, gift bags, decorations, etc. that went with that. It took a LOT longer to pull together when doing it all from scratch, and Ben swears that I need to write an instruction manual of everything I did and sell it online. Meanwhile, I'm already wondering how I'll have time to plan two separate parties next year, since Shay will get her first official birthday party next year as well (Bryn's was also when she turned 3). What can I say? I've always had somewhat of a desire to become an event planner, so maybe I'm just practicing. :) At any rate, here's the birthday girl in her strawberry shirt and Strawberry Shortcake hat before the party began.
And here's a picture of the actual festivities, Bryn with her "pin the strawberry on Strawberry" game. You might also notice the Froot Loop necklace, a remnant of another game. She had 9 friends over (she made the guest list herself--so big!!), plus their parents and siblings, plus Nana Helen, Papa Tom, Grammy Tina, Aunt Kristin and her boyfriend Brian. So we had quite the full house! I know I had a great time though (with the exception of my aching legs, which is pretty par for the course for when this pregnant lady overdoes it), and Bryn was over the top with excitement. Thanks to all who shared in the special day!
My own birthday was also mostly a good one. I say "mostly" because we started out the day with dental appointments for the whole family (do I know how to party or what?!?!), which were met by varying degrees of whimpering from all of us. The day definitely improved from there, though, featuring lunch out with my friend Jill, a nice nap, and dinner at Puccini's with Ben and the girls. I also received literally hundreds of birthday wishes via phone, email, and Facebook, so I felt quite loved. While 31 isn't nearly the fun of turning 4, it was still a good day.
Coming soon (tomorrow?)..... announcements and updates about the baby.