On the morning of Kaia's 3rd Birthday, she picked out her clothes, dressed herself and when she stepped out of our bedroom it was to find one shiny balloon and one shiny wrapped gift. She paid no mind to the gift, but was so instantly ecstatic about the balloon that Papa's 2:30am extra stop on his way home from work was immediately worth it. She stared in wonder for a moment, then ran to the stairs to shout to my Dad, (who was staying with us to help with reclaiming our basement after a flooding,)
"Papy!! There's a balloon in our house!"
"Wow, who do you think it is for?"
"I don't know!!"
"I think it is for you for your Birthday."
Thus commences the running about, trailing a balloon and squealing happily in sheer joy until she decided she was hungry. What she wanted for breakfast was to make her own pancakes. Completely by herself. She usually helps cook, and she does quite a bit herself anyway, but this time she wanted absolutely no scooping, measuring, pouring, or stirring assistance. We told her things like, "2 cups of flour" and after 5 partially filled cups we would tell her that she probably had enough, but aside from that, she did every step of the process on her own. Because she is 3 now, and there is nothing she cannot do.
As the pan warmed up she eventually took notice of the gift on the table.
"I wonder who that gift is for?"
"It's for you, Kaia, for your Birthday."
"I wonder if I can open it..."
So as the first pancake started cooking, we sat down in a rare February sunbeam in the living room to open her gift.
After opening her present, we all ate her pancakes, which were actually very good and not even lumpy. She had fun all day trying her best to distract Papy from getting any work done and had some sweet snuggles and reading time with him before saying goodbye. That night she had a special ice cream treat, covered in sprinkles that she put on herself, of course.
Then, happy and exhausted, she curled up in her chair with her balloon and fell asleep, face still covered with ice cream.
The following weekend was her Birthday party. Kaia wanted a dinosaur party. She wore the special skirt she'd picked out at the store and the shirt I made for her with a big number 3 on the front.
I semi-mentioned that the basement had flooded and was being worked on. Well, we managed to have almost everything done by her party, including getting our new carpet in (yay!) but our paint was held up, so the walls were prepped, but unpainted. The carpet is made out of corn sugar and it is so fantastic!
Over the last month and a half, Kaia has helped me work on some dino decorations for her party. We had big long rolls of brown paper that came to us wrapping our dishes. I squirreled it away because it is coated and not recyclable, but it was so much paper, and in such long pieces! I didn't know what we'd use it for, but it had way too much potential to throw away. We used it to line the basement walls, taped two pieces together to make a volcano, and rolled a couple more pieces up to make tree trunks. We tore strips of (previously gifted to us,) tissue paper to make lava exploding from the volcano, and Kaia also gave it some flows of red glitter glue. I cut open a couple brown paper bags and Kaia painted them green for me to cut into the tree leaves. I sketched out a little triceratops, a pterodactyl and some grass tufts and Kaia helped me paint them. We left the center horn off the triceratops so that we could use it to play pin-the-horn-on-the-dinosaur, which is why it is covered in horns in these pictures.
Kaia's friends, (the ones that are kids, anyway,) range from 2 years old to 12 years old, so we went easy on organized games and tried to pick ones everyone would be able to play together. This is Kaia having the bandanna tied over her eyes and being spun by some of her friends to pin her horn on.
The results of pin-the-horn-on-the-triceratops, I like the one on the grass!
We played two other games and the rest of the time they just had fun playing, I came out feeling that the "planned" activities were just right, woot! For one game, I handed them each a sheet of dinosaur stickers and the object was to get all your stickers on other kids while getting the least amount of stickers on yourself. They had a ton of fun with that, and a week later Kaia would still run around cheerfully shouting, "Oh, no! Stickers! Not stickers!" I also painted some spots on easter eggs to magically turn them into dinosaur eggs, (because everyone knows dinosaurs laid spotted eggs, right?) filled them with jelly beans, and hid them around the basement for everyone to hunt for.
After games and play wound down Kaia opened her gifts.
The dinosaur cake pan was borrowed from my parents and is the same pan that was used for my older brother's dinosaur Birthday party 20 some years ago! Papa Juise's Mum kindly baked it for us and my Mum iced and decorated it, because we were crazy with everything else we had to do. Is it not so cute?
Kaia blew out her candles and I don't think anyone noticed they were eating a vegan cake, neither the kids nor the adults. :)
Kaia was overjoyed to have her friends that used to come to our house every day for daycare back in our home, and Miss Katalin was super excited about all the commotion and children everywhere. She had fun pitching her own squeals into the great ruckus. And balloons. She loved the balloons.
Kaia's cousin stayed the night and they played until very late. Neither of them wanted him to leave the next day and they were all sweet hugs. <3