This weekend our first-born daughter turned eight years old. I mean really - where does the time go? After five weeks of bed rest, my doctor sent Curt and I out of her office with a wink and instructions to go get an ice cream cone and meet her back at the hospital in a few hours to have a baby. An hour and a half after she broke my water, Kaitlin Joy was in our arms. Kaitlin means pure and Katie has lived up to her name of "pure joy" from day one.
She began her birthday celebration on Friday night by inviting seven friends over for a birthday party. The kids painted picture frames, dined on pizza, carrots, baked Cheetos, strawberry lemonade, root beer and mint dessert (Katie's menu choice), posed for pictures, painted their nails, and splashed around in our back yard pool. The sound of splashing and giggling girls filled our back yard and I was once again taken to a place of complete joy and awe that God would choose to make me a mommy not once or twice but four times over.
Kaitlin's party wasn't that different from Grant's dude party a few months ago - same basic agenda, same menu, same amount of kids, but completely different atmosphere. Curt and I silently giggled at how quiet and well-mannered the girls were compared to the boys. They sat at the table and talked among themselves, worked meticulously on their craft, used their napkins not their shirts, and asked politely for more pizza.
Some party highlights for me included:
- Watching Taylor, who is normally rather reserved, cut loose and be a crazy woman in the pool. She took Grant on in a splash war and held her own with a huge smile on her dripping wet face.
- Macy, who has two brothers, decided not to get wet and opted to paint nails instead. Grant, who was the only boy among 10 girls, dripped his way toward the nail painting station. Macy looked up and without missing a beat quipped in a gruff voice, "You want your nails painted Grant?" Grant took her up on her offer and painted a few of his nails much to the delight and squeals of the girls.
- Makayla and Kaitlin have been friends for awhile but can never seem to coordinate their schedules to play together much outside of school. It was fun to get to know Makayla who laughs freely and has the most adorable and infectious giggle. She thought Grant's attempt to be funny were quite entertaining and at one point between giggles said, "You have your own built-in entertainment."
- Maddy, who did not know that Katilin had wished for a "best friends necklace" for her birthday, gave Katie just that along with a really sweet homemade card serenading their friendship. She and I made a whispered bet while Katie was opening gifts about what side of the necklace Kaitlin would choose and we were right!
After Kaitlin's friends left, we let the kids stay up late and we piled on the couches, snuggled and watched a movie as a family.
Saturday was Katie's actual birthday. When all the kids were awake, she opened presents and I got the funniest picture of all the kids with major bed-head and sun-kissed skin. Her breakfast order was sausage, waffles and scrambled eggs with cheese and we had such a laid-back morning that it was close to 10:30 before breakfast was cleaned up and we we were moving on to greater and grander things.
My favorite part of Katie's birthday was our one-on-one time together. It was a blissfully beautiful day (but Katie always gets great weather on her birthday) and I was heading out for a run. At the last minute, she opted to ride her bike with me. While I ran, she rode next to me and chattered away about all the things important to eight-year-old girls. The miles flew by and I was disappointed that we had to come home.
After lunch we headed to Grandma Ru and Grandpa Terry's where the kids swam in the pool and showed off how much their swimming skills are improving. Those swim lessons have been worth their weight in gold! I sat on the side of the pool with my non-waterproof splint and watched them jump to Curt, swim the length of the pool, and generally have a blast. Katie and Alli finished their time with a "grand finale" where they jumped in together holding hands.
After swimming, we headed into downtown Portland for some play time before church. We toured "Sand in the City," a fundraiser where artist sculpt amazing images out of piles of sand. Katie had a blister that was bleeding so I asked one of the EMT's for a bandaid. He was clearly bored and the next thing I knew he had Katie in the back of the ambulance getting the royal treatment. He took so much time cleansing and bandaging her "wound" that Curt poked his head around the corner to make sure she wasn't getting CPR. We stumbled upon a Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop and ate dinner backwards by getting cones for everyone and filling the tiny shop with the "Happy Birthday" song. Customers kept stopping by our table wishing Katie happy birthday and her shy but proud smile was so cute.
We capped the day off with a wonderful evening worshipping Jesus at church and dining at the free BBQ afterward. The ride home was a mix of chatter re-living the day, tired pauses, and random singing. Bedtime was easy after such a full day and the upstairs fell silent very quickly.
It's hard to believe Katie is already eight years old or that she was the chubbiest of all our babies. Now tall and skinny, sweet and kind, reserved but outgoing, a friend to everyone and follower of Jesus, she is such a gift to us. Happy birthday sweet girl. We love you!