These were her surprises when she woke up this morning - a crown and a party blower (thank you, Dollar Tree) and the birthday library book we'd read last night - it was just there to hold down . . .
. . . her balloon! Thank you, again, Dollar Tree!
Thanks to a wonderful friend for watching the boys, she and I had a special Mommy/Daughter Birthday Breakfast at IHOP (also thanks to the free Birthday meals they offer via e-mail). She was excited to have a knife. Not sure if we should be concerned yet.
No worries, though, because she's four - she's a big girl, now!
We played Rory's Story Cubes to pass the time while waiting for our food. I love her stories. They're pretty basic, but they always end happily ever after.
And when her food came, she put that knife to work. I was rather impressed. Mommy did not cut one bite of food for her - and she polished that whole plate.
And the ice cream that followed. Ice cream for breakfast - what else does a girl need?
And this is pretty much how Emmett spent the morning. He didn't get ice cream for breakfast, you can tell.
With her self-made party hat (and crown) - and, yep, she's still four.
She woke up early from her nap, which meant she got to help Mommy make the lasagna for dinner. This photo kind of sums up her feelings on that. She's a big fan of helping in the kitchen.
The outdoor decor. She personally requested each of these decorations (though I would have used them anyway). And that furniture set, in case you're wondering, was a $10 steal from our neighbors' future garage sale (you guys rock!).
Daddy and Dia used their lung power to fill the birthday tent with balloons.
Presents in the tent, per her request. And, yes, she really did alternate - present, card, present, card - as she planned - she didn't really care if the card went with the present, either, just as long as she had one between each gift. And, somehow, the numbers worked perfectly. Whew.
Joey liked this part, too.
I think the cake met her high standards.
I only lit two of the candles because after the first lighting left it's mark on Belle's arm, we were afraid to get the flame too close.
She didn't seem to notice.
All decked out in her bike gear. Such a big girl!
Unfortunately, the training wheels she received didn't cooperate with my $10 thrift store find of a bicycle, so we made an impromptu trip to Wal-Mart for her to choose her brand new, shiny, pink and purple bike (and, fortunately for us, she happened to favor the cheapest one in the store - she's her Momma's daughter!).
And Daddy helped her ride it out of the store.
So, she got decked out again and went for a ride on the patio.
And even asked if she could share with her brother, who may have been less skilled than she but still loved feeling like a big kid.
And that was that.
Every moment of this day was a gift, as has been every moment of the past four years. It seems to have gone by so quickly and, yet, just slow enough to savor. I love this girl so much and am looking forward to continuing to watch her (and, hopefully, mold her) as she grows.