Another year, another pandemic birthday for our girl… I thought this was the year we’d make her dreams of a bowling alley bash come true, but Delta had other plans, so we adjusted course and kept things small again.  Small in numbers, that is, but big on joy.

Juliette’s birthday week began with an hour-long horseback ride on a trail down in Maple Valley.  We spent the morning of her ride poring over the riding program’s website, reading about the personalities of each of the owner’s dozen horses.  We rolled up to the horse trailer that afternoon and Juliette started calling out the names of her new equine friends as she recognized them from their pictures.  “There’s Teddy, Mama!  And Tinker!  And Kid!”

She was over the moon when she found out she’d be riding Jack, a sweet, mellow Appaloosa.

Shane rode Dakota, a gorgeous though slightly stubborn dark horse.  (Isaac and I held down the fort back at the trail head.)

Off they go!

They moseyed on back an hour later, Juliette looking very much at home on Jack as she pulled on his reins to bring him to a stop.

We ended the day with a hug from Kid and a promise that we’d be back for another visit.

Juliette’s actual birthday was on a Tuesday, so there wasn’t time for much fanfare before school.  Still, Shane managed to pick up donuts and I managed to stick a candle in her chocolate bar.

I spent the morning decorating the living room so that Juliette came home that afternoon to a celebration zone.  SURPRISE!

We kept gifts simple, but Juliette was thrilled with her new pair of boots, her set of sparkly rings, and the card that promised Mama would take her out for a pedicure later that week.

Dinner was her choice, which meant that she and Shane picked up burritos from the taco truck after soccer practice.  Ice cream and pie for dessert!

Nancy and I took her out for her salon pedicure on Friday and she LOVED it.  I was pretty pumped about the date myself, as I had given up on painting my own toenails sometime back in June when I was no longer able to reach my feet over my pregnant belly.

The owner of the salon was super-sweet and threw in a manicure for Juliette when she learned it was her birthday.

The grand finale of birthday week was a cozy movie night at home with a few of Juliette’s school friends.

…and then an impromptu dance party when we found ourselves with 20 minutes between the end of the movie and the scheduled parent pick-up.

And with that, she is EIGHT!  Happiest of birthdays, big sis.