Welp, baby girl has done it again – gotten another year older, gotten braver and funnier and taller and awesomer.

Juliette officially turned four on Thursday, kicking off a veritable birthday bonanza.  I got up early that morning to tie a big balloon on her bed, then hovered outside her room waiting for her to stir.  She rolled over and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, her face slowly cracking open into a huge grin as she discovered the giant pink 4 bobbing just over her head.  I smothered her with kisses and birthday exclamations, telling her how four years ago at that time, she was so close to coming out of my belly, how I was at the hospital with Daddy and Nancy and the doctor excitedly waiting to hold her in my arms.  Feels like forever ago…

We breakfasted at Juliette’s favorite coffee shop and then I dropped her off at school with 20 mini-cupcakes, to be shared with all her classmates.  She was so proud, felt so all-important, strutting in with all that sugar.  When we picked her up that evening, she was wearing a birthday crown and clutching a gift from her favorite teacher.  Queen for a day!

We had asked her what she wanted for her special birthday dinner and without hesitation she requested meatballs and pizza and ice cream from Tutta Bella, so we met up with the Chens, happy to indulge her (and ourselves).

Happy Birthday to Youuuuuuu!

Juliette opened her gifts from Shane and me back at home and then we put a bow on Day 1 of the birthday bonanza.

On Friday we went to the coffee shop and the park and put together Juliette’s new Moana Lego set and then, magically, she spent nearly an hour quietly doing crafts in her room, happy to have her birthday balloon as her only company.  Dare I hope that we’re entering new realms of independence?!

We ended the day at the Rusts’ for our weekly family dinner, and while I forgot to get any pics of the birthday decorations Nancy had sweetly strung up around the house, I did get this photo of the kids poring over the Zelda manual.  All three of them, obsessed.

Saturday was the big event, the birthday bash that we’d been planning for the previous few weeks.  Juliette really wanted a party where she could play in the water and while I wasn’t sure that beach weather would stick around in Seattle through mid-September, we crossed our fingers and went for it, purchasing sand pails and beach balls and water squirters as party favors, planning a menu of bbq ribs and watermelon and cupcakes.  And Saturday at Gene Coulon was glorious.  A little hazy, but sunny and warm enough to go for a dip.  What a way to bid hello to Four and farewell to Summer.

There were no magicians or princesses or bounce houses, no Pinterest-worthy decorations, but this was everything we wanted.

The kids took a brief break from splashing around to join the grown-ups on the beach blankets for dinner.

So much lovely mayhem, with wet jeans and watermelon slices dropped in the sand and peanut butter and jelly smeared on toddler cheeks…this is our party scene now.

Juliette came down with a bout of shyness when I brought out the cupcakes and everyone gathered around, so we skipped the singing and let Shane blow out her candle.  I get it, kiddo…being the life of the party can be exhausting!

Buoyed by a sugar boost, Juliette wanted to go back in the water, but only to get her hair wet – not her feet.  Think I can pull off this stunt when she’s five?!

Nance wrote the kindest note to Jules and Isaiah read it aloud to her and I just about cried.  “We are so happy that you are part of our life and our chosen family.  You inspire all four of us with your bravery, your spunk, your enthusiasm, and your amazing laugh.  We love you SO much…”

And now, she’s four.  SHE’S FOUR.  And I’m fine.  I’M FINE.  Sweet Jesus, I miss my baby girl, and looking back over the past year’s photos and videos did send me into a tailspin of panic over how fast this growing-up thing is all happening, but there’s no doubt that we’re loving the journey.  Happiest of Birthdays, Juliette Grace.  You have given us so many reasons to celebrate.

One Comment

  1. Michelle Hart says:

    Awwww, what a special video!!!