Warning: This is a picture heavy post!
I love birthdays. I love celebrating them as much and as long as possible. So, we started the birthday celebration on Thursday by taking the twins to our favorite toy store to pick out presents for each other, and then playing at the bounce house!
They were so excited because they got to eat lunch at the Bouncy Castle! I didn't know they served lunch before...
The next day, Papa & Gigi were here (they arrived during the night), and we went back to Jackson to run various errands and eat lunch at our favorite Chinese Buffet for the last time with the twins eating for free.
Then we came home and began the preparations. I wanted everything to be finished before I went to bed, so that I could just enjoy getting ready in the morning.
I wanted to surprise the twins with balloons all over their floor and streamers across the door, but didn't want to do it before going to bed in case they needed to get up during the night. I was planning on getting up early, and doing it before they woke up, but they surprised me by waking up at 6am! They were excited about their birthday...so we put out their clothes for them to get dressed, and set up our birthday fun in the hall :)
Playing in the balloons.
While they waited for breakfast to bake (monkey bread!), we let them open their presents from us. The first present was the mini aquariums for each of them to get a fish. They have been wanting pets for forever, and had specifically requested fish. We thought they were old enough to be (somewhat) responsible for a pet, and fish are an easy, inexpensive way to go. We also got them light up shoes - because Allie said the best thing about being 4 would be getting light up shoes, so we thought we'd better make sure that was true!
We also let them open their present and cards from the great grandparents and great aunts and uncles. Mostly because those all involved money, and I knew it would be more likely to get lost if they opened it during the party. I thought spreading out the gifts was a brilliant idea. Instead it sort of ignited a fire to open presents that would not be quenched until every present was opened at the party. They were more excited than Christmas.
I asked the twins what they wanted their birthday theme to be this year. Ryan said, "Trains," and Allie said, "Planes." So that's what we did!
The best decoration, by far, was the cardboard box train Papa made. I gave him some boxes, showed him a few pictures of what other people had done, and told him I didn't really care as long as it was somewhat arranged like a train. He went ALL OUT!
Every kid took a turn driving and riding in the train at some point during the party.
They had a blast giving rides.
And look at the detail! He even did the point in the front! It is amazing, and will probably get a lot of use long after the party.
We did 1 game - a paper airplane competition. Sadly, the one that went the farthest was crumpled into a ball of paper and tossed. Paper engineers we are not. Then the twins were desperate to open presents so that got started.
With one of their presents - a mini golf course from Uncle Nic and Aunt Ariel.
Allie's FAVORITE gift - blimps from Uncle Grant! She has been playing with her blimp family, and sleeping with her cuddly blimp ever since!
Hugs for the presents.
We moved pretty quickly into eating lunch (I did packaged lunches like you would get on a plane. The beauty being that it was minimal effort). And then the cupcakes!
Blowing out their candles!
And then we played. Dress up was a favorite.
Even Poppy played!
The biggest entertainment was one of the presents (stomp rockets). I have some videos of the kids (and adults) having a blast. I just need to figure out how to get it off the camcorder...All in all, I think it was a fun party. The twins enjoyed themselves for sure, and that's all that really matters!
Sunday we went to pick out their fish! Introducing the newest members of the family!
Racey (as in race-y, as in having a racing quality).
I wanted Allie to pick a fish with a brighter color (worried that the faded color might mean a less healthy fish), but she was confident this was her fish. She couldn't have picked one better! Racey is active and loves to show off. When she moves, she likes to zip around, which Allie loves.
Gracie (name taken from our favorite fish book).
Sure, Gracie is a boy, but Ryan refused to pick any other name, and the he-fish seems to pull it off. I was sure Ryan would pick a blue fish, and he originally did, but then he saw this one and no other would do. Turns out he could not have picked a fish more like him if he tried. Gracie is shy. We will see him swimming around his tank when we are out of the room, but the second we come near his tank, he hides. Betta fish breathe at the top of the water, but we literally see Gracie race to the top, take a breath, and race back to the bottom (even when no one is there). And, currently, Gracie won't eat if we are in the room. Ryan has been a little bit disappointed, but when I explained that Gracie feels like he does around people he doesn't know, he understood better. Ryan said, "But Gracie is part of our family, and we love him." I responded, "Yes, but we are new to Gracie. We picked him out and brought him to our family and loved him even before he was ours. But he doesn't know us, and our home and our family is new. It will take a while to warm up." As I spoke those words, I thought this was a good thing for us all to remember as we prepare to welcome adopted children into our family who may jump right in like Racey, or slowly and shyly like Gracie.
We've rounded out our birthday celebrations with a day at the Tree House and a morning playgroup at Toasted Mud. 4 years old has been amazing so far! Here's to an incredible year!
Happy Birthday, Ryan and Allie!!!