The events started at our house with gift opening. Grandma and Grandpa Spears and Jon and Erin arrived, bearing armfuls of gifts. Here are just a few of the treasures-
Grandma Patenaude sent a box of "school supplies" in the mail. We've already dug into the paints and the numbers workbook!Grandma Spears had many smallish gifts up her sleeve, but this was the most fun to unwrap. Who can resist a box circled by miles of gold ribbon??? Inside the box was an adorable dress and nightgown that Grandma sewed for Baby Susie. Receiving the award for strangest gift was a package of macaroon cookies and four food-safe markers. I'll have to post pictures of the coloring-on-food experience we had on Monday.
Other big gifts were the 1st ever Polly Pockets to grace our home (after much begging and pleading) and the baseball bat, tee, and glove.
We had snacks on princess plates while we played after opening gifts- Eva chose cheese-its, fresh pineapple, grapes, and blackberries. Yum!
After gifts, we headed to the Mall of America and the Rainforest Cafe. For those of you who don't know, we boast the largest shopping mall in the USA, 10 minutes from our doorstep! It is quite the shopper's paradise, I'm told.
The Rainforest Cafe is not known for having amazing food (Erin had to send hers back!), but it is an awesome kid destination. Hope and Eva were mesmerized, albeit a little frightened, by the thunderstorms, howling monkeys, and chomping alligator. There were huge fish tanks throughout the restaurant with everything from eels to blow fish. Although I don't think Eva knew what to expect, she was far from disappointed. Everything pleased her, right down to her dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets and french fries. She got a free birthday sundae, and of course the inevitable crowd of singing (bellowing) wait staff that come with it. What an experience!We picked up the final present of the evening at the mall, and Eva's response was priceless. She has been yearning for a piggy bank like her cousins Hannah and Sarah for a long time. I called their mom last week to find out where they got them, but she wasn't sure. I was sad, since I knew the only thing Eva really, really wanted was this ceramic white piggy bank. But, in a providential moment, I saw the exact one she wanted at a store in the MOA the night before the party. The clerk at the store was so eager to please, she even wrapped it up super cute when we picked it up before dinner. As Eva was opening it, she cried with total and complete delight, "AT LONG LAST, MY OWN PIGGY BANK!"She immediately requested the coins from every one's pockets, and has been earning a dime or a nickle each day this week for doing her chores. She is saving up for more Polly Pockets, I'm told.
We returned home after dinner (no rides at the indoor amusement park this time) for cake and ice cream. You can imagine my relief when the birthday cake order switched from "Tigger" to a "rose garden." Last year the request was "Pooh," and I was thankful to avoid the food coloring headache we all experienced after eating it!
And finally, I leave you with the quintessential birthday picture, the candles being blown out. I think this party was my most enjoyable kid birthday yet. Eva was so happy, so cooperative, no meltdowns of excitement... and no dishes to be done :)!