Friday, February 20, 2009

Birthday Girl

Embry's birthday celebration began with her party on Saturday the 14th. Embry's grandparents and great-grandparents came to visit and to have lunch and cake. I made slow-cooker BBQ pork. I bought broccoli slaw and put out veggies and chips with dip. A very summery menu for February, but I needed foods that were easy. (We were all still recovering from illness earlier in the week.)

After everyone arrived, we had to open presents. Not birthday presents, Valentine's presents.

Some of which Embry helped decorate...

After lunch, it was time for cake. Embry is still obsessed with having cakes with flags on them, so the summer theme continues. Especially with the "4" on it, it looks like an Independence Day cake :). I make a jello poke cake with whipped cream frosting. It turned out really good, and was a nice light departure from the last few cakes I've made that were very heavy and rich. Plus, Embry loves to help cut up fruit and she had a great time prepping the strawberries.

J's only complaint was that the cake was not historically accurate, with only 9 stripes and 32 stars. Whatever...

After blowing out candles and eating cake it was time for birthday presents. Here's Embry getting straight to work with her new easel accessories. The rolls of paper and paint cups (non-spill!) were from Mom and Dad.

After presents it was time for naps and time to say goodbye. Our guests were on their way home, except for Grandma H. who was staying for the weekend. She helped me put together a collage for Embry's next birthday celebration at school. Because her birthday was on a Saturday and Monday was a holiday, Embry had her birthday stuff at school on Tuesday. Her class has a very unique way of recognizing birthdays.

First Embry stands in front of the class and talks about the photos on the poster. We discuss where and when she was born and show pictures of her other birthdays and of some of her favorite things. Those pics included ones of her swinging, feeding the ducks at the park, playing with her brother, and jumping on the bed. She then took the collage slowly around the room showing it to all the kids in the circle.

Next, the teacher lights a candle in the center of the room, and Embry walks in a circle around the candle while the kids sing a song. The candle represents the sun and Embry is carrying the Earth. Each time around the circle represents one year. After each year, we discuss what Embry learned during that time, or what changed in her life, like moving to St. Louis or becoming a big sister.

After her four laps are finished the kids sing "Happy Birthday," and Embry dismisses them, by name, to their tables where she serves them a snack. We brought grapes, pears and oranges.
By the time we finished eating, it was time to go home. She was so proud to show off her pictures and to be the center of attention. It was a very neat ceremony and I can't wait to do it all again next year.

Although it's been a week and a half, Embry is still talking about her party, her cake and her day at school. And she's already talking about her next birthday, although she claims that she will be 6 years old next year, not five. I told her that she is already growing up too fast, she's not allowed to skip years like that.

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