First I have to tell you about birthdays in our family. They are a Big Deal. Even before we had scary medical issues, birthdays were a Big Deal. This is partly because my dear Bionic Man's birthday is just a few days shy of Christmas, and I think he felt slightly shafted. (Now that I've been in charge of his birthday celebrations for 12+ years, I get the fact that it can be a little difficult to come up with an adequate celebration when you are in the throes of Christmas preparations.) We don't want anyone to feel shafted when their birthdays come around. Things got more complex when the Bionic Man began having to go on business trips. Sometimes the trip fell on the children's birthdays. He didn't like missing them, so we had to compensate. Birthweeks ensued, with multiple events: cupcakes for your class, a pre-party cake for the members of the family at home on the birthday, a big cake once Daddy came home, presents stretched throughout the week, special activities for the birthday boy/girl all week.....
Birthweeks are exhausting and tend to be almost as much work as the original first week of the child's life for the mother. I don't recommend them to anyone looking for new traditions. We've pared down the week-long celebration to approximately two days in the last few years. We currently enjoy a Birthday and a Birthday *Eve. (*We love Eves at our house. Our big summer party is on the Eve of the Fourth of July. Our big fall party is on the Eve of Halloween. Thanksgiving Eve is all about the cooking, and I admit to enjoying Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day.) I instigated one of my own family traditions long ago, which is that we host birthday parties for our friends on odd years, but have special family parties on even years. I thought I was so smart doing that--until it occurred to me that every member of the family, except the Bionic Man, has their odd/even birthdays in the same years. How did that happen?
Okay, let me get back to the main event. Superkid's Birthday!
The morning of Superkid's birthday, we enjoyed this beautiful sunrise. (Thank you, Bionic Man, for taking pictures of it!) Actually, Bionic Man enjoyed it more than me. I was a little stressed out--we'd just come back from Superkid's sleep study, she was vomiting, and I was worried that our chance for the H1N1 vaccine was in jeopardy. The day only improved from there!
Superkid recovered from her migraine, so we managed to get vaccinated, get highlights and a haircut (me only, no children involved), and pick up the Bionic Man from work. Then we went to the Zoo Boo.
Here we are, in costume, ready to enjoy one of the benefits of our yearly zoo membership: the annual Zoo Boo. (The zoo is decorated for Halloween, and at certain times you can go trick or treating. And no, I'm afraid the animals don't actually hand you the treats. They make the keepers do that.) Note that I am costumed as a woman with fabulous hair, thanks to my earlier trip to the salon. (It is hard to tell from the picture, but Valerie gives the Best. Highlights. Ever.)
Our other costumes were thrown together at the last minute, since the migraine and threatening clouds above made us wonder if we would actually be going to the Zoo Boo this year. Superkid was a flower fairy. Justone was some type of Jedi warrior. Endeavor recycled her tutu from Arkansas and went as a dead Ballerina, minus the white face paint I didn't have time to buy. Really, a dead ballerina. Apparently that is how you get away with wearing a tutu when you are a fifth grader. I only agreed to it because I was determined to get another use out of that tutu.
Some decorations at the Zoo Boo were scarier than others. Superkid doesn't like scary Halloween. She covered her eyes for those. But we had fun in the hay maze!
I added the picture of the empty hay maze to illustrate the point that Bionic Man was in charge of the camera for Birthday Eve and Birthday. We tend to have lots of pictures like the one above when he mans the camera. For instance, any pictures taken by the Bionic Man during our recent cross-country trip tend to be of Engineering Feats or Natural Resources of Great Importance. Sometimes, if we're lucky, there are tiny figures standing in the vicinity of the Engineering Feat. Ahhh, it cracks me up.
Bionic Man did take some other pictures to document Superkid's birthday celebration, but with the empty hay maze as an illustration, I think you'll understand why I'll just paint you a word picture instead. We celebrated the actual birthday with Daddy taking time off from work, lunch from Panda Express (Superkid's request), presents, attending the annual Trunk or Treat in our church parking lot, and finishing off the day by sharing birthday cake with our good friends, the Clevs. Superkid was excited about all of her presents, but I think the four (yes, four) leotards sent by Grandmother were especially appreciated. Good times.
When Superkid had her first birthday, she was a very sick baby. If I remember correctly, her cardiologist made sure we went home from the hospital in time to celebrate her birthday at home, but Superkid didn't do too well and we were back in the hospital by the wee hours of the next morning. I had received my reassurance that there would be more birthdays for Superkid, but there were times during those early hospitalizations that I wondered how we would get there. In fact, Superkid's first two birthdays were marked by hospitalizations, and we almost had one on her third. Superkid's fifth birthday was notable because it marked more birthdays being spent out of the hospital, than in the hospital. I'm so thankful to be able to celebrate another birthday with Superkid. She is an amazing little person, and so much fun.