Saturday, March 19, 2016

Madeline Turns 9!

Madeline May is 9!  We had so much fun celebrating our sweet girl!
Her annual birthday flowers from her daddy.
We started with birthday balloons in her room and a candlelit breakfast. Rob presented the birthday girl with her annual bouquet of flowers, then we opened birthday gifts at the breakfast table (including several sweet homemade cards and pictures from the boys).
When all her presents had been unwrapped, Rob and I handed Madeline a card and watched her expression of complete disbelief turn to off-the-charts excitement as she read that she would be getting her ears pierced at Claire's later that afternoon. She's been asking for years, but  we've told her she needed to wait until she was at least ten. However, we knew this was the last year we could make it a surprise and we couldn't resist the impact we knew it would have. Just too fun to pass up!
Complete disbelief as she reads her card....
At 11:30am, 11 of Madeline's school friends trickled in for her art-themed tea party -- she planned every last detail! I simply helped with its execution. At the door, each guest signed Mimi's birthday cake in edible ink, then decorated their art apron (which they got to take home) with fabric pens. The girls collaborated on a room-length three-dimensional collage.

John got enthusiastic with the edible pens.
Then everyone, including Charlie and John, was seated for an elegant tea party. Madeline chose Strawberry Cupcake and Blueberry Muffin tea flavors, and a variety of her favorite fruit juices. She assembled four different kinds of finger sandwiches that morning while Rob cut the strawberries. The girls were so sweet -- it was so fun to listen to their big girl conversations while Rob and I served.
We quickly cleared the table of dishes and started the art projects! Each girl painted a small canvas and a jewelry box with a chalkboard lid (we gave a box of chalk in the favor bags). Madeline chose small wooden trains for Charlie and John to paint. Afterwards, we moved to the living room and taught the girls how to make pompons out of yard.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Vlach birthday party without dangling donuts; then we sat down to the cake. But not just any cake! Madeline found a picture of a tiered rainbow cake and my friend, Farrah, created it for us. They girls were so surprised and delighted when we cut into it -- the big reveal!
At the end of the party, all the girls and boys went out to the trampoline and jumped together -- the perfect ending!
After the dust settled and guests had gone home, Madeline and I had a special afternoon getting her ears pierced -- she was so brave! (She barely blinked in the moment, but afterwards said it really hurt).
Then Madeline's best friend, Julia, joined us for a sleepover that night! We sat down together to Madeline's birthday dinner -- she chose rabbit (for real) and sushi. How much do I love that girl? She and Julia had so much fun together  -- I think the highlight was what they called their "midnight feast" (which was really at about 9pm). A big hearty snack before they passed out after a very full day.
Oh, my Madeline! I am in awe of the young lady she is becoming. She enjoys reading books about fairies and magic, adores baking desserts, and LOVES art projects of any kind! Last weekend, she created her own homemade paste and made a paper maché octopus! If she isn't doing an art project, then she's practicing back walkovers somewhere. Rob said this is the year of Upside-down Madeline since she's always doing gymnastics, and recently started in a class with several of her little besties (which include Lior and Ofir, twins from Isreal, Julia from Hungary, and Madeline P. from Seattle). She is independent, creative, determined and so sweet (she often tells me -- her mama -- that "I'm cute" at bedtime). It amazes me how she will teach herself a new skill by watching a YouTube video and persevering through the learning process. She knits, plays piano, rides horses, goes to sleepovers and plays so nicely with all of her siblings, taking special care of Bitsy without my asking. I think the facts are clear: my little girl is growing up. But, like I tell each of my kids almost every day.....she'll always be my baby.
Bringing her cupcakes to school in her gym uniform
This birthday felt especially poignant because I read somewhere that 9 is the "half time show." In nine more years, I'll be helping her pack up the car and move into her college dorm. Gotta make every second count.

We love you, Madeline! Happy birthday!

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