‘a cake to share with those who are close to us, a candle on the cake, greetings, blessings or gifts from family or friends. nothing more is required, everything else – flowers, decorations, games, dancing, entertainment – are loving elaborations of these three essentials which are needed to feed the whole of ourselves, our body, soul and spirit. everyone requires nourishment on these three levels if they are to grow, thrive and fulfill their destiny.’ -found on The Littlest, taken from this book which I plan to get very soon.
So with that in mind, we tried to keep things as simple and loving as possible with lots of magical surprises coming her way on August 29th. I love establishing these little traditions with our family, some borrowed from when we were little, some new, all trying to keep in the spirit of her special day.
When Mila got out of her bath on her Birthday Eve, there was a new nightgown laid out sewn from a thrifted pillowcase that I had started a long time ago and Marmee sweetly finished since I lost the gumption. Then in her crib lay new sheets (lots of pink which she loves, and LELLO which I love), a non-matching pillowcase (LELLO AND WHITE as she had requested a few weeks ago when I told her a new Mila pillow was in order--Steve finally gets his huggy pillow back). And a matching pint-size pillow for Baa, of course, made by Marmousch.
The next morning there was a rose-petal*-and-balloon** trail leading from the bedroom into the living room, where Mila's new play kitchen stood, stocked with felt food and ready to go. There was a crepe paper streamer "tent" hanging over her place at the breakfast table with a felted flower crown waiting on her plate. Of course, Mila was most interested in the balloons in that moment. Oh to be two.
(The play kitchen came out SO cute and I can't wait to show pictures of it with all the felt food and other little touches. Thanks to my parents for that special present. Now that balloons aren't competing for Mila's attention, she loves it ;)
Marmousch had made Mila the stunning tutu from this book (this was our second project from there--we made the art smock last spring...I love and miss sewing with my Marm! It's nowhere near as fun when you sew alone.) A simple white tank, some ballet slippers I had bought ages ago because, well, I knew she'd fit into them eventually, and the flower crown she wouldn't keep on for very long (ha!) completed her outfit. Oh, and a matching tutu for Baa. Or whomever. Another surprise.
After lazing around for a little bit, Steve snuck outside with Gymbo the clown. Papa's special present for his little girl. (Without a doubt I think Gymbo is Mila's favorite thing about the Gymboree classes we took here and there this summer.) We had the Gymbo music playing when Steve knocked on the door and came inside wearing Gymbo strapped to his feet and hands, the way they do in the classes. I think Mila might have been on the verge of crying...all she could say was HOLD 'IM! HOLD 'IM! and when Steve turned that little weirdo clown over to her she flopped on him in disbelief. It was a great reaction and I loved that it was towards something Steve had put all that thought into.
There was one more surprise, one not orchestrated by us--a life-sized plush Chamois showed up at the door shortly after. It was from family of mine in New Jersey and could not have been more perfect. More near tears of joy and bewilderment. Surely Baa and Elmo were shaking in the boots at the sight of not just Gymbo but then Chamois eclipsing their fame (remember Llama? Poor, poor Llama.) and you know what? Turns out there's room in Mila's heart for all of them.
See, I told you two was awesome.
*Who else but your mother would go with you to steal roses off the park bushes at 10:30 pm the night before your daughter's birthday? She's simply the best. **And major love to my husband who got off a 12-hour shift and raced to a party store just minutes before closing time to get some helium balloons filled and then fit them into his little clown car. Then when he got home I put him to work plucking rose petals and taping up streamers. You know you're blessed when both your mom and husband stay up late into the night with you the night before helping to ready everything.