Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A bright, bright sunshine-y day.

Today, Miss Mina turns two years old! At two, she's adventurous - except when she's being clingy, a great sleeper - except when something wakes her up, a good eater - except when she's being picky, and a chatty little thing - except when she's feeling shy. In short, she's well on her way to that special age known as the terrible two's - when nothing is quite what it seems, and all prior expectations get thrown out the window.

Miss Mina can be such a joy. Whether it's her bright grin when she sees us in the morning, to the endearing way she runs around after her big brother - determined to keep up with everything he does. Her capacity to love, even in the face of his occasional rejection, just makes me want to scoop her up and cover her with kisses.

She's trying so hard to be a "big girl" these days. Most often, we see this in her determination to do everything "by self!" This includes walking up and down stairs, climbing into her car seat, feeding herself, brushing her own teeth, combing her own hair, playing with toys, opening cabinet doors, and (Lord help me) deciding what she wants to wear.

These two years have passed much faster than I could have imagined. It amazes me sometimes to look across the table and see two kids interacting with each other, laughing, talking, sometimes eating, often making a mess. They each have such distinct, vibrant personalities. They each have their quirks, their charms. Was it so long ago that they just seemed like little warm bundles wrapped in blankets?

We celebrated Miss Mina's birthday a couple days early this year. Like last year, we kept it at home, and turned the backyard into a free-for-all zone. I think the kids had fun. Jeff and I are still recovering; but we're old and tired. What else is new.

The swingset came in handy. Those balloon things hanging from the trees are supposed to look like balloon flowers. It was a Martha thing, but as Jeff pointed out, they looked more like atoms floating in the tree. Atoms can be festive, right?

Friends arrived from near..

And far.

And we met a very special new friend for the first time - Miss Elodie, on the left. She got acquainted with Gabriella's shoe. Elodie's parents - Justin and Sandrine, helped us celebrate as well. Which, I personally thought was apropos, as we continue to hold them partly responsible for Mina's presence on this Earth in the first place.

While I was busy planning the menu and decor, Jeff contributed to the entertainment. Here's what he came up with - a mini Ferris wheel for the front yard! Despite the snags we encountered, I think the kids enjoyed it.

Miss Mina braved the wonder wheel, accompanied by David and Julia. They kept an eye on her the whole time...including the endless minutes spent stuck at the top when the contraption jammed up. Lost a few years of my own life there.

Which is why I couldn't really blame Jordan for not wanting to step foot in it. I'd probably be scared too. I was surprised he chose to sit the wheel out. At every carnival we've taken him too, he always wants to jump on the rides. Maybe he knew our homestyle version was sketchy.

So, we contented ourselves to wave to the others from a safe distance.

Thankfully, there were other diversions. Like a bounce house.

And water guns..

And chalk..

And slides..

And swings....

And climbing walls.

of course, when all else fails, there's food to be eaten. As usual, we had a lot. One of these days, I'll figure out how to order the right amount.

These were just the appetizers. The rest of the stuff was set up on tables outside.

Finally, it was time for cake.

A development which thrilled Mina to no end.

I had to physically restrain Jordan from stealing Mina's thunder here. Note the intense staring going on. The back story is that Jordan spent the entire early morning before the party informing me that he "don't want to go to Mina's birthday party." He "just want to stay in my room." And he definitely did not want to eat cake. His suggestion? "Let's throw the cake in the garbage can."

Needless to say, when the cake rolled out, he was the first one at the table.

So, despite some glitches, I think the party was a success. Mina seemed happy.

Then again, it might have been the shoes. If I had pink, sparkly shoes, I'd be downright giddy too.
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