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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Emmeline's Fifth Birthday :: ANIMALS!

Since Carys had two big parties in a row (read: character visits), I thought it was time for Emmeline to have a big party.  She's old enough now that she is noticing inequality, and even though it might be for a good reason (i.e. she was so little still), she wants her fair share. And in this case, she wanted a big party with a character visit.  For a long time, we were looking at a Mario party. And finding a Mario to visit? Um. Also, I was thinking three character parties in a row might be a bit much. So when she suddenly switched her desired theme to animals/zoo, I was thrilled - I knew exactly what we could do for her party.


Honestly it's what I've wanted for my birthday so I was immediately like YES LET'S DO IT GREAT THINKING EMMELINE.

And seriously (here comes the abbreviated version of the yearly letter)...? Great thinking is a hallmark of this kid's personality. She is SUCH a problem-solver and SUCH a little engineer. She builds these elaborate Magnatile creations and makes forts in her bed and creates entire cities out of paper and tape. She always has 10 possible solutions for any problem that might arise - even if they aren't all practical. She's so curious and inquiring - she wants to know the meaning behind words and how something works and why this is like that. And big ideas! She's like a non-stop idea generator, whether it's for jokes to pull on people for "Prank Day" (as she calls April Fool's), for things to build or places to go or sometimes something so random it makes me scratch my head. She's also a great physical comic, this one. She has these looks and body poses that just...make you laugh. I can't even explain it (because it's not a talent of mine - or her dads! where did it come from?! Milkman?!?!?). She sometimes will just stare at you and doesn't break until you start laughing, and only then will she stop. She's a huge cuddler (on her terms) and gives amazing hugs with her whole body. She's super strong and can hang from something for ages (and loves doing it). Emmeline is the BEST momma to her baby dolls. She nurtures them and cares for them as if they were real babies and I love watching her with them. She's got great hand-eye coordination and has inherited her dad's love of video games.  She also eats like a frat boy. Pizza and chicken nuggets. That's about the limit of her palate. She would literally eat those for every meal. She HAS in fact asked for pizza for breakfast before! She's also a huuuuuuge sugar fiend - and that goes hand in hand with her sneakiness. If we have candy in the house, you'll be she'll find it and you'll be finding candy wrappers in hidden spots all over the house for months (behind the couch, in a drawer, in chair cushions, in a toy box, under the furniture...). She absolutely LOVES Tucker. I honestly wasn't sure she was a dog person when we had Murray. She didn't really connect with him (or my parent's dog, Toby). She liked them okay, but could do without a dog in her life. Until we got Tucker. She loves that dog so fiercely. She'll drop everything to pet or hug him and he's usually the first "person" she says hello to each morning. Emmeline is also stubborn as allllllll get out. If she has her mind set on something, she'll defend it to the grave. She could say the sky is green and you could point out the very obvious blue sky and she'll just be like, "Nope." This translates also to her sometimes just up and leaving somewhere when we're done. Over Halloween, I was taking pics of the neighbor kids about 6 houses down and suddenly...Em wasn't there. She had gone home because she didn't want to trick or treat and she didn't want to take any more pictures. She caused great panic among all the moms! I also think she's absolutely beautiful and sometimes I just catch myself staring at her in wonder. How did I make this incredible little creature?!

Sigh. And now this incredible creature is FIVE.

And for her fifth birthday, if you recall from a couple of paragraphs ago...we decided on an animal theme. And I was crazy excited about this because the decorations? EASY PEASY and also most importantly READILY AVAILABLE.

(Almost everything was from Oriental Trading Company and/or Amazon, although a lot we had already either from other parties - like the leaves - or in our playroom - like the stuffed animals.)

Each guest got an animal-print headband and they LOVED them. Huge hit.

Ok. Let's talk cake. Emmeline wanted an animal print cake with giraffe, lizard, and zebra. This was pretty easy, but tedious. I made the round cake and then cut all of the shapes out of marshmallow fondant and arranged it on the cake.

Now let's talk these fucking zebra cakes.

I was like, HOW CUTE WOULD AND EASY AND FAST WOULD IT BE TO ADD LITTLE EYES TO THE ZEBRA CAKES?!?! So I added eyes. And it was easy! And fast! But they looked...not cute. Not like zebras. So I added the black muzzle/mouth. Still not cute. Still not like zebras. So then I added ears. So. many. ears. And it was no longer easy and fast. And they still weren't great. So I added little nostrils and mouths. And I called it good. In retrospect, I think they're pretty cute. But they turned out to be so much more effort than I thought they'd be. (See the evolution of them here and here and laugh.)

I also hand-colored 12 of these sacks. What is wrong with me.

Because we were bringing in animals, we did the party a bit backwards - cake and presents first while they were setting up for the show.

She was so happy/embarrased to be the center of attention for once. I LOVED this party for her for that reason. It was a big. freaking. deal. for her.

Once the girl from Wildlife Encounters let us know she was ready, we herded the kids into the sitting room. Honestly, the sitting room still has basically no furniture, just two chairs and a couple of bookshelves....but for reasons like this, I love it empty.

Emmeline was again SO HAPPY to be the "star."

Animal encounter #1: Hissing cockroach

After every animal presentation, all of the kids got to pet the animal.

Animal encounter #2: Skunk (Em was a bit worried it'd smell, HA)

At some point during this presentation, the girl pranked the kids by squirting them with water and telling them it was the skunk. Amazing.

Animal encounter #3: Fennec fox and also the animal I most wanted to steal


Animal encounter #4: hedgehog. Emmeline was a little scared of his quills. She did pet him eventually but I didn't get a picture of it.

Animal encounter #5: alligator. Actually a really interesting animal as he genetically is this small, but should be much larger. They don't know exactly what's wrong with him. He's also missing a leg.

Animal encounter #6: baby kangaroo. I KNOW RIGHT.


He really liked Emmeline.

After the presentation, every kid got to hold the kangaroo and get a picture.

Every adult present was SO jealous, and we all wanted to have our own animal party where we got to be the one to hold the fox and kangaroo. I MEAN REALLY DID YOU SEE THEIR LITTLE FACES AND SOFT CUDDLY BODIES? Come on. 

This was one of my favorite parties yet, and I'm so incredibly glad Emmeline loved it even more than I did. 


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