Monday, February 27, 2012

Eliza's Birthday and Tea Party Tradition

Better late than never, right?

Eliza's birthday is Feburary 13th. She was best Valentine's Day gift ever - our little pink bundle who's grown up to give us love notes right and left all year long. She's everything anyone could want in a little girl - sweet, smart, pretty, dramatic, determined, emotional, artistic, and athletic with a love for beauty and adventure.

Hard to believe that sweet pink bundle is now NINE years old.

Seems like yesterday she looked like this - and talked my ear off in her cute little voice every waking minute.

first day of preschool
preschool graduation
Starting Kindergarten
Here are a couple quick stories stories about Eliza this past year:

Eliza really wanted to learn to ski. But it was way harder than she thought it would be. Her skis were going every which way and she was so frustrated. As she tearfully fell for about the 20th time on the bunny hill, I told her she really could quit if she wanted to. For Eliza, saying she can quit is pretty much like triple dog daring her not to. She wiped her eyes and said "Nope. I can do this." She got her mind around what was going on, really looked at what other people were doing, made some great observations about what seemed to be working, and resolved to be a skiier for real. Within an hour, she was riding up the big lift and making it down the easy run, unhappy with any suggestions Jared or I might give her but excited to tell us about tips she received from kind strangers who helped her up when she fell and wasn't near us (and she preferred us to keep our distance). But the end of the day, she was triumphantly skiing down that hill with very few falls and pretty decent form. Eliza is one determined little girl.

Eliza's a good reader but usually picks pretty simple books. When we saw part of Anne of Green Gables at a party earlier this year, I challenged Eliza to read that whole book and told her I'd take her out for a special book club date to discuss the book and we'd watch the movie together once she finished the whole unabridged book. It was a bit of a challenge for her, but she finished it and we had so much fun at our first "Mother-Daughter Book Club Meeting." We went to a favorite restaurant and Eliza had a whole list of great questions ready for us to discuss about the book - plus she showed me how she'd written out her favorite things about the book inside the front cover so she could give it to her daughter some day. It was so fun to have a real discussion on a somewhat deep level with my own little daughter. We're excited to read another book together and do this again soon!

Every year since her 4th birthday, Eliza has had a tea party for her birthday. Sure, it started off with a little influence from me since I grew up going to tea parties in England and thought they were pretty cool - but she's taken tea parties to many new levels with her ideas. Sometimes they are princess tea parties. One time it was a pajama tea party. Often she insists on dancing at the close of the tea party. Sometimes young men are invited to the tea party. Last year she didn't want boys there so one of her brothers dressed up as a girl so he could come (check out her 8th birthday tea party photos and see if you can find the imposter). Always her brothers eat as many cucumber sandwiches as they can get their hands on whether they're invited or not. Always there are heart-shaped cookies to be decorated by one and all before the end of the party.

4th birthday tea party

Eliza insisted that all the boys dance with all the girls at the close of this tea party -
and everyone thought that was a great idea - they were so cute!
5th birthday tea party

6th birthday tea party (she wanted a pajama tea party...)

7 years old - teeth lost, favorite doll Tasha
7th birthday tea party

8th birthday tea party (can you find the imposter?)
dancing at 8th birthday - Eliza insisted on dancing after tea
This year, we started off Eliza's birthday with her favorite breakfast - yogurt with granola and berries. Then I snatched her from school for a special lunch date and kept her home so we could make the heart shaped sugar cookies we always make and decorate for her birthday.

Then after school, she had her traditional tea party. She only invited a few friends since it's her off year for birthday parties (we just do bigger parties every other year). It was such a perfect sized group and these little girls were so fun to listen to when they somehow instinctively started speaking with British accents as they very politely asked each other about their lives and passed the little tea sandwiches around. The other girls all called her "Princess Eliza" and she called them all "my lady" and it was all very cute. I love seeing little girls be little girls acting like little ladies rather than seeing little girls trying to act like teenagers.

Ready to welcome her tea party guests in her new birthday dress

decorating heart-shaped cookies

and another cookie-decorating time and candle-blowing time with her brothers before bedtime


The Circus said...

"I love seeing little girls be little girls acting like little ladies rather than seeing little girls trying to act like teenagers." I love that you said this. THANK YOU! I have five daughters and I could not agree more.
So precious.

charity said...

this is such an adorable post sar! love it. love that eliza. you are so good at making your kids feel special on their birthdays. i so wish i could have that book club with you as a kid! we should have thought of that :) love you

bjahlstrom said...

Eliza really grew up this year. Comparing 8 to 9 is dramatic in her features. I also love that Eliza read "Anne." Even better that she plans to give it to HER daughter. That was very touching to me.

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful girl! Where did you get that perfect little girl dress, they are so hard to find!

Eyrealm said...

How absolutely darling. Thanks for the walk through memory lane. Wow, we love that adorable, multi-talented little girl. Who would have thought that you'd have four boys and only one girl? She is one of the luckiest princesses in the land!

Lynette said...

I found your blog through your sister, Shawni's blog...I hope that's okay...I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog title! :) I had my first three children in 4 years and my last two children in 2 years (there's a 4 year break between my older three and younger 2). It's nice to see other mothers who aren't afraid to "admit" their children are close together in age.

I also wanted to tell you that I love how you make your child know they are special by wearing a crown and a sash (I'm going to assume that your boys wear something different ;) ). I am trying to think up some fun ways to make my children's birthdays more special as they are growing older. Thank you for a terrific idea! :) :)


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