Claire had a great actual 9th birthday. He birthday party with her friends was the next day. Claire initially wanted to do a swimming or Jumpoline party, as she had done in the past. But we ended up doing a tie-dye party at a little art studio. It was a fun time, and her friends work their tie-dye shirts to school the next few days.
Claire’s birthday fell on a lucky Saturday this year. And being late November, there were several fun holiday-related things to do around town. Kit and I decided to fill up the day with fun stuff and call it “The Day of Claire”. It is not very often that you have a whole day to spend on your kid’s birthday.
We started out with the post-Thanksgiving / pre-Christmas Chuy’s Children Giving to Children parade downtown. We ran into one of Claire’s former classmates, whose family had a great spot at the parade and let us jump in with them. The highlight was when the parade stopped and all the kids got to run out into the parade to dump presents into pickup trucks on the parade route. Molly loved Curious George and was a little puzzled about the Disney princesses in the parade. Shouldn’t they be at Disney World?
We let Claire choose where we would have lunch, and she picked IHOP right away. We were all in good spirits and had a really fun, silly lunch with a lot of laughing and joking. The pancakes helped, I am sure.
During a break at home, I went to Royer’s Pie Haven to pick up Claire’s birthday pie. We asked Claire what she wanted for her birthday dessert, and she decided on pecan pie. When I picked up the pie form Royer’s, I told the cashier that our 9-year-old selected that for her own birthday, and she said in admiration, “That is awesome!”. Then we discussed how much better pies are than cakes.
Next we went to a late afternoon showing of Elf: The Musical at the Long Center, which was showing for only three days, one of which was exactly on Claire’s birthday. More good luck! After some confusion and delays, we almost missed the show. We had it to the door, carrying Molly for speed, with literally 1 minute to spare. The first usher told us to run to the next door. The next usher saw us running and said, “Okay, you’re good.” and let us in just as the lights were going down. We all liked the musical, and even Molly managed to sit through it without any issues. But I think the girls’ favorite part was exploring the Long Center during intermission and Auditorium Shores afterwards. The girls ran around in the dark, rolling down grassy hills, and admiring the giant “candy canes” that the theater’s columns had been decorated as.
Finally, we stopped by Whole Foods and let everyone pick out their own favorite food from the hot bar. The macaroni and cheese was a big hit with the kids. We sang happy birthday, stuck some candles in the pecan pie, and just had a nice relaxing night together. Claire had already opened her birthday present, which was a giant Playmobil hotel that the whole family had pitched in on. We decided to all get her one big thing instead of a bunch of little things. Claire got to open it early when everyone was around on Thanksgiving, and we spent most of the day assembling the 983-piece set.
The Day of Claire turned out even better than expected. For once, we were all in a good mood almost the entire day. Even the nearly missing the musical didn’t dent our mood. Even Molly didn’t have any issues and just trooped along and had a fun day. Claire’s 9th birthday was a very good one. Next year it will probably be on a Tuesday, and we’ll hurry though a quick dinner and cake like usual, but this year’s birthday was one to remember.
BTW, a few days later, we all agreed that Claire’s birthday was great, but Molly said she didn’t really like it after all.
Claire has been walking Molly into school in the mornings. She drops Molly off at class and then heads off to her own class. Watching Claire and Molly cross the street together and head up the hill towards school is just about the most precious thing I have ever seen.
Halloween fell on a Friday this year. Claire had been asking to have some friends sleep over for several weeks, and we decided to go for it on Halloween. Why not get all the craziness over in one night?
So Claire’s friend Susie came trick-or-treating with Claire and Molly and us parents. Claire’s friend Dylan had trick-or-treating commitments in her neighborhood a few blocks away but joined us afterwards for the sleepover.
We did not expect anything but a lot of sugar- and friend-powered zaniness, and that is what we got. Many giggles were heard from Claire’s room. Her and Molly’s toys were spread all over the floor, so much so that they girls could not find anywhere to put the sleeping bags, so they all ended up sleeping in the hallway around 10:30 pm. Dylan got a lollipop stuck in her hair, which our dog Muffin tried to lick while Dylan was sleeping on the floor. Muffin also stole some of Dylan’s candy, which was on the floor too.
Molly got to sleep on the inflatable mattress in our bedroom, which she always enjoys despite of protests of “no fair” that she had to go to sleep before Claire and her friends.
The next morning there was a lot of running around, and candy wrappers could be found all over the house. The girls proposed to all take a bath together. That was too much; someone was going to get hurt in the tub or just drip water allover the house. And Kit and Molly were leaving for a Pre-K family gathering right around then. So the girls settled for making a haunted house out of cardboard in the back yard. It had fake candles, ketchup for blood, the whole works. They even put together a “play” about the haunted house complete with a storm and lightening.
Claire would spend the afternoon over at Susie’s house, making their time together over 24 hours. They even pushed for a second sleepover at Susie’s that night, or at least dinner. They had to settle for lunch together at Thundercloud with Susie’s dad and then back to much needed rest time with their families.
Well, Halloween doesn’t fall on the weekends that often, and I think we made the most of it!