Sunday, August 5, 2007

Ella's Birthday Bash

Here is another long birthday report, many times longer than Mike’s actually…so be prepared!
Ever since Ella went to her friend Andrew’s birthday party in March she has been wanting a party of her very own, so we decided to do her first real party this year – a Dora birthday party!
Finally it was the night before the big day…Friday night Hope came and played with Ella while Mike and I finished cleaning up the house and doing the yard work. We made the cupcakes and then it was bath time (with Dora bubbles of course!) and bed time. I don’t think Ella slept much that night – she was sooo excited! Every time I came upstairs to get something she would come out of her room to see what I was doing or tell me it was time to go to bed.
Ella woke up early the next morning and was constantly asking me, “When are my friends coming?” Here she is making herself beautiful for the party.
My grandma came to help us set up for the party and was also responsible for making sure Dora was included in this picture. When the doorbell rang for the first guest Ella was so excited! We took the kids out back to play while we waited for everyone to arrive. Having her birthday in August in Houston makes things a little complicated because it is definitely too hot to be outside for a whole party – we moved the group in and out of the house a couple times.
When we first decided on doing a Dora party I had every intention of doing a little treasure hunt Dora-style and doing Dora-themed games, but as the party got closer I realized I was not going to have the time (not to mention the desire) to pull it off. I did find some game ideas online (like Dora-Boots-Dora-Boots-Swiper instead of Duck-Duck-Goose) but at 3 years old I wasn’t sure if everyone would really understand what they were supposed to do, So we settled on bubbles, sidewalk chalk and water balloons. The water balloons took a long time to fill up so we didn’t have tons, but the kids LOVED throwing them in the grass and watching them pop – I wished we had taken the time to make more!
Here is Ella with one of her favorite friends from church, Abi. We are doing joy school with Abi and some other kids from church this year and Ella is really excited for her “school” to start.
Another cute idea I found online was pin the backpack on Dora, but since Kayley has a monopoly on all the artistic genes in our family and couldn’t draw a Dora for me since she is at BYU right now we did the classic pin the tail on the donkey instead. I don’t think our blindfold was very good though – we had some pretty accurate tails!
Pizza time! We had pizza and fruit and juice boxes for lunch – yum! I think Ella had 3 little slices all on her own.
I put different sprinkles and candies in the middle of the table for the kids to decorate their own cupcakes. Some kids got really into this while others didn’t – it was pretty funny to watch. A couple of them would eat off the layer of cupcake that had sprinkles on it and then sprinkle some more on their next layer before eating it.
Ella had been wanting to decorate and eat her cupcakes since the night before when we made them. When we asked her what the favorite part of her party was after everyone left she quickly said it was the cupcakes – not opening presents!
Here is the end of her “Happy Birthday” song. It was a little tricky to switch from taking pictures to videos with the camera while making sure Ella’s hair didn’t catch on fire – this is the resulting video :-)!
Back outside for the Dora piñata. The latest development in piñatas is that you don’t have to hit them to break them open anymore. On this one there were 8 strings (I taped on 2 of my own so everyone could pull one- we needed 10) and everyone pulls theirs.…one is the magical string that opens up the bottom so all the goodies fall out.
The time to open presents had arrived. Ella was absolutely thrilled with EVERYTHING she received! She even gave everyone hugs and said thanks after opening their gift (she can get really shy so I was very proud of her!). Everyone was so nice and picked out things Ella really loved – including lots of Dora items!
Addie slept through pretty much the whole party, which was so nice of her! She joined the last little bit and Nana helped her get festive with her own little hat. The party was scheduled to last 2 hours and we were pretty much done after 1 ½ hours, but I think overall it was a success. I definitely could not have pulled it off (there were 10 little guests total! plus moms) without the help of my mom and grandma! Ella told me while we were playing later that evening, “That was my best party ever!” so I guess that pretty much sums it up :-)!

Off to church the next day:

My family and grandparents came over for dinner and to do family presents after church. My mom was so excited to come she didn’t realize she had worn two different sandals to our house until she went to put them back on after putting Addie down upstairs. What is really funny is that they are completely different heights – one pretty much flat and the other one with a big heel – we had a good laugh over that mix up :-)!
Ella modeling her pretty new necklace from Grandad and Nana. She has an old necklace of Hope’s that she always wants to wear to church or anytime she gets dressed up and now she’ll have one that actually fits!
Part of her present from my grandparents was this Dora sticker book. Doing sticker books is something my Grandma does with Ella often so it was fitting that she found this Dora one for her birthday!

Initially I was surprised by Ella’s reaction to getting the bike (something she has wanted for a long time now), but we think she was a little embarrassed by all the build up leading up to it.
As you can see in the picture, she is definitely thrilled to have her very own bike – especially a Dora one! Now she just needs to learn how to pedal it.
Ella with Grammy and Greatfrog.
The girls with Nana and Grandad.
Trying to get a family picture was difficult and included Addie spitting up in the middle of the shoot while I was holding her and then trying to give me a big kiss (or eat my face) with spit up all over her little mouth. This was the winning shot.
My parents gave Ella a jump rope and Addie found it hysterical to watch Ella try to do it. It is pretty funny actually. Ella kind of swings the rope around while she jumps up and down – but it was sooo cute how Addie just cracked up!
Ella cooking in her kitchen with some new food and pots from her birthday. My friend from church, Cathy, made this adorable apron for Ella – it is THE cutest thing ever! I want her to make me one too!
I love Ella’s pretend sleeping pictures :-)! Here she is going to sleep with her new Dora pillowcase from Nana and her Dora doll from her friend Johnny. She’ll definitely have sweet dreams of Dora tonight! I probably will too.

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