Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday Raelynn!!!!

And just like that, another year has passed and I cannot even believe that I can say I have a 2-year-old child. It feels like we just celebrated her first birthday. Today is Raelynn's actual birthday, but we had a big party over the weekend for her.

I know that despite the pictures I posted on FB, you are all gagging to know how it went down. How did I not kill MIL with the plastic cake cutter, you ask? Oh quite simply, she was not there. That's right. My in-laws were not invited to the bash. Now, before you think I'm some sort of hideous bitch (which, there's no denying, I am a bitch, but not a hideous one. Let's be clear on that.), my husband was actually on board that trolley too. He claims it's because no old people are being invited, but I think that's just what he tells them, and himself, to seem less harsh. I believe my husband feels the very same as I do. I did not invite my in-laws because my MIL would have made the whole thing about her, not Raelynn. I could just see her squawking away about how Raelynn should sit and eat, all the while with that old goat-headed beast shoveling food into my daughter's mouth. I could also see her preventing Raelynn from playing with the other children and buzzkilling the whole event for everyone.

Even though the old bat wouldn't be there, I was a ball of nerves. I'd arranged to have Raelynn's party in the cafeteria at my school. It's not the most scenic of places but it is bigger than our home. We needed somewhere with space. The sucky thing about China (or rather, one of the sucky things about China, since we know that many things suck here) is that there are no good places for children's birthday parties. They have some play places but most of them don't have good areas for adults to sit and watch their kids. Or to enjoy cake afterward either. Plus, they aren't cheap. I felt tacky asking people to come to our party, bring a gift AND pay for their children to play. It's still rather cold here even though we're in the middle of April. And Qingdao is always very windy. So having an outdoor thing would have been difficult too. The school was our best bet.

I pinned a ton of crap on Pinterest from recipes to party ideas. And even though I had my plans all laid out, I began to panic. My sweet fairy godmother Pixie had said it best when she told me not to worry and that if anything did go wrong, I'd probably be the only one to notice. Pixie, you were right!

I made these awesome BLT roll-ups. But when I cut them, they fell apart. Nobody cared though. In fact, it was the most popular item. That and my no-bake cookies and cream bars. They were to be like rice krispy treats but with Oreos. I messed up my measurements though because I'm not used to using the metric system. That and a package of Oreos here is smaller than the ones in the states. But even though they turned out differently than they were supposed to, they were awesome. I had rave reviews about those too.

I couldn't get any outlet to work to plug my iPod dock in. So no music. Our only alternative was to run a long cable from the front of the cafeteria to the back where we were, but inexplicably, there was a ton of water at the entrance of the cafeteria, and I wasn't up for getting electrocuted. No one cared though. The children were all happily entertained with the Spongebob coloring pages I'd brought for them. Raelynn hit it off immediately with my Western boss, Patrick's son, Tommy. It was adorable.

Anyway, here are some highlights...

Raelynn checks out the decorations I made. She was so excited to see Spongebob. And she kept chattering about the fish.

She loves coloring so imagine her surprise when she got to color her favorite, Spongebob! Yeah, that kept her happy and busy.

 Raelynn and Tommy meet and this picture is just epic because they were pretty much inseparable the whole party. Awwww!

 Raelynn, down on the floor gathering markers, is quietly coloring with her new BFF Tommy, Eva, little Jenny (the baby on the table) and an adorable Chinese girl, who is the daughter of some of Jeremy's friends.

Here's the cake. Another thing that went wrong, in my eyes at least, was this thing. We ordered it from a Korean bakery where we have sampled many sweet treats. Everyone, especially Raelynn, really enjoyed the cake. But I was pissed about it. I had asked for no fruit. I wanted all chocolate, including the frosting. The cake wasn't bad, but the one we ordered last year from the bakery in the Hisense was so much better in my opinion. Oh well. Now I know where I won't be ordering her cake for next year at least.

 The perfect family photo.

 More kiddy coloring, and Raelynn and Tommy are still hanging out the whole time. Adorbs!

And here is the birthday girl enjoying a piece of cake.

I got a lot of compliments from our friends about the food, which was nice. The mommy friends I've made here all told me I was crazy and brave to have planned such an awesome party. They confided they always had their children's birthday parties during non-meal hours. That's a good idea for next year. Even though I was completely wiped out from all the cooking and stress, I am so happy I did this for my girl. She'll only be 2 once. It was important to me to make it special.

Now on her actual birthday, our poor little angel threw up a couple times today. I want to blame MIL for it but Raelynn might actually just be sick which isn't anyone's fault. So this mommy won't sleep well tonight as I'll be listening to her baby monitor and waiting in case she needs me. All I wish for her birthday is for her to be happy and healthy. At least she was happy and smiley when I put her to bed. She didn't want any milk which is a first for her. I'm sure she'll cry for it later though.

In any event, Raelynn, your Daddy and I want you to know that you are such a wonderful little girl. We cannot even believe how smart you are or how fast you are growing up! It amazes us what an independent little person you are becoming. You are also so kind and compassionate, it makes us proud. You are our little Raelynn of sunshine and we love you more than you will ever be able to fathom. Happy 2nd Birthday!

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