The day before Thanksgiving was Philippa’s third birthday. Being that all of our children thus far have birthdays around the holidays, we often struggle with how to celebrate both Christmas and birthdays reasonably, simply, and economically. We’ve tried different things each year, it seems. This year, we’re making a bit more of birthdays and planning a lower-key, less-gifts sort of Christmas.
Philippa woke on her day early, and it’s the first birthday where she has really talked about it for weeks before her big day, and both girls woke up eager for birthday fun (Phoebe enjoys other people’s birthdays just as much as her own). Phippa really can’t wait to be “a big girl.” We had to wake sleepy Noah up a bit early that morning so birthday girl could open a few gifts before daddy headed off to work. Usually we let the birthday child decide the meal plan and activities for the day, but her only real request was for chocolate cake with blueberries. A girl who knows what she wants. 🙂 We gave her a few gifts in the morning–a hand-dyed play silk from my favorite blogger, Ginny, and her lovely little handmade shop. It smells heavenly and is simply gorgeous. Ginny generously sent along some stickers (made from her own nature photography) as well for Philippa, which was such a treat (though I was tempted to keep them for myself). She also sweetly worked hard to get Philippa’s gift to her on time, which meant a lot to me! We let Philippa open her birthday dress and her toy, which was a wooden stable with horses. That was a huge hit with each of the kids and they all played with it all day.
I made a grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free chocolate cake from the Celebrations cookbook (sidenote: amazing cookbook!) for Philippa, topped with the vanilla buttercream from the same cookbook. I did something funny/wrong with the frosting so I had to play a bit with it to get it to spread on the cake, but it ended up being delicious.
We had a fairly regular sort of day otherwise, school and cleaning and playing outside. Daddy came home with a balloon for her, which she loved. After dinner my parents stopped by with their gift for Philippa and we let her open the rest of the gifts before cake. We gave her her own “journal” (from Michaels) and her first real set of colored pencils. I found a really cute handmade pencil roll-up case at this etsy shop, and it happened to have foxes on it, which Philippa loves. I wasn’t sure if she’d be too young to appreciate it, but she has treasured this little gift every day since, and has used many of her stickers from Ginny to decorate her journal, too. She seems to feel quite grown up with own little set of pencils. My parents gifted her a sweet new dress and pair of pajamas, and a tiny little mini mug. She opened my hand knit sweater for her and promptly tossed it aside, as she did with the rest of the clothes, but the next day she was eager to try everything on and wear it. We also gave her a ukulele, and it has been okay, but I didn’t realize it wasn’t real wood and sort of wish we had gotten this one for her. Still, for our music-loving kids, it has been fun for each of them to have something to play together (Phoebe, her violin; Noah his drums, and now Philippa her little uke).
A couple days later Philippa agreed to let me snap some pictures of her in her sweater that I made (ravelry notes here), and I’m super proud of it. I feel like it’s the first one I’ve made that has fit how I wanted it to. It’s a cropped sweater, so the body is supposed to be short on it, and it looks darling over dresses. She seems to really like it, too.
It was a fun day, even though there were some usual hiccups and challenges along the way. Her hair did briefly catch on fire while blowing out candles. 🙂 I remember Philippa’s second birthday being hard, her being out of sorts and unusually grumpy and strung out, and she was a bit like this on this birthday, too. All the attention is a bit much, even though she loves it at the same time. Although in reality, their birthdays make me feel a bit strung out, too, trying to make it a special day. Simple is always best, right?
We are pretty thankful to get to know this precocious, funny and darling little girl. Lately she keeps coming up to Brandon and I and rubbing our arms and saying, “I lus you daddy” or “I lus you momma.” We live for those sweet little unexpected moments.
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