Madeleine CaiQun’s Birthday Celebration

Last month we celebrated Madeleine CaiQun’s 7th birthday! One thing that was super special about this year was that Matt’s mom and sister Stacey came to visit us the weekend of her birthday, so we had family here to help us celebrate, and that made the whole weekend seem like a fun treat. We don’t get to see them often, so it’s very special when we do.

Stacey had ordered a giant cardboard house for the kids to color, which the kids thought was amazing.

We talked to Mei Mei about how she’d like to celebrate her birthday, whether she wanted a party with friends or to go somewhere special, or what sounded best to her. I wondered what she’d choose – I thought she might say she wanted a party like Miranda did, not because that would necessarily be most enjoyable for her but because that’s what her sister had done. I was glad, though, that she thought about what she’d really like and chose accordingly.Β She said wanted to celebrate with just our family, to have a fun day at home, to get Chinese food for dinner, and have a pinata. We told her we could certainly make that happen!

She got some fun gifts, and we all enjoyed diving into them. The game Blokus will, I think, be a good one for our family, and Madeleine CaiQun is a very spatial thinker, so I think she’ll be good at it.

And she was happy to share her jewelry making kit with Miranda (she’s super generous), and of course both girls still love all things Star Wars!

I was exhausted – Madeleine CaiQun’s birthday fell at the end of the week during which FangFang’s tooth started hurting tremendously, and neither she nor Matt or I was getting much sleep – and by that afternoon I felt like I couldn’t put together a coherent sentence and went upstairs to get just a bit of sleep. Grandma Nancy and Aunt Stacey stepped in to help the girls make the birthday cupcakes, and then we all enjoyed Chinese food and cupcakes for dinner!

I love it when Madeleine CaiQun smiles – when she does, she radiates joy πŸ™‚ She is such an incredibly sweet child and brings so much joy to our lives. That sweetness was evidenced by the fact that she was totally fine with sharing a bit of the spotlight on her birthday with little brother, who was incredibly jealous that she got to blow out a candle!

And, I blame it on my sleep deprivation, but I completely forgot about her pinata until the morning after her birthday! No worries – we had just as much fun with it then as we would have the day before πŸ™‚ She had chosen a gigantic dinosaur pinata – the largest one at the store – to our amusement! We’d filled it with candy…

And then we let the kids take turns whacking it with a stick πŸ™‚ Matt had to help a bit to get it to break open, but everyone was quite entertained by the whole experience!

Madeleine CaiQun is such a beautiful soul. She’s sweet and kind and has a strong sense of justice. She’s self-aware and thoughtful, and she loves to snuggle. I am so thankful to have her in our family <3

Miranda’s Birthday

Our family has a number of birthdays in August and September, and as I was thinking about blogging about some of those, it occurred to me that I actually never wrote my blog post for Miranda’s birthday this year! At the end of April, Miranda turned seven, which seems like such a big age for my oldest child!

We spent the weekend celebrating, starting with gifts from her brother and sisters and relatives from afar and a visit to Orange Leaf, a local frozen yogurt shop that has many topping options and is thus much beloved by our children!

Matt’s and my big gift to Miranda this year was one of our best gifts ever, I think. I came across the idea on Facebook and suggested it to Matt, who was shocked that I’d be on board with something like that, but I actually thought it looked amazing! And in particular for Miranda, who is a sensory-seeker, especially when it comes to proprioceptive input, it seemed like it would be such a great tool. But of course it was Matt who actually built it. The girls’ room now has climbing walls in the little alcove leading to its dormer window!

Miranda can often be found climbing on it and choreographing climbing shows to perform for the rest of us, and when she’s having a hard time, I’ll sometimes suggest that she go climb for a while. She really enjoys it, and we’re so glad!

This year was a big milestone in that it was the first year Miranda had a birthday party with friends. I am not in any way, shape, or form anything that remotely even resembles a Pinterest mom. I know some people love hosting parties for their kids at their house, the cleaning and the decorating and the theme and game planning, and that’s great – it’s just not me. That would stress me out to no end. Instead we paid to have a birthday party at the gym where the girls have done gymnastics, and it was perfect (from this mama’s perspective!). We got an hour of our group having the whole gym to ourselves and then an hour upstairs to have cake and open presents.

It really was a perfect set up for this crew! And even our littles got to enjoy it, as well πŸ™‚

We really had a great time celebrating Miranda and her birthday! And the benefit of writing this post a few months after her birthday is that I can say with some certainty that this 7-year-old year is a big one for her. She’s growing academically, yes, progressing with reading and math and her knowledge of science and history, but even more than that, we have been working hard on character growth. Miranda is passionate and intense, which serves her so well in some areas – there is no end to her creativity, and she’s a natural leader. But she’s also been working hard at learning how to harness that energy, how to self-regulate when her big feelings threaten to take over, and how to manage the grays of life. I’m so proud of her for all the hard work she’s been doing and all the growth we’re seeing. These last few months have been big ones, and I expect these coming months to continue in that pattern. I think God has big plans for this girl, and it is a privilege to be her mama and get to live out this adventure of life with her!