Monday, June 10, 2013

Allyson's Amazing Birthday Week

Just like last year, Allyson had three birthday celebrations. But at least this year we kept the whole birthday season down to a week.

It started on Saturday the 1st, when she had her friend party at an indoor rock climbing gym, where we had recently enjoyed the best family night ever. She and about ten friends enjoyed a couple hours of climbing while the parents held the ropes.
Olivia, Allyson, Elias

Next we enjoyed one of Aunt Emily's fabulous cakes. The dolphin was sculpted from Rice Krispy treats and then covered in chocolate and fondant. Using a plastic knife borrowed from another birthday party, I laboriously cut the cake into slivers and then hacked apart the dolphin, which everyone fought over. So good!

Allyson's favorite part was probably riding to and from the gym with her friends Savannah and Elias. They chattered and laughed the whole way.

The next day, I hosted our monthly family dinner, and we celebrated Allyson's birthday with swimming and a few cornhole games (tossing bean bags at a target). Allyson was pretty good! And surprisingly, I wasn't half bad either.

Cake number two was just a little less formal than cake number one:

 Yes, I really did serve leftover cake at Allyson's party. It was way too good to waste. The real dessert was ice cream sundaes, for the record. And this was officially Allyson's cake:
One of Aunt Emily's Fancy Cupcakes

The Very Best Day
Although this wasn't technically part of Allyson's birthday celebration, it was part of her birthday week, and probably the best day of the year, if not her entire life....

All through Kindergarten and first grade, Allyson was nominated numerous times as the class Bucket Filler, a student who goes out of the way to be kind to others, filling their "buckets." Each week, every class puts their Bucket Filler's name in a big bucket in the office, and then one name is drawn from each grade. The lucky winners get to be on the Friday morning announcements.

Over and over, Allyson got her hopes up and was disappointed. This year she had given up hope because the last day of school was on a Thursday. So you can imagine her delight when her name was drawn last Monday, for the Thursday morning announcements! She was positively radiant that afternoon. What amazing timing!

  • It was the last day of school, a half day.
  • It was the day before her birthday.
  • Nana and Grandpa had just arrived from Canada, so they got to come along.
  • She got to spend the whole afternoon with Nana and Grandpa.
  • To top off her perfect day, we all met for last-day-of-school ice cream that evening.  

Here she is, waiting for her two minutes of fame:
Nana, Allyson, Grandpa

The Bucket Fillers

The Anchormen in Front of the Stage
One by one, the Bucket Fillers were announced by name and grade. They crammed together at the front of the tiny stage and recited the United States pledge and the Texas pledge, and then they sang the school song, complete with hand motions. Allyson was brilliant! A little self-conscious, but brilliant.

Back at her classroom, she was greeted as a hero. Her beloved teacher told us they had all cheered and exclaimed over how beautiful she looked.

It was also hat day, in honor of the last day. See how nicely the hat coordinates with her best dress:
Vancouver Canucks, of Course
Yep, a day can't get much better than that one.

A Close Second 
But the next day was a close second. We all met over at the giant outlet mall, even Ethan and his friend Meggie. We started at the Build-a-Bear Workshop, where Allyson picked a leopard.
She Wore Her Birthday Hat From School

Giving Her Leopard an Air Bath After He Was Stuffed

She Bought an Outfit with Drumsticks, and Named Him Ethan 

Next, we trekked to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. It was literally about a half-mile walk around the mall. At the end, Bill discovered that we could have cut right through a store in the center.

While We Waited, Allyson Got a Parrot Balloon 
At the end of our delicious meal, the waiters came out and sang a birthday song. They made Allyson do a monkey dance, and I've never seen her so embarrassed. But it was all good fun.

That evening, Bill's family met at my house for Allyson's favorite dinner, yellow rice and chicken. Mom, Dad, and Amy came, too. We had a great time playing cornhole. The two grandmas beat the pants off everyone else, even though it was Nana's first time to play (so she says, anyway).

Here is cake number three, an ice cream cake from Daddy.
Ethan Got to Share the Big Moment

Afterward, Allyson got to spend the night at Nana and Grandpa's hotel. Another really great birthday season.

One More Story
On an unrelated note, I have to share one more story about Allyson. A few weeks back, she and I were walking through the neighborhood when we spotted two teenage boys unloading a trunk full of trophies. "Did you win all those trophies?" Allyson asked.

They explained that they'd found them in a Dumpster. 

"You need to come up with a more exciting story," I said. 

Allyson gaped at the shiny gold trophies with longing. 

"Want one?" one of the boys asked. 

"Oh, we really-" I began.

"Yes!" Allyson shouted. I sighed. 

From the very large stack, she chose a second-place state karate championship trophy. She gushed over her prize all the way home. "Is it worth a lot of money?" she asked.

I explained that it probably didn't cost much, and its value was probably only high to the person who earned it. She didn't seem to get the point, and was very proud to possess her very own karate trophy. 

So, when she was honored for an achievement by getting to bring something for Show and Tell last Tuesday, guess what she brought? Yep, that battered trophy, which was starting to fall apart. 

I couldn't wait to hear about her experience that afternoon. Turns out, it wasn't all that wonderful. She enjoyed telling the story to her classmates; like her mama, she does love to tell a good story. But the trophy brought way too many questions all through the day. She was sick of telling students, teachers, and staff that she had not earned the trophy in a tournament. 

Just as she was griping over all those questions, we passed the school principal. "Oh, did you win that, sweetie?" Allyson momentarily grinned at being the object of her principal's attention, but then sighed audibly. I quickly explained how the quirky teenagers had given her the trophy, and that she'd brought it for Show and Tell. "Ah," the principal said, her tone bemused. 

We hadn't walked thirty feet when we overheard two older boys whispering excitedly as they pointed at Allyson. "Wow, think she's a black belt? I bet she could kick your butt!" 

"Yours, too." 

When we got closer, they asked, "How did you win that?"

Allyson groaned. "I didn't win it. Somebody gave it to me." 

"Oh," they said, crestfallen. 

Thankfully, after that one day of dubious glory, Allyson was willing to part with her prize. It went out with yesterday's trash. 


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