You know, it didn't dawn on me she was turning nine until I wrote the headline for this post. NINE. For some reason that's hitting me like a ton of bricks. I can't picture my LuLu being nine years old. I just can't.
Anyhow, if I can put aside my mid-life crisis for a moment: today, the day before her actual birthday, we held her her party at Cool Waters, a local water park operated by the Milwaukee County Parks.
It was a beautiful day for it. Temperatures in the mid '70's, a sunny sky, just a hint of a mild breeze, and the lush Wisconsin foliage on full display. It was the kind of day that reminds you why it's good to be alive.
We met the other party goers outside the main entrance and were led around through a side door and then through the park to our reserved area in a picnic area beneath a pavilion. It was a long enough walk that I joked with the hostess that this must be a new version of an ol' PT Barnum trick - making us pay for the privilege of being led out immediately through an exit!
We were the only group using that area and we soon had to select our menu choices for later in the day - one meal, one drink, one dessert per person. I was impressed. After that we suntan-lotioned up and headed out for a swim.
The kids soon divided up around the park. YaYa and the oldest child of our friend Chris hit the lap area;
Lu and her friends the 3ft deep water
Smiley (the only other male at the gig) spending time on the slides, in the 3ft water, and in the wading area;
and Lump/Ginger hung out with her 4yr old buddy Tempe or Mommy or Daddy.
Here's Faith and Sydney:
I took the second turn with Ginger, and chased her around the shallow water playing "shark" or "monster", and took her by both hands and 'jet skied' her across the water. She had a blast. I also caught up to Smiley, who was busy practicing his swimming technique, and saw that YaYa had passed her swim test and was allowed in deep water. Alas, LuLu did not, and was encouraged by the life guards to "practice more".
Around 4:30 all the kids randomly showed up at the picnic area, and so I fast tracked the dessert order. They all took a few minutes to enjoy a frozen treat - some of which were as big as their heads!
Then it was back to swimming for 30 minutes before they were all corralled again for dinner.
After that it was time to open presents.
First up, a pair of flower hair clips YaYa made for her:
Then our two big gifts to her (we had bought her a t-shirt, beach towel/bag, and bikini prior to the party). The big one (but one that was unfortunately - cockily - expected and so not a generator of the anticipated reaction: Justin Bieber concert tickets.
Then, a box of 40 Archie Comics Digests/Double Digests I bought off of Craigslist. She is a good reader, but a disinterested one, but she tears up her Betty and Veronica!
From her friends she got a Justin Bieber tshirt
Color Blanks, which are cube headed figures you can decorate on your own.
a memo board
a handmade card
and a Justice gift card
After some more swimming, it was time to blow out the cake and pass out the party favors. Lisa had gotten here a kick-but cake from a Piggly-Wiggly in Timbuktu, and she loved it!
The wind was a bit too strong at that moment and kept blowing out the candles, so it was the fastest version of "Happy Birthday" you'll ever hear!
As for the favors: for weeks Lu had been discussing them, and wound up having us buy pink and/or lime green wicker baskets filled with candy and trinkets, and her personal selection - a hulu dancer bobblehead.
But, in a tragic twist of fate the box with them inside tumbled off the picnic table, mixing it all together. So the ladies sat down and reorganized it at the eleventh hour.
They were a hit. Then we all had our picture taken together by the staff
LuLu was given a special keepsake beach towel to take home
and all that was left was a long ride home.
Happy 9th Birthday LuLu! Your Mom and Dad love you very very very much!