Saturday, March 16, 2024

Turning Eleven

For her 11th birthday, our girl decided that she was finally ready for a full-room overhaul!  So that we weren't cramming everything into just a few days, we opted to do some of the prepping ahead of her birthday.  In the weeks leading up to her birthday, with the perfect shade of teal chosen, this team got to work.  Of course, with a change in paint came the need to get some new painting skills from Dad.  While I looked on and photographed, I couldn't help but notice those letters of her name that had stayed since the very beginning - and wonder if they would remain this time.

After long days at work, this duo spent two nights putting in all the details to finish the job.  Of course, they still made time for fun in the mix.  It was neat to see them make light of the work together and have our girl repeatedly claim when it was done, "Guess what?!? My room is TEAL!"

The next planning step was the cake.  Several months ago, one of our favorite Emma adorers sent me a message with a panda cake and said, "Show Emma!!  I thought of her immediately!" (a common occurrence in our lives at this point).  As soon as Emma saw it, she was sold.  For those that might have missed it, last year's science experiment in chemistry was to bake a cake - the week of Emma's birthday!  So she and Dad baked her very first cake and it went over so well, I think we'll have homemade Emma cakes for as long as she'll let us.

The inspiration from Pinterest wasn't exactly to our girl's vision because she thinks pandas playing in snow are the absolute cutest thing.  So, snow decor requires things like white icing, coconut shreds, and some bamboo cookies to cap off the details.

One super fun detail was finishing up a conversation online with a friend while the decorating took place!

The next day was party day.  We started the day with some extra exciting party accessories to make the birthday girl's time amazing.  Since our family has continued to be cautious with COVID, we have built an incredible network of friends online.  With one of Emma's closest friends having moved to Wisconsin last year, she wanted to have her party online.  She did an absolutely amazing job planning it all out, including a slideshow of games!  We sent out care packages for the guests to have because what's a birthday without goodies?  With a few added touches, her room was party-ready and things kicked off.

After party games of hot panda, pin the bamboo on the panda, and some sweet drawing fun done by our favorite 11-year-old artist, it was time for cake and presents.  If ever you decide to celebrate with family from across the globe, know that mug cakes make the perfect celebration treat and my girl will happily share her tips with anyone who wants them.  Cake and presents (pandas galore!) were certainly amazing, but the true joy came from celebrating our girl. 

 As a side note, I wasn't a big supporter of this disco light idea, but this thing was a huge highlight and let the party keep going well after the planned activities were finished.

After a short break, we celebrated with our small crew at home, even doing a Facetime call for a special present, and finally getting to dig into that sweet cake our girl baked.  It was a pretty pandatastic day!

With so much happening before her actual birthday, it's difficult to believe that there was anything left, but what's a birthday without celebrating ON your birthday?  We opened a couple of presents first thing in the morning, then took a half day from school to have lunch at the park (on an unseasonably beautiful February day).

She got to add new details for the bedroom, like paper lanterns and panda canvases, and POLISH things off with nail art tools and an entire set of colors to start adding fun to our fingernail adventures.

A new year has brought us beautiful changes, even if they were difficult at first.  Celebrating our girl turning eleven was an unexpectedly amazing surprise, just like our girl was eleven years ago.

Until next time,