Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Nine Year Celebration

We've been purging lately, simplifying and cutting back on all the clutter in our
lives: materials, emotions, whatever the case may be.  After lying low for a good portion of
this past year, we are diving back into the world with a vengeance.  We are celebrating
this season in our lives by packing up the car every chance we get and going on one
adventure or another, taking in all the sights and sounds we encounter along the way.  It
feels so good to be out again.
This weekend, we celebrated Isabelle's 9th birthday with a weekend in the city.  Shawn and
I asked her if she would rather a weekend away with the family and her BFF/cousin rather
than another big party and she enthusiastically accepted our offer.  As I mentioned in
this post, we are limiting the amount of material possessions that enter this house, choosing
to make big memories together instead.  We gave Belle a whole list of activities to fill
her birthday weekend up with and let her choose the itinerary.  After she made her
selections, I went to work getting everything planned, packed, and organized.  It was a
jam packed, fun filled weekend in New Orleans with trips to the zoo, the aquarium, an
IMAX film, Audubon Park, the Insectarium,  a pizza party with our best friends, gelato, and
a stroll through the French Quarter Festival.  The weather was amazing and the
temper tantrums were kept to a minimum.  We walked what seemed like a hundred
miles, danced and laughed and made it through the no nap tears.  Basically, it was all kinds
of awesome.

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I am one of those people who like to just go for it when it comes to trying new things, no 
matter how scared I am, because I am afraid that I may never get the opportunity to try 
it again.  This weekend, I saw the same crazy/gutsy characteristic in my girls when 
they enthusiastically agreed to eat bugs with me at the Insectarium.  We ate chocolate 
covered crickets, cricket cookies, and a couple of caramel worms.  They were delicious 
and the girls proudly showed their "I ate a bug" stamp to everyone they saw.  So proud of 
my fearless young ladies!

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Even the butterflies showed Isabelle some love as we walked through the butterfly 
garden, swarming around her in the late afternoon sun.  A beautiful monarch landed on 
her hand and stayed perched there for a long time as Isabelle sat quietly on a bench next to 
the koi fish pond, savoring the moment, her little face all lit up.  Brees just looked up at her 
and said, "Sissy has a butterfly!!!".  As if she needed another reason to adore her big sister.  

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We got home really late on Sunday night: exhausted, tons of laundry to do, desperately in 
need of showers and a car wash.  But we stayed up just long enough to sing happy 
birthday over the glowing light of a number nine candle and a batch of homemade 
brownies.  We said goodnight to our growing girl as she thanked us a million times for her 
big birthday weekend adventure.  And we hugged her just a little bit tighter, always our 
baby, forever our first.

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Deanna Fike said...

your friend's maxi dress is amazing!

and i refuse to believe that belle turned 9, because just a few weeks ago you posted about her 8th birthday. :-/ slow down kids! quit growing up so fast!

Caitlin A. said...

Yay! I can't believe she's 9! <3 Love the idea of not allowing a lot of material possessions in the home, also.

Ashley said...

Love these pictures! Makes me miss yall terribly!!!! Isabelle looks like she had a wonderful celebration. You and Shawn are awesome parents!

Olivia said...

Thank you!! It was an awesome weekend and we all had so much fun!!

Olivia said...

I can't believe it either! And we are loving the idea of cutting back, too. Little life lessons around every corner...

Olivia said...

I know, I know!! I can't believe how fast it's going by!

Jodi Hall said...

Such wonderful pictures.. The crickets threw me a bit though lol.