Thursday, June 5, 2008

she'll never be one again...

John and I decided that we probably wouldn't have a party for Ruby's 2nd birthday. Mostly because of the work that goes into having one, and also because she's still probably too young to really appreciate it. We decided, instead, to just take her out to some of her favorite places, let her eat her favorite foods, and do some of her favorite things...just the three of us.

The first thing we did was greet her in the morning with the very special, and very familiar, Happy Birthday song. I think she was a little confused in the beginning, but it didn't take her too long to absolutely love being the birthday girl. She was so excited to see the decorated table, which was loaded with presents, and couldn't wait to get her little hands on the bite-size cupcakes that mom had been baking for the occasion. She really loved all of her presents, but as one can often expect with children, it's usually the least expensive, afterthought of a gift, that turns out to be their favorite. Such was the case with Ruby. It wasn't her new Tricycle, or her ladybug sandbox that generated the most excitement, but her very own set of keys which dangled from her very own, neon-green key chain! Lately, if we go anywhere, she always insists on carrying our keys for us. I usually don't have a problem with her holding them, but it always turns into a problem when I need to get them back to be able to start the car. So needless to say, the idea of finally having her very own set, was a total hit. In fact, she carried them around with her the entire day.
After John left for work, my friend Diana came over. She brought her beautiful week-old daughter Emaline, and Ava - who just so happens to be Ruby's best friend. These two were out of control. It was fun for me to watch them run, and scream, and chase each other, and sing songs together, and play with balloons, and drink from matching sippy cups. I'm so grateful that Ruby has Ava, and that the two of them were able to play together on her special day.

At lunch time, we went to John's office, where Ruby relished in the fact that she was the center of attention. She opened her birthday card from Grandpa Jerry, showed off her new keys, gave everyone hugs, and even sent uncle Rob to his "room" (office). John and I then took her to McDonald's for lunch, where we watched her play on the playground, and also ordered her her very coke!

After she took a nice nap, we were off again. We headed out to Scottsdale, and made our first stop at Sprinkles, where Ruby got to pick out two for now & one for later. We then took her to the Railroad park that my friend, Celeste, introduced us to a while back. It honestly, couldn't have been more perfect! We were literally the only ones in the entire park, and the weather was absolutely beautiful. It was warm, but not too hot; and then there was this most refreshing breeze that blew through the valley. It was there that we let Ruby enjoy her first cupcake, then rode the train twice, went on the carousel, and relaxed on the grass under a beautiful tree. It was perfect. Just perfect.

We then went to Barro's Pizza for dinner. Ruby loves pizza, and we love Barro's, so it was really a win-win for all of us. Plus, they have a really cute little kid's play area that Ruby was able to benefit from.

After dinner, it was back home to open her Birthday gifts from Grandpa and Grammy, aunts Angie, Erica, and Kim (uncle Christian and Lincoln), and Amber, who stopped by with her sister, and brought Ruby a baby doll.

We again sang Happy Birthday to her, let her blow out her candle, eat her final cupcake, and then it was time for the event that I had anticipated all day. The dance.

Growing up, we had a tradition in our family with my dad and his girls. Sadly, my mom thought of the idea long after my second birthday, but at least I was able to witness what a tender thing it was for my dad to take each of his daughters, at the close of their second birthday, and lead them in a dance. It was always to Alabama's Never be one. The birthday girl was always given a new dress for her special birthday dance with her daddy.

I asked John if he wouldn't mind carrying on this family tradition that was always so dear to my heart, especially because it was something that came from my mom. He was a good sport about it, which meant so much to me, mostly because I know he doesn't love to dance.

We put Ruby in her new birthday dress, and I got teary eyed as I watched John pick her up and twirl her around the dance floor. She wanted to get down pretty fast, which was really okay, because I loved watching them run, and laugh, and chase, and scream, all while the song was playing. Not exactly what I had envisioned, but it ended up being a perfect moment for me...and hopefully for John and Ruby, too.

That probably should have been the culminating event of the day, but we decided to really stretch out the celebration by watching the movie Enchanted together in our bed. It was after 10:00 at that point, so we were sure that Ruby wouldn't last more than 15 minutes or so. Contrary to our assumption, however, it was actually John and I that fell asleep, and our little two year old who stayed awake the entire time! By that time it was past midnight...and we couldn't get her to finally settle down until close to 1:00 am! Boy did I ever feel like a lousy mom for encouraging her with all of that sugar.

Even though we're all paying for it today (Ruby's sick with a cold, the house is a mess, and I'm exhausted), I still don't think I'd change a thing about yesterday. All day today Ruby has been talking about presents, and cakes (cupcakes), and candles, and singing the Happy Birthday song...and still carrying those keys around. That's really all that I wanted. I just wanted her to be able to laugh and smile, and do the things that she loves...and it's my hope that she'll continue talking about her birthday, for days to come.

Here are some highlights from her special day. (Played to Alabama's Never Be One, the song that Ruby and her daddy danced to.)


ahe said...

That slide show melted my heart. Ruby is such a sweetie and your pics and approach to her birthday are just perfect.

Jon and Ashlyn Ellsworth said...

Happy Birthday Ruby!! Hope it was a good one!

buddens said...

That song is darling! Love the tradition!

Layn & Celeste said...

So fun Nicole! I still have to drop off Ruby's present (I know it's late I just haven't had a chance to get out yet). Maybe this morning I'll drop it off on my way to the grocery store.

We love Ruby and I'm so glad she had such a wonderful birthday.

Danielle said...

You're an amazing mother, Nicole. You are and John are amazing parents of a GORGEOUS little SWEETIE pie!

I really love the idea of an intimiate party - just the three of you, especially since that time is so precious. The daddy-daughter dance is such a cute idea, too.

Those pictures of Ruby just make me want to give her a great big bear hug and a smootch on the cheek. She's soooooooooooooooooo darling. That one picture of you two together (giving each other a kiss) melted my heart.

My mom saved my "2" candle. I found in a little keepsake box just before she passed away. Unfortunately, like many precious keepsakes & pictures, it was lost or stolen. I hope you'll keep Ruby's "2" candle and let her discovery it randomly one day in a keepsake box. :)

HAPPY B-DAY, AGAIN, RUBY!!! You're growing up so fast!

Dad said...

Ouch! This beautiful post really plucked my heartstrings. You know, there really isn't anything more precious to a man than his daughters...and his granddaughters. :)

It's the depth of love we feel for each other that causes the everlasting nature of the family to resonate through my entire soul.

Great job of parenting (which is really just loving your kids). I love you.

Kat & Steve said...

So funny that those keys are in almost every picture. I loved all those beautiful pictures. Happy Birthday, pretty girl!

Dawn said...

That song was so sweet - I've never heard it before. Loved the slide show you did to it. She looked so pretty in her birthday dress - looks like she loved it!

Travis and Teresa Wilson said...

Happy Birthday Ruby. I can't believe how fast two years has gone.

diana rose said...

i'm sure i don't need to tell you that watching that slideshow and hearing that song made me cry. what's new, right?

i'm so, so glad that ava was able to play with ruby on her special day, thanks for making time for us.

you made ruby's day so special, you're such a great mommy!

Kira Joy said...

You are so the mom of the year! And Ruby is as cute as the day is long.

Right on with nixing the made it a perfect day for little Ruby instead of stressing yourself out, only to entertain the adults.

Tara Garn said...

I loved watching Ruby's Birthday! You are truly inspiritational!

Daily Jot & Tittle said...

What a fun day! You are a amazing person! Good job on those mini cupcakes! I've seen them before and wondered if they were worth the effort to make them? What did you think? Are they good?

Daily Jot & Tittle said...

What a fun day! You are a amazing person! Good job on those mini cupcakes! I've seen them before and wondered if they were worth the effort to make them? What did you think? Are they good?

Camille Law said...

You are amazing at photography Nicole! WOW! Love all the pics! Happy Birthday to Ruby! I am loving the 2 year old stage. Love you guys!

Julie Knowlton said...

Happy Birthday to Ruby!

Nicole, I am so excited about your news (I am just returning back to blogging world).


Laurel said...

That is just so sweet! Of course you had to give her a perfect little birthday... how could anyone NOT? I can't believe she is 2 already. Ruby is beautiful and I'm so glad you all have each other. Happy Birthday, Ruby!

Sarah said...

Happy birthday to your cute little girl! I absolutely love the pictures.

Rowland & Elizabeth said...

Wow, I can't believe Ruby's already 2! And Madison's about to turn 1, I can't believe how time flies! It's sad.

I'm so glad you talked me into starting a blog, it's so fun! And you're right, it's addicting! Take care.