Naiya's 4th Birthday - 1

Ah, the four year old's birthday...

I must say that we're well into my favorite ages of childhood. Four to seven-ish have got to be the peak of parenting. There is so much adoration and love in both directions and so much fun every single day. Granted, it can be trying as well, but I think one day I will perhaps look back on these years as the very best we shared with our little one. Or maybe they just keep getting better? (We'll see what 13 brings... )

This year Naiya is in the Bluebell Nursery (pre-school) at Portland Waldorf School. In the morning at home we had a sweet lighting of the birthday ring and a hunt for the four birthday fairies before heading to class. I was able to join them there for some play time and Naiya's special day. What a beautiful celebration of her coming and growing in the world. At circle time the story for all the children was of Naiya's birth into our family. Her amazing teacher, Ms. Anne-Marie gave her the most precious hand made felted bird in a soft flowery nest wrapped inside of four layers of tissue and wool cord: one for each of her years. I can't tell you the number of times that I have had tears in my eyes during the beautiful celebrations held at this school. We fell incredibly lucky to be a part of the Waldorf community.

When we arrived home, grandma and grandpa had come for additional festivities. We opened a few gifts at home before they, Auntie Erin, Uncle Matthew and Olivia took her out to dinner while Ryan and I prepared for her party the next day. Naiya wanted to go to the "dinosaur restaurant" (Laughing Planet) and it seems they all had a fine time. Naiya was apparently chatting up several tables of other small children. I can't get over how social this kid is, especially given the shyness both Ryan and I suffered in our own childhoods.

On Saturday we held our grand birthday bash once again at Kruger's Farm on Sauvie Island. This is an actual working farm that we visit at various times throughout the year to pick different berries, flowers and whatnot. They also offer hay rides and during autumn have a corn maze and pumpkins galore. Seven of the eight children from Naiya's class joined us as well as her cousins, aunts and uncles, her grandparents and a number of friends made in previous years. The kids decorated pumpkins, performed a treasure hunt, rode the hay tractor to pick pumpkins, visited the giant hog, snuck up on the hen with her brood of baby chicks hiding in the sunflowers and just played as the overcast morning unfolded into a lovely sunny afternoon. We baked four cakes (Ryan made the most impressive two) and this year got it together well enough to offer coffee for the grown-ups. At the end of the day we had a stack of sweet handmade cards, some crazy jack-o-lanterns and a bunch of tuckered out little kids. There were at least two totally worn out adults as well.

It was a couple of days of great fun.