Friday, April 23, 2010

The Best 2nd Birthday Ever

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You see this kid? He turned two last week. I think we succeeded in giving him the.best.day.of.his.life. Harley and I thoroughly enjoyed his birthday too. That’s the great thing about being parents. Everything is exciting again because you view it through your child’s eyes. I recently read something that basically said being a toddler means having an epiphany every minute. So true. To Anderson everything is SO exciting and must be exclaimed! All day it’s “look mama, a BIRD!!” or “orange shirt… orange cup… matches!!” or “chicken nuggets… YAY!!!” I love Anderson’s little world of magical discovery and innocent bliss.

To celebrate Anderson we planned a special day at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The day was practically perfect. Probably one of my favorite days our little family has shared together. I’m feeling strangely aware of how numbered the days of “just the three of us” are. I tried to soak in all the sweetness and the fun of the day and of Anderson. Anderson was 100% loveable that day. And Harley and I were 100% impressed with the aquarium. I mean, just look at this jellyfish!

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We hit all three of the aquarium’s buildings, (with a small break for lunch at Chipotle) took in the 4D “immersion” movie, and saw every kind of fish, turtle, and octopus you can imagine. Anderson could see everything! We decided the aquarium is better than the zoo because every animal is colorful and swimming right by your face. (How many times have you gone to the zoo only to be disappointed as the lazy lion sleeps way off in the corner, blending into the rocks, where your kid can’t see him?) Plus, the aquarium has A/C and no smell. Bonus! Each tank had a step just Anderson’s height. We spent most of the day like this. Anderson liked to kiss the fish.

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The highlight of the day was the dolphin show. Three weeks ago Anderson didn’t know what a dolphin was. One trip to the library, 4 books and 3 videos later he is dolphin obsessed. (Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks? Oh, welcome back Glee!) It was all in preparation for this day and boy did it pay off. He loved seeing the dolphins flip and jump in person. We expected him to wriggle with joy and exclaim his little thoughts through the entire show. Instead he sat very still, staring. Apparently he was fascinated because the second it ended he flashed us a huge smile and said, “More?”

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My favorite moment of the day came as we were getting ready to leave the final exhibit. We were watching an owl camouflage himself into a tree (amazing!) when Anderson, who was on my hip, threw one arm around my neck. He reached for Harley’s neck with his other arm. He pulled our three heads together, in one big squeeze. He held us there for a few seconds. Cheek to cheek to cheek. Then he giggled, thinking this was so funny. My heart melted, thinking this was his 2-year-old way of saying “Great day! Gee, thanks mom and dad.”

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Our new favorite pose, which we call “CHEEEEEEEEEEEEKS!”

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Sign of a successful day, right?

That afternoon we opened presents. I made Anderson’s favorite dinner: chicken broccoli casserole. We had our traditional funfetti with rainbow chip frosting number cake. I love this tradition more and more all the time.

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I felt a little sad that night, wishing we had family with us to celebrate. I loved being “just us” at the aquarium, but it felt a bit lonely opening presents and eating cake without aunts, uncles and grandparents. I considered doing a friend party but decided it was a lot of time, work, and money that he was too young to appreciate. I also felt bad I didn’t decorate. I meant to. I meant to make a “2” birthday hat too. I ran out of time and it just didn’t happen. Of course Anderson didn’t know anything was missing, but I did.

Little did I know the next day both “party” and “decor” voids would be filled. A new woman in our ward invited us over for a play date. We were shocked to arrive and hear a bunch of little voices singing “Happy Birthday.” It was a surprise party for Anderson! Who throws a surprise party for a 2 year old? We were definitely very surprised and very touched by her thoughtfulness. The party was complete with lots of little friends, cupcakes, presents and decorations. In the end, Anderson got it all. And much of it had nothing to do with me. Wow!

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What a birthday! All week I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. These last two years have been some of the best of my life. Anderson is healthy, happy and thriving. I am thrilled to CELEBRATE ANDERSON and the joy he brings to our lives!

Shout out to Harley who turned 31 the day after Anderson’s birthday. Poor Harley. We seem to be developing a family tradition called “Harley Gets Da Hose” every year. We had a nice stir fry dinner on Harley’s birthday. One of those presents pictured above was for him. We went on a date Saturday night. But how does any of that compare to dolphins?

I sure love my birthday boys.

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22 comments:

Codi said...

Happy Birthday Anderson & Harley! I love the jelly fish photo and all the cute ones of Anderson too! I am reading this and thinking that I am not sure if I even remember what life was like when we were just a family of 3. Life changes so fast!

Kaija said...

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times -- you are a master story teller. That top photo is PRICELESS! And I loved reading about your birthday adventures. Many birthday greeting to Anderson and Harley!!!

Ming said...

Hooray for 2 year old birthday bliss! And dolphins! So much fun...so much spoilage. Love the last shot of just the boys. Precious.

Mom said...

Great post, you do tell a good story Wendy and the pictures are so cute. Anderson looks like a little shark in the first picture ready to take a giant bite out of life.

Jessica Taggart said...

Happy B-day to 2 of my favorite boys EVER!

Crystal said...

What a sweet little guy. I feel the same way about my hubby getting the short straw at birthday time since it is squeezed in between both of our children, but really what is better than watching you child cheer in delight. Happy B day to both of them

Jess said...

Happy Birthday Anderson (and Harley)! What a fun day! I love 2, it may be my favorite age.

Wein said...

i love it when he says, "more"

remember tom's second birthday? haha :)

Jill said...

I love the number cake. How do you do that?

Michelle said...

I'm glad you loved the aquarium. They really do a nice job there, don't they? Happy Birthday to Harley and Anderson! It looks like an awesome celebration all around!

Michelle said...
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Ben said...

Hey Wendy I love reading your blog. Happy birthday to Anderson (and Harley)!

Oh and Harley I feel for you. My birthday is two days after Ellie's, I'm preparing to Get Da Hose for the rest of my life too :) But it'll be worth it.

Ali Snow said...

Precious day. I wish we could have been there too. Such a cute little boy and how fun to have a surprise party. Happy Birthday boys!

Mike said...

Great pics. You are a terrific photographer. Welcome to the terrible 2's.

Love Dad

lys said...

Fabulous day.

p.s. In reference to your "Fabulous Right Now" section-- I'm impressed that you are willing to wear heels that high in your 3rd-trimester pregnant state. Yippee for you.

lys said...

p.p.s. Someday I will take pictures as great as you do. Can you give me a tutorial when you are here next month? Seriously.

Kara said...

Happy Birthday King-men! Such a fun day to the Aquarium; we've been meaning to go see it.

Relish the 3-of-you-moments, but get excited for the four-of-you ones too. It only gets better. :)

marti said...

Very cute! Happy Birthday to Anderson!

Rachel said...

I am wild about this woman throwing a surprise party for a 2-year old! Reminds me of when my family called my two year old nephew to tell him happy birthday....

You rule, Wendy W. King! I adore you!

Sarah S said...

Happy birthday to both King boys! That sounds like such a great way to celebrate. I love the pics of the three of you cheek to cheek.

We have the same birthday abundance in our house - Eli's birthday is May 20th and Ben's is May 23rd. Ben gets the shaft too.

jaredandmatisse said...

I think Anderson overdosed on fun at the aquarium. Yes, that was the greatest birthday. I want some of the yummy #2 cake. Loves, Tisse

Brittany said...

I LOVE that first picture of Anderson... What a handsome kid he is. So glad you had such a fun family celebration! You and harley are such fun and wonderful parents. Andersons a lucky guy to have you both! Happy birthday to Anderson and Harley! :)