Monday, July 13, 2015

The Fourth of July 2015: E.J.'s First Birthday!

We had a really great family day for E.J.'s first birthday! It was mostly Fourth-of-July-type fun, with a little touch of birthday cupcakes to sweeten the deal.

First of all, we dressed the kids in appropriate patriotic wear. I felt E.J. needed something red, white and blue that proclaimed to the world that it was his birthday, so I made him a shirt:

Looking good, birthday boy!

Ellie complimented him well in her pretty little star-spangled dress, too!

Patriotic kiddos

There was a celebration going on in Balis Park down in the San Marco Square, so after E.J.'s morning nap we walked out there to check that out. It was still just getting started but there was live music and the kids had a great time running around the park.

Happy Fourth from the W. Family!

With my happy little guy

Music in the park

Windswept Ellie

Kids playing by the fountain

The sight of two festive lions requires the use of two pointer fingers.


The kids were sooooooo feeling this selfie.

The sky was turning dark and thunder was rumbling, so we headed home. We had lunch of hot dogs, corn on the cob and watermelon, then the kids were off for naps. (Ellie opted to jump around her room like a crazy person instead of sleeping, which was not ideal considering we planned to be up late that night!)


Putting his little teeth to work

When E.J. woke up he had a little bit of play time, and that was when he took his very first steps! He was standing alone by the printer and I was able to entice him to stumble towards me, HANDS-FREE, by offering him the baby monitor. Eric missed it, unfortunately, but I missed Ellie's very first steps (and he saw them) so we'll call it even!

When we finally gave up on the "nap time for Ellie" thing, we did the real birthday celebration with cupcakes and singing. We posed for a family photo, sang "Happy Birthday" then let E.J. have a go at his big, patriotic cupcake! He sure did make a mess but barely ate a bite. That's okay though—frankly, that's kind of the desired result! (If you want to watch all this going down, you can see us singing to him here and watch him smashing his cake here.)

That cupcake sure is fit for a baby born on the 4th of July!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear E.J.! Happy birthday to you!

We love you, E.J.!

Well this is interesting.

It's squishy.

And tasty!

Happy birthday boy!

I think Ellie was a little disappointed that her cupcake part of the program was over rather quickly.

I'd say it was a success!

After cake we all walked out to Friendship Fountain, where we planned to watch the fireworks that evening. Our stormy afternoon was finally clearing out and we were hopeful that the fireworks would go forth as scheduled, so we went out to the fountain to check out the setup and scope out what we thought would be the ideal fireworks-viewing spots. Then we went back home so the kids could have dinner and I could put E.J. down for bed so he could get some rest before we left for the fireworks. Eric hung out with us for a bit then went back out to the fountain solo to camp out for our spot.

Eric was ready to go!

Meanwhile, as E.J. dozed and Eric camped, Ellie and I hung out on the couch together and watched Beauty and the Beast. It was so nice to have that quiet time with my girl, and I think she enjoyed it, too!

Around 8:45 p.m. I woke E.J. and we all loaded up and walked out to the fountain to find Eric. Ellie was equipped with glow-stick jewelry, a glow wand and her "ear mouse," which are actually "ear muffs," or noise-cancelling headphones. See, Ellie has been in a bit of a panic about fireworks (or all loud noises, really) since our Disney trips this year, so we thought we needed to take action if we wanted any chance of watching the fireworks along the river this year (and we did). She was excited to wear her "ear mouse" to see the fireworks!

This girl is ready for fireworks!

We snapped a few family photos...

Fourth of July as a family of four!

He was a little dazed and confused after being woken up from bed and dragged out for a walk in the dark, but he handled it well!

Father and son

...and then the fireworks show began just a few minutes later. As it turned out, the spot Eric so kindly saved for us ended up putting the fireworks right behind the tall fountain!


The kids and I stayed put but Eric and the camera moved down a bit for a better view. It was a very nice show!

Ooooh, aaaah.

Pretty fireworks

Very nice!

As for the kids, I guess Ellie's headphones worked because she sat calmly in the stroller the whole time. She had the stroller canopy down so she couldn't see anything, so she still wasn't a fan of the fireworks overall, but she wasn't screaming and clinging to me and begging to go home so I'd call that a win.

I'll take it.

E.J., on the other hand, watched his first real fireworks display in awe, frantically doing the baby sign for "light" over and over.

Cute, sweet, AND a genius.

And that was our Fourth of July! We walked back home and got the kids to bed (bless his heart, little E.J. fell back asleep IMMEDIATELY) and then Eric and I shared some popcorn, beer and a movie before turning in ourselves.

It was a really nice day, and a great first birthday for E.J., I think. We had a really nice time together as a family!

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