(The following was written by Judy)
Every year, my goal is to keep it simple. Plan just one birthday event. But it is hard for me to stop at just one, if not seemingly impossible. This year was no exception.
When asked what she wanted to do for her birthday, Jaelin expressed overwhelming enthusiasm to see the immortal Shamu. So we visited Sea World the weekend before her birthday. While we were in San Diego, Jeremy's family and our good friend, Drew, also had a birthday celebration for her. Then on Sunday, Jaelin celebrated her birthday with my extended family - my cousins and their significant others, aunt & uncle, and maternal grandparents. On Monday, Jaelin's actual birthday, Jeremy and I brought her favorite treats to her preschool. The kids sang "Happy Birthday" to her (so cute!) and indulged in ice cream cupcakes and doughnuts. After picking her up from school that day, we drove to my parents' house to celebrate her birthday with my immediate family members. My dad shares the same birthday as Jaelin. Then the following Saturday, I could not help myself from planning another party for Jaelin with her friends. Some of our closest friends also attended. Because many of them do not have children (yet - ha!), I know it took a lot of courage and love to choose to be in the midst of chaos central. And for that, my heart is grateful.
We were beyond exhausted by the end of Jaelin's birthday extravaganza. But seeing her so happy was fuel to our soul. Our hearts were also delighted with inexpressible thanksgiving seeing the love of others for her. Happy birthday, my Lady. May you shine ever so brightly this fourth year of your life. May your every step be blessed with divine presence and guidance. May love and peace continue to root deeply into your soul, such that the unraveling of life would not alter the simple faith and trust you naturally display that speak healing to this dark world. I love you from a place of eternal thanks to our God for my good and perfect gift - you.
Starting the birthday week with homemade chocolate cake, complete with fairy dust, by Mor Mor (Jeremy's mom)
Jaelin personally picked out a Shamu necklace bought by great grandmother Kay
To my horror, reaching into germ infested water. And to my even greater disgust, no washing facility nearby!
Jaelin with her preschool friends. Chase makes a handsome background.
Cooper Dooper Dolan
Jaelin smiling as her butterfly designed cupcake "cake" was being creatively lit (the box blocked some of the wind)
Blowing out four candles has become a full time job!
Jaelin's pink chocolate cupcake
So this is how you get a bunch of kids to sit in a row!
Cooper and the ladies - Elissa, Kajsa (standing), Hannah, Carly, Jaelin, Ashley, Natalia & Ella
Carly's baby brother, whom I refer affectionately as "Grandpa Baby Dylan"
Jaelin and Carly, the other blond in her world (besides Ashlyn)
This is an exquisite picture of Ashley. And yes, she is this cute in person, too :)
Natalia - an absolute princess
Cooper and his dad, Mike
This little man makes my heart skip!!!
Our brave friends without children, clinging onto each other to survive the crazy world of too many excited children all together in too small a place
Jaelin with Carly and Hannah
Ella - swinging underneath the golden sun