This past Wednesday, Munchkin celebrated her fourth birthday! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown. It's mind-blowing to think that it was already four years ago that we were kicking deployment's booty and bringing home our little girl for the first time. So much has changed, we've moved twice, had another baby, Mark's had wildly different duties with varying times away from the family, but it's all just come together as our life. She's already talking about her next birthday when she turns five...oh, honey child, let's not think of that just yet! Let me enjoy you being four. So independent, yet still loves cuddles. So smart and eager to keep learning new things. So in love with dance (even if this year proves to have some growing pains as she gets pushed higher and held to higher expectations to become a better person and dancer).
We celebrated last Saturday as a family because Mark had to miss her actual birthday for a training event, but it was great just the same. She helped me make her cake, which was a "rainbow" cake that she requested. We used neon blue, green, and purple to color white cake and swirled it together, and it came out pretty decently. She opened her presents from us and Grandma & Grandpa--and loved it all. (She got more presents in the mail on Monday, and a friend dropped off another on Thursday!) She declared it "The best birthday ever!", so I think she was pleased.
We have the Red Robin Royalty Reward card, and both Munchkin and Lil Man are in the Kid's Club, so the week before her birthday, I got an email with a coupon for a free kid's meal as a birthday gift for her. Red Robin is her FAVORITE (I think the balloons have a lot to do with that), so on Wednesday, we went there for late lunch/early dinner and had a good time. I made sure that our server knew it was her birthday, but asked them to please not sing to her because she would cry--she even cried when Mark tried to sing Happy Birthday at home!--and he was very sweet about it. He brought her the birthday ice cream and quietly told her Happy Birthday, but that was it. She clapped and laughed as they sang to another person a couple tables away from us though...silly girl! Her balloon popped as I was putting Lil Man in the car, so we went back in and they were more than happy to give her a new one, which made her day.
More and more, I see her turning into a girl, leaving her toddler self behind. She's not a baby anymore, but she's always MY baby. Her long golden hair, which she refuses to get cut, makes her look even more grown up--it's past her little booty now, I have to make sure it doesn't get tucked into her pants or skirts!--and people comment on it ALL the time. I'm so glad to be her Mommy and I can't wait to see what this year holds for us.