Today is a very special day. Our Little Squirt (Jellie-bellie, little bug, etc.) is turning 5 today. His Hotness was able to spend the weekend in SoCal to celebrate with her and it sounds like they had a fantastic time. Some dear friends offered their home and hosted a small soiree in honor of the birthday girl. From what I hear it was all pink and all Hello Kitty. What else would you expect?
Second marriages are weird things. I mean, she's not technically my flesh and blood but already I am so very attached to that little girl. Big Squirt and I were not able to go visit and I really felt the void. Despite the fact that I am not her mother, and that she has a really good one, I love her more than I can describe and every day that she is not with us it feels as though a part of our family is missing. I have no desire to try and replace her mom in any way. After all, mothers are sacred. What I do hope is to build a positive relationship with her and be someone she can trust and look up to.
Today I'd like to share 10 of my favorite moments this year with my Jellie-bellie. Here, in no particular order (I couldn't rank them if I tried), are 10 moments that fill my heart with joy and happiness when I think of them.
In March, we packed up and drove to SoCal for Spring Break. Jellie-bellie was able to spend the whole vacation with us as the beginning of several weeks with her dad. We did many fun and wonderful things (bowling, Knott's berry farm, basketball lessons in a friend's backyard, accidentally breaking a monitor on the Cal State Fullerton campus, etc) but by far my favorite memory was watching the girls play together at the beach. They would run away from the rolling waves and laugh with endless delight.
For Easter, His Hotness and I hosted Easter Dinner at my house. The girls were spoiled... a natural consequence of being loved my a great many people. Amidst the chaos that ensued (the house was clean when everyone arrived) the girls were playing with my dad. He loves being a grandpa more than I could say and it was so fun to see the girls have just as much fun as he did.
In May, I took personal leave from work for the first time ever and flew to SoCal for the graduation of His Hotness. Jellie-bellie and I rode with some good family friends and she was my little buddy throughout the multi-hour ceremony. We played with Zoobles from my purse ate pretzels and made silly faces to pass the time. When the length and the sun got to be too much she snuggled up on my lap and almost fell asleep. When I see this picture I remember her cuddled up on my lap waiting for her daddy's name to be called.
In May/June (?) the girls and I had a sleepover at my house. We watched movies, ate popcorn, and planted flowers. After spending the morning painting flowerpots the girls got to plant the seeds we bought that morning just for them. Jellie-bellie was so thrilled to be scooping soil since she "doesn't have a yard to dig in." I have never seen a child so excited about scooping soil.
For my birthday, Jellie-bellie picked out the Sprinkles Red Velvet cupcake mix for me. The girls and I made them together and this was the moment where the tension was sooooo thick they wanted to eat the cupcakes more than they could contain. Jellie-bellie ate one of the giant sprinkles when I wasn't looking and didn't like it, so we put a blueberry on hers instead. That little girl can eat more blueberries in one sitting than anyone I have ever met.
At the end of June, one of Big Squirt's neighborhood friends invited the girls to a birthday party. Jellie-bellie was so very excited to tell me all about the pinata and the little treat bags they brought home. So often she would hide or just ignore me when I pulled out the camera but this day she was so giddy that she gave me a whole series of silly poses. She was glowing with happiness!
Fourth of July was spent at a neighborhood block party. The girls quickly tired of the fireworks and regalia but once I pulled out the glow bracelets a whole new world opened up! She was so animated and bouncy as you can tell by the swirly red and purple at the bottom of the picture.
For family night one evening in July we discussed the meaning of temples and the kids built their own out of play-doh. Her pretend bashfulness is deceived by the jubilation shown by her one visible eye and I love this. This was an abnormally quiet moment of silliness for her. How cute it was!
One of my very favorite things about His Hotness is the way he loves to cook. Since it's something he enjoys, Jellie-bellie has been actively in the kitchen with him since before she could walk. She LOVES to help him cook. This was the first time we made spaghetti with our Kitchen Aid pasta roller and she was really helpful feeding the dough. It makes me so happy to see her love to be in the kitchen with her Daddy.
In July we went out on the boat with my parents. She was so excited to be there and was really happy once the tubes were inflated. After a few mild conflicts with Big Squirt over speed, Jellie-bellie got a turn by herself in the tubes where she could tell us for herself if she wanted to go faster or slower. She loved every second of it. I think she would've stayed out there for an hour if we'd let her.
Since our new family is still so young, I have no doubt there will be numerous more times just like these in the future. For now, I'll just start counting down until Christmas break when I get to see her again. I love that little bug.