July 14, 2020

happy birthday, Layla dear

This girl with the big heart, gentle nature, and creative spirit turned NINE.

I can't even tell you how much I love this girl of mine! Whenever I start to doubt that there is a God, I look at this beautiful girl and I know that it was His hand who brought her into my life. I was meant to be her mom. We were meant to be her family. How grateful I am that eight years ago she came into my life and that nine years ago she was born!

In theory, I was supposed to wake her up around 5:30am for a special morning on the river. In actuality, her excitement woke her up at 12:45am and I'm not sure if she got any sleep after that!

Jenny was in in town so she joined us for some paddleboarding.

L Belle is a natural on the river. I'm glad we share a love for the water.

And a love for nature. Layla is often the one to tell me to look at the sunset or notice the pretty view.
I love that about her.

The river was REALLY low that morning and it made the flow stronger so it was pretty tricky to get up river. Eventually we abandoned the idea of getting far and spent more time floating around.

So glad for that time together to start the day. I can't think of a better way to start a birthday than out on the river.

Layla took a forced nap when we got home (which she afterwards thanked me for). And then in the afternoon we got ready for her birthday celebration. 

Layla and Macie concocted a plan to have a "Twin Cousins" birthday party and each invite a few friends over for swimming in our pool. The theme and the ideas changed multiple times, but ultimately they decided to make their own pinata, serve pizza, and swim with a unicorn theme.

So days before the big day, Layla worked with Kyler to take a balloon and make a paper machete shape. Then on another day, Macie came over and the girls worked on turning the balloon shape into a unicorn. With just a few directions from me on how to do it, I let them be to work on their creation. 

About halfway through the project, I heard Layla tell Macie that they shouldn't tell anyone that they made it--it was too embarrassing. ;) They abandoned the project for awhile because it was a lot of work. I encouraged them to keep going and to do the hard work and that it would all come together. 

And, of course, it came together beautifully! These girls are both very creative and artistic and they were so proud of their work (as they should be!) when they put it all together.

Presenting their unicorn pinata!

The big project of the afternoon was making cupcakes so the girls each had their own something to blow candles out (instead of blowing candles out on a shared cake--didn't seem right considering the pandemic...) Kacin was tasked with the job, but Layla really wanted to help with the decorating so they worked together and made some awesome cupcakes.

Before everyone arrived, we gathered as a family to give presents to Layla. 

And she got a lot of love from all of us, too.

She was thrilled beyond belief to have Aunt Jenny in town all weekend to celebrate with her. 

Then the twin cousin arrived.

We had some fun with the unicorn headbands Macie brought for the birthday girls and we set up for the party.

Happy birthday to both of these girls!!

Each of the girls invited four friends (ones we have already been including back into our small social circles) and the girls swam in the evening light!

We served pizza and then pulled out the ice cream cake that Kyler made. Yep, he made this incredible cake! 

His job at Dairy Queen is paying off in some yummy ways. It was a perfect Unicorn cake.

We sang happy birthday and the girls blew out the candles on their cupcakes.

In their gift bags, Layla also gave each girl a unicorn horn that she made. What a fun idea she had.

Pinata time!

Happy 9th birthday to both of these beautiful girls!!