December 16 began with two grown-ups and two big brothers singing "Happy Birthday" to wake up a certain girl who turned four! Determined to take on greater responsibilites with her new age, Anya Rashi immediately handed me her precious "fuzzy" (her pink blankie) and declared, "Mama, you can give this to my baby sister. I won't need it any more!"
(Of course, naptime and bedtime told a different story, and she's happily snuggled up with her fuzzy as I type this.)
She absolutely couldn't wait for Daddy to come home so we could eat her birthday meal of Chicken Makhani, per her request. This was really the first year where the anticipation of gifts was completely tantalizing all day for her. To help the day go by a little faster, she built a fort out of blankets, pillows and our coffee table. She was Tinkerbell (never mind that she's never seen any movie, etc. featuring Tinkerbell), complete with fairy wings, and it was my job to be Buttercup, her fairy friend.
This day was unusual in that she actually played dolls in the traditional sense. Instead of playing dolly hospital, our Tinkerbell was mother to two babies in the fort. I was responsible for four babies -- she's savvy about delegating, apparently. :o)
It was a treat to see Aaron and Nathan eager for her to open their present to her (a little "Dora is a Big Sister" play set), and see them help take the toy packaging off -- no small feat, with all the plastic and wire ties! We also continued a tradition we did with both of our sons, and gave her a really fantastic children's Bible -- the illustrations are outstanding, and the text is great for an older child. She's seen the boys' copies, and was excited to have her very own. (Unfortunately, our cake photos didn't turn out very well . . . we will have to take more in January, when we celebrate with grandparents, aunts and uncles, I guess!)
We decided to use her birthday to transition to her new big girl (twin) bed, which was definitely a hit! In the evening, just the two of us were sitting together. Out of the blue, Anya Rashi said, "I thought I would be bigger!" After a little bit of conversation, I figured out that she thought she would suddenly wake up much bigger with the new, bigger number of four. So funny and sweet!
Something unusual happened on her birthday -- when we were driving the boys home from school, we saw what I can only describe as a rainbow cloud. I don't know if that's an official weather term, but the sun was shining on a nearly transparent cloud, and vertical stripes of rainbow colors appeared in the entire cloud. It was absolutely gorgeous, and we watched it all the way home.
Unrelated to her birthday, we took advantage of our 10 inches of snow this weekend and went on a real sleigh ride with some dear friends. A farm family about 20 minutes' drive from our house offers sleigh rides out to a little cabin they built for their grandkids. We brought all the fixings for a simple dinner, and got to hear the tinkling of real jingle bells on the back of two Belgian horses as our sleigh runners squeaked against the snow. It was pure joy to see the kids' faces as we boarded the sleigh for our sunset ride! Everyone's cheeks pinked up quickly in the 16-degree weather, and we just had to sing "Jingle Bells" as we rode. We roasted marshmallows by the fire, and warmed up in the cabin by a wood stove. The hazy moon peeked out behind trees and clouds as we rode back to the farm, turning the snow silver . . . it was truly magical.