Annabelle's 3rd birthday didn't go exactly as planned, but I think she enjoyed it nonetheless!
The first celebration was Annabelle's birthday party on the Saturday before her party. Annabelle is very into dinosaurs, specifically The Land Before Time, so we decided months ago that would be the theme of her party. I had fun coming up with activities, decorations, food, and invitations. The giant triceratops, which she named Tera, was both a decoration and an activity. On the invitation, I invited the attendees to "join us for a prehistoric fossil dig, dino-riffic treats, and to take a picture with a three-horned dinosaur."
The party was held at a new local school's playground... but calling it a "playground" is an understatement. There are 3 different playground areas (one is fully covered), sandboxes galore, bikes and other wheeled toys of all kind, live animals, and a great food area. After everyone had some time to play on the playground and eat some lunch, we handed out "archeologist hats" to all of the kids, gave them "fossil brushes" and shovels, and they went to work in one of the larger sandboxes, digging up "fossil eggs" (easter eggs containing dinosaurs that grow in water).
After the dig, the kids headed over to Tera for their pictures with a "three-horn" (The Land Before Time's name for triceratops). Tera gave them each a special egg as a gift, and every one of the kids took his/her picture sitting on her.
After that, it was cake time! I had plans of making a volcano cake myself, but then reality set in, and I realized how much easier it would be to have Publix do it for me. Although Publix has a couple of dinosaur cakes, I chose to go with the Madagascar cake without the characters on it. I put the LBT characters on there myself, and it turned out PERFECT (and tasted pretty darn good too)!
For the week leading up to Annabelle's party, she was feeling a little under the weather. It wasn't anything too major, but there was a definite cough that wasn't getting any better. Unfortunately, by cake time at the party, her cough was REALLY bad, and she even coughed on the cake while we were trying to light the candles. :( A cup of water held the cough off a little bit, and she happily made it through the singing of "Happy Birthday".
In addition to the cake, we also had some "Dino-Smores" for dessert. The dino-smores are like rice krispie treats, but made with golden grahams instead of rice krispies, and it had chocolate drizzled on top. They were also cut into dinosaur bone shapes. I got lots of compliments on my dino-smore creation.
For lunch we had dino-shaped PB&J and dino-shaped chicken nuggets for the kids. All of the food had special "The Land Before Time" tags with dinosaur-related names for the food. The veggie tray was "Herbivore Munchies" and the fruit tray was "Tree Sweets" (LBT's name for berries and other yummies that grow on trees). I also had egg shaped sugar cookies that had little dinosaur shaped sprinkles in them.
After the cake was eaten and the presents were opened, the guests started heading out while a few stayed to help clean up. While we were cleaning, poor Annabelle had a coughing fit that was so bad that she threw up. :( We went home to find that she now had a fever. Later that evening when she hadn't been able to nap because of the coughing despite being absolutely exhausted, we decided that we needed to take her to the emergency room to make sure she didn't have something really wrong. It was a good thing that we took her in then because she did actually have pneumonia. They gave her shots of antibiotics in both legs, which tore my heart out! She screamed SO much and was so upset that we would hurt her like that. But at the same time, I think she knew that she had to have that done in order to feel better. What a way to start your birthday!
The next morning, the morning of her real birth day, she slept in from being so tired. The whole day was pretty low-key because she still wasn't anywhere near 100%. After dinner she was feeling much better, so we did our family birthday traditions of eating ice cream birthday cake, burning down the annual birthday candle, and opening presents. One of her favorite presents was her princess dress up clothes and accessories.
The next day, Annabelle felt well enough to go to school. She didn't have anything contagious, and really wanted to go celebrate her birthday with her friends, so she did. I was going to make or buy cup cakes to bring, but we had so much of her birthday cake left over, that I just decided to bring that instead. I also brought the leftover goodie bags so that each kid got one. She loved having her own little birthday party at school. The teacher makes a special birthday crown for each kid on their birthday, and they get to help the teacher make it too. Annabelle loved being the birthday queen!
Despite the trip to the emergency room and horrible coughing the whole weekend, Annabelle really had a great birthday weekend and doesn't even remember the yucky part! Three months later, she still talks about her "dino birthday" and is constantly planning next year's party already! That's my girl!
I'll leave you with a few more of my very favorite pictures from the party, including a big BFF birthday hug, super adorable archeologist Corgan, Grammy playing on the bridge with Corgan, Alyssa's crazy bat, and Halle sweetly coaxing Ethan into being comfortable with Tera. You can see the rest of our pictures from Annabelle's birthday weekend in the February 2009 albums.