In keeping with our tradition, Annabel woke up on her birthday to a floor full of balloons:

birthday balloons

Next, she opened a few small presents in bed…

opening presents

…because her big present was going to lunch at the American Girl Store:

birthday lunch at American Girl

birthday lunch at American Girl

(with her American Girl, too, of course.)

Annabel and I met Mike and his parents at the store, where they have a full-service restaurant. Annabel and her doll, Violet, received first-class birthday treatment:

birthday lunch at American Girl

birthday lunch at American Girl

Annabel’s favorite thing is when a restaurant sings to her, and the AG restaurant didn’t disappoint.

AG birthday

After lunch, the birthday girl spent some money at the store:

birthday lunch at American Girl

For dinner, my parents, aunt, James, and I took Annabel out to her favorite local restaurant, where she had more pizza and more candles:

blowing out her birthday candle, part one

And then, because she hadn’t had enough candles and sugar, Mike met us back at home with an ice cream cake:

birthday cake part two

When we tucked her into bed that night, she said, “I love my birthday so much, I don’t want it to be over!” The good news for her was that while her actual birthday was over, we still had a lot of celebrating planned over the next couple days…some she knew about, and some she didn’t.

I love my kids’ birthdays. I love celebrating their lives and making them feel extra-special. As they get older, their birthdays get more fun for all of us. At the end of Annabel’s birthday, my cheeks hurt from all of the smiling. I love that girl so much!