Thursday, March 1, 2012

My American Girl

As I layed Mia to sleep tonight she asked me if we could be a happy family forever. It was one of those moments that stopped me blind. One of those moments when a tight hug simply isn't enough of a reciprocation to something so profound and so true.

"I really hope so" I whispered and tried to fight off my throat lump. 

I'm sure it was her internal recap and run-down of the day that inspired that question. We had a full day. A fun day. And as I recalled too, every single one of us was--HAPPY

Today, dressed in our best, we celebrated Bella's 6th Birthday. 

She spotted this dress months ago and immediately had her little heart set on it. She begged for it. Like started pleading and persuading for it. Ya know, in the "I swear Mom, I'll be so good to my sister if I have this dress" kind of way. I told her that I'd talk it over with dad. I lied. I bought the dress the same day.  And sure enough, when she woke up this morning it was waiting for her. 

Ya know how we can strangely remember certain outfits from our childhood? Outfits that somehow defined us in that particular moment? For me, it was white knee socks and a pale yellow dress on Easter, or the short sleeve t-shirts donned with those rubbery-glittered- iron-on-rainbow-decals or the Outback Red shirt that you had to peel off of me because I'd be dammed if we were to part ways.

For Bella, this dress will be one of those memories. But in case she forgets, she also has a teeny, tiny second dress to remind her. 

Bella's BFF Kanani

Mia also discovered a treasure on that fateful shopping trip, so she too was surprised to unwrap her fancy frock this morning.

She picked her shoes. Not me.

Even Chance got spiffied up for the occasion.

He's going for the "my mom is trying too hard to make me look like I'm not trying too hard" look.

Check out some future heart throbs. 

All 13 of us arrived at the American Girl Store 30 minutes before our lunch, 
which allowed plenty of time for the girls to browse

and pose

and definitely enough time for the hair on my brother's neck to stand up. 
He really enjoyed "Celebrating Girls of Yesterday and Today." 

Uncomfortable much, Rich?

That's love Bella. 

My sister met her match, "Rebecca" the 1914 NY socialite.

And I was reunited with Molly. Sweet, preppy, spectacled little Molly. I first saw her back in 1988, when an American Girl catalogue was sent to our house. I was smitten the moment I saw her. But my 13 year old self was "too cool" to play with dolls. But I secretly wanted her. Still kinda do. Perhaps that is why we are here celebrating my daughter's birthday. Ruh-roh. Am I reliving some sort of childhood void with Bella? Perhaps.

But perhaps she's just as smitten as I was.

I think we all were, actually.

"It was like a fancy doll museum" said Mia,

Even my parents were lovin' every minute of it. My mom? Well to put it mildly, she SOAKED. IT. UP!

As we waited for the doors to open. 

I watched as Chance and Mia posed with the birthday girl. 

They were so happy for her!

And then we were escorted to our table. Our very pretty and very pink table.

Where there was a high chair for Kanani. But of course there was.

And out of the kindness of their hearts, they also have loaner dolls for kids who don't have one. 
Oh, the marketing machine.

So Mia got a doll too, Rebecca.

That she could temporarily love and play with and get attached to....

But my favorite part was watching Chance and my nephew "take care of" their little boy dolls.
Isn't this just the sweetest picture? I mean if you can look past the pumkin-pie-hair-cutted-freak of a hairdo on that doll, he's kinda cute.

Watching Chance interact with the doll was hilarious. In one moment, he would feel compelled to share his food with his doll, as evidenced by the above cheese slice. But in the next he'd almost accuse the doll of taking his food and swipe it back. 

After placing our order, Bella became the emcee of the luncheon and took it upon herself to quiz everyone at the table with the aide of the "conversation box."

Which btw, I am totally making a conversation box for our dining table. So cute.

Even Kanani was put on the stand.

Um Bella, she doesn't talk.
The first course (and there were 4) were these super yummy cinnamon rolls. And when I passed the plate to Bella I watched as she picked up a roll with her pinky up in the air, as dainty as a flower, and sweet molasses, it melted my heart. I could have left right there and had been more than satisfied. 

I mean, that's what it's all about. Sister had major commitment going on! And why not? Look at the table! Look at the dolls! It's exactly what she wanted for her birthday with her family by her side enjoying these moments and committing to the cause 100%. Well most of us were committed. I'd occasionally glance over to the other table to see both my brothers mouthing profanities to me under their breath. Something about the color pink and payback.

The food was surprisingly delicious. I mean, NOTHING like we had expected. 

In fact, Eugene and I even toasted our daughter's birth with some really tasty pomegranate champagne. 
Ahhh yeah!

My girl had the time of her life. 

And when the wait staff came barreling through with this precious little cake, the restaurant sang along.  

And as soon as we were done shoveling our face with cake AND ice cream, cuz they served BOTH.


We said good bye. Some good byes were harder than others. Like this little guy.

And smiled once more for the camera.

I live for days like this. Days that prove, without a doubt, 

that we will be happy forever.

Well, at least we were up until the car ride home when all hell broke loose. 
But, yes, happiness. Let's shoot for that!

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