Five Years with Ava

Last Thursday was a long anticipated day for our Ava girl.  We celebrated her fifth birthday with lots of family and had a great day!  We were in Iowa all week, at my parents' house with both of my sisters and brother in laws.  It was such a great week, made even better by the birthday girl's big day! I have a million pictures from our day, so I'll keep the descriptions brief, but I couldn't help but show you all the sweet pics.  Ava was out of her mind excited from the moment she woke up, immediately sitting up in bed, examining her legs and declaring "Mom!  My legs are longer but my jammies still fit!!"  I knew we'd be in for some classic comments from that moment on  :) 
 Turning 5 is a big deal and we all got to enjoy a big day together!
Sporting her princess crown from the minute she spotted it in the dining room.  She was very thrilled when I confirmed that she could indeed wear it all day, every where we went!  And she did! 
 We started the day by going out for breakfast with Grammy and Grampy, such a treat! 

So far Ava is the only granddaughter on my side of the family and the little one who first made my parents Grandparents! 
So thankful for our little family and the gift of a day together!  We mostly keep birthdays pretty simple at home but this year was a special one and it worked out for us to be in Iowa with everyone.  Pretty sweet way to celebrate being 5! 
We let the birthday girl choose what she wanted for a birthday dinner that night and after she went to bed the night before, my Mom and I ran to the dollar store and the party store and got the dining room all ready for her pasta dinner.  I love to have the table all set for my kids when they wake up on the morning of their big day.  Even if it's just for the four of us at home, I hope to continue this tradition for them.  I love the way their faces light up when they see it! 
 Have you ever seen so many princesses in your life???  As predicted, Ava was beside herself when she saw it! We had just watched a home renovation show the day before where a little girl gets a huge bedroom makeover, I'm talking like a $10k new room (which is ridiculous) and of course she screamed when she saw it.  Ava told me, "Mom I screamed just like that little girl!! I love it!!"  Ha ha!  So glad my dollar/party store efforts thrilled her like a $10k new room!  
 This darling cake was such a fun surprise for her and all of us too.  A high school girl from my Dad's golf team offered to make a cake when she heard that we were celebrating Ava's birthday this week.  Isn't this so cute???  She's a sophomore in high school and did such a great job!  We just loved it and Ava was crazy about it too.  She does this as a hobby and I think she's so talented!  So fun for my parents to treat her to a special cake.  She talked about it all day and couldn't wait to eat it!
 By 10 am her birthday dreams were already coming true, but we had lots more fun ahead!  
 Awhile ago we talked about doing a girls' shopping day to let Ava choose some outfits from her Aunts and Grammy.  She is ALL girl and right now, nothing is more fun to her that a fun outfit to wear!  We took her downtown and had such a sweet afternoon.  She kept telling everyone she was going to "the fashion store" with the girls and she couldn't wait!  
 The "fashion store" did not disappoint and boy did she have fun!  She was totally thrilled and mesmerized by a wall of darling dresses and outfits...we let her browse and tell us what she liked, which was just about everything she laid her eyes on!  She chose like 12 things to try on and had us all in stitches with her running commentary.  She was in girl heaven and we were all enjoying it just as much as she was!  
After lots of talking and deliberating, she settled on these two things.  Gifts from her Grammy and her aunts.  I did my very best not to give in and indulge her in a few more outfits too...Awhile ago we made a deal that if she had a friend party this year then our gifts for her were going to be minimal.  She agreed and we reviewed that agreement several times, but she did great and I was proud of myself for sticking to the deal!  We are blessed with so many aunts, uncles, and grandparents that birthdays and holidays can get extremely overwhelming and create all kinds of expectations, even at 5.  We are trying hard to be simple and grateful from the beginning, but I'm the one who has the hardest time!  I wish I could spend tons of money on my kids, but in the long run I know that's never in their best interest.  So I held my ground and rejoiced in the sweet gifts she got to choose.  So much fun! 
 I have a feeling we will be having lots of shopping dates over the next 13 years!  
 I love having a girl!  Can't imagine my boys will be requesting birthdays at "the fashion store!"  
 My new nephew Sawyer also tagged along with the girls, but he literally slept the whole time.
What a good shopper!  Enjoy that while it lasts, Jen! 
 After our shopping my Mom treated us to cupcakes at our favorite bakery, yum!!  So good!! 
 The birthday joy was made even more complete by sugar  :)   
 Lots and lots of sugar! 
 Such a treat to get some time with my sisters this week, Ava enjoyed being with Aunt Stacie and Jennie all week too.  They did lots of playing and reading and watching her show them things!  
 Fun to think that they were also with us 5 years ago when Miss Ava made her debut! 
Oh how I love being Ava's Mama!  Reminded over and over that day about the gift of motherhood and the privilege of raising children.  Thank you Lord!!  
 We have had such a crazy week of weather here but we got a beautiful day to be downtown! And it was so fun that my Mom had a few days off to spend with us too.  I know she enjoyed all her chicks back home in the nest, even if we did destroy her house with so many people and toys everywhere!  
We even got a little surprise when Travis and Carter showed up, also craving some cupcakes!  
 I think Daddy makes a stop here every single time we come to town, sometimes announced and sometimes in secret!  Ha ha!  He's addicted to these cupcakes but we were happy, and not surprised, to see them!  They had a boys afternoon at a local inflatable park while we were shopping.  
And thankful he could take a pic for us too :) 
 We managed to hold the birthday girl off on opening her gifts until after dinner and after my Dad got home from his golf meet...
...but she was very excited!!!  She wanted to have a fashion show to model her new outfits for all the boys, so we indulged her (complete with "fashion show" music, courtesy of the Disney kids channel on Pandora) and got such a kick out of her twirls and spins and hip-shaking moves! 
Such a sweetie!!  Thanks Grammy and Grampy for the darling outfit! 
We decided this might need one more ruffle??  Ha ha!  I could eat her up in this!  Thanks Aunt Stacie and Aunt Jennie for this sweet outfit too!  
Pretty soon we'll be celebrating as a party of 5! 

After the big fashion show, her Daddy and I did have one big surprise for her...
A new princess bike for our princess! 
 She loved it :) We've been blessed with lots of hand-me down trikes and beginner bikes over the last few years, but this was fun to delight her with!  It was time for a bike that fit her and could carry her into the next few years and she loved it.  
 Even Carter needed a quick turn!  
 She took a few laps around the kitchen island to test it out...
 So cute!  
 Daddy made a fire out back and took her outside to really give it an official test ride! 

Thinking we'll probably be tackling those training wheels this summer...without a driveway of our own we don't always get out for bike rides but I have a feeling this summer Daddy will be doing lots of bike rides to the park while I push Walker in the stroller!  
 Yep, it's gonna work!  
We had such a great day, Ava was riding the birthday high all day and so were the rest of us.  It's big business keeping those birthday expectations in check, but we had such a fun day with family and most of all, we loved celebrating the little girl who made Trav and I parents.  Five years has gone by in the blink of an eye but it ushers in such a fun season and we are grateful to the Lord for all of it!

Ava, we love you so much!  You are a joy and delight to us and we love watching the Lord grow you and draw you to Himself.  Your beauty shines on the outside but we pray it will always shine on the inside more!  We love YOU just the way God made you and we thank Him for 5 sweet years together and we ask Him for many more!  Happy Birthday big girl!!  

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