It took us awhile to figure out what to do for Etta's birthday, but in the end we decided to throw a Cake and Ice Cream Party for her classmates from school. Including Etta, there are nine kids in her first year preschool class. We figured surely one or two of them wouldn't make it, but no such luck. All the moms RSVPed for their kids within a day or two of handing out reservations. They must have jumped for joy at the thought of being kid free (or one less kid) for two whole hours.
Eric drove the van to pick up Etta and offered to take kids with him to our house. Eric got all the boys (plus Etta) and another car brought the rest of the girls. I had the house ready for the onslaught of 4 year olds and I could hear them outside as soon as they were released from the car. They took off their shoes in the entryway and were handing me presents and ran for toys. Just imagine it from their point of view, it's like an American Hands on Toy Store at our house and the kids went wild. After a couple minutes of just looking around they asked if they could go up stairs. This was probably the first time they've seen Western beds and they had fun (jumping).They checked out Chloe's room and then our room. Several of the kids wanted up on our bed, which is huge. I wonder what was going through their heads when they saw it!
Everyone checking out Etta's room
After we got all the kids back downstairs Eric tried explaining pin the tail on the donkey. One of the kids didn't want to play the game because he was having more fun with the Princess Cash Register. Otherwise the game was a success. Here are several pictures of the kids.
After pin the tail on the donkey, we played pass the present. I had a small etch a sketch wrapped about 10 times and the kids would pass the present until music stopped. If you were holding it, you got to unwrap one layer. If you were the one to unwrap the last layer, you get to keep the present. Some of the kids just couldn't sit still for this game so we only had a handful playing. I had planned playing this game twice but the kids were so restless we opted to skip that one.
We played one more game, one I remember from one I was young. Blind fold one kid, give him a spoon, and poor cotton balls on the ground. The kid the moves the most cotton balls into a ball in a given amount of time wins a prize. Etta won by like 10 cotton balls, but we ended up giving the prize to the next highest number.
Some of the kids kept asking for cake or ice cream or snacks time so we decided to break out the cake and ice cream. I figure some moms would be coming so I baked two cakes, one Barbie cake (it was a Barbie themed party) and one two layered chocolate cake (didn't take a picture of that one). My mom had a Wilton Barbie Cake mold from several decades ago that was obviously not getting any use so she sent it to me. Here was the end product.
After sweets the kids wanted to do presents. It went something like this, Etta standing on the sofa facing me opening presents that were given to her. It took all of about 3 minutes because the kids were helping unwrap, it was so funny. I can tell the moms keep and eye on Etta because we got stuff with Tinkerbell and Disney Princesses. Some of the gifts were just completely perfect for Etta yet we don't regularly hang out with many of her classmates. That made me feel good.
After presents we let the kids run free for about 30 minutes. We had a pinata (the pull the string version) full of candy and toys. We gave each kid a party favor bag to collect their booty in. It only took three pulls for the trap door to open. One of the girls (pictured below) ditched the bag and just scooped as much as she could into one spot on the floor. She ended up with about 10 times the amount as others. What can you do? Not like I can speak reason to a 4 year old...let alone in Japanese!
All the moms came the same time to pick up the kids minus one mom. One was a little late so we put the bounce house up. Her two sisters and mom came and ended up hanging out for an hour playing. Eric got some good speaking practice which I tried to get a break, I was exhausted!
Yumi chan and Chloe
One of Etta's presents, a Tinkerbell sticker book. Notice she's on her second dress by this point of the afternoonAfter dinner, I shoved everything into the toy room and closed the doors. I wasn't going to bother cleaning until the next day! I took a good 90 minute nap (conveniently while Eric and I were watching a movie) that evening.
The next day was Etta's actual birthday. Again she woke up early that morning just because of the excitement of turning four. She's been talking about this for months! After breakfast was present time. These are presents just from family (and one from a good friend).
Aya sent some Hello Kitty onigiri holders (mommy likes!) and a cute Tinkerbell bag with hair brush, mirror, bottles, and what not. She likes!
A flying butterfly. We've been playing with it in the house today and even took it to the park this afternoonHer last gift was from us. We had her go into the toy room and shut the door. I brought in her new bike. She unfortunately opened the door before I could get it set up so we didn't get pictures of her initial reaction.
So happy. She wanted to go out riding right then and their. We told her once she was ready for gymnastics she could ride the bike.
I'll try making a long story short. I took Chloe to Atsugi this past week for speech therapy so I was planning on picking up a bike for Etta's present. I went to the BX and saw no bikes. I asked an associate if there were any in the back so she showed me the shed. There were two Dora bikes, one damaged and one with a sold sign. There was also a plain purple one in a box. She called a couple other bases near by to see if they had any Dora bikes in stock and if they would send it to Yokota for us for a future pick up. Nope, none. So I was planning on getting the purple one, at least they had one! She said to hold on a minute, she grabbed the sold sign and called the owner of the Dora bike. I overhead the conversation when she mentioned they've been holding it since September! What??? Turns out the bike had been returned the day of purchase for a different bike but the bike was never put back on display. I just happened to be the customer that was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. Plus since it had been in the computer for so long it was on sale. Woohoo! That made my day, and Etta's too.
It's been an exhausting couple of days and I'm glad I don't have to worry about Chloe's birthday for months to come.