Grace is four now. Wow, that blows me away. Her birthdays so far have induced in us this nostaligia for her tiny babyhood and all the other little stages up until now. While at the same time being pleased that she's growing up. It's funny to think of the tiny baby we tentatively drove home from the hospital as our lanky little chatterbox with a funny sense of humour, love of books, toy animals and dolls, 1930s cartoons and Madeleine, who really likes going visiting and holding hands. She seems so different from tiny baby Grace and yet totally the same person. Funny that.

Anyway, the party. Grace was very excited about having a birthday party this year and inviting her friends. We've been spending all summer hanging out in the park and going to the pool and visiting, so she knows a few kids around here now. At first we were worried about having the party on her actual birthday which was over Easter but as it turned out, most of the kids she wanted to invite were around.

Both photos by Magda

We cleaned up the yard, sorted out her play area, did a few things around the house and then it was upon us. I stayed up late the night before icing thecat cake and making lolly bags. Enjoying a sort of motherhood mania. In the morning after breakfast and presents (book and toy unicorn made by Sandra from me, dvds and toy cars from daddy - all loved and played with) we raced around trying to get everything ready. Note to self : : next time I have a party that starts at 10.30am, I am not going to have any food prep to do in the morning.  People came and bought presents, some with handrawn cards. The sun shone brightly. Nothing went quite as I planned and the kids found the easter eggs before the actual easter egg hunt was organised. Lunch was not as orderly as I imagined either. Nonetheless, it was heaps of fun. There was impromtu singalong music, games of statues and lots of playing in the playhouse and on the banging tree. Grown ups chatted, hula hooped, drank champagne (except for me - I didn't even think of it) and ate lunch. Afterwards we bought the cake out, lit the candles and sung happy birthday and Grace was rapt. She was sitting with her little friends and just so excited. It was all so heartfelt. Sigh, I felt really good too.

Despite the small portions of cake, lots of sugar induced craziness and running around ensued. Then the lollybags came out and there was lollipop and sticker craziness. Soon after that everyone went home and Grace curled up on her bedroom floor saying that she didn't want a nap. Ten minutes later, she changed her mind and we tucked her in for a proper sleep and Gerard and I set to cleaning. The party was mostly outside but the house looked like a tornado had been through it. Finally it was done and Grace woke up and played with her toys and watched a bit of telly, lucklily the telly ban ended just before her birthday. Later we had leftovers for dinner. I'm four now, she said.

Special thanks to Magda who bought her camera and took lots of lovely photos which she sent me that night and said I could use. If you check out my flickr set for the day, you'll see that most of the good ones have photo by Magda on them. Except the ones of Magda. Obviously. But seriously, what a beautiful gift for a mum. Because I was far to scattered to even set the iso properly. So thanks again Magda.


  1. She looks like she's having such a wonderful time. Nothing like cake with your besties.
    She looks so much like you!

  2. Happy Birthday Grace! I love the second photo, how sweet. I remember when I had birthday parties at home for my daughter until she turned 6, and too many kids I decided to take her out for her birthday with her little friends. Much easier with the mess too!

  3. sooooo beautiful i went and looked at all the photos.the cake is awesome.such a great backyard. grace is very lucky and very very cute.

  4. Oh just gorgeous! Happy birthday to your little girl.

  5. Oh how lovely!
    I do miss little kid's parties, even the making of the cake and all the planning.
    And all in a home of your own. What a lovely memory.

  6. You're welcome Janet, I'm glad I could do something nice back, in return for me and my Ratbag having such a great time at your place. I really loved the banging music tree! I've been trying to think of ways to make 'outside' a preferred place to play and I'm going to have no qualms about ripping this idea off :)

  7. They are lovely birthday party photos indeed and I loved reading your description of it. The cat cake is so special, like a dream from chldhood!

  8. Happy birthday to Grace. When my kids got older I made the switch to afternoon parties SO MUCH MORE CIVILISED. Much more time to prepare.

  9. Lovely pics, and yes, a fabulous gift - I got none really of the recent 5yr old birthday :(
    Tried to take some today at a 3yr old party as a similar type of gift, but lots of other people with little clicky cameras in the way - *sigh* - obviously i'm inviting the wrong types to my parties ( ie: ones without cameras :)
    Happy Birthday Grace. She looks so beautiful here, Janet, and I love the captures of secret whispers and inner excitement. Lucky girl.

  10. what a lovely celebration. I love the cake! Grace looks so happy - I bet being four is going to offer many wonderful new adventures...