Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Alethia Turns 4 in Amsterdam and a Happy New Year!

Alethia turned 4 on the first!  Hard to believe that it has already been 4 years since we first saw that angelic little face.  She has certainly been one of our biggest challenges and one of our biggest joys in life!  And this has been a big year for her as she was potty-trained this year, started German Kindergarten, started ballet, traveled to Greece and spent 3 months traveling in the States.  She is passionate, social, talkative, and loving.  So, how did we celebrate her 4th birthday?....

A few days before, we attended a Cadence Christmas party.  We took advantage of a group of her friends being in one place and brought cupcakes with birthday candles.  We all sang to her and she got to do the traditional blowing out of candles.  This was the first year that she actually blew them out!

The next day we left for Amsterdam to see my sister and her boyfriend who had flown in for a week of vacation.  (I'll blog more later about the great time we had with them.)  We were only there for two days, but we spent one of the days celebrating Alethia's birthday together.  We all went to TunFun, a big indoor play park, in Amsterdam.  It had tons of stuff for the kids to do including trampolines, slides, climbing structures, a bounce house, ball pit and giant legos.  We were there for a few hours exploring and playing.

Alethia willingly got ready to go at the mention of presents.  We walked further into downtown Amsterdam and found a corner in a restaurant to have dinner and open presents.  I think the highlights for Alethia were a set of play cupcakes complete with frosting and candles to decorate with (from Auntie Lexi) and a "pink sewer" (sewing machine) that she had been asking for. 

We sang to her again and this time she blew out the wooden candles on her new cupcake set. 

After dinner, we hit the road to try to make the 5 1/2 hour drive home before midnight.  The fireworks in the local German villages are amazing on New Years Eve, so we were hoping to make it home to see the ones in our village.  As we got closer, it was clear that we were going to be cutting it close, and as the clock struck midnight, we were still 15 minutes out.  However, we inadvertently stumbled upon an amazing view!  It was quite a foggy night, so at first, all we could see from the car windows were flashes of light reflecting off the clouds.  Then, as we passed a village, we could see a few fireworks going off in between trees and hills blocking our view.  But the last 5 minutes of our trip took us right past K-town and I teared-up at the incredible display of fireworks.  There were bursts of light exploding in the sky above the city in every direction.  The skyline was lit up with what seemed like hundreds of splashes of color.  A whole panorama of nonstop fireworks going off in the distance.  I wish we could have pulled-over and watched for longer.  It was a beautiful start to 2011 for us!

Unfortunately, Alethia (and Masami) slept through the entire thing and she completely missed this grand celebration on her birthday.  We rolled into our drive with time to still enjoy the fireworks in our own village and then fall into bed with exhaustion.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

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