The night of the 11th, I spent baking a cake, hanging garland, and stretching a bunch of balloons as Peter blew them up. We opened the box that held a wooden train set, something she has been asking for since Christmas, and set it up together in our living room. In the wee hours of the morning, we both quietly snuck into her dimly lit room and dumped a tub full of balloons on her floor. She stirred in her sleep a few times, which sent us running and giggling into the hallway like two little kids. It felt like Christmas. No, it felt way better than Christmas.
The morning of her birthday my alarm woke me up a half an hour before her usual wake up time. It would give us just enough time to set up the camera on the tripod to record her reaction, to open up the curtains, and sip some coffee in quiet as we waited. We were finished with our routine within minutes. Her normal wake up time came and went, and we still continued to sit and talk. Another thirty minutes came and went, and we snacked and still continued to talk. Every five minutes Peter would tippy toe to her room to see if she was about to wake up. We wanted her reaction to be authentic and her own, and if we woke her up we knew it wouldn't be the same. So, we continued to sit and wait. Every time we would hear her stir in her bed a little, we would jump up and press record. After a minute she would dose back off. Blissfully unaware of her parent's excitement. Eventually, we decided we would give our sleeping girl just a tiny bit of help in the waking department. We turned on all the lights in the house, including her bedroom light. She stirred a bit, and we were sure this did the trick. We stood beside her bedroom out of site, and quietly giggling some more. We heard her jump out of her bed and she started to mutter in confusion:
"Mommy, balloons in my room!!"
As she said the last sentence, Peter and I stood in the doorway, cameras in hand, and huge smiles plastered across our faces. River was bent down, examining a blue balloon.
Three, with every "Mommy, are you happy?!" "Mommy, I VERY happy!" I know that you will be the best year yet. Happy birthday my sweet River.