Thursday, February 7, 2013

Belated Birthday Post - Cate 7 yrs

So I won't bore you with a long explanation of why this is my first post in over a month - I'll just say that life has been chaotic since the holidays on all fronts.  Since I finally downloaded my camera for the first time since the beginning of December - I thought I'd do a belated post these pretty darn cute ones.

Way back on 12/22 and that seems like ages ago right now - Cate had her 7th birthday. It was such a fun day since it was on a Saturday and we got a whole day to celebrate as a family.  We got to do a birth minute picture and give her an early morning gift.  Prior to her birthday, I offered Cate a choice - she could either have a small birthday party for a few friends or she could go to the zoo and feed the elephant since both would cost about the same. She quickly and definitively chose the elephant!  So around lunchtime on a cold beautiful sunny day we headed down to the zoo to have our adventure. Our zoo offers small "behind the scenes tours" which end with each participant getting to feed an animal. The elephant was the one in our budget plus it is one of Cate's favorite animals.  I had to accompany her and I'll admit I wasn't really looking forward to it.  But I was pleasantly surprised - it was a lot of fun and very informative without being boring.  The first half was just a talk about the elephants that live at our zoo and they had lots of interesting facts about the habitat and specifics about zoo elephants plus a few funny stories.  Then we moved inside to talk about the animals and their quirks.  Like the one in this picture - Kelly - is a type A personality and hates to wait so she can often be found swinging her trunk and body back and forth like she is dancing if she knows a feeding or playtime is coming up.
After that portion of the talk we moved to the "behind the scenes" portion.  As soon as they said it was time to go around back , Cate took off running towards the gate hands in the arm saying "YEAHHHH" - such pure joy that everyone had huge smiles on their faces.  At the back entrance to the elephant habitat they brought Kelly right up to the gate and had her run through a bunch of her training exercises designed to give the keepers view of all parts of her body so they can make sure she is healthy.  We also learned that our elephants look reddish instead of grey because of how much time they spend rolling or laying in our area's native red clay.  Cate was right up front the whole talk and even asked a question about what elephants eat.

Since she was the birthday girl she got to pet Kelly first.  It was crazy to see how little Cate looked next to that huge elephant.  But she reached out and petted it with no hesitation.

She wasn't quite as sure about being the first to feed Kelly so she decided mommy should go first.  I was told it could be a wet experience but it wasn't too bad.  The end of the trunk is very hard cartilage but it was cold and a little muddy from her picking up things from the ground.  We each got to feed her a large piece of lettuce.

Cate did great when it was her time although in this picture she looks scared, she wasn't at all, just wanted mommy close by!

Even after the elephant feeding, we still had lots of fun going on the carousel and making a trip to the playground.

That night, my parents had their annual party for Cate's birthday.  Complete with a homemade strawberry cake - YUM!!!  First we ate dinner with the family, normally Cate is a big eater and not much on dessert - but this night she was all about the cake.   Dinner finished and the adults were wasting time chatting and finally after her third inquiry if it was time for cake yet grandma said yes as soon as we clean up the table.   Cate puts up both hands and says:
"Wait guys I know what to do. "
"Lets use team work"
"Break up into two groups - mommy & daddy get the plates, grandma and grandpa pick up the food, Pete and Wanda get the glasses"
Of course we are all slightly speechless at this declaration and every is starting to laugh when my sister in law says - "Cate do we have a task" so Cate responds "Brandie and Lane you can do the dishes."
(That is actually an exact replication of the conversation because I wrote it down immediately I was so tickled!)

My wonderful 7 year old!  Still not sure where time went but I'm blessed to have such a beautiful girl who is full of life, joy and surprises!

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