I was thrilled to go out to California for my niece Laurel's 4th birthday party at the end of September. It was a short visit due to work and family conflicts, but it was absolutely magical seeing my precious nieces again.
Laurel is becoming such a beautiful young lady, and is absolutely enthralled with all magical creatures. I think she gets her love for fairy-tale worlds from her father and grandfather. Mom had sent a Barbie Nutcracker Princess book out with me for the girls, and I must have read this to her half a dozen times in four days. When we reached the part about Barbie marrying the Prince and becoming a princess, she would clap enthusiastically for Princess Barbie, and sigh contentedly, "I just love this story, Auntie."
Audrey is a talking and dancing machine. She is 2 years, and 4 months now, and she talks up a storm in the daintiest, sweetest little voice on the planet. I couldn't believe the complete sentences coming out of her mouth, in this high pitch little chipmunk voice. "Look! There is a hummingbird on the apple tree!" was particularly impressive - especially since she already can distinguish the apple tree from the other trees in her backyard, and can identify a hummingbird versus a regular bird. And she loves to dance, especially to the silly Halloween mummy toy Robyn bought that plays "Thriller." Audrey even did some break dancing moves! Sadly, I think she might have inherited this from her father. I'm still traumatized by Beau's rotten taste in 80s rap music in our youth.
Laurel had a beautiful birthday party with her friends, and they decorated their cupcakes to look like rainbows. They had a rainbow pinata to hit, and she loved opening all her presents. Everyone (myself included) jumped on the unicorn bandwagon. She's all decked out as the latest member of the National Association of Unicorn Believers.
During the weekend, we ate dinner at Dad's old favorite restaurant, the House of Prime Rib. Dad first discovered it during his seminary days in Berkeley, and we went their several times with him through the years. Laurel and Audrey had their very first Shirley Temple drinks, a favorite of mine from time past. It must be a girly drink, because no one ever offers them to Alex and Ryan.
We also went to a lovely park where Robyn was competing in See Jane Run, a triathlon to help fun breast cancer research. Despite her unfortunate flat tire during the bike section, she still rallied through and completed the race. The girls played in the lake, and since Daddy had neglected to pack bathing suits, it wasn't long before they were playing "neche" in the water. I was on little girl duty at the time, and at first I would only let little Audrey undress, not sure how it would go over with Beau and Robyn for their little four year old to be one with nature. Laurel was supremely jealous, and kept begging me to let her go 'neche.' Several phone calls to Beau later, her persistence payed off, and she was given the all-clear-for-neche status. Our little rainbow unicorn princess was in seventh heaven.