Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ellie's 7th Birthday Weekend

I had a wonderful weekend with my daughter on her 7th birthday in Fort Wayne, IN.  Ellie had a "Mad Scientist" birthday party and I bought her a new mountain bike for her to learn to ride.  I also got to see her play amazing defense in a soccer game.  

This weekend I fly to Fort Wayne, Indiana for my daughters 7th birthday party.  Although I had just seen her this July for our wedding I knew I would miss her during the holidays due to our honeymoon and I had promised her last year I would do everything I cold to make her birthdays each year.   With no time off left I had to take a red eye friday night which mean I needed to take my medicine in order to sleep on the plane, and by that I mean a 20oz beer, a shot of Makers and 3 sleeping pills.... I woke up in Fort Wayne after my 2nd flight to a flight attendant poking me hard in the shoulder that we had arrived, everyone had departed and I was the last one on the plane... ha!  

Nicolette picked me up from the airport with a bag of swedish fish for me which was super nice of her as I was hungry and groggy from flying.  A couple cups of coffee later and I was a bit more functional to surprise Ellie at her grandma’s house.  Once we got her dressed we headed over to Summit City Cycle to pick her up a new bike.  I had a few models in mind and new that she would be ready soon for a decent 20” tire bike with a shock in the front.  We ended up getting her the Specialized Hot Rock which had a shifter on it and regular brakes.  It was slightly too big for her but I’m sure after a winter of growing it will be perfect for this spring.  It will be another year or so before she’s ready to use the shifter on it though I think.

With the bike in the car we then headed to her soccer game in rainy, windy and very cold weather.  Nicolette and I huddled under umbrellas on the side of the field watching her play defense - very well.  She played aggressively and stopped the other team from scoring on multiple occasions, even kicking the legs out of a boy nearly twice her size as he attempted to score... surprised she didn’t get a miniature yellow card for that one!  She is tough and quite the Tom Boy as she calls herself.  About half way through the game the clouds began to part and the rain stopped, clearing up for the rest of the afternoon.  

After the game we headed back to John and Lucile’s for the party and I helped out as much as I could with the final preparations.  Nicolette had done the bulk of the work creating very cool “Mad Scientist” labels for everything and purchasing a myriad of kids science experiments for them to work on such as creating fake snow, gummy worms and even their own bouncy ball. There were banners, gift boxes for all the kids, cupcakes and even pop rocks that inflated balloons connected to soda bottles when dropped into the soda.  There were about 6-7 children at the party with her with all their parents as well.  I wore a lab coat Nicolette had borrowed from work and tried to capture as many photos as I could.  Ellie opened up a bunch of presents from everyone and I’m glad we had left her bike in the car because it was an expensive gift that the other children didn’t need to know about at the time.  

After the party Nicolette took off for a party with friends and family and Ellie and I got a ride back to their apartment with PJ and her dad.  The girls chattered away the whole ride home, clearly best of friends.  Back at home I scrounged up some food for dinner for us and we sat down to watch a movie on the couch and hang out.  I of course let her stay up a little later than her mom had said and of course she was more than happy to tell on me the next day to her mom, I’m sure trying to show her mom that she thought I was so much cooler.. ha!  Little tattle tale.  I fell asleep on the couch with her and then lying with my arm across her in her bed.  She wanted me there but after 20 minutes or so she said, “ok, you can go to the upper bunk now”... ha!  I’m glad I didn’t collapse the bed on her!

On Sunday we woke up a little late and Nicolette left for church leaving us at home to hang out.  We played Yahtzee and a few other games, while the whole time I was trying to urge her to go outside with me to a park as it was beautiful out but she wouldn’t have it and fussed about putting clothes on.  Finally, when her mom got home she was given a stern warning about her declining attitude and after a lot more encouragement and some lunch she was able to put on her clothes and head out with me to the park with her new bike.

At the park we saw her friend Noah from next door who watched us as I tried to familiarize her with her new bike.  I knew she had sort of ridden a bike without training wheels a few weeks ago but this one was big for her and I was a little worried about her getting hurt despite the fact that she had knee and elbow pads on.  Her pedals did have sharp points on them to grip her sneakers so I suggested she wear her soccer shin pads to prevent scraping her shins if she fell.  At first I held her steady and straight but felt she was leaning against my arms so I instead grabbed under her seat so she would balance herself on her own which helped a bit.  Then, to make sure she knew how to react if tipping over I held her still and tossed her left and right forcing her to throw her foot out to catch herself while keeping her butt on the seat.  Next it was go time... 

I started her off holding her seat and telling her to just keep peddling and before I knew it I was jogging pretty fast to keep up and then just let go and said, “you’re on your own!”.  Giggling with glee and triumph she took off across the grass of the park completely on her own and went for about 20 seconds before tipping over on the grass and laughing.  I was shocked!  It had taken her less than 20 minutes to learn how to ride on her own.  Her next time up she began to steer towards where she wanted to go, all on her own with me running beside her taking photos and videos... amazed.  She fell over a few more times and scraped her shin a little but I think she was having so much fun nothing would phase her.  

I tired about before she did on the bike and we headed over to the play ground to swing and play on the structures a bit before heading back to the house to triumphantly show her mom the video of her biking.  Nicolette was blown away.  Ellie was right - she definitely is a tom boy :)  I was thrilled to see a few traits from her dad shine through in her biking ability.  When she’s a little taller and it’s sunny out next spring I hope to hear about her biking all over the wonderful bike paths of Fort Wayne with family and friends.  

We packed up my stuff, I was given a few more school photos of Ellie, and we jumped in the car to bring me to the airport.  It definitely was too short of a trip but I was happy to have seen her really start to bike for the first time, and cuddle with her Saturday night watching a movie and looking for Waldo in a book.  I hope that as she gets a little older we will be able to visit each other more frequently and I can show her other aspects of enjoying the outdoors as well.  Love you Ellie! 

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