We kicked off the celebration of Nathan's 4th birthday with a terrific afternoon! My parents' gift to Nathan and Emily were tickets to see Disney On Ice...featuring The Incredibles. We had a great time! The kids really got into the show. They enjoyed helping save Mickey and Minnie by clapping and chanting "Mickey...Minnie...Mickey...Minnie" (Emily was still clapping and chanting for days afterward!) Even Nathan was clapping and chanting with us. Here's a picture of them sitting on Grandpa and Grandma's lap where they sat for most of the show. They even got a little singalong from Grandpa as he sang the Mickey Mouse song. Grandma got lots of snuggles from Emily too! So neat to see things through the eyes of a child...it really makes it that much more special!
The next day we flew to Sanibel Island, Florida to visit Jim's Mom (Grandma Chris). It was the first time she met Nathan and we got to celebrate his official birthday while there. Grandma Chris gave him a fishing pole...which he was so excited about. He even knew what it was for. He pointed to the gulf water and said "me...ha..yue". Which means "I'm going to catch a big (ha) fish (yue)". He's so funny! Well, we fished but the only thing we caught was seaweed. So we spent the week going to the beach in the mornings and swimming in the pool after naps. Such a great way to wear out two toddlers! Emily was so excited to see Grandma Chris again and loved "doing her exercises" in the pool like Grandma Chris. She'd just so funny the things she picks up on!
I was worried about Nathan thinking that we were going back to China since the last airplane we were on we were coming home from China. I made a photo album for him that included pictures of Grandma Chris, lots of pictures of Emily and Jim on the beach, pictures of the room the kids would be sleeping in, the room Jim and I would be sleeping in (FAT CHANCE ON THAT ONE), and the living room of the condo. It really seemed to help him understand where we were headed and he was pretty comfortable once we arrived because he's seen the pictures. It even helped Emily settle in quicker. That idea worked great!
After arriving home, we celebrated Nathan's birthday with Grandpa, Grandma, and Uncle Jason. He really got into the whole birthday thing and enjoyed spending time with his Grandparents and Uncle. Grandpa helped him hit the ball off the tee (which was one of his presents from them) and he really liked when the ball flew far. Emily REALLY wanted to do it too and had more concentration with it, she hit the ball without hitting the tee first most of the time. We had a firefighter theme which Nathan got a kick out of. He kept trying to wear the firefighter helmet like a baseball cap with the bill in front. When he did that, it would fall down over his face and he'd walk around with it that way since he could still see a little bit through the thin plastic. Anyway, finally got him to understand how it is supposed to be worn and got a great picture of him in it. We gave Nathan a big boy bike and just today he got the rhythm of the peddles. His face lit up so big and you could tell he was very proud of himself. I love that kiddo!