Thirteenth birthday parties

Our family members’ schedules vary wildly, so we had multiple celebrations for Namine’s thirteenth birthday.

Dinner party with Paul’s side of the family

We celebrated Namine’s birthday with my side of the family early. Both my parents and my brother and his wife would all be in Florida on her actual birthday, so we met up at Red Robin for a birthday dinner.

After we left the restaurant, we headed to a nearby park to relax and talk. Namine played with a new doll she’d received for her birthday.

Cake for breakfast

We kicked off Namine’s actual birthday by having cake for breakfast. It’s been our tradition for years, but we’re not sure exactly when or why. I think it originated from a year when I was unable to be with Jessica and Namine for her birthday in the evening, so we decided to celebrate in the morning.

Namine likes to help make the cake, and this year she and Jessica made angel food cake. It was topped with strawberries and homemade whipped cream mit meam.

Some things stick with you, even long after they’re done. Case in point: our hand sign for “I love you,” or Namine’s name for whipped cream. When she was younger, she called it what we thought was “mip meam.” Years later, she informed us that we’ve been pronouncing it wrong — she was actually saying “mit meam.” Even parents get it wrong, sometimes. 🤷

Sleepover party

It was not too long ago that Namine had her first sleepover here at the house. In fact, it was a week of sleepovers when her cousin stayed with us. At that point, Namine still had the bed she’d had at the apartment; her cousin slept on an air mattress on the floor. One of our plans — of which there are many — was to get a bunk bed for her room.

Namine is excited at the prospect of having friends sleep over more often, especially over the summer. To that end, we bought a bunk bed of her choosing and I assembled it — just in time for her to have her cousin back again for a sleepover, in celebration of Namine’s birthday.

Namine’s cousin stayed two nights: the night of Namine’s birthday and the following night. That second night, the girls were joined by another of Namine’s friends. Since there is only one extra bed, we rolled out the air mattress again.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The girls didn’t go to bed for a long time — after midnight, in fact. Jessica led the girls in building their very own homemade pizza, divided in thirds so they could each choose what toppings they wanted.

Interlude: tennis practice

The following morning, Namine had tennis practice. I drove all three girls there, where Namine’s friends helped out with “ball duty” — picking up stray tennis balls — while Namine practiced. She’s getting better at maneuvering, both in getting to a ball in motion as well as positioning herself for returning the ball to the opposite side of the net.

After practice was over, Coach Jackie gave Namine a couple birthday presents — tennis related, of course. She gave her a new racket grip and vibration dampener. One of the assistants helped Namine put both of these on her racket before we headed back home.

House party with Jessica’s side of the family

Namine was late to her own birthday party. (I blame the traffic in getting back home after tennis.) When we got home, more of her friends and a lot of family members were there waiting for her. She had a lot of fun playing with her friends and opening presents.

Namine had asked for a dinosaur-themed party. Among other things — like plates and napkins — cake was served with little dinosaur cupcake toppers. We all had fun trying to identify what kind of dinosaur everybody had adorning their desserts.