Elise turns Three

I owe Elise a birthday letter. It has been spinning around in my head the past week or so, but I just haven’t gotten pen to paper fingers to the keyboard yet.

What I am ready to do is share a few photos of how we celebrated her birthday.

Staying true to our Staycation Vacation we loaded up and went to the Mall of America, which still gives me pause every time we go there. We probably go to the MOA three times a year and every time I think about how the MOA was a huge family vacation for my family growing up. I love that living in a ‘burb of the Twin Cities means having access to so many different things and none of those adventures or opportunities are more than 40 minutes away. This is why Tim and I both feel that the Twin Cities is a great place to stay put for a vacation, especially with young kids.


But I digress. This was supposed to be a post about Elise, so I will share a few pics of her after these next two pics of Michael and Patrick who were thrilled to celebrate Elise’s birthday amidst the screams, bright colors and fast rides of Nickelodeon’s Universe.

Because it was Elise’s birthday we said “Yes!” to more things than we normally would like unlimited ride passes for Tim and the boys

and facepainting





Of course the Birthday Princess got her face painted too. You will never guess what color she chose.


Pink and glitter. Perfect for our 3 year old.


This struck me as like an arrow to the heart. In 13 years she will be doing this for real!


Elise was a trooper on the rides. She went on every one that she was tall enough for that the boys went on, including the log ride. She had a blast, but after lunch it was time for the girls and the boys to go their own directions because we had some serious shopping to do.

Beth was with and let Elise pick out her own birthday gift among a rack of dance clothes. Elise wants nothing more than to go to “Ballerina Class.” When she isn’t twirling or pretending to be a ballerina she is reading books or watching shows about ballerinas. Elise picked out a pair of pink ballet looking slippers and a pink tutu as her gift from Auntie Buffy and I bought her a few leotards that she will be able to wear when she puts on recitals on the living room rug and when she starts dance class this fall.

The next stop after ballerina land is what I was anticipating the most. I don’t know why, maybe I think it is a right of passage or something, but I really couldn’t wait to take her to the American Girl store to buy her her first AG dolls.

The only age appropriate choices with hair were the Bitty Twins so Elise lucked into getting two dolls, because the American Girl Company are marketing geniuses and force you to buy two dolls (twins) in order to get the 3 year old age appropriate dolls. She chose a blonde and brunette (yes I helped a bit. I will admit it.)

She absolutely loves that the dolls “sleep” when they lay down. She has never had a doll that closed its eyes and she was infatuated with the dolls eye lashes too. I bet those dolls have had 1,200 naps since they have been in Elise’s care.


Look at my little shopper. Tim is in trouble… Elise and I are growing into quite the shopping companions. (I made the birthday ‘3’ t-shirt and the matching circle skirt)


I thought the skirt was adorable but she really prefers a tutu.


Since Beth was with we were able to attempt a family photo. Here is me getting everyone ready for the photo (Beth knows when it comes to photography our family you don’t stop clicking.) notice me counting with my fingers. I am pretty sure I am whisper scolding, “Get over here and stand nicely in 3… 2… MICHAEL DONOVAN… 2… 1!”


And here we are. Happy family on Elise’s 3rd birthday. Nothing says love like a forced family photo op.


Of course we had cake and since Tim was on cake duty (that makes two days in a row of cake duty) he opted for the 2 in 1 ice cream cake combo.


And to finish the day Elise got to choose the movie we watched while we indulged on the 4th cake our family had eaten in the month of July. It is a horrible photo but any girl born in the 80’s would recognize that screenshot in an instant. I love that I can share my favorite childhood movie with my daughter.


Our sweet baby girl is three.

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