I’m going to try to do this fresh this year so here I am. Just putting my feelings down and a photo story of my baby turning 10. This one really feels big, because of the double digit bday yes but also because of this whole past year and how it’s been. She has felt it so bad but I’m so so proud of her and how understanding & amazing she’s been (we started doing going into lockdown a little after her 9th birthday so it’s been almost a year of no indoor gatherings or playdates and following guidelines strictly). Yesterday watching her with friends at her little covid celebration made me realize this (cannot wait to share her party next). That this was part of the reason I wanted it to be really special for her birthday this year.
So yes, here’s a little photo diary of the day my baby turned 10…. mashallah and alhamdullilah
You know that I sneak in to decorate her room the eve of every birthday of hers right? This time I still wanted to do it but I asked my friend Mehreen to make me one of her gorgeous smile-o-grams (linked here for Seattle area folks). It ended up being such a perfect, low-stress way to keep the tradition. I do love going through my craft/party box to find things I can use to do up her room every year; it’s like a bit of therapy for me as I dabble with feelings of another year gone but with the party the next day too it was just so much easier for me.
a few things: I left her a letter with 10 things we really love about her, her outfit that we’d picked together the day before and snuck out of her room praying ayat ul kursi and a special two nafals for another year gone by with this girl…
Woke up to such beautiful sunshine and a girl walking out all dressed up and super excited for the day haha. Hope she never loses her energy and enthusiasm for her big day. Phone calls started coming in straight and she spent an hour chatting with her phupo.
I cannot stop feeling emotional about how us as parents and me as a mom have done this for a whole decade now, thinking how proud I am of myself too.. all of the self-awareness, self-growth and the constant un-learning and learning that motherhood has asked from me. And patience, oh gosh never to forget that. It was my worst trait and the one that has been tested the most since day one. And this is despite me feeling always like I was meant to be a mother. I shared this on Instagram as well how becoming a mother has helped me grow into the person that I was meant to be… I’m so grateful for this gift of motherhood and so proud of what it’s made me to be.
And she was fully ready to start her scavenger hunt which was just a fancy way for me to make her do some things before she can open her gifts haha. That’s just the kind of mom I am lol. And this photo above will tell you that she actually enjoyed it as she ran around checking off the ten things to do.
Once she was done, I had her open gifts on video call and that was so precious to watch everyone’s expressions (we remembered to do screenshots because had to). From mama she got the full Famous Five series from Enid Blyton, from Nadiya, that huge Squishmallow that she always wants and I never want to get her, from Waliya an instant camera (scroll down to see – linking all below). Once she was done with that excitement, rest of the afternoon was spent playing Minecraft on the xbox while I did some errands and things.
About the gifts: This time I shared some items on her wish list with my mom and sisters and anyone that asked because you know these kids have so much stuff already. It just feels best for everyone that way. I find that sharing a few options is great because that way loved ones can pick from them too and be it something they want to give as well.
Something I tried to tried to talk to her about this time was how it’s fun to be involved in doing things that make our day special (how as we grow even if no one’s there doing things to make our day special we can find ways ourselves too.. I know it’s something to grow into with time but you know me and how I love giving her these messages) so this time I kept less surprises and just involving her in making things happen for the party too.
This was her making cards to add to the food boxes for the party and then coming to watch with me as Mehreen did her magic for the setup (I cannot wait to share that eeek).
Remember how I like new clothes to wear for birthdays? Well I also like to have something new for myself for Anya’s birthday too. Aren’t our kids’ birthdays part a celebration for ourselves (and our birthdays for our mamas) and the physical, emotional and mental strength it takes to get these babies into the world? Only since I became a mom myself have I become mindful of this and try to wish the moms specially with this in mind when I send out birthday wishes. Anyways this was a dress Anya really wanted me to get the previous day when we went shopping for her (also that top above).
For a gift this year (and I made it a point to remind her lucky she was and how our mama would give us the option to pick a gift or have a party, worrying about entitled kids always you know) we got her a hoverboard (linking below) because she really wanted to after seeing her friend who has it. And I’m ALL IN for anything that means activity and moving around and getting away from screens and things (books.. the story for another day). Funny story how five minutes in when she was too scared to get on Bilal was like maybe it’s not for you and I was like omg don’t say that to her and then I kept telling her she can do it. You can see our different parenting styles and imagine how we come together at the end of the day haha. (Also 3 days later, she is balancing on her own and on the way to having it figured out so yay!)
We had a special friend/favorite khala over for a garage visit to wish Anya then. Had dinner and it was time to cut the cake and take some family photos. (I’ve shared here how I take these from my big camera using a phone app and a tripod).
I also brought a bit of the decor setup Mehreen had put together for us inside for the evening. Cannot wait to share the full thing!
Cake was nothing fancy though something Anya had asked for – an ice cream cake. Initially I thought I’d order it at a nice place (Molly Moon’s has yum ones) but as a way to simplify things I knew I should stay local and grabbed it at Safeway’s bakery freezer section. It ended up being one she and us loved!
My baat pakki anniversary / valentines flowers ended up being so beautiful on our table (last week when it was snowing it was such a happy surprise seeing them on top of our grocery delivery from Whole Foods via Amazon)
Video messages from family : A few weeks before her birthday I had asked our families to send video messages for Anya and a special part of the day was listening to all of these. I know my Anya would have loved to celebrate with them (she loves all of her family) but having them be a part virtually is the next best thing! Alhamdullilah for that.
Still getting around to have her message everyone who sent a message/gift. I was telling a friend it’s something I saw my mom do alot, show her appreciation for whatever was given to her and she definitely passed it on to me. I hope I can pass it on to Anya as well:)
And that’s it. Stay tuned because I cannot wait to share how we managed to celebrate the covid way the next day.
ALSO: tips for making a birthday at home special in this one.
Lots of love, Nataliya
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Smile-o-gram balloon over bed: Pump It Party
Giant Squishmallow: Target
Ice cream Cake: Uncle Harry’s at Safeway
Balloon Setups + Signages : Pump It Party