One of my best friends has 3 kids. Since they have no relatives in Ft. Wayne and neither do I, I'm Aunt Cheryl to all of them. It's a title I enjoy immensely!! Rhaya is the rose in the between two thorns. Actually, that's not true because her brothers are not thorns, but she is the middle child. This last Wednesday she and I went on her birthday date. We talked it through and decided that this was the fourth time we've gone on our date. Hers is usually several weeks after her actual birthday because she managed to enter the world over Labor Day weekend. I've managed to be out of the country twice over her birthday. Now that's just not fair.
Anyway, four years ago I was just not sure what to get her for her birthday. I decided rather than wander around for a long time trying to decide, I'd take her to dinner wherever she chose, and then take her to the store of her choosing to spend an allotted amount of money on her gift. It was a hit! I had no idea what a hit it would be! I'm not silly enough to think that the "things" are not a big draw, but I think all 3 of the kids really enjoy the chance to go out with an adult all by themselves as well.
Other than one visit to Pizza Hut and one visit to "Chicken and French Fries" (translation Micky D's) for her brothers, Steak 'n Shake has always been the eatery of choice. This year Rhaya decided that she is now tall enough to sit on the bar stools.
Hmmmmmm........what to eat? Really, the option is still always the same.......chicken and french fries.
Aunt Cheryl these chairs are so cool! They spin! I'm sure the lady behind the counter was only praying that there wasn't a cracked skull in the process.
This little girl is a bit of a dichotomy. She is rough and tumble, not afraid of mud, ready to jump right into whatever adventure presents itself. She'll give any boy, even if he's quite a bit bigger, a run for his money in most any sport. At the same time, she is all girl. I have never seen her go to Steak 'n Shake without getting a strawberry shake. I know she likes strawberry, but it's mostly because it's pink.
Notice, that she chose her outfit, a very cute dress. When she was about 3, she would wear 3 Disney princess dresses and a Cinderella nightgown all at the same time. If you feel pretty in one, why not 4 at once? There's a reason she also answers to Princess or Diva.
Good to the last drop!
I'm not sure what she was looking at as we left, but she stood there awhile. I like this picture. Liked the way the sun was shining on her back. Too bad the pole is in the way.
This photo leaves no doubt as to the store of choice to spend the birthday money.
What girl can go to a store without checking out the shoes? Actually we did need to make a side trip to pick up a pair of school shoes, but one pair was not enough. What girl wouldn't want to at least try the pink Hello Kitty boots?
This is my favorite, not because of the quality of the photo, but because of what was going on. For those of you that have kids, you'll know that this aisle is quite far into the toy section at Target. By this point we had checked out every thing in every aisle between the baby toys and here. That's a lot of things that make a lot of noise and do a lot of cool stuff. I was thinking, "honestly, child, you're not going to buy cars with your birthday money are you?" I pointed that out, a bit more kindly than how I just wrote it. She said she was thinking of one for each of her brothers. I then pointed out that they would each have their turn on their birthdays, and we were going to get some ice cream for them as a bedtime snack. Rhaya put her hand on her hip, made a face at me, and politely dropped two cars in the cart. Boy, was I impressed! She's not my daughter, but as the honorary Auntie, I was still proud as punch. That was such a sweet, thoughtful thing to do! I gave her two reasons why it was not necessary to spend her money on her brothers. She still wanted to do the thoughtful thing. How sweet!
Here's the final loot tally. Well, that, a pack of pink bubble gum. "I love this kind of gum, Aunt Cheryl, because it's pink and it's stickier!" Ahem, it has more sugar. Notice the common denominator. PINK!!!!! Remember what I said? A unicorn and a soccer ball. She runs the gammut. The stick unicorn was something she's "always dreamed of having, Aunt Cheryl!" (hee hee) We also got 6 mini-cartons of Ben and Jerry's to take home to share. Now those things are entertaining. They have their own spoon and only about 3 bites, but kids sure do like having their very own carton of ice cream.
I'm not sure who has more fun, them or me. We always look forward to the birthday dates. This one holds a bit of special fun for me because she's the best hugger in the whole world. I've told my sister about it. A few weeks ago, Laura was with me at the Johnny Appleseed Festival. We ran into the little Princess. She came running at me full force and took a flying leap, knowing that I would be ready to catch her. She wrapped her arms around my neck, her legs around my waist, and squeezed with her whole self. Who wouldn't want to spoil a sweetheart with lovin' like that? My sister just grinned, and stated that she finally understood what I mean when I say I know the best hugger ever.