Brianna's birthday is the last in line of our kids' birthdays, but comes only 15 days after Brooke and Brecklyn's birthday and only 8 days after Brenson's birthday. One question we've gotten a lot in the past few years is why her birthday comes last when she is the oldest child. This is a hard concept for her, no matter how much we try to explain it! I know it's hard for her to wait patiently for her turn to have a birthday, but she was great about it this year!
In the past, we have planned a joint birthday party for our kids later in the month, a week or two after their actual birthdays. This year, however, it worked out best for us to have the big, joint party on Saturday, February 18th, which was Brianna's actual birthday, as well. At first, she said she wouldn't mind the big party being on her birthday, but later was kind of sad to only get one special day when the other kids were getting two. Brianna had a four day weekend that weekend, with both Friday and Monday as days she didn't have school. This worked out perfectly because we were able to celebrate her birthday as a family on Friday, February 17th, then have our big party on Saturday!
We did something a little different for Brianna's door decoration this year. This was an idea I saw on Pinterest - so not my original - but SO cute. Brianna loved reading it when she woke up (she added the curly ribbon later)!
Chris also took this day off from work to spend as a family day, and Brianna was elated to not have school! She had pretty much figured out that she was getting a new bike for her birthday, but that didn't mean she was any less excited about it!
Such a big, sweet girl!
I realized a few weeks before Brianna's birthday that this was a super special one for her. Seven seems to be a significant number in Brianna's life and story. We waited, prayed, hoped, and dreamed of having her for almost seven years. She was born seven days before her due date, and she weighed seven pounds and seven ounces at birth. She was also the seventh grandchild on my side of the family! It was crazy to me to think that we were celebrating her seventh birthday!
Unlike her brother, Brianna did not want to wait until the end of the day to open gifts. She was ready to jump right into them right then!
This was one of my favorite games when I was Brianna's age. She loves it, too!
Brianna's Precious Moments Birthday Train is getting so long. Sigh.
I had purchased this fun Lego set for a steal of a deal right after Christmas and stashed it away for Bri's birthday. She was impressed :-).
She definitely at the age where she enjoys getting accessories . . .
. . . and clothes! A sure sign of growing up!
The girls were so cute while Brianna was opening her gifts. They didn't try to take the gifts or open them, but they wanted to be right there while Brianna was opening!
She got another little Lego set in the mail.
Brianna knew I had the camera out snapping pics of her opening things, so of course she had to ham it up a bit. This girl!
Bren was so cute watching Brianna open. He was very polite and respectful the entire time!
As soon as the birthday girl was finished opening gifts, we loaded everyone up and headed to the zoo for the morning. In the past, we've tried to take a family outing on each child's birthday, but that didn't work out this year. They all agreed that they wanted to go to the zoo this day, so we were happy to take them!
Brianna watching the world turn
It's been a while since we'd been to the zoo, and Brooke and Brecklyn were so fun to watch. It was all fascinating and so new to them!
Brooke and Brecklyn watching snakes
Momma, Brianna, Brecklyn, Brenson
The little girls were just fascinated with the snakes!
In this picture, Brecklyn was kissing the glass! She seriously loves animals and isn't afraid of them at all!
This cat has always been Brianna's favorite animal at the zoo!
The kids were afraid to crawl through this tunnel/slide (because it was dark), so Chris decided to show them how it's done and almost got stuck! We got a good laugh out of that!
I just loved watching them discover and observe all the things.
Brenson, Brecklyn, Brianna, and Brooke
The petting zoo is probably my least favorite part of the zoo, but the kids love it. We were letting them decide what to do this day, so the petting zoo it was! Yes, Brooke is laying on the sheep!
Brooke, Brecklyn, and Brianna
Bren finally got brave enough to touch an animal (touching animals is not his favorite thing)!
I take pics of my crew in this spot almost every zoo trip we make. WHY are they so big in this one?!?
Brooke Ellie and Momma
We knew Russ, Lisa, and Chloe Jo planned to visit the zoo this day, too, and we happened to run into them after we'd been at the zoo for a couple hours. After this, we spent the rest of the time touring the zoo as a group. I really wanted a picture of all five kids in the wagon, but Brecklyn was not having it.
We finally got Brecks to turn around and cooperate, and Bri and Brooke have their eyes closed. Oh well.
Bren, Brecklyn, Brooke, Brianna, and Chloe Jo watching the jaguars.
For some reason, kids seem to love this random climbing rock at the zoo. It's always busy with kids! Bren climbed all the way to the top by himself, then got scared and didn't want to come down, but with a little persuasion from Daddy, he finally did.
We had packed a lunch for all of us, so we found a pavilion and enjoyed the outdoors while we ate.
Family zoo trips are the best!
Bren and Momma
Brecklyn and Momma watching the rhinos
Brooke and Daddy watching the rhinos
I'd never heard or read much about rhinos, but we happened to walk up when a zookeeper was feeding them. He told us a ton of information about them, and it was quite fascinating!
Bren watching the rhinos
Brianna and the rhinos
This one is just a statue!
Brecklyn loves to ride on Daddy's shoulders :-).
Our zoo buddies for the day: Russ, Lisa, and Chloe Jo
We had gone through the Wild Life Trek almost first thing when we got to the zoo that morning. However, as we were passing back by it to leave the zoo, the kids wanted a photo. I'm not going to say no to that!
Brooke, Bren, Brecklyn, and Brianna
We got home from the zoo just in time for everyone to take a short nap! Brianna had picked out cookies instead of cake for her birthday dessert and requested Subway for dinner. I just had to laugh. One child asks for Taco Bell for his birthday dinner, and another child asks for Subway! My mom came into to town (for the kids' birthday party the next day) that evening, and got to our house just in time to eat with us. Russ, Lisa, and Chloe Jo also came over for the evening.
Singing Happy Birthday to my girl!
Blow out the candle and make a wish!
That evening, we had an incredible sunset, complete with a full, double rainbow. It was spectacular, and there's no way this photo does it justice. The rainbow was to the east, so the colors in the photo are actually a reflection of the magnificent sunset in the other direction. While standing on my back patio looking at this amazing beauty, I had a bit of a moment. As a Christian, rainbows represent God's amazing promises to me. They represent His faithfulness and His love. Life is busy and chaotic and difficult at times with our four littles, but I can never forget how we longed for these babies. We can not forget how we prayed for these babies. We will not forget how we waited and waited for our empty arms to be full. Through it all, God was so faithful to our hopes, our desires, and our dreams. He is a loving, good Father, and He remembered us. So, on the eve of the day we would spend celebrating the lives of our four precious children, it just seemed so fitting to me to see these incredible reminders of God's sovereignty.