Now We Are Six– Sophie’s Birthday

Good morning, sunshine!

Good morning, sunshine!

It still feels weird to me to have the present opening in the morning and the cake and candles at night. Birthday presents and birthday cake seem so necessarily to belong together that to do one without the other makes both seem uncomfortably incomplete. Though I don’t think the kids notice at all.

How did she know to open the iPod first?

How did she know to open the iPod first?

It really does work out better, though. The birthday girl had all day to enjoy playing with her presents and the dessert time wasn’t nearly so rushed. Which meant bedtime was kind of reasonable. And that was vital given that today was Ash Wednesday and we had to get the kids up extra early to make 8:15 Mass at the Pastoral Center.



So my parents sent Sophie an iPod mini, refurbished, with a cute set of tiger headphones. By the end of breakfast I had it loaded with some of her favorite music and the audio book of Prince Caspian. She was really over the moon about having her own iPod. Not having to try to beg a turn from Bella is huge.

Little Car!

Little Car!

But at least in the present-opening moment the present that stole the show was not the fancy electronics, but the $6 little car I bought at the drugstore the other night. There’s a story behind this little car. Several years ago when my sister was living with us, she bought Sophie a little green Volkswagen beetle. And Sophie loved it and named it Little Car. And eventually, little bit by little bit, Little Car was demolished. This is what happens when small children have fragile toys. They break. I put off throwing it away because I knew how much Sophie loved that car. It was Real. But it was also a hazard and there was Anthony and I sadly told Sophie that Little Car was too broken. And Little Car went into the kitchen trashcan.

Sophie declared that she’s going to pretend this new car is Little Car, fixed up and painted a new color. Little Car lives!

Owl at Home

Owl at Home

Of course, Sophie also got several books: Owl at Home, The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems, and Anno’s Counting House. I’ll have to write more about them later. Suffice it to say now that they were all right on target.

Grandma and Grandad sent an iPod (used) with headphones. Now she can listen to music and audiobooks.

Grandma and Grandad sent an iPod (used) with headphones. Now she can listen to music and audiobooks.

I spent most of the day making Sophie’s request for birthday cake: yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Yellow cake recipe here, I substituted whole wheat pasty flour, which undoubtedly made it more dense; but everyone liked it so success. The frosting was chocolate ganache cream cheese frosting and it was really good, even if not quite so good as last time since I forgot to buy heavy cream and had to use half and half and used a bit too much of that and had to add more powdered sugar to compensate. I frosted exactly six cupcakes and put the rest in the freezer and the remainder of the frosting in a tub in the fridge because I wasn’t sure how well it would freeze. I’ll pull them out on Lucia’s baptism day, but I didn’t want them where I could reach them, tempting me while I fasted on Ash Wednesday. It would have been too much to bear. As it was, they were a very nice Fat Tuesday treat.

A new "Little Car". Perhaps her favorite present.

A new “Little Car”. Perhaps her favorite present.

But I did also take some breaks to read the new books with the kids. The Barefoot poetry book is just gorgeous. I adore the illustrations so very, very much. And the selection is top notch. I was a little on the fence about buying another poetry book, but I’m very glad I took the leap. And we already knew and loved Owl at Home because we’ve borrowed it from the library before. I don’t often buy books our library owns, but some books are special enough that you just need to have your own copy. (Thanks to Pentimento for the recommendation.) And Anno’s Counting Book is a bit simple for Sophie as far as the counting is concerned, but I knew she’d love the pictures, which are just begging to be made into stories. And Ben and Anthony can practice their counting with it too.


For dinner Sophie wanted to go to Chili’s. “Because we haven’t been there in a long time.” Indeed, Bella of the prodigious memory said that the last time we were there was the day Pope Francis was elected when I was just too distracted to deal with making dinner. Sophie got a hamburger and fries, which she could have got anywhere. I guess we were there for the ambiance? But I had enchiladas and was quite happy with them as a Fat Tuesday treat.

"My cupcake looks like a flower with all the candles on it."

“My cupcake looks like a flower with all the candles on it.”

Lucia fell asleep on the way home from Chili’s and I put her into the crib fully dressed in her pants and shirt and slipper shoes. She woke to nurse around midnight since she didn’t get her bedtime session. But I didn’t bother to change her. This proved most handy this morning when we were rushed getting out the door to Mass. Lucy woke at about 6 and nursed for a good long time and then went back to sleep. When it was time to leave for Mass, I just scooped her up, put on her coat and hat, and popped her in the carseat. I was so very glad she was already dressed.

Cupcake face

Cupcake face

Anyway, poor Lucy missed out on the dessert. But everyone else enjoyed it immensely. Sophie had the hardest time blowing out the candles. But did get it eventually.

As good as she thought it would be

As good as she thought it would be

A very happy birthday for my very happy Sophie. I am so, so very blessed to have this sweet little girl in my life. I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candles

9 Responses to Now We Are Six– Sophie’s Birthday

  1. Orianne March 6, 2014 at 5:28 am #

    Happy Birthday Sophie:)

  2. Kyra March 6, 2014 at 7:11 am #

    Happy birthday Sophie! What a lovely little girl.

    My children, peering over my shoulder at your blog, would like a teleporter developed right now. They want to visit.

    I had Owl At Home when I was little, but I think it disintegrated. I’ll have to look for it again. I remember my mother reading about tearwater tea. Have you ever read The Church Mouse books? They’re quite wonderful, and have the funniest, most complicated illustrations.

    • Melanie Bettinelli March 6, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

      We tried one of the Church Mouse books. Maybe it was my mood, but if felt really wordy.

  3. Jenny March 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Sophie! My second is six too. I can’t believe it either. I think she will forever be four in my mind.

    “but I didn’t want them where I could reach them, tempting me while I fasted on Ash Wednesday. ”

    Good idea! The temptations were searching me out yesterday.

    I usually only have a cup of yogurt and coffee for breakfast so I only had coffee. I never know how to make a meal smaller when it is already quite small. I walk into the breakroom at work and there was a huge spread of cookies. This never happens. It was a coworkers birthday so we went out to eat. I decided to make lunch my meal so as to be sociable. I am the only practicing Catholic in the group so my dietary needs were not exactly on the radar which is fine. They decided to go to a steak house! Okay, I’ll just get a veggie plate. It came with four vegetables, but they weren’t serving potatoes for lunch, so nothing was particularly filling. I made my choices and, when the food arrived, the serving size of the veggies was about a third of a cup each. I guess they want you to have room for the huge steak you are supposed to be eating. They were out of one of my choices and gave me a cookie the size of my head to compensate. Another cookie stalking me! I eat my sum-total cup of vegetables from lunch and get up from the table still hungry. Immediately after lunch, we were to have the birthday cake and brownies with ice cream back at the office. I did not intend to eat dessert, but the brownies had an inch-thick layer of peanut butter on top and all I could think was “PROTEIN.” I wasn’t the one who made my plate and the person put a brownie, a piece of cake, and some ice cream on it. I ate the peanut butter brownie, the ice cream and a bit of the cake. I felt bad and know it wasn’t exactly the idea of a Lenten fast, but I was STARVING! And the peanut butter did hit the spot. Then they gave me a whole plateful of the brownies to take home. I arrived at home with my head-sized cookie and a plate of peanut butter brownies. For supper, I had half a grilled cheese sandwich and hot tea while staring at my children eat a full meal with brownies in plain sight. I resisted, but couldn’t wait to go to bed. I woke up ravenous this morning.

    Lord, have mercy on me for I am weak and easily swayed by hunger.

    On the sweet side, my husband ate the other half of the grilled cheese. He is not a Catholic. While he will go meatless and always goes to Mass, he normally doesn’t do the fasts. I think he felt a little bad for me that my eating day had been so rough. He decided to show some solidarity.

    • Melanie Bettinelli March 6, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

      Oh my, Jenny. I’m not sure I could have withstood that much temptation either. I remember reading somewhere that the point of Lent is to demonstrate that we are not capable of saving ourselves. Every fall is a reminder of how much we need a savior because we can’t save ourselves.

  4. Jenny March 6, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    And apparently I wrote a book for you to read. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  5. scotch meg March 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Wow, that last picture – the one with the candlelight reflecting on Sophie’s face – that is AMAZING!

    Of course, your children are always amazing, but that photo is… art.

    • Melanie Bettinelli March 7, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

      I agree. Dom is having so much fun with the new lens. And it did help that Sophie took forever to blow out the candles, there were at least half a dozen photos of her blowing. But that one was magical.

  6. June March 10, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    She is so adorable! Always with a smile and a twinkle. Happy Birthday Sophie!

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