Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ocoee's 2nd birthday celebration

For Ocoee's second birthday we decided to go easy and fun. We thought what does Ocoee love to do more than anything...well be with us and swim is what we came up with. So we booked 3 nights at Alyeska Resort which is 30 minutes south in Girdwood, Alaska. It was recently voted best ski resort in the world....and we think it is pretty amazing even without snow!

The next step was to get friends to join us down there for a fun-filled weekend. The lure of the huge salt water pool, lovely fall colors on the mountains and hotel treatment made that an easy argument to make. I feel truly lucky to have such amazing girlfriend who love time with family, adventure, good wine and my child! We had 4 families join us for our celebration.

Hubby was off Friday and Ocoee and he spent the day hanging out. As soon as I got off work on 3, we headed down for a fancy family dinner at Jack Spratts, our family favorite. We ate here for my birthday and mother's day. The chocolate cake is to die for....seriously it is on my last meal request! They make homemade Almond milk and yummy mac and cheese for Ocoee, while hubby and I munched on yam fries, local scallops and thai quinoa while sipping Russian River your mouth watering yet?? Let's go back to the cake....chocolate made with olive, so moist, mascarpone filling and sprinkled with sea salt. YUM! They even brought a candle for Ocoee to practice blowing out for her birthday party. She happily told everyone she was 2!

After walking the dogs who came along for the family weekend we checked into our suite and marveled at the view and amazing fall colors. The whole drive down we were constantly gaping at the stunning colors set against the snow capped mountains. This fall has been the best since we moved here 5 years ago.

We headed down to the pool to find it basically empty except for us. It was really relaxing to swim in the warm, warm salt water and play with Ocoee and hubby. After an hour in the pool we sat in the hot tub overlooking the mountains and duck pond before heading up to bed. We made sure to tell the polar bear and twinkle, twinkle stars goodnight on our way up to our room. Ocoee was awake until 9:30 which is super late for her. The two best things about upgrading to a suite is 1) there is a enormous walk in closet that became Ocoee's bedroom and 2) there is an even more enormous cali king bed that became my bliss!

On Saturday we slept in and bounced on the bed upon waking. We sipped some tea and headed down to the pool. Around lunch we came back and munched on some fruit and cheese while Ocoee napped. Since it was after noon I popped open a bottle of wine and truly felt like I was on vacation. We watched football while Ocoee napped....ah, a girl could get used to this!

Our friends headed down early afternoon and we headed back to the pool.  The pool was a hit with everyone and made the birthday weekend fun for all ages! We are really happy that Ocoee got so much time in the pool and is quite the swimmer. She holds her breath under water and is a pro at climbing out all on her own.

My friend Staci and I slipped out early to get some pizzas from Chair 5, a favorite pizza spot. We had brought a cheese platter, popcorn, lots of good beer and wine, some fruit and chips for a perfect party spread. The pizzas were easy and a hit at the party.

Everyone starting rolling into the party around 5:30. We had music  on the ipad, college football on the tv (on mute) and the bigger kids quickly turned Ocoee's room/walk in closet into their playground! Thank goodness the suite doesn't have any neighbors on the sides. We had filled the floors with balloons and everyone was having a good time. Ocoee spent most of her time running to the big kids, shoveling in popcorn and cutting herself slices of brie and cheddar. She is such a big kid now!

The big kids! They are so good with Ocoee and she adore them!

The gang posing!

The birthday girl and I.

Just hanging out during the party. Ocoee could not have been happier!

This year when it was time for gifts Ocoee had much more interest and was pretty good at opening them herself. She had the big kids on hand to help with the harder parts. We were practical and got her new jacket and boots, money for her trust and a adorable Hape wooden tea set. It even had a wooden tea bag for the cups....ridiculously cute. She got some new books from us, tons of new books from our friends, wooden food for cutting, a Melissa and Doug safari truck, a fancy new dress, and some cool Eric Carle books that made sounds (which we lost under the table for awhile later and could not figure out what was quacking)! She was a lucky girl and each gift was so thoughtful and generous.

Ocoee's cake this year was baked by Fire Island Rustic Bake Shop. My friend and I went on a cake tasting tour and settle on a mini carrot cake for Ocoee and a larger chocolate cake for the crowd. Both were rustic, minimally decorated and not overly sweet. We added a beeswax candle shaped like a 2 for Ocoee's cake and a mini-pendant banner for the chocolate one.

The big fail on my part was not getting concierge to freeze the ice cream and our cooler didn't work. We had 3 pints of Haggen Daaz vanilla bean ice cream.....all melted! To add insult to injury the fridge ended up freezing the drinks...should have put the ice cream in there. The cake was so fabulous on its own no one seemed to mind. Ocoee did a great job blowing out her candles and making a wish. I told her to close her eyes and make a wish and was delighted to see her scrunch her face up and close her eyes before blowing out the candles with just a little help from me. She then reached over with her tiny fingers and swiped a little icing off her mini cake!

After dinner we walked across to moose meadow and launched our paper lanterns with wishes written on them. This is a yearly tradition that everyone enjoys. The big kids wrote wishes like peace and happiness or a pony while we wrote for Ocoee to have a great birthday. The lanterns floated way up high in the sky. The next day when we walked in the meadow Ocoee asked, "Where is my wish?" and we told her way, way high with the stars.

On the way back up the trail to the hotel we ran into a mama moose and baby. Ocoee got a big kick out of saying "back moose" and is still saying this phrase now. Back in the hotel we sent the big kids to bed with a very spendy hotel movie, the boys to the Sitzmark Bar and the girls stayed up drinking wine and chatting....what we do best. Ocoee curled up in her new sleeping bag and was quickly asleep. She slept through us girls partying until 2am, and we are not know for being quiet!

The next morning the first thing Ocoee asked for was popcorn. I the flashed back to how much she ate during the party. The girl enjoys some kettle corn! Everyone ordered room service the next day, slept in late and had the kiddos running snacks back and forth to the rooms. It was great to sleep in and relax after the busy day before.

Later it was time for more pool!!

Did I mention we had glow in the dark mustaches for our lantern launching??

Everyone went home Sunday but we stayed an extra night. It was great to have wind down time and Hubby and Ocoee napped for a long time while I went shopping at the cool hotel shops. I got a new hat, earring, necklace, smartwool tights for Ocoee and a Hlaibut sweet cheeks hoodie for her as well. Hubby commented at one point that I could live in this hotel and I thought...totally!!

We did a little hike and also visited the Girdwood playground on Sunday. We swam more that night and were the only people in the whole pool. We had some dinner at the Silver Tip grill-good pub grub. That night when Ocoee went to bed she chatted for a long time which is normal. She said happy birthday Ocoee, mommy, daddy, boca and Guiness....then happy birthday pool, hot tub and on and was so funny.

We woke up, packed up and hit the Bake shop for divine sourdough pancakes and sweet rolls. Had one more walk in the meadow and then headed home. The sun hit the mountains and the leaves from the birch trees made the peaks look like they were blanketed in gold dripping down to the Cook inlet. It was spectacular.....I was so rested and relaxed. I think this is going to be a yearly tradition!

For Ocoee's actual birthday we hung out and played with all her new stuff after dropping daddy off at work. I had an appointment that day so I dropped her off at daycare for about an hour so she could celebrate her birthday with her friends. We sent cupcakes from Sugar Spoon bakery to share with her classmates. When I picked her up to head home and make dinner-fancy mac and cheese with crab legs and to blow out her candle again, she seemed pretty tired. We grabbed hubby from work and she was asleep before we got home. We did a long drive around the neighborhood to let her sleep longer and then she snoozed in hubby's arms. She was a tired baby!

When she finally woke we did do dinner and Skype with grandma and grandpa Fey. She opened her gifts from them which were so well thought out and personal. The books had photos of both of them in it and gifts to go along...husker clothes and yummy organic worms! She was thrilled. Uncle DD sent her a Nuchi train set that is a one of her favorite toys now.

It was quite the birthday celebration and I am still in awe that she is actually 2. We were sitting upstairs and she brought me the book, "On the night you were born" unprovoked by was the perfect reflection on the day. Polar bears danced until dawn on the night you were born.....

Little love bug, you are such a part of my soul. Your birthday is a special celebration of the day our lives became fuller and deeper due to your love and laughter in our lives.

Love Always,

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