Fabulous Four

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Oh. My. Goodness. What a weekend it was. Amelia's fourth birthday party was a blast! I always love her birthday parties so much. We spent Friday getting ready, and I really love those party preparations. Saturday afternoon, when the doorbell started to ring, she got shy, but quickly rallied. She was serious about her cake and her presents. I literally could not get her to stop stabbing her cake with appetizer skewers and eating frosting off of them. (I had the food catered by Artemis Foods, and a better decision I doubt I have ever made, but I did make the cake myself.) She wanted a piece of that cake so bad. Once the cake was eaten she opened her presents (such lovely, lovely presents) and honestly, I have never seen her so focused. She's never really been particularly into stuff in general, so I'm guessing this age is when the fascination with specific toys really starts. It was pretty cute and quite fascinating to watch. Certain things she tossed over her shoulder before quickly moving on to the next present; certain things she was so captivated by that the world stopped, as far as she was concerned, and she sat off to the side and started playing while the party went on around her. (Musical birthday cards were, quite possibly, the sleeper hit of the day.) Grandma and Pops Paulson (Andy's parents) are in town from Chicago and their presence here, especially after getting to spend so much time together in Chicago and Wisconsin this summer, has always made Amelia's party weekend extra special. This time there are six whole days between her party and her actual birthday so it's gonna be one looooong celebration. I almost planned a friend birthday party in addition to her usual family party but it just didn't come together. With Halloween so close, and a neighborhood party scheduled, and a school thing, and a pumpkin-patch plan, and another pumpkin-patch plan, I think the partying will continue through the month, so it's cool with her.

Her birthday. Her birth day. I remember the evening she was born like it was yesterday. I remember the days in the hospital afterward, when it was just Amelia's birthparents and Amelia and Andy and me. Those were some of the most intense and incredible days of all of our lives, I expect. There were tears and laughter and courage and strength and honesty and beauty and intensity and just . . . total love. It was like we five were on our own mysterious, unnameable planet together, and it brings tears to my eyes to remember those days even now. How blessed we were to have them! How blessed we are, all of us, in all of this! I love the family that our open adoption has created. When everyone — birthparents, grandparents, birthgrandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings — is together, it is the best day of the year. And every year gets better and better. I find it almost impossible to talk about because I just cannot find the words to explain. Amelia is loved so thoroughly and by so many. She's only just beginning to understand exactly what that means. But when we are all together, the house is filled with joy and rings with laughter, and that she absolutely understands.

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After everyone left, and I was so tired that I laid down on the living room floor. She came over and we made a picnic with the Buckley deer family and some party napkins. Clover trip-trapped over to see what we were doing and Andy (superstar) worked on the kitchen. We talked in quiet voices for ourselves and for the deer. We talked about the picnic, the party, the cake, and the people, and all the very sweet things we love.

119 comments

Ev McElroy says: October 10, 2016 at 03:32 PM

Such a beautiful post about such a beautiful family. The happiness in those photos brought me close to tears. Bless you all, Alicia, and thank you for sharing your journey with us.

LauraInSacto says: October 10, 2016 at 03:38 PM

Can it be four and a HALF years since I started reading your lovely blog? Why yes it can! Happy birthday Amelia! Alicia, everything you touch turns to gold. You truly are amazing.

Happy birthday to Amelia! Our only grandchild will be 4 in 13 days. They live 5 hours away, but we still see him frequently, and have him for days at a time when we go camping. It is such a magical, fun age. Oh, the things he comes up with! Conversations are full of wonder and amazement. I hope you are enjoying this age as much as we are!

Dear, dear, dear four. I see the magic of it, in all you did, in her face, in your reflections.
What happy memories it stirs. Thank you for sharing this bit, the love and gratitude, the real beauty of
human engagement, hope and joy, compassion, celebration. Happy birthday, to all your family.

I'm a quiet reader here. I just have to say, I love your style. You have the best taste. I just come here to gaze at your lovely photos. It soothes me, even the realness of it all. And that little girl, so loved. Thanks for sharing a peek of your lives with us.

I look forward to these birthday party photos every time! How blessed an open adoption must be for those loving grandparents! It just brings tears to my eyes as a grandmother myself.

Your blog is my favourite since 6 years ago. I'm in love with your family, house, crafts, cakes... You are so sweet and make my very happy here, in Spain, when you write a new post. I have seen Amelia since is a proyect and I'am surprised with this photos: she isn't a baby more, is a lovely little girl. Your family is amazing, and Amelia is very lucky. Alicia, thank you for your vision of the life: people like you bring light to the world. Thank you very much for many hours of happiness. Happy birthday, Amelia! Best wishes for you! Feliz cumpleaños from Spain!

Oh, how quickly these four years have flown by.
Beautiful photos, filled with love.
Happy Birthday, Amelia.

I follow your blog for some years now. I came here just to say this: you are such a beautiful person. :)

Happy Birthday to Amelia and Happy Birth Day to you all - what a lovely family you have created.

Four years have flown so fast. It seems like just yesterday that you introduced your brand-new baby girl. I'm so glad Amelia had a great birthday and that she is loved and cherished by so many wonderful people. Lucky girl, lucky all of you.

How beautiful-- all of it!

Happy Birthday Meems, such a lucky, lovely, little lady.

She is growing too quickly, and so beautiful. Lovely family and great party. Blessings to you!

Esther Sunday says: October 10, 2016 at 06:58 PM

Thank you for sharing the party with us and for sharing Meems with us. I have never missed a post since well before Amelia came. I have loved watching her grow up. What a lucky little girl to grow up with so much love. Wishing you and yours all the love and happiness in the years to come. Love, Esther xo

**h*a*p*p*y**b*i*r*t*h*d*a*y** amelia. all of the photos are beautiful, alicia, but i am enamored with numbers 32 and 40. the cake is so beautiful, you almost miss the hand and the fork. ('thing' from the addams family.) in the latter, you can see how much amelia has grown. i give little *gasps* of joy looking at your brilliant posts. thank you very much.

such beauty! so very glad! God protect and bless your beloved girl and your family!

*H*A*P*P*Y* * *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y*!*!*!* to Amelia! Wow.. 4! Thank you for sharing these 4 years with us all.. I've totally enjoyed tagging along on the journey. Beautiful decorations, love your big happy inclusive family. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Oh happy happy birthday to the dearest wee (not so wee now) Amelia. Love the Sylvanians! My 4 year old granddaughter plays with my son's old Sylvanians (those that the dog hasn't chewed). I also wish happy birthday of being a family to you and Andy. Thank you for sharing a photo of you three...it's a rare treat to see you gorgeous three ! I teared up to read your memory of those early days with Amelia. I remember how thrilled I was to read about her arrival almost 4 years ago. Amelia's large and small families are models of generosity, caring, unity and love xxxxx

Kathlene Larson says: October 10, 2016 at 08:40 PM

I have been reading your blog since shortly after Amelia was born. She is a lovely child and you are doing an incredible job of making her life special and so fine. Happy birthday to the three of you!

I'm finding that cake pretty irresistible myself! Everything was lovely at your party. I celebrated with two of my grandchildren who turned four this year as well - it is a fun age!

Bernadette says: October 10, 2016 at 09:15 PM

What a beautiful family, celebration, and memory! :)

Magic, every moment, every hug, every smile! We are blessed beyond measure to be a part of this wonder-full extended family. At this special celebration, every year, every greeting and hug says the same thing: I love you because you love Mimi. Period. We all celebrate and gather for that single purpose- to rejoice in her life and celebrate the love we all pour over her like a glittery shower! 💜

Wow 4 already! I remember reading about her birth and crying such happy tears for you! I was pregnant with my third at the time and I don't think I'll ever forget sitting on my couch that night and reading your post and how happy I was for you. Beautiful family! All of your posts about perfectly capture the love, wonder, and the magic of being a family and watching our little ones grow. Thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday Amelia!

Happy Birthday Amelia!! It looks like you had the most wonderful celebration and it must have been such a treat to have all the grandparents with you. It is abundantly clear from your words and pictures just how loved a little girl she is so it must have been a beautiful party ;)

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.