I've had this party in the planning stages for a while now and have been so excited about bringing it to life! I picked a "theme" that I knew would thrill him and have been more than a little anxious about seeing his little face light up - I mean who wouldn't want to be the zookeeper at their own imaginary zoo?!
It's been a little challenging planning from a distance, since the party was at my parent's house in Georgia, and what with our whirlwind of a move... but we were determined to pull it off and have a HUGE celebration of our little guy's life! A big thanks to Nana and Grandpa for all of their help, including letting us host at their house!
Here are some pictures of Eli's big day!
|A note we included with the invite|
|Setting up the backyard! Kaysi and her best friend, Jordan, painted the pallet animals for us!|
|More set up - Daniel and Chris hung streamers for our "Monkey House"|
|Kaysi's chalk message|
|Entrance to Eli's Zoo - I painted a bunch of fun signs for the backyard|
|Party favors and a table for the stuffed animals we collected|
|Sign for the food table|
|The weekend was also a best friend reunion - Lindsay is BACK from Africa!|
|Eli's zookeeper vest|
|Eli and Mommy|
|We lucked out with a beautiful day!|
|Another sign and the elephant pool|
|Eli's favorite inflatable|
|Some of the sandwiches we made for the kids to eat|
|They loved running in and out of the streamers|
|Just like last year he ate one little lick at a time|
|Our best friends there to celebrate with us|
|Too much fun! He did NOT want to take a nap!|
|Our little zookeeper ready for a birthday dinner of Partner's|
|Playing with uncle Sean before opening presents|
|Opening his presents!|
|Some new clothes|
|He had the sweetest reactions! He would gasp and bring both hands up to his face - this is the best shot I had of it!|
|So excited about his big present from mommy and daddy|
|Big hugs for daddy!|
|These are all of the stuffed animals we received from our guests|
|Kissing the last stuffed animal as he places it in the bag to send off to a Children's hospital in Atlanta|
One of our wishes for Eli's birthday was to get a donation of stuffed animals, in lieu of gifts, for the Children's Hospital in Atlanta. I was really hoping to be able to deliver the stuffed animals with Eli and spend some time with the sick kiddos, but hospital policy was working against us there. Luckily we have a close family friend who works in the Cardiac Step-Down unit who was a big help to us in getting these stuffed animals to the kids - I wish we could have seen their faces.
We have been so blessed by two healthy years of life for our son that it had been weighing on my heart - those who have been less fortunate than us. I hope that as Eli grows older we can have part in raising him to be someone who truly understands the gift of giving, not simply JUST to give, but to give with a pure heart to those who are truly in need.
Thank you Lord for blessing us with two amazing years of life, love, laughter and fortune. Our hearts are full because of this little boy you gave to us! We pray for many more years with our precious son! Happy, Happy Birthday Eli Grey!