May’s 2nd Birthday – Part III

We have now come to the dinner and presents portion of May’s birthday photo extravaganza.

When planning the week’s food menu, I tried to think of what May’s favorite dish would be and decided upon macaroni and cheese. After shopping for all the ingredients, I asked her whether she was excited for a special birthday dinner of macaroni and cheese and she said no. That was no longer her favorite. Well, too bad, May. I will force you to eat macaroni and cheese. What two year old needs to be forced to eat macaroni and cheese?!

Incidentally, I think it is necessary to mention that I used John Legend’s recipe for macaroni and cheese via Martha Stewart, because it looked simple and had really great reviews. I personally find it hilarious that I used a John Legend family recipe, but it did in fact turn out quite well, so I will hence forth make John Legend’s macaroni and cheese and always refer to it as “John Legend’s macaroni and cheese.”


She really didn’t eat much of it that night, but I blame the lingering remnants of her cold, as she gobbled up the leftovers the next day.

For dessert, I had planned on making a chocolate cake, because that is exactly what she told me she wanted (even though I had my heart set on baking the sweet potato cake I invented for her first birthday, just like I have always made the same blueberry banana cake for Adele’s four birthdays), but we had already consumed so many sweets that I decided to just give her some of the sugar cookies that had not been made into lions. I did put a candle in it though, so it was definitely birthday worthy!


Then Adele had the brilliant idea to decorate the cookies with M&Ms:


May carefully placed her M&Ms all over her cookie…and then picked the M&Ms off and ate them and the cookie separately!

And now the cavalcade of presents!

Because it is so hard for people to send us packages here in Abu Dhabi, we had to get creative for May’s gifts. Some people deposited money in our American bank account and I did all the shopping and wrapped each gift “from” each family member. I know shopping for young children can be quite fun and I feel sorry to deprive people of that, but this way, I knew exactly what she needed and would love and kept it simple and meaningful. She did love everything!

Here’s what she got from family:


From Aunt Lisa (who actually did successfully mail a package to her via the NY forwarding address), two books; one for me to read to her (all about color mixing) and one for Jeff to read to her (by BJ Novak – hilarious).


From Aunt Kathy, a Play-Doh candy/bakery set. She has played with this at least once a day ever since her birthday. It’s really cute – it includes molds for pretzels and croissants and even a gingerbread house.


From Grandpa Jeff and Grandma Lynn, a set of pens made for little hands. (Adele even somehow remembered that they were called “pipsqueaks” from when she was that little.) This morning, she drew a lovely purple mustache on herself.

You have to check out these hilarious May-exerting-herself-so-hard-to-open-the-wrapping-paper photos:




All that hard work was worth it. She was very happy to receive this tea set that Adele had picked out all by herself.


She continued to make hilarious faces, thankfully not in disgust at the presents, just hilarious May faces.


From Aunt Eba, two pairs of leopard print pants (one purple, because every morning she asks to wear purple) and a Liberty-print headband/scarf handmade by a lady at the St. Regis farmer’s market (yep, that is a thing that exists here…and in fact, it’s pretty great…well, relatively).


From GG, a set of beach toys, which we are not allowed to take from her, apparently. There is a public beach only moments away from campus (and a free shuttle bus that runs back & forth) and the weather is so perfect now.



From Uncle Scotty, a set of wooden horses and a pull-cart. This also came from the farmer’s market. The woman who was selling them was so warm and friendly, so I was happy to purchase something from her. She also had wooden camels, which I knew Uncle Scotty would have loved to give May, but this set seemed more interactive, since she can pull the horses off and put stuff in the cart. Barbie has already gotten a ride.


Here’s the big present finale from Nonny and Grandpa Ron.


It was Duplo Legos (the larger kind for smaller kids). These are now permanently scattered on our floors. But it’s a great way to get a half an hour of time to myself to do the dishes or cook. And when I need to take her to a restaurant or entertain her in the car, I put a handful of the blocks in my purse and they keep her amused.

You may have noticed that there was no gift from her mommy or daddy! Don’t worry, I didn’t forget. We had something really special in mind, but needed her with us at the mall when we bought it. And she was too sick to go out before her birthday, so we went out the day after.

I’ll post those pictures along with ones from her party next!

Gah, I almost forgot to post the most epic photograph from her birthday dinner:


Her mullet was in fine form that evening.


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