Turning 3

We officially completed Phoebe's birthday celebration today.

With no family in the vicinity to celebrate this year, we kept it -- aside from some Skype calls to the grandparents on Tuesday evening -- to the three of us. Simple. But oh, so sweet.

Tuesday night, we took her for dinner to our neighborhood Applebee's. We figured she might think the wait staff singing to her is pretty cool. Not to mention the dish of chocolate cake and ice cream she was sure to get with the song. ... Although, she played coy when the time for her birthday song came around.

When we arrived at home, Phoebe was chomping to get Grandma and Grandpa H. on the 'puter so they could watch her open presents via the webcam. Technology's great.

Among the birthday gifts were some Erik Carle books, a pair of pink sandals, and a little stuffed white dog from Uncle Orrin and Aunt Kelly, which Phoebe has named Bella. She also got a Lowly Worm doll, which she slept with Tuesday night.

But the big ticket item was Phoebe's equivalent to the Red Rider BB Gun -- a classic pink Radio Flyer tricycle.

Not that we thought she was going to shoot her eye out with her new toy -- we did buy her a pink helmet, which we're going to have to exchange because it's too small -- but it was something she wanted badly ... Ok, so maybe Kates and I enabled her emotions a little bit by talking it up, too.

Kates and I spent last Friday night looking long and hard for the perfect trike. Both of us had a vision of exactly what we wanted for Phoebe. But all we could find were souped-up, multi-colored models. Some were pink and red; what kind of color combination is that?

Having no luck, we went to the interwebs late that Friday night, found the model we were looking for and bought it. Problem was it wouldn't arrive in time for her birthday. So we printed a picture of the bike and presented it to her Tuesday night as the grand finale of her gift-opening. Her giggles and cheers were so pronounced she probably would have been happy carrying that picture around for weeks.

When the box arrived Thursday night, I slipped it up to our bedroom and hit it when Phoebe wasn't looking. Then, after the Goo Goo Dolls concert last night, I took on the fatherly task of putting together my daughter's first set of wheels. Only the beginning. ... Truly, I took great pride in placing every wheel and tightening every bolt.

When I was finished, I carefully carried the bike to our living room and arranged it at the foot of the stairs, so it would be there, shining, as the first thing Phoebe saw when she ventured out of her bedroom this morning.

And when she did discover it this morning, it was like Christmas morning. Phoebe wasted no time boarding the tricycle and trying to figure out how to make it work. It took her several minutes to get her little legs working the pedals, but she didn't give up.

By the time this afternoon rolled around she was riding like a pro. The weather is cold and crummy this weekend, so we've allowed her to keep riding inside. ... And she's riding in circles. Seriously, the way our new house is laid out, she can ride in circles.

The fun doesn't end.

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