…. and then she was 10 – Astrid celebrates a decade with ‘A Winter’s afternoon in Paris’

TEN! in the blink of an eye our Astrid Elodie has reached a whole decade earthside. Ten years ago, the Winter Solstice coincided with a typically freezing Canberra night and we were treated to a blizzard for a 1am trip to hospital, with 2 minute apart contractions. The night was the longest of the year and felt like the longest of my life as Miss Astrid Elodie made us wait for her spectacular entrance to the world.

If labours reflect the personality of the baby then hers was spot on – she was late to her own birth, got distracted halfway through and then under duress, and with a lot of encouragement, was convinced to come out in a hurry, making it known with hours of raucous screaming that she wasn’t happy about it! Nothing much has changed a decade later…… It’s now 10 year since the world met Miss Astrid. I’m not sure the world was ready and her parents certainly weren’t!

Little did we know that newborn sleep deprivation and feeding issues were the easy bit. But we did manage to keep the tiny human alive.

She is now an increasingly tall and now mid-sized human, with almost the same sized feet as me, and her trademark long blonde hair that she refuses to wash or brush!

In her 10 years Astrid has certainly packed in plenty of adventure. Covid has temporarily halted her globetrotting but the girl does love Paris, so the requested theme for her 10th birthday celebration was ‘A Winter’s afternoon in Paris’. Canberra supplied the appropriate Winter temperatures and we all added the Parisian touch!

The ‘Festival of Astrid‘ started early with Grandma and Grandpa’s present. They were off to WA for a Covid-rescheduled trip, so Astrid scored an early opening of her very special 10th birthday present. A trip with Grandma in 2022 (border closures withstanding) to walk the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory! That’s a pretty amazing 10th birthday gift, even if she has to wait awhile before she gets to go 🙂

A couple of weeks later and it was the big birthday morning. No one slept in because there was a pile of presents awaiting Miss Astrid.

She was pretty stoked with rabbit locket I gave her, which had been mine as a kid and I’d been holding onto for a special occasion!

The gifts didn’t stop there, Astrid did well and Zinnia was an excellent wrapping collector!

It’s always traditional to try on your new present items!

Finally the minute had arrived, it was officially 10 years since Astrid was born! Even Zinnia was excited…..

Astrid’s birthday breakfast of choice was panettone French toast with caramelised banana and whipped cream. A favourite of all the kids 🙂

Astrid being Astrid, she was more than happy to spend her birthday at school with her friends. There was more celebrating to do in the afternoon. Granny’s festival of presents (she’d gotten several early) included a Pandora Hedwig charm and super-cute apron.

Zinnia was quite a fan of the present opening, even if she was keen on having some for herself! She was also more than happy to get dressed up to go out to dinner and insisted on colour-coordinating with her big sis, in an outfit that I’m sure Astrid was wearing only 5 minutes ago!

It seems like just the other day that newborn Astrid was being nursed by Granny on the day she was born. 10 years (to the hour later), she doesn’t fit quite as well 🙂 I can’t believe she is almost up to my shoulders now!

Astrid’s choice for our family dinner out was an all-you-can-eat Japanese meal. Astrid, Soren and Zinnia all love Japanese food so we had a pretty good time and lots of delicious food.

A few days later, school was done for the term, and party day had arrived. With 10 years of practice we’d managed to not be up to midnight the night before the big day finishing the cake. An chocolate mud cake Eiffel Tower cake resplendent in pink in silver. A fitting centrepiece for our Winter’s afternoon in Paris!

We’d been busy in the days leading up to the party, baking and decorating the Eiffel Tower cookies for party favours. Astrid did most of the work herself and carefully packaged them with a nail polish and thank you note.

We might not have been able to travel to Paris but we brought a little of Paris to our house. Parisian street signs, fairy lights, and plenty of balloons and the house was looking party ready.

The kids scrubbed up well too. Soren never misses an opportunity to wear a suit, and the girls a chance to wear a beautiful dress. Our home made Eiffel Tower piñata was a (self-proclaimed) masterpiece! Anto and the kids spent quite a lot of time on it, but who can beat a piñata taller than your two year old sister 🙂

With everything ready to go, it was time for family to arrive and of course more presents! Astrid was thrilled with her Pandora charm bracelet and Eiffel Tower charm from her aunt and uncle.

When you are spending the afternoon in Paris, it’s important to eat well, the French do love their food!

To fill our tummies we had:

  • Croissants
  • Pain au chocolat
  • Baguette with ham, cheese, tomato
  • Chocolate eclairs
  • Profiteroles
  • Macarons
  • Quiches
  • Crepes with a selection of sugar, lemon, banana, nutella
  • A cheese platter
  • Winter vanilla cupcakes
  • ‘Champagne’ (lemonade) with strawberries
  • Hot chocolate and marshmallows

The kids all feasted and there were no complaints. Especially from Zinnia who had unfettered access to eclairs and cheese!

Between grazing on delicious treats there were plenty of activities to keep a bunch of 10 and11 year old girls entertained.

We set up a charm bracelet making station, where Anto became the CEO of charm bracelet construction as he helped everyone have their bracelets finished off. With thousands of charms available, including letters for names, and their very own Eiffel Towers, the kids were in bracelet making heaven!

Between constructing multiple bracelets each, there was a procession of nail painting. Fingernails were adorned with a variety of colours, nail stickers and glitter. Soren was also quite a fan of his nail painting efforts!

Soon it was time for the piñata! It may have taken countless hours to prepare but those kids weren’t going to let it take it too long to crack into the goodies inside.

With various sized ‘hitting’ sticks available they all lined up at a safe distance (piñata is always terrifying for the adults supervising) and took it in turns.

Put it this way, I now know which of Astrid’s friends to back in a nightclub brawl during their teenage years! The piñata, after some rather aggressive attacks, eventually started to crack. Anto ended up with only slightly bruised ribs after getting a little too close to a sugar-craving 11 year old girl!

Zinnia had a few goes too and was paying rather close attention to the big swings of the big kids.

After the kids had collected (and quickly devoured) much of their piñata sugar it was onto ‘pin the flag on the Eiffel Tower’. Always a fun game, especially when kids try to cheat or outsmart the adults!

Our pre-prepared Eiffel Tower and French flag name stickers were ready, and everyone lined up. There were a couple of early flags in very close positions and then a couple of ‘suspiciously’ close tries that were either being visually assisted or just very clever use of feeling other stickers already on the board 😉 A few dummy flags added by Anto, and a couple of extra spins and the game got harder, but the 3 prize winners got so close there had to be some careful measurements to determine the order……..

Finally it was time to cut the cake. We dragged the kids away from more charm bracelet construction and nail painting to gather around and sing ‘Happy Birthday‘……

The cake looked great with all those sparkly candles alight, and Astrid did an excellent job of blowing them out (and her friends at helping eat the cake!)…..

Zinnia also didn’t say no to more cake (she is definitely a food monster) but from all accounts all the girls (and Master Soren) had a fabulous time. There were plenty of smiles, giggles, dances and more than enough sugar consumed to make the afternoon fly by……

Even the alpacas were in on the fun, getting plenty of pats from the gaggle of girl (whether they liked it or not!)…….

As the party guests headed home from our Parisian adventure, Astrid was excited to receive so many amazing and thoughtful gifts. What a lucky 10 year old!

With her birthday activities drawing to a close, one tired but happy 10 year old was off to bed. No doubt dreaming about all the fun she was going to have over the school holidays with all her new acquisitions! There might have also been a bit of left over French food we had to consume too 🙂

It doesn’t seem like she could possibly be 10. Where does the time go? When I look at the photos of her from the last 10 years I can remember taking them as though they were yesterday, but yet she has changed so much. Here is a photo from each of her decade of birthdays from the newborn days through to now……

…………..and now 10! Growing up before our eyes…..

Covid may have temporarily derailed Astrid’s love of globetrotting but it hasn’t dampened her adventurous spirit. She doesn’t ever back down from a challenge, and we are constantly amazed by her easy-going and friendly nature. Not a day goes by someone doesn’t comment on how she is independent, kind-hearted and clever beyond her years.

She rolls through life, often in her own little world. I’m convinced it’s a world where time doesn’t matter and books are hidden everywhere – or maybe that’s just her bedroom, a place where the clock stops and Mum finds 3,572 books that distracted her from getting ready. She definitely has a future career in Federal politics, even in the face of concrete evidence (or commonly known as ‘caught in the act’) she will deny to the death.

Life can be presented by a series of ‘alternative facts’ ones that only Astrid needs to believe. It’s this tenacious attitude that both drives us mental and will hold her in good stead. There is nothing that girl can’t do, as long as she wants to, and doesn’t get distracted by a good book, or daydreaming while staring out the window, along the way.

Astrid is yet to figure out that she is the product of two parents that are stubborn, idealistic, opinionated and well-versed in reading under your covers with chocolate liberated from the pantry, well after bedtime. She doesn’t pull the wool over our eyes as often she likes to think but she won’t ever stop trying.

When we left hospital with that tiny, 10 hour-old bundle, we had no idea what the hell we were doing and we still don’t but we’ve made it this far together.

It’s hard to believe how grown up you are now. Definitely not a little kid any more, but still with the same amazing blue eyes, long lashes and crinkly nose when you smile, you had when you were a baby, just with the addition of a few freckles and a killer attitude.

Astrid was jumping for joy about being 10 and nothing is going to stop her from dancing and jumping through life……..

Happy 10th birthday to our kind, clever, helpful, crazy, stubborn, messy, fierce and beautiful Astrid Elodie. You keep us on our toes and make us shout ‘ASSSTRIIID’ about eleventy billion times a day but life would be boring without you.

Being your parents has been a decade of adventure and the next decade will be a wild-ride no doubt!

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