Balloons...hula hoops...sombreros...looks like a birthday, no?
Well, no. Not yet. Actually, it was her cousin Harrison's birthday, but luckily for our little balloon lover, her cousin a-d-o-r-e-s her, and so was willing to give up his birthday balloons for her pleasure. She has not let go of them for more than five minutes at a time since.
No, Q's birthday is not for another few weeks...but I can tell you one person who's already eagerly anticipating it, and that's her mommy.
This birthday comes just a couple of weeks after our one-year anniversary of bringing her home from China. Yes, we did get to celebrate her first birthday at home...but only just barely. We were all still more than a little in shock, and Q and I were both suffering (myself more virulently) from a rollicking case of parasites contracted in China. I was feeble as a kitten and looking like I'd just been through a famine. Q was confused, discombobulated, and a still a bit undernourished herself. She couldn't stand or walk, much less understand any of the language that was being babbled all around her.
This year, this is our chance at a real celebration. After two (TWO!) hospital scares and a year of serious surgeries, we are all feeling particularly grateful for what we have and the love we share with out little one. I for one am fully prepared to go all the way overboard for Q's 2nd birthday! The question is, just exactly how to celebrate??
If the sky were the limit, I know exactly what I'd do: I would take the whole family to Morocco and put us all up at Maryam's beautiful and clearly enchanted Peacock Pavillions guesthouse....
...oh, I would!
Wouldn't you?

Oh, the glorious fantasy of it.

Then I would get Maryam to take us to the floating flower markets....
above series of photos: Maryam of My Marrakesh

Because this is simply one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

*Sigh*....who knows. Maybe next year?

Perhaps something involving unicorns? Always a favorite of my grandparents.
She is a virgin, after all....and will remain so for the next 30 or 40 years if her daddy has anything to do with it ;)
Would a unicorn-drawn carriage be good enough for our girl?

Though, judging from the many who have already fallen in the wake of Q's lethal and far-reaching charm, I'd say she's more likely to turn out like La Belle Dame Sans Merci.
Nah...scrap the unicorns.
Myself, I was always a fan of The Little Princess....what little girl can resist these images?
...but a stark garret, an Indian footman, a resourceful monkey, and a gratuitous midnight snowstorm are difficult to come by in this day and age.
Still, Indian fairytales have always held a particular allure for me...
photo via flickr
photo: The Unicorn Diaries
Or maybe a carousel? Can one hire such a thing? Or maybe it would be worth installing one permanently in the backyard?
Nah, we practically have one in our backyard as it is, thanks to Lakeside Amusement Park.
photo: I wish I knew where these images were coming from - seems to be someplace in Eastern Europe.

Perhaps something a bit more midsummer-night-dreamy?....

above photos: The Unicorn Diaries


I love this image, but this sort of thing requires decorum seldom found in two-year-olds.
photo: milk magazine

Maybe we could just cover the walls in paper, and let the kids go at it?
Except, knowing QQ, I have a feeling that she'd find the one thing that isn't paper-covered and paint on that instead. That sort of thing is a-OK around here, but given that we will be celebrating at my mum's house, I'm not sure I can take that sort of liberty.
photo via

Heck, maybe we'll just have Banksy revamp the whole place, and see what happens! I'm sure my mum would love that ;)

Well, so much for good ideas.
Can anyone help me? If you have any ideas, links, photos etc to help inspire us for Q's momentous 2nd b'day, please post them! I need h-e-e-e-e-lp!!!!


Elyse said...

The Little Princess = the best movie ever? I think so...=) So my vote is for Indian-inspired! =) But I love the idea of lots of painting. Very fun! I would definitely enjoy that. ;)

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

Maia, dear Maia...this is what I would want for my birthday if I was QQ. To snuggle in a warm comfy bed with my momma and BaBa and to be told this:

QQ we love you "Fourteen Two-ty". (this is the highest number in the world...bigger than infinity) and then your husband would say..."no, No, I love you "eleventy Ten!" which is even MORE.

Then I would say, "I ADORE you QQ."
When you adore someone, it is more urgent than love.

That's what I would say to QQ. and then lots of Balloons!

Maia said...

Oh, Jeanne-ming, although I don't "know" you, I just love you. You always get to the heart of the matter. And once again you have hit the nail on the head. Love and balloons is really all QQ needs!!
Of course, I'm being more than a little facetious in this post - for instance, I would never submit an elephant (or a monkey, for that matter) to a birthday party (unless they specifically asked ;)
But the other truth of the matter is that QQ is much more social than your average bear. She lives for people, and will collect as many new "friends" around her as she can manage, wherever we are. So I do think she will appreciate a real party (though she will certainly not care what she's wearing, what the decor looks like, or whether there is cake).
I love your "numerology", and we are constantly trying to find ways to indicate to QQ the vastness of our love. Unfortunately, I think we overdo it a bit. QQ hears "we love you", and "we adore you", so many times an hour that I think she will soon begin to roll her eyes at us for our extravagance of emotion.

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

Sweetheart, I only know this because, like you, I have a daughter I love to pieces, who is smarter, more beautiful, more talented, just MORE everything that her gene pool would suggest possible. The numerology is hers.
Recently I asked her what whats her happiest day and she answered the time we snuggled in bed and tried to out-do each other with how much we loved each other. To this day, when I get a business email, or something not personal, I often see coded in the corner...14-2D....and I smile HUGE.

I am also relieved that you half expect eye rolling. I assure you that is coming. At some point, thankfully it is temporary, she will think you and your husband the two stupidest people on earth AND you will have no taste. It passes.

Maia, I love you too. Goodnight good Mommy.

11 t 10

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...

What a stunning inspiration board you have put together. I personally love Maryam's Peacock Pavilion and hope to stay there next time I'm in Marrakech (it wasn't ready yet last May).

Merisi said...

I did little teaparty birthdays for my daughters, with tiny tramezzino sandwiches, a white and a chocolate bunny cake, small scones and strawberries with whipped cream (no clotted one to be found then in DC). They and their guests (a good dozen and a half) and mothers enjoyed themselves very much. Everyone was dressed for the occasion and it makes for such joyful memories. The best part, both mothers and children enjoy themselves.

Palmer and Co said...

Oh, these links are great! Can't wait to check them out!

Yoli said...

You know I think Jeanne-Ming had all the right answers. That combined with yours would make for a wonderful party. I do suggest something with that little chair which I have come to associate with Q for photos.Oh please paint the Q! Let her go wild, take her to the zoo or any place with nature. Or take her to the basketball courts! This is so exciting! Your little girl is turning 2!

Mom-Friday said...

Your "inspiration boards" are so beautiful! I'm an event planner and just thought I can share some ideas. I too have a girl, who turned 2 last January (Jen Laceda happens to be her Godmother). Though no party for her, a big pink cake and a day at the amusement park is all she asked. But she's expecting a party on her 3rd! On this side of the globe, the celebrant enjoys theme parties and usually decide on their favorite character, say, Hellow Kitty?... and we have HK everywhere -- on balloons, cakes, to party favors, and even life-size standees! Crafting, painting and cupcake decorating corners can also be incorporated to keep the kids busy after eating, and some have home spa parties which are a hit to moms as well. However you decide to celebrate, I wish your family will have a truly memorable and fun day for Q to cherish.

Kate Neckel said... all of the many beautiful images/ideas!