Thursday, January 4, 2018

A WILD Birthday!

We had a WILD time last weekend - and I'm not talking about New Year's Eve. On the eve of the Eve, we celebrated Kinley's 6th birthday!

Kinley loves animals, so she had her "kid party" at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan.
She chose a unicorn ensemble for her party wear. Her little sister fit right into the zoo atmosphere with a cheetah print. (Brooke was all smiles for this photo. However, it was sometimes hard to not be the birthday girl, but she did pretty well overall!)
When Jill scheduled the party, Kinley chose the the zoo's otters for her enrichment activity. However, the zoo called and said it was too cold for otters. So the partygoers got to create an enrichment activity for Vlad the Amur Leopard.
Kinley got help from Brooke and her cousin Hannah to decorate a cardboard box. Others of her friends decorated a couple of other boxes. Each box had a different scent to tempt Vlad. Kinley chose cinnamon, and the other two boxes were dosed with cayenne pepper and Old Spice spray.
The zoo keeper put the three boxes in Vlad's enclosure, and the partygoers watched to see which Vlad would choose. He opted for the cinnamon scent - the birthday girl's box. (It probably had more to do with the meat that the keeper added, but the suspense was still palatable among the 6-year-old party set!)
Kinley could also choose an animal for an indoor up-close-and-personal encounter. She could have chosen a snake. (No way, she said!) She considered a rabbit and a possum. But in the end, she chose an armadillo.
I think the deciding factor was that it could play in a wading pool of colorful balls. For the record, the three-banded armadillo was smaller than its "cousins" that tear up our farmyard. The zoo assistant guessed that our "in the wild" armadillos have nine bands.

Kinley kept with the animal theme and chose a panda donut from Varsity Donuts for her breakfast treat. A candle-studded donut is among the birthday traditions at their house. They also decorate the special girl's bedroom door with streamers. However, her parents were not thrilled that she exited the streamer-decorated door at 4 AM! (She did go back to sleep ... but it's so exciting to be 6!)
She had cupcakes at the zoo, but her choice for birthday treat was an Oreo Cheesecake made by her Mommy. (Cheesecake is her Daddy's favorite, so it must be in the genes. And our little family Christmas featured an Oreo Cheesecake, so she knew just what kind she wanted!)
It's an unusual choice for a 6 year old, but we adults weren't complaining.
Her cousins and sister weren't necessarily fans of the cheesecake, but no one went hungry with plenty of pizza, salad and a snack mix with animal crackers (iced and un-iced),  Very Berry Cheerios, marshmallows and pretzels.
Getting a decent photo of all of them was like Christmas Eve deja vu.
For her zoo party, Kinley had her friends bring gifts for the Manhattan animal shelter. But she got plenty of gifts from family.
She wasn't the only one to enjoy the new presents. It's good that Grandma and Grandpa put "Doctor Ladd" on the veterinarian coat. That way, two little animal doctors can treat their menagerie of stuffed animals.

It's hard for me to believe that Kinley is 6. Though her due date was January 11, she "crashed" our family's Christmas celebration 6 years ago. That's my kind of party crasher.

At age 6, Kinley ...
  • loves kindergarten.
  • wants to be a dolphin trainer.
  • loves drawing and crafting.
  • is starting to read.
  • is a rule follower (she is first-born after all)!
  • is sometimes a little shy in new situations. 
  • loves her family. 
Photo by Kim Adair Photography, Topeka
 And we love her! She is a blessing!


  1. Such a special Granddaughter! I love the zoo's party plan.
    I have a friend who writes children's books. When Kinley is a couple of years older she may enjoy the series "Juliet the Vet" written for eight to ten year olds. I would love to think they have reached the US, but possibly not. This is a link to Rebecca's web page, but she also has a Facebook page - Rebecca Johnson Author.

  2. I just spent some time looking at her website. I think these look great and would definitely appeal to both Kinley and Brooke. I liked the photo books with Steve Parish as well. Thanks so much for thinking of them and sharing the information. I'm going to share the info with my daughter, too.

  3. I just checked Amazon and can order the Juliet the Vet books through there, too. Thanks again!