The Festival of Gracie

The term “birthday” is so misleading. “Birthday” (singluar) would seem to imply that the celebration lasts a single day. Our family is either doing them so right or totally wrong because birthday celebrations around here last about a week. And – whew! – are they some kind of exhausting excitement!

On Tuesday, sweet Gracie Girl turned three-years old. Hard to believe, isn’t it?


Her birthday celebrations began last Sunday when we had her official birthday party. This was the first one that we’ve had for Gracie that was for her friends and not family members. We opted this time to have the party at a place called, “My Gym.” If you don’t have one in your area, it’s a lot like Gymboree. Basically, it’s like a giant, padded hamster cage for children. There are all kinds of things for them to climb on and play with, and, quite honestly, if adult gyms were more like this one, I’d probably go more often.





The advantage to having a party at a facility like this was that the staff pretty much hosted the party. Chris and I brought plastic tablecloths, the cake, a giant fruit platter, and a cooler of juice boxes. And that was it! We literally showed up about 15 minutes before the party began, handed the staff there my bag of paper goods and food, and they took over from there! It was amazing! Chris and I got to enjoy the party, too, which was wonderful. It cost a good bit, but probably not much more than we would have paid for all the little odds and ends we would have had to provide somewhere else. And being able to play with the kids and enjoy the party ourselves was worth the extra money.










Gracie’s actual birthday was on Tuesday. Chris took the day off, and we all went to Disney for the day. It was so much fun! I know I say this all the time, but the kids are at such fun ages right now. They are easy to take places and have a good time pretty much wherever we are. And who doesn’t have a good time at Disney? Especially on your BIRTHDAY!


Gracie’s only request for the day was to see as many princesses as possible. Her two top requests were Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog,” who is a strong favorite right now, and Cinderella, who is Gracie’s first and strongest princess love. We walked into the park and accidentally stumbled right into Tiana! It was perfect!



tiana 2

Chris found out we could use FastPasses for visitations with the princesses, so we used up one of our three FastPasses for the day to visit with Cinderella at the castle. Totally worth it. Gracie is a little hesitant when she actually gets face to face with the characters, but she talks about it for HOURS after the visit is over. We are still hearing about how she talked to “Cindelly” in the “caswle.”

And, naturally, my camera battery would die right after this picture was taken, so I don’t have an official one with Cinderella.


Throughout the day, we saw as many princesses as possible…




Unfortunately, my camera was dead. Nice work, Mommy.

(imagine a picture of Rapunzel from Tangled here)

(imagine a picture of Ana and Elsa from Frozen here)

(imagine a picture of Aurora from Sleeping Beauty here)

The best place to see all the characters, though, was at the new Disney Main Street parade. They just redid all their floats and costumes for this parade and, let me tell you, it is AMAZING. Chris’s technical theater head was about to explode. I thought any minute he was going to bolt out into the parade and start poking around at the machines and automation that made the floats run. Even without any technical knowledge (or interest, really), I could tell this was an incredible technical feat. These floats were like mini stages with crazy tricks and automation. And the costumes! Oh my goodness! It really was like the greatest dream you’ve ever had walking down Main Street U.S.A.!


It is hard to tell from this picture, but this is the Tangled float and it is an actual moving gauntlet. All those hanging hammers and things swing and there were all the characters from the bar scene where they sing, “I’ve Got a Dream” hanging and running all over the moving parts. It was incredible! I think this was my favorite float. Plus, I have an unhealthy crush on Flynn Rider, so, it was pretty much my dream come true to see him in real life. I may have squealed louder than Gracie.




The Little Mermaid float had all these sea creatures parading around it in fabulous costumes! It looked a lot like The Lion King on Broadway, if you’ve seen it.




Both my kids are obsessed with Peter Pan. Bean loves Peter and Gracie loves Tinkerbell, so this next float was a huge hit! They were completely star-struck!






They also had this massive Brave float that looked like a big bagpipe! So clever!



Hands down, though, the Sleeping Beauty float was the best technical float in the parade. Chris squealed the loudest this time. This giant dragon float actually breathed FIRE! And the creepy guys who walked beside it were dressed to look like the briars that surrounded the castle that Prince Phillip had to fight his way through. It was amazing. True, my kids almost cried, but it was still TOTALLY COOL!





The last few floats were throw backs to the original Disney movies from when I was little. Pinocchio, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, etc. They were beautiful and such a happy, bright way to end the parade.



The parade was definitely the highlight of the day. In fact, that’s the part both the kids talk about when you ask them how our Disney day was.  Although, really, there were too many highlights to name. It was such a fun day of celebrating Gracie and just having a really great time together.





So much has happened in our lives since Gracie was born three years ago. Careers have changed, homes were bought, babies were born, Granddad’s passed on, the sunshine has shown, and the rains have fallen. But through it all, Gracie’s feisty little personality and sassy charm has kept us laughing and moving forward. She has graced us by joining our family, and our lives will never be the same.

Happy, happy, happy birthday, Gracie.


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5 Thoughts to “The Festival of Gracie”

  1. Dani

    Hey Katie! Let Chris know that his old company built the Tangled and Little Mermaid floats! We finished up the site work in December.

    1. Katie

      I will! He will be so bummed that he missed out! 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness they are the cutest! Thanks so much for sharing your sweet family! Precious!

  3. Umm the Flynn Rider crush made me laugh so hard. Dmitri from Anastasia isn’t too hard on the eyes either. I thought only nerdy boys who watched anime and marvel comics (my husband) had cartoon crushes. Lol!

  4. Jenna

    This is precious and so much fun! Her little kerchief is perfect. The thought of Disney stresses me out, but when I see your posts, I realize it would all be worth it. 🙂 now we just need to live nearby so we can go often and learn the ropes!!

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