Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Part of the Family

It's so hard to believe it, but this past Sunday we celebrated Valentine's 4th birthday. I can remember the day we took her home from the pet store like it was just yesterday. She was the second parakeet to join our family. The first one was very distressed at leaving the pet store, and I believe had a girlfriend who he had left behind. Valentine was a perfect fit for our family. She was young and full of life. We knew she would make Ariel a very happy little girl.

Every year as we celebrate the birth of our bird, Ariel puts together a very special party. It always includes a cake, some presents or cards, and a few fun party games. Shortly after Valentine joined our family, my father desired his own bird. Otto was another great addition to our clan, and has been at all of Valentine's birthday parties. We like to watch the two birds as they seem to have a love/hate relationship. Otto is a very sweet bird who will never bite you, while Valentine is a feisty aggressive female bird.

To start off the party games, we played our traditional "Pin the Beak on Valentine." It's always a favorite with my kids, and brought several laughs as people tried to blindly find the perfect spot to place their beak.

I happened to win this game, and got my beak just under Valentine's eyes!

My prize for the game was my very own paper beak. I'm showing it off in the picture below.

Another traditional game for one of Valentine's birthday parties is "Otto, Otto, Valentine". It's played in the same way you would "Duck, Duck, Goose."

We were all smashed together in a small circle in my living room. It made the game quite interesting as you hardly had any room to get up and move around. Zech especially enjoyed the game this year, and would stop to let you tag him so he could be "it" again.

We always make a cake to celebrate the birthday with, and this time Valentine was much more interested in her partner than blowing out the candles. She has in years past actually blown it out with the flick of her tail.

Ariel and her friend Kasey made this brownie cake ALL by themselves. They even baked it, tested it, and decided how much time it needed until it was cooked. I think they enjoyed sampling the batter the most. They attempted to write Happy Birthday with the sprinkles but it was proving too difficult to see, so they just threw a handful on top of the cake. I think they did a wonderful job, and it tasted delicious also!

We made these really fun chocolate nests yesterday and thought the birds might be interested in using them. No such luck! We all weren't too disappointed because the nests were a very tasty snack. We first used some peanut butter to get the chow mein noodles to stick together, then we drizzled chocolate and let them sit long enough to harden. Top those with some mini marshmallows and you have yourself a very delightful snack.

We made the joke here that Valentine was purchasing her first home, and which one would she choose? After a little bit of debate, she ended up just flying back to her cage.
I believe Valentine had a very pleasant birthday. I wonder if she feels like she's getting older or if she feels she is still just a young bird. The lifespan can vary quite a bit for a parakeet so it's hard to know how she would be feeling.

Happy Birthday, Valentine!

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