I’m not one for memorizing poems, but Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote one I’ll never forget:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed.
But when she was bad she was horrid.

My Nana recited it to me when I was a little girl and now, it’s my turn to share it with Reila as she enters her “terrible twos.” Turn your back and she’ll overcome any obstacle course you’ve put between her and the Paw Patrol fruit snacks, chew through hot dog packaging in the grocery cart or bellyflop on the ground. Despite her incredible vocabulary, her favorite word is “No,” which she says over and over again.

But all those typical two-year-old behaviors aside, watching Rei explore and navigate the world around her has been so much fun. Not to mention enjoying her current Paw Patrol obsession with her. One episode caught in a waiting room TV and our dog-loving Chicky Chaw was hooked!

As you may recall, Reila’s first birthday was jungle-themed like her nursery decorations which were inspired by our close proximity to the Kansas City Zoo. This year, there were dogs everywhere – literally. Because ReiRei (the nickname she calls herself) loves her canine companions so much and because our fenced-in backyard is comparable to most dog parks, we were inspired to host our first puppy reunion during her birthday party!

Long story short, our dogs Murphy and Lucy had six puppies back in 2015. Four stayed in the family and two went to close family friends. We sent invites to the pups and their humans and managed to get the whole gang back together! It was the perfect overcast day for the pups to run around with a high of 78˚ and not a drop of rain.

Guests munched on Chickaletta n’ Biscuits (Chicken in a Biskit), Pup Treats (Paw Patrol Graham Crackers), Rocky’s Ranch ‘Ritos (Cool Ranch Doritos) and Cheesy Chase Chips (Nacho Cheese Doritos) served in big plastic dog bowls from Dollar Tree. Spence grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone, served with salad, chili and deviled eggs.

Nan went all out baking a delicious Paw Patrol birthday cake. Pops came over early in the morning to help us prep food and tidy the kitchen. He also made a huge birthday banner and cardboard cutouts of Chase, Tracker, Marshall and Rocky to decorate the front lawn. And when everybody else left, they stayed behind to stash leftovers.

Spennie set Reila’s Paw Patrol armchair on top of our living room table for a present-opening throne. It worked out really well since our house was so crowded. People sitting past our sliding glass doors on the screened-in porch could see her as well as everyone sitting or standing in the living room and anyone hanging out in the kitchen.

There were a few times we had to remind Reila to open the card first but for the most part, she did really well. Present-opening etiquette aside, I want my kids to appreciate the cards they receive just as much as the presents. Someday when they’re all grown up, a card might be all they’ll get.

But for now, Reila got all sorts of neat things to get excited over like:
• super cute girly Patrol Patrol outfits
• a freaking Paw Patrol blow-up ball pit from her Aunt Tate, which is her new favorite hideout in the house (and Murphy’s new favorite dog bed)
• a red balance-training bike (someone PLEASE 3D print Peewee Herman’s bike lion/tiger siren for her)
Marshall “dudes” (that’s what Spence called sunglasses when he was a toddler) complete with firefighter helmet and dalmatian ears
• a Paw Patrol songbook
Paw Patrol beginner reading books
• a stack of $2 bills (such a cool idea) • mess-free Paw Patrol magic marker coloring books
Stackadoos (check ’em out, they’re wicked cool)
• a Skye bubble glove
• a Melissa & Doug magnetic fishing set
VTech’s Starshine the Bright Lights Unicorn
Marshall’s water cannon
• Paw Patrol sidewalk chalks
and way, way more…

Each kid went home with a Paw Patrol goodie bag stuffed with Paw Patrol goodies including:

stationary set (ruler, notepad and markers)
•  disc shooters
slap bracelet
activity book with crayons
• 3 sheets of stickers

Spence and I had a blast putting the whole shebang together. We are so grateful for all our loved ones and pups who came out to celebrate our growing little lady’s second birthday. It was a PAWSOME day full of surprises for Rei, but the biggest surprise is yet to come – a second birthday party in Massachusetts with my folks! More on that to come. Now, I’ve got to run before the two-year-old sends all her Paw Patrol balloons flying into the ceiling fan to pop!

Photos and text © copyright Laurien Rose, 2019. All rights reserved.

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