Stop the presses. I actually had my auntly stuff together this year and had all of Ella's birthday gifts purchased (or at least chosen) weeks before her actual birthday. I mention this to gloat about my psychic powers more than my organizational ones. You see, half of those gifts I so carefully laid away in the weeks leading up to my gorgeous niece's 3rd birthday were themed. Though, I did not realize the theme until packing them together the day before The Day. I bought Ella an owl bracelet (though there were so many other animal bracelets to choose from: a dolphin, a butterfly, an elephant to match her name) and a dress printed in feathers and packed it all in a tote bag printed with feathers. The significance of all the birds and feathers: we took Ella and Mads out to the Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck for her birthday. This birthday trip was not, however, planned at the time I was buying so many fowl gifts. See! Poof! Psychic! Obviously.
Before the noise and wonder of all those lovely birds (owls included), the Monday before she turned 3, Ella got her ears pierced. The family came out to the mall on my lunch break, my boy Mads in tow, and we walked down to Claire's to turn Ella into a proper princess, with pink jewels in her ears (she knew she wanted pink even before she saw the sampling of studs from which to choose). Sierra had, like a good mother, warned Ella that the piercing would hurt (her first lesson in suffering for beauty), so perhaps it should not be surprising that once the piercing was imminent, Ella began to have second thoughts (which I unkindly, but humorously, have documented below). She took the piercing like a champ though, and good Aunt Mimi bought her some ice cream studs for her trouble. And then good Grandma bought her some actual ice cream.