She received her very own "big girl" backpack, a handful of other cute items, and a veterinarian costume (which she has worn over and over ever since):
Penguin is our quiet child. She'll usually go without something rather than ask for it--we've been trying to help her be OK with voicing her needs and wants for the past little while. She loves animals. She has a soul-mate connection with our cat, and it's eery to watch her approach animals that are acting wild, and watch them flop over onto their backs when she starts murmuring to them and gently patting them. Penguin Brooke, Animal Whisperer.
My dear girl, I love you so much. We had to try so hard to get you here, and you had a bit of a rough go in your early years with the skull thing and then the eyes thing. You were quietly persistent through all those situations, and you continue on today with your calm determination in the face of a challenge. (You must get it from your dad...)
Here's to more talks about "animal talents," more painting, more watermelon-flavored anything, and the fulfillment of my promise that we will indeed bake a carrot cake sometime soon. Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet girl.