With Ella recently turning 4, I thought it would be interesting to revisit some photos from a few years ago, at Ella's 1st birthday party. It was held on October 4th 2007, which was actually my 24th birthday.
At this stage I knew Ella had some health problems, but not the extent of them. I certainly didn't understand at the time just how serious her conditions were, and what that would mean for her and the Jakas family over the next few years.
The current situation was a very unexpected turn of events for both of us. On that first birthday, I never would have imagined that in 2011, both Ella and I would have tubes surgically inserted into our digestive systems, due to our very different health issues getting to a rather catastrophic level.
But anyway, on to some photos. On the day I headed up to their house, which at the time was in Smithfield, with our friend Dean.
There were lots of people inside and a huge pile of presents, and soon Emily sat down with Ella to open them.
With a whole crowd of family and friends around, Ella had varying levels of interest in the gifts, depending on what they were.
She made sure to smile at the people who were giving her cool birthday presents.
She seemed quite interested in a book, toy guitar and a life-like doll which was about the same size as her.
She was definitely a big fan of the ride-on car.
I can't remember what happened here, but something funny is happening near the ceiling it seems.
After making a big mess with wrapping paper everywhere, it was time for the birthday cake. Emily had made a nice one decorated with flowers and butterflies.
I didn't really notice at the time, mostly because I wasn't looking for it, but Ella didn't use her left arm and hand very much.
After getting some help walking outside, everyone sang happy birthday to her, before the cake was cut up and passed around.
There was a small bouncy castle in the backyard, which was fun for little kids and big kids alike.
With a bit of help, Ella was enjoying a short drive on her car, and I was able to take a few nice close-up portraits while she looked and smiled at the camera.
Auntie Miriana tried taking her on the bouncy castle, but judging by her expression, Ella wasn't all that enamored with the idea.
Especially when there was more food to be eaten. Like father, like daughter.
Meanwhile, Uncle Tomi was working on getting his radio control car running to entertain the boys.
After playing around with the RC car for a while, we went back inside. I didn't really take many more photos after these ones, but after hanging around for a few more hours, Dean and I headed back home.