Happy 40th to ME!

We celebrated my big 4-0 this weekend and what a celebration it was! Family from all over the country came to visit (and I can pretend it was all for me!) and Greg rented a big house and we called it the party house and a party magically appeared while I was home with sick kids. Lucky me! :)

This wise wizard turned 40 this weekend.

This wise wizard turned 40 this weekend.

Sisters!

Sisters!

Sisters!

Sisters!

I love these ladies!

I love these ladies!

Yummy!!!!!!!! (good thing there aren't 40 candles on there!)

Yummy!!!!!!!! (good thing there aren’t 40 candles on there!)

Sisters! There was an amazing super moon behind us, but the camera sucks.... or maybe we just shone brighter! :)

Sisters! There was an amazing super moon behind us, but the camera sucks…. or maybe we just shone brighter! :)

This guy threw me an awesome birthday party!! I'm a lucky lady to have him.

<3 This guy threw me an awesome birthday party!! I’m a lucky lady to have him.

The next day we gathered in the beautiful sunshine to say a final farewell to Popcube.

Cousins!

Cousins!

Does it get any better than this smile?!

Does it get any better than this smile?!

Spreading ashes. We had such a beautiful day to say goodbye to Grandpa.

Spreading ashes. We had such a beautiful day to say goodbye to Grandpa.

Afterwards we went to brunch at Mickey’s. We were a pretty big crowd! :)

Sibs. I'm so lucky to have these people in my life. <3

Sibs. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life. <3

This post is not deep, but full of love nonetheless. I have an amazing family and I’m so happy any time we get to spend time together. There are lots more photos here and here.

Goodbye family. I love you all so much!

Goodbye family. I love you all so much!

My kiddos are still sick, so we took the day off for some rest and relaxation. Hopefully tomorrow finds us all well and back to school.

Lex’s 11th Birthday!

Hey all. Lex turned 11 last month. I’m still not loving my blogging setup and, well, I guess I’ve been busy too, so this post is a little delayed. I love the boy all the same though and I’m sure he’s fine with the delay. :)

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Morning presents.

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Happy Birthday!! Eleven years old and handsome as ever! <3

I made brownie bars for school and cake for the party, so I asked Lex if maybe we could skip a cake on his actual birthday. He said sure, then asked for cookies instead. How could I say no?! :)

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Candle in cookies, better than cake!

This year we had a birthday party at the rock climbing place. Lex invited a bunch of boys and it was so much fun!

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Packing up goody “bags” for the rock climbing party.

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It’s party time!!!!

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Happy Birthday Lex!!

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Lex had a great time! We sang and joked about how many candles the cake needed and all his friends were so nice and happy to be there celebrating with him.

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Presents time. (I think Alan just said something funny. Love the look he’s getting.)

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Hey, there were a few Colliers there too! :)

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Alan decided to give it a try too! He’s a natural, of course.

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Everyone was all worn out by the end!

The next day we went for a nice walk to the playground. It’s always great when Rosy is around. She drags us all out for fun and exercise!

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Eve decorated the dog with lovely dandelions.

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Lex has mad ball skills! :)

So there’s Lex’s 11th in summary. I love him more than the world and it’s amazing and overwhelming and just plain perfect that he has become the young man he has. I want to keep him in my arms forever, yet also look forward to what the future has in store. Life is good. Happy Birthday my boy!

Thank you notes

Lex did a great job with thank you notes this year!  Not only was he prompt, with a little encouragement from me, but he wrote clever and funny things too! 

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Is it weird to post his thank you notes online?  Some of you may recognize some of these. 😊

The best part though is that he did them with no fussing or arguing!!  That’s what I’m thankful for!!  Maybe I should write him a note! 😄

A Birthday Weekend

We had a long weekend full of birthday fun for this growing girl.  Thursday night we went out to a fancy dinner at Jesse’s.  I encouraged her to pick somewhere other than the usual Panera Bread.  :)  I think we were all happy with her choice!

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How is it possible that she’s nine already?!

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Tic-tac-toe is always popular at classy places that give you crayons. :)

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Mema and Grandpa Tom came too!!

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I love this girl!

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This super silly girl!!

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The restaurant staff brought her a big birthday brownie sundae and sang her a birthday song. The best part is that our waitress was her teacher last year! A teacher that she loved. :)

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She and I shared this brownie sundae and together only got about half way through!

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We got distracted by the big rocks on the way back to the car. We were all a little hepped up on the excitement (and sugar!) of the evening!

The were pretending to be rock hopper penguins.

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The sign is so big! They were amazed! It does not look that big from the road when we drive past all the time.

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Strike a pose! It took us a long time to make it to the car. :)

Friday Aunt Rosy came to town and stayed in a hotel with a pool! Eve invited our neighbor to come along and we enjoyed pizza and swimming at the hotel.

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They played an interesting game of basketball in the pool.

On Saturday Aunt Mandy joined the party crowd. She and Alan took Eve out for a birthday lunch and bike shopping! Eve has been riding a series of yardsale bikes these past few years and although she loves them, we decided it was time to get her a new “from the store” bike that was just her size.

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Still pink and streamers though, of course. I wonder if she asked Alan to put her basket on it. She loved having a basket on her old bike.

We hung out, played, relaxed, cooked, ate a delicious dinner, then did presents and cake.

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One roller skate?! I wonder what’s in the next box!

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My last minute, on-the-fly, cake for Eve using box cake mix and leftover frosting. It came out delicious, with a mysterious hint of mint.

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Happy Birthday my big little NINE year old!

On Sunday everyone went home, I took a nap, and this happened! She has been wanting to color her hair for weeks now and has been asking me to take her to the store to buy purple hair dye. It never happened, but she mentioned it on her birthday list and Aunt Rosy delivered. I’ll have to dig up an old picture of Aunt Rosy with her orange hair sometime!

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We were going for just the tips, but I’m not much of a stylist and she’s a pretty wiggly customer, so it ended up being the lower three inches or so. Plus that part in the front that always hangs down. She calls it her “wish curl.”

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Punky Purple Curls! I wanted to take a picture of the ringlets, but she brushed her hair before I had a chance.

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She was pretty low-key about it last night. I’m not sure if she didn’t love it or if she just wasn’t feeling well. Along with all the presents she also got a nice head cold this weekend and her ears are full of sinus pressure. I’m curious to hear what everyone in school thinks of the purple curls today.

So that was Eve’s 9th birthday, plus her friend party from a few weeks ago. I feel like we’ve been celebrating all month and guess what just came in the mail?! A birthday present from Joyce. Let the celebration roll on!! :)

Slumber party fun!

Last night we celebrated Eve’s birthday with a friend-filled slumber party! We had seven girls (eight, including Eve) come for dinner and fun. Two went home at bedtime and five (six, including Eve) stayed over night! It was wild and silly and fun! She has a nice group of friends.

When they arrived we had perler beads and Just Dance running on the XBox. A calm craft and an energetic activity. The girls bounced happily between the two.

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Perler beads are plastic beads that you arrange on a little pin tray and then use a warm iron to melt them together. They take lots of concentration and fine motor skills!

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I bought a dance game for the XBox and it was a HUGE hit! So worth the money!

When Alan came home from the gym he brought dinner with him. Pizza for all! Eve did her best to avoid all photos during this party. :/

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Pizza and fruit salad for dinner. Yum! Duck Eve, duck!

Then time for presents. My phone camera was really lousy for this whole party. Dunno why. None of the pictures came out well. Maybe I need to clean it or something.

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Presents and pjs.

Instead of cake, I made mini cupcakes and we did a fondue type thing.

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The candles got a little interesting. :)

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Everyone had fun using the tiny forks and dipping the cupcakes into frosting and toppings. I put out lots of options so there was something for everyone.

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What’s a party without a giant cake bite picture?! :)

Then back to dancing! Gotta dance off the sugar. I found them running back and forth into the kitchen, eating cupcake toppings by the handful. I put a quick end to that!

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Dancing the night away.

Just in time I remembered that we had a pillow case project to do as well! I had white pillow cases, stencils, and fabric markers for all the girls. They had a great time decorating them and signing each other’s pillow cases. It was really cute.

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I found a cute poem on Pinterest and several girls used it on their pillow cases.

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Now I lay me down to sleep… I’ll count friends instead of sheep…

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Lots of hand tracing, well wishes, and positivity.

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Her pillow case is all stenciled and so pretty.

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Quick break for a game of darts. It’s good to have a receiver at the bottom to throw the darts back to you! They are magnetic darts, btw, no sharp objects flying around here!

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I tried for a nice group shot, but where’s Eve?

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Oh, there she is!

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Things got a little silly.

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Silly birthday hugs for Eve.

After the lateover girls went home everyone else brushed teeth and settled in for a movie. Eve chose to watch Duck Soup, a Marx Brothers movie that we had watched as a family last weekend. She loved it then and we had paused it a bunch of times for everyone to laugh. She was certain her friends would love it and said we would be pausing it every minute or two for laughter. Sadly, that was not the case. She loved it and laughed, but they were mostly just confused. I eventually made Alan and Lex turn off Minecraft and watch the movie, hoping their laughter might bolster Eve’s.  Two loyal friends stuck it out for the whole movie, but the rest went upstairs to play.  Eve didn’t seem to care.  She was happy to be watching a movie that made her laugh.

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I think Marx Brothers wasn’t what this Disney-raised crowd was expecting!

Everyone went to bed after the movie. In bed around 10:30, lights out at 11pm, and time for the serious voice at 11:30. They were all asleep by midnight! Thankfully! This morning I heard footsteps walking around at 6am, and when I got up at 6:15 I heard giggly little voices. Everyone was downstairs and dancing again by 7am!

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Pancakes for breakfast, of course. With chocolate chips and syrup. But, wait, where’s Eve?

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Oh there she is, avoiding my camera again. :) Silly girl. I try hard to respect her wishes and not take as many pictures, but it’s hard to resist at a birthday party!

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Let’s keep this party going with an early morning dance-fest!

I learned from our past two sleepovers (Eve’s and Lex’s) that things are less fun in the morning and an earlier pick-up is better than a later one. Things went well this time, maybe because we had enough kids that no one had to work too hard to entertain anyone else, but still by 9am everyone was ready to go. Parents came, hugs and thanks were exchanged, and everyone went home.

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I want to say she fell asleep at the table, but not really. She did get a Little Live Pet and had fun taking care of it and “feeding” it this morning. That head definitely went down on the table many times while she was playing though. :) Tired girl.

Alan went to work today (poor guy) and the kids and I are taking it slow. I just dropped Eve off at Girl Scouts and apologized to the troop leader that half her troop was up until midnight partying at my house last night. I hope they all survive.

Overall a super fun party though! Eve has great friends and I think everyone had fun. There was no fighting and only the slightest bickering. Everyone played together and no one seemed excluded. There was plenty of sweets and toys and balloons for all. Another successful party on the books! Now we have almost two weeks to recover before her actual birthday! :)

Last night

I went up to check on the kids before I went to bed last night and found sweet surprises in both room.

Eve had a really hard time falling asleep and was up very late last night. This might have been partly why. I think she’s getting excited for her birthday. :)

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I’ll help translate a few:

1. Little Live Pets (official website, Amazon)
2. Mechanical dog. I think she saw one at KMart one time.
6. Non-permenant hair dye. She wants to dye her hair bright purple.
10. Surprises

I think the rest make sense without translation. :)

Lex, on the other hand, had no trouble falling asleep!

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When I showed him these pictures this morning he was surprised he’d fallen asleep that way. He said he only meant to cuddle her for a few minutes then planned to put his head back on the pillow. I guess he was pretty comfy.  ♥

The Big 4-0!

Oh, what a weekend it’s been! For starters, a big Happy Birthday to Alan, or HBD as he likes to put it! We celebrated in style! At least for one evening. Friday night… well, I forgot what Friday night was, it was too long ago. Saturday came and he took the kids to karate and himself to his favorite diner. The usual Saturday morning routine. Then I took the kids roller skating and he stayed home watched a movie he’s been dying to see that is 100% not kid appropriate! :)

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Lex and his buddy ROCKED the inline skates! He’s better on them than he is on roller skates. (They practice in gym class.)

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Eve did pretty well as well. It’s great to see them gaining confidence on wheels. Grandpa Tom, of course, was our inspiration!

Then the party began. Lex went with his friend for a Minecraft lateover, Eve went to her friend’s house for her first ever sleepover, and I went home to join Alan at his surprise party already in progress!

Yep, I managed a surprise party for Alan and he actually liked it!! :) I coordinated with five of his best buds to come over at 5pm. He was watching the last ten minutes, the most exciting ten minutes, of his movie and didn’t even hear them come in the house! Well, I guess he heard but thought it was me and the kids. His friends were walking around, talking, and even began throwing clementines at him before he noticed their presence! I picked up Indian food for everyone on my way home (plus wine and mac&cheese from the Co-op for me!) and got home to find everyone enjoying their chips and drinks and elbow deep in a game of Cards Against Humanity. A game of which I had heard, but had not yet had the pleasure of playing. Oh, my, what a game!

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There were tears of laughter all night long!

During the game a mishap occurred, a wine glass was broken (my glass, but not my fault!), and wine splashed down, right onto my phone!! There was a collective gasp and three people lunged for it! I laughed, afterwards, at how everyone reacted because they were all Alan’s co-workers and had heard the ongoing saga of my broken phone just a few weeks ago! Alan took it apart and dried it immediately and FORTUNATELY, it works just fine! He wanted to leave it apart for the night, but I had one kid at a lateover and one kid at a lice sleepover, and I was not ready to be without texting for the evening! :)

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I should have taken a picture of the whole crowd. That would have been fun. Oh well. Here’s the tidied-up aftermath though.

We played Cards Against Humanity until Lex came home, then switched to poker. Meanwhile, I start getting texts from Eve’s friend’s mom saying she found a lice nit on her daughter’s head and did I want to leave Eve there or come pick her up. They all wanted her to stay and I REALLY did not want to deal with head lice that night, so I carried on with our carefree evening and left the parental worries for another day.

Sunday. When I picked Eve up she was scratching her head like crazy and I saw a whole village living among her little hair follicles. UGH! I checked Lex and he had them too. I can’t even blame it on her friend. In fact, her friend can probably blame it on Eve. Ugh! So we began the process, again, of delousing the kids and the house. (I just tried to find a post from the last time we did this and apparently I didn’t write one. It was back in November 2015. I guess I was up to my eyeballs in lice shampoo and cranky family — no time for blogging!) Eve was grumpy, but sat patiently for the whole process. Lex practically hyperventilated at the thought of bugs on his head and had the worst ten minutes ever waiting for the shampoo to do it’s job. No fun for anyone! We have a very clean house now though! So, that’s good at least!

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He complained, but I was the one doing all the work! No fun for anyone!  I gave him the option of shaving it off, thereby eliminating the the need for tedious delousing.  He quieted right down!  :)

Alan and Grandpa Tom also got a chance to attend a community solar event today and they both came back feeling the Vermont solar love!

What saw us through the weekend — Birthday Cookies!!  Delicious enough to make everything better!  I’d like to say I froze a bunch for later, but truthfully I made a double batch and we finished them in a weekend!  :)

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Happy Birthday Alan!

I realize as I come to the end of this post that I have no pictures of the birthday boy himself! Oops! I promise he’s here and as handsome as ever! Like a fine wine, he only improves with age!

Happy 10th Birthday Lex!!

It’s hard to believe, but this little guy is suddenly ten years old!!

Lex’s first birthday. He is so adorable!

My, how time flies! Today we celebrated with presents in the morning, a Memorial Day parade, lunch at Popcube’s house, and a slow, tired afternoon at home. Overall a great day and a great way to celebrate our favorite little boy who is not so little any more.

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He’s a balloon guy! I have a very similar picture from his 4th birthday. I’ll try to find it for a “then and now” post. :)

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A special birthday greeting for our special ten year old.

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Happy Birthday Lex!!

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Morning smiles with the birthday boy.

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I got a little artistic while waiting for him to open presents. He got side tracked a bit with a book. This big box contains the game Clue.

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Waiting for the Memorial Day parade to start. I embarrassed the family by asking a stranger to take a picture for me. Totally worth it! :)

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I think my kids are a bit too big for this toy, but boy did they have fun! I have this same picture from a few years ago. I’ll try to dig it up. They were a bit smaller then. :)

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An ice cream cake for his family birthday party. Cool Whip and chocolate chips make perfectly excellent decorations.

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Lots of birthday Legos. Everything is awesome!

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Happy Birthday Lex! I like his choice of shirts for the day too. :)

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The candles are casting a glow on his sweet face. <3

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Cutting the cake.

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This was an “upcycled” cake using the leftovers from Saturday’s karate cake. Lex wanted an ice cream cake for his family party, so I took layers from the karate cake, relayered them, and added some Fudge Tracks ice cream in the middle. Then I slathered the whole thing in Cool Whip. It came out really tasty!

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The cake was tasty, but frozen pretty hard. Lex had trouble cutting into it with his plastic fork so he resorted to eating it caveman style.

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She’s looking pretty classy. :)

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The photogenic side of the family. :)

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The ride home from Grandpa’s. Proof that she does indeed stop moving, sometimes, even if only for a short ride in the car.

We were all exhausted when we got home so everyone went to their rooms for awhile.  After an hour or so of quiet time we regrouped for a few family games of Clue.  It was fun to teach the kids a new game and they both enjoyed the mystery and secrecy of it.  Then we ordered pizza for dinner and watched the movie Clue!

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Lex got to choose his birthday dinner, so Ziggy sticks it was! I served him on this birthday plate, but he wasn’t happy about it. He transferred everything to a normal plate instead. Oh well. He’s ten now, but still the same boy we know and love!

After the movie, when we were all exhausted and getting ready for bed, I remembered that Lex needs birthday treats for school tomorrow. Birthday treats round three! I think we need to sugar detox again!

I feel pretty fortunate to have such an awesome boy in my world. Lying in bed tonight I said, “Ten years ago right now you were less than one hour old.” Around birthdays we like to talk about “ten years ago” or “eight years ago” and reminisce about their actual birth days so many years ago. He replied with, “Mom, I’ve been wondering, just how exactly do babies come out of the mother’s belly?” Yep, he’s growing up! So we had that conversation tonight, all snuggled up in bed, and we were happy.