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Milestones:

This guy has had more than a few.

I couldn’t begin to list them all here, and I’m not even going to try.

One or two weeks old – in the NICU

When you start out so tiny, you’re going to have a few more milestones to hit than your average kid.

Two months old – coming home day!

But there eventually comes a time when those big hurdles of the early days are a dim memory.

Six months old – last day on the apnea monitor!

And eventually you’re just a kid.

One year old

Sure, there are still therapy appointments, IFSP’s, and striving to catch up with your peers…

Two-and-a-half year old – first day of preschool

But those are just part of who you are.

Three years old

And life is good.

Age five – first day of Kindergarten

And you know it.

Age 7

Happy Birthday, Nicolas.

10th birthday – March 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kalen!

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When Kalen realized that his birthday dinner party was approaching quickly, he began making plans.  “We have to make decorations!  Can I have a banner, Mom?”

A banner?  Sure.  I’ve been wanting to make a pennant banner for a while anyway…and wouldn’t it be neat if it were a permanent one that we could hang up every time one of us had a birthday?

Of course, it had to be made out of materials on hand, but hello, we’re living with my mother!  Being a lifelong artist and craftsperson, she’s always a good great phenomenal resource for this kind of project.

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She and I are also a great brainstorming team, and she manages to turn my ideas into great end products.  Some felt, paint, and ribbon (plus a few days of work) later, and voila!

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Behold our two-sided Family Birthday Banner, courtesy of Grandma Wanda!

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The letters are done in Aunt Bertha, which I think is such a fun font for a celebratory banner.  Thank you, Mommy.

As I approached my 30th birthday a few years back, I began to get really excited.  It wasn’t just for the party…

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…but more for the number itself.  I was so excited to leave my 20’s behind!  Most of my friends dreaded passing into a new decade, but not I.

It’s not that my twenties were bad.  On the contrary, I had a wonderful time in college, met the man of my dreams, had a great marriage and two healthy children.  What I would not miss about those years, however, was the attitude from some people who had long ago left that age behind.  I cannot tell you the number of times I heard a variation of the phrase, “Oh, well, you’ll understand when you’re older.”  By the time I’d reached 28, I was well sick of it.  I suppose the fact that I look younger than my age doesn’t help, but I was convinced that I would stop receiving those patronizing comments once I was in my thirties.

And I did.  Who knows why – perhaps it was my own attitude that staved them off.  Regardless, I find myself happily ensconced in the middle of a decade that sees me neither a young, inexperienced girl, nor yet middle-aged.  I am looking forward to my forties just as happily (although not at all wishing the intervening years away), because I see that there is nothing as ineffectual in life as wishing you were in the past, or younger than you are.  I cannot wait to see what the years ahead bring.

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My friend, Heather, told me about this awesome chocolate cake recipe.  I figured, coming from her, it must be pretty incredible, because she’s not the biggest fan of chocolate cake.  If she says it’s fabulous and moist, it must be!

So, I decided to make it for Jason’s birthday.  Jason is not much of a cake fan, but he always loved my mother’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, because it’s so moist.  Heather’s recipe (which she got from her sister-in-law, who got it from someone else) sounded similar.  But it’s not.  It’s even better.

The recipe calls for baking in a bundt pan, but since I don’t have one, I baked it in two 9″ rounds and made a layer cake.  I must say, frosted as a layer cake, it’s still incredibly good, especially when you buy the triple-chocolate frosting that also has chocolate chips in it.

One word: Yum.

Okay, more than one word: Oh my freaking wow, this is soooooooo good.

THE Cake:

1 box Devil’s Food Cake
1 large box instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix cake mix and instant pudding in one bowl.  Mix sour cream, eggs (one at a time), oil, and water in a separate bowl.  Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir together.  Batter will be extremely thick.  Add chocolate chips and mix through.  Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 45-55 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Turn it out of the pan and continue to cool completely.

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Yes, the boys insisted on 35 candles.  He did manage them all in one breath!


My boys

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