I've enjoyed a nice, quiet evening at home tonight. After our big birthday trip to Honduras and a whirlwind week upon our return, it is nice to just have some down time. Dave is in Dallas for work, and Jace is with his dad tonight, after our big Easter weekend in St. Clair. So it is just me, the doggies, a chick flick and the last of the lemon summer pie from this weekend. And, I started the evening - and my fortieth year - out right, with a trip to the gym for my cycling/cross training class after work tonight (which counteracts the pie that I'm eating this evening - or at least I'm tellin' myself that!).
One of the best parts of my birthday, though, was the time at home with my siblings this past weekend. All of us except Thomas were able to make it home, and it was a great weekend, even with all of the rain. The older cousins (Jace, Landon and Payton) all enjoyed playing outside between rain showers, and playing X-box, of course; we aunts enjoyed kissing on Isaac, Eva and Henry over the two days, and catching up since we hadn't been together since Christmas.
After Easter dinner on Saturday night, Jace helped Ann, Tara, Susan and Rob to surprise me with a birthday scavenger hunt (with clues from my childhood and teenage years - how clever!) ending in a big family birthday celebration over at Grandma G's house. The decorations were tasteful (no canes, no black balloons - instead, black and white chinese lanterns and pretty partyware:
The theme of the party was -of course- black, but it was fabulous -- they decided it should be one of my favorite things, red wine, and in particular BLACK BOX, the wine I like to bring home for our family gatherings. So they gave me a box of Black Wine to help celebrate the big 4-0, AND a Black Box cake - made by Tara - that was red velvet, just like the red wine! How clever is that!? And it was delicious, too!
Everyone had cards for me, and then I opened my gift - a photo album celebrating my 40th birthday. Just hearing the comments from my brothers-in-law as I looked through the book, it was evident how much time my sisters had spent on the album - collecting pictures, emailing back and forth to figure out the years/timeline on them, and scanning the photos in. Ann compiled everything and then made the album online, spacing the photos, picking out the backgrounds and frames, etc.
I absolutely could not have asked for a more special, heartfelt gift for my birthday - there were so many pictures from over the years, starting when I was a baby, pictures of our mom and dad and the four of us, then pictures of Tara, Mom and Gmother/Gpa Lawson, Thomas, my teenage years, after Jace came along, and much more. Some of the pictures I truly had not seen in years; Tara was apparently the one who had a lot of them, I was amazed at all of the variety she had! Here are a few quick photos of the book, just to show it off a little:
The album is 20-plus pages long, and full of fun pages of pictures - plus a few pages at the end with pictures of me and my "favorite things": playing the piano, oatmeal and toast, coffee, taking pictures to go on the blog, reading, napping, drinking wine - and, of course, having fun with my family! So then we had to get a few "Sisters!" pictures to commemorate Easter 2011 - and this time we even let Rob in a few of the pictures:
It was a great weekend, and I was really glad to be with them to celebrate. Thanks again to Ann, Tara and Susan, and to all my family - we all have our quirks, but at the end of the day I wouldn't trade us for anything.
It is after 10:30, and this 40-year-old needs some sleep! Goodnight!