He took the day off work (hooray for the perks of his new job!) and made me sweet cream waffles for breakfast,
then we took the family to the zoo.
It was crowded, but we made the best of it and had a fantastic time.
Ellie loves animals. She sat in the very front of the stroller, one chubby arm out, finger pointing as we walked--
"Keep moving that way people. More animals to see!"
She made certain to point out which animals were the babies ("deedsee") and which ones were the mamas.
The entire drive to the zoo Nicholas was making up songs and making sure we knew that he needed to get a map when we arrived.
I don't know how he even knew a zoo would have a map. But he knew.
And he needed one.
He directed us back and forth across the zoo--checking off the animals as we saw each one. And of course we couldn't see them in a logical order-the giraffes at the back first, then the elephants at the front, then the wolves in the back and the polar bear in the middle. Much more fun that way.
The reptile cage building was a no-go for my boy though. His nose has suddenly become a super-sniffer, and that building was way too stinky for him.
"My map says that the monkeys need to take a bath, Mom."
We paid $4 for us all to ride the carousel. We knew how much Nicholas loved the one at Disneyland.
That was definitely worth $4, people. Nicholas was laughing and cheering, and even Ellie decided it wasn't so scary after all.
We braved a couple of impressive meltdowns from the little people ("my sunglasses are falling off my face. I must now screech as if I've lost a limb."), concluded that they must be hungry, ate lunch at a table overlooking the elephants ("deedsee!" and "mama!"), watched a tiger splash around in his pool, saw the giraffes and monkeys and all the other creatures--following the guide of Nicholas's little finger on the map and Ellie's enthusiastic "YEAH!" to every suggestion,
then got ice cream and headed home.
After the zoo we came back to eat the guava cake that Kent had made for me. (Um delicious. Try this cake-you will be so glad you did.)
The singing of the happy birthday song made Ellie burst into tears every time, but the kids did enjoy helping me blow out the candles. And eating the cake. And opening my presents--
new placemats, a darling new outfit, lotions and soaps, and a sandbox.
Yes, a sandbox. I'm a mother. A sandbox will be just as much of a gift for me as for my children.
Do you know how many hours kids can spend each day playing in a sandbox?
We can't wait to get it all set up.
Then my brother came over to watch the kids while Kent took me out
on a fantastic date-
we ate dinner, browsed some cute shops by the restaurant,
then headed over to the outlet mall to window shop.
There were hardly any people at the mall, the sun was setting and the sky was pink,
we just walked hand in hand-me and my very best friend. As we left we admired the giant yellow moon rising over the mountains and breathed in the fresh cool summer-night breeze.
We came home to eat more guava cake, cupcakes of various origin, and the free marshmallow pie slice I got at the restaurant for my birthday
and stayed up late talking and laughing with Josh and his girlfriend Alicia.
Then we snuggled into bed, stuffed full of cake, a little bit sunburned, and perfectly happy.
I feel like a little kid saying this,
but I think it was one of my best birthdays ever.