July is a busy month. Must fit in all the partying.
Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband today. He's 32 and doesn't look a day over 31.
My maternal grandmother is visiting this weekend for the 4th but we've also celebrated her 72nd birthday coming up on the 11th.
Seeing as Ian passed his French test on Thursday (yay Ian!), he took Friday off as a mental health day. We spent the morning at Ballston Mall then hosted my mom and grandmother during the afternoon until my dad joined us for dinner (lasagna, my staple). The kids kept the Grands busy hopping from game to game and great-grandma saw her first VeggieTales video. The girls, of course, remember her well while Nicholas held back a bit and Jonathon didn't remember her at all but it didn't matter. He'll talk to anyone about anything so great-grandma was another pair of ears for his babble.
Saturday morning we left the apartment at 10:30 to be at my parents' house by 11 a.m. Katherine was in cahoots with my dad so once we arrived they spirited away for an hour to arrive back in time for lunch and birthday cake.
And then of course there were presents. I usually try to downplay birthday gifts, choosing to do fun activities, letting the birthday person do what they'd like, basically just getting out and having fun. This year was extra special. Not only did Katherine (with grandpa) choose her own gifts for us, my parents outdid themselves. Ian received a wall map designed for tracking travels. My parents have had one for as long as I can remember and now our family does as well. Hmm, I guess that's only if Ian will share with the rest of us though. And for me, my mom has spent the past year building scrapbooks of the first 21 years of my life. I'm not ashamed to say that I opened the cover and burst into tears. My mom painstakingly has copied hundreds of my childhood photos but even more wonderful, throughout are handwritten notes by both her and my father, letters I wrote to them, and letters I received from grandparents. I could try to impart how much her time and effort, and the photos, mean to me. But it would be a mere shadow of my true appreciation. Those books have touched me to my very core. Thank you, mom and papa.
Once I'd gathered myself together (and it did take a bit), it was time for my dad to reveal his surprise for the whole family. First we had over an hour drive, complete with the the repetitive "Are we there yet?" from the peanut gallery. Ian was let in on the surprise, which made driving there considerably easier.
Arundel Mills oulet mall was our destination. Parked by the fabulous Egyptian theme Muvico, the women and kids went shopping while Ian and my dad disappeared elsewhere. If you've ever been to Arundel Mills, you probably already know our destination...
Dinner at Medieval Times.
From the 3yo youngster to the 72yo oldster, we had a ball. During our wait, the King arrived to knight those celebrating special days. My husband, my grandmother and I were all bestowed titles before we entered the hall and took our places in the front row supporting the red knight. What can I say about a jousting, sword fighting, horse jumping show that doesn't make me sound like a RenFest geek? Who cares, it was great. The boys didn't touch their food, they were enthralled with the horses pounding by and the sparks as metal clashed on metal. The girls were mildly concerned with how they would eat their meal without utensils. Everyone cheered long and loud when the list of birthdays and occasions included a welcome home for a soldier, returned from Iraq.
Katherine's luck is holding too. She received a flower from the knight after he successfully completed a game challenge. But she's also sharing her luck. Rebecca received the red ribbon as the Red Knight's Queen for the evening. But don't think the boys were ignored for they may not have scored from the knight, but daddy bought them each their own wooden shield. Grandpa splurged on some princess wreaths for the girls and it seems we brought Medieval Times home with us. After the show, the kids asked for autographs and we took plenty of photos to remember a fabulous evening of entertainment.
We were all bushed.
Today being Sunday, we went to church in Annandale, had a yummy lunch with my parents and spent a few hours at Lake Accotink (is that spelled right?) Park walking the trail and playing minigolf. Nicholas has the best luck in things like minigolf and poker. I don't think he uses any skill, but he's the only one who pulled off not one, but two holes-in-one. For getting one on the 4th hole, he won a free ride on the carousel, a 5yo dream.
We're plugging through the birthday desserts still. After the park we shared ice cream, cake and jell-o. A bit much sugar? Back at our own place, the kids had baths and we vegged. Tomorrow is the 4th so we have a full day planned downtown. Which means, I need to get some sleep. Happy 4th everyone!
Sidenote: Sometime this week we need to take Katherine to the dentist. Last night she managed to walk into a wall and chip her front (adult!) tooth. *sigh* I did the same thing as a kid, only mine happened at a pool.