This year, Rachel's birthday was on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Steve's birthday was on the Superbowl. Everyone did a good job of extending their celebrations into birthday weekends, but I would say that Rachel did the best job of capitalizing on her birthday.
In addition to her fun birthday party, Grandma Gloria and Grandpa Richard took her out to lunch at Bistro 258 and birthday shopping at Old Navy and Claire's. Rachel's actual birthday was on Sunday. She chose baked potatoes for dinner, and I made some rolls that were "heavenly", according to all of the kids. Note: I baked them with Rhodes dough, which is the only way I make rolls.
The next day, we went to Snowbasin, where Rachel took this cool picture with her phone:
Our favorite piano teacher took Rachel out to dinner at Zupa's (with Lucy). Grandma Jean drove down from Idaho and took Rachel out to lunch at Chuck-a-Rama (with Lucy). We went to Fat Cats to play arcade games and eat dinner at the Pizza Factory with Rachel's birthday certificate (with Lucy). And then at the end of the month, I took Rachel to dinner at Tona so we could use our birthday coupons with some neighbor friends (and Lucy).
Wow. It looks like Lucy was actually the one who really capitalized on Rachel's birthday.
The next few days after Rachel's birthday were quite miserable. For the first time, I understood the winter blues. Steve was out of town, and I desperately wanted to be out of town. Instead, I was stuck at home taking care of everyone by myself. The weather was crummy and the ice storm resulted in all sorts of difficulties. Which prompted the writing of this post.
It must have worked because Steve came home from Reno with flowers. And then on my birthday, after a big, long planning meeting, we booked tickets to South Africa. Yes, you read that correctly. Our South Africa trip is back on.
My second favorite gift (it's pretty hard to beat airline tickets) was this wonderful creation from Rachel:
She told me if I ever need help with the housework, that I can just wave it around and she will come help me. Awesome!
Lucy made me this great card. Be sure to notice the custom-made bottle cap, which symbolized something about her keeping an eye on me to make sure I am still dressing like a lady.
It's too bad that this is such a poor picture because this card from Adam is fairly significant. Adam does not like writing; getting him to do his handwriting homework is like pulling teeth. This card is, quite possibly, the very first time that Adam has ever written something voluntarily. (He was smart and made just one card for me and Steve to share.)
Richard and Gloria gave me money to buy some ski poles. My favorite sister gave me a beautiful black scarf. My mother mailed me the KUED dvd series called Utah The Struggle for Statehood. Derrick gave me an IOU to go out to dinner. And my good husband gave me two new maps so that I can continue to plan more adventures for our family. It's been a year or two since we hung a world map on the wall above our kitchen table, and we have all enjoyed the increased opportunity to learn more about our world geography. . . and plan a few trips.
That night, we celebrated my birthday at the Sundance Film Festival with some friends who had all gone downtown two weeks earlier to get free tickets for the Best of Fest showings. As soon as everyone arrived at the theater, I realized that Steve and I were the only couple without twins. They decided that Rachel and Lucy are close enough and that we can be part of their club.
I was a little nervous about the whole thing, since Sundance films can be hit or miss, as far as inappropriate content. And going to questionable movies with a group of people can cause some uncomfortable squirming. Especially when one of them is a new bishop. But we lucked out and the two films were just great.
In between the movies, we went to dinner at Sonora Grill. Thanks to Sherry, I have one picture to document our fabulous night. You'll just have to ignore my giant-sized hand:
Richard and Gloria kept the kids overnight, but there was so much snow that I went to pick them up in the morning to drive them to school.
Steve took full advantage of the colossal snowfall. He was up bright and early to go snowcat skiing with the manager of Powder Mountain. (It should be lovingly noted that Steve also left me at home to do laundry on my birthday while he went skiing at Snowbasin.) At first I was bothered, but I have come to the conclusion that it is better to let him go because he returns home more willing (indebted?) to help.
He came home from this day of skiing at Powder Mountain using the E word.
The snow just kept coming down, so I took another picture of the kids after kindergarten. (The kids all came home from school later that day saying that Grandma Gloria has the best food for school lunches and that they were so full from eating so much.)
Steve's official birthday celebration started on Friday, with a family ski day at Snowbasin.
The weather was crazy. At times it was completely sunny with blue skies:
And then there were other times that clouds covered the mountain and the wind was blowing so hard that the visibility was severely limited. It left everything looking like a winter wonderland:
I probably say this every time I go, but it was, quite possibly, the most enjoyable day skiing ever.
Except for the part when I was skiing with Lucy and accidentally took her down City Hill. It's only a blue diamond, but it's too steep for Lucy and it took us a very long time to get down the mountain. It might have taken all day, except that Steve came and rescued her. After that, Lucy insisted that Rachel lead the way.
On Saturday morning, we went out to breakfast at Sandy's. I think it's a silly waste of money to go out to breakfast, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the people we love.
And then finally it was birthday time for this cute boy:
The kids gave Steve a bag full of dehydrated fruit from Trader Joe's and my mother mailed him a book called The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers. His big present was three new pairs of jeans. (The two pairs of jeans that he had been wearing for the last six years went straight to the D.I.) This marks a milestone because it indicates that Steve is spending enough time outside of work/church to warrant a need for casual clothes.
And with that, birthday season in the Ballard house is finally over!
. . . Just in time for Valentine's Day.