According to her birth records ... it's true. Otherwise I would be in complete denial.
We celebrated the day the same way we did last year (her choice). Maggiano's, shopping, and Cold Stone Creamery.
These kind of birthdays are most certainly a sweet reward for all the years spent on creative parties with elaborate themes ... the "spa" party, the "cooking" party, and the ever-popular "slumber" party. Not to mention the dollars and bits of sanity lost at the bowling alley, skating rink, or Chuck E. Cheese.
Yep. She's too old for that.
So we went to Maggiano's in the middle of the day ... without reservations.
Um. If I could do that part over, I would.
The whole *Family Style Dining* is absolutely true! Especially if you all eat on white linen, drink from breakable glassware and set your thermostat to 98 degrees!
We waited for the better part of an hour and passed the time the way everyone else did.
Well, not really because everyone else was waiting inside the warm and toasty bar area sitting on bar stools ... otherwise known by my boys as "look-out towers".
So we hung out, took pictures and repeatedly told Samuel to stay out of the cigarette sandboxes.
Sam passed the time burning off some energy ... which is basically how Samuel passes the time ... ALL THE TIME.
Clara stayed perpetually shocked.
We were seated at a round table, where we spent what seemed like 17 sweaty hours trying to get everyone seated AND remove their coats, without knocking over the FOURTEEN breakable glasses on the table (water and wine glass for each person, including the 4-month old in case she was needing a nice glass of Chardonnay).
This is the part where we lovingly winked at Hannah and said, "This is all for you Sugar and we don't mind one bit!"
Daddy was as cool as a cucumber.
Benjamin delighted in his never-ending glasses of sprite.
They replaced the glassware with plastic cups :)
He also delighted in his napkin.
And pretty much anything that drew attention to himself.
His new "cheese" face.
Can you hear him?
Again with the Sprite love affair.
We warned our waitress (who was fabulous, btw) that we would completely abort this mission without much warning if things started to get out of hand.
If you look real hard at Benjamin's face you can see all the makings for a bored two-year old ... which is never a good thing.
She pretty much kept this demeanor the whole time.
Up until the part where Benjamin became bored.
Then Samuel became bored.
Then the wheels got wobbly. They never actually fell off though, because we are becoming very perceptive in our old age. At the onset of this face from Clara and a couple of back-arching hoots and hollers from the toddler, we knew it was time to say adios.
We shopped a bit at Short Pump and then headed home for Cold Stone Creamery and presents!
A ring from her sister (a replacement for one that Hannah lost but loved)
Hannah has always been a joy. She makes us all laugh and has such a sensitive and sweet spirit. As we parent her through these teen years we are grateful to have such a close relationship with her and blessed by the bond that she shares with her siblings.
Hardly any of this parenting gig is easy ... but all of it is good.
These past 15 years have passed so quickly ... trying to process the next few is a really difficult task. Honestly, my heart just about breaks in two just thinking about it. While it seems impossible to imagine her grown and gone, the reality is unrelenting ... and it overwhelms me at times.
In those times, I go back to where I started this journey of motherhood ... with her.
15 years ago and completely clueless.
Then I held that baby girl in my arms and the gorgeous, breathtaking, awesomeness of life filled the room ... and I was met with God's grace and was sustained.
Throughout the years of babies and toddlers and children and now teenagers ... I have been sustained.
Saying His grace was sufficient is easy ... because I can see His mighty plan written all over the last 15 years of her life.
Saying His grace is sufficient means I walk by faith ... and I wouldn't have it any other way.