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Monday, April 8, 2013

Simple Family Fun!

I have been MIA for a few days as I was preparing for another fabulous family weekend here at our house. I think I have mentioned how "full" the month of April is for our family. Lots of birthdays, filing season (hubby is a CPA), Easter, sports tournaments, spring breaks, etc. So, we do try to squeeze in as many happenings as we can when we can all actually manage to be together-and believe me, all actually managing to be in the same spot at the same time this time of year takes some serious managing!

So, this past weekend the girls gathered to celebrate daughter #3's 40th birthday. We have a tradition of giving 40 gifts-most are small leading up to a special remembrance kind of gift. Our gifts are all meant to spur memories of the past and things that we always think of when we think of the "recipient"-and sometimes they are things the recipient would rather forget-like past hair-dos, fashion choices, boyfriends, etc. I usually have a wrapped gift that is meant to represent my memory and then the pictures to accompany said memory to prove my point just in case there is much denial!

We started the day at the birthday girl's favorite cafe for lunch and our weather co-operated as she loves to be seated on the porch.

After a wonderful, leisurely lunch we walked around the downtown area hitting many of the little boutique shops now popping up and then headed for a glass of wine at another fabulous spot where we could sit outside and watch the world go by. Extra fun today as this daughter and family have recently moved back to her home town and while we were there an old high school friend just happened by.

We hit one more favorite haunt and then headed back to my house which I had tried to make all about the birthday girl-if you can ignore all of the Easter still out!

On entering the house, I brought out her old h.s. graduation picture and adorned it with the lovely #40 crown.

In the family room, I made a banner of photos of as many of her previous birthdays as I could find.

Here are her gifts before she started opening them. We try to space them out so we can all share our thoughts and, quite frankly, since this really does take a lot of time and thought on everyones' part, we like to drag it out as long as we can-kind of like spending 3 hours making a wonderful meal and then having your family sit down and shove it in their mouths in 10 minutes!

Here are a few of our "Jennie" remebrances-yes, lots included junk food-but I took this picture to show you the shopping bag from "Maas Sisters". My girls always loved their "retail therapy" and back then one of their favorite stores was Maas Brothers. When we would go to south Florida to visit my mom, one of their favorite things to play was "Maas Sisters". They would scavenge stuff from all over the house, price and tag it and then merchandise it in the guest room. We were then all invited to come shopping. It was an all day kind of thing as they made signs, etc. and we always marveled at their ingenuity! Is it any wonder that 2 of my girls ended up in retail management? And, that they still love to shop?!

In any case, I made this shopping bag mock-up and then filled it with many, many of my favorite photo memories. It filled a good bit of our evening as we all remembered the photo and then that would spur other "behind the scenes" memories connected with said photo-let's just say even Mom heard some new stories this weekend!

We all changed when we got home and once we were comfy, this is pretty much what things looked like. The 3 older girls that were here made their aunt her favorite kind of birthday cake-a giant chocolate chip cookie cake.When Jennie was young, the cookie stores had just started popping up in malls. It wasn't a successful mall trip for her if it didn't include at least one cookie-and if it was a "double doozy", all the better! The girls joined us later and we sat and gabbed and ate appetizers most of the rest of the night-although we did save time to squeeze in a rousing game of Michigan Rummy before bed.

So it is official. Our beautiful "baby" is now 40-yikes! Where DOES the time go? But, like I said, we are a family good at squeezing in more than one momentous occasion when we are together, so tomorrow promises to be another busy day-stay tuned!

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