Brooke's eleventh birthday celebration started early with a new-used bike and the arrival of my mom and dad, Becky and Denny. Their visit included:
- Analeise showing Mom how to collect wild ramps, which Mom turned into frozen, dried and soup form before a few hours were over;
- taking in our housemate Alizabeth's art at a show in a new downtown gallery;
- a visit to the National Eagle Center, along the Mississipi River, in Wabasha, MN;
- sandwiches followed by homemade, yummy and yet inexpensive ice cream at the Nelson Creamery;
- an early birthday celebration at Aunt Donna's with cake brought by Mike, Gus and Rudy and a blue-sky, spring day walk to a park adjacent to White Bear Lake; and
- time off from school for Analeise and Brooke so they could spend time with their grandparents.
Brooke's actual birthday started with a game of hide-and-seek for her gifts. After Bryan left for work, she wanted a relaxed morning, which closed with her and our housemate Alizabeth biking to the Acoustic Cafe and meeting me and my dad there, where she could have a sandwich for free. This left Analeise and my mom to have lunch at home by themselves. After that, we met Bryan in Eau Claire, where Brooke wanted to go to Target and a Chinese restaurant. The day finished with us watching the movie of her choice, Fantasic Mister Fox, fun - fun.
The next day, Grandma Becky and Grandpa Denny left for home, and Brooke brought brownies and cake to share at school.
It took more than another week, but finally, Brooke got to have her friends over for a sleepover. Seven giggly, friendly gals were here for a night of:
- nachos for dinner
- a Mentos/Coke explosion
- smores by the fire pit and Kate Hearley's delicious cookies
- talking, drawing and a pillow fight
- movies (Princess Bride, Bedtime Stories at night and Spy Kids 2 in the morning) and not too much sleep