Starting with the girls’ fifth birthdays we exchanged the idea of gifts for an “experience.” (We also do this for Christmas) They get to choose what they want to do – this year they chose to celebrate together with a fancy supper and a movie, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

While we don’t have parties anymore, Grandma Shari always likes to have a day with them. The celebrations began two days before Mae’s eighth birthday by way of a sleepover with Grandma!

The following day was filled with our tradition of a new outfit for each of them, a new American Girl (Our Generation Girls) from Grandma and lunch at the new pizza place in town.

(Mae renamed her doll, formerly Peggy, Penny. Rae renamed her’s, formerly Holiday Haven, Holly)

The girls each received a card filled with cash monies in the mail from their Grandma Penny!

With a bit of her money, Mae bought herself her first robot! Daddy helped build it. It’s powered by salt water and boy does that thing fly!

Mae received a phone call on her birthday from Grandpa. Rae got a call from Grandma Penny, who was treated to some caroling!

Rae bought Mae a genuine wooden boomerang and Mae bought Rae a Harry Potter and Hedwig Lego set.

(If we actually called our girls “Mae” and “Rae,” things would get confusing quick around here!!)

For the main event, we brought along Grandma Shari and our cousins – who we just cannot get enough of! All of them are quick to go along with whatever plans we think up and always have just as much fun as we do. It’s so nice to have that kind of friend (mother-in-law included!)

The Nutcracker was delightful! The dance number during the credits had us laughing so so hard! (Rae’s laugh was the best part of the day for me!) It wasn’t intended to be funny, so maybe it won’t be so funny the second time around? I hope it is…

The girls dressed their best – of course. Rae also brought along her American Girl doll but left her in the car. However, Holly was also dressed her best.

For the meal portion of the date, we went to the Fountain on Locust downtown. It is such a charming place! Everyone, aside from myself, got ice cream. I don’t like sweets, but man oh man their ice cream is the greatest. I ordered white chicken chili and it was equally as delicious (according to the non-sweet eater…). It came with homemade cornbread – the greatest cornbread I’ve ever had. I’m hoping we make it back there soon.

On Rae’s actual birthday, the girls baked a cake and cut out some circle slices for individual cakes. We set aside some un-frosted slices for G to enjoy. Mae made some shrinky-dink toppers as a surprise to Rae and by the time they were ready to eat them, they looked pretty good!

I am so thankful for the girls that made me a mom and another beautiful year with both of them!