April 10 - E.I.O. turns 11

It was a good day for Miss E on this, her 11th birthday. Lots of messages via Facebook, text, and phone helped her feel the love. Thanks to her friend Emily, everyone at Willow Creek Middle School knew it was her birthday. Emily walked around all day carrying a sign that said "Wish Erin O'Hara a Happy Birthday!" Gotta love that friend who wants to embarrass you a little bit ...

After school it was breakfast dinner - pancakes and bacon - to fuel us up for the spring's first soccer practice. If it's cold and windy, it must be time for soccer! Coach Bart, Coach Dan, and Coach Jen are ready for another season of shaping young minds...

The best part of the day was the surprise cake and ice cream gathering. Godparents Uncle Tim and Aunt Suzi, along with cousin Maggie made yet another trip down Highway 52 to celebrate. That's a big effort on a weeknight and so very thoughtful. Uncle Mike and Aunt Connie came as well as our good buddies the Shives and the Olsons. Erin didn't know any of them were coming, so it was a fun surprise that all of a sudden, there were 16 of us to sing happy birthday to her! After everyone left, Erin gave Dan and I big hugs and a heartfelt "Thanks, you guys." She was surrounded by people who care so deeply for her and she appreciated it. So did we.

Of course, the day couldn't pass without thoughts of the one who wasn't here. This morning over breakfast we recounted the story of the day Erin was born. Big sister came to the hospital with Grandma and Papa and told everyone that she wanted to hold "my baby". We've got a picture to prove that's exactly what Shannon did.

For Erin's birthday, we bought her a TV for her room - something we never would have done before, but, oh well, the rules of engagement have changed. Anyway, the TV has a built in DVD player for movie watching, so as I was setting it up this morning, I went to get a DVD to try it out, and when I saw the home videos lying there, I couldn't help myself. I fast forwarded to video of Erin's second birthday. There was little E, happy as could be, following orders from her big sister on how to open presents. Classic Shannon. And classic Erin.

Those home videos show that E was a patient little sister who allowed Shannon to lead. Now, E is a precious only child, finding her own way.

Happy birthday to my kid, Erin Irene.