Monday, January 31, 2011

Socks on your... hands?

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Olivia isn't feeling well today and she fell asleep on the couch this afternoon... why she has socks on her hands I don't know but I thought she looked pretty cute. :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Emotional Aiden

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 Just before school ended on Thursday Aiden's aid told him she would not be working with him anymore- a new aid would be starting with him on Monday morning.  This, in and of itself, is not a crisis. But unfortunately she told him with no preparation just before the start of a long weekend.

When we arrived at the school to pick him up he was sobbing. He was completely freaked out and there was NO way I was going to spend the whole weekend with him feeling panicky about a new aid. So we went down to the office and asked to meet the new aid before we went home.

It turns out that the new aid is someone Aiden is sort of familiar with since she has filled in with him before but Aiden didn't know her name and so didn't KNOW he knew her until seeing her face to face. She was very sweet and the principal and teacher and aid all chatted with him until he calmed down and we went home.

Aiden was so exhausted from sobbing and from the emotions coursing through him that he sat on our couch for a good hour wrapped in his blanket watching TV. He looked so sad...


The next day we got a phone call from the school apologizing for the way it had happened- apparently there was supposed to be a transition time but the aid got mixed up and told him before she was supposed to. I know they will do their best to make the transition easier but changes like this are so hard on kids with Autism.

Aiden talked to his counsellor briefly on Friday and she is going to try and spend some time with his new aid to make the transition even smoother.

I must say though considering just how upset he was the weekend has gone remarkably well. The doctor upped Aiden's dosage of his medication a tiny bit and I really think it has made a huge difference. He is sleeping better and just generally a happier kid.

He is also so happy to know that he has his own special place at school to go when he is upset or needs a break. I forgot to take a picture of it but you can see it just behind the girls in this picture...





(this was Olivia playing with two of the girls in Aiden's class during family literacy day on Thursday... and yes, it was also jammie day at school too)

You can see his fuzzy green pillow and fuzzy yellow and black blanket ( some sports team... I forget which one now... ). He chose them himself and he chose where he wanted to put them in his classroom. He loves small, cave-like spaces so it is just perfect for him. And under that part of the counter there is no cords or anything so it is safe too.  It is also right by where his teacher sits so he feels extra safe (he adores his teacher).

It is amazing what small things like a blanket and a pillow can do for a kid with sensory issues. It calms him right down and he feels way less panicky knowing that there is always a safe place for him to go. Now instead of trying to run home when he is upset he just goes to his special space. He also has some fidgets (sensory toys) and his little ipod thing and headphones so when he needs to really block out the world he can.

They even let him have lunch there- he gets to invite one friend per day to sit and eat with him so that makes it so special.

Yay for a teacher and a school that is so willing to accommodate my son!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Secretariat Blu-Ray / DVD combo pack * Review *

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FILM SYNOPSIS
Disney presents an astonishing true story bursting with hope, heart and courage. Diane Lane and John Malkovich lead a celebrated cast in this inspirational motion picture from the producers of Miracle, Invincible and The Rookie.

Behind every legend, lies an impossible dream. Witness the spectacular journey of an incredible horse named Secretariat and the moving story of his unlikely owner, a housewife who risked everything to make him a champion. Out of the gate with never-before-seen bonus features, Secretariat is hours of pulse- pounding entertainment for the whole family!

DISC BONUS FEATURES: 

BLU-RAY:
The same as the DVD, plus...

Choreographing The Races - This piece looks at how director Randall Wallace and the filmmakers used innovative tools and technology to accurately and excitingly recreate the Triple Crown races that make the viewer feel like they are standing on the backstretch themselves.

A Director’s Inspiration: A Conversation With The Real Penny Chenery - Director Randall Wallace sits down with Secretariat owner Penny Chenery to review the movie and some of the key scenes. Penny reflects on what it was like to have been a woman in a male dominated sport and to have been part of horse racing’s most exciting moments in history.

Audio Commentary By Director Randall Wallace - View the film with optional audio commentary from Director Randall Wallace.

Deleted Scenes With Optional Audio Commentary By Director Randall Wallace - The same deleted scenes as the DVD, plus four more...
o Alternate Opening 
Introduction 
o “Are You A Golfer?” 
o No Time To Rest

Secretariat Multi-Angle Simulation - Relive Secretariats triumphant 1973 Preakness race by viewing the race from a number of perspectives as well as listening to commentaries from fans, announcers and even the jockey who rode Secretariat to their record finish.

DVD:

• Heart Of A Champion - This feature takes a look at one of the most famous thoroughbred horses ever known. Secretariat was a horse with style as well as amazing speed and an unsurpassed racing record. We interview all the key players from the day as well as today’s filmmakers to learn more about the horse affectionately called “Red.”

Deleted Scenes With Optional Audio Commentary By Director Randall Wallace 
o Director Introduction
Memories 
o Seth Joins The Team 
o Too Soon T o Celebrate
Music Video – AJ Michalka “It’s Who You Are”


Movie Trailer:


MY REVIEW

I loved this movie! Secretariat is 100% family friendly, no vulgarity or profanity or sex scenes or anything non-kid appropriate. My kids aren't quite old enough for it to completely hold their attention but they did watch a lot of it. They loved the horse race parts of course.

I loved the main character and watching her come into her own and seeing how that affected her family. Brilliant acting and an enjoyable story line drew me in right from the start. Secretariat is an all around great movie.

Thanks so much to Disney Home Entertainment for sending me a review copy of this movie.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun with Owen

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tee hee... this picture makes me giggle. Yesterday was Family Literacy Day at the kids' school so Doug and I got to go and hang out with the kids a bit- Owen wanted me to take a picture of the two of us and I guess this is his version of smiling :) .  I love it when we get to be a part of school stuff!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not Official Enough

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Isn't that a beautiful picture?

I made it for you all while I was talking to Aiden's counsellor a few minutes ago. Actually she is Owen's counsellor too.  Her name is Marla and she is wonderful.

She is really more than a counsellor... she specializes in working with Autistic kids and their families and she keeps me sane. She advocates on our behalf too.

Which is why I was talking to her.

For several weeks now we have had to take Aiden a pill every day at lunchtime. The psychiatrist suggested it but the pediatrician hasn't sent in the "sure the school can give Aiden his pill at lunch" form so we have to take it to him each day.

Today when I was there I was pulled aside by a few different people.

First Aiden's teacher told me Aiden is doing better now that he is allowed to have a pillow and blanket at school. We had a meeting last week with the teacher, the special education coordinator, the Occupational Therapist and our beloved counsellor and in that meeting they managed to convince the school that having a place for Aiden to go IN the classroom to calm down is a really good idea.

So now Aiden has a pillow and blanket and a little corner that he chose. He also has headphones and a little ipod thingy to listen to some music.

It has helped him a LOT.

I can't say I am terribly surprised that it helps him... it has been suggested dozens of times since Aiden started school years ago. But I am thrilled that it is finally being put into practice.

The second person who talked to me was the music teacher. Our music teacher is brilliant. Not only is he a gifted musician but he is phenomenal with the kids. He is creative and fun and an all around great guy.

All three of my children claim to love him.

Aiden has always had trouble in music classes- they are just unstructured and unpredictable enough to throw him off.

But Owen... he has always done really well. Until this year. Our music teacher is having a lot of trouble with him.

And none of us can figure out why.

The third person to talk to me was the special education director who also happens to be the vice principal of the school.

We talked for a long time about both of the boys - Owen is having a lot of trouble in school and it has actually seems to be getting worse, not better. But the big surprise was that our official diagnosis that we got from the pediatrician a couple years ago... isn't "official" enough. And apparently the Occupational Therapist's report and all the other assessments that have been done over the years don't count either.

I swear if it isn't one thing it is another.

Now I realize that special ed lady and the teacher have no control over this and it is not their fault. I have said it before and I will say it again- we love our school.

But I still think this is stupid. Especially since the doctor told us he sent an official diagnosis write up to the school on our behalf.

Unfortunately that doctor has since retired so we have no way of figuring out if he actually did or not. Sigh.

Which brings me back to my phone call with Marla the counsellor. She is going to contact the psychiatrist and see if he will write up an official enough looking diagnosis to please the powers-that-be.

Oy vei.

What. A. Day.

Nowhere Boy * review *

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Synopsis

Imagine...John Lennon's childhood. Liverpool, 1955: a smart and troubled fifteen-year-old is hungry for experience. In a family full of secrets, two incredible women clash over John (Aaron Johnson): Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas), the buttoned-up aunt who raised him, and Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), the prodigal mother. Yearning for a normal family, John escapes into the new and exciting world of rock 'n' roll where his fledgling genius finds a kindred spirit in the teenage Paul McCartney (Thomas Brodie Sangster). Just as John begins his new life, tragedy strikes. But a resilient young man finds his voice - and an icon explodes into the world.
"A terrific film! Insightful & moving. Aaron Johnson as John Lennon is a revelation." Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly
"Kristin Scott Thomas gives a beautifully nuanced performance." Wendy Ide The Times
"Aaron Johnson is impressive and nails John Lennon's slashing wit." Kyle Smith New York Post
"The best music movie of the decade!" John Naughton GQ
"Remarkable in bringing John Lennon into focus before your very eyes." Anthony Breznican USA Today

BD Features

  • The Making of Nowhere Boy
  • Nowhere Boy: The Untold Story of John Lennon and the Creation of The Beatles
  • Deleted Scenes

Cast and Crew

  • Stars: Andrew Buchan, Anne-Marie Duff, Aaron Johnson, David Morrissey, Paul Ritter, Thomas Brodie Sangster, Kristin Scott Thomas, David Threlfall
  • Director: Sam Taylor Wood
  • Producer: Robert Bernstein, Kevin Loader, Douglas Rae

BD Details

  • Genre: Biography
  • Studio: Weinstein Company
  • Sub: English (US)
  • Color/B&W: Color

Guest Review by my MOM :) ...

I was deeply moved by this story of John Lennon's life before The Beatles. Anne Marie Duff gave a stellar performance as usual. It was fulfilling to get a more complete picture of the emotional turmoil in John's early life that drove him to gather together the group that would become The Beatles. The movie is gripping, and held my complete attention to the end. I highly recommend this movie, especially to those who have no experience based in the 60's, as a means of removing the prejudice that still exists toward the hippies of that era.

Thanks so much to Sony Pictures for sending me a review copy of this movie. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Aiden's Cuddle Swing

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We were sent the most wonderful gift today - a Cuddle Swing!! It is a gift for Aiden from very dear friends of ours.

Here is what a Cuddle Swing is for those of you who don't know...

Increase calming and organizing input by providing deep touch pressure and vestibular stimulation in our Cuddle Swing. Postural flexion is also encouraged while your child or client lies in the swing. Made of soft, stretchy nylon cordura fabric, children will find this swing fun and comfortable.

Aiden loves it. Kids (and grown-ups) with Autism usually love deep pressure so this is perfect for him. You can read Temple Grandin's thoughts on her article Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure.

Here is a video I took today of his first experience with his new swing...



Thank-you Jonathan and Becky for sending us such a wonderful gift. We love you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Flat Jordan

Pin It Over the Christmas holidays our family got to host "Flat Jordan" for 10 days. For those of you wondering what on earth that might be it is a small, flat, cardboard person like this...




It is a really cool project based on the Flat Stanley books. Kids make up flat versions of themselves (aka Flat Aiden, Flat Owen, or Flat Jordan in this case) and then send themselves to far off places for adventures.

Flat Jordan originated in a grade 2 classroom in Colorado and he was in BC before he arrived at our house and we sent him on to China! The kids in his classroom of origin are tracking the progress of their flat counterparts in an effort to learn more about the world in a really fun way.

Which is actually why I am bringing it up now. I made a little blog of Flat Jordan's stay at our house for the grade 2 kids back in Colorado ( I'm a blogger, what can I say... I found that significantly easier and more fun than writing a real letter). Now my friend in China is continuing on with the blog and already she has put up a post about Flat Jordan visiting Beijing, Tienanmen Square, and the Forbidden City. So cool.

I just thought those of you with youngish kids might like to show them. Probably a lot of them are doing Flat Stanley projects of their own. We've hosted two this year so far :).


You can find the blog at Flat Jordan's Adventures.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yoga for Preschoolers

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Olivia was so cute yesterday while the boys were at school and she was home with me. She wanted to play school.  She pretended to be the teacher and I got to be her little friend Sarah. 

This is her teaching me yoga!

 I have no idea what the moves are called but it was adorable to hear her imitate her teacher.
 I am more than  a little relieved that at least ONE of my kids loves school :)
And yes, she did choose her own outfit... this one is relatively coordinated I think!

Friday, January 21, 2011

How To Entertain Your Family in -38 Degree Weather

Pin It This morning it was -38 degrees Celsius ( or -36 Fahrenheit for my American friends ). That is just unbelievably cold. Doug decided to do the "turn boiling water into snow and vapour instantly" trick that only those of us lucky enough to live in the Great White North can do. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is the video of the experiment... and Olivia enjoying it immensely.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm fine, and you?

Pin It There is a lot going on in our life these days... and I honestly just don't have the energy to process it all enough to tell you all about it nicely.

sorry.

Here are some cute pictures of my kids that my husband took instead :)


3 robertson kids dec 2010


Instead you can all tell me about your days ok?


Owen.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Mysterious Islands DVD

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The Mysterious Islands
A Testimony To God's Hand In Creation



At the far end of the world, there exists a strange and unusual chain of islands, resting above vast tectonic plates in the ocean below.

This is the world of the Galapagos Archipelago, home to salt-spitting marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and giant tortoises that can live to be more than 150 years of age. It is also the birthplace of Darwinism. For here in 1835, a young Charles Darwin began to formulate a theory which would turn the world upside down. More than a century and a half later, these mysterious islands remain at the center of a controversy that has shaped the way modern men perceive science, religion, culture, and life itself. While Christians look to Jerusalem, and Muslims to Mecca, evolutionists look to the Galapagos as the spiritual center of their scientific faith. And the unique ingredients found on the Galapagos Islands have led many of Darwin's most devoted followers to describe it as Darwin's Eden, and a "laboratory for evolution."



Now, for the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th of his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species, Doug Phillips leads a Christian team of scientists and investigators to this "ground zero" in the war of the worldviews. Seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Joshua Phillips, who joins his father and noted researchers like Dr. John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research, The Mysterious Islands is the story of one boy's search for answers to the greatest controversy of the modern world. It is a refreshing father and son adventure that combines cinematically breathtaking footage with high adventure. The Mysterious Islands is a fast-paced film that tracks their journey of discovery as this unusual team walks where Darwin walked and engages with the amazing creatures that he chronicled in his research. Their quest: To determine whether the Galapagos Islands are a laboratory for evolution, as Darwinists claim, or a showcase for the biblical account of creation.



This beautiful ninety-minute documentary takes viewers deep beneath the ocean waves among hundreds of white-tip sharks, into volcanic craters with giant lizards, and to the unusual habitat of the blue-footed booby. Featuring a Christian team of scientists and investigators to shoot a documentary on the Galapagos in 2009—Darwin's anniversary year—The Mysterious Islands brings a fresh perspective on the Theory of Evolution and presents sweeping cinematography of one of the most remote, desolate, and fascinating locations in the world.




Guest Review by my mom :) ...

This is a documentary in which the author shares bountiful evidence to support the Doctrine of Creation.

The movie would be well worth watching if only for the stunning photography of the waters  surrounding the Galapagos Islands, and the up close view of the creatures in those waters. But in addition to the visual treats, the narative is easy to listen to and the scriptures read throughout this appealing documentary were well chosen and relevant. I found it to be a logical and well researched work that totally acknowledges the Creator.




Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Top 50

Pin It My sweet friend Stacie from SimplyStacie is hosting a little "My Top 20 Sites" thing and I thought I would join in!



I decided to do the Top 50 though since 18 of them are just different versions of google!


1. direct
 
2. google / organic

3. feedburner / feed

4. google.com

5. twitter.com

6. feedburner / email

7. facebook.com

8. bing / organic

9. yahoo

10. google.ca

11. draft.blogger.com

12. simplystacie.net

13. google.co.uk

14. tarasviewonbooks.blogspot.com

15. sn115w.snt115.mail.live.com

16. google.de

17. google.co.in

18. blogger.com

19. randallfriesen.blogspot.com

20. search / organic

21. presceskys.blogspot.com

22. littlemissussunshine.blogspot.com

23. stumbleupon.com

24. google.fr

25. 5minutesformom.com

26. google.com.mx

27. google.com.br

28. images.google.com

29. cancontests.com

30. google.com.au

31. google.it

32. google.es

33. ask / organic

34. cafescrapper-scrapsoflife.blogspot.com

35. google.cl

36. hootsuite.com

37. my super secret club for pastor's wives only


38. thepheonixiam.blogspot.com


39. myorganizedchaos.net


40. myweeview.com

41. networkedblogs.com

42. google.se

43. shetoldme.com

44. frugalityisfree.com

45. google.hu

46. google.pl

47. swagbucks.com

48. by151w.bay151.mail.live.com

49. forum.smartcanucks.ca

50. google.nl


I find it fascinating that there are so many google's!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Despicable Me Wannabe

Pin It Apparently this week is all about Olivia but I just have to share this...


She loves the movie Despicable Me (actually we all do, it is great!) and one of the little girls in the movie always wears a pink toque (or hat for my American friends) so Olivia has taken to wearing her little pink toque all over the place... including to bed! She slept with it on all night and I just had to take a picture. And yes, she sleeps with all those toys every night. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'm Gonna Live Forever

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Fame
I'm gonna live forever

 I'm gonna learn how to fly
High
I feel it coming together
 People will see me and cry
Fame
I'm gonna make it to heaven
 Light up the sky like a flame
Fame
 I'm gonna live forever
 Baby remember my name
Fame!


( Olivia was given this awesome dance outfit and she put on a show for me today... it reminded me just a wee bit of this classic movie...)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sleeping Beauty and her Apple?

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Olivia had school today and as soon as she got home she asked to watch "Despicable Me". She got out her lunch kit, took out her apple and cookies, got herself comfortable on her Princess couch, watched about 5 minutes of the movie, ate her cookies and about 3 bites of her apple and promptly fell asleep.

Apparently she worked hard at school today :).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mother and Child DVD * review *

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 Mother and Child

Product Description

From writer-director Rodrigo Garcia (TV'S Big Love, Nine Lives) and executive producer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) comes the moving story of three women and the power of the unbreakable bond between mother and child. Three women's lives share a common core: the have all been profoundly affected by adoption. Karen (Annette Bening) placed a baby for adoption at age 14 and has been haunted ever since by the daughter she never knew. Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) grew up as an adopted child; she's a bright and ambitious lawyer, but a flinty loner in her personal life. Lucy (Kerry Washington) and her husband are just embarking on the adoption odyssey, hoping for the opportunity to become parents.
Guest Review by my mom :)

Mother and Child is deep and perceptive in its portrayal of motherhood lost and gained, adopting and being adopted, and the far-reaching effects thereof. Definitely for an adult audience, this movie does have some fairly explicit sex scenes. The story brought me to tears, first of sorrow, then of joy. It was gripping - almost shocking in its raw honesty, and I could not pause the movie for any reason! I loved how the judgement of karma was eventually replaced by the grace of redemption in one woman's life because of her loving husband's insight. A thoughtful movie well worth watching.

Thanks so much to Universal for sending me a review copy of this DVD.

Monday, January 10, 2011

TASSIMO T45 home brewing system * review *

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If you are a regular blog reader than you have most likely Tassimo all over the blogosphere and all the reviews I have read have been very positive. I was pretty excited when I was contacted with the opportunity to review one for myself!

Enjoy your favourite brands like STARBUCKS®, NABOB, MAXWELL HOUSE, TWININGS® and SUCHARD from the comfort of your own home. TASSIMO systems are the only brewers with barcode technology, ensuring that your favourite coffees, teas, lattes and hot chocolates are made perfectly, every time. 




Before Christmas I was sent the Tassimo T45 home brewing system along with 2 kinds of T Discs to try out and I love it!



The TASSIMO T45 home brewing system comes in two smooth metallic colours, has an advanced water filtration system and boasts the following features:


* Innovative barcode technology that delivers the perfect drink every time
* Available in Glamour Red and Silk Silver
* Chrome accents
* Mavea® MAXTRA water filtration system
* Removable 1.8 litre water tank
* Innovative lift cup stand
* Noise reduction system
* Immediately ready to brew drinks
* No taste transfer between drinks
* Low energy consumption
* Fully automatic one-button operation
* Automatic cleaning and descaling program







I think the Tassimo is so cool! I love that I can make a cup of delicious tea in less than a minute anytime I want. Since I am a tea drinker I had my husband and various friends try out the various coffee drinks and everyone has given me rave reviews! One of my friends even went out and bought a Tassimo for herself :).

My Tassimo was extremely easy to set up and it is incredibly easy to use. Seriously... there is nothing difficult about it at all. It doesn't take up very much counter space and it is as quiet as a normal coffee maker to use.

There are lots of different drinks you can have and we have been able to find almost all of them at our local stores... which is impressive considering where we live ( as in NOT a major centre by any stretch of the imagination!).  You can also find a whole bunch of recipes you can make with your Tassimo on their website.


I think the T Disc technology is really cool:

The ingenious TASSIMO T DISC is designed to work exclusively with the TASSIMO home brewing system. Each T DISC contains ground coffee, tea, chocolate or concentrated milk product, and is sealed to protect the flavours inside.

While other single serve coffee makers treat all drinks the same way, TASSIMO understands that each beverage requires a specific brew process. Using barcode technology, the system reads every T DISC individually and adjusts the temperature, water volume and brew time. This way every coffee, tea, latte and cappuccino is made exactly the way it’s meant to be – perfect.

All the brewing happens inside the T DISC’s 'mini brewing-chamber', using a unique inverse flow. Your drink pours directly from the T DISC into the cup so you can prepare different drinks, one after the other with no taste transfer.


My husband likes the Tassimo because it means he doesn't waste half a pot of coffee every day. My mom thought the fact that I could make her a cappuccino was extremely cool. My sons adore the hot chocolate. I would say the Tassimo has been a huge hit in our household!

Thanks so much to the amazing folks at Tassimo for sending me this amazing system to try out!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

family photo... sort of...

Pin It My husband shared these pictures he took of us on facebook and I just wanted to share them here too because I love them!

Those pictures make me happy :)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Happy birthday to ME!

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I have had a tough few weeks and this week has been especially difficult... but I don't really want to talk about that right now. Instead I want to tell you all about the lovely birthday party I had last night! 

Technically my birthday is Christmas Day but since we were all kind of busy that day (to say the least) birthday celebrating with my friends just had to wait :). So last night a few of my friends took me out, fed me and gave me presents to celebrate me surviving to 35 years of age! 
( if you had my week you would know what a great accomplishment that is )

I actually forgot to bring my camera last night and no one else had one either so I don't actually have any pictures of the party itself... but I took pictures of my presents this morning just for fun :)

I tried to get a nice picture of my fun presents (with Olivia's help of course) but it is kind of hard to tell what everything is. So here is some closer up...
"Mommy's Sippy Cup" from my friend Michelle- which she says belongs with a bottle of wine of course :)
a lovely candle with pretty beachy-type stuff on a pretty plate from my friend Tina
The most lovely smelling soap that looks like a piece of birthday cake from my friend Candi... Olivia was annoyed that it wasn't eatable!
Pretty paper and a Starbucks gift card from my friends Kelly and Tracy.
and a gorgeous handmade necklace from my extremely talented and creative friend Joella (aka One Artsy Chick ... go see her stuff because it is all beautiful! She also added some lovely chocolates that were promptly stolen from me by my children :)

Thank-you to my sweet friends! Love you guys!
 
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