Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Birthday Blessings

That's the whole gang (minus Miss Sassy-Pants):
Mom, Mike, Genny, Diane, Claudia, Caitlin, Nick, me and Fisher
Fisher handled the pumpkin goo, Mom baked the seeds
Diane braving the Biltmore slide with Fisher
Claudia, me and Jenny-Jane poolside
Mike and Genny love the kids, or they fake it really well
I promised photos and here we go!  I originally think it was my sister Claudia's idea that everyone come to Arizona to celebrate my big 4-0 and end of treatment. Of course, I was thrilled.  My Mom and Claudia were easy to convince, it took a special call to Genny (Mike's girlfriend) to help get them here.  I swear, I didn't mean to cry on her voicemail when I called to say how much it would mean to me to have them here, but it worked.  Unfortunately my brother Peter and his wife Binky could not come from Wisconsin, but their fab daughter Caitlin came up from UofA in Tucson to be with us Saturday evening and Sunday.  So their family was represented too.  From the moment my Mom arrived on my birthday Thursday morning, we were on the go and we were together, which was really the best part of all.  Our family really jives.  We all get along and we all really have a blast together.  

I don't want to bore you with the blow by blow, but here's a quick overview of what we did.  Thursday was a fancy dinner out at Lon's at the Hermosa with my sister Diane, Mom, Nick and me.  We adored the gorgeous weather out on the patio under the stars.  This was one of my Dad's favorite spots and although we missed him all weekend, we really felt his absence here.  He loved to dress up and take his handsome family out to a fine dinner.  Nick was our host instead of Dad on my birthday night and he did a great job entertaining the ladies.  I'm sure my Dad would have been proud.

On Friday, Claudia, Mike and Genny arrived.  Boy, do I love them.  Since Mike and I share a birthday, we celebrated him too.  Upon their arrival, the girls gussied up for a ladies lunch at Elements at Sanctuary Resort and the boys did what the boys in my family do, they went fishin'.  Friday night was dinner at my house with endless laughs and teasing.  Fisher chose the menu of crab legs and he and Jenny-Jane ate their weight in crustaceans.  Am I the only one who thinks that's really odd that this is their all time favorite food?  Mike taught Fisher the joke "I saw a dead horse in the road.  I one it, I two it, I three it..."  By the end of the weekend Fisher had claimed to have "eight it" to every gross thing imaginable.  Isn't that exactly what uncles are for?  Yup, teaching super yucky things to their nephews. That makes me so strangely happy.

Saturday was fun in the sun at the Biltmore Resort pool where we lounged in our cabana, ate a big lunch al fresco and watched Fisher go down the huge slide about 35 times, not exaggerating.  Most everyone took their turn with him, but Mike did most of the work, sliding down that wild thing at least a dozen times.  Saturday dinner was briefly postponed as Mike and Nick tackled an electrical issue in the kitchen, typical, then we were off to tour Kitchen Sink Studios and dinner at Pizzeria Bianco.  We loved sharing our favorite spot in town with my family.  Our favorite waiter and friend, Dave, kept calling my Mom "Mom".  Who knew she was also the mother of a handsome black guy?

Sunday was Halloween and I've got cute photos of the kids in costume, but I'll save those for my next post. Monday was a great family day of hanging out together and really playing with the kids.  We even got an extra pumpkin carved.  As I wrote earlier, saying my goodbyes to everyone was especially hard because it meant my big weekend was coming to an end, but having my big family under my roof was absolutely overwhelmingly joyful.  I still carry that feeling within me now.  

Oh, and did I mention presents?  Yes.  I received fantastic and bountiful gifts for my birthday. I was spoiled rotten.  Not to pick a favorite, but I will.  My Mom gave me a gift at lunch on Friday that belonged to my Dad, and before that to her Dad.  It was a truly beautiful black rosary.  Of course I cried, and am now again just thinking about it.  I keep it next to my bed.  And while I can't remember the exact prayers in the order I'm supposed to say them, I do use it to help me count my blessings.  As I touch each bead, I think of my Dad and my Grandfather once doing the same, and I thank them for every wonderful thing in my life.  They originated and gave me this most remarkable family and for this I feel beyond blessed.



  1. What a lovely, lovely birthday! I am so grateful to read about every delicious moment with your family! I can't wait to spend time with you soon my sweet friend.

  2. virginia (Nick's Mom)November 7, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    Fabulous pictures, fabulously forty you! XOXOX

  3. Hi Kristin,
    You don't know me, but I'm a friend of Nick's from High School. I occasionally check in here to see how you and he are doing. And I just realized that I think you and I share a birthday! October, 28th, 1970??? Anyway, I am so glad your treatments are over and that you had a wonderful 40th birthday surrounded by family. Have a terrific time in Mexico - just enjoying one another! Hopefully we'll meet one day at a Southern Lehigh reunion... until then, keep up the writing (you have such a gift and are an inspiration in sharing your story). It's kind of neat to think we entered the world on the very same day :)
    take care, Jenn Stephens