here are some things I believe without a shadow of a doubt:  Life is better with a dog, Coke is far superior to Pepsi, and birthdays are special.  On your birthday you should feel like the coolest person on the face of the planet.

We celebrated Ellie's birthday last week.  I thought about having a party for about a millisecond before I changed my mind:  She's going through a frustrating possessive phase and I couldn't bear the thought of a house full of small children trying to play with Ellie's toys while she hovered over them, glaring and yelling "MINE!  NO, MINE!"

So I let Topher stay home from school and we had a Family Fun Day instead!  We spent the morning at a nearby rec centre with an enormous indoor playground, had a pre-lunch ice cream cone and smoothie, and played balloon baseball when Ellie woke up from her afternoon nap. Once Nathan got home from work it was time for presents (which Ellie opened very slowly and very carefully - finally, a form of destruction she doesn't seem to enjoy!) and Ellie's special birthday dinner: Mush (of course!) followed by an Angry Bird cupcake.

I still can't believe I no longer have a baby, but a fiercely independent (and fearless!) toddler.