Emmalie and Nick show Rosalie (with Tracy) how to ring in the new year:
Celebrating with sparkling white grape juice:
On the 13th, Nick turned 12! (Not sure how that's possible, really.) We made these snowman cookies the day before, for him to take to school. It was bittersweet for me ~ next year he'll be in middle school and won't be taking treats for his birthday anymore....
That night we took Nick to The Rainforest Cafe for his birthday supper. We always have fun there!
When we got back home, it was time for Nick to open his gifts. Ben couldn't wait for him to open the cactus he'd picked out, to go in Gilbert the gecko's cage!
Nick with the glass dolphin sculpture from Emmalie:
Here Nick reads one of the cards I made, explaining his gifts from George and me. He doesn't look particularly excited in the picture, but he was thrilled by his gifts! We bought a one-year membership to Brookfield Zoo for the whole family, and we are going to let Nick pick out one of the "cheaper" Wild Encounters at the zoo, where he'll get to go behind the scenes, one on one with a zookeeper, and learn about taking care of the animals. :) He can't wait to do that!!
Nick and Ben (and Finn the Webkinz snake, LOL):
Nick and Emm:
Then it was time for cake and ice cream! Nick decided several months ago that he wanted an apple walnut cake for his birthday, even though he'd never had one before. I found a good recipe, and wow ~ we all LOVED it!!
Also on his birthday, I took Nick over to PetSmart so that he could pick out a new betta. Meet Prism, the rainbow-colored fish (hard to see how pretty he is in the photos, though):
And here are 2 more creatures currently living in our house. For Christmas, Emmalie gave Nick a packet of triops eggs and a little tank. What are triops, you may ask? Also called dinosaur shrimp, they are small crustaceans. They start out VERY tiny, but then double in size almost daily until they are 1-3 inches long. They only live 20 to 90 days, and, as we discovered when Emm had some several years ago, triops can be cannibalistic. (Yikes.) They are funny little guys to watch, though, and they are usually in motion all day long, it seems!
Nick has named the larger one Leviathan and the smaller one Silver Bell (a nod to Emmalie, who named her 3 triops Three Eyes, Blue Bell, and Silver Bell). Every day when I go in the boys' room to check on the triops, I remind Silver Bell to watch his back, LOL.
Nick does have quite the menagerie in his room! While I was photographing the aquatic creatures, Ickie kept chirping to get my attention. I guess she wanted her photo taken, too. :) (Gilbert, however, was asleep inside his dark little gecko house.)