May 18th was Mary's birthday. I call it the "nine-twelve". On Mary's official paperwork from Liberia lists her age as turning 9 this year. However, she can remember being older and we did have a bone age scan done (The Age Old Question). From the scan it is believed that she is between 11 and 12. So, on her birthday she turned 12 at home and 9 on her birth certificate.
We have decided to scale birthday's way back and we discussed months ago that we would not be giving presents this year. However, we take the kids on a family trip. Something fun, that the birthday child helps decide. We hoped that this would save our pocket book, stop adding to the plastic toyland of frustration, and build bonding memories. Mary's was our first such birthday.
It turned out to be a great day. She requested a cherry cheesecake and we all took a trip to Brukner Nature Center. There are many hiking trails, and some animals to observe. It really was a great day. Grandma had sent some gifts (a fancy watch and a pretty necklace) that Mary just loved. Unfortunately, my camera was dying and we got few pictures of the day, which I posted above.
I was pleased with the new style of birthday celebration and I think Mary was happy too. It was a very calm day. We were able to just hang out together and enjoy Mary and be outside.