We now have 4 children in the household whose births occurred in the year 1997 - JT in January, Andrea in June, Philip in July and Ben brings up the rear of the year in November. Each year from the time JT turns the next year over Ben eagerly anticipates his turn at a new age. This year he finished up the end run of 12 year olds - which means 2010 will be The Year of the Teenager for us - with all 4 of them turning 13 and Miriam having her 15th birthday.
Ben decided to celebrate with his dad's favorite meal - pepper steak with rice -
Quite incidentally he had his friend Luke here for dinner and quite intentionally he also had his cousin Sam spend the night. Since our two year cycle of parties is history we are now back to the pick-a-friend-and-a-parent-for-a-date themed celebration. Cousin Sam was the friend, I got to be the parent and we traveled down to Arundel Mills for the grand opening of the brand spankin' new Lego Store. It was quite a day...if one enjoys standing in lines. We briefly stood in line for the chance to build a brick to put in the 12 foot Christmas tree being crafted completely out of legos by a Master Builder. Once we realized that was probably an hour or so wait we bailed from that line (and thus lost our chance at getting a certificate with which we could stand in another line for half hour to cash in for a chance at winning a $50 gift card to the Lego Store) and instead stood in yet another line for an hour and a half just for the opportunity to actually walk into the actual Lego Store. It was well worth it according to both boys (or at least they knew better than to say otherwise). They decided on some purchases and I stood in the check out line for another 20 minutes while they explored the fun parts of the store.
It was a cool store - esp being only 1 of 2 stores in the country with a lego classroom area. The classroom was really neat. It has four areas - a rug area with large rubber legos for toddlers, a huge table of traditional lego pieces, a robotics table set up for programming a few robotics tasks, and a floor space full of girlie legos. They teach classes there and I'm hoping to make a homeschool field trip out of it at some point in the school year.