She did it.  Double-digits.  Juliette Grace is TEN!  Her big day was clouded by the bout of Covid that had struck our house a few days earlier, but Shane, the sole survivor, was able to make a balloon run and I strung up the usual streamers before heading to bed on her birthday eve.  We weren’t going to let that virus keep us from celebrating.

Chocolate croissant and a peanut butter banana smoothie for breakfast – whatever you want, Boo.

And one early-morning present, because we figured she could use some fresh entertainment for yet another day of quarantine.

Juliette finished her 500-piece puzzle by lunchtime and then patiently waited for Shane and I to finish up work so that we could dig into her dinner of choice: it was burrito night!

With root beer in a champagne glass, because…TEN.

We cranked up the party music after dinner and she dug into the rest of her gifts.

2023 was the year of Gilmore Girls for me and Jules, so she was very excited about the matching set of key chains I bought for the two of us.

(And I am the Lorelai to her Rory…)

Shoes!  Always a pair of shoes.

Juliette’s one and only gift request was a paper fan, because she thought “they just make you look so fancy”.

That was five bucks well spent.  Huge hit.

Isaac was a bit of a pill that night, if I recall, though this photo is making me question my memory…

I know this wasn’t the birthday you’d planned, Juliette, but you sure do roll with the punches.

Thankfully, Juliette was in the clear in time for her party the following weekend.  She brunched in the backyard with a few friends and they made bracelets and sipped their hot chocolate and belted out Taylor Swift songs at the top of their lungs.

SO happy to be among people her own age once again!

These girls were all so sweet, jockeying to give Juliette the gifts they’d brought and ooohing and aaaahing over each little trinket.

Long live stuffies as the most thrilling gifts in the pile!

She’s such a great receiver, genuine in her gratitude with each rip of the wrapping paper.

Juliette was most certainly the belle of the ball, but she was willing to share the limelight with this beau, for just a few minutes.

THANK YOU to these girls for putting such a happy end cap on what was a pretty lonely week for our girl.  She’s the luckiest.

Or maybe I’m the luckiest?  So lucky to call this kind, sensitive soul my daughter.  Juliette, I hope this year is filled with wonder and laughter.  I hope you continue to give life your all, whether it’s on the soccer field or with your nose in a Harry Potter book or as you race up and down the hall with your brother in a raucous game of tag.  Just keep doing things so fully, so engaged.  You’re good at that.  Keep being curious.  Keep being a helper.  Keep being YOU.  I can’t imagine anything better.