Last night, or early this morning depending on your perception of 1 am, an eclectic crowd of 10 sang “Happy Birthday” to our Tess. 17. Seventeen. Tess turned 17 yesterday.

Tess is our fifth. Our first & only girl. When it was time for the ultrasound, I went alone. By the fifth kid you are a little blasé about the whole thing. And I was pretty sure we were stuck on “boy”. Back then I’d rather Dave save time off in case of a sick kid. Four kids = a high likelihood of sick kid. It helps to accumulate sick days just in case.

When the ultrasound technician called me back, she looked for a partner, a husband, but I was alone. I explained it was my fifth. She nodded her head and understood. A couple of minutes in she asked me if I wanted to know the sex. Of course. Why not?

“It’s a girl.” My heart stopped. My head spun. If I wasn’t laying down, I might’ve actually fainted for the first time in my life. I had her check. Double-check. And repeat herself three times. The baby, our baby, remained a girl. I couldn’t leave fast enough to call Dave.

All we really wanted, hoped for, was a healthy baby. We fully expected another boy and, frankly, I was prepared for another boy. We had a house of blue. The hand-me-downs waiting for #5 were all blue. Blue was what I knew. I was good with blue. And then, suddenly, we were getting pink. A girl. A mini me!

Little did I know that my mini me would grow up to be a mini Dave. A girl version of my husband. Those two are thick as thieves. Out of all our kids, Tess looks the most like Dave. Thinks like him. She is his baby squirrel and she has him wrapped around her little finger.

Yesterday we had a quiet birthday at home. All she wanted was to be in her room, and watch Voltron Season 6. Released on her birthday. What more could an anime-crazed teen need?

Of course quiet in our home still means at least 7 people. We have me, Dave, the three little ones (Cole, Tess & Dane), Nestor (our permanent extra) and Elly (our summer extra), daughter of Boo (Booland Designs). AND it was Elly’s birthday too! Elly turned nineteen yesterday and our birthday twins got to pick the birthday dinner (burgers grilled by Cole) and a cake, or pie, each!

Cole’s burgers were fantabulous. Elly had hers with American cheese & a root beer float. I loaded mine with mushrooms, bacon & cheddar cheese. We had five blissful moments of silence as everyone enjoyed their American feast. Then chaos burst loose again ending with a whip cream fight to end all whip cream fights.

  1. I will never buy whipped cream in a can again.
  2. My winter garden is cleaner this morning than ever before.
  3. I might buy whipped cream in a can again.

Apparently, you must smoke cigars while grilling. Who knew?

The new Westberry grill master!

Decorated with traditional Dutch “slingers”. The quiet before the storm.

Jan (Cole’s best German friend) loving the American corn. How I wish we could fresh mid-west corn here.

Cole’s girlfriend Sherbet got Tess the best present: champagne & snacks to eat with Voltron!

Elly got some birthday love too.

What goes with birthday cake & pie? Champagne!

The champagne POP hurt poor Elly’s ears!

Sacrilege! Spilled bubbly.

The girls have to cut their own cakes. I think Tess needed a spatula… not a knife!

I took the knife away.

Whipped cream in champagne. Not yummy.

Proof that Sherbet started the whipped cream fight. It went downhill from here.

The whipped cream fight of 2018 claimed another victim.