Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

Sterling arrived home from his endurance ride convention yesterday evening, just in time for his birthday party! We served dinner within an hour of his arrival, opened presents, and enjoyed a potluck dessert with the girls, their husbands, all the grandchildren, and a wonderful mix of family and friends.

Our tradition is to let the birthday boy (or girl) pick the meal, and Sterling chose spaghetti—which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone! He would eat pasta, and especially spaghetti, at every meal if he could! (If any of you have been on cruise, you may have seen Sterling at the pasta bar for breakfast. . . )

His birthday gifts were simple—an exercise mat, clips for his exercise machine, and a few other odds and ends. He bought his own main gift (a saddle) at the convention, and I couldn’t have been happier! He’s always hard to buy gifts for because he doesn’t want a lot, and when he does want something, he usually buys it himself. Once in awhile, he’ll suggest a horse-related gift, but since I know next to nothing about horses, that never works out very well either. So I was thrilled that he found something he wanted at the convention . . .

After dinner, the grown-ups and older kids sat around and visited while the younger grandchildren disappeared. We were enjoying our conversation so much we didn’t notice that it was unusually quiet. Then the kids came downstairs, bearing their own gifts—handmade cards they’d made for Grandpa. The cards were quite creative, and very sweet! Sterling will treasure them!

I did give him one gift that I was excited about—an album featuring all his endurance rides. He has photos from most of his rides. . . sometimes just one or two, sometimes a handful. . . so I thought we needed to get those photos scrapbooked. I had fun preserving these memories that I know mean so much to him.

I designed the album so that we could add pages as he continues to go on rides; here are a few of the spreads. And each ride has a place for journaling (his job!), so he can record who he went with, when and where the ride took place, and any highlights (or lowlights, if you count the Moab ride, when he broke his collarbone!).

Sterling doesn’t enjoy being in the spotlight, and he would just as soon ignore his birthday, but he was a good sport and, as always, we all enjoyed a good excuse to gather together as a family!