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We had a party the Saturday after my birthday. I received many perfect and beautiful gifts for my birthday, but perhaps the best gift I received was being surprised by my sister, Katy, and her husband Tom. They drove all the way from North Carolina for the event. And they weren’t the only ones who came from afar! Jill, Marty, Sandra, Brett, Greg and Suzy—thank you.

I spent a fair amount of time trying to get Sophie to go to sleep, which was impossible because of the noise. We were all in much better moods when I just decided to let her stay up—and stay up she did, until about 12:30am. She didn’t want to miss anything.

“I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.” —Nancie J. Carmody