Birthday Princess

Guess who is 22?

(although my youngest sister apparently thinks I'm 55...)

Yepp, it's time for the official birthday weekend recap! While college is great, I knew that spending my birthday weekend at home would be more special, and let me tell you... home did not disappoint :)

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I made the drive from Durham to Winston on Saturday afternoon, just in time to catch my baby sister at work and get a birthday cookie from the "sandwich artist" herself.

Baby sister was clearly thrilled that I brought my camera to document her first and brand new job (don't be fooled by the lack of eye contact...), but hey, this is undoubtedly my role as the proud big sis.

So profesh.

My brief trip to Subway was followed by an equally brief trip to my church, where the children's department was having their costume party. I was able to sneak in some open-mouth kisses from my favorite three-year-old, Buzz Lightyear...

Just ignore the awkward piece of hair hanging in my face

...before trekking into Clemmons and meeting up with my two best friends from high school at our old stomping grounds. (Isn't that a funny word -- stomping grounds? So thrilled I just had the opportunity to use it.)

Kacey lives in Chapel Hill, Amy lives in Advance, and I live in Durham. I see Kacey frequently (ish), since we live half an hour apart (ish). And I see Amy a couple of times a year when I'm home. Likewise, Amy & Kacey see each other every so often. BUT, if our memory serves us correctly, the THREE of us have not all been together since April of 2009... over two and a half years ago! 'Twas a grand reunion in the Starbucks parking lot :)

And despite the fact that the couches & chairs have been slightly rearranged during the past two and a half years, not much else has changed :)

The hours passed at Starbucks & continued to do the same at Kacey's house, until the wee hours of Sunday morning rolled around and I was 22 years old!

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I went to church with my family on my birthday, but not before mom took official birthday pictures for our last ever sister calendar :)

(dress: Gap)

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Even from 7000 miles away, a certain someone managed to send two dozen gerber daisies -- my favorite -- in addition to seasons five and six of One Tree Hill, of which I may or may not have watched seven episodes on my actual birthday :)

Even cooler (in my opinion), Zach was able to call on my birthday... for free! He normally has to pay for phone calls except for the occasional "free calling days" -- like Fathers' Day, Fourth of July, etc. I have no idea why October 23 is significant enough to the Marine Corps to designate it as a free calling day, but we're all going with the fact that my birthday is a pretty big deal.

But actually...

In a couple of months, I will receive the American flag that was flown on the base on my birthday, with an official certificate saying that it was flown on October 23 in honor of me. Zach got to be the one to raise it and everything -- how COOL is that?!

(American flag, Afghanistan flag, & Marine Corps flag; source)

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I had my birthday dinner with my extended family -- grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins -- the usual :) My significantly younger cousins spent the time calculating how many birthdays they had left until their senior year of college, because rumor has it that the parties don't continue on to age 23.

My significantly younger cousins also hijacked my camera with the help of my siblings & left me a ton of entertaining photos, like the following:

Buzz Lightyear turned pirate, obviously...

• • • • •

And upon my arrival back to Duke, my fellow RA loves helped me celebrate the final 30 minutes of my birthday with presents, red & purple skittles, & a semi-hysterical photobooth session. So much love :)

• • • • •

And just like that, my special day (weekend) was over!

Thank you to EVERYONE who made my birthday absolutely fabulous --
I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life! I love you all :)