Forty is a big number.  When I asked Ben what he wanted for his birthday this year, he said, “ Go out for dinner?” I figured we could do a little better than that. In a moment of inspiration I hatched a plan for Ben’s family to come to town to celebrate. It’s been about three years since the last time that we were all in the same place at the same time as they live in Connecticut and Colorado and I know that he really misses them.  Meghan and I started having secret conversations and Ben’s parents, brother, Jake, and sister, Sara, with her husband, Mike, jumped right in.  I so appreciated the effort that everyone made to get here.

I was a bit shocked at how easily the lies rolled out of my mouth as I told Ben we were going away for a five day trip and leaving the kids with Auntie Meghan so he’d take some time off.  Secret texts, flight arrangements, lists of plans were all under his nose but my husband is the least suspecting person I know.

I was pretty much jumping out of my skin when we walked in the restaurant and I saw the look on his face when he saw his whole family (minus the cousins) there!  Plus my parents had come down for the dinner and to hang out with Ben’s parents whose flight had arrived earlier that day.  So fun!

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On Saturday morning, we all kicked around for a little while, eating breakfast, drinking coffee and the kids attaching themselves to their cool aunts and uncles. 

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I handed out envelopes with money and shopping assignments for everyone as we headed to Pike Street Market. We had the most miserable storm that day but everyone had a super attitude, sloshed down some coffee and was just happy to be together.  The kids each got some food money to spend too which went towards honey sticks and mini donuts.

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Always the younger brother, being a smart aleck.

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Tymen spent the weekend pretty much latched onto Auntie Sara who hugged her buddy and won him completely over.

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Nana had the boys watching cheese production while Ben, with the cheese envelope, made his purchases. Cheers!

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Jake, the chef, gives his thoughts on sauces while Mike messes around, pretending to take a slog from some…balsamic vinegar??

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Back home from the market, we took a little break before we began chopping and peeling and cutting all the goodies that we had bought for our raclette meal.  On the menu were: baguette and salad with Bosc pear and blood orange. Scallops, shrimp in Italian parsley marinade, crab, steak, pork, kielbasa, three Beecher's cheeses, colorful carrots, baby potatoes, onions, zucchini, mushrooms,asparagus,basil, lemon butter, lemonaise, horse radish Dijon, olive tapenade.  The raclette pans were heated, wine poured and we got cooking and eating.

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Sunday morning we all jetted off to church and then, as the weather was still crummy, we popped under the overhangs outside to take a few group shots.  Thanks to my friend, Becca, who took the all family shot for me!  It’s obvious that there was no fun had between family members…ha!

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Burgers before Sara and Mike headed back to the airport.  Our kids were LOVING all the attention!

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Sunday afternoon dance party. 

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Our hearts were pretty full at the end of the weekend and I was so thankful to Ben’s family for coming and loving us so well!

I think it was a good 40th.

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