Last weekend, for the first time since mid-August, we had no cross country meets, no soccer games, no out-of-town guests, no trips to the lake planned. It was nice to have an easy, early fall weekend to sit around and decompress a bit.

Well, we did have one big thing on the calendar: L. turned seven on Saturday!

Thanks to the way the calendar fell, she had an extended birthday. Friday she got to take cupcakes in to school. And it was an early-dismissal Friday, so she got her weekend started a little early. We made a stop at Target and picked up some new Halloween decorations, pulled out the old ones when we got home, and did some decorating.

Saturday was our first cold, ugly day of the fall. L. had selected Chinese takeout for her birthday dinner for at least the past two years. At first she landed on that again for her choice for this year’s meal, but we talked her into Mexican instead. With her local grandparents, a couple aunts, and an uncle we celebrated over tacos and nachos. She picked out bright blue icing for her cake, which was kind of a wacky choice. But it also fit her perfectly.

And then, gift time! She got a set of Avengers action figures, not one but two alarm clocks, a lamp that projects stars onto the ceiling, and a Hot Wheels track. As I type this on Monday night she’s out for her traditional dinner with her Mimi. I believe Red Robin was her choice.

Just as M’s birthdays always leaves me amazed at how quickly the parenthood portion of my life has progressed, when L’s rolls around, I’m amazed at how quickly our baby grew far beyond her baby years. She still seems so little to me in some ways, when in fact she’s well past being a tiny tot. She’s a first grader, for crying out loud!

L. is our most consistent kid. She does occasionally have moods. But for the most part she’s endlessly enthusiastic about things. She loves school; she’s been acing all her early spelling and math tests and often gets her homework done on her own right after school. Some of that is because she also can’t wait to go do something active. She’s always asking to throw the football or baseball, or go shoot hoops, or practice soccer. Or just asks me to time her as she runs from one end of the yard to the other. She brags about how she’s the only girl who will play soccer with the second grade boys at recess. And after practicing with M’s kickball team this fall, I know she can’t wait until spring of her third grade year when she can play for real. Her wardrobe choices reflect her active nature. When she’s not in her school uniform, she wears old soccer jerseys about 85% of the time. It’s nice to have two big sisters who played for several years and passed down all of theirs.

She’s the biggest goofball of the three girls. A lot of that comes from being the youngest and having that tendency/need to entertain. While her sisters messing with her can cause her to get angry, she’s generally lighthearted about all things. When she gets together with friends from school or soccer, it’s all giggles all the time.

I always find it interesting to see what traits from my personality show up in my girls. With L., I see a lot of my independent nature. While she generally plays pretty well with her sisters, she’s the most likely kid to go play on her own. She’ll shut her door and you’ll hear her jabbering away as she plays with her toys. When M. goes off by herself, it’s usually to read. C. will go work on an art project or some other creation on her own. But L. going to play on her own? That was me when I was little. Granted, in my case it was because there were no siblings around. Still there’s that contentment with being alone that is not as evident in her sisters.

She’s not perfect; no kid is. She can be bossy like her biggest sister. She can overreact to sisterly shunnings, like the middle sister. But most of the time she’s a ton of fun to be around. She’s smart, funny, and kind. Like her sisters, we are proud of the little lady that she’s become.