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Ellie turns 5
 
 
(Click on the images for a larger version.)
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In my old age, it seems like my little niece, Ellie, was just born.
 
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I remember when she learned how to walk,
when putting on her own shoes
 
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or opening a door were her new accomplishments in life.

But when I think a little harder, maybe Ellie is old.

When Ellie was born, Google wasn't a publically traded company. I hadn't met Ilaria yet, hadn't started my PhD or my postdoc. This photo album didn't exist. And Katrina hadn't destroyed all of my parents possessions yet.
 
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Given the big occasion, Ilaria and myself flew down to Orlando to partake in the
 
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festivities.
 
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I spent more time playing with Gray than hanging with Ellie on her birthday.
 
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Ellie was pretty well occupied with her friends.
 
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So Gray and I
 
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played some tee ball together
 
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and ran around the playground.
 
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I also played a lot with Alexander and his sister Madeline.
 
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Alexander and I played quite a bit of baseball out in the Florida heat. And true to the way my dad taught me -- I didn't let him win.

Which is probably why he wanted to play so long, he liked to have a grown-up that was really trying for a change (or maybe he just thought if he played me long enough, I'd let him win?).
 
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True to their artistic backgrounds, Retse and Scott made a very impressive custom theme for the Hannah Montana party, including the fancy rockstar backdrop that Scott built.

Ellie was the star of the show dressed up as Hannah Montana with a princess crown.
 
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Alexander and Madeline's incredibly cute little sister, Anna, was at the party too.
 
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Overall Gray took it pretty well to see his sister receive lots of presents and not get some of his own.
 
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True to form, my father did the barbecuing.
 
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After the party, we went back to the Saylor's place.
 
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Where Gray played on the swing set.
 
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Then he went in the bounce house with Ilaria (my sister and I definitely didn't have toys like this when we were growing up!).
 
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My father cooked steaks
 
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and zucchini.
 
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And my five year old niece showed off her new presents.

Next stop kindergarten...