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I turn 26 today, at 12:46pm to be exact, and I’m hoping to have a fun-filled half weekend upstate (NY) with Ian, in and around some towns that I know and love. Sadly, I will not be celebrating my birthday with Brenna (whose birthday is Nov. 6) for the 3rd year in a row, or holding one of our joint “We are alive!” parties, a statement that is just short of a miracle for both of us for completely different reasons. Happily however, in that same span of time, this will be the first year I was neither in the hospital or sent to the hospital during my favorite month, October, which I always think culminates with my Nov. 2 birthday. It was refreshing to watch those fateful days go by without too much turmoil.

Evidence that I once did eat my birthday cake. Look at those eyes!

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Notice the evolution of cake-decorating, courtesy of my dad.

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I wanted a Candyland cake, and I definitely got it. The ever-pensive Alicia stands by.

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One year, I had a Penguin party, the Penguins being the Pittsburgh hockey team.

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And a Haunted House cake for one of my Halloween parties!

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And lastly, doesn’t this look like a tuckered-out Alicia with her favorite Ernie doll, sleeping after her big party? Well, that’s only half-right, because the party was still going on! But I was soooo tired as a kid, always curling up in a restaurant booth or sound asleep by the time my parents pulled out of our driveway and got to the end of the street. I’m also a heavy sleeper, and evidently I can sleep through my own party, still in my party dress!

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