Thursday was Eli's 7th birthday. He has been counting down the days on the calendar since about last January. Not just because '7' sounds like a lucky number, but because he knew this was the year for a 'friend' birthday. Before I proceed, may I just state, that, for the record, 'friend' birthday years really STRESS me out. I can't just invite a few kids over for cake and ice cream and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. It always has to be big and clever and out of this world. Once, when Whitney turned '7' we had a huge surprise party at McDonalds. And when Cassidy turned 4 we had 17 kids from the 'hood over for egg dying, egg hunting, and a pinata, all held in the basement due to a last minute April snow storm. Last time Eli had a 'friend' birthday it was a Scooby Doo mystery event, complete with mummy wrapping, bat-catching, and the great gummy worm jello grab! Do you get the picture? The word SIMPLIFY does not belong in my vocabulary when it comes to birthdays. But I'm getting older, so I figure it's time to get a little wiser. This year, we decided to invite six friends, plus Eli, making it an even 'lucky number 7' in the guest department. We loaded up the car after school and headed to KUNG FU PANDA. Everyone got popcorn, candy, and a drink. We had the theater to ourselves. (I told Cassidy it was every girl's dream...to be all alone in a movie theater surrounded by boys! Maybe just not boys in the 'ten and under' age group.) We told jokes out loud before it started, and danced along with the pre-show music. It's great to let loose in a theater when no one else is watching. For me the movie was just okay...no FINDING NEMO, but not as bad as SPIRITED AWAY. Of course, the boys LOVED IT. All the way home I was the single female in a car full of male testosterone...arm farting, karate chopping, belching, and the YUSHI finger hold...something from the movie that causes great pain on the part of the receiver. My mind flashed back to days gone by when my parties involved manicures and crafting cute frames with rhinestones and lots of pink fluffy things. I guess I have entered a new dimension in life..."THE SECRET WORLD OF BOYS". It's going to take some getting used to since I'm not quite sure about the body-function noises and the pain-infliction rites of passage. However, knowing how much I enjoy the teenage boys that are frequently guests in my house, I really do have something to look forward to. The other day I used one of them as an example and said, "Eli, Cassidy's friends never burp when they are at our house. They have respect for women." Cassidy's friend smiled at me and said, "Hey, Sister Sorensen, I'm glad to know that at least you've never heard me burp." Then he winked at Eli for a little male-to-male bonding. I'm also pretty sure they both burped when I left the room!