July 31st we had our first party in our new-for-this-year home. Apollo and Switzerland both have birthdays on August 1st, and Boncourt very practically has its National Holiday fireworks on the 31st so that everyone can sleep in on the day off after staying up late and watching the show. Our family here as well as some old family friends joined us for the Mexican fiesta buffet and after dark we watched the fireworks from our front lawn. They shoot them off from the soccer field which is just below us so we had a good view aside from a few which exploded low and just behind the large walnut tree in the cow field across the road. In between dinner and fireworks we celebrated 9 years of Apollo and he received some rather nice gifties. We gave him our family gifts on his actual birthday, the next day after we came home from church. And at church he also got a Very Nice Gift from the Lord: he got to meet his teacher for the year, Madame Choulat, the young, pretty and kind lady who was sitting right in front of us. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Thanks to all of you, too, for your kind birthday wishes. Our dinner al fresco ~ I love eating outside. Nine candles on the cake. Don’t you love pictures of kids blowing out candles with puffy cheeks? Pleased with the prospect of his presents. They really do love each other, after all! Here is a lizard that Hermes drew on the white board as a birthday present for Apollo. Don’t you like it sticking out its tongue? And I just can’t resist posting . He was about one year here – look at those pudgy hands. Ah, Apollo, you’ve grown up much too fast! Happy Nine Years!