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Everything comes up 11 for LO boy

by: CLIFF NEWELL Helping Braden Gustafson (No. 11, of course) get ready for his 11th birthday Friday are mom Erin, brother Quinn and sister Chapin.

If 11 is a lucky number, no one is luckier than Braden Gustafson of Lake Oswego.

The fifth-grader at Forest Hills Elementary School turns 11 years old on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 - or 11-11-11.

His reaction: 'It's pretty cool.'

Naturally, knowledge of this great and unique event is spreading like wildfire, especially because Braden's friends are telling everybody.

Maybe a lot of people would be tempted to turn this birthday party into a monumental extravaganza. But Braden just wants a low-key affair. The Gustafson family plans to go to 'a barbecue joint in Tualatin,' then they will all come back home to eat the delicious German chocolate cake baked from scratch by his mom, Erin, who has been anticipating this day for the past 10 years.

'I've been processing this for a long time,' she said. 'When Braden turned 1 year old I realized that we would be celebrating his 11th birthday on 11-11-11. He has some really unique numbers for his birthday and he'll be turning the same age as the year on every birthday.

'But we realized it would be even more amazing in 2011.'

Erin describes her son as 'fantastic,' and if you met him you would have to agree. He plays football and lacrosse (always wearing No. 11 on his jersey) and enjoys camping, snowboarding, traveling and hanging out with his family, which also includes dad Bo, brother Quinn and lively little sister, Chapin.

As it turns out the date Nov. 11 is quite special to the Gustafson family because it has a rich military tradition, with officers on both sides of the family going back to World War I. History buffs know that Great War ended at the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day in 1918, and since then Nov. 11 has been the day on which America celebrates its veterans.

This, for all intents and purposes, makes Braden a Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Still, the Gustafsons have a problem. What do you call such a special birthday? Erin has pondered this dilemma. Would it be a Champagne Birthday? Or a Golden Birthday?

'We haven't figured that out,' she said. 'We think it needs a new moniker.'

Of one thing Erin Gustafson is sure:

'It's super cool.'