Abbey Ernst likes dogs and kids, sports and spaghetti and having a birthday close to Christmas.
"Well, I get presents on my birthday, and 13 days later, I get presents for Christmas, so it's pretty nice," said Abbey who will be 12 on 12/12/12.
This year, her birthday began early. Mom took her to see a midnight showing of ""The Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2" when the vampire flick opened.
"It was a really good movie," said Abbey, a sixth-grader at Smithton's St. John the Baptist School.
She'll celebrate at home, school and maybe at her favorite restaurant, Olive Garden.
"I like their spaghetti and breadsticks," said the rail-thin tween.
How many can she eat? "Seven."
The Ernst birthday tradition is to take the birthday kid out for dinner. Abbey, the middle child of Bob and Vanessa Ernst, has an older sister Brooke, 16, and a younger brother Ethan, 8.
Her three-layer cake will be a creation by Aunt Angela Dinkelman, of Freeburg who works at McArthur's Bakery in St. Louis.
"The design is all Abbey's," said mom Vanessa. "Abbey loves dogs, so there's paw prints on one layer."
There's also a zebra print layer and pink trim.
The school treat is usually snowman-shaped doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. They remind Mom of the year Abbey was born.
"It was freezing outside and we brought her home to 8 to 10 inches of snow on the ground," said Vanessa, who has a home daycare. "Dad almost didn't make her delivery. I was only in labor 40 minutes. He brought me at midnight. They wanted to induce because of my high blood pressure."
He and Brooke stayed with his parents in Belleville. Bob thought he had time to sleep.
"I called and said, 'You better get up here.'"
For Abbey's 11th birthday, the family redid her room with pink paint, peace signs and posters.
"She's a collector," said Vanessa of her daughter's busy room. "She likes a little bit of everything."
Here's what Abbey had to say about a little bit of everything.
1. What kind of pets do you have? Two dogs, Chopper and Princess (black Lab and chow mixes). They're brother and sister. We were only supposed to get one, but we couldn't leave the other. Dad gave in."
"She's my animal nut," said Vanessa. "She has two guinea pigs, too."
2. What do you like about guinea pigs? "Their cute little faces and how sweet they are. The guinea pigs, Cookie and Fireball, I got in third grade. Ethan named Fireball."
3. What made you start volunteering at the Humane Society? "My sister had to do Confirmation hours so she volunteered. I begged Mom to take me, too." Mom Vanessa accompanies Abbey. "We walk dogs and play with cats," said Abbey. "There's one dog I want to bring home really bad. He's the cutest, biggest, fattest boxer in the world."
4. Favorite subject at school? "Art. You can color and you can express yourself with what you do."
5. Favorite movie? "'Pitch Perfect.' It's about a singing group and it's funny."
6. Favorite TV show? "Pretty Little Liars" on ABC Family. (Four friends band together against an anonymous foe who threatens to reveal their darkest secrets while they try to unravel a murder.)
"She got us all addicted to that," said Vanessa. "Everybody watches it now."
7. Do you have a cell phone? "I have my iPod and you can get apps for texting, but I don't get a cell phone till next year. (Older sister Brooke got one after 7th grade.) All the 8th-graders have one and a good amount of 7th-graders."
8. Favorite sport? "Probably volleyball. I play for my school, and over the summer I played on one of the Sportsplex teams." Last year, she learned to serve overhand.
"She'd get out on the driveway and practice and practice," said Vanessa. "You finally did it."
Abbey also plays soccer and runs track. Her events are the long jump and 100-meter race. "Soccer was every week," said Abbey. "When it finished, I got to stay home, then I got bored. I'm ready for volleyball to start."
9. What do you like to do with your friends? "This weekend, I'm going to the mall with them. My favorite shop is Charlotte Russe. We like going to each other's houses, too. We usually watch scary or funny movies, get in the hot tub, or eat pizza. We did a lot of talking and giggling last time."
10. What do like to do with your family? "I always want to have family game night or watch a scary movie, any of the paranormal activity movies. My favorite games are Clue and Apples to Apples."
11. What was the most fun you had in the last year? "Going to Holiday World (in Santa Claus, Ind.)." It was an extended-family event full of aunts and uncles and 24 cousins, all staying in RVs. "I got to drive golf carts around," said Abbey.
12. Do you have plans for the future? "As soon as I turn 18, I'm going to the Humane Society and I'm going to work there. ... When I grow up, I don't know if I will be with kids or dogs. Dogs can keep you entertained, but so can little kids."