Friday, March 1, 2019

Birthdays and Bully Dogs

Helloooo! Last time I wrote I was 35 years old. A mere child. Today I am 36 years. Actually, 36 years and 4 days, and I am a wise and mature woman who eats overnight oats with chia and flax seeds and unsweetened almond milk for breakfast.

That's right! I eat breakfast! Out of a mason jar I lovingly layer the night before with ingredients I'd never purchased before I turned 36. So watch out world-- it's a whole new me. And that me is not afraid to eat the gelatinous result of a chia seed and almond milk left in the fridge overnight. She's bold and fearless maybe even going to learn how to use a curling iron/wand/thing by the year's end.


My birthday was Monday, which is the most boring day for a birthday. I jazzed it up with a new outfit (top and necklace) I picked up with birthday coupons and half of my grandparents' birthday money at Loft the day before, and then took it to another level with a photo shoot with the dog at 7:15 a.m. Claire was photographer, Maggie was model, and I received as much joy from our matching party hats as I did dog fur on my black jeans.

I had contemplated taking off work for the day as a present, but then I remembered I'm an extrovert who spiraled at great speed down a depressive black hole during our furlough and decided I should go to work and interact with people. So I did. There was a meeting, I worked on my memo much harder than the Oscar coverage and birthday excitement foretold, and then I went to lunch at one of my very favorite places (the "fried rice" with over easy egg and honey garlic roasted Brussels sprouts will blow your mind).

In a testament to what happens when a lot of people leave the government and there's a 2-year+ hiring freeze, my birthday lunch attendance went from 12 last year to 2 this year (to be fair to my reputation and likability, two are also on maternity leave), but James joined and made us a table of 4 and it was lovely.

After work I arrived home to a decorated table which is our family's favorite thing. A tablecloth from 2008, cards from my parents and grandparents, an assortment of our traditional animal candle holders carefully selected by James ("the elephant kind of looked like Maggie"), and a cookie cake from my new favorite place- Insomnia Cookies.

I took the girls to my favorite margarita place that also serves food. My friend and her kids met us there, James and Landon joined after their activities, and I drank my frozen margarita out of my pink birthday cup. We came home to the Presentation of the Cards by the kids, which is just the best (when will they outgrow this? never, right?).

Landon, who had objected heartily to doing his science fair project on Sunday- something that culminated in a bold declaration that I would not be getting a birthday card, made me an awesome collage with words cut out from his magazines that reminded him of me. It's one of my very favorite things.

And then he added some Swedish fish from the dollar store, purchased with his own money, and the memories of the science fair were banished back to Satan where they belong.

Claire made many cards and each had her heart on the page.

Cora worked very hard with her stencils and colored pencils and made me a beautiful picture I failed to get a picture of, but we did get the cookie cake and that's important too.

Oh! and James got me a wine glass that says "I just want to drink wine and pet my dog" which is pretty much exactly right.

And so I went to bed, 36 years old, with a washed face and all the face products, overnight oatmeal in the fridge, and joy in my heart.

Zooming backwards! When I was a young and unchia'd 35, Cora had Kindergarten round-up at our sweet elementary school last Friday!

She was SO excited and is VERY ready for "hard work" which is the only work she accepts at school anyway. She's such a big girl and she seems so extremely ready I'm not even sad (not to mention we will not have a daycare payment for the first time since 2007!). Plus we adore our school and I'm just glad we'll have 6 more years there thanks to our bonus baby. (Now Landon going to middle school is a whole other kettle of fish and emotions.)

On Saturday, Landon ran the kids 5K at the Cowtown Marathon!

The actual marathon runs by our house every year on my birthday weekend, but we'd never actually participated in any of the races. Landon has done running club after school the last two years and this year they were able to put together a team to run! He was so excited.

The girls went as cheerleaders (we picked up a friend's little girl too; we fluctuate between 2-5 children at all times).

Landon had never run a full 3 miles at once before and probably didn't pace it quite right, but he enjoyed the experience thoroughly despite the stomach ache at the end. And we found out later he went 26:02 and got 34th out of 457 in his age group! Which seems pretty great. I mean, I've never run 3 miles at all, so it all sounds great to me.

Sunday was science fair. I LOVE science and I enjoy a nice fair, but I have come to dread science fair weekend. Landon morphs into an unreasonable mess and I just want all school to stay at school. But this was Claire's first year and she was an enthusiastic participant! So that was different- and almost fun! She decided to explode various numbers of Mentos in soda bottles, so I bought a bunch of them at the store in preparation. After we'd put away all the rest of the groceries, Cora spied the bottles and cried out, "Mom! You forgot to put away the wines!!"

"The wines?" I asked. "Oh, those are sodas for Claire's experiment, they can stay out."

"Ohhhh, I thought they were wines. For a party. You know, for the moms."

Claire's experiment went well and she diligently went to work on her board while Landon continued to... not do that. Maggie wanted to do a science project and was sad she couldn't participate.

Other highlights of the last few days include this picture I got while we were cheering on the marathon runners Sunday morning as they ran down our street (Maggie went to cheer too, she was very motivating).

Cora calling question marks "mysteries" and sneezes "bless yous" and saying out loud, while alone in the living room, "ahhh, it feels so good to stretch my legs."

And Maggie being too tired to say goodnight to Cora, but allowing herself to be loved on anyway.

And finally - food this week!

Tues: Big Salad Night (romaine, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, hard boiled eggs, cooked farro, kalamata olives, cotija cheese, flax seeds, homemade balsamic vinaigrette), Balsamic Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Wed: Greek Turkey and Rice Skillet, Naan, tomato, extra feta, and cucumber slices. (This was great!!)

Thurs: Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice, corn bread.

And now the kids (including Maggie) and I are off to Houston to visit my parents one last time in their big lake house! I've never driven alone with them (James has a swim meet), so this should be an adventure.


  1. Happy Birthday! Are your parents moving full time to Colorado?

  2. Happy birthday! Is your family of birthday animals expanding? They're so cute!

  3. Science fair was my jam. I was the junior high grand champion. It was a big deal in 1993. My sister and my dad went round after round over it. It was... not her jam. One of my favorite memories of my mom In that era is during a science fair battle royale between my sister and my dad. I decided to make a fort in my closet to get away from it all. My mom brought laundry into my room and called out because she knew I was in my room but couldn’t see it. I opened the closet door a crack. She exclaimed, “are you hiding from the science fair?!? MOVE OVER!” She crawled into my fort and we hung out hiding and giggling about our closet fort while my sister shouted that she wanted to test more than one variable at a time and my dad kept replying with increasingly less patience that “it’s not good science!”

  4. Happiest Birthday!! I hope this next year is your best year yet!
    Also I work with adolescents in my practice and a lot of what I do is teaching self-soothing regulation tools and self compassion based self care. You do such a beautiful job with your boy, Rebecca. I just wanted you to know that. (PS... that last picture! Swoon!)