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Entries in birthdays (35)


Still waiting on adulthood

I turned 36 today.

Flowers, smiles, hugs, notes and calls from family and friends, dinner out with my loved ones, my most favorite cake in the whole world, and fresh snow on the ground—what more could I want on my birthday? It was a cold and beautiful day and I truly enjoyed it. And I don't feel older. Actually, I still feel quite young. Maybe not physically, that depends on the day, but definitely in spirit.

I remember walking home from elementary school one day with my friend who lived across the street. Her brother was older than we were, making him way cooler and more mature in our eyes, and we coveted his homework. This being in the years before wheeled backpacks were required before first grade to accommodate all the take-home assignments, we were on our way home to play with Cabbage Patch dolls or My Little Ponies or the like, but decided instead to do "homework" because we thought it was time to start being more grown up.

I'm sure we felt very adult that day, and there have been other remarkable days in my past when I've felt rather adult, too, but it's an elusive feeling. Mostly I just feel like an imposter in an adult's body.

I still sleep with a stuffed animal, after all, and wear the bib when eating crab out at dinner.

Best elephant birthday art ever!


Two weeks

Last week: the weather was pretty, the leaves really started turning, Jon got older so we baked him his favorite (pumpkin cheesecake) and there was a party thrown by his boss, then Calvin and I headed up north for a few days to take in the colors.

This week: up north we experienced a veritable monsoon, we discovered that Calvin outgrew all his winter pants sometime over the last three weeks, we bird watched; back home we ran an experiment in measuring friction, we beat the Yankees, my brother surprised us by coming home for the weekend, and we beat Michigan State.

That's the short of it, and really the long as well.


Turning six, the party edition 

I mentioned a month or so ago, in the wake of our first child's birthday party, that Calvin had already worked out his birthday party guest list, including such family members as his grandparents and aunts and uncles. He also planned out the menu, which started with havarti and dill cheese, crackers, guacamole, and salsa, continued with grilled salmon, fresh green beans, and potato salad for dinner, and finished with carrot cupcakes decorated in the colors of Oz.

He also designed his own invitation (the penguin on the left is Calvin, with blue eyes, and that's green-eyed me on the right, lighting the last candle on the cake with the electric lighter).

And he helped bake and decorate the carrot cupcakes.

One of his birthday requests had been for more of the delightful and unique Oz characters we'd given him last year, and the artist who'd made the first set happily obliged with some beautiful additions. It was his first present of the day.

Everyone who was in town came to the party and made it a wonderful afternoon, with presents and game play and munching and laughing and loving.


And now it's official. He's six.


birthday parties

We attended our first birthday party today. Our first birthday party of Calvin's childhood years, the kind that, at this age, means both parent and child attendance. Twenty-four children and the adults that went with them, and Calvin was one of only two boys. The kids made cat ear headbands, then ran wild in the basement before consuming fruit, veggies, hotdogs, and cake as a prelude to present opening that took half the time it could have, and twice the time it should have.

Calvin said he had fun, and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed the cat ear making, but it was clear to me after the first thirty minutes why we have yet to throw a party of this kind in our own home. In particular, something about the scads of presents that go largely unnoticed makes my stomach turn. Calvin told me in the car, and then Jon later, that his feelings had been hurt when the birthday girl had taken no notice of the gift he gave her. It opened the floor for a heart felt discussion about showing gratitude, and about doing our best for others but being our own best fans and not worrying about others' assessments of us. Still, it always breaks my heart when he is sad.

After we talked more about the party—Calvin liked the cake and loved the ears—we asked him what kind of party he thought he'd like to have for himself this year, a party with family, like we've had in the past, or a party with friends? "Definitely a friends party," he told us, and when asked what friends he would like to invite he replied "Oh, gram and grandpa, and Oma and Opa, of course, and Aunt Wendy and Uncle Jack. Just like our Easter party. That was a good party." 

As Calvin meets more kids in our community and makes more friends closer to his own age I know that answer will change. Maybe that will even happen this year. I'm actually looking forward to throwing a child's birthday party some day, a reasonable number of children playing games and creating take-home crafts and eating cake and ice cream, but for now I'll just enjoy the sheer adorable-ness of that answer and all that it means.


The Himalayas from Africa

There is nothing like spending a birthday at Disney to make you feel young again. A quick check-in at guest services procured for me a birthday pin, complete with my name in large letters, so that everywhere I went Disney staff, and sometimes others, were wishing me a happy birthday. So how old am I today? Maybe five.

We spent the day at Animal Kingdom. Calvin enjoyed the flying triceratops carnival ride, but not so much the Dinosaur thrill ride, and we all enjoyed the Kilimanjaro Safari through Africa from which we spotted giraffes, elephants, lions, and cheetahs as well as a variety of grazing ungulates. We ate ice cream for lunch (gasp) and lest we forget that this is the place of dreams and memory making, we snapped a quick picture of the family with the Himalayas in the background...from the bridge in Kenya (or wherever we were in Africa).

The Tree of Life really is beautiful, carved with many species so as to be eye pleasing and thoroughly engrossing. We skipped the line at the runaway train (in the Himalayas) and fell in love with the tigers, the golden pheasants, and especially the flying foxes in Asia.

Home again, home again (or resort again, resort again) to enjoy the snack bar (and regular bar) and the pool, before heading back to Downtown Disney for a birthday dinner—crab legs and whole lobsters for five, plus wine, plus a surprise birthday cake at the end. We topped it off with Irish coffee before catching the bus back to our hotel, and with Calvin and the grandparents all in bed Jon and I capped the evening with a stroll on the resort pond, and a stop at the tiki bar.

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