Josh actually kicked the birthday festivities off on Wednesday night. Counter to our agreement to only do presents that cost next-to-nothing or less, Josh bought me a rocking gift and had it shipped to his office earlier in the week. Unable to sit on it any longer, he gave it to me on Wednesday. More on that in a second...
Yes, today was my birthday. How old am I? Well, let's just put it this way. According to Abby, I'm "way bigger than Daddy". Actually, I'm only five months older than Josh, but 32 apparently sounds "way bigger" than 31 in the mind of a four-year-old. When I walked into the kids' room this morning, they immediately broke into a long and lengthy serenade of "Happy Birthday" -- the 17th or 18th round this week.
They've been practicing a lot.
Before we could get dressed and downstairs, my fabulous friend, Alissa, called to let me know there would be a little surprise at my doorstep when I got downstairs (Alissa's a serious early-riser, but she knows I don't get into all that "watch the sunrise" mess). The kids and I hopped down the stairs to find Alissa's famous homemade blueberry muffins sitting outside our door -- only this time, she had yanked the blueberries in favor of the world's most delicious chocolate, Ghirardelli Bittersweet. YUM! The little ones (and I) squealed with delight and tore into our breakfast present.
At one point, Abby looked over at Izzy and giggled, "Oh Izzy! Mommy, she's such a mess. I didn't get any chocolate on me!"
No, honey. You sure didn't.
Jack, on the other hand, needed to be pressure-washed to get all the chocolate off of his face and hands. And shirt and shorts. And knees and toes.
I started to tidy up from breakfast, and the kids went outside to play for a while (there's a new toy out there...that's another post for another day). Recognizing the rarity of the few minutes of quiet I had, though, I plopped down in a chair to open a couple of gifts my mom and Josh's mom had sent. Shoes and clothes! My mom did a super job of picking out some snazzy boots, and Josh's mom nailed it with the shirt she sent (it has a little drawing of a minivan on it with the words "this is how we roll" written underneath). From present-opening, the kids and I left and went to Publix...where I saved 40% off of my grocery bill. Not my best ever, but I'll certainly take it.
After we got home, my sweet friend, Michelle* dropped by to bring me a little something (It was homemade peanut butter that she had just made...using a juicer. I'm not even sure what a juicer does, and I'm certainly not sure how a juicer "juices" a peanut. Whatever.) After naps for the kids and a shower for me, I scooted out the door for a photo session (I'm going to try really hard to get some teaser shots up tomorrow).
*On a side note about Michelle, Abby was born on Michelle's birthday. Michelle is now almost 38 weeks pregnant with her third, Lily Kate (remember their session?), so I told her it's only fitting that if I had my daughter on her birthday, then she should have her daughter on my birthday. I'm guessing it's not happening, though. Third babies can come fast, but it's only my birthday for 8 more minutes.
But back to the festivities, my parents had called earlier in the week and said that if I wanted to pick somewhere to eat, they'd like to come take us out for dinner for my birthday. I thought
CHIPOTLE! Our family could eat at Chipotle 10 times a week and be perfectly happy. Broke -- but happy. We had a wonderful time with my parents (minus Jack's run-in with the metal table and Izzy's run-in with the concrete floor), and just when we were about to leave, my mom surprised me with one more birthday present.
BLACK FOREST CAKE!! Like I mentioned in the kids' birthday post last week, I'm not a big cake-eater, but my mom's Black Forest Cake isn't just cake. It's a bit more like...hmm, what's the word? Oh, I know! It's a bit more like perfection. I'm sure we'll have it in heaven.
These are just a few of the special parts of today. I've gotten to talk to lots of friends, read lots of cards and e-mails, and I've gotten sung to over and over by the "Happy Birthday" brigade. But I can't go without telling you about my gift from Josh. He sat me down Wednesday night at the table and told me to close my eyes and hold my hands out. He walked in from outside and told me that he'd gotten me a gift that weighs 18 pounds and is furry (sarcastically referencing the cat we somehow own but nobody likes). The box he handed me did weigh 18 pounds, but thankfully, there was nary a hair to be found on it.
What I did find when I opened the box was a new computer monitor! If you're thinking to yourself, "okie-dokie -- he really outdid himself", then you have no idea how unpleasant it is to be a professional photographer working off of a 15" tinker-toy computer screen. I've mentioned a couple of times in the past that I could really benefit from a new monitor, so Josh took it upon himself to do the research and find exactly what I needed for my business. And what he got is perfect!
So big, in fact, that all three of our children can sit simultaneously in the box it came in and play "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"...
We joke that reading an e-mail now is like watching a tennis match. Look left. Look right. Look left. Look right. But the best part is that not only did he find a great monitor, but he found it at a great deal! He bought a refurbished Dell...on sale!!
That man certainly knows how to warm my heart.
Thanks to all for making my birthday such a special one. And by the way, did anyone else notice that 95% of the festivities today revolved around food? It hadn't occurred to me until I was typing, and it seems like every paragraph I wrote had to do with something edible. (Speaking of food, the kids' "adopted grandparents", Steve and Libby, are taking them out tomorrow night so Josh and I can have a date night. We're going out to dinner.)
Hmmm -- maybe the fact that our children enjoy food as much as they do isn't so odd after all.