Mid-sabbatical update

(Is is the middle of my sabbatical? The exact middle? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. If it’s more than halfway done, I’ll be sad. Okay, I don’t think it is. But it’s close. That’s okay! As long as it’s not actually halfway over. It’s not. Whew.)

I want to open with this really exciting work thing – I know, I’m not even working! But I haven’t been able to talk about it until this month. Ages ago, I mentioned to our marketing team that sewists use WordPress.com for blogging about sewing a lot. And they paid attention, particularly my friend Michelle, who is on the editorial team and is one of the most amazing and funny and coolest people I know. We chatted a bunch about it at a lunch at the GM, and then she brought it up at one of their meetings. And things led to things and I told her about The Sewcialists website, and then they created this really amazing list called the Anything is Possible list, and look, I don’t want to take too much credit, but I mean, I want to take a little credit, but who ended up on the list but The Sewcialists! And check out this video, which gets me choked up every.single.time!

 

On the other hand, yesterday was a horrible, terrible, not good, very bad day. The van has been not wanting to start sometimes for a while, but it always would start after a little while with some prodding. (I feel bad now that I never named it.) Yesterday, it just wouldn’t. After some coaxing and sweet talking and banging on some parts, and trying to jumpstart it, I finally gave in and had it towed to the mechanic. Fingers crossed it’s not too expensive. I’d just like one more year out of it. At least. George’s car only has one more payment, and it sure would be nice to have no payments for a while, eh?

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When I came home from bringing the boys to the bus stop (where it died, which was not convenient) I found that Ziggy had snuck into my bedroom and was curled up on my bed, which was cute. But the puddle of pee on my bedskirt, where he has peed a few times now, was most decidedly NOT CUTE. Taking the bedskirt off a king bed to wash is not fun, but I’m looking forward to putting it back on even less. Argh.

One positive part of the day was taking the ferry across the river to the aquarium to see Linus giving a presentation with a group of his classmates on the Gulf of Mexico. Thank goodness we got in for free again. The aquarium costs THIRTY DOLLARS if you don’t have a membership. Ridiculous.

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Anyway, while I was at the aquarium, the school nurse called. Of course. Because Miles’s asthma was flaring up. Of course. Fortunately, she was able to get it under control. But I stressed hard about that for the next several hours.

But that’s enough about yesterday. Today I’m stuck at home so I’m going to tackle the reorganization of the upstairs bathroom. Time to throw out the makeup from my wedding, finally. Ha ha! I kid! Um yeah! For sure, totally kidding!

What else has happened? Well, the Saints game. I’m not even going to talk about that. I made some scarves with pockets and sold them to neighborhood moms and, well, I guess I won’t be selling any more until next fall. But they are super cute. I’m going to try some Mardi Gras prints next. The pockets are super handy!

Also.

Linus had a disgusting bump on his arm and we had to get it…dealt with. (Any other words I could use in conjunction with that are too gross.)

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Soccer started back up for the spring.

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gotta tackle the dining room next. eek

We went to visit Granny and Grandpa, and the boys are very very very close to being as tall as them.img_1803

My kitchen is still clean from Kiki’s visit! And yes, I have cooked!!! (and yes, that is clean!)

I ordered new glasses.

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Okay, no more procrastinating via blog post. Gotta go tackle the bathroom!

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Happy birthday (week) to me!

Last week (on Wednesday), I turned 44 and it was a great birthday week. I’ll try not to make this too wordy, but I mean, a lot of fun stuff happened, so I may fail.

We have to start on Tuesday when the washing machine broke. I know, this birthday week isn’t starting out too promisingly, is it? Particularly since it was the day the boys went back to school, and I had literally been counting down the minutes until I had some peace and quiet and solitude in the house. Instead, I had our friend Chris come over to try to fix the washer (he determined it wasn’t easily fixable, and we’d already fixed this thing a zillion times) so happy early birthday to me, I went to Home Depot and picked out a new washing machine.

I mean, exciting, except for the part where you have to pay for a new washing machine. (It wasn’t delivered until Saturday, but I’ll skip ahead and show you a picture of this beautiful giant that can wash enormous loads of laundry.)

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Aw, our poor lil’ dryer is dwarfed by it.

Okay, so Tuesday night is when the excitement really started. Kiki flew in! I picked her up and we went to Mopho for dinner and had pho and these really delicious chicken wings.

And then Wednesday, it was my birthday! Yay!

I woke up bright ‘n’ early with the boys and got them off to the bus stop, and then Kristina and I went to Orangetheory, where, duh, we wore shirts that I made (kind of like the ones I made for our trip to Harry Potter World.)

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I got so many birthday wishes! This was a great idea she had. Definitely do this on your birthday.

Next, we went home to shower, then hopped on the ferry (it was a gorgeous day) with mimosas and met Teresa for lunch at French Toast. (I’m friends with the owners, and I had been wanting to check it out since it’s pretty new.)

Next, we went in search of a king cake since I knew that it would make the boys happy, and it could also stand in for my birthday cake. After we found it, we got an Uber back to the house so we could meet the boys at the bus stop.

We hit up Ann Frances’s birthday party for a while and took our usual birthday pic together. ❤

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7 and 44!

We rested for a little while and then we went and had pizza for dinner at Tavolino, a restaurant in the neighborhood.

And after dinner, the boys gave me cards (Linus didn’t want me to share his, but here are the ones I got from Oliver and Miles, and of course I cried a bit.)

And then we had king cake!

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And then Kiki and I went to have a nightcap at the pub. But we didn’t last too long, we were exhausted.

Thursday, Kristina spent the morning cleaning the crap out of my kitchen, which is basically her favorite thing to do. Meanwhile, I got a much-needed haircut.

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Awkward, exhausted selfie! But dang my hair looked goooooood.

Later, we went to a fabric store that I love so Kristina could pick out fabric for the skirt I was going to make her. Then we went to get 80 minute massages at a spa. Oh man, that was heavenly! That night, we made a pot of Italian sausage and kale and tortellini soup for the grown ups and sushi rolls for the kids. I also made a cucumber salad for the boys AND THEY ATE IT AND LIKED IT. So obviously the apocalypse is upon us.

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Friday morning, we went back to Orangetheory, and then had a late lunch at Turkey and the Wolf. We split a bologna sandwich and a collard green melt. It was good, for sure, but we were both scratching our head a bit at how a hipster sandwich place got named “Best New Restaurant in America.” (The collard green melt was too spicy for me, sad sad sad.)

Kristina spent every spare moment organizing my pantry and the rest of the kitchen, and it’s pretty amazing right now. She loves to do that stuff. And then she was supposed to leave Saturday evening, but there was snow forecast where she lives for Saturday night, so she changed her flight to Saturday morning. SAD PAM.

I brought her to the airport while the new washer was being delivered, and then spent the rest of the day resting and getting ready for the CAMAN Ball that I was attending that night with friends. It was a speakeasy theme, and it was a lot of fun getting all glammed up. Jen was my date.

Oh wait, so now I have to tell you about the presents I got because it’s kind of funny how excited I am about them. Well, funny if you don’t sew. But George got me a cordless iron! And my mom got me nice scissors (now I really do feel bad for sneaking her nice scissors for cutting paper when I was little) and a new ironing board! I mean, not just ANY ironing board. This thing is TALL and WIDE and NOT WOBBLY and the base for my new iron sits on a holder on the end and it doesn’t squeak and it’s all very very exciting. If you sew, anyway. Also my lovely friends got me Joann gift cards and THE FUN NEVER STOPS.

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2018 in review

It’s time to look back at 2018 before too much of 2019 has gone past and I forget all about it.

It was a busy year! And I definitely didn’t blog enough, especially at the end of the year, where I had to rely too much on Instagram posts for my recaps. I’ll try to fix that for 2019. But my mantra for this year is “stop trying to do everything” which I’m afraid might turn into “turn into a lazy blob” so 2020’s mantra might need to revolve around moderation. We’ll see. Anyhoo, onto the year’s recap:

January

I turned 43. Had a nice day.

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It (sorta, not really, but close enough for the boys) snowed!

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But the best part of January was going with Steph to see My Favorite Murder live. What a fantastic night that was. Eeeek!!! The best part, of course:

 

Meeting and hugging the hosts of the show, Karen and Georgia, and getting a picture. Eeek! So fun.

And then, at the end of January, Linus said something to me that would change the course of the entire year. He said, “Mama, I think I want to play soccer again.”  Continue reading

Sabbatical so far (days 1-19)

You know what’s funny? I was going to try to blog every day of my sabbatical.

Ha hahahahha ha ha ha!

Well. You know, when you don’t have to sit in front of your computer every day, you’re really not inclined to sit in front of your computer if you don’t have to.

So, I’ll just update you on what I’ve been up to in my days of leisure since my last real blog post. One pic per day. (ish)

Day 1: Worked out, sewed a ton, joked about eating bon bons on couch, but definitely did eat bon bons on couch.

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Day 2: Sewed a ton. Made a Christmas tree skirt! (I know, I already blogged about that.)

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Day 3: Finished 20 toast-themed scrunchies for a friend who owns a local chain of restaurants called, you guessed it, Toast. (yum)

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Day 4: Stephanie and I wore the Mexican tablecloth skirts I made while we sang a duet of The Christmas Song. Just be glad this isn’t a video.

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Day 5: I went Christmas shopping and got the boys this ornament. Summed up their 2018 nicely.

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Day 6: Finally! Kiki’s annual box of cookies arrived! And the jersey Linus ordered that was almost exactly like the one I had ordered for him for Christmas! (Just a different player on the back, which fortunately makes it EXTREMELY different in his eyes.) This got long so click to read more

Winner winner poulet dinner!

The boys’ school had their annual winter fair this weekend, and for the first time in 8 years, I won a raffle basket!

See, each class picks a theme and puts together a basket, and each class tries to outdo the others for the best basket. My co-room parent for Linus’s class is Jill, and she’s a real pro at this. Way at the beginning of the year she said, “let’s do scratch-off lottery tickets” and I said OKAY because it’s easy and fun, and well, let me get to the point, I put all three of the raffle tickets I bought in the bucket for our “basket” (really it was a frame) and I WON!

(Probably it took me 8 years to win because I’m cheap and only buy a few raffle tickets.)

Anyway, it was EXTREMELY exciting when they called my name as the winner. I screamed and jumped up and down and generally displayed some glee.

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I texted Jill immediately to tell her I won, and I told her I’d video myself scratching off the tickets so she could see what I won. (I also promised her dinner if I won big. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but let’s just say my winnings would probably cover a nice meal from Popeyes.)

Things and stuff

I think it’s time for another blog post full of randomness.

Like…

My sabbatical starts in 32 days, 7 hours, 41 minutes, and 43 seconds! (A bit less by the time I actually post this, of course.)

And our cruise is coming up fast (don’t bother robbing us while we’re gone, we’re going to have a house sitter. Plus we have nothing to steal unless you like fabric. Please don’t steal my fabric.) and I’m working on shorts for the boys.

After the cruise is the boys’ school Winter Fair and my friend Bea is having a booth and she’s letting me sell some of my bags! So exciting! So I uh, need to make some bags. I wish I could bring my sewing machine on the cruise. Hmm.

Remember when I tripped and skinned my knees like a little kid in my friend’s backyard way back in August? (I may not have mentioned it here.) Well, I also hurt my right foot a bit at the time, but not a ton, but it’s just been bugging me ever since. I finally went to my orthopedist and he confirmed it was nothing major, which was a relief. It’ll just take a while to heal, and it’s fine to continue exercising and not do the things that make it hurt (mostly lunges and burpees OH DARN and anything that causes me to flex my toes.)

But what I found out that was interesting is that I have extra bones in my foot! Under my toes! And they’re all broken up! Most people only have this tiny bone under their big toe, but I have them under all of my toes, and they should be in one piece, but they’re in a few pieces. He said that is due to some old trauma, and it wasn’t causing my pain, it was just an interesting discovery that we found because of the x-rays I had.

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Yellow arrows point to normal (broken) bones. Red ones are bonus bones!

If I had to guess, the “trauma” was running two marathons and 13 half marathons overweight. Whatevs.

In other news, competitive soccer is done for the fall, but school soccer has begun! It’s not as time-consuming, though. But I do have to pick them up from school a couple of times a week. But that’s okay, I guess.

OH, this is exciting – I have been wanting to volunteer in a NICU starting during my sabbatical but I hadn’t had much luck getting into any of the programs in local hospitals. Finally, I got a call back from two hospitals, even though neither of them had openings in the NICU. I chose the local Children’s hospital because it’s smaller. I went to volunteer orientation, got my TB test (negative, whew) and some other tests, and I’m just waiting for an interview now so I can be put on the schedule. To start, I’ll be walking people around the hospital so they don’t get lost (it’s kind of a maze) but at some point, I’ll get into the NICU to rock babies. I’m in this for the long haul, so no rush. I can be patient.

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That’s where they injected tuberculosis into me. Or something.

So sabbatical plans:

  • Organize house (i.e., throw away a lot of stuff)
  • Sew!
  • Volunteer at hospital, hopefully get to rock some babies at least
  • See Kiki at some point
  • Work out a lot, make muscles bigger

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    It’s a start.

Pretty low-key.

In yet other news, my lemon tree might be dying. My black thumb strikes again. I’m so sad. It was full of lemons, but they abruptly stopped growing at some point, but ripened really fast, and ended up the size of ping pong balls instead of grapefruit like last year. The leaves on the tree are all withered and it’s v sad. It doesn’t look good.

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This is a shoebox.

My theories are either that the Bradford pear next to it is stealing all the sunlight (but surely it wasn’t that much shorter last year?) or something to do with fresh, healthy lemon tree growth at the base of the tree? Sapping all the nutrients from the rest of the tree? I have no idea.

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Sad leaves (from before I picked the lemons). Not the big, healthy, glossy green leaves I’m used to. 😦

Anyhoo, that’s about it for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I hit “publish” but I’d better do it before I have to change the sabbatical countdown at the top of the post again.

The rest of Mardi Gras 2018

More pics from Fat Tuesday, plus our neighborhood parade on Saturday, NOMTOC, which was also NORMTOC because Norm just turned 70 so we made shirts.

And on Mardi Gras day, we costumed in a Pixar theme (I really should talk about how amazing I am for pulling this together the night before, after going to a million different stores and crafting late into the evening) and walked down to watch St. Anne’s in the Marigny (a walking parade that has most excellent people-watching) and then tried to catch the end of Rex but it was too crowded and we were all exhausted. But it was fun.

My goal in life is to one day do a group costume with friends that involves a dance we get to perform in the middle of the street, like these people.

Well, until next year…

 

SNOW SNOW SNOW (well sorta)

Brrrrr, it’s gotten cold here! Everyone was excited when this showed up on the weather app:

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The ever elusive snowflake icon!!!

 

And this is what we woke up to:

Okay, it wasn’t really snow, I don’t think. More like tiny ice crystals. But who cares? It looked like snow and it was white and it blanketed the ground, so good enough for us. (Though it would have been nice if it had stuck together for snowmen and snowballs. Alas.)

The boys had a blast, though, and that’s the main thing. School was out yesterday and today. The roads were too icy to drive on yesterday (because, people from the North, we aren’t used to it, and our infrastructure wasn’t designed to deal with it, so stop being snots about it) and I had some friends with burst pipes, which sucked for them. (Again, our houses aren’t built to withstand freezing temps for prolonged periods.)

 

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Pretty much says it all. (Courtesy of my friend Lindsay)

 

Should warm up in the next couple of days which is a relief because I’m ready for the boys to go back to school!

Oh, and I threw together this post for NOMB the other night. My favorite (because it’s true.)

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Random whatnot (including magic hair)

How is it already mid-January? Yeesh. At least we’ve actually had a winter here. Though freezing temperatures without snow are pointless. So if we could just have a flurry here while I’m home at the same time the boys are, that’d be great. Thanks.

We had a busy weekend – the boys had a sleepover Friday night for a friend’s birthday, then Saturday night one of their friends slept over, then Sunday we went to yet another birthday party. (Fortunately they had Monday to recover.)

Random pictures of kids stuck to a wall from the Sunday birthday party:

I also did some baking over the weekend. Make pizza dough for the boys’ dinner Saturday night, then made a king cake for breakfast the next day.

I used this recipe, but halved the yeast. (In the past, the king cakes I’ve made have tasted too yeasty.) It came out pretty well. I should have baked it at a lower temperature, I think. The outside was getting dark, but the inside was still possibly not cooked as much as I’d have liked (but not raw.) I could just hear Paul and Mary critiquing it. But everyone else liked it, so I’m going to stop pretending I’m on the Great British Bake Off. (I do have some other ideas on how to improve it for next time…)

In other news, I ordered two fun things from Amazon that I’m excited about.

Hair straightening brush. This is magic! My sister has one and I used it when she was in town, so I treated myself for my birthday.

CHECK THIS OUT!!! That’s before – I didn’t touch my hair this morning after washing it. No brushing or anything. That’s totally air dried. And the after is from six minutes of brushing with the magic brush! Insane.

Usually straight hair involves blow drying (pfft no way) and then flat ironing for 15 minutes while I curse the hard to reach hair at the back of my head. This was just brush, brush, brush, avoid ears because last time I burned the crap out of the back of my ear. I mean, this thing gets hot, but as long as you’re careful, it’s fine.

Rose gold glitter sneakers. For Mardi Gras, but also, you know, for always.

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I also wanted to share the post I wrote for New Orleans Moms Blog. All about my love of football. (Yeah right.)

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126 books in 2017

I read 90 books in 2016, so that means I read 38% more books in 2017! Want to see what I read?

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(I think that’s only 125 covers, but I remembered another book later that I forgot to record, but it was really a novella so it’s okay. Maybe I should say I read 125.5 books this year?)

In any case, this year I’m going to be more organized and instead of just saving screenshots of the covers (since 99% of the books I read are on my phone) I’ll use Goodreads like I should have all along. (I used Goodreads to generate these graphics, btw.) (You can follow me here, if you like.)

The books are shown in the order I read them in so you can see that sometimes I’ll find an author that I enjoy, and then read the crap out of whatever the library has. Some authors I devoured everything I could get my hands on either because I loved their books (Tana French, Jenny Han) or because I couldn’t find anything better to read (Nancy Thayer, Sarah Morgan.)

I read a lot of YA this year (Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, Geekerella.) I was surprised at how much better The Nightingale was than most of Kristen Hannah‘s other books, though many of them were very enjoyable. But I mean, what, did she take a writing class before writing that?

I also read a surprising (to me, when I look back over the year) number of memoirs. Probably the first half of Shrill was my favorite. I spent most of Cat Marnell’s book on edge and feeling very nervous for her.

You can also see that I read a lot of fluff (unapologetically) which probably explains why I can read 126 books in 365 days. I’m also happy to say I think I purchased only one of these books, and it was the aforementioned novella, and the proceeds went to charity. Libraries FTW!

High points:

Low points:

  • All the books that I know I read but can’t recall at all.
  • The two Danielle Steel books that are the books I am ashamed of reading. They were just so terrible. I get these from the library when desperate. But they’re the only two books I’m embarrassed for you to see here. I should have stopped reading three pages in.
  • The latter of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series that I read. I enjoyed the first one, but my enjoyment lessened the further I got into the series. They were kind of a slog to read, but I was desperate for more dark mysteries after I’d finished the Tana French books.
  • A book you won’t see listed – Into the Water. I just could not get into it. I hate not finishing books (see Danielle Steel, above), but life’s too short.

Overall, though, it was a good year for reading. On to 2018! I don’t have any quantity goals but I’d be happy to match 2017. I’m currently on book #8, so I’m on my way!

516 months

Yesterday was my birthday! (I thought about taking a monthly picture, but no one was home to take it when it was still light outside, but that’d have been funny, eh? Darn, missed opportunity there.)

Anyway, even though this year I was at home and not gallivanting around the world in, say, San Francisco or Barcelona, I had a great birthday. In fact, one of the better ones, I’d say. It wasn’t particularly eventful, but just overall a lovely day. Well, except for the weather. I’d appreciate a sunny birthday more often, but sadly, January is gray and yucky too often to hope for that.

It started out with waking up with the boys and bringing them to the bus stop so I could see Ann Frances (my birthday buddy, you know.) Then I went to Orangetheory and thought at one point in the workout that it might end up that I would last exactly 43 years on this planet, but alas, I survived the workout. Stopped at a neighborhood coffee shop for a hot beverage and a pastry (apple turnover) and then went home to chill for a bit. (I took the day off work.)

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January 9 buddies

Kiki had sent me a pile of presents, and I wanted to spread them out throughout the day. So I opened one – a White House Christmas ornament. Earlier I’d opened one that had some face masks and cream in it.

I got on the ferry a little while later and met up with Heather and Steph for a fancy lunch at Antoine’s, one of those old traditional New Orleans restaurants in the French Quarter. (The oldest, in fact, having been around since 1840.) It was lovely, even if the service wasn’t the greatest. Then again, our waiter had been there for 50 years, and so what if he kept bringing me screwdrivers when I asked for martinis? (Part of the lunch special is 25 cent cocktails.) Anyway, I’d have been on the floor if I’d had three martinis, so perhaps he knew best.

After a delicious lunch of oysters, steak, and a meringue dessert, Heather drove me home, and I relaxed for a while until it was time to go get the boys. (I also opened another gift from Kiki – a copy of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook that I’ve been wanting. Yay!) I was going to let George pick them up, but I wanted to get a birthday cake. Kind of pathetic, having to buy my own birthday cake, but if I wanted one, I’d have to buy it. So I went to the grocery store and found a yellow cake/chocolate frosting number, and here’s where it gets even sadder.

I asked them to put “Happy Birthday” on it, but when she asked for a name, I just said, “no name, that’s fine.” I’m sure it seemed odd, but not as pathetic as it would have been if she’d realized Pam was me. What if I went to check out and the cashier noticed the name on the cake was the same as the name on my debit card? I know it’s a long shot, but I didn’t feel like risking it. Usually, that kind of thing doesn’t bother me, but I just couldn’t make myself do it. So my cake remained nameless.

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Also my Ron Swanson came in the mail!

When I went to pick up the boys, Miles informed me he’d made me a card!!! This is all I ever want from the boys, and I was thrilled. It was the sweetest card. Ack!

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Oliver posted a Happy Birthday on Instagram that morning, which was indescribably sweet. It was a terrrrrrible picture of me, but that’s kind of okay, you know? Like, he doesn’t think it’s a terrible picture. He just sees Mom. So sweet.

(Yeah, nothing from Linus, but I did get plenty of hugs at least.)

When we got home, I opened my gifts from George (another lens for my phone – this one a telephoto) and a glow in the dark cockroach that I gave back to him. Thanks, dear. Ellie called me to say Happy Birthday, too.

Then we ordered dinner (pizza for the boys, pasta for me) and had cake. Later, I went to the pub for a birthday drink with Jenn and Terry and Steph, and came home way too late. So I’m tired today, but it was worth it – a nice day filled with friends and food and presents and love. What more could I ask for?

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Ten (eleven?) Halloweens

What the heck? How can this be the boys’ tenth Halloween? I suppose we could say it’s their eleventh. Ten years ago at about 28 weeks pregnant, I dressed up as a magic 8 ball, which was pretty fun. I wish I had better pictures of my costume, but this is the only one I have…

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2007: Magic 8 ball

The costumes improved a bit after they were extracted from the womb…

2008
2008: Candy
2009
2009: Monkeys (and a bunch of bananas)
2010
2010: Woody(s)! And Jessie.
2011
2011: Construction workers
2012
2012: Superheroes! (Note Ironman’s feet)
2013
2013: Power Ranger, Anakin, Power Ranger
2014
2014: Hulk, Wyld Style, some Transformer, Mario
2015
2015: The Pokemon year
2016
2016: Ninjas
2017
2017: Little fox, vampire, brown raccoon (named Darcy)