posts tagged with 'birthday'

Harvey's strawberry party

Harvey at work in the strawberry field

birthday boy at work

On Friday we celebrated Harvey's birthday with friends. After having some trouble scheduling we expected a small crowd and decided to treat a few friends to strawberry picking—but as it turned out fully 14 kids, including ours, were able to make it out to help Harvey with the harvest.

Harvey and Ollie carrying a tray of strawberries they picked

good friends

Theoretically, at least: the party was at 10:00, and the fields closed for picking at 10:30. And some people were late. But I picked extra berries to share, and there was plenty of time to feed the animals.

a black sheep eating out of Zion's hand

he has them eating out of his hand

A worse problem, though, was that the farm staff freaked out at the idea of us sharing a picnic at the farm (on one of the two dozen picnic tables they have out front), so we had to come up with a plan B for the explicitly birthday part of the gathering. Luckily we had smart phones and a double stroller.

the double stroller full of party supplies

have stroller, will travel

Eventually—though not without a significant amount of confusion—the party moved to the playground of the local elementary school: a hot, dusty spot, but with plenty for the kid to do. Add a couple tables, and it was all we needed for a proper celebration!

some of the kids sitting around a table on the playground

food and company

After they ate lunch (and cake!) the kids headed back to the playground.

Harvey and friends on a plaground spider web

two of them must be flies...

While the big kids ran around the slower ones did some more relaxed playing with their mamas.

mamas and littler ones playing in the sandbox, big kids in the background

almost shady

Elijah had a great time playing music on a metal globe.

Lijah playing with a playground music feature


We finished up by watching Harvey open his presents. They were all hits: he read the Tintin book first (on the way home), then he built the lego set, then he dug a hole (and buried a treasure) with his new shovel—all while wearing his new hat.

Harvey opening presents, friends looking on

enthusiastic audience

Happy Birthday Harvey!


this moment

Harvey and Ollie behind the strawberry birthday cake

happy 6, Harvey!

A moment from the week this morning.

party preparations

We're up late this evening getting ready to host our first ever destination birthday party: to celebrate Harvey turning six we'll be picking strawberries, looking at animals, and sharing a picnic lunch at Parlee Farm. Sure we need to pack up lots of food and utensils, but on the other hand we're not worrying about cleaning up the house, so I think it's a win. The cake, though, took some time, and it's not even done yet: four chocolate layers in the fridge and ganache and strawberry puree reduction are ready for final assembly tomorrow.

It's a good thing the party is in the morning, because I think I'm going to need to be in bed by mid afternoon.

Zion's blue monkeys

When asked what he wanted for his birthday this year, Zion would pout and mutter, "Everything," or "Nothing." Sometimes he would just put his thumb in his mouth and scowl at me. To other people he announced that he was turning two, not four.

The pour child. He has some issues.

Despite his obstinant regression, I still wanted to make Zion a present to commemorate his birthday. I still love him, even if he's not the baby anymore. Even if he craps his pants four times a day and tries to kick me in the tits when I unbuckle his carseat, I still love that little gremlin. He had asked a while back for a sock monkey just like Harvey's, only BLUE, so I whipped up this striped lady.

blue because Zion likes blue

But that didn't seem to be enough, given the emotional intensity of the situation. So I sewed an additional component. Zion had a pair of wool socks he never wore. He is super particular about his socks; they have to be dark blue cotton with scratchy letters on the bottom. Indeed, he's said to me, "Even when I grow as big as you I'll still wear socks with scratchy letters." So in honor of Zion's definitiveness on this and every other subject I took his non-standard wool socks and turned them into a baby monkey.

baby because baby is an important concept in our emotional universe

Mama and baby monkeys both have velcro hands and feet, so that they can hug Zion or each other as he sees fit. It's my subtle way of saying to my stubborn child: You can't get rid of me that easy. Hit me, hate me, my love for you is like mother-f-ing velcro.

i love you Mama monkey

Zion is going to be okay in the long run. I's legitimately hard being four. It's hard not being the baby, being little, being bossed around by the person you love most in the whole world, your dominating older brother. Zion's anger is good and honest resistance to the difficulties he faces. As a resistor myself I want to tell him something like: Go on with your bad self. It's okay. Just come to me when you need a hug. You crazy little monkey.

i love you baby monkey.


Zion starts to turn four

the cake: white frosting with blue sugar and blueberries

blue cake

We had Zion's "friend party" today, kicking off at least three days of birthday extravaganza for our favorite middle child. Should be four days, now that I think about it. Since he's a little brother, the red candle in the cake pictured above is a hand-me-down, but the rest of the cake is blue to his specifications; those blodges on the top are meant to be flowers.

There were 15 kids kicking around at one time or another, but it felt like a pretty small, relaxed gathering. We started off with lunch: spaghetti, chicken nuggets, and quesadillas as requested, plus watermelon and chocolate milk. Ollie made sure to get a good seat for the feast.

Ollie enjoying lunch on a big lawn chair

concentrating on the food

Then we opened presents—we decided to do it before desert when we found Zion sitting on the stairs inside. "I'm lookin at my presents," he told us. From his friends he got bubbles and a golf set, a pirate puzzle, and a popgun that instantly captured his attention.

Zion shooting his new popgun, birthday guests in the background


I didn't have anything for him, but Mama more than made up for me with a pair of beautiful blue sock monkeys (I also expect she got some good pictures that she'll put up here soon!). Both of them are tucked in bed with the birthday boy now, along with the blue cow that Harvey sewed him last year.

I suppose my part in the celebration was the cake, and I had a great time making it with lots of help from Zion this morning. The frosting was a great frustration later, but I'm almost ready to let that go, and I'm grateful to Zion that he happily accepted my icing "flowers", never mind they don't look anything like the ones on the cakes at Market Basket that gave him the idea. I bet they were a lot tastier, though.

While he enjoyed the flowers and the top layer of blueberry cake, though, he saved most of his desert appetite for his true love.

Zion concentrating on his chocolate ice-cream cone

that's the stuff

Over the past couple weeks Zion's been showing some apprehension about his birthday, so we were glad to see him having fun. When I asked him at bedtime what was his favorite part of the day, he said, "my birthday party" (never mind that he could have picked a more specific moment out of the five hours of fun). He also said, earlier, that he didn't want his party to end. I had good news for him on that: there's lots more celebration to come!


birthdays and other stressors

We're feeling kind of stretched around here these days. It's not so much that the three kids outnumber us, since the older two are good on their own for long stretches of time; but they do like someone to pay attention to them sometimes, and Lijah also requires some attention himself. Does he ever—day and night. After putting him to bed Leah this evening wanted to put in some work on the present she's making for Zion's birthday this weekend, but after the third baby wakeup she gave up in frustration. Just as an example. So there's lots I'd like to write about here that I am not writing, in favor of cleaning and reading to kids and even spending some quality time with Lijah. And, the past few days, getting organized to make birthday cards for Leah.

Because, even as she plans for Zion's party, we couldn't entirely ignore her own birthday today! I managed to pull the boys away from their books Sunday and friends yesterday to make cards, which came out pretty nicely; hopefully their elegance and creativity makes up for our lack of tangible presents for Mama this morning. I still owe her a couple. She's not super excited about her birthday, which I understand; I feel kind of the same way, which is why I was happy to have my own subsumed into Lijah's for the first time last month. The first time of many!

But still I can't let the day pass without marking it here: Happy Birthday Leah! And here's hoping that Lijah will give you the best present a baby can give: a reasonable night's sleep!


A lion for Lijah

Leading up to Elijah's birthday I was thinking about what I could make for him by way of a present. Suddenly I had a terrible realization. In his first year of his life I made exactly ZERO original items for him. Knitting and sewing for Lijah has been a null set, due to 1) the abundance of hand-me-downs and 2) his complete lack of giving a shit about sewn or knitted items. And it's been a hard year too - a lot of evenings punctuated every half-hour by screaming. Most rational humans would shy away from the noisy sewing machine under those conditions. Still, I couldn't let this continue past his birthday. S in 20-minute bursts (punctuated by screaming) I cut up a sweater and upcycled a cute stuffed lion.

cuddle rawr

I repurposed a sweater with a bottom ruffle that came to me used and proved completely unflattering on my body. The ruffle became the mane of the lion, which wasn't as self-explanatory as I originally assumed. Here's my tester piece for reference - you can see that sewing the ruffle on straight didn't work and I had to gather it in the final version.

lion ski bum?

Also in the final I added a tail with a ball on the end made from a button and its frog closure (which I meticulously un-picked). The second closure I unpicked to turn into ears.

loves you

Lijah liked the present just enough to drop it from his highchair repeatedly. He's not very into stuffed toys, like I said — justification for my laziness over the past year. Still, it's nice for him to grow up with homemade toys. Even if they never really PLAY with them, my older boys often ask, "Did you make this for me?" I like to pretend it's a tangible way that they know they're loved. Especially since I enjoy the challenge of making new things from unflattering sweaters.

Meanwhile, Elijah is into toys that he can gum more effectively. Here he is stealing a plastic ball from another babies at his party. Kid can stick up for himself. Nobody has to hear him rawrrr.



Elijah's first

a birthday cake in front of a chalkboard birthday message

Happy Birthday Elijah

This weekend was full of birthday fun with Lijah. Saturday we went to my parents' house for a party for him and me both—with a cake for each of us! Grandma Judy made mine (cheesecake!) and I made one for the birthday baby (applesauce vanilla cake, with peach jam between the layers and a buttercream glaze).

There were some very nice presents, but Lijah might have been more interested in the lovely—and easily reachable—appetizers.

Elijah standing at the coffee table amidst food and presents

party time

Luckily his brothers are always available to show him how to play with his toys (they even let him have a turn after a while!).

Harvey, Zion, and Elijah playing with Elijah's presents

helping hands

After a tremendous birthday dinner (thanks Mom!) it was time for cake. It was Lijah's second candle, but while he might be figuring out the routine the mechanics of candle-blowing still escape him.

Elijah in the dark looking at his lit birthday candle

will he blow it?

Then all that was left was to eat the cakes (though Lijah, healthful baby that he is, mostly stuck to the blueberries and strawberries).

Lijah and Zion at the birthday table with cake

big one-year-old and big brother

We had another party yesterday, but I didn't take any pictures of it. Leah did; I'm sure she'll post some as soon as she has a moment.


this moment

Elijah looking at a birthday candle on a pile of muffins, Zion singing in the background

Lijah's first

A moment from the week (this evening).

elijah is one

In preparation for Elijah's birthday (today) I have been looking back at pictures of my other children at 1 year old. They each had their innocent round faces still, and I loved them simply as my perfect angel babies. Looking back, though, I can see the beginnings of the personalities that would so deeply identify Harvey and Zion as themselves. Harvey, for example, is shown in nearly every photograph talking.

let me tell you something about this wind, mama....

And wanting to totally be the boss of his surroundings...

there's something in my way!

... and of everyone in them.

are you for real, mom?

Zion, on the other hand, always faced the world with a face that said, "I'm thinking of a joke..."

i am thinking of something silly...

Or, "I just told myself a joke."


But his countenance still turns serious in some situations. Like when it has to do with candy.

i love candy

So it's fun to think of little Elijah, 1 year old today, and the distinctive faces he makes.

There's the getting really happy face:

lijah standing leaning on the chalkboard holding chalk

i think something good is coming, but i'm not sure, but I'm kind of ready to break into a big smile

And the really happy face:

big smile!

There's the face that says, "I'm just here chilling, just one of the boys."

we're good, no need to intervene

And then there's the face that asks silently, "Is this okay for me to have, mom?"

is this okay?

We've had a whole year now to memorize Elijah's faces. It seems like a long time, like we have this knowing-him-thing down pretty well. And yet I realize from my other two children that the first birthday is a false front of a milestone. There is still so much more babyhood to go. There are first words and first tantrums. There are favorite books to pick out and a favorite color to identify. Lord I hope he likes green, because that would forever make it easy to keep their socks separate. But I know all too well, children grow up and have minds of their own.

So there's no hurry, little Elijah, to grow up and "become" anything other than what you are right now. With that sweet smile and tiny nose and soft pillow cheeks. "Your face," I tell him all the time, "is a kissing place."


fairy house

It began with a trip to Michaels.

Okay, so full disclosure, I should not be allowed to go on a trip to Michaels. Michaels is a crafting superstore one exit past Joanne Fabrics, and unlike Joannes which is mostly sewing stuff, Michaels stocks materials for EVERY hobby under the sun. Painting, beadwork, scrapbooking, not to mention fake floral arranging (?) and knock-off American Girl Doll clothes (??). It's just so overwhelming that my normal thrifty instincts break down, and I end up leaving the store with a bag full of hobby supplies that do not even match my hobbies. I never go to Michaels for that reason, but Dan had to get some things for work and I had to pick up a canvas for my mother's birthday present, so we went on a family outing together.

Also? I should not be allowed to bring my kids to Michaels. Because my kids are exactly like me only 30 years less mature. So when they saw FOAM CRAFT KITS! ON SALE! they immediately said, "Mama Mama Mama I think we should get some!" To which I replied, "Which ones do you like?" and my husband walked away from all of us in disgust.

only $5 each! For a toy AND a creative experience!

This is how Harvey got to make his first fairy house.

Well, okay, so first I made them wash the windows. Because we don't just BUY presents for NO REASON. When the windows were clean we got to work on the craft kits.

First I assembled Zion's boat (in approximately seventeen million minutes) then Harvey and I set to decorating his foam fairy house. We worked on it together, with him telling me where to squirt the hot glue, me working the glue gun, and him sticking on a pom-pom or glittering leaf. I've heard there are such things as low-temperature glue guns, and I may need to invest in one of those for the future. Or three.

Looking at the materials

After an hour of QUALITY TIME with my child (and trashing two rooms of the house with tiny pieces of foam) we had a fairy house all ready for its residents.

foam fairy house completed!

It was lovely! For about 24 hours. Then Zion got mad and tried to rip it apart. It doesn't matter what he got mad about - it's just that we shouldn't have rip-able toys lying around the living room. This includes paper, cardboard, and yes light foam. We should know better with an angry three-year-old in the house.

Harvey, to his credit, didn't stoop to destructive levels of anger. As he grows his moments of emotional resilience increase in number, and instead he casually remarked, "I think we should make a new fairy house. Out of FELT."

Oh my sweet sewing-inclined son. You always have excellent ideas.

felt fairy house, purple upon request

The next morning while Zion and Elijah slept, Harvey and I cut out felt pieces for the new house. While I tried to steer him towards brown and green (to make it look a tree, or something dumb like that) Harvey insisted that both body and roof be purple. With a red floor on the bottom. I followed his wishes because it was his fairy house after all, but I took charge choosing the accent colors (because I am controlling, and I like to LIKE the things I sew.) We had to abandon our project when the younger two children woke up, but when Harvey and Zion went to Grandma's later I finished the thing in a whirlwind three hour sewing session. I was supposed to clean and rest during that time, but sewing feverishly is a kind of resting, right? For manic people?

Of course, once that was done I needed to make some fairies.

"tinkerbell and snowy" according to Harvey

Truth be told, I wasn't really happy with the first two fairies. They didn't exactly match the aesthetic of the house. So I made a more basic model.

simpler fairy so the kids like it less

Then I decided I really MUST clean my house for a birthday party.

The first thing Harvey said when he saw the finished fairy house was, "Oh, this is a good surprise, Mama! Thank you for making it! I like how you made a leaf for the doorknob."

the fairy landlord

The other kids at the party were SUPER interested in the fairy house, and for a moment I thought it might get ripped in two. Thankfully however, felt and stabilizer turn out to be pretty strong. I was also nervous that Harvey's school-going friends might make fun of him for wanting a purple fairy house, but it turned out they thought it was pretty cool (though they did fight over who got to be the BLUE fairy.)

Of course, there were lot of new toys at the birthday party, and once Harvey abandoned the fairy house for some newer hotness Zion filled the space by making it a setting for his story. With his (new) (disney) (plastic) peter pan figures (thanks Grandma.)

mixed media


Harvey is five

Today is Harvey's birthday. Harvey is five years old today. Five years ago I swallowed a quarter cup of castor oil to induce labor, and I had NO IDEA what I was getting into. I mean, with becoming a parent and all. I had no idea how challenging and frustrating and surprising and enlightening and all-around all-consuming parenthood would be. Castor oil, I had a sense how THAT was gonna go. That part pretty much came out as expected.

Harvey at five years old is a wonder. He's loving, compassionate, empathetic and curious. He's also bossy (but not as bad as some other kids) and gluttonous (but not as bad as I project onto him.) He says things like, "I just always want to hug you, Mama." and "I just love you Elijah" and "Zion! Just give it to me!" He says the word 'just' a lot, I guess. He sits in on a lot of our Vineyard-style Small Groups and he seems to have picked up this denominational affectation.

At five Harvey is getting braver and attempting more physical feats. Recently at the playground he called me over to where he was perched atop a playhouse. He didn't want me to help him down — he just wanted me to stand three feet away and watch him jump. He said very specifically: "Don't help. I just want you near me. I want you to stand there. " The second time he asked me to perform this task he explained it with even more self-awareness. "I need you to help me be brave," he said. My heart just about melted in my throat as I stood next to that playhouse, watching him jump down by himself and then pump his fist in the air at his mission accomplished. This is the job set out for me right now, mothering a child that is all too like myself, and Yes I will stand where you need me to stand, Harvey. Yes I will help you be brave.

just a little something he threw together

More about Harvey at 5 years old: he loves farming and biking and outings and food. He loves picking out clothes and costumes and deciding what things are pretty. "Isn't this so pretty?" He says of his collared-shirt and shorts combo, or about an outfit he's just put on one of his dollies. He also notices when I wear something different and notes brightly, "I like your pretty skirt, Mama." But he's honest and not universally complimentary. At the pond the other day when Zion asked why I had a new swimsuit I replied, "Because my boobs didn't fit in the old one."
"Your boobs don't fit in this one, Mama," Harvey pointed out.
"Well, they mostly fit in this one," I explained. "It IS a bathing suit after all. It's okay if the top part of my boobs show a little in a bathing suit."
Zion summarized the situation thusly: "A little bit in and a little bit out!"

Oh my boys.

I honestly look forward to the next five, ten, and fifteen years, with Harvey learning to bake and sew in earnest, to read and figure, to follow the passions I see already in him and those that have yet to catch me by surprise. At the same time, I relish the present, this perfect moment, when Harvey still gives hugs and asks to be read to and everything is just beginning.

future picker?

I love that kid, all five years of him. Happy birthday Harvey.


birthday long weekend

the desert spread, including a chocolate cake with a Z on it

ready for many sweet teeth

As Leah reported, we had a birthday party for Zion on Saturday. Also as Leah reported he wanted a chocolate cake, so I made him the same one Harvey had for his third birthday. It was well-received, as was the rest of the wonderful spread of food we laid out (thanks in large part to grandmas and other guests!).

Zion sitting at the little picnic table smiling at the camera


The weather was fine, and most of us denied all evidence of rain and spent most of the time outside. Grandpa got a nice chunk of LyeLye time.

Grandpa David with Elijah on his lap


When Zion got bored of playing he called for the opening of presents; while he would have been happy after the first gift, his friends made sure he got everything opened.

Zion and friends going at the presents

he had plenty of help

A new bike—and one for Harvey too—were among the loot, so the party headed outside to try them out.

Zion, Harvey, and friends headed down the road on bikes

biker gang

Eventually people had to leave, which was sad, but thanks to their late arrival Uncle Jake and Charlotte helped stretch the party out to almost seven hours, which I suppose is pretty respectable. Zion was asleep for the last chunk of that; though that was fine because he needed to recover to be ready for the rest of his birthday long weekend: supper and cupcakes and Grandma and Grandpa's Sunday evening and the zoo and ice cream on Monday. It's good to be three.


Zion is Three!

Zion turned three years old over the weekend. Whenever we asked him what he wanted for his birthday he said "CHOCOLATE!" So of course there was chocolate involved. But truth be told, food is not really this child's love language. What he wants most in the world is to have the undivided attention of one of his favorite people. Look him in the eye while he flops around and tells jokes. If not, he'll be happy to start hitting people and wrecking stuff until you get with the program. So for his birthday weekend I tried to spend as much time focusing on him as I could possibly stand. Which, you know, is both wonderful and harrowing. He's three, after all.

he didn't like the way happy birthday was written on the chalk board so he wiped it out. different drummer.

I like to give my children a special birthday outing for which they each get to pick a destination. Zion chose the zoo. Specifically the zoo with "the thing goes around and around."

weee times three

That's Harvey, Zion and their best friend Ollie. We met the whole Stevens family at the Franklin Park Zoo, so Zion could have more special people to look at him while he tells jokes. That's totally the reason, and not because they have a zoo membership that gets two of us in for free.

what life would be like if I lived on a farm with six kids... loud

Though my children often talk excitedly about the carousel, they have yet to brave sitting on an actual moving animal. Still, there was progress yesterday. This was the first year I didn't have to sit on the bench holding them, so I got to ride on a horsey myself. Elijah came with me because, you know, he doesn't have a choice.

baby Elijah is brave with me.

As for the non-human animals, my favorite exhibit was the prairie dogs. We sat for a long time watching them pop in and out of their tunnels.

blond and blonder, transfixed

Zion said his favorite animal was the lion, but I didn't get any pictures of that because I was nursing. And, you know, because you can google a lion if you want to see what it looks like. I only make sure to document really important things. Like birthday ice cream.


Happy birthday to the funniest, best looking, most annoyingly tactile three-year-old I know. I look forward to loving you at three and beyond.


Space Party!

This weekend we went to a Space Party (!) to celebrate Harvey's friend Hendrick's 4th birthday. This was actually the first themed birthday party we ever attended, and I was very impressed with all the Pinterest-worthy details. Space bunting, Mars pinata, space themed party games (which Harvey and Zion only watched, naturally.) Harvey even got to decorate a paper-plate UFO... after all the other kids left the craft table to do something else, of course.

pealing stickers and sucking on a lolly: now that's a party!

I thought I would make a space themed present for the occasion, but it can be hard to think of handmade gifts for little boys. Harvey kept suggesting that we sew his friend a baby doll, and I hemmed and hawed a bit because they don't know each other THAT well these kids, and I want Harvey to be invited back to more age-appropriate parties in the future. So I procrastinated until the week of that party. Then an idea struck me as I was unwrapping a new bed sheet (Thanks to Judy who hears we need a new bed sheet and actually goes and buys us one!) The sheet was folded around cardboard and came in a fancy ziplock bag. I thought to myself: this could be the start of a space-themed coloring set!

total cost = $2 for the markers

I cut out the cardboard pieces with an exacto knife, leaving extra cardboard at the bottom to fold under and make a stand for each piece. Then I outlined the drawings with a sharpie. All in all a pretty low-intensity project, but I was happy with the result. Hopefully it'll be fun to color in for like five minutes.

ready for color!

I don't know if the present was well received or not. The gift time was hijacked midway through when Hendrick opened a Nano Hex Bug. If you have a 4-year-old boy in your life, do not waste time cutting out cardboard; go online and buy him a Nano Hex Bug for his next birthday. Better yet, buy him several Nano Hex Bugs. That way you don't have to retrieve each one when it scurries under the sofa. Trust me on this one. These are tiny robotic bugs that vibrates, and the vibrations make the things wander around when you put them on the ground, as well as really annoy other kids if you put it in their hair. Really, the party theme should have been Nano Hex Bugs. I don't want to try to tell them what to do for next year, but I'm just saying...


Harvey is four

Harvey is four years old today. He is an amazing creature, both impossibly intelligent and purely innocent (at moments). He takes in the world with all his senses and gives it meaning through the words he so eloquently draws into phrases. For example, he asks to watch a show by calling it "an interesting possibility."

No, Harvey my love. You cannot watch a show.

He wants to see and hear and smell and touch everything. When grownups make him nervous with their expectations, he wishes they could just get out of his way so he could see stuff for himself. Like the toys and the bugs and the plants and the animals. He wants to explore them without annoying know-it-alls asking him his name and what color things are.

smell as sweet

My lovely Harvey is beautiful and stubborn and will not stand for any adult's agenda when he wants to smell a rose. Harvey is my H-ster, he is my very Heart. Happy Birthday Harvey.


his fourth party

Harvey and his birthday cake

sneaking a peek

Never mind Fathers Day; around here this weekend is more popularly known for the celebration of Harvey's birthday. And what a party we had this afternoon!

This morning one of my Sunday school students, hearing about our plans for the celebration, spent some time telling me about her younger sister's memorable parties—dogs, gymnastics, horses...—and she wanted to know what the theme was going to be for Harvey's 4th. No theme, I told her; unless you count hanging out, eating, and drinking.

I feel tremendously lucky that we have so many good friends who are willing to come to our chaotic, theme-free parties (though this one did come with some pretty good hamburgers and cake—chocolate with chocolate frosting in the latter case, as per request). Harvey may not realize it now, but he's lucky too, and not just because he scored a totally awesome play tent and real sleeping bag. Thanks everyone for coming!

I only wish I hadn't been too busy grilling and having fun to take more pictures, but never mind—you know what we all look like anyways.


more partying

Zion and Harvey relaxing in a shared Adirondack chair

enjoying the day

Today saw day two of the weekend-long celebration of Zion. Since the party was all afternoon a delightfully long portion of it could be spent outside.

Mama, Dada, and Zion posing on the church playground

Harvey was otherwise engaged

Not that there'd be anything wrong with throwing two parties just for the fun of it, but today's festivities were officially in honor of Zion's dedication at church, which conveniently happened to fall on the weekend of his birthday. The brief ceremony went off without a hitch (if you don't count Harvey choosing not to join us on stage) witnessed by all four grandparents. Then it was home for more food, including the rest of the birthday cake.

about a third of yesterday's cake, on a plate on the grass


So fine was the day, we couldn't resist breaking out the sports equipment.

Harvey attempting a badminton serve


Zion is a little too young for racquet games, though, so mostly he just chilled out and watched.

Zion drinking a bottle of juice

he likes his bottle

We started at 1:00 and didn't finish up until it was getting chilly and a little dark outside; our friends and family very nicely staggered their attendance so were were able to hang out with everybody in equal amounts. It was lovely.

And of course, you know it's been a good party when you end up without any pants on!

Zion in shirt, vest, and diaper standing with his bike thingy

the end of a long day of partying


Happy Birthday Zion!

Zion shaking his new maracas

birthday fun

We celebrated Zion's birthday today with the grandparents, and a fine time was had by all. Thanks to the grandmas there was lots of food.

Harvey and Zion enjoying birthday dinner

the groaning board

I contributed the cake, three layers of yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

three layers, chocolate frosting,

tall and rich

Harvey orchestrated much of the present-opening, but he made sure to let Zion play with some of the toys. Grandpa helped.

Zion and Harvey and Grandpa playing with Legos

getting right down to business

More partying will follow tomorrow. I hope you feel celebrated, little 2-year-old!


Zion is two tomorrow

Tomorrow Zion turns two years old. I like to take my kids on special outings for their birthdays, to have some time when I can selfishly enjoy their presence before the insanity of their PARTY commences. Today in honor of Zion's birthday we biked to his favorite place in the whole world. Chip In Farm, of course.

petting the baby goat

Was it less special because it's just down the road and we go there every week? No, that's just the way that Zion is. Every moment with him is a special joy. He delights in the mundane. He loves the chicken chores; he helps me clean up toys. He loves to see the same farm animals over and over again, to pet and pet and pet the baby goats.

(What he wants for his birthday, clearly, is his own set of goats. Oh my poor little Zion. If only I could give you what you wanted.)

harvey points the way to the next animal to pet

This picture is a little dark, but I want to include it because it's the expression see on Zion's face every day. There's this mix of joy, wonder, and excitement that always beams out him. It must be the combination of his sparkling blue eyes, big rosy cheeks, and tiny crescent-shaped mouth. That Zion. To look at him is to see love. Which is how I always describe him in my own mind. Zion is love. To pray for him is to pray God's love for the whole world.

From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
-Psalm 50:2

My perfect angel baby boy. Happy birthday ZiZi.

2-year-old superman

(PS: I love Harvey too... he'll get his own special write-up for his birthday next month.)


birthday party report

chocolate bundt cake with three candles

with sugar on top

For his birthday party on Saturday Harvey requested a chocolate cake with no frosting. This one met with his approval, but when it came out of the oven he did ask, "What's that hole? Can we fill it up?" Besides cake he also asked for apples, bananas, and hot dogs, all of which we provided him—along with a few other things.

a table-full of food

mostly homemade... except for the chips

This year he fully understood what to expect in a birthday party—a function both of being three and of having Zion's party a little while ago for a model. He also now knows how to open presents.

Harvey tearing the paper off a big present

no, it's not a printer

That particular one was a big box of wooden blocks, which are totally awesome and also carry a significant risk of being used as bludgeoning weapons. But what really stole the show was the card from Grandma and Grandpa Bernstein, which plays music and features a spinning candle flame. The battery hasn't worn down yet, contrary to all expectations.

Harvey holding a musical birthday card with a spinning candle flame

sound and motion

This being a midsummer birthday, there was of course a swimming portion, though the weather wasn't actually that warm. That of course doesn't stop kids from trying.

Harvey and a friend in the wading pool

too cool to sit down

Everyone had a great time, including Zion who, clearly satisfied with his own party last month, evinced no jealousy at all.

Zion smiling outside on the grass

happy to be partying

He's a pretty good little brother.


party preparations, sort of

colorful fabric wrapped around the porch railing

crafty decorating

After Zion's big bash last month we weren't planning to do anything much for Harvey's 3rd birthday, but as the day got closer I got more and more concerned that the day wouldn't be celebrated properly. Finally I was upset enough to articulate my unhappiness to Leah, however incoherently; she, wonderful wife that she is, immediately invited some more people and made some beautiful fabric decorations for both inside and outside the house.

Of course, now that the porch is so elegantly adorned I feel like I should clean it up some—that on top of making the birthday cake, buns for hamburgers and hot dogs, and some sort of vegan alternative dish. Oh, and cleaning and blowing up the wading pool: you shouldn't do a midsummer birthday without some awesome splashing! Hopefully we'll have some other kids joining us for the festivities, but if not I'm sure we can prevail upon Grandma to hit the pool with Harvey.

The last minute decision-making and things is pretty typical for us around here. We didn't even send out invitations this time, and weren't sure exactly when we'd be welcoming people until a couple days ago. But things tend to go pretty smoothly in the end, and I think there's something to be said for collapsing the active period of stressful preparations into the smallest space possible. That's my theory, anyways; Leah might have another view!

I don't even know how many people will be coming tomorrow, but I'm sure we can feed a couple more; stop by if you're in the neighborhood!


Zion's birthday: the video

I made a video with snippets from Zion's birthday party. The event was lots of fun in the chaotic way that fun works when you have two young kids and lots of people who love them. I hope this comes through in the video, that everyone had a great time even though we mostly just sat on the floor of the living room.

What also comes through in the video is how much I look and sound exactly like my mother. That was not quite so intentional, though I'm sure it can't be helped.


birthday boy Zion

Zion among his birthday presents

"what's this one?!"

We had a birthday party for Zion. We told people not to bring presents, but they mostly did anyways. Zion was delighted with all of them, and so was Harvey, who raked in a fair amount of loot himself. How does that work?

the invitation to zion's party

the invitation

We prepared things in a rather more low-key manner than we did for Harvey's first birthday; I suppose everything is more low-key the second time. We were also distracted by the chicken stress.

the cake: white with colored sprinkles and a candle in the shape of a 1

yellow cake with lemon frosting and blueberry jam between the layers

We made the cake and a minimum of food, but treats brought along by the guests managed to keep 26 people (including us) in a delightful party spirit.

Zion in his highchair with his cake

good stuff

Zion did great: he enjoyed himself and showed off his sparkling personality to all and sundry. Harvey was wonderful as well, helped perhaps by the fact that Zion is not yet entertaining enough to be able to claim all the attention for himself. They each only cried once over the course of the 4.5-hour party. Look at them getting along together:

Zion and Harvey drawing with chalk on the porch

tic tac toe?

Thanks to all who came, and happy birthday Zion!



We had a busy busy weekend, filled with friends, food, and rebuilding the front porch. It was Leah's birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday Mama!) and we celebrated with a couple of parties; Saturday saw a gourmet lunch at Ashley and Jim's house. This afternoon I was tired like I had pulled an all-nighter, and I even slept decently last night. And it doesn't stop: Leah, as tired as I am (and in bed all ready, lucky!) is hosting a friend for lunch tomorrow, and we're already in heavy preparations for Zion's birthday party next weekend. Oh, it's hard being social successes!

about dada

Can I talk for a second about my favorite person in the world?

the future mama and dada

If he's going somewhere, I want to be following.

goin good places

The best combo cook, gardener, handiman, lulliby singer on the planet.

the best boys

Happy birthday Danny! Every year I get to spend with you is a good year.


it's not a party it's an intimate get-together

a half-eaten pink birthday cake

looks like a birthday

We celebrated Harvey's birthday last Saturday. Unlike last year we didn't make a big production of it: it was strictly a family-only affair. The highlight of the afternoon, as far as I'm concerned, was the cake. I made it and it looked and even tasted like a real cake, just like one from a mix! Harvey approved:

Harvey taking a big bite of birthday cake

bad photo, good cake

I should also note that he easily blew out the two candles on his first try.

Grandma Beth took charge of the present-opening part of the entertainments, so we got to sit back and relax as Harvey opened a new potty, camping chair, scooter, and train set. Also french fries and bubble stuff which, honestly, would alone enough to satisfy him that birthdays are totally awesome. Which isn't to say that he didn't appreciate the other stuff!

Harvey looking at his new trains

The possibilities of each new item are very much still bring explored.

Harvey ready to take off on his new scooter

stand onna scooter



Harvey is two years old today.

harvey next to his birthday bunting

"DFD say Happy Birthday To Harvey?"

We started the day off with a breakfast of Harvey's choosing: oatmeal and spaghetti followed by a piece of birthday cake. Then we packed up for a big outing. I gave Harvey the choice between Drumlin farm and the zoo, and he picked zoo without hesitation, adding "see amimals? no amimals in dere? amimals all gone? cage empty?" Indeed, the challenge or trying to spy animals in re-created habitats is that more than 50% of the time they're hiding and not visible. Still, to Harvey pointing out an empty cage seems to be half the excitement.

We did indeed see many empty cages, but we also saw lots of birds, a moose, and a cougar that wasn't doing so well. When we walked up to its enclosure the cougar was pacing rather non-majestically, when suddenly he crouched over and threw up.

"Just like our dog at home, huh Harvey?" I remarked.
"Dat amimal few up?" he said.
"Yeah, he threw up."
"onna gas?" Harvey said pointing.
"Yes, on the grass."
Harvey paused for a second.
"Mama, get a towel? wipe it?"

No sweet heart. I don't have to wipe the throw-up when we're at the zoo.

After three house of walking around and around and around with two children and three hundred pounds of diapers, we finally called it a day and drove home to our own animal who needed walking. By that time Dan was almost home from work, so we waited for him and took a family outing to the local ice cream store!

harvey eating ice cream on his birthday

"go to ice cream store and rascal come too and mama and baby Zion come too?"

And since the play ground is on the walk home, it would be cruel to our little birthday boy if we didn't stop.

harvey climbing up to the slide

up up up!

Since he's two now we let him climb all the way up to the top of the big slide, but once there he tested the wind conditions and decided he didn't really want to go down by himself after all. Luckily dada was there to help him down.

harvey sliding down the slide with dada


I don't know if it comes through from the fact that I gladly walked seventeen thousand miles today carrying snacks and necessities and another 11 pound child, but I really love this kid. Keep on growing up, my big boy. You only get awesomer every day!


mama's bonus birthday present sunhats

Saturday evening our friend Becca came over with a birthday present for me, in a gesture that was beyond touching. We don't usually exchange birthday gifts with bible study friends, since our bible study is kind of big and that would mean like everybody buying gifts like every weekend, which is sort of insane for young poor people, even if we are Christians. So I was really moved to find a gift for me on the table on Sunday morning, Yes, er, I was asleep when Becca and crew came over, it being after 8pm. Anyway, I could tell right away that the present was going to be something awesome because it was WRAPPED IN FABRIC!

Harvey's hand reaching for the present

a little hand is very eager to open any present

Harvey was excited too to help me open it. He's really into opening presents, as well as blowing out candles. Today in fact I caught him trying to blow out a pawn from a chess set. If that doesn't just warm the cockles of your heart then I don't know what will. Anyway, inside the fabric were some new onesies for baby #2 (yeah! not everything will be hand-me-down), some boxes of yummy tea, and a nice gift certificate to Joanne fabrics, which is like giving someone a gift certificate to Mexico, everything is so cheap. Exciting exciting!

The best part instant-gratification wise was of course the fabric. Even though I promised Dan that I would clean up my sewing stuff from the floor of his office before embarking on any more projects, I jumped right into cutting some pieces out of the new fabric for sun hats - matching ones for Harvey and baby. Hey, since I didn't have to sort through my stash to find fabric I figured this was a give away. Also, I couldn't help it; I was dying to try a pattern from the new book Dan bought me, and fabric suddenly appeared at my door. How could I resist? There was no floorspace left in the office so I sat out in the hallway.

This sunhat is the result:

the new green sun hat with a little bit of Harvey underneath

summer style

And a smaller one for baby, lined with yellow so we can tell the difference from the other side of the room.

two new sun hats posing on the rock wall

and one for baby

This is the pattern that everyone seems to be jumping on first when they get the Oliver + S book, although I don't know what they're talking about when they say it comes together relatively quickly. These two hats took me 5 hours of dedicated sewing time, which is a crapload of alone time for me, time I only got this weekend by virtue of illness (I felt too sick to go to church on Sunday so Dan and Harvey went without me) plus two Harvey naps. A whole morning alone plus two naps is a long ass time for two sun hats if you ask me. There seem to be so many ways of making a reversible hat by sewing the whole outside to the whole inside and leaving a small hole for turning, it seems overkill to include a step of blind stitching the inside before edge-stitching on the machine. Still, it did turn out a very tidy little hat, so if you're the type of person to look up close then probably the extra care is worth it.

There's still enough fabric left over to sew a baby dress, and as soon as I make good on my promise to clean up my sewing space I'm gonna throw together a little outfit using the matching ribbon as straps.

This gift and project came as a nice relief after the week I had last week, with Harvey groaning all day and throwing up at every meal... I was starting to feel like I didn't exist apart from song singer/back rubber/puke catcher. Even though we made it through a fancy meal for my birthday, I spent the entire time worrying that Harvey was going to projectile vomit all over the table or his fancily dressed grandparents, which is not the state of vigilance ideal for consuming a huge amount of rich food (witness the illness on Saturday night and Sunday morning). We skipped my birthday expedition on Saturday because Harvey wasn't feeling well, no one wanted to make or eat birthday pie, and I had a mental breakdown from not getting a break all week and then finding out our fence can't go in the ground until the end of May at the earliest because the corner of our property lies 50 feet from a wetland and we need to go in front of a public hearing not to mention pay 50 bucks to the friggin local paper to publish a legal notice, and that's just for a 3 foot fence, we haven't even started the process on Chickens because the stack of paperwork for the stupid fence is so confusing it makes me want to cry and that's not even involving the health department. So the fabric and accompanying present was a real real nice break. A reminder that I'm a person too, with value and interests beyond reproduction. If only just slightly beyond.


the best time to plant a tree

Well, I guess we're in for the long haul here: this weekend I planted two apple trees, part of my birthday present for Leah. Having failed, due to lack of opportunity, to plant any 20 years ago, I took the second-best option. We now have one Northern Spy and one Macintosh semi-dwarf tree growing (oh how I hope they're growing) in the front yard. You'll have to take my word for it that they're trees, though; to the untrained eye they appear nothing more than sticks stuck in the ground. But that's just because of the expert pruning they've undergone at the hands of the pruning experts at Miller Nurseries, and I understand that they'll be bursting with leaves, flowers, and fruit any moment now. In the trees' defense, they did come in the mail so I'll give em a little time to get settled in before I start expecting, you know, branches and things.

Also in the birthday present was four more blueberry bushes (similarly compressed for shipping), but I didn't get a chance to plant them yet. Oh how I hope they may survive until I get a chance to prepare a place for them.


happy birthday to me

So today is my birthday. I'm 30. Years old.

Surprisingly I'm not having much of a crisis over entering my 30s. For one thing I've felt 30 for the past 4 years now. That's what happens when your husband turns 30 first and then starts getting gray hair. But generally speaking I feel pretty good about what I've accomplished in my 20s. I'm happily married to a wonderful man. We have a perfect son and another sweet baby on the way. We own a great home and an awesome dog. I'm finished forever with grad-school and high heels and dieting and washing my face with soap.

All in all, things are pretty awesome.

I guess I used to have things like career goals too, but in retrospect those were stupid.

Packages of all shapes and sizes have been arriving at the house this week. I feel rather sheepish in the face of all these surprise gifts. I accidentally opened one Amazon box thinking it was a book for Harvey and caught a glimpse of this sewing book that had been on my wish-list. It was all I could do not to crack it open on Wednesday and immediately start cutting out pattern pieces. So yeah, that should give me something to work on for the next year or so.

Really all I want for my birthday is the fence I've been going on and on about, which is promised to be generously gifted for by my parents and Dan's parents. When all is said and done it will probably end up being about as expensive as Dan's 30th birthday computer, not that I'm keeping score. And as soon as our permit comes in we have ALMOST DEFINITE plans to break ground before my water breaks. Well, as long as we get that permit application in this week. Details details.

The whole clan is headed out to a fancy restaurant this evening to celebrate. Dan requested we eat at this establishment even though last time the food and drink was so rich that he threw up before getting into the car to drive home. Harvey for his part has been throwing up almost every meal this week, and I have evening nausea and a stomach crowded out by a full-term baby, so if we all make it to bed tonight un-puked-upon I will consider it a birthday miracle.


18 months.

Today my little boy turns 18 months. It's hard to believe. Only 18 months? Isn't he like 5 going on 21? Haven't I been his mama forever?

He's so much smarter than his 18 months would indicate. He's flinging out three-word sentences right and left ("Momma get train!" "Bear on horsey!") He understands the concepts of parts to a whole, counting, and even colors. Not to mention so many more than 200 words, rudimentary cooking ability, and psychological manipulation 101.

In honor of this wonderful little person who lives with us I'd like to present four short videos that highlight different aspects of Harvey's year-and-a-half personality.

Harvey's musical ability. And his unfathomable cuteness:

Harvey's beautiful relationship with Rascal. And how he wants to be a dog when he grows up:

Harvey's advanced manual dexterity, choreographic memory, and good humor:

Harvey's strong will:

That's my little guy. I love him so much it's impossible.


happy birthday Tom!

And a significant birthday it is, too, for Harvey's tonton Thomas. It would have been just perfect as a birthday treat if Ghana could have pulled off the win; as it is we'll have to settle for knowing they outplayed Uruguay for most of the game, and for regular celebratory excitements. Happy Birthday!

his first first birthday party

Harvey and his birthday muffin

Happy Birthday dear Harvey...

On Saturday, the day before Harvey's actual birthday, we celebrated with a brunch for the families: two grandpas, one grandma (the other was out of the country), one aunt, and two great-grandmas! And two proud parents, of course. No cake before noon, but Harvey very much enjoyed his birthday banana-chocolate-chip muffin.

After we ate we took some time to frolic in the wonderful almost-summer weather. Harvey loves playing with his grandpa.

playing in the yard with grandpa


He was also very excited to open his presents, and not only because of all the new toys: he's always happy to be the center of attention!

He'll appreciate the big-ticket items from his grandparents—the pool pictured in the video and a sandbox to be assembled later—in good time, but for immediate delight nothing could top the duck with authentic quacking action from tonton Thomas and tante Nelly.

Harvey smiling at some of his presents

straight from Cornell Ornithology to him


Harvey's Birthday Video

Here's the moment you've all been waiting for: birthday-classic video. But first, some words of explanation.

My mother who is affectionately known in our household as "GrammaBef" bought Harvey a pimped out baby pool for his birthday. This turned out to be the perfect thing for our kid-heavy party on Sunday (although Harvey was rather non-plussed by the chaos in the water).

The video was shot by my awesome brother Jake and cut together against a choice musical selection that required much deliberation. In my head I really wanted something like a punk rock version of "The Circle Game" but unfortunately the internet says that such a thing does not exist. Oh well. But the current selection did make for a fun moment of serendipity. At one point in editing, the music ran out right at the moment when I went from playing mom to yelling mom. I thought that this was so funny that I had to leave it in the final version.

What I notice from watching this video, more than how cute my son is and how amazingly in love with him I seem to be, is how much I look like a mom. Look at me: yelling at kids to share, gingerly keeping my son from drowning, cutting home-made birthday cake. Something happened to me over the past year while I wasn't paying attention. Somehow I got half-way competent at mothering.

And even though the words of the song indicate that I'd like Harvey to slow down his break-necking pace towards adulthood, in truth I don't really. I'm psyched that he's growing so rapidly, that he's learning to do so many new things, because this means that each day is a bit more fun for him. Ever since he popped out of my womb a year ago, I could see the little boy in him. That twinkle in his eye showing that he's desperately yearning to run. To climb and somersault and fall on the grass giggling. And I can't wait for him to be able to. Bring it on, I say.

Oh, and I made him a birthday crown. On Saturday night. Because I'm nuts like that.

Enjoy the video.

milestones, part II

Thanks to some high intensity Grampa time on Saturday, I managed to catch some video of Harvey's budding forays into standing and walking. Here are some clips. In the background you can hear clans of Archibalds and Bernsteins cheering him on.

We have a lot to share from Harvey's birthday weekend: pictures, video, and of course shots of the presents! But I've taken ill again and the house is a disaster area and then there's this pesky full-time job to attend to. sigh. to be continued.

Harvey's birthday wishlist

I just flipped my desk calendar to June, revealing a cute picture of me, rascal, and Harvey when H-ster was just one day old. Yes, I have a Massachusetts Midwives Alliance desk calendar that featuring baby Harvey as the June model. Don't you?

This of course means that Harvey's birthday is fast approaching. Some folks have asked us what he wants for his birthday. In reality, at this point in his life all he wants is an empty box, and perhaps a half-opened watermelon to dive head-first into. But us, his parents, we want things for him. New toys and books that he has no idea how much he'll enjoy. So without further ado, here is Harvey's birthday wishlist:

Kiddie Pool

As the days have gotten hot recently, I've thought of how much I'd like a little blow-up pool to play in on those afternoons when we can't face the schlep to the pond. Then I spent like five minutes looking up baby pools and oh my goodness blow-up pool technology is amazing! Can you believe this exists? of this? So if you feel drawn to purchasing a baby pool (and subsequently coming over to hang out in our baby pool) then go for it. Of course, this is a nice sensible pool, but I'll let you decide.

Bath Toys

Okay, I'll admit it, I do allow some plastic toys in my house so long as they can float and keep a fussy child occupied long enough to wash the applesauce out of his hair. I'm eying this and this from the annoyingly titled one step ahead catalog, but any bath toy other than stacking cups would be a welcome addition to our tub time. All we have now is stacking cups, you see, and two yellow ducks. I know right? Child abuse.

Board Books

Harvey has a handful of great board books that he loves to read. Unfortunately, Momma and Dadda has read each of them approximately one hundred million times. We'd therefore love some more board books that can stand up to baby page-turning and throwing on the floor. In particular, momma would love some new books by Sandra Boynton. We have Hippos Go Berserk and it's my favorite of all the books. I'd love to own One, Two, Three! or The Going to Bed Book. Harvey's new favorite book these days is one I just bought him titled "How Big is a Pig" illustrated by Clare Beaton. We also have her book Hidden Hippo and I'd love more books illustrated by her because Harvey just stares and stares at the pictures, while momma feels inspired by the needle work.

Other board books I'd like to own are Everybody Poops and Pat the Bunny. And anything else you can think of. Just Please NO MORE GOODNIGHT MOON!!!!!


For the first time in Harvey's life we aren't completely strapped for clothes, because he seems to be growing longer rather than wider these days, so the 24-36 month stuff we have for him should last another few months. That said, he'd always welcome any new stylish duds, especially if they can stretch him into 2T territory come fall. I know, we have a big baby. That's because he's got so much to love!

So those are the short ideas for first birthday gifts, although you're of course welcome to give him nothing or watermelon. Two weeks left to figure it out! Crap! I'd better get sewing!!!


birthday knitting

On the heals of the fun-colored but not-super-practical sweater I made for Dan at Christmas, I decided to take on a similar project for his birthday. Except this time the product would have to be more staid, less ostentatious, more useful for day-to-day wear. After five weeks of intense knitting I finished a day later than his birthday. Oh well. At least it was ready in time for church. I give you the brown sweater vest:

close-up of the sweater vest leah knit for dan

refined yet elegant

The pattern comes from this book which I highly recommend for beginning-to-intermediate sweater knitters. I used good old Cascade220 for the yarn, so the whole thing came to less than $22, and that's with some left over for a hat! Not only is she talented and productive, but thrifty! Someone's racking up the good wife points this month!

Dan in a brown sweater vest that leah knit

dapper who?

Oh, who am I kidding. He more than deserves it.


tiny pianist

As well as many other delightful birthday treats, at my party this afternoon I enjoyed being serenaded by Harvey on the piano.

Harvey playing the piano

ticklin the ivories

He's quite advanced for his age: he plays like a two- or even three-year-old!

Happy Birthday Danny!

Today is the birthday of my wonderful handsome perfect husband. Happy Birthday Danny!

danny standing on a rock in cummington ma

he's the king of the world

I'm having a rough week, so I'm a bit parched for more positive things to say about such a happy occasion. "You make life somewhat more bearable?" "My life would suck worse without you in it?" All of a sudden it appears that I have become Jewish.

Oh well. Happy birthday and punches and pinches and all that. Congratulations on living another year. "May we all be so lucky!"

birthday presents!

A new lamb and a new camera.

my day

I take back what I said about not wanting anything special on my birthday! What a day of working I had, leavened hardly at all by 200 people wishing me many happy returns of the day. To show you the gravity of the situation, I am still awake now—after 10:00—when I could happily have gone to bed at, oh, 8:30 or so.

In happier birthday news, Leah gave me the cutest little sheep stuffed animal ever, that she made from scratch. It is incredibly awesome. I would post a picture if I had a camera. Also I won two dollars from a one-dollar scratch ticket they gave me at work. Yeah! Way to stick it to the government! That takes a little bit of sting out of the tax bill that we owe this year.

it happens every year around this time

I'm not so sure about birthdays. Mine is coming up, and while I won't say no to a cake and a present or two, I'm a little uncomfortable with folks outside of my immediate family making a big deal out of it. So I survived another year; that's no great accomplishment in this age of modern medicine! Though I suppose I have to appreciate the sentiments. And really, I can't fault the first-graders for being interested: birthdays are bigger deals to them, because they've had so few. What, three or four that they can remember? For me, though, number thirty-two is old hat.

happy birthday Leah!!

Today is Leah's birthday, and everyone wanted to celebrate. We had our private, family-only party at lunch time, then we went out to dinner with the parents—both sets, naturally. We ended the day with choir rehearsal, and since I accidentally let it slip earlier that today was the special day they threw her a party there too. You're pretty popular when you get three cakes in one day, seems to me! Interestingly, all three cakes featured berries, which were also the theme of the birthday card I made and my wrapping decorations. It went along with one of the presents I gave: the aforementioned strawberry patch. I couldn't very well wrap that up though.

All in all, though she may hate birthdays, I think we all showed her a pretty good time.

mailing it in

I have nothing to say. Yesterday was my birthday, and I did nothing but laze around and eat and enjoy the devoted affection of my loved ones. Then today I taught a second grade class. So I'm still recovering from the combination of those two activities. To fill up this day on the calendar I will merely point you to this amusing story on the MetaFilter community weblog. Enjoy!

Also, take a look at this ad that appeared on the bottom of the page when I accessed it:

Smilies that talk? Ugly glossy oversized smilies that talk? I cannot imagine anything more terrifying.