Friday, June 28, 2013

Books I read in June 2013

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman ****

I loved this book!  We read it for book club (usually those are good books).  It is a story of a young couple, isolated on an island where he is the light keeper.  They are unable to have a baby and then find one in a shipwrecked boat.  They don't tell anyone but keep the baby.  The book is about the aftermath.  My loyalties shifted and re shifted throughout the book.  It was heartbreaking and wonderful.

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner***

This was also a good book and the only other book I finished this month (the others were duds).  It's about Russian immigrants living in New York City.  Vaclav and Lena become friends as children.  The story is sweet and funny and tragic and uplifting all at once.

Rescue Anita Shreve *

I was interested in the premise of this book and it may be a wonderful story but I abandoned it after a few pages because the language was so crude.


A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer Dubois *

I gave this book more of a chance because I was interested in it.  It is set in the contemporary U.S. and in the Soviet Union in the 80s.  The language was off putting in it as well.  Also it was depressing.  I think it was meant to be (lost causes and all) but if I want to be depressed, I'll watch the news.  I quit reading it.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan *

I didn't give this one too much of a chance.  There was too much...intimacy.  No thank you.  Also the protagonist was a woman but it's written by a man and it didn't seem true.  And also it was kind of hard to follow.  I'm not looking for homework.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What was in the bookshelf, part 2

One thing I found was my own journal from 1997.  Now I just blog but back then I was an enthusiastic and avid journal writer.  I wrote every day. We were living in New Haven, CT and Adam was in graduate school.  My writing reflects a lot of money worries and self doubt.  Also, I was lonely.  I had forgotten this but I had a long distance calling plan that was free on Fridays.  I lived for Fridays!  I would talk to Marianne and my parents every Friday.  (Olivia was in Poland or I would have talked to her too.)  Every entry is about Braeden in some way.  One of the entries made me smile.  I wrote that when I went into Braeden's room in the morning, he clapped because he was so happy to see me.  I remember those mornings.  His room had a big window.  I would pull him out of bed and I would feed him then we would sit in the rocking chair and look out the window at the squirrels or the birds or children playing on the playground in our student housing apartment complex.

look at that big bald head!

I don't know that I want to go back to the loneliness, the poverty, the self doubt.  I wouldn't mind snuggling my baby boy again though.  He's much too big these days (but he is still very pleasant in the morning).

There are also several scrapbooks Adam's mom made for him while he was growing up.  There's some of his best school projects when he was in elementary school.  He had crazy neat handwriting.  I can't blame him for our kids' messy handwriting.

Also there are pages of academic accolades and awards and letters from his high school principal congratulating him on his performance.

I maybe weakened the academic gene pool.

My favorite discovery on the entire bookshelf was in a scrapbook Adam's mom made.

Here is Adam, front and center, on Christmas Eve.  He is with his cousins and his brothers (who are wearing matching clothes--how cute are they?).

His mom recorded the joke he made up and told everyone on Christmas Eve.

Question: What do you call a Christmas Frog?

Answer: A Christmas Turtle

He was four.

He delights me.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What was in the bookshelf, part 1

I have been slowly picking my way through the things in the bookshelf I emptied for the bathroom.  Most of the stuff was easy to place on other shelves.  There were a few things that needed looking at though.

(For example, I found Adam's journal from our freshman year of college and so naturally I read it.  I had to see what he had to say about me.  I told Adam I'd read it and he didn't even remember keeping a journal.)

I came across my 4-H record books.  I hated doing 4-H record books.  They had to be typed so my mom (bless her heart) would type them but we had to stand there the whole time and dictate to her what to say.  Also, as evidenced by the shoddy glue job, I did all the gluing of pictures in the books.

From the 4-H record books, I learned a few things:

1. Olivia was a much cuter kid than I was.

This is me at ten and Olivia at seven.  She was cute and I was not.  (What is that face, ten-year-old Thelma?)  Also, my hair?  It always looked like that when I was a kid.  I didn't know how to do anything with it.  I still don't.  My mom (bless her heart) was my 4-H sewing instructor and she had me sewing diapers for Ammon who was born that summer.  

2. The summer I was eleven, I sewed a dress that glowed.

At least that's what the pictures indicate. There I am, looking all snazzy with the ugly hair and dress that is apparently so glowing, the picture can't even capture it.  It is just a blur.

I think that's Marianne in the turquoise pantsuit on the right.  Oh, the 80s.  They were not kind to us Dahl girls.

Lest you think the the radiating light of the dress (and the ugly hair) were reserved for the stage at the 4-H fashion review, they worked at home too.

3. There were some questionable photography skills in our household.

Exhibit A:

This enchanting shot is complete with my eleven-year-old handwriting, which I must say looks pretty good.  I don't think I deserved the C in handwriting that I received at school.

Naturally if you're going to take a picture of someone with their bread, you should have them stand in front of the garden with plenty of scenery in the background.  So you can see the bread easily?

And exhibit B:

This is me wearing what I sewed the summer I was twelve.  I have no words for the photography.  Except to say that it is sort of amazing that this was what ended up in the record book.  Was it the best shot?

On the other hand, it shows a nice view of the fireplace my dad built (in the house he built).  It is made of petrified wood that he found on the mountain.  It was still laid out like a tree when he found it.

And truthfully, if I were to choose between capturing me at twelve in my sewing project or the fireplace I would have chosen the same way.

So here's the main thing I learned from these photos.

You don't have to have attractive pictures of yourself for them to remind you that you had a wonderful childhood.  My mom taught me important skills (not hairstyling though, unfortunately) and I grew up in a beautiful place with lovely sisters and good brothers (who wore diapers I sewed, well Ammon did) and the best sort of parents.

I'm glad I found the 4-H record books.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pizza quest, part 3

A great thing about having a pizza quest is that if you are (for example) up to your elbows in paint (for example) because you are manically painting a room and its trim all in one afternoon (for example) it is nice to tell your husband that it is a good night for the pizza quest.  And of course, another good thing is to have a husband who is wonderful and heartily agrees with you and doesn't mind the paint up to your elbows thing. (He even helped me finish up painting.)

I really am a messy painter.  I had paint on my face and arms and fingers and toes.  It didn't help that I was painting a bathroom which is my least favorite room to paint because of all the stuff you have to paint around.  Also, my siblings stole all the height in our DNA and left me with none.  I had to climb on the edge of the tub and stand on the sink to reach things and neither of those things helped with the messiness.

I won't begrudge them the height though (too much) because I do have an easier time finding clothes.  So there's that.

Also, in addition to being a messy painter, I am really good at tangents.

So, the pizza.

First we hunted for a coupon to Romio's because we knew we had one floating around somewhere.  We found it (in the door to the van, driver's side).  We drove to Romio's and the parking lot was suspiciously empty.  Turns out the restaurant has closed.

"How many times do we drive by here and we didn't know it was closed?" I asked Adam.

"Maybe that's the problem," he said.  Poor Romio's.  Nobody notices.  And we had a coupon and everything.

We drove around the lake a few hundred feet to Amante.  We only had Mark with us.  (He is quickly becoming my favorite because he is the only one that will stay home with me.  Teenagers are fickle and nomadic.)

Amante is a sit down restaurant so it provided me opportunity to critique the restaurant's atmosphere. (Which is one of my favorite parts of eating out.  My dream job would be redecorating restaurants.)  I gave it big points for  having Frank Sinatra music playing.  I liked the black and white photos on the walls and the wine colored curtains and upholstery.  They carried the wine theme a little far with kitschy signs (like you'd buy at a craft fair) about wine and glowing grapes along the walls.

This photo wasn't taken by me, I found it on the internet, but they had a lot of signs like this:

Almost as cheesy as their cheese pizza.  (What a segue!)

The cheese pizza was too cheesy.  I like cheese as much as any American (but not American cheese) but not too much!  Especially when it's melted.  A little goes a long way.

Their specialty was the Amante Specialty (really, that was the name).  I wouldn't have ordered it because it had prosciutto and sausage and the like on it and I usually prefer pizza with vegetables but it was quite good.  I liked it much more than I thought I would.

Adam thought there was too much basil but I'm not sure that is a thing.  I love basil.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend projects

I painted our kids' bathroom.  It was one of the last rooms left to paint since we've lived here and had the flat paint the builders left behind.  (Sometimes I don't think they were trying very hard with that flat paint.)

I had painted some stuff on the wall years ago but it was never meant to be permanent.

Braeden said, "Did you just paint that on a whim?"

To which I had to say yes.  Almost everything I do around my house is on a whim and mostly it doesn't come out perfectly but I like it anyway.

Here's how the bathroom looked, kind of like a little kid drawing:

We used to have a map shower curtain that everyone (including my dad) loved but it was ripped by a red head who will remain unnamed and I got this one because Marianne also has it and I would do anything to be like Marianne.

I painted this above the shower...because.

I have long wished that the trim in our house was white rather than wood.  I decided that the bathroom was a small enough area to tackle painting it.

Here's how it looked before:

Then I did this:

I moved that bookshelf in from the school room.  (You can't rearrange your books often enough, I say.)  I needed more storage in the bathroom because the kids enjoy storing everything on the counter top and I find that less enjoyable.) 

The photos make the blue on the wall lighter than it really is but I like it.  It is a colorful happy room.  (With no finger prints on the flat paint.)

Now I just have to deal with everything I unloaded from the bookshelf that is currently on the school room floor...good thing school is not in session.

For our second project, we made strides towards finding a car for Braeden to drive.  There's nothing I like about car shopping.  Thoughts of not being Braeden's chauffeur motivate me though.

We went to a few used car dealerships.  (We didn't realize there were so many in the world.)  At one, the salesman was like a caricature of a used car salesman.  He reminded me of the Bud Light Real Men of Genius commercials.

Today, we salute you, Mr. Used Car Lot Auto Salesman.
Slicked back hair, a sharkskin suit, alligator boots,
you cultivate a look that oozes trust me.
You stand behind every car that you sell.
Because if you stood in front and the brakes failed, 
you'd be crushed.
Oil leak? What oil leak? 
That puddle under the car
is just sweat, 
 from all that horsepower.

He wore shoes kind of like this, but shinier:

He struggled to walk because his shoes were so much longer than his feet but he gave a valiant effort.  He wore a silky shirt like a bowling shirt, with a few extra buttons unbuttoned.  Also it was sort of sheer.  It was one of those amazing experiences to realize there really are people who dress like that in the world. We didn't buy a car from him but appreciated his entertainment value and his lecture on how ANY car could be a fast car.  (We aren't looking for a fast car.  We're looking for the opposite of a fast car.  A Flintstones car that requires you to run would be optimal.)

The next place we visited was the polar opposite.  A guy in shorts and a t-shirt approached us, smoking a cigarette.  He showed us some cars.  We took a few on test drives.  We were trying to round up Mark when we were going on a test drive.  (The kid has disappearing skills or we don't have good kid watching skills--one of those.)  He said we could leave Mark behind and he could have a burger.

We took Mark.

When we returned, he was outside barbecuing.  (He had been serious about the burger.)

We took a different car out for a ride and when we returned, our salesman was eating a messy chicken wing covered in sauce.  Between mouthfuls he tried to convince us to stay and buy a car.  We told him we'd think about it.  I was holding the keys from the car we drove and his hands were covered in barbecue sauce so I said, "Should I just leave these keys on the table?"

He said yes.

Believe it or not, we are getting (slightly) closer to buying a car though.  We're narrowing our choices.

Wish us luck (we need it.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pizza quest, part 2

We were off to such an enthusiastic start with our pizza quest that we did it two days in a row.  (Also we were having a party at our house on Saturday night and it was easier to pick up pizza than make dinner.)

(Also when isn't it easier to pick up pizza than make dinner?)

This time we got pizza from Frankie's.  I didn't even know this place existed but I probably drive by it every day of my life.  Probably more than once.

I'll keep driving by in the future.  No need to stop again.

We picked up Braeden from the pool right before picking up the pizza.  He was newly sunburned and exhausted but still able to pose in his goofy way.

The cheese pizza:

It was completely soggy in the center.  Not easy to eat but Mark gave a noble effort.

Haven't you always wanted to see a picture of us eating messy pizza?  See, dreams do come true.

Their "specialty" was the Feeding Frenzy.   It sort of seemed like another pizza where they just tried to use up some leftover ingredients.  I liked the fresh green peppers and pineapple and tomatoes but the sausage had caraway seeds in it and I think that is a crime.

It was OK.   

turns out teenage boys are less picky than others about pizza...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Adam's quest

Adam has a quest so it has become my quest too.  (I'm always up for a quest.)

We are going to find the best pizza in the area.  We are taking this very seriously (because pizza is serious business).

We outlined a geographic area and are finding the best pizza in those parameters.  (My personal favorite is Brooklyn Brothers in downtown Everett and it's out of the area...actually my really real favorite is in New Haven, CT and that's waaaaay out of the area.)

At each place we are going to sample their cheese pizza and then their self appointed specialty.   We have a five star grading scale.  If you're thinking, those Davises certainly have a lot of time on their hands, that is not strictly true.  But we do have priorities, people.   And this is pizza after all.

Last Friday night we started the search.  Adam has long been intrigued by CanAm Pizza, complete with Canadian and American flags on their logo.

It is a takeout place so the atmosphere--which matters a lot to me--was less important.  (Although it still matters to me.)

The place was clean and didn't have a weird smell so that's good.  It was a sort of utilitarian mix of eclectic things.  I wouldn't say they put too much effort into making it aesthetically pleasing.

Adam surreptitiously snapped this photo while waiting to pay.  On the counter they had a fountain with a spinning golf ball in it.  The golf ball was partially decayed.  Also a stack of maps of Anacortes, WA.  Anacortes is 60 miles away but you never know when you may suddenly need a map while picking up your pizza.

We took the pizza to a park to sample it.

The cheese:

It was OK but the crust wasn't that great and you have to have good crust, right? I think Mark gave it more stars, but this isn't about Mark.

Their specialty, the "Ultimate":

I think it was more an attempt to clean out their refrigerator and get rid of leftovers than a carefully created recipe of ingredients that went well together.  It wasn't good. 

Of course we still ate it.  Life is like pizza, even when it's bad, it's good.

Here's what Adam made because he is awesome:

Braeden and Emma didn't participate because they weren't home.  Turns out that's an economical way to go.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I think I was craving color

The next step after the rugs were all sewn together to make one colorful rug was to make curtains.  I use "make" loosely because I bought the curtains from IKEA.  The plain white kind.  Then I cut shapes out of fabric and glued them on.  I also hemmed the curtains for the kitchen sliding glass doors.  (Which was kind of a disaster.  Measuring and I are not a match made in heaven.  We are not friends.  We can't even be civil to each other sometimes.)

I lamented to Adam the evening he came home to a train wreck of a kitchen (actually the whole downstairs--there were pins and fabric scraps everywhere) with no dinner prepared and a train wreck of a wife because of the measuring woes.  He said that it was all fine.  "You're creative," he said.  "That's messy."

I love that guy.

Braeden surveyed the room and said, "You know what I love most about this room?  It's so colorful.  And you did all of it."

I love that guy too.

And I love gluing curtains too it turns out.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Driving Miss Emma

My dad has a saddle that I used to use sometimes.  My dad liked the saddle.  He would tell me, when I used the saddle, that he loved the saddle more than me so to make sure I came home with the saddle.  (I'm sure he was teasing me.  I think he was teasing me. Wait, was he teasing me?)

I think I feel the same way about my van.  I am squeamish about letting Braeden drive it.  (Also, I'm squeamish about Braeden driving.  Period.)

Yesterday Braeden had to go to the YMCA for an Aqua Zumba class as part of his swim instructor training.  He cajoled his sister into going with him.  (And of all of Braeden's skills, his cajoling skills are maybe his most proficient.) I sent them in my van.  (Their adventure in Aqua Zumba is its own entertaining tale but it's best told by them, complete with a physical reenactment.)

"Be careful," I begged.

"If you kill me, I will haunt you," Emma said.

And she probably would.

They came home unscathed.  Hopefully that threat will keep them safe.  (Sometimes she reminds me so much of Olivia that I accidentally call her Olivia.  It's a compliment to both girls.)

I should state here that it was luxurious and wonderful to not take Braeden to the YMCA.  I can see my life getting better in the near future...if I can keep my worries at bay.  And if we can get him a car to drive that I love less than the van.  Progress is slow.  We have delayed car buying syndrome.  It's a problem...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Because I want to document this stuff

Braeden and Emma have an easy going companionable relationship.  He calls her E and she allows him into her room to sprawl on the floor and talk to her even though she really likes being alone.  She is horrified when her friends think Braeden is "hot" (I kind of am too) but she thinks he's pretty great.

Emma and Mark have a slightly less easy going relationship.  There's a little bit of bickering.  There's a little bit of snarling and snapping and sibling stuff.

For this reason, it makes my day when they connect.  The other day, Adam and I were at the store with Emma and Mark.  They were walking behind us and deeply engrossed in a conversation.  Adam and I smiled big smiles at each other.

One of the things they have been connecting about lately is Dr. Who.  I don't get it.  I don't really want to get it.  But they love it.

For Mark's half birthday, Emma created a tardis (it's a Dr. Who thing that I don't get) out of cardboard.

Here's a tardis:

And here's Emma's version:

When Emma makes something out of cardboard, she doesn't mess around.

Inside she wrote him a note (that is a Dr. Who reference that I don't get). 

Also she bought a Skylander character for him.  (Another thing that I don't get.  She doesn't get it either but she did lots of research with sly conversations with Mark and discovered which Skylander character he would most like.)  She put it in the box.

She instructed Mark to close his eyes:

She played a tardis sound that she found on the computer.  (Do I have to tell you?  I didn't get it.)

He opened his eyes and was thrilled.

It's a box made out of cardboard with a plastic toy inside.

But to the mother of these children who even though they sometimes snarl and snap at each other, truly love and value each other, it meant a lot more than you would think cardboard and plastic could mean.

It melted my heart a little.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Big boy bed

We've known for awhile that we needed a solution to Braeden outgrowing his bed.  (And really, what were we thinking when we bought him a bed with a foot board?)  We talked about the options ranging from buying a new bed to cutting the slats off the foot board to cutting off Braeden's legs.  (OK, not the last one.)

It was in a state of nothing happening until yesterday when I dove deeply into deep cleaning the boys' room.  I stripped their beds of everything and moved them and vacuumed under them and dusted every little slat under the mattress.  (I'm a lot of fun--just ask my sons.)  I even used the wood cleaner I saw on facebook which is basically salad dressing--vinegar and canola oil.

With everything taken apart, I decided it was prime time to do something about the slats on the foot of the bed.

I texted Adam and he said that he'd borrow a special saw from his mom.

I am impatient though and I had everything taken apart already so I sent Braeden to the garage for a saw and removed the first slat.  I texted Adam a picture.

Then I removed two more slats.  It is surprisingly enjoyable to saw a bed to pieces.

Notice Mark in the background tightening screws.  He loves that kind of stuff.  He realized some were loose after we removed the mattresses.  He said, "I'm going to go get an IKEA screwdriver."

He meant an allen wrench.  The fact that he calls an allen wrench an IKEA wrench made me realize we have a lot of stuff from IKEA and we haven't been there for awhile and I want to plan a trip.

Braeden lay on the bed and swooned and stuck his big feet out the end of bed and stretched and was supremely happy.

I texted a picture to my brothers so they could see what a good mother I am.  I knew they would appreciate Braeden's pain sleeping on a too short bed.  I was thinking they would congratulate me on my brilliant solution.

Enoch accused me of child abuse and told me to buy him a bigger bed.

So I guess the point of this post is that you shouldn't buy a bed with a foot board if you have a son who isn't done growing but if you do, you can borrow my saw.  Also, don't expect any kudos from my brothers.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My kids' teachers

For the most part, I have been very happy with my children's school teachers.  I like meeting with them at parent teacher conferences and I appreciate how hard they work for my children. 

I think Braeden's teachers either love him or...don't.  He's not everyone's flavor.  His first goal is to make everyone laugh and after that school work is somewhere on the list.

Emma's pretty conscientious so I think her teachers are all at least neutral towards her--how can you dislike the quiet girl doing her work? 

I am grateful for all of their teachers though.

I appreciate the ones that are kind and supportive and sort of cheerleaders in their lives.

I appreciate the ones that are (at least to my children) unreasonable.  There are people in the world like that.  They need to learn to work with them.

I appreciate the teachers that are unbending and immovable with their expectations.

I appreciate the teachers that are flexible and give them second chances.

They need both kinds.

I am grateful for the ones that love their sense of humor and enjoy their personalities.

I am grateful for the ones that...don't.  Because not everyone does.  It's good to learn that.

What I really love are the ones that have a relationship with my kids that is real.  They like each other.

Emma wrote a list of the sayings her geometry teacher said throughout the year and presented him with it.

One of the things he said repeatedly was, "It's so easy Mr. Whiskers can do it."

(I'm guessing Mr. Whiskers is a cat.)

Here's what he wrote in her yearbook:

There's something just wonderful about a middle school geometry teacher who can laugh at himself, write "81 Rules" and the cosine formula in a yearbook.

She underlined the teachers she had.  Just that simple green line under each name means a lot.  Those people mattered to her, so to me also. 

Her teachers.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Good mother or bad mother?

At any given time there are armfuls of things out of place that our children have left out.  Braeden, the incredible sock dropper, also leaves books around and cereal bowls.  Emma is seldom at fault but occasionally she leaves something she drew or is reading around and she often leaves piano music askew.  Mark is the worst offender.  He steps out of his shoes and leaves them in the walkway.  He leaves Lego bricks and blankets and Nerf bullets and books and all sorts of things in his wake.

I am a broken record of nagging them to pick things up.

Then, I noticed something the other day.

These shoes (of mine) were in the living room:

These were by the front door (also mine):

These were in the family room (mine):

the photo isn't blurry Adam...those are blurry shoes

And these were in front of my dresser in my bedroom (yes and yes, mine):

This is not leading by example.  Or maybe it is leading by (bad) example.  It's sort of nice of everyone not to mention my shoes when I'm on a pick-up-your-stuff tirade.

So sometimes my mothering is a fail.  Other times I give myself credit for our children's awesomeness.  (They probably either got it from Adam or came that way but sometimes I let myself take credit anyway.)

Other times, I don't know if I'm being a good mother or a bad mother.

For example, at seminary graduation, the stake president asked the kids to raise their hands if they got themselves up and ready for seminary without their parents.  Braeden raised his hand high.  (Granted, he has long arms.) I felt like high fiving myself for having such a great kid that will get himself up so I can stay in bed.

Then I felt like hanging my head in shame (and I know my mom will be unhappy with this revelation).  I was sent off to seminary after eating a hot breakfast lovingly and cheerfully prepared by my mother.  I was raised better than this.

So I'm either a good mother:  yay!  Independent child!

Or a bad mother:  seriously, my mom made pancakes, french toast, biscuits, muffins, waffles...

Either way, today is the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!  Major cause for celebration.  I will love having more time with my messy children.  We can all pick up our shoes together.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A new place

I am in a new place.  It's uncharted territory.  And like most times I've been uprooted and thrust into a new place, I'm not sure I like it.

I am in a new place where one of my children is really and truly and genuinely stressed.  He has more to do than he can do.  He is in the midst of finals and training to be a lifeguard and swim instructor and there are only so many hours in a day.

I'm used to my children being unhappy at times.  It began a long time ago.  They were tired, hungry, bored, needed their diaper changed.  I knew what to do to make it better.  Later they would get frustrated because something wouldn't work and I'd fix it for them.  They would fall and get hurt and I would bandage them.  They would get their feelings hurt and I would soothe them.  If nothing else I could distract them.  Cookies worked.

But now, in this new place, (this place I am not sure I like), there is absolutely nothing I can do.  I can't make more hours in the day.  I can't come up with a good alternative to anything.

I can see that more and more, mothering will be like this.  I will be less and less in control of anything.  And everything will get a lot more serious.  It will matter more.  The higher you go, the farther you have to fall.

All I can do is try to get used to this new place.  I don't have much choice, because here I am.  I will try all the coping strategies of the past.  I will provide arms for hugging and warm food.  I will add extra measures of patience and encouragement.

And I will pray.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Half season again

Our kids' birthdays all come in a row.  So of course their half birthdays are the same.  Mark's half birthday is first up.  It's today but we celebrated it Friday because Braeden "My-Life-is-Now-Over" Davis has a training meeting for his summer job tonight because is sort of over.

Mark wanted chocolate cupcakes.  He further requested that they have crushed M&Ms on top.  I'm all about fulfilling (half) birthday dreams, but not really.  I just placed a few M&Ms on each one. (So I halfway fulfilled his request for his half birthday...)  He also very specifically wanted 11 cupcakes.  Ten for the full candles and then one for the half candle (since he's 10 1/2).  When I was frosting the cupcakes, Mark was disapproving.

"I thought you were going to make 11," he said.


"But there are 24."

I told him that's how many cupcakes a cake mix made.  He could still put candles in 11 of them.  "Oh, then we'll have leftovers," he realized happily. 

(Maybe about this time I was ready to call off the whole celebration.)

But we sang Happy Birthday:

Then before blowing out the candles, he stopped and started eating some bread.  "What are you doing?" we all asked.

also, I'm not sure why his bread is so delightful but he looks happy
"I thought you were going to sing again," he said.

(Which makes sense because we always sing Happy Birthday twice so the tyrant child celebrating his birthday can have a snack during the second rendition.)

No wait, that's never happened.

We assured Mark we were done singing and he blew out the candles.

Then we all had a few cupcakes.  (Because there were extras.)

Besides the cupcakes, I also celebrated the fact that after months of deliberation, Mark finally arrived at what he wanted for a birthday present.  Even better, I could get it from Amazon and use my Prime free shipping.  Amazon Prime is my love language.

Having a Mark is the best though.  He always always keeps things interesting in my life. 

And I like things interesting.

Happy 10 1/2 to my baby boy who is less baby every day but still my boy.


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