Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 Wrap Up (Part 2)

I was going to make the "Part 2" a "Part II" but I'm not fancy, so let's avoid the Roman numerals. Also, what if I have like 57 parts? I don't know what 50 is. Is it L? Who cares. I'll probably never go to Rome anyway.

Donovan's birthday party was dinner, a trip to the movies, and then home for games and jumping on the trampoline and wrestling, and laughing. Or, as boys call it: playing. It's all just playing. And, of course, everyone wore mustaches. The boys were pretty sure if they walked in seriously, people there would think some of them actually grew facial hair. I might have perpetuated this delusion.
Mustaches are serious business.
On the heels of Donovan's birthday party came Ainsleigh's surprise party. Her birthday falls after spring break, so I had told her we'd discuss her party once school was out. She didn't realize I had already planned her surprise party for the Friday night BEFORE spring break - I'M SO SNEAKY! Joel took her to get her haircut and while she was gone, a few friends came over. I had them hang streamers with Donovan and Gemma while I hurried and made the "cake." When they returned, I had the girls all hide behind our island. Ainsleigh opened the door first and saw the edge of a streamer. "What the..." she begins (I have it on video) and then walks into the kitchen. Confusion and surprise mingled on her face and then the girls jumped out and yelled, "SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" and Ainsleigh proved once and for all she is my daughter by letting her mouth fall open and then promptly burst into tears. Of JOY. She was laughing and crying and saying, "I can't control myself! This is amazing!"

Again we ate dinner and went to the movies (seriously, this is the best party idea ever), returning home to have "cake" (dirt cake doesn't really count) and play pictionary. She went to bed that night absolutely giddy.

Then, on her actual birthday, the girls from church her age and just a little older "heart-attack"ed our front door. It's funny how excited kids get over small things. A few of those hearts are still stuck to her bedroom walls, reminding her that she is worth celebrating. That night we went to Crave, a burger place in our little town center. You really shouldn't visit it more than once or twice a year unless you're trying to become a contestant on The Biggest Loser. The shakes are so delicious. The smothered fries are divine. The burgers - whoa nelly. Let's just say we get three burgers, 2 fries and 3 shakes for the 5 of us and that is plenty. Ainsleigh chose to start off with a bacon cheeseburger. But it isn't just any old cheeseburger - in place of the buns, put a grilled cheese sandwich - on either side of the meat. NOW you're talking. I don't know how any of them fit their mouths around it.

A few nights later was the lunar eclipse! Although this happens a couple times a year, it's not always a full eclipse. This one was special because it was the BLOOD MOON and apparently that's worth capitalizing. Honestly, I love all (full) lunar eclipses, so I didn't really care that it was also rusty (it's usually kind of rusty!). In years past, we've woken up the kids and put down sleeping bags and blankets on our back deck and watched from their cuddly cottony confines. This time, though, I made the astute observation that the moon was low enough that we could actually lay on our living room floor and see out our window. WIN!

And then a couple nights later I made the tragic mistake of leaving half a bag of mini chocolate chips in the bottom of a grocery bag on the floor. Long story short, Albus ate them. Anyone remotely familiar with dogs will now this can be a fatal mistake. I have never had to take one of my children to the emergency room, so this was my first experience with driving to an emergency room as fast as possible (while obeying traffic laws, bien sur) while singing lullabies and speaking softly and lovingly to a being I'm in charge of. It was terrifying. I wouldn't let Joel go because it was my fault and I just had to be with him (and the kids were asleep by the time we figured out why he was acting so spastic - that's when I discovered the empty bag).

He was in the Animal Hospital for almost 24 hours, had 4 treatments of charcoal, and nearly died, but yay for pet insurance and having him home and well with us. One of the most heartbreaking parts was telling my kids in the morning when they asked where Albus was. I calmly said to Donovan, "He ate some chocolate chips last night, so he is at the animal hospital until this afternoon." Donovan's face fell and tears welled up in his eyes. We cried a little together and then he told me I needed to tell his sisters. He also said, "I don't think I can concentrate at school today. Can I stay home?" No - he went to school. I reassured them that the worst was over. That afternoon, as we were leaving to pick up Albus, Donovan asked, "Mom, is it ok if, when I see Albus, I cry a little because I'm so happy?" I reassured him it would be fine. Oh how I love this sweet boy of mine. I'm talking about Donovan. I also love Albus, but for different reasons.

Ainsleigh got to attend an art class as part of a friend's birthday party. She brought home her version of Poppies and asked if she could hang it in her room. I said yes, but then asked if we couldn't hang it in our family room so we could all see it. A grin crept across her face as I could see that this suggestion pleased her. It hangs in our family room now and I love it.

One morning I caught Donovan reading to Gemma, through no prompting from me. They sat there reading and laughing together and it was a sweet moment in a cloud of mental chaos for me. So I took a picture.

And then there was my birthday. You know how we decorate the kids' rooms for their birthdays? Well the morning of my birthday I came out of my room to discover this: 

and a closeup:
the note says: Happy Birthday! From Dono. p.s. I did the streamers with no help. You give us surprises so I gave you one. Love, Donovan

Can you believe this kid? And he twisted the streamers! That was wonderful, but then I came down the stairs and something outside caught my eye through the windows on either side of our door. "What in the world..." I wondered, as I walked over. And then I burst into tears. See this mother/daughter relationship?

I'm sure everyone has wonderful friends and everyone loves their friends but I have the MOST wonderful friends and I love them more than anything. Look what my creative friends did in the middle of the night:

There were something like 100 of these smiley faces speared into my front lawn. And on the back of each one were character traits my friends think I possess. That's a lot of adjectives, people. What was more stunning is that these people thought them up and thought I should know. Incredible. I will never forget this birthday, or the delight (and a little embarrassment) it brought.

close-up of the sign

So then we went to Donovan's soccer game where I saw a couple of the friends who were responsible and I promptly cried again (see a trend). Happy tears, of course. And then Joel and I went for a birthday bike ride and all of that combined for a most ideal birthday.

 Ok, that's enough for now...


Becca said...

WHY DID I CRY (FOR JOY) DURING THE ENTIRE POST?? I love all you people and the awesome things you've done this last year!