Birthday to Birthday

Today is my sister’s birthday (Happy birthday, Andrea!), a week and a half ago it was Luke’s birthday, and eleven days before that was my birthday.  We’ve got a lot of birthdays happening around here.

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For Shame!

I know, I know.  There’s no reason to point it out.  We’re all aware that I’m a deadbeat blogger and frankly, I don’t see it getting much better over the next month.  I’m starting a fractured two-week Cape Cod-at home-Maine vacation this coming Sunday, much of which will be spent without access to the Internet (gasp! I know). My best chance of catching up will be at the very end of July.  So to tide you over until then, here, look at what I did this weekend!

First it was Cameron’s 8th birthday party (EIGHT! How did this happen?)  It was hot.  So very hot, and we spent the day outside playing water games, like this duck-duck-goose-type game whose I can’t remember because my mom and I kept calling it splish-splish-splash.

I spent forever and a gallon of frosting trying to recreate Blackout in frosting, per Cameron’s very specific instructions.

And Andrea and I tried to get all nine kids to jump in the air at the same time for a cool photo.  Heh… not so much.

Then the sprinkler running all day finally overwhelmed the well pump and my sister completely lost water in the house.  That part was not fun.  We tried to keep a brave face and continue to party and open presents, then Luke and I left for another party and my sister and her family had to call a plumber.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY I bought you a new well pump!

Our next party was a birthday party for our friend Marc, but the only pictures I took were of him blowing out his birthday candles – and no, his party was not also Transformers-themed.

His sister-in-law’s sister (is there a name for that) makes amazing cakes and she made this one that was, believe it or not, just perfect for Marc.

The next day we geared up for the next two parties.  The first was at Amanda ad Greg’s house where we were able to meet the two newest babies in the group: Ava and Ginger.  Here’s Ava and her cheeks:

and here’s Ginger and her mom, Audrey:

Too much cute for one party.  Luke and I were telling the story of –ha ha– how awful it was about my sister and losing water in the middle of the party –ha, ha— and Greg said, “knock-on-wood, we’ve never had that problem” and not ten minutes later I hear someone ask “hey, why isn’t the sprinkler working?” and then “hey, did you know you don’t have any water in your kitchen?”  No, I’m not kidding.  We brought the doom to the party.  They lost water, too.  A quick run to the store for jugs of water and a few klassy handwritten signs, and we were all learning the valuable survival skill of flushing a toilet with a jug of water.

Luckily, by the time we left, their water was coming back and so far they’ve avoided needing a plumber, thank goodness. It was getting late and we had to leave Amanda and Greg’s and head to our last party out in  beautiful South Glastonbury.  We weren’t sure if we should bring our well-stopping storytelling skills to this party, but we did tell a couple of people and our friends miraculously avoided the curse.

We chatted with friends, sipped strawberry daiquiris, and marveled at how big everyone’s babies are getting.  This is me and Ryder who is almost one–holy smokes.

The sun went down, the sparklers came out, and–is it me, or did they last longer when we were kids?  They burn out so quickly.  I had to practice lighting, focusing, and swirling several times without the sparkler burning out before I could get a cool shot like this one.

We dragged our exhausted selves home and looked forward to a relaxing day down by the river the following day.  It was just what we needed.  We swam, we sat, we snacked, we laughed.  The perfect ending to a long and wonderful weekend.

Now if you happen to get antsy waiting for my next, post-vacation report, I would encourage you to visit my cousin’s new site, Letters from Arfara where she is documenting her summer spent living with her extended family in Greece. I’m very jealous of this trip.  Go check it out!

Weekend Wrap-up, Late Edition

You guys, I am overwhelmed.  Work stuff that I can’t talk about is MELTING MY BRAIN.  So much going on! I open up the internet, planning to come here and tell you about what’s been going on and… nothing. My brain is frozen. I had such a fantastic birthday weekend and I’d love to tell you about it, but trying to remember what happened and in what order and then actually sit down and type it all out — it makes me all hyperventilate-y just thinking about it.

Let’s just say this: sunshine, visiting with friends, presents, family, a delicious birthday dinner from my mom, red velvet cake!, motorcycle rides, more sunshine, walks in the woods, swinging in the hammock, eating more hot dogs than I am willing to admit, relaxing, enjoying, and three whole days of being outside in the glorious weather.  It was awesome.

Also, I got my nose pierced.  That was fun. You can just about make it out in this picture.  (Didn’t hurt at all. Georgina from Black Diamond Body Piercing is a rock star.)

Don’t ask.  I always seem to stick the bows off of my presents onto my chest or my head for some reason, and my sister had taken the time to cut the entire “Happy Birthday” out of a sheet of wrapping paper and stick it onto my gift, so I thought that deserved to be worn, not thrown away.  (The necklace was a gift from Andrea, it’s from Sparkle in Evergreen Walk — don’t you love it?)

That’s about it, in a nutshell.  Thank you to everyone for all of the birthday wishes.  You all helped to make is the best birthday in a long time.  A year, at least.

Everlasting Aquarium

Do you have a friend who just can’t keep her fish alive, no matter how hard she tries?  A friend who probably has a WANTED poster tacked up at the back of the aquatic area of every pet store in Connecticut?  A friend who wants to have fish but keeps mysteriously losing the ones she buys?  If you have a friend like this, have I got the perfect solution!  The everlasting, impossible to kill, no tank-cleaning required tropical aquarium.

A while back I had seen this post on Purl Bee about making magnetic, felt fish and it caught my eye.  I bookmarked it and went back a few times to look at it, then one day while trying to decide what to make a certain friend (cough!Paula) for her birthday, it hit me!  Fish that won’t die!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Some people have bad luck with houseplants, others have bad luck with fish.  This friend is one of these people.  No matter what she does for them, her fish keep croaking and I didn’t want her to get discouraged about losing so many fish so I thought I’d just give her a few that would never go belly up.

Each fish is made with layers of felt sewn together with a magnet sandwiched inside.  My handy-dandy husband cut out a piece of steel in the shape of a tank and I spray-painted it a nice shade of tropical blue.  I added some plants and a few rocks and, ta-da!  An everlasting aquarium!  Never again feel the pain of flushing a dead fish or feel shame when entering the fish store.  My friend (cough!Paula) can move the fish around and rearrange the tank and – even better – never worry about leaving these fish alone when she goes on vacation.  Pretty neat, huh?

Happy Birthday, Paula.  I hope you don’t mind that I told the Internet that you’re a fish-killer.  Oops, did I say that?

Growing Older But Not Up

I really wish that everyone would declare a three-day weekend on their birthday.  I took Friday off to celebrate my turning 33 and spent the weekend celebrating and enjoying and smiling.  It was the best birthday weekend ever.  It kicked off Thursday evening with the repainting of my kitchen.

I call this color “33rd Birthday Blue”.  After the change of cabinet hardware and the painting of my washer and dryer, the only next logical step was painting the kitchen walls the most amazing shade of electric turquoise you’ve ever seen.  It makes me happy just looking at it.

My birthday was as perfect as could be, starting with breakfast cupcakes, then sushi for lunch, Mexican for dinner, presents, family, laughs, but guess what?  No pictures.  I didn’t take a single picture on my birthday.  Neither did my usually camera-toting sister.  That’s OK, you can just take my word for it, it was a perfectly beautiful day.

Check out some of my loot!  I’m going to be very busy.  On top there is the extremely sharp (trust me) pair of left-handed dressmaker’s shears I mentioned on here a few weeks ago.  My mom, she can take a hint.

The rest of the weekend was spent, as usual, in the garden.  Also in the hammock, enjoying the view of the garden.

I managed to finally plant the veggie garden.  Two kinds of Swiss chard, three kinds of cucumbers, yellow and green summer squash, basil, sunflowers, zinnia, cosmos, and this coming weekend the tomatoes will go in (after I buy the plants at the Farmer’s Market).

It’s all very neat and orderly and makes me happy just looking at it.  Of course in a few weeks when the weeds take over, it will make me feel overwhelmed looking at it, but for now I’m loving it.

It truly was a perfect weekend.  Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate and a big shout out to Mother Nature for sending the amazing weather.