Happy Birthday Baby (It’s me, Really, Your Mama)

Oh how I’ve missed you dear reader.

You probably don’t recognize me, now that I’ve been stripped of my crown.  Now that I no longer hold the title and wear the proud sash  ‘Queen of Those Who Will Never Ever Allow Animals in this House.’

I’m not who you think I am.  Or maybe I’m not who I thought I was.

Either way I am breaking radio silence with a confession.

Frankly, it’s my behavior.  Erratic, unpredictable, and totally unprecedented; I don’t know who I am anymore.

Here’s the thing — We got a bunny.

As in a real live rabbit-like fritter (furry+critter = fritter) living INSIDE our home.  I’ll wait while needles scratch on the sound-tracks of life and those who know me well gasp for air in an aura of disbelief.

It’s true.  See?

That’s Pesto (the brown furry thing, not the kid.)

Surely it hasn’t been so long that you don’t recognize my birthday girl?  You know, the one who looks pretty darn happy most of the time but apparently, sigh, could be so much more so if she got a bunny for her birthday.

The one who spent the better part of the year writing persuasion papers on how bunny-ownership improves the quality of life.

The gal who swears that she will take full responsibility for caring and cleaning and whatever else goes along with this pet shebang. (Go ahead and smirk, you know who you are.)

The one with the smile that screams I HAVE THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD but secretly is thinking, hey, who is this strange lady? She looks a little familiar and still has that weird thing for kale, but gone is that unending diatribe against pets.

I don’t know what happened to her and if you, dear friends, think it best to lock me up than I defer to your better judgement. (Another confession: I’ve taken to chatting up the fritter as I walk by on days where it’s just me and him, home alone, clearly insane.)

Leaving for a moment the unanswerable question of how we got here, I bet you’re wondering how a floppy-eared fluffy thing goes and gets himself named after an herbed Italian sauce?

Once upon a day last week, I was covered in basil and garlic and wondering how to make it into sauce.  This is what followed when I asked my daughter to read the list of ingredients from a googled recipe:

She:  Do you want it in a southern accent, or a British one?

Me:  Southern

She: Well, Bubba, that’s just the way I feel about pesto

Me: Um, huh?

She:  Well Bubba, that’s just the way I feel about pesto

And so it came to pass that

  1. My sauce did not taste very good.
  2. The bunny got named Pesto.
  3. Our family has a new framed motto that hangs  above the kitchen table:

I Pledge, Well Kind of

You bet I accepted the Huffington Post’s Week of Eating In Challenge. I’m all in.  Shine that spotlight on homemade meals and watch me frugally budget.  Who knows? All that money I’m saving could add up to bags of gold that will allow me, some day, to bid adieu to my aging appliances and rip out the Formica that callously imprisons my kitchen in the late 1970s.

Pledge-smedge, bring it on.

We eat in all the time anyway and what a perfect excuse to try out new recipes and yippee for family cohesion and what? What’s that you say? It’s this week? Oh no that simply won’t do.  This is the week of my 40th birthday and I’ve got visitors in town and lunch dates and hey, BACK OFF!  I’m pretty sure that everyone out there in pledgeville would agree that no one should have to cook dinner on her 40th birthday.

How about this?  I’ll gladly pledge you Tuesday for a birthday dinner today?  Just this week, that’s all I’m asking and then I promise I will cook at home from here to eternity.

I can say this with conviction, because based on my incredible haul of birthday loot I know that there is an awful lot of cooking in my future.

It’s awesome, isn’t it? My gorgeous cherry red Kitchen-Aid surrounded by the best books in the biz. I can’t wait to start flinging flour.

Rest assured I am going to spend hours gleaming expert advice from these legendary cookbooks.  I will create masterpieces that will have eaters in tears.  Already I have visions of Crepes Suzette dancing in my delusional head.

But I have to tell you, despite thousands of pages of beautifully detailed recipes, the advice that captured my loins attention came not from a renowned book nor from a celebrity chef.

No, one voice stood out from the crowd.  His beautiful, naked request really spoke to me.  Grabbed me in that visceral sort of way. (Visceral sort of way = passionately around the waist as the sun set over the waving wheat and he easily hoisted me up onto the saddle and steadied me with one bronzed arm as he steered the steed towards the nearest haystack.)

Now that I am older and wiser I understand why, as some women age, they seek to make changes.  Some take up knitting.  Some go blond.

In honor of my 40th birthday I have officially changed my name.

Call me Biscuit.

It’s Planting Time, Right?

Whooo-hooo!  It’s party planting time.

I know that you’re digging out from feet of snow and shivering huddled around a cup of coffee while your runny-nosed, snow-bound children run ragged through a house that hasn’t been aired out in months, but come on.  I’m ready to get down and dirty dig in some dirt.

My garden is on board. Right, garden?

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Hmm, garden seems to be hibernating.  What am I supposed to do with all this pent up excitement? Thanks for nothing, Pioneer Lady for posting this gorgeous tutorial on building raised vegetable beds and getting me all revved up for gardening.

And thanks alot Gardener’s supply.  You and your incredible and fantastic online garden planner that lets me select veggies and decide whether or not the cucumbers will twine up the same trellis as the snap peas.  Just what do you think you’re doing?

The anticipation is fabulous.  I can almost smell the sun-warmed squash.

So what that it’s not planting time.  This is crazy fun.

Time out.

Crazy fun? Um, hello?

We need to talk.

Perhaps you’re forgetting who you’re talking to.   I am the party girl who raucously rang in her 21st birthday on a Mardi Gras day much like today.

There was drinking and dancing and parades and partying on the streets of New Orleans.

That was crazy fun.  And it was not all that long ago.

Or maybe it was all that long ago.

And I guess it was far, far away.

But how did this happen?

How did I go from shimmying to shoveling?

From drinking to digging?

From partying to planting?

Oy.  I am staring at 40 and getting all hot and bothered about garden planners.  Somebody send help.

Somebody?

Anybody?

Help.

It’s Her Birthday…and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Nah, despite my reputation to the contrary, I’m not going to cry.  I may be shaking my head back and forth in disbelief that I am old enough to have a nine year old, but there won’t be any tears.  Not when I am the proud mama of an attitude-copping, eye-rolling, delicious delightful beautiful nine year-old.

Ok, so maybe I will shed a tear or two, but that’s only because I am so overwhelmingly lucky in claiming this motley crew as my own —

family

Note, re: the helmets in this shot — we were sledding, okay?  My petition for above offspring to wear helmets plus full-body protective-wear 24/7 continues to be denied.

Turns out I’m not alone in thinking that nine is pretty darn old.  At her birthday dinner Kira pointed out the sad facts, there in black and white on the kids menu:

Kids’ meals are for children, 8 years and under.

Of course I marched right into the kitchen to have a word with the joker responsible for deciding that 9 years on this earth qualifies one to be an adult.  Well, I didn’t actually march in there, but I considered it.   Truth is I was pretty hungry and besides, what better gift to give than the gift of narrowly avoided mortifying embarrassment?

Child or no, a birthday girl is entitled to a day of  activities of her choosing.  And so it was that we set out for the Breckenridge bone-jarring sledding hill. Being nine, Kira marched herself to the top of the hill without pause and launched herself down the mountain at rocket speed before I could let loose with an over-protective blood curdling shriek of “NO WAY ARE YOU GOING OVER THOSE NECK-TWISTING, SPINE-SNAPPING JUMPS!” or maybe just a “HEY IS THAT HELMET TIGHT ENOUGH?”

Once she got the jumping part out of her system, everyone wanted to take a ride with the birthday girl.  Here she is with Good-sport Grandpa–

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And with her very own wild and crazy mom —

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And post-hill posing with her punky sister (helmet removed only for the picture, trust me.)

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Happy Birthday to my Incredible Nine Year Old.  I love you, and I love being your mom.

Happy Birthday, Baby

Oops, that’s not my birthday baby.  Here she is.

Lest there be any confusion, her name is Acadia, not Lorax.  But boy oh boy does she speak for the trees.  If by speaking for the trees you mean throwing down on the lawn and kicking and screaming in protest of a few defenseless branches.

Sweet Acadia.  She doesn’t always manage the birthday with a smile.

Even the Mardi Gras beads didn’t make up for her extreme displeasure over my choice of birthday restraint back in her earlier fling-self-from-rooftops days.

Last weekend we moved some things around in the yard, in preparation for the big backyard birthday blow-out.  We are also weighing options for a still-hypothetical garden relocation project.  Maybe, just maybe the soil on the sunnier side favors the production of girl flowers?

In the heat of the preparations a large plastic climbing object was moved across the yard.  A couple of overhanging branches were cut to make room for playtimes free of eye-pokes.  A couple of branches.  Cut a couple of inches.

The planet patrol lost all control.  Her face turned red with rage.  She stomped her feet.  She clenched her fists. She announced that she WOULD NOT STAND HERE ONE MORE MINUTE AND WATCH US KILL THE TREES.  Then my dear little Lorax flung herself on the ground and cried her heart out.

Eventually the heart-heaving sobs quieted, but she continued to mope around, forlorn, staring at the mistreated grass and communing with the flowers that somehow had the misfortune to fall under the evil reign of her own parents.

Sweet sensitive soul. In her haste to castigate us she overlooked the fact that she claims as parents two of the biggest tree hugging hippies one could find.  Never mind that we committed to diligently recycle and compost and carry reusable bags.  No sound arguments would make it through whilst the sap on her friends’ wounds still oozed fresh.

We appeased her by letting her plant flowers, however many and wherever she thought best. It turned out the flowers felt they should be randomly scattered strategically placed in beds all over the lawn.

And with that the Lorax was back in business. She grabbed hold of that big old shovel and set right to work restoring balance to the planet.

She set sister Kira to task too.

While the irises were busy contemplating the next stop in their total domination of the yard, I questioned Acadia about her birthday wish list.  Turns out that there are, in fact, a couple of things that might make her stony facade break into smile.  They are, not necessarily in this order:

  1. Clothes for her dolls.
  2. A horse.
  3. And a promise on behalf of her parents to leave her leafy large friends alone.

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday baby girl.

No, wait, that’s not right.  This is not you anymore, lounging around under the table with the balloon, waiting to blow out the candles on your 3rd birthday cake.

This is you now.  Independent.  Determined.  Generous.  Empathetic.  And unbelievably eight years old. When did you make the leap from being my little baby to winning jump-rope medals?

And swim team ribbons?

I blinked, and the wrinkly newborn days are long gone.  Despite the bumbles and struggles and my blatant lack of experience going in, we made it this far.  I could have asked for no better initiation into motherhood than your patient, wise self.  Thank you for your willful insistence, for it is you who remembers the canvas bags, you who composts the carrot peels, and you who asks to take the bikes instead.

Happy Birthday dear Kira.  My funny, caring, loving, smart, incredible baby.  You are, perhaps, the Greenest Biener.

Happy Birthday to Acadia

I’m working on a boatload of humorous articles, useful tips and wonderful recipes following our harvest day at the farm last weekend, really I am. But how can I be expected to formulate sentences when I am swimming (drowning?) in the inconceivable fact that, as of 2:54 last night, my baby turned five. FIVE!

Here’s an indulgent look at five years (well, four. We didn’t get the digital camera going until her second year) in the life of Acadia…Happy Birthday, baby.