Wow, the past couple of weeks have been a real whirlwind!
My mom flew in the day before my birthday. I swore her flight arrived at 12:30 PM, so I was surprised when she called at 9:30 that morning.
Mom: "Where are you?"
Me: "Oh, I'm just headed to Target."
Mom: "Oh, okay. Well, I'm at the airport."
Me: "All right." (I seriously still had no clue she had already arrived.)
Mom: "Yeah, I'm here in Ontario. Pretty sure, anyway."
Me: "What?! I thought your flight arrived at 12:30!"
Mom: "No, that's what time I leave."
Me: "Sheeee-it. Okay, I'll be there in a little bit."
The old Leslie never would have forgotten her mom's arrival time. But the new Leslie is a complete space cadet and thus flew to the airport, unshowered and wearing her clothes from the night before, to pick up her mom.
And then the fun began.
We are a family of Geminis, apparently. My and Charlie's birthdays are a day apart, and my brother's fiancee's birthday falls just a week after mine. We made it a big birthday week, and it was truly awesome.
On my birthday, Roy went to work, leaving my mom and me at home with Charlie. I had to go up to campus to file for a leave of absence for next year, so I left Charlie with my mom and went to take care of that. While I was out, I went to the chiropractor and got a much-needed bone-cracking for free! We had dinner out that night with Roy's family. The staff was nice enough to give us two free desserts. Charlie got ahold of a maraschino cherry and then had a meltdown when I pulled the stem out of his mouth. Good times.
When we got home from dinner, there was a package waiting! And in it contained a disc of Charlie's one year photo session. Sweet! We watched the slideshow before putting Charlie to bed. It was a great birthday gift. I was teary-eyed, of course.
Roy normally puts Charlie to bed - it's their special time together since I've got Charlie all day. But that night I got to do the honors, so I snuggled my almost-toddler and felt the tears welling up. Meanwhile, Roy went to the store and got me a birthday cake. Chocolate, of course!
The next day was Charlie's big first birthday. Roy had plans to come home from work early, and I had plans to take Charlie out for ice cream and other fun stuff. He was in a rotten mood, though, which I attributed to another tooth threatening to pop through.
He had strawberries for the first time for breakfast. Although some don't think it's necessary to hold off on feeding strawberries, we decided to - just to be safe.
After his morning nap, I packed Charlie up and took him to Babies 'R Us for his complimentary crown and balloon. My mom stayed at home because she was mega-jetlagged.
He didn't have much of an opinion about the balloon and crown, but he did enjoy making out with a giant bouncy ball.
I really wanted to take Charlie to get ice cream, but he was in such a bad mood and seemed so tired that I just took him home. He went down for his afternoon nap shortly thereafter. Roy arrived home early, as promised. I was lying in bed, watching the video I'd made for Charlie's birthday, and then I felt it.
Tap, tap. Tippity tap.
I just knew it was the baby! I was so damn happy that I felt his/her first kicks definitively on Charlie's birthday - it felt like baby was just itching to wish Charlie well.
Once Charlie woke up, we got started with the family festivities.
See that clock in the photos above? I had a wooden version of it when I was a kid and I just loved it. I tried to find it at my mom's house the last time we were there, but no dice. Imagine my surprise when I saw a plastic version of it in Target! I scooped it up and decided it would be a great first birthday gift from us. Charlie was entranced from the get-go - it's one of his favorite birthday gifts.
We had bought a dinky little blow-up baby splash pool thingie for Charlie to play in, but as he was sitting in my lap, I noticed how hot he was. He'd felt hot all day, but then again it'd been hot as balls all day. At that point it had cooled down considerably, so I was concerned. We checked his temperature, and I was shocked that he had a 102 degree fever. We called off the rest of the festivities and ushered Chuckles into the bathtub. We Tylenoled him up and then put him to bed. We figured we'd sneak in at 8:56 so we could be there at his official time of birth, but he was already awake at that point. I rocked him in the glider while we softly sang "Happy Birthday" to him.
Despite the fever and general crankiness, I think it was an excellent first birthday for our boy. And the next day he was his normal happy self - sans fever.
The rest of the week was a blur of insomnia, errands, and party planning. My brother and his fiancee Clare flew in on Friday, the day before Charlie's birthday party. I left Charlie with his Uncle Paul and took my mom with me to my prenatal appointment (where we finally heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time). From there, we picked up Wade and Clare from the airport, ate lunch, and then came home. I spent Friday night stressing over getting to Costco in time to pick up the food and cake, while Roy was rounding up tables and chairs from various family members. But we got it all done, and we settled in for a good night's sleep: five adults, a baby, three cats, and about 50 fish all crammed in a little two-bedroom house.
I haven't been talking about this very much, but damn, my insomnia has kicked in once again, and it really was awful while we had a houseful of people. The cats were insane due to all the strangers in the house, so they spent each night crawling all over me and just being generally annoying. I woke up on Saturday feeling like absolute shit, but I was also really excited. I managed to drag my zombie of a husband out of bed so he could help me load up the truck. Then I left all the sleepy-heads at home while I went to Mandy and Paul's house to set up the party.
Have I mentioned I was exhausted? (Still am, but that's not really relevant to this post.)
I think so. And yet there I was, driving down the street with my Starbucks, listening to Christmas music of all things, enjoying the nice bouncy feeling of driving a truck. We'd borrowed Mandy's truck, and it is so much more fun to drive than my car. I just felt really happy.
Mandy and I got her house all set up, thanks to awesome Angelina, who showed up early just for that reason. I really took it easy with the party planning, because I knew we didn't have the money to go all out, nor did I have the energy. Still, I really like the way things came out, particularly the photo wall. (Everyone had the option of taking photos home if they wanted.)
The theme for the party was ducks, of course. I got tablecloths, plates, and utensils in blue and yellow, and also ordered some white rubber duckies for everyone to color. They were a pretty big hit.
I was surprised that everyone who said they would show up actually did. It was a good turnout and so much fun. We basically sat around and ate while the kiddos played. Then we sang "Happy Birthday" to Charlie - and his reaction (or lack thereof, I should say) was priceless. He just sat there with a blank look on his face while we were singing. I wish I would have gotten it on video because it was hysterical to me.
Once he got his cupcake, he took a few dainty bites.
But then he got all crazy about it. He ended up being a complete mess, so much so that we had to give him a quick bath afterwards.
Afterwards, we helped Charlie open his gifts, and then Roy had to hightail it out of there to get Charlie home for his nap. It was a really great time, definitely a successful (and simple) first birthday party. Considering our lame-ass budget, it all came together much better than what I was expecting.
For Clare's birthday celebration the next day, there was leftover cake in bed in the morning.
And then we went out to Santa Monica. It was actually pretty chilly out so we didn't really get a lot of beach time like she wanted. But we still had a good time. I played with my Lensbaby to get some cool pictures.
We took the opportunity to put Charlie's feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. His reaction was pretty anticlimactic. He's his father's son, all right.
The next day, Wade and Clare flew back home, and my mom stayed for a couple more days. Then, before I knew it, the house was empty again and things were back to normal. Normal really isn't a bad thing, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up when I said goodbye to my mom at the airport. My time with my family is always so short-lived and limited, and for that reason I don't take it for granted anymore.
This visit was a great one, filled with so many memorable moments, most of them having to do with my family being with Charlie and giving him lots of love. I haven't included any of those pictures in this entry, because they feel kind of special and private, something I want to hold close to my heart forever. What can I say? Some things just don't need to be shared with the world; they're things I will file away in my happy place for the rest of my life.