I spent the first few hours cleaning. I know - cleaning on your birthday. But it was actually more like organizing, the leftover stuff from last night's big bedroom move. I purged out things from the playroom, moved some stuff around, brought back a few of the toy bins (still in the garage after a month!) and stood back to admire my work. It looks fantastic. Really fantastic. As it turns out, we didn't have as much stuff as I thought we did - it just wasn't laid out right.
Come mid-morning one of my best friends in town dropped in for a visit with her kids. We always have great chats, and we're both last minute planners, so it always works great.
James made my special request for a birthday dinner: asian stir fry, with strawberry shortcake for dessert. Although I helped out with the stir fry (it's a homemade sauce), he makes the BEST strawberry shortcake, and didn't disappoint tonight! And I didn't mind helping with the dinner, but I made it clear I was not touching the dishes. And I didn't have to, not at all. (James is finishing up cleaning the kitchen while I type this.)
Then came the presents. I'm a big believer in birthday lists. I gather ideas all year in an email draft, which James and my parents generally draw from for birthdays and Christmas. But I also really love a surprise, so I try to put a lot of things on the list, so that I don't know exactly what I'm getting.
This year was especially lovely, because there were some things I both really needed and wanted. (Often my list is mostly full of books.) My parents sent an email saying they wanted to get me a new case for my guitar (sorely needed!) I'm sad to get rid of the current case - it and the guitar belonged to my dad from when he was young (teenager?) and I'm the sentimental type that has hung onto it, sewn it up, and carried it under my arm to keep the guitar from falling out. But it is time. They also sent a new piano songbook, from the musical "Wicked." I cracked it open right away, and sang and played through my favourites. Then I realized that I can also use the book to play the songs on guitar now!
Then I opened the huge box that filled the kitchen table...a mitre saw! James told a funny story about going into the hardware store, finding an employee, and telling him that he had two questions: 1) where are the mitre saws? and 2) what is a mitre saw? The employee laughed, and checked twice that James was indeed buying it for his wife. My first project will be a proper gate for our deck. The massive sheet of plywood did the job, but a swinging gate will definitely make things easier!
Now that the kids are in bed, James and I have an evening of Band Hero planned, singing and strumming and beating the drums into the night.
And so another birthday passes into the books. A wonderful day. Life is good.