I used to always get the birthday blues on my birthday, no matter how special anyone made it or what we did to celebrate.
Even though my family and Sam have always gone to great lengths to show love, somehow the day was always a bit sad for me.
A few years ago, I decided to take control of the situation and start doing something fun each year of my own accord. It's always been something simple, like taking the kids to get snowcones, but it gives me a way to break out of my birthday blues and better appreciate the things others do to show their love for me.
This summer has been brutal for Sam with his work. He has been given an insane workload and has been staying late at work many nights, or working at home until midnight or beyond.
I knew having to try to do something special for my 30th birthday would just increase his stress and there were a few things I had been wanting to get, so I told him that I would just take care of my own birthday presents this year and that he didn't need to do anything for me.
So the night before my birthday, I went over to a church friend's house, and she gave me a fun new haircut and some color with partial highlights. It was so nice to have a refresher! I had been struggling to fight the frump and it was just the thing to give me a boost.
On my actual birthday, I dropped off the older 4 kids with a couple of friends and ran some errands with just Benson underfoot. It was nice to have some quiet time out of the house.
The boys showered me with nice cards throughout the afternoon and Talmage told me they were giving me the gift of a nap while the older boys would take care of the little ones!!
I ended up taking a rain check on the nap, but I appreciated his kindness so much.
He is starting to really be tuned in to my emotions and strive to help me. The other day Maxwell and Benson were both SCREAMING for quite a while at the top of their lungs as I tried to help them and Talmage exclaimed over the ruckus, "BEING A MOM IS HARD SOMETIMES BUT YOU'RE DOING A GREAT JOB!"
Sam had a late work meeting that night. He offered to order something from a restaurant and have it delivered, but I thought it would be fun to make fondue and have a little family dinner party when he got home. I roasted some veggies, chopped up some french bread, and cooked some meatballs, and we had fun with our fondue.
Then, much to my surprise, he gave me a gift in spite of our agreement!
He gave me a projector!
After we buy a house, we'd like to make a room of the house as a "classroom," of sorts, where we can have a dry erase board, comfortable seating, a projector screen, learning supplies and a journal for each family member, and ways to quickly connect devices in order to enrich our teaching as we have family scripture study, family home evening, or family council. There are so many amazing resources available now to help us teach our children, and we want to take full advantage of them.
We don't have quite the set-up we are envisioning yet, but the projector is a step in the right direction! We got it set up while the boys got their pajamas on and then we watched a little cartoon together on the wall to end the night.
We decided to do more of a celebration two days later, on Saturday.
We had planned on doing a 30-mile bike ride, but at the last minute I ended up needing to go to a funeral, so we postponed our bike ride for a week. When I got home from the funeral, Sam had mopped the floor until it glistened! It was desperately needed and greatly appreciated. That afternoon we all went to the Pink Palace to watch an IMAX movie. Since our first date was to the IMAX, the day after my 19th birthday, we usually try to go see one around my birthday. We watched Apollo 11 and it was so cool to see how they made the entire movie from original video footage from the 1960s!
It was fun for me to observe the clothing and basic lifestyle that was an undertone to the space mission.
When we got home, I went outside on the porch swing and watched the boys play ball while I started reading an economics book my sister had sent me for my birthday. Sam made spaghetti alla carbonara and brownies and after dinner, he surprised me by setting up the projector with a big game of "Mommy Jeopardy" for the boys! They had fun answering trivia questions about me. They know me pretty well!
The next Saturday we got up early and I picked up a babysitter.
I had used MapMyRide to create a 30-mile bike route, using the Greenline (21 miles round trip) with a 9 mile detour down through Shelby Farms Park and the Wolf River Greenway.
We had soo much fun together doing this ride!
I'm not really sure why I thought it would be a piece of cake to ride 30 miles. I really enjoy biking, but I don't think I've ever ridden more than about 10 miles at once. And I had done virtually nothing to get ready for this ride. In fact, I even failed to eat breakfast in our rush to get everything ready and out the door.
About 15 miles into our ride, I started to get kind of shaky.
I told Sam I needed to stop for a minute and eat a Clif bar since I hadn't had breakfast, so we sat and took a quick break. After about 5 minutes I felt like I had pretty well recovered, so I stood up to walk back over to my bike, and my legs buckled under me and I nearly collapsed! I was so shocked that I could feel almost normal and yet have my muscles turn against me like that. It only lasted a moment and then my legs kicked back into gear. We hopped back on our bikes and continued on our way.
Miles 17-20 were kind of rough for me. It was getting SO HOT and that portion of the ride was on a bike path just over the fence from a highway, so the constant sound of the cars and feel of the city was wearing on me.
But once we reached mile 20 at the end of the Greenline and turned around to complete the last 10 miles back to our car, I got my second wind and felt pretty good up through the end!
The last few miles were the hardest for Sam. The path was less shaded and he was really overheating.
But we had such a sense of accomplishment when we finished and we went to get smoothies to celebrate.
We loved seeing the wildlife around us as we rode...cardinals, dozens of turtles, a great blue heron, chipmunks, gorgeous butterflies, and the most playful bluebird that flitted around alongside us for a bit, seeming like it stepped right out of Sleeping Beauty.
The ride felt a bit like a microcosm for 30 years of life...ups and downs, hard patches, a little rain, hot sun, occasional crowds of people to navigate around, the need to consult the map, the need to adjust our plans (like when we ran into a triathlon), tests of endurance, and beauty surrounding us constantly if we would but open our eyes to notice it.