Happy Birthday To Me

I’m thirty-five! Of course, it’s now been almost two months since my birthday, and it shouldn’t be too surprising that this post is so late; procrastination is a fully-ingrained part of who I am at times…along with many other questionable qualities.DSC_5950-Edi-2t_WEB

Much like turning thirty did, the idea of turning thirty-five made me panic a little bit. Should I celebrate with an amazing birthday bash? Should I make some drastic and impressive personal goals to achieve? Should I map out my next five years to become My Very Best Me? Agh, so much pressure to reflect and plan and be introspective and thoughtful and intelligent. Qualities I don’t always have.

The first weird thing is that 35 is in a whole other age range. The vaunted 18-34 youth segment is officially in the rearview mirror. I’ve never been a good ‘young person’ but now I officially am no longer one. I kind of feel weird about that, like now that I can’t be in that club maybe I should have been a better member of it? I’ve been old at heart for a long time and have embraced the fact that I’m forgetful, a homebody and kind of a square, and so maybe now my physical age makes it a little more acceptable?

And the other thing is that 35 is one of those nice big Grown Up Adult ages. I’m an employee, a business owner, a wife, a mother. I should know what I’m doing, right? Like, I need to have Life, The Universe, and Everything figured out by now. (Although I suppose I have until 42 for that, right? Haha! Dorky book joke!) But…pretty sure I don’t have any idea about much of anything. This year more than ever, I’ve had to work on juggling and balancing everything. It’s tough, for sure. It involves a lot of list-making, trying to focus on certain tasks at certain times of day, and staying up way too late just about all the time.

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I think back to my 33rd birthday–when the babies hadn’t arrived yet and my face and belly were still so swollen–and I feel like I kind of haven’t changed, or that time hasn’t really passed. Which is ridiculous, because now we have these huge toddlers and all these baby gates, and I’m generally a lot more tired than I used to be, and I have no free time. I do get so much love and joy from our little ones growing and changing and hugging, and I’m working on being patient (overall I’m waaaay more patient than I thought I’d be, but there are plenty of occasions when I just can’t deal with whatever anymore). But for the most part, I feel like the same old me. And I don’t have any maps or grand plans or bashes.

So what did I do this year? I read some books. I participated in a lovely book club. I took a lot of photos. I took a lot of walks and listened to a lot of podcasts. I didn’t sleep enough. I went back to New York for the first time. I kept up (in fits and spurts) with my Project Life album and continued my photo-a-day project (thank god for the iphone). Our family went on various adventures, small and large. I’m working on being more present and attentive; the boys have been so much fun as they keep growing and developing, and they seem to love having fun with us. In this next year, I hope to continue working on the ever-elusive work/life balance, and trying to squeeze in more fun, personal, hobby type activities. DSC_5951-1_WEB

And of course I’m sure there will be all kinds of new adventures this year too!

First Birthday Party

At first we weren’t going to do anything for the twins’ first birthday.

See, we still don’t know that many people here, and their birthday falls near Thanksgiving, when a lot of people leave town, plus I didn’t want to plan a “thing” or even have an official “to-do.” Plus of course, the babies don’t know anything, a party wouldn’t mean anything to them.

But after going to a friend’s baby’s first birthday party (which was nicely put-together and well-attended), we thought about it and decided that we should mark the occasion with some kind of event.

So we decided on  the Sunday after their birthday, and invited all of our friends with babies. We found some decorations at Party City, and I looked up a few recipes to try for snacks, and I made a plan for cake. Just a casual get-together, really.

For decorations, I kept things really simple. No pinterest here–nothing chevron, no striped straws, no drinks in mason jars, no hand-lettered signs labeling the cheese and crackers. That is not my style, at least not for this kind of thing. (If that is your style, awesome!)

There was a banner, because a) it was a great backdrop and b) we can use it in the future:

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I made this fun streamer ‘curtain’! It was supposed to also serve as a fun photo backdrop, but I never got around to that.

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I printed out all of the babies’ monthly and holiday photos from this past year, and strung them up on a ribbon. (Here it is at the end of the night, on the floor.) It was neat to see them all together like that! I always like looking back and seeing how much they still look like themselves, only smaller and slightly less-fully-formed.

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Somewhere on a facebook page, I read about a recipe for Carrot Apple Cheddar Bites as a tasty toddler snack. They stunk horribly of egg while cooking, but got good reviews by all who tried them!

I decided not to deal with making a cake from scratch and got some box mixes and frosting. I made a batch of chocolate cupcakes and two chocolate cakes in loaf pans (one for each baby, of course), because I found this adorable first birthday cake idea from Betty Crocker:

No. 1 Cutout Cake

So cute and so perfect, right? Here’s what mine ended up as:

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Nailed it! Bahahaha!!!

I made the cakes that morning, and they were so light and fluffy! Cutting out the shape with the paper template actually worked pretty well. But I learned a good lesson: pay attention to the part that says refrigerate cake before frosting it! Should have made it the night before. Also, get extra frosting.

We only had a few people, and two other babies. Everyone played for awhile and then it was time for the celebrating!

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We put the cakes on their high chair trays and sang happy birthday to each of them. They were not sure what to think about any of it! They poked and stared at the cakes. Malcolm did figure out that he could eat it, but Emmett didn’t–I gave him a piece. Neither really wanted much, and neither really wanted to dig in their hands. Oh well. More cake for mama. 🙂

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I ended up being really glad that we did the little ‘party.’ First, because I wanted pictures of it, but also, it was nice to make it an event: to purposely think about and celebrate a whole year of these wonderful babies, and us as a family of four. Even better that we got to share with a couple other people – I hope that we continue to build a community here in Portland in the coming years. I can’t wait for these guys to be old enough to actually play with our other baby friends!