Tag Archives: birthday adventures

Taking another graceful step into my 30s

26 Jul

When I have little or no expectations, I generally find that my experiences are usually that much better overall. In terms of my birthday, I always love it and feel like it should be a special day, but I still don’t try to put too much emphasis on it or I can easily let myself down. This birthday was one of the best.

We had a relaxing but productive weekend where Dave and his dad worked on a large home project of mine (moving the washer/dryer out of our unfinished basement), and I did work too while Walter designed with “modeling play” and drew pictures. He’s getting ever more creative and inventive with art and building toys like magnatiles.

Sunday we did a few more chores and met my parents for a quiet but lovely birthday dinner at Hearth, which happens to make the best pizza in Atlanta. Yum.

IMG_20160724_185827494He loves his Nini and Grandpa!

On the way home David pulled off into the Sope Creek parking lot, and we took an impromptu dusk-time hike to the creek. Even in flip-flops it was a nice walk to a pretty creek, and being able to be closer to nature is one of the reasons I love living a bit more out of the city. I definitely want to take Walter back there as soon as I can.

IMG_20160724_201925916Perfect way to end 31.

Monday, my actual birthday, was tubing day! I’ve been tubing down the Cartecay River with friends every year on or around my birthday for 12 years in a row now. It’s amazing to have seen the changes over the past decade, when the river drop in was barely attended by a tubing guy, to last year, when it was so crowded we had to park in an additional field and were constantly surrounded by other tubing enthusiasts. So I decided that from now on, due to the popularity that I suppose will be ever increasing, we will tube on weekdays. In college it wasn’t difficult to get friends up to Ellijay on whatever day I chose, but we might have to plan more in advance from now on, since as adults we usually do the adult thing of 9-5. There were still a few people on the river, but it wasn’t crowded, and it really is the perfect way to recharge for the upcoming year. Nothing but water and trees and sky.

IMG_20160725_181640A picture taken in the same spot every year. We had a blast just the three of us, but the Cartecay is so wonderful, we love bringing as many friends to experience it as we can. And soon Walter can join us too!

This morning I woke up to easily find a long gray hair among my locks… beautiful sight! Thanks for the birthday present, universe. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


We have a three year old!

23 Aug

I can’t believe he’s three already. I’m still waiting for it to become real that he actually grew inside of me – as a result of two data points meeting in the right environment, – came out, and now walks and talks.

I never had a birthday at school before, being a summer baby. Walter gets the best of both worlds: summer birthday and a special day at school! So his Nini made yellow cupcakes for him to share with his friends. Of course, he didn’t want one. He just wanted to go home once he saw Nini show up at school!

Well, at least we sent the rest of the kids home with a sugar rush.

Then this weekend we threw a water party!

There is nothing better than seeing him have a really good time. He told me when it was over, “But I just want the party to stay!”

Warms my heart to see this. I love all of Walt’s little friends and their curiosity and joy for life.

While we were cleaning up our party, our new neighbors, who are apparently very well-known in the Ormewood Park community, invited us to a housewarming party they were throwing later in the day. We decided to stop by after nap time to introduce ourselves. Well, it was a true back yard affair! I got the green monster in my eyes a little bit after seeing their yard. Two decks, an amazing view, and enough green space to have the biggest water slide I’ve seen outside a water park. Walter convinced his daddy to take him up there two times. I’m glad I didn’t have to fight the crowd to go with him cause we saw one kid making his way back up the hill with a bloody nose! We ended up staying longer than we had anticipated (surprise surprise) because we found several friends there, including two of Walt’s preschool teachers from last year. I love when the world is small like that.

We had such a good time celebrating this kid!

31 is the new 24

29 Jul

This was the best birthday I’ve had in years, maybe since I turned 24.

Last weekend we went down the Cartecay River in Ellijay for the 11th year in a row. It was beautiful but crowded. I couldn’t believe how crowded! We had to park in the second lot, and we were always surrounded by other tubers and kayakers.

But it was still my beautiful river with my beautiful friends! We had two newbies this year. I love introducing people to the Cartecay.

This Saturday we got the house “finished” about 5 minutes before the first guest showed up for dinner and darts. Dave made me a beautiful dart cabinet as my birthday present, which is so very exciting because we haven’t played darts since our wedding. The older we get, the more unpleasant it is to spend an evening at a smokey bar (imagine that), and since Walter arrived, forget about it. We don’t use date nights for late nights in bars anymore.

Dave and I literally met at a dartboard, and it feels so good to get back in to the game again with him. He did such an amazing job on the cabinet and cooked coq au vin for me and several friends. What a night we had!

I’ve been so nervous playing in the house. We made sure to get vinyl tile for the new flooring to remove the horror of ruining freshly done hardwoods. But about 24 hours after the dart board went up, I got my first wall shot. It left a pretty big hole, but afterward I rearranged the bricks so that they’d cover more height. Who knew toddler toys could be so useful!

My actual birthday — pre-party — was spent in a mad rush to get chores done. It wasn’t an unpleasant day, although it certainly was different than your normal rowdy 20s’ birthdays.

My son happily emptied the dryer for me for the first time!

All day Walt talked about birthdays and would counter my “Honey, it’s actually my birthday” with “No, it’s my birthday,” which was fun. But he was his sweet self as usual and eventually wished me a Happy Birthday. We used the day to talk about lineage and what birthdays really mean and that we get to celebrate his in only a few short weeks.

This kid makes my heart soar. I had to go in there to remove the book after he fell asleep. Of course I snapped a quick picture first.

Sunday we had dinner with all the grandparents, but only after celebrating sweet Fin’s baptism. Walter helped me pick up the boxes of coffee on our way to the party. We splurged and got a cookie to eat while we waited.


People gave me lots of wonderful presents this year, and many of them were books! My friends and family must know me really well. One was an activity book to use with Walter: 20 artistic renditions of the paper airplane.


We made the easiest one first: a paper ball.

Walter crumpled it up then immediately wanted to open it again.

I think that because I had no real expectations for this birthday, it blew me away. Thanks again, Life, for throwing all these good experiences my way. Now, back to the dart board for more practice.

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

28 Jul

I’ve enjoyed the movie 13 Going on 30 for the past ten years, and now here I am: 30 years old. So far it doesn’t feel much different than when I was 29. To be honest, I don’t feel that much different than how I remember feeling when I was 6. Except I’m a bit more knowledgeable and possibly a lot more emotional.

I planned a full weekend to celebrate myself. It kicked off Thursday night with a perfect-weather Braves game and an H&F burger. Friday (my actual birthday) I met my Mom, Grandma, Aunt Joanne, and Cousin Robin for lunch in Dunwoody. It was nice to sit around the table with the ladies from my family. I always enjoy that. And I think Grandma liked leaving her assisted living home to join us and eat some less salty food. I was good and ordered a salmon salad but silently wished I had followed my grandmother’s lead and gotten the yummy margherita flatbread.

My cousin made me delicious cupcakes with sparkles. I didn’t even make it home before eating one.

Walter always gets more attention than I do, even on my birthday.

Friday night my mom threw a small dinner party for me, with just a couple friends, my dad, and Dave’s parents too. Walt spent the night with Nini so Dave and I could go tubing the next day. It was a glorious day on the Cartecay River, my 10th year in a row going birthday tubing. I’m a traditional type of gal, and this is definitely my favorite tradition all year.

2014 Bday Tubing 2
Dave has been 6 times, Jen$ 5 times, Sophia 5 times, and Kate 4 times.

We were supposed to go next door to a cookout when we got home, but we got home much later than we thought we would, had to wash the river off of us, and I fell asleep on the car ride home, so I wasn’t in the mood to be social with a lot of people I didn’t know. So I watched Nashville in bed til I fell asleep. I am now completely addicted to that show, and country music has entered my life once again. I had country music playing today when David came home for lunch, and the look on his face when he heard it was so priceless I was crying with laughter.

Sunday morning we got the house ready for another open house (we were going to go look at a dog but it got canceled), and then Jason took us to see Gone with the Wind on the big screen at The Fox. It was amazing. They had Margaret Mitchell introduce the movie with a little posthumous skit, and the crowd was delighted to be there. I’ve never enjoyed watching the movie more. Everyone laughed with Mammy, gasped at Vivien’s looks, and clapped when Clark Gable came on screen. It was awesome. We only stayed for the first half because I was desperate to see Walter at that point and didn’t want to wait another 3 hours after intermission.

We’ve already decided that the next time they do this we’ll go for the second (more depressing) half of the show.

Last but not least, after we had a glass of wine and some snacks at my mom’s while picking up Walt, we went to Jen and Anton’s for a quite yummy birthday dinner. They couldn’t go tubing with us, so Jen wanted us to come over to their townhouse, which Dave had never seen before. We don’t get to see them often because they have a large extended family and several busy jobs, so it was really great to get that time with them.

It was a great weekend spending lots of time with friends and family. So great, in fact, that I couldn’t bring myself to get me or Walt out of pajamas today until 2pm. Walt didn’t mind though.


Another decade bites the dust! It was a good one, but I’m expecting this one to be even better!

Walt’s first picnic

5 Sep

Being a first-time parent as well as a scrapbooker I love keeping track of all of Walt’s “firsts.” I am running out of room in his baby book to list all these fun and amazing things he’s doing! The first time he turned over, the first time he said “mama,” his first time on an airplane, the first time he ate pizza… so many indications of him growing into this active little boy with a mind of his own. I am still amazed that I get to experience this with two of the most amazing people I know on this planet.

Yesterday was a great day of firsts. I hurried around all morning getting Walt breakfast (man is he a slow eater!) and prepping a picnic lunch for David’s birthday. A good friend of mine met us at Piedmont Park for some exercise and chatting. It was wonderful since I hadn’t seen her in almost a year. I am always wanting to hang out with more friends yet somehow I am so busy all the time I don’t see people for a year. The fact that we live 30 minutes apart shouldn’t be such a barrier to play dates. I like getting together with this particular friend because she is a stay at home mom like myself, involved in her church, and fun to talk to. It’s hard when you are either the first of your friends to have kids or most of the other young moms you know work all week to really connect with others.

Walt had never been to Piedmont Park and we enjoyed walking around. The two months of rain have really made me appreciate sunny summer days. After our walk Dave met us for a quick picnic. Chicken salad sandwiches, homegrown watermelon, and a happy little boy made it a great first picnic for all of us. I usually don’t like eating outside, but we sat in the shade and they must spray for bugs at the Park, so it was really pleasant. Walt enjoyed putting the lid back on the watermelon container, taking it off, eating one piece, then starting the whole process again. It’s funny how watching something so simple can bring such joy to me and Dave.  All too soon Dave had to go back to work — when are they going to make a law that no one should have to work on their birthday? — and W. and I headed home for the land of nap time and mommy-can-now-get-stuff-done time.



Birthdays Galore

4 Sep

Today is my sweet husband’s birthday. I won’t tell y’all how old he is, cause even though he’s 32 years young, he thinks he’s getting old already. We’ve been celebrating some good birthdays lately. Walter turned one (it’s still fun saying that I have a ONE year old), and then a week later his great-grandma turned 90. We ended up celebrating both the same weekend. The weekend broke out of the stormy Atlanta clouds to shine sun and perfect temperatures on us while we partied our cares away.

2One of the great things about being born in the summer is having a pool party to celebrate your birth. Here we are singing Happy Birthday to the little man. I refused to serve him cake or cupcakes, because although I know he would have enjoyed it, I want to delay the onslaught of sugar, sugar, sugar we think acceptable in which to drown our children.  So he had organic whipped cream with some berries on top. But he preferred his pizza and watermelon!

Walt definitely exercised his right to cry at his party if he wanted to. All the other children enjoyed the day in the sun but our little birthday boy woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. Even though his awesome Pop built a swing just for him! Walt did manage to have some fun in between the whining.

Grandma’s birthday party the next day was our Summer Thanksgiving. My aunt — and mother — prepared delicious barbeque chicken, black eyed peas, pole beans, squash casserole, broccoli casserole, and biscuits (I think there was more but my mouth is watering too much to remember). A great Southern meal. We played corn hole, bingo, and scratch cards and talked with our feet in the pool.

I look like such a mama in this picture. Walt’s growing up and so am I!

Talk about 90 years young! Grandma says the time has just flown by.

4 Generations
Four generations.

My twenties are almost over

26 Jul

Yesterday I turned 29. That sounds much older than 28. I guess I should get used to that feeling.

I had a pretty good day.

Despite the fact that my phone was apparently jealous so many people (5) wanted to talk to me so it wouldn’t connect to the network, let any calls through, or let me text people back.

My car, in retaliation of my love and effort, refused to get in “ready” mode so it could pass emissions. Though now the emissions guy and I are best friends since I’ve been there three days in a row. We’re going to eat King of Pops to celebrate… eventually.

Walt and I met David for lunch and the lady behind the counter told us she was going to charge us $5 for the baby since he wasn’t ordering any food.

My computer was so slow it took me an hour to change the time on my son’s birthday invitation. And then Photoshop wouldn’t let me save it in anything but .psd so I could email it to Jason for printing.

Because of unholy Atlanta traffic my husband didn’t make it to the house on time to pick us up for dinner, even though he works about 5 miles away. And then on the way to Sapori di Napoli — best pizza place in the city — it was a shorter version of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles starring me as the driver.

But once we got there, and I sat down with my family, got a yummy glass of wine and an even yummier slice of pizza in my hand, it was awesome.

DSCN83681This was after Walter met and then overlooked his first girlfriend. She was cute.

When you’re bored with dinner it’s time to dance on the table top, of course.

Me & Walt with my two lovely parents who brought me into this world.

My great family.


The Cartecay

22 Jul

I don’t know why people go tubing down the Chattahoochee when then can enjoy this beauty. The Chattahoochee is dirty, cold, and way too large. Over the years, my experience on the Cartecay has varied. Sometimes there’s a rope swing to play on, other times it’s gone. The people who join me change year to year. The ownership of our drop in spot switches every few years. Sometimes we ride back to our car in a bus or the back of a truck. The river can be busy or empty. The rapids look very different depending on the water, but I always spot the same houses, the same bends in the river. There’s an old car buried on the bank shortly after you start your journey. But whatever I see or hear, I always feel reconnected to myself, the sun, the water, and the trees when I spend the day on the river. Here are some of my favorite photos from over the years:





river 9 - Copy

river 2

river 20


river 23