Planned vs. Actual, Part I:
Here's how I'd planned it: I'd wake up early and make a delicious breakfast - omelets with lots of veggies and roasted fingerling potatoes, from Pete's share. We'd hang out, rake leaves as a fam, then Jon would go for a long run with Demps. During this time, the boys and I would make thoughtful cards and lavishly decorate a Funfetti cake (not my choice but it's not my birthday) with leftover Halloween candy. We'd hang a birthday banner and balloons. Jon and the boys would toss around a football in the backyard while I prepped chili and pulled chicken for the birthday dinner/football game.
Here's what actually happened: Someone woke us up early to view his incredible candy collection. Then he played with his candy collection. Then he counted his candy collection. Then he added to his candy collection by stealing all of his brother's candy. Drama ensued. Trying to preserve a peaceful birthday for Olin, I scraped up the children, grabbed Demps, and headed to Ri's for a walk in the woods. I figured whatever Jon might do with this alone time would be better than what was happening with all of us at home (I was right). We walked, we lunched, we shopped at Hannaford's—all with the assistance of Ri, my angel. At one point, a child "melted" into the floor of the bread aisle. I hissed. I tugged on the sleeve of a puffy coat. I walked away, did some deep breathing exercises, turned turned back and talked the kid onto his feet, all while struggling not to pop open the bottle of wine in my cart (Predator).
When I got home no one wanted to make cards. They were eager to ice the cake, but the kid who was acting all generous just a few days ago apparently could spare only two candy cigarettes (he called them candy candles)—just one item of his 98-piece candy collection—for the cake. At this point, I was all "whatever" and just let the cake-making happen as it would, finger licking and all.
Friends came, dinner came together, and then this happened:
Planned versus Actual, Part II:
I'd written "We are grateful for... " on our chalkboard wall the other day and when our friends arrived this eve, all anyone (that'd be me) had come up with was "music." And... so they got to work. It's a bit off from what I'd envisioned but it works. I am, we are, grateful: friends, fun, family...um, music... and one certain handsome, grateful, fantastic Italian-Finnish (American) dude who, today, celebrated turning 37 with a stingily decorated finger-licked Funfetti cake.