Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm Spoiled!

I really enjoyed my birthday weekend:  sleeping in a bit, breakfast hot and ready when I get up, extra help around the house, time to just veg a bit, and a nap.  Oh ... wait ... hmmmmmm, that's actually what most of my weekends look like! :)  My splendid husband pampers me on a regular basis, which kind of means that every weekend is my birthday weekend! :)  I am the first to say that my husband is not your normal guy ... he is my super, way-above-average, marvelous guy and he's mine, all mine! :)

We did, however, do a few things a little differently on Saturday that made it even more special and that's what I thought I'd share today.  And I've included a few snapshots so that it's almost like you came along with us.  Shall we begin?  Here we go!

After enjoying a yummy breakfast of fresh coffee (properly sweetened and creamed) and right-out-of-the-oven coffee cake ... did I say Brett was great, or what?!  ... we bundled into the van.  We were headed downtown to the 32nd Annual Colorado West Marching Band Festival Parade.  And without even planning it ahead of time, we ran into my brother and nephew and nieces and another set of family friends, which made it even more fun!  The parade featured about six bands from the Western Slope ... and a few bands of alpacas.  We're not sure about that part! :)  The kids loved it, but we were disappointed the llamas weren't playing any instruments!  It was fun to watch the kids enjoying the live music as the bands marched by.  There were a variety of responses ... as you can see :)

It's entirely possible that Aaron might be a drummer someday ... and then we'll have to invest in some earplugs for Ashley. :)  Norah, on the other hand, was very impressed with the flag bearers.  The young ladies had very fancy, sequined and shiny costumes, much to her delight.  She might have been a tad bit disappointed that they only walked, however.  There were no cartwheels or back hand-springs ... or anyone doing the splits.  No problem - Norah had that part covered:

She is practicing all the time ... all the time! :)

All told, the parade was fun, and I think we should make it a tradition to attend every year.  What do you think, Lydia?

I think that's a "YES!"
As we herded the kids back to the vans, we passed the City Hall and this fun water sculpture.  A perfect picture backdrop.  Now to get all eight kids looking the same way at the same time with pleasant smiles.  That, as you can imagine is a tad bit harder than it sounds.  I think this was our 3rd or 4th shot ... at that point you say, "Great ... that will do!"

The Kellum/Nadel Posse 

Next it was time to head home, but not before we got a few of the kids crying! :)  We decided that Caleb could come over and play for a bit and have lunch with us.  This immediately got Ashley and Mallory plotting and Norah and Rebekah hoping ... but to no avail.  When we got back in the van, Aaron and Caleb were planning the next 2 hours while poor Mallory wailed, Norah sniffled and Ashley whimpered.  Good times ... good times!

At one o'clock, we settled into our beds for quiet times.  I truly, truly love the time between 1:00 - 3:00 at our house.  We each head to either our beds or a couch and enjoy a few hours of reading, resting and maybe a little snoozing.  I don't know what the rest of the fam did, but I woke up around 3 pm with my arm holding my place in my book.  Ahhhh.....

A little while later, we piled into the van again for another little adventure.  We headed over to the Grand Valley Kennel Club Dog Show over at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.  We didn't know what to expect exactly, but we were pleasantly surprised with both the show and the kids' interest ... but more on that tomorrow. :)  There's an entire post, "forming in my brain".  Any ideas about that quote?  Think Time Bandits. :)

We eventually headed back to the van following the dog show with the kids clamoring for our dinner plans.  Word had gotten out that we were going out ... and the kids began throwing out their own ideas for where we should go.  We have a tradition that the birthday person gets to pick the restaurant.  Of the many options, my favorites were "Sonic World" (Ashley) and "Anywhere I can have crab ... I love crab!" (Norah).  I think the kids were okay with the final destination ... but even if they weren't, they still ate their weight in french fries. :)  Red Robin, here we come!  Here are a few fun snapshots of our dinner together ... Lydia is trying out a new smile.  Enjoy! :)

Say, "cheese", Liddy!
Now that she is properly covered in cheese ... her smile is even a bit more cutsy, if that's possible!

Red Robin mac-n-cheese rocks!
A few suggestions for increased family fun as a result of our Red Robin experience:
  • Take your kids to Dr. Dave before going.  If they are cavity-free ... they eat free!  Each of the kids (even Lydia for being so cute) got free kid's meal coupons to Red Robin at our last visit.  Boo-yeah!
  • Red Robin offers free refills on Mac-N-Cheese or Spaghetti.  So if you have a hungry brood, this is the way to go!  Our waitress was fine with us splitting an extra dish with Aaron and Norah who had both had something different.  No one went away hungry.
  • Even if you are an adult, they will sing to you if they know it is your birthday.  It's cute when they sing to your kids ... it's awkward when they sing to you.  Especially if your children are embarrassed and covering their faces and ears or distracting themselves by watching the football game.  I'll save you the uncomfortable video of me being serenaded .... alone ... smiling awkwardly :)
  • Be aware of the lure of the balloons upon leaving the restaurant.  We have had a variety of experiences with RR's balloons.  Sometimes they bring joy, sometimes anguish.  Last night we went home with three balloons and lost one within the hour to the evil popcorn ceiling.  One balloon is still limping along while tied to Ashley's bed.  The third wound up with its ribbon wound up around the floor fan.  The balloon was still partially inflated, but the fan motor was shot.  So I guess that's:  Balloons - 1, Fans - 0.
Sunday morning (being the true start of my birthday) was also a treat.  It's not every morning that I get to snuggle in bed and read a bit before getting up.  This was my welcome as I arrived downstairs ... a little Lincoln Log Love from my kiddos:

Brett, being the wonderful guy that he is, went out early this morning to buy fresh donuts for breakfast.  We have a tradition of having donuts on anyone's birthday ... and I'm glad that counts for us adults, too.  To start off our breakfast, Brett made us yummy scrambled eggs with tomatoes from our garden on the side.  That is our way of justifying/healthyfying our delicious tradition.  :)  

Aaron enjoying his bismark .... mmmmmmm
After really enjoying our breakfast ... some more than others (we will name no names, little toddler covered in sugary sprinkles) ...

She's just a little excited!
We showered, and headed to church.  Upon arriving, I was greeted with, "Happy Birthday!" from a few people ... "Uh ... thanks." smile...  Turns out Brett had arranged to have the altar flowers dedicated to me today.  Did I say yet that he is wonderful?  So ... now I have a lovely bouquet of happy little daisies on my kitchen table - "They're so friendly. Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?" Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail.

Sunday afternoon consisted of writing (some of what you are reading right now...), watching some football games and eventually watching the kids run around like crazy people in the front yard.  Anytime I get to watch my kids really enjoying themselves together ... without me having to intercede too much ... is a a definite treat.

We wrapped up the day with our traditional shakes, popcorn and cheese for dinner.  And then the untraditional, but certainly delicious, brownies and ice cream.  The finale of the weekend (whew!) was watching Amazing Race with the family.  This is the first season we have watched with the kids, but in light of their high level of interest and the many teachable moments throughout the episode, I think I could see this becoming a tradition. :)

Yep ... it ended up being a lovely birthday weekend.  A wonderful mix of traditions and new experiences all tossed together with family time.  And I will be the first to say that I'm spoiled ... spoiled rotten! :)

Me and my babies :)

How do you spoil your birthday boy on his special day?  What traditions do you enjoy when celebrating your birthday girl?  Please share! :)

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