There are some downsides to having a birthday relatively close to Christmas. As a kid, I sometimes didn't like that all my gift-receiving occasions came in one month. However, as an adult, I like that this time is already festive and full. I can piggyback on some of that festivity without planning everything on my own. And as for things that do require planning, there are lots of options, unlike, say, a weekend in mid-March.
So I've been doing fun stuff for days. Last Thursday, I treated myself to flying home from California during the day, rather than on the red-eye. This meant I got a full night of sleep in my hotel room, could run along the beach in the morning, and have a lovely breakfast on my balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean. (I also got a lot of work done on the plane, rather than spending the day exhausted -- a good lesson for future travel).
On Friday, my mom came to visit, mostly to see my 9-year-old's musical (more on that in a minute) but she also gave me a wonderful birthday gift: taking the overnight and early shifts with the toddler. And he has been a total bear this weekend. I mean up in the middle of the night every night, and then this morning still up at 5. I hear him, but I've been able to go back to sleep.
Friday night I cooked the three of us salmon with a pecan-honey-spicy-mustard topping, which was good enough that I think I'll add it to my rotation. Saturday, I went for a 3.5 mile run in the morning. My mom made Christmas cookie dough with the little kids. Then the grown-ups (and the 5-year-old) went to a production of Sleeping Beauty. My 9-year-old was Prince Philip, the romantic lead, and he was great! He defeated Maleficent in dragon form. Humorously, in the part of the play where the prince needs to kiss Sleeping Beauty to wake her up, the stage hands paraded a sign in front of them saying "true love's kiss" so they didn't actually have to kiss, which probably would have been traumatic for 9-year-olds. We went out for ice cream after.
Then, that evening, my husband and I went to Wyebrook Farm for my birthday dinner. This farm-to-table place is about 50 minutes out into the country, but distinctive. We sat in what seemed like a barn with heaters. I had sunchokes, local cheeses, pork and brussels sprouts, washed down with some pinot noir that my mother-in-law gave me (it was a BYOB).
Sunday we all made it to church, and to an Advent workshop after. I didn't get to do much in the way of craft-helping as the toddler was a bit distracting, but the kids had a good time. My mom finished baking the Christmas cookies with the little kids, and then, after I put the toddler down for a nap, I drove to NJ to meet my friend Lynda for tea. Then we did this epic, 2-hour hot yoga class. The last 40 minutes was spent doing deep stretches and deep breathing, and it's possible I fell asleep at some point. I came back home to my birthday dinner: lamb, green beans, Caesar salad. We had ice cream cake after. Yum.
So, all-in-all, a pretty good weekend. Especially the part about getting to sleep. Today (my actual birthday) will be pretty low-key, but then tomorrow it's off to Boston, where I'll be doing several speeches over the next few days. If you'll be at the MA Conference for Women on Thursday, please come say hello! I'm leading a panel on work/life choices and I'd love to see some friendly faces in the audience.