A Quick Birthday Break

By the gracious generosity of Wes’s parents, Wes and I were able to escape our children this weekend so that we could embark on a series of capers in celebration of my upcoming 32nd birthday. Examples of said capers?

  • Bowling (I scored two strikes in a row my first two frames, then began missing the pins entirely for the rest of the game. No, I don’t know why.)
  • Arcade games (There’s an arcade near the bowling alley that has a Terminator game for two in it and Wes and I freaking DOMINATE that game together. We have a system and everything. To my lukewarm annoyance, however, Wes was still a more accurate shot than me even with a broken gun. {Although I did score more points at the basketball dunking game, which made me happy.})
  • Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (Which we freaking LOVED! Even though it made me cry big fat tears at the end, I still thoroughly enjoyed watching that movie. Go see it.)
  • Shooting range (We rented a 9mm 1911 {but we can’t remember what brand} and emptied two boxes into a big green target. It was loads of fun! Wes is a MUCH better shot than I am {again. Duh.} but I think I did okay. Here’s a picture of the target after my first round of shots:Not too shabby, right?
  • Clothes shopping (for Wes, who has lost a bunch of weight and is now in desperate need of a pair of jeans that actually fits his smaller body. We didn’t end up finding anything {boo} but we did see Michael Bennett {a Seahawk} at Old Navy. He was very polite, and he was with a friend who may or may not also have been a football player. I actually ran into a rack of clothes in front of said friend, who smiled and said, “Better you than me,” to which I couldn’t come up with a reply because, outside of the context of him being a professional athlete, why better him than me? When Wes explained that he was likely a football player, too, I felt less confused but more embarrassed, because, you know, clumsiness.)

The weekend went by in a blink, and before we knew it we had to go pick up our kids again. What a fun break, though!

29

Canlis book celebration 2013 6As of Sunday, I am 29 years old. This is it. The last year of my twenties. Starting Monday, every day will be an opportunity to put a cap on an action-packed decade that, among other things, held the following events for me:

  • I got married.
  • I bought a house.
  • I got a dog (whom we still miss every day).
  • I had two babies.
  • I wrote six novels.
  • I curated and edited a cancer memoir for a friend.
  • I visited four countries.
  • I realized one of my huge life goals in getting published for the first time.
  • I gained and lost over one hundred pounds.
  • I shook Anne Rice’s hand.
  • RL Stine told me I turned out okay.
  • Paid off two student loans.
  • Graduated college with honors.

All this, and I’ve still got one more whole year to go out and do stuff with. The twenties were a great decade for me. I mean, not universally. There was the year where Wes and I both lost our jobs within a week of each other. We had to give up our beloved dog for medical adoption when his medical expenses got to be too much. I lost my dad in my twenties, a heartbreaking loss just a few months before my son was born. I’ve survived two surgeries, found out my knees aren’t terribly reliable, and gotten plenty of writing rejection this decade. It was, like every other decade, full of things from both sides of the emotional spectrum.

And yet, it was great. It was the decade that lasted forever, it feels like. As of next year, I’ll have been married for 1/3 of my life. Wes and I have crammed a whole lot of living into that decade, and I’m optimistic we’ll do the same for the next. And the one after that, and the one after that.

So here’s to 29. The bright red cherry on top of the huge, intricate, tasty, and probably fattening sundae that was my twenties.

28

I have been alive 28 whole years. It is an astounding privilege to say that, because I know that life is tenuous and there is no guarantee of old age for me or anybody. I think about that every time I get to celebrate a birthday, how grateful I am to see another May 25 tick by on the calendar.

I spent my birthday surrounded by my favorite things: Great food and fun people. I’ve decided that 28 is going to be an adventurous year. My comfort zone is getting a little too comfortable, if you know what I mean.

Maybe I’ll write another book. It’s possible I’ll finally make good on my repeated desire to learn how to pick locks. This may even be the year I master cooking chicken (not likely, but I’ll give it a go).

Either way, I’m going to lose weight and get healthy again (bum knee bedarned), finish working on my friend Ben‘s book, and send my little guy off to school. I’m going to laugh as often as I’m able, love as richly as I can, and see if I can’t make it to 29 astounded by what life has thrown my way.

Yeah. That sounds pretty good. Y’all are welcome to laugh, love, and be astounded right along with me if you like. I enjoy good company :)

Cloud Nine Weekend

I just had what can arguably be considered the best weekend of my life. The only thing that could possibly have made it better would have been the ability to drink a margarita at some point, but that limitation is of little consideration when you know how much fun I had.

Friday was my birthday. Wes, unbeknownst to myself, had been squirreling away extra hours all week so he could take the latter half of the day off from work and whisk me off to a Seattle adventure. We grabbed lunch at the Pike Place Market and then took a Duck Boat Tour, which is something we’ve always wanted to do. I moved here when I was 14 but have done a shockingly little amount of touristy stuff, so this was great fun for me.

After the tour, we walked around the boardwalk for awhile, enjoying the sunshine and atmosphere. An al fresco dinner in the sunshine with a killer view of the water topped off the evening, but then the weather had a surprise for us.

Right as we were getting our check, a strong wind came out of nowhere and blew a rain and thunderstorm overhead. We walked back to our car amid pouring rain and crashing thunder and it was way too much fun.

The next day, my fabulously stylish sister in law threw me an incredible baby shower. It was absolute perfection, and I was thrilled to be able to abscond with the decorations and put them up in Little Girl’s room. I drove home after the shower feeling happy and loved, and now Little Girl’s nursery looks SO FREAKING GOOD!!!

To top it off, I had brunch with the ladies from Wes’s side of the family Sunday afternoon. It was the perfect end to the perfect weekend. Monday was relaxed and low-key at home, taking care of Aidan who fell sick Sunday afternoon, but it still qualifies as the best weekend of my life.

So now all the excitement is behind me and I have to go clean all the bathrooms because I neglected to do that task last week because I was too busy. And yet I keep finding excuses not to do it this week either.

I think it’s possible I’m officially spoiled after my long weekend. Time to pull on my rubber gloves and get back down to business. Or maybe I’ll just play tractors with Aidan for a little while longer…

26

Today is my 26th birthday. Staunchly in my mid-twenties, I feel really good. I know it’s de rigeur to feel something of an existential crisis during a mid-twenties birthday (who am I? What am I doing with my life? What do I want to be when I grow up? Oh dear cracker sandwiches, AM I GROWN UP ALREADY?!) but I feel good.

25 was a fun age for me. I got a little more comfortable wearing my mom jeans (both figuratively and literally. Figuratively because I got a little more practice being a mom, literally because I wear jeans {thereby making them a mom’s jeans} and I lost weight so they’re looser and more comfortable), I wrote two novels, and had a blast existing. My life is a lot of fun. And laundry. But more fun.

I have high hopes for age 26. My first novel is getting published next month (June 20!!!), we have plans to try to add another tiny human to our family, I might just make it down to 170 lbs before said additional tiny human makes my weight shoot right back up again. I think this next year is going to be awesome.

In 26 years I’ve gone from this…To this…And I think that’s pretty cool.