Finally, we’re done with birthdays around here.
Not that I don’t enjoy celebrating birthdays, but it feels like we’ve been celebrating for a whole week!
To begin the week of non-stop preschool partying, we left Oklahoma last Friday and headed down to Texas. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but there was a perfect storm brewing. Wes’s parents were going to be in DFW that weekend for work, my parents had nothing on their calendar, it was the last Saturday before the girls’ birthdays, and there was a half marathon in the area. (And, let me tell you, any race on a Saturday, we’re finding, is rare. Most races are on Sundays, which we can’t do, so we’re always excited to find one on a Saturday.) All of this combined to create the PERFECT setting for a trip out of town/race/birthday party. In theory.
The reality was a little more hectic than I had envisioned. We got to the race plenty early, only to discover that six hundred runners had done the same, and we all joined them in the longest line I’ve ever seen. (Except perhaps the line to buy textbooks at the UH bookstore every semester. Now, THAT was a line.) The race had to be delayed thirty minutes because of the crowd, and while this normally wouldn’t be a big deal, I worried if we were cutting ourselves short on time for everything else we had on the schedule. Fortunately, Wes ran like lightning, and I ran… well, faster than normal. (Which isn’t fast, per se, but I got to the finish line earlier than anticipated.) As I mentioned earlier, Ana ran the last few yards with me and asked me, after we were done, “Why are you always last?” (I actually finished before 1/3 of the other runners, so I’m not sure what the reasoning was behind this insult. Unless, of course, she meant I’m last in relation to Papi, which I would have answered by saying, “He’s a man. And he’s three years younger than me.” Both scientifically proven reasons why I SHOULD be last in a race against him!)
Here Wes is running faster than me… oh, wait, I’m running faster than HIM!
Okay, so this was during the first mile. But give credit where credit is due.
Anyway, I crossed the finish line, celebrated thirteen big milestones (woo!), drank some water, and we were off, heading to Alvarado to shower and eat a quick lunch. Wes’s parents and my parents, both of whom got there after we did, managed to get better parking spots than we did somehow, so they flew by us as we hobbled the extra mile to our car. (I confess that I broke into tears at one point because, I quote, “My butt hurts so bad!” That run was so long that it had me working my butt off — literally!) After a huge Powerade, I could smile again… until we hit gridlock traffic in Fort Worth because the southbound side of I-35 was closed for construction. NOT part of my plan!
We managed to get to Alvarado eventually, jumped in and out of the showers, and ate on the run. We were off (again!) to Decatur, where Ana and Emma were scheduled to have their party at McDonald’s. I picked Decatur (northwest of Fort Worth) because it got us an hour and a half closer to home and because most of our relatives live north of the city, making this a shorter trip for them. For those who had to drive a little further than normal I think it was still worth it because at that time of the afternoon, the PlayPlace was nearly empty, giving the kids plenty of room to run and play and the adults plenty of room to kick back and relax. Ana and Emma had picked out puppy dog invitations for this party and a Strawberry Shortcake birthday cake. Those two choices, combined with the selection of McDonald’s as a venue, made this the most mished-mashed themed party ever. It was a little bit of everything Ana and Emma love, though, so that in and of itself was a theme all its own!
Here’s our family at the party…
After the party, we made the drive back up to Oklahoma. We may or may not have filled the girls with chocolate milkshakes at two different restaurants to improve their moods after such a long, hot, busy weekend.
All in all, even with the rushed pace, the weekend was awesome! We had so much fun running the race, visiting with everyone, and being able to watch the kids really enjoy themselves.
We woke up early on Sunday for church and went in to wake Ana up with a birthday song. She popped out of bed and told me, “Today is my birthday. I am five years old!” She went on to tell this to everyone she saw that day — the sweet lady at the donut shop, every person at church, the servers at the restaurant, and even God, as she prayed over her birthday lunch. (Oh, and she picked the restaurant for this birthday lunch solely on the basis of where the wait staff would come to the table and serenade her. You have no idea how much this excited her!) She insisted at the end of the day that this was the BEST birthday ever. I was glad to hear it!
Our very happy five year old…
Monday was the day when I got to open every new toy that the girls had gotten. I also got to help the girls figure out those new toys. That was no problem when it came to making their own bracelets (thanks to a bracelet kit), opening up their new backpacks, and dressing up in the princess dresses. It was a little more challenging when it came to their iPods. Yes, the girls used part of their birthday money to buy iPods.
Yes, I’m eating every word I’ve ever said about preschoolers and electronic gadgets. Ana has been lobbying for an iPod for quite some time, and when they were gifted some very cute princess CD players (with MP3 player hookups), it just made sense to get them some iPod shuffles to play on the players and to have with them on long, long stroller rides. I’ve tried listening to their Disney music while running to keep them entertained, and it’s a beating, listening to Winnie the Pooh while trying to finish an all uphill mile five. I seriously don’t care to hear about Heffalumps and Wahoozles as my legs are screaming at me. So, this way, they can listen to their music, and I can listen to mine. We had to have a lesson in iPod/headphone safety when Ana put hers on and spent the afternoon shouting to me and Emma because she had it turned up so much that she couldn’t hear anything. Her kiddie headphones will only go up so high (to protect little ears, I imagine), and she had them up as loud as she could get them. I took video of her dancing in a princess dress with her headphones on and yelling, “WHAT?! WHAT DID YOU SAY?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!” to show her one day. She’ll appreciate it!
Monday was also the sorest day yet. When I woke up Sunday without too much pain, I was encouraged and thought that the worst was over. I’m not sure why Monday was so painful, but by the evening, I told Wes that we HAD to run, even if it was just a mile, to warm up our quickly-becoming-rigid leg muscles. It seemed to do some good, so we ran three miles on Tuesday and five miles on Wednesday. My legs now feel like they never even ran a half marathon. All that said, maybe the cure for legs that hurt from too much running is… more running. There’s a contradiction in there somewhere, I’m sure, but it seems to be the truth.
Tuesday morning began with repeated pokings to the face by a very excited four year old. “Mommy! Mommy!,” she kept screeching. “Today is my BIRTHDAY!” We celebrated by taking her to her favorite Italian restaurant, where we met up with Mr. Eric and Mrs. Lisa. (Prompting Ana to say, “Hey! Nobody came to eat my birthday lunch with me!” Nobody except the other three Faulks, but we don’t count.) Em was so excited about the “bread with stinky cheese,” and as an added bonus, she was given a slice of cheesecake. She had never eaten cheesecake before, and just as I was saying that something so rich might upset her tummy, Wes held up her empty dessert plate. Seems Em’s a fan of cheesecake! (And it didn’t cause a tummyache, thankfully.)
Can’t believe our sweet Emmy is FOUR!
And now, after all the celebrating, we’re back to normal… which means, we’re getting ready to start school! The first day of school for Duncan is August 11th, which leaves us only a handful of days left to do all of our favorite summer activities. We’ve been “swimming” in the girls’ kiddie pool (while Emma yells at our neighbors, our neighbor’s’ dogs, lawn care workers, and passing cars — she’s just that social), working on our tracing and letters (and using the safety scissors — NOT my favorite activity), enjoying late morning cartoons (Phineaus and Ferb NEVER gets old), and playing as much as possible (which includes dumping approximately ten million Littlest Pet Shop pieces all over the carpet over and over and over and over again). I’m going to miss the girls when they’re BOTH in class in just a couple of weeks… sniff, sniff…
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!