Eight

Dear Grady,

Today is your eighth birthday. This morning when you woke up you told me you still felt seven, and you thought that might be because a whole year didn’t pass during the night, just one night passed, and so it makes sense that you still feel the same age. I love listening to you process thoughts. Even when those thoughts are about Minecraft.

You love to draw and make things out of paper. You go through an obscene amount of tape but you build some really impressive, intricate works of art (which your sister promptly destroys because you tend to leave your art on every surface you can find).

You are kind and thoughtful, and have a very strong sense of doing what’s right. You care deeply about your family and your friends. Sometimes I worry that this world will break your sensitive heart, but then I remember you’ve got Poppy to stomp all over anyone who dares to hurt you.

You look out for your sister, even though she’s in a very pinchy / bitey phase right now. You came with us to her most recent allergy appointment and you patiently sat for hours while the doctor ran his tests. You asked if I remembered the Epi-Pen. When you thought Poppy was having a reaction, you offered to go get the doctor. (She was fine but that’s not the point. The point is you’re eight years old and you care about more than yourself. I am so impressed by you.)

At eight years old you are knobby knees and shaggy hair and fart jokes and stuffed animals shoved under the pillow rather than on display and pages and pages of carefully drawn comic book characters and the deepest belly laugh I’ve ever heard. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

Grady, it’s your birthday, and I wish I could give you the moon and the stars. You’ve given me so much more.

Love,

Mama

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35

Today I turned 35 years old. I ate cake three times and got stuck in traffic and felt little heart hugs as I heard from friends all over the world and got bogged down by my work inbox and cuddled my babies as they sang me Happy Birthday and blindly reached into a plastic bag in Poppy's backpack and pulled out poop-stained pants. It was the perfect representation of the utter joy and teeth-gritting frustration that I feel lately. My life is beautiful and messy and noisy and chaotic and the best damn thing I could hope for. 

Today someone asked how old I turned and when I replied, they remarked the reason I'm so gleeful about birthdays is because I'm "on the right side of forty." And maybe that's true. Maybe 39-year-old Hillary will look back at 35-year-old Hillary and roll her eyes (I mean, it's inevitable). But I also feel like being diagnosed with cancer at 30 gave me perspective. Today I turned 35 years old. Not too shabby, if you ask me. 

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Meal Plan 10/09/2017 - 10/13/2017

It's officially the week of Festival of Hillary. I love birthdays. I don't care if that makes me seem juvenile. I just love birthdays. I love celebrating birthdays. I love birthday cake. I love making people feel especially important. Growing up, my mom did an amazing job of making us feel special on our birthdays. She let us choose whatever birthday cake we wanted, and would construct Pinterest-worthy creations before Pinterest existed. Before the internet even existed. And now I'm a grown ass lady who enjoys the heck out of birthdays. It's not my fault. I was raised this way.

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Monday: Autumn Bacon Salad from HelloFresh served with Fresh Pea Soup

Tuesday: Pineapple Chicken Afritada served with rice

Wednesday: Smitten Kitchen's Chicken and Dumplings 

Thursday: Birthday Spaghetti Carbonara! Garlic Bread! Cake

Friday: Leftovers or Charcuteri Friday 

What's on your menu this week?

Meal Plan 05/15/2017 - 05/19/2017

Tomorrow is Shawn's birthday so our meal plan this week consists of his favourite foods. (Festival of Shawn last all week.) (I'm an unabashed birthday lover. It's part of my charm.).

Monday: Birthday dinner! Barbecued steak served with Shawn's favourite potato salad and creamy cucumber salad. Shawn loves cheesecake but I don't want to make a full-sized cheesecake (and then, you know, eat a full-sized cheesecake all week) so I might try to make a pie-sized cheesecake or pick a different dessert. The man loves chocolate and peanut butter so I've got lots of options. Suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday: Pulled pork lettuce wraps. (I just realized I've never blogged my pulled pork recipe so I'll get on that this week.) We used to eat our pulled pork on soft dinner rolls but we both feel better (read: smug) when we eat lettuce wraps instead of delicious, pillowy baked goods. Served with a simple purple cabbage coleslaw. 

Wednesday: Grady has baseball so I need something quick, easy, and portable. I'm thinking I'll cook up a pot of barley or quinoa, roast some sweet potatoes, and build pulled pork dinner bowls with the leftovers from the night before. 

Thursday: Nachos topped with spicy chicken and served with fresh guacamole and a side of Responsibility Vegetables.

Friday: Shawn's not here for dinner so I'm thinking the kids and I will either have a patio picnic (goldfish crackers with yogurt and fruit) or we'll make homemade pizza.

What's on your menu this week?