Tag Archives: birthday

Fun with Explosives

I was searching through the greeting cards at Target the other day, looking for a birthday card to send to my step-brother that I have only met once. Yeah. They don’t really make cards for that particular market. Anyway…I found one that I thought looked fun, but it was very poorly made. I said to myself, “I can make this way better for way less than $4.99.” So I did. Here’s the finished product:


I found the explosion graphic by Googling “kaboom” images. The one in the store was attached by a very wimpy coil of wire that kept twisting the wrong way so the word was upside down. Yes, I checked, and all of them were like that. I solved this problem by using a spiral paperclip from my scrapbooking supply heap and stretching it out a bit. Much better. It doesn’t have the sproing-y motion of the longer, thinner wire, but it does pop out immediately when the card is opened. Plus, the word is very much in the upright position. I think I found a legitimate use for Comic Sans, too. The spark on the bomb is a tiny, star-shaped brad. Too bad I’ve already mailed it. I just realized I should’ve added Wily E. Coyote to the front — or maybe an Acme box. Next time.

I think I may have blinked too often.


is 18 years old today!

18, people!

In a lot of ways, it feels like this has snuck up on me somehow. Like every time I blinked, she grew a couple inches and a couple years. She’s no longer growing taller, but she still hasn’t agreed to stop getting older. Not that it was ever a real possibility, but a mother can dream.

Part of me is enjoying BB at this age. I’ve tried to enjoy all the ages, but some have been easier than others. I think I’ve almost gotten over that gut-wrenching instinct to bundle her up in bubble wrap and insert myself between her and the rest of the world. I think that’s partly due to her no longer being in high school marching band. That was an unnecessarily toxic environment (for which we all blame the high school’s concert band director). Now that she’s taking band at the community college (plus an additional course there each semester), things have improved a great deal. She’s no longer spending so much time in bully territory, and she’s gaining experience in an environment more conducive to learning and being who she wants to be.

BB has been tutoring at the elementary school nearest to her high school. She works with one first grade class three afternoons each week. She says it’s been very good for her depression (as service often is). The kids all call her “Miss BB” (except they use her actual name), and the teacher is very grateful to see her each time she comes. BB normally provides one on one assistance with math, and sometimes she confides to me that it can be frustrating working with kids whose light bulbs have yet to actually turn on. Some days she isn’t sure if some of the bulbs are even screwed in all the way yet, but it’s fun when the switch finally flicks to the “on” position. In the meantime, she’s learning patience and how to explain the same concept several different ways.

BB’s driving now, too. She just recently got her learner’s permit and has logged about three hours of behind-the-wheel practice so far — with her father, of course. I’ve been wisely forbidden to ride with her until she’s reached a certain level of competency. I’m completely on board with that plan.

For her main birthday present, Merkin hauled a giant army surplus ammo can in from the garage. It’s a time capsule we assembled during her first few years of life and saved for today. We filled it with little souvenirs like the hospital ID bands from the day she was born and her “Special Delivery by Dr. Irion” t-shirt (the first item of clothing she ever wore), various magazines and newspapers showing the world as it was in November 1998, a package of twinkies (which was, thankfully, more petrified than moldy), a copy of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (once owned by her great-grandfather on Merkin’s mother’s side) that was over 100 years old when we first added it to the capsule, a notebook containing messages from various friends and relatives — including some of the kids in Merkin’s Sunday school class that year…all sorts of crazy treasures. Her first pair of “Doh-tee shoes”, the sparkling ruby slippers from her Halloween costume that she loved so much (and I’d accidentally made so big) that she wound up wearing it for years and wore through five different pairs of Doh-tee shoes before finally packing it away, was near the top. There was also a McDonald’s Happy Meal bag with various non-perishable items from that particular lunch visit: placemat, napkin, fry bag, chicken nugget box, coffee stirrer with the restaurant’s logo on one end (We don’t drink coffee, but BB liked tiny things)…the toy was still in its original packaging. She wasn’t particularly interested in owning a plastic figure of Nickelodeon’s Doug when it was new, so I kept it in the bag with the paper products and the tiny pepper packets that BB seemed to find oddly fascinating tonight as she pointed out that each one had two, tiny separate compartments of the spice.

She took a couple of items from the time capsule with her to the Young Women’s meeting tonight, including a special edition of Teen People devoted to Prince William. She found it hilarious, and I’m sure all of the other girls will have a good laugh over it, too.

18 years ago, a newborn baby girl napped in the arms of whichever volunteer grandma won the arm wrestling competition in the maternity ward nursery that evening while her two new parents sat exhausted and shell-shocked and wondered what they had gotten themselves into. Now that baby girl is officially an adult with ideas and opinions and a basic plan for her immediate future and no idea what she’ll be doing in the long term. I imagine she might find herself lying in bed tonight and wondering what she’s gotten herself into agreeing to come down to this earth and live a whole life filled with choices and obstacles and all kinds of wonders she can’t even begin to anticipate. Or — and this is much more likely — she’ll eat an extra slice of chocolate pie (her birthday cake of choice this year), take a nice hot shower, and pick out one of her new anime t-shirts from Hot Topic for tomorrow’s wardrobe before wading through her disaster of a bedroom and climbing into bed to sleep the sleep of the unemployed and still dependent. Growing up can wait until at least the end of high school, right?


BratzBasher’s Birthday Bonanza!

Okay, there is no actual event we can really refer to as a “bonanza”, but it’s alliterative, people! Alliterative! Work with me.

BB turned 17 last week. I didn’t even partially freak out until early evening of that day (and even then it was only a minor, partial freak out) because, for some reason, my subconscious had tricked me into believing it was her 16th. Yes, I believed I was celebrating my daughter’s 16th birthday. Again. Well, I didn’t realize the “again” part until she pointed out how old she actually was (luckily before I made the mistake of asking her how it felt to be 16 -phew!) and voiced her hope that I wouldn’t freak out about how close she was to 18.

Anyway…as late as this is, I’m still making a valiant effort to publicly recognize my child’s natal anniversary with a fun post that revolves entirely mostly around her. I have chosen to do so by relating a recent dream she shared with me. It was actually a nightmare; however, as with most nightmares, daylight revealed it to be remarkably silly.

At the start of BB’s dream, she noticed people leaving fliers/pamphlets on people’s doors. It was propaganda designed to trick people into believing they should be happy about being confined to their homes:

“Ever get tired of looking at the same blue sky day after day? Well, now you don’t have to!”

BB quickly saw through this scheme and started trying to warn everyone that they were being controlled. Next thing she knew, men were trying to kill me by breaking my bedroom window in with a bola made from two large rocks connected by a chain. BB stuck tree branches in their eyes and chased them into the new subdivision adjoining our neighborhood. How they got that far while blind I have no idea. Who were these men? H&R Block employees. Yes, folks, the country was suffering a violent take-over by an accounting firm. At one point, BB attempted to spy on the opposition by making herself invisible. The baddies tried to find her by bringing out black lights. “You can’t hide from us!” they cried. “We know you have to be wearing a bra!” Apparently, the assumption was that BB was wearing a white bra that would show through her shirt in the black light, despite her being invisible. Yeah. Right.

After their initial plans were thwarted by BB, the accountants outsourced to Isengard, calling in orc soldiers to round up civilians and imprison them in their own homes. Some of the orcs bore the mark of Saruman (the white hand) on their faces, while others sported the same white hand on a square background of orange (the new logo for H&R Block). BB was facing an army of warriors created for evil. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not it was fortunate that she woke up at that moment before she could meet them in battle.

When BB told Merkin she’d dreamed of H&R Block taking over the country, he just said, “That’s not as far-fetched as you might think.”

BB’s been having elaborate, bizarre dreams since she was four — at least the ones she’s been able to remember and talk about. Obviously, she takes after me, but I think the part of her mind that chose an accounting firm to fill the role of “enemy forces” must have come from her daddy. Not that he views accountants as the enemy. No, it’s because he works in the finance department and knows all about money. BB has heard many stories of how bad financial management can enslave people.

I love you, BratzBasher! You are disturbingly creative and made of awesome!

mark of H&R Block

Parenting tip # 493

Next time your kid asks if she can have a spoonful of whipped cream…


…specify how big a spoon she may use.

Happy Day After Your 16th Birthday, BratzBasher!

Happy Birthday, Merkin!

In my sleep-muddled morning state, I let Merkin head off to work today without a “happy birthday”.  This is not as bad as the first year we were married when I forgot his birthday entirely.  (I’m never going to live that one down.  Merkin, on the other hand, never forgets an important date — birthdays, anniversaries, whatever.)

I won’t say how old he is this year because he’s feeling old.  I wouldn’t want to rub it in that he’s five years older than I am.  I think it’ll be another couple of decades before I see Merkin as old.  I’d have to see myself five years away from being old before that happens.  But this post isn’t about me.  It’s about Merkin and his awesomeness.  Don’t worry.  I won’t go on and on and on.  He’s too modest for that.  Plus, I’m pressed for time just now.

Five (because I promised not to go on forever) Great Things about Merkin:

(I apologize for any repeats from previous years, but some things are worth mentioning multiple times.)

  1. He’s an awesome dad to BratzBasher.
  2. He’s a fabulous cook.
  3. He’s an amazing storyteller.
  4. He puts up with me even when I’m less than likable.
  5. He never forgets to take the trash out.


Happy Birthday, Merkin!

14 random things I should’ve posted earlier about BratzBasher

(Yeah, I should’ve posted this one on BB’s actual birthday, but this is better than not posting it at all.)

  1. She plays the tuba.  In fact, she’s wanted to play the tuba since she was very little.  I think it has something to do with the fact that her dad is a tuba player.  They’ve participated in one Tuba Christmas together since she started learning, and they’re looking forward to this year’s concert.
  2. She has her own sense of style, and y’all can just deal with it because she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about how she looks.  Even as Beehive president, she would occasionally wear slacks to church — thumbing her nose at the idea that Mormon girls have to wear dresses on Sunday.  Merkin and I say that, as long as she looks nice and clean, she can wear whatever she wants.
  3. Her ideal boy is an anime character.  I’m not sure which one yet, and she’s not telling.
  4. She prefers classic rock to modern pop, and cringes at autotune.
  5. She prefers milk chocolate over dark, but makes an exception if it’s chocolate chips and peanut butter.
  6. She writes fanfiction and will sometimes share her stories with others now.
  7. She’ll do just about anything for anime points (to be redeemed for viewing new episodes of her favorite shows) — even go to the gym.
  8. Onions disgust her.
  9. Sushi makes her happy.  Merkin usually gets the day of her birthday off so that he can take sushi to her school and have lunch with her.
  10. She is incapable of seeing dirty socks.  They are virtually invisible to her.
  11. She still likes to be read to.  We’re currently working our way through the third book in Michael Grant’s Magnificent Twelve series.  It’s quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever read, and should definitely be read aloud when possible.
  12. She’s come to expect homemade jammies every Christmas and would probably be severely disappointed if I missed a year.
  13. She still sleeps with Hoppy, a stuffed bunny she got before she was two.  Back then, the bunny was named Hop and was about as big as BB.
  14. She’s just two years away from getting her driver’s license, but she’s already driven a vehicle.  That’s if you count the giant mining truck she took for a spin in the test-drive quarry, courtesy of her uncle in AZ.

We love you, BratzBasher!

You are MADE of AWESOME!

I’m not old! I’m thirty-seven!

Ten points if you can tell me where today’s title came from.  Merkin, you’re not allowed to play.

Today is my thirty-seventh birthday.  I had to do the math last night because I can never remember how old I am.  Maybe I’m repressing the knowledge.  “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”  Shut up, knowledge.

Anyway…it’s been a pretty quiet day.  Merkin let me sleep in while he made BratzBasher’s lunch and took her to school.  Surprisingly, I didn’t sleep in very long.  I woke up around 9:00 and decided I was up for the day.  Amazing what a difference two hours will make.  If I had gotten up at 7:00, I’d probably have gone back to bed till 11:00. Instead, I went to Target and bought a bunch of t-shirts.  Hey, they were only $5, and I’m low on short-sleeved shirts that don’t have anything printed on them.  I find I prefer color to making a statement these days.  Maybe it’s my age showing.  Nah.

To be honest, I don’t feel old.  Unless I’ve been kneeling for a while and have to stand up.  Boy, then I really feel old.  It’s a good thing I’m not Catholic.

Merkin has the day off.  He went to the gym this morning for a workout and an interview.  They’re doing an article about local “elite athletes” for the city newsletter, and they decided to include him because of all the progress he’s made with the weight loss and exercising.  I think the indoor triathlons were what really decided the matter for them.  He told them he wouldn’t do it unless he wasn’t the only one in the article.  We joke about the “elite athlete” label here at home.  I’m sure Merkin had a hard time not rolling his eyes.  It should be fun to read what they have to say about him, though.

BB was in the mood for some Tom Jones yesterday.  She likes his rendition of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House”, but she also enjoys the cheesiness of “She’s a Lady”.  I played “It’s Not Unusual” for her for the first time.  She thought that was pretty ridiculous, too.  I’m glad she’s the kind of girl that appreciates a good…what do I call it?  Cheese indulgence?  She sometimes listens to Hall and Oates, too.  In fact, she was in charge of the iPod on the way to Girls Camp and was happy to discover that Hall and Oates was available.  (Or should that be “were”?  Oh well.)  I think there might have been a few complaints, but the driver was singing along.

Speaking of music, I need to find me some good birthday music to listen to today.  I just need to figure out what I’m in the mood for.  Maybe I’ll put on some Muse.  Or maybe I’ll indulge in a little cheese.  I haven’t quite decided yet.