Schoolhouse Rock vol. 59: Happy Birthday to the Teacher

My kids made me a birthday book, and it is the cutest.

Thanks Jill for making that with them!  You are the best!

The prompt was: “If I could give you any present in the world, I would give you a…”

and these are some of their responses:

  • A party
  • donut cake
  • A package of sweet tarts
  • A heart and a cake
  • rainbow fish
  • chocolate candy
  • a bike
  • a mailbox
  • a new pompom because one is lost
  • a blue dog who is also red
  • more homework for you to give us, so we can learn
  • a baby dragon
  • a big jewel
  • my heart
  • a blueberry chocolate cake
  • a strawberry cake
  • a sucker where you put it on your finger like a ring
  • a puppy!
  • new shoes
  • new shoes and a new dress
  • toys, candy and presents and hearts and candy
  • a big strawberry cake
  • a heart
  • a bunny
  • an x-box and x-box live so she can play games with me
  • chihuahuas – a mom and a baby
  • candy

This picture of my birthday party looks surprisingly similar to my actual birthday party…


I am blessed.

This has been one of those days that just blows me away with encouragement.

I have to admit, I was not as excited as usual for my birthday – maybe I’m just tired of getting older?

I was much younger in this picture. And my sister was super excited that I had arrived in her life.

But my birthday just served to remind me of how blessed I am.

To be perfectly honest, if you’d asked me at pretty much any point growing up what I thought my life would be like at 29, my answer would not have described my current life.  The journey God has taken me on certainly has not been at all what I expected.  But I then today I thought about how God has taken such good care of me, and blessed me with so many amazing people in my life, and given me some incredible opportunities.  I still am excited for what He has in store for me in the future, but looking back, I also would not have want to have missed any stops along the way or missed out on the ways He has worked in my life up till now.

Facebook tells me that 103 friends posted on my wall to wish me a happy birthday.  What facebook doesn’t tell you is how awesome it was to receive some encouraging notes from many unexpected, yet awesome people.  From my high school youth pastor’s wife, to my missionary roommate in Japan, to co-workers, to friends, to family.  I just felt so lifted up and cared about.

Then there are the friends who sent me an evite to a fun birthday afternoon in my honor… they literally made an evite just to invite me over.  I felt so special!

I also got to have dinner with my amazing family tonight, and my aunt made me delicious mint chocolate cupcakes.

Cards were written, phone calls were made, texts were sent, gifts were given, and time was spent with people I love.  It was wonderful.  How did I get so lucky to have such encouraging, fun, loving, generous, and amazing friends and family?

The past few weeks have been kind of rough.  Sometimes you just need to feel loved.  And today I certainly did.  Thanks friends!  You are the best.  For reals.  I love you all.  And tonight I will go to sleep with a smile of my face.  🙂

A Baseball Birthday!

Because Amber and I like to have birthday parties like we are still seven years old, we planned some sweet decorations and forced our guests to play games.  It was pretty much awesome.  Here’s all the important and non-important details about our 1991 Twins World Series Game Seven Par-tay!

The Decor: Streamers in the colors of the MN Twins, library books (gotta keep things educational), and basically any MN Twins themed items we could find around our homes.  Tiffany made us a cute birthday banner with clementines, tooth picks, cardstock, and yarn. 

The Food: Ball Park Themed.  We had hot dogs, soft pretzels w/cheese, chips, cracker jacks, candy, clementines, puppy chow, and more.  Rachel even brought her cotton candy maker!  Sadly, we forgot to use it.  It was all delish.  I felt like I was at Target Field.  Or the Metrodome in 1991. 

The Fun: We spent the evening watching the Twins Game.  We divided our friends into two teams.  Were these teams evenly matched?  One was good with baseball trivia, and one was good at random tasks that you can’t train for.  So, yes?  Between innings, we asked random trivia questions (let me emphasize random), and played games like we were at the ballpark.  We found the Race to Target Field online.  Go ahead, watch it. I won’t tell you who wins. 

We had a wiffle ball toss (think old school – dropping the baseballs down from the stands into the back of the pick-up truck.  And yes, they bounced right out of our bucket just like they always bounced out of the back of the truck) 

And a designated driver drawing, winning Aaron a Twins keychain, AND a point for his team.

The Music: Rachel, Laura, JaNahn, and James serenaded us with the Star Spangled Banner.  In one of my more ridiculous life moments, we all sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  The sing-a-long was of course, Happy Birthday.

The Prizes: Naturally we had certificates for the winners and losers. (twins certificates)

Our friends were good sports and played along with Amber and I’s birthday dreams.  Thanks guys.

every baseball birthday party needs a giant baseball birthday brownie

And I’d like to thank the following people for making my birthday party possible:

  • Scott, for his idea and his dvd
  • Tiffany, for helping me clean up before and after the party and for her trip to the library to facilitate learning and decorating
  • James, for making the yearly trek down to Minneapolis for our birthdays
  • David, for cheering for the Braves.  Again.
  • Rachel, for leading the songs
  • Rachel, for printing certificates
  • Rachel, for stopping by after a busy day
  • Shawn, for puppy chow and general awesomeness
  • Aaron, for hot dogs and wiffle ball skills
  • Laura, for ice cream sundae toppings
  • JaNahn, for canceling your work trip
  • Molly, for coming even though you have no history with or love of the Twins
  • Kerri, for sending me a card on modified work stationary
  • Amber for your co-planning, co-birthdaying awesomeness.
I’m lucky to have such awesome friends.
All in all, it was a pretty intense game.  My parents were there.  I tried to call them to see if we could spot them on tv, but then we remembered that there weren’t cell phones yet.  Go Twins!

Pop Quiz

Let me paint you a picture.  Actually, let me paint you three pictures, and your job is to figure out what these three scenarios have in common.

Picture #1

After church on Sunday, five 20-somethings head out for to eat.  They eat brunch at the Good Day Cafe.  Brunch is uneventful, yet delicious.

Picture #2

A group of people sit out on a screened in porch for a couple of hours.  It is a cold day, so each person is wrapped in a blanket, or at least has a blanket wrapped around his or her lap.  Several are clutching warm mugs of hot cocoa, and one has a small puppy on her lap.  This may look like a scene from a movie of when the elderly get wheeled outside for some fresh air.

Picture #3

It is a birthday.  A group of people head to Sky Zone, a trampoline warehouse in Plymouth.  They put on (one with extreme difficulty) their special jumping shoes, and hit the trampolines.  It is a giant area with square trampolines connected by a mat to separate each person’s jumping around.  Some people get great height, doing flips and literally bouncing off the walls.  Others are content to jump around in their personal square, loving celebrating a birthday.

Quiz: What do these three scenarios have in common?

A) They are all scenes from movies I saw this week while celebrating MEA.

B) They are parts 1, 2, and 3 of my roommate Tiffany’s birthday party.

C) They summarize my Sunday afternoon, when I went to brunch with my friends, visited my grandparents, then stopped by a student’s birthday party.

D)  They clearly have nothing in common.  You can’t fool me.

And the answer is: B!  If you guessed that these are all ways we celebrated Tiffany’s birthday, you are right!  We did our best to act our age, then practice for when we are older, then enjoyed reliving our youth.

I would totally recommend Sky Zone if you have kids, or if you like jumping.  Apparently they also have dodgeball and work out classes.  That is what the rumors tell me, anyways.

I have no pictures of our awesome day for you, because I am a slacker and didn’t take out my camera.  But I’m sure that I painted you such quality mental pictures that you didn’t even realize there was a distinct lack of photographs!  You are welcome.

Happy Birthday, Tiffany!  I’m glad that you could arrive in Florida for your birthday, just like I did for mine.  I think that should probably be our new thing.  I love traditions.  Especially when they involve the beach.  Have a great trip to the Dominican Republic – I am praying for your team.  Thanks for being my roommate, and joining me in keeping the heat off until Thanksgiving, rescuing me from baking breakdowns, eating my cupcakes when they turn out, sharing iced coffee, using the remote so I don’t have to learn the channels, going for walks with ice cream in hand, saying ridiculous things and also have serious conversations, giving me hair inspiration even though I could never get my hair to do 92% of the pretty things you do with yours, and being my friend 🙂  You are great! 

Happy Birthday, Mama!

I don’t think I have ever called my mom, mama.  It just seemed fitting for this post title.

My mom’s birthday is today, so naturally I am brainstorming some birthday gift ideas.

The gift of laughter is always a crowd pleaser.

She also said she was interested in a new bag to bring to Twins games.  Here is a definite possiblity: 

And that concludes my brainstorming.  So I turned to the real experts, and asked my kids what they thought I should get my mom for her birthday.  Here are their suggestions:

A New Wedding Dress

Strawberry Shortcake Shirt

A Ring With a Photo of Me in It

Popular Clothes Like Mine

New Shoes

Heart Pants

Shirt that says I Love You

A New Skirt for Church

 They also suggested I give her a photo of herself, a new car, or a card that says, “love, Laura”.

I think I will go with that last option.  Love you mom!!  Thanks for being great, and I hope your day is so great that you feel like you got all of these amazing gifts, even though you didn’t 🙂

Hey Laura, you’re the big star today!

These are lyrics from my birthday song of choice.  When we were little we each had a record with our personalized birthday song from Captain Zoom, and we had to stay in bed until my mom played it on the record player.  I loved that tradition SO much!  I would have been excited for this today, but I would still be laying in bed if that were the case.  Not because my mom doesn’t love me (because she does) but because 1)  I do not live in her house anymore, so that would be tricky and 2) I am birthday-ing in Florida this year.  Birthday-ing in Florida this year might be my best decision so for in 2011. I will be telling you why in just a moment, but first, please tune in to 

And without further ado, here are some reasons I would recommend birthday-ing in Florida:

  1. I got to celebrate 2x before going to bed – I started my Florida birthday at midnight by getting off the plane.  I celebrated my MN birthday at 1am by having a popsicle while my friends sang to me.
  2. It is warm.  Some might even say hot.  After suffering through -20 degree weather, 80’s are a blessing (and a relief).
  3. You can go to delicious places for breakfast, such as Skillets, a place that describes their food: Our thick cut smokehouse bacon. Our incredible, enormous sourdough waffle. Freshly squeezed orange juice served in frosty beer mugs. Ethereal egg white omelettes that literally float off the plate. Nutritious, yet fluffy whole wheat pancakes. Homemade bread, baked daily in our hearth ovens. Tender crepes, Chicago style blintzes, Panini’s griddled with rosemary herb bread. Mountains of fresh fruit. Truly old fashioned, thick, slow cooked oatmeal porridge. Freshly roasted and brewed Guatemalan coffee direct from the plantation. Their motto is, “Breakfast and lunch with flair” – this will probably be my new motto.
  4. You can go grocery shopping for your birthday! (not actually a highlight.  but not really a lowlight either.  So I guess just a light).
  5. The Beach!  You can read your nook that your parents got you for your birthday in your new handy dandy waterproof case.
  6. I met my goal of at least 15 freckles before heading home.  And it is only day 1!
  7. You might feel sad in your heart that Florida did not fulfill its promise to build a Caribou in time for you to get your free drink.  Then your friends will get you a “free” Starbucks instead!  Delicious!
  8. The Beach.  Oh, I guess I already mentioned that.
  9. Here is something new: driving in the convertible with the top down.   Last year we did this once.  Because it was a dream of mine.  But we had to wear sweatshirts.  Today it felt like bliss.
  10. No sunburn!  (aren’t you proud of my and my SPF 30, mom?)
  11. Learning to grill!  And having our delicious dinner of salmon, baked potatoes, green beans and texas toast turn out AND taste amazing.
  12. Birthday cake!  Thanks friends!

Tomorrow we shall meet the Twins and become best friends with them.  My friend prayed for me to get a birthday hug from a Twin.  Best prayer ever.  (Well, maybe not actually – but it is a pretty awesome one)  We will also be on the look out for more dogs in strollers at the outlet mall.  Wish us luck on all accounts.

p.s.  this seagull tried to eat my face.  no joke.  the park/beach/employee/guy laughed at me.  i am traumatized.

Thanks friends for making my birthday so great! Yes, I’m not sure how a birthday could get much better!