It's hard to believe it's been ten years since Miriam was born. But numbers don't lie and she's a full decade old!
She had a pretty good day today, I think (and hope (in spite of a few nasty tricks I played)). We did all our schooling in the morning and early afternoon and then had friends (another homeschooling family) come over in the afternoon.
For her birthday dinner she requested orange chicken, which is a meal that I simply would never attempt so it was up to Andrew to make it. Unfortunately, he had a conference all day so he decided to just pick up some orange chicken from Panda Express. He came home briefly before taking off again and Miriam started talking about how Daddy was going to make her birthday dinner while we worked on her cake together.
"I don't think Dad is going to make orange chicken after all," I told her.
"What?!" she asked. "But it's my birthday!"
"Well, sweetie, it's after 5:00 now and he's not even home. I don't see how he'd have time to make orange chicken..."
She was overjoyed when he walked through the door with her hoped-after orange chicken. Frankly, he didn't have time to make it from scratch this evening. So I didn't lie to her. I just tricked her.
After stuffing ourselves full of orange chicken, we went for a family walk and opened presents before cutting into the cake. We're pretty lame when it comes to giving gifts. For example, we'd planned on ordering a Phantom of the Opera music book for her but then forgot about it until today. It will be coming tomorrow...so instead I printed out the purchase order and gave her that. She was just as excited about it as she would have been to receive the book itself, I think.
Here are Rachel and Benjamin flocking to her to see what's so terribly exciting:
Months ago when she when Miriam was interested in learning how to crochet I ordered her some cotton yarn so she could work up some dishcloths (polyester yarn doesn't work as well for that and she wanted to make something practical), so I had that ready to give to her (and she was rather excited about opening it).
And here she is puzzling over her final gift for this evening, a Tibetan singing bowl from Auntie Kelli:
It was packaged so well it took several minutes (and a pair of scissors) to get it out of all the bubble wrap and tape and paper. Miriam started figuring it out at once and when she got the bowl singing the room fell silent to listen. Everyone was still and calm.
"It's so...peaceful..." Rachel sighed.
"It is used in meditation," I said. "So..."
Perhaps we'll have to incorporated it in one of our yoga sessions this coming week.
This video doesn't have us all quite as captivated as we were the first time (some of us are eager to get our turn at it and others can't quite get our nose out of the toy catalogue we got in the mail) she began ringing the bell, but you can see she's already figured out how to get a pretty solid sound from it:
Poor Alexander had several "boogies" bothering him, which he announced he would get himself. And he did.
It took a bit of effort but he got his nose cleaned right out.
Here's Miriam ringing her bowl again:
Here's Benjamin doing whatever this is:
Here's Zoë devouring the toy catalogue:
I believe this is shortly after she gushed, "I can't believe it in my heart—a baby Anna doll!"
At one point—because she wasn't scouring this catalogue for herself, sweet thing, she was looking for things that everybody would like—she said something like, "This would make Benjamin the happiest boy in the whole entire Earth!" (only she said "Erf" because that's how she says "Earth"), to which Andrew responded by telling me, "I told you would should have just recycled that straight from the mailbox."
So Zoë took the catalogue to him and said, "But Dad! See this?!" and pointed to some toy (probably Star Wars themed) and Andrew said, "Oh, wow! That set looks amazing!"
"Would it make you the happiest boy in the whole entire Erf?" I asked.
"It would," he grinned sheepishly.
Later the kids started cutting everything that they wanted from the catalogue (which meant they were cutting out pretty much everything from the catalogue) and gluing it to another paper to make a Christmas wish list which Santa will probably go ahead and ignore because I don't know about the Santa that comes to your house, but the Santa that comes to our house isn't very responsive to long lists of wants.
Part of that is probably our doing as parents. I think this may be the very first time a toy catalogue has made it into our house (and that's only because Zoë was the one to get the mail) so in the past our kids didn't know there were things to ask for for Christmas.
One year (when she was in kindergarten) Rachel literally asked for a candy cane.
I don't think she'd ever seen an advertisement in her life! And now look at us—pouring over Christmas catalogues in October!
Never fear. That catalogue (and the carefully curated collages made from them) will soon work their way into the recycling bin and will (hopefully) be forgotten.
Meanwhile, that Tibetan singing bowl was still ringing:
After presents we gathered for cake. Miriam wanted a Phantom of the Opera/masquerade cake so in my limited time this afternoon, this is what I cobbled together (with a little help from Miriam):
She asked for a spice cake but I only had a gingerbread cake mix on hand (and didn't want to make a cake from scratch), so we went with that. It was my first time making one like that (it's not a traditional cake mix and only called for water and egg—no oil or anything) and it really didn't rise very much, so I cut each of the layers in half and stacked them all, essentially making "half" a cake.
We put vanilla pudding between each layer and made some masquerade masks out of melted white chocolate chips. They turned out so-so...
The back of the cake just looks like this:
And here she is singing to herself with gusto...
...ppy birthday toooo...
And here she is fake blowing out the candles because I missed getting a picture:
The kids were all excited to get their masquerade masks, which Miriam decorated individually for each of them:
Miriam, of course, got the phantom mask:
And here they all are together, our little masqueraders:
When Andrew went to cut the cake he picked up the lighter instead of the knife, which everyone thought was rather silly. He stopped before actually plunging it into the cake and then goofed around with it for a while to keep everyone laughing:
After cake we started doing chores and getting ready for bed and Rachel came upstairs to ask if Miriam knew where her blue robe was. Miriam did not.
"How could you not know?!" Rachel demanded, which, like, good question...except, how could Rachel not know?
Rachel started to get a little riled up at Miriam, completely misdirecting her rage, so Andrew stepped in and said, "Ask Mom if she knows anything about it."
Before she could, though, Miriam (who had so sweetly gone down to look for Rachel's robe) came up and announced, "I found it..." and then dangled the bathrobe's belt from her hand, "...'s tie."
That made Rachel even angrier, so she approached me and I had to tell her that I had gone into their bedroom (and bathroom) earlier this week and had scooped up all articles of clothing left on the floor because I figured they simply didn't care about them anymore.
"Moooooom!" Rachel wailed and stormed off.
To be fair, they have a real problem with leaving clothes lying about. I mean, nobody's perfect, but these girls have a special skill in this area. They don't put their dirty clothes into their hamper and they don't put their clean clothes in their dressers and they never hang anything up. It's bad—I gathered up an entire garbage bag's worth—and then some!
"What did you do with it?" the girls came to ask me.
"What does one usually do with a garbage bag of clothes no one cares about?" I asked.
"I stopped by goodwill earlier this week," Andrew volunteered. "You were with me, Rachel."
"What?! No!" she shrieked. "Was there anything in there that I liked?"
"I don't think so," I said. "Everything was on the floor. Like that flowered dress you like to wear so much. I think we gave it to you last Christmas. Anyway, that's in there."
"No!" Rachel said.
"Haha!" Miriam said.
"Oh, and an infinity scarf that was left lying around," I added.
"WHAT?!" Miriam wailed.
"A white knit sweater," I went on. "A Doctor Who t-shirt. Probably all those socks you couldn't find this morning. A..."
Both girls ran down to their room in tears. After letting them stew a minute I went down and crawled into Rachel's bunk with her.
"Is there any way we can earn them back?" one of them asked.
"From goodwill?" I asked.
This elicited more cries of agony, so I admitted that I did still have the bag of clothes and that they could have it back if they would promise to sort it and fold it and tuck everything away neatly and then make an actual effort to keep on top of their clothing situation. Otherwise I'd be forced to gather things up for them again and probably wouldn't be so nice about it—they'd have to earn things back piecemeal, paying me back with extra chores or fining them a set price per article.
So they took care of all that laundry and vowed to be better in the future, and we'll see how it goes.
I didn't mean to play two tricks on Miriam's birthday, but the laundry trick simply came to fruition today (I've been waiting for them to notice and, frankly, it's taken awhile, which is probably a sign they have too many clothes (I can see Reid nodding his head in agreement)). Hopefully it was a good lesson learned.
Look at you, Miriam—one year older and wiser, too! Happy birthday to you!