My birthday weekend was a blast! We took the kids to the Santa Cruz area and stayed at my mother-in-law's cabin in Felton. We enjoyed a day at the beach and rode rides at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
We spent the next day in Carmel followed by a birthday dinner at my favorite restuaurant in the world, Lugano Swiss Bistro in the Barnyard Shopping Center in Carmel Valley. We discovered the restaurant on our first family vacation we took 8 years ago with our son Will, who is now 10. We (probably me more than my husband) fell in love with the place and now go at least one time each year, typically coinciding with my birthday weekend. On a good year, we get down there twice. This trip, I got the honor of wearing the birthday hat and got to kiss the big Swiss cow for good luck. That was a first!
Me with Lugano owner, André Lengacher. I just realized when looking at this picture that the patio table that is just behind us is the table we sat at when Christian and I visited the restaurant for the first time.
As if this wasn't celebration enough, Christian and I depart tomorrow (today, for those reading this on Friday) on our first real vacation alone since Piper was born 3 1/2 years ago. He's taking me to Las Vegas, and surprised me with tickets to see Barry Manilow, who I have adored since I was a teen. I can't wait! I'm hoping for a wonderful, relaxing trip that includes lots of sunbathing by the Mirage pool, froo froo drinks, sleeping in, shopping, dinner at Tao (and possibly a trip to the nightclub to see if we see any celebrities), and, yes, gambling. Wheel of Fortune quarter machine, here I come!
The days prior to my 40th birthday, I did a lot of thinking about my 30's and what I hope my 40's will be like. My 30's were wonderful. We had two children who we both adore. We moved to Benicia, which we really enjoy, and bought a house with a view in a neighborhood we love.
But my 30's were also the most difficult period of my life so far. My mom was diagnosed with dementia when I turned 30, just after Will was born. She so desperately wanted to be a grandmother, but didn't have the chance to have the quality grandmother experience she waited so long for.
Mom holding Will just after he was born.
Me with mom at the Alzheimer's home where she lived for several years. This photo was taken in October 2003 at her birthday celebration, which was just a few months after she moved there.
She passed away earlier this year. Those 9 1/2 years were hard. And dad moved on, and eventually got re-married. And while I'm happy for him, that was hard too. Then my brother was deployed by the Army to Iraq, where he is serving currently. And while things are calmer there than they were at the start of the war, it's still nerve-wracking knowing he's there. That's been hard, but I know he feels good about being there, so it makes it easier.
My hope for my 40's is that it will be a decade of a much healthier lifestyle for me. I hope it's filled with many wonderful family memories with Christian and the kids. It will be a decade that will find us welcoming my brother back home from Iraq, and one that will have us sending Will off to college somewhere, hopefully somewhere close. Both kids will be going through a lot of changes and by the time I'm 50, Piper will be in middle school...oh goodness, I imagine that will be an entirely different blog!
I am also determined not to beat myself up so much in my 40's, and give myself more down time. Sometimes I feel I go, and go, and go....from work, to the gym, to home, to start crocheting to add items to my etsy shop (shameless plug: http://www.luluandcharlie.etsy.com/), to labeling blankets for Project Linus, to etc. etc. Not to mention, squeezing in family time, and going to Will's sporting and school events.
In my 40's, I'm going to cut myself some more slack. For example, I wanted to get a workout in tomorrow morning before heading out to the airport for our Vegas trip. That would have meant lugging Piper to the gym daycare, stopping by Raley's to pick up a prescription, hurrying home to take a shower, dropping off a Project Linus blanket at the local hospital for a teenager who is recovering from being hit by a car, finishing packing, and heading of to the airport. I just got crazy thinking about all that would be involved in trying to accomplish all of these things.
So, my new, mature, 40-year-old self decided while I was running on the treadmill at the gym this evening that I will skip the gym tomorrow morning. Instead, I will take my daughter to Starbuck's for breakfast in the morning, stop by the hospital to drop off the Linus blanket, leisurely pick Will up from school, head home and about 30 minutes later head to the airport with Christian. Whew, I'm calmer just thinking about it.
And if I decide to, I'll use the Mirage gym to workout when we get to Vegas. But, since what happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas, I guess I won't be able to tell you if I did or not.
Here's this week's picture, which is not ideal, since I'm freshly sweaty from the gym. But, my more practical 40-year-old side says, it'll be just fine if you all see me in my lycra shorts and sweaty Army shirt.
Until Next Week,