Pull Up a Chair

December 13, 2013

Birthday Balloons

Yesterday was my birthday, and I am fast discovering that weekday birthdays as a mom pretty much look like every other day, and your best laid plans can get thwarted by last-minute trips to the pediatrician and such. But I did manage to enjoy a girls’ lunch with my favorite five-year-olds and bake myself a cake to throw a few candles on. B and I will celebrate with a date night this weekend — the second in over 14 months, but who’s counting?

Since I hit my forties, the predominant feeling I have when my birthday rolls around is gratitude. I feel grateful that I’ve been granted this many years, and that I’m so rich when it comes to the important things in life. Last night, while sitting in front of my cake listening to a happy birthday song, I looked around the dining room table at my daughters’ smiling faces — and at my husband, who seems to love me more each year — and I had one of those perfect moments.

It’s always hard for me to think much about Christmas until my birthday is over, which means today I’m feeling a twinge of anxiety as I realize that Christmas is only 12 days away and I’m not even close to being ready. How about you: Are you overwhelmed or pretty much on top of it all?

Speaking of “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” I can’t stop thinking about the homemade eggnog that Margaret posted about yesterday. For today’s drink, I’m going with one of those — and to throw a northern twist on it, I’ll take mine with some Gosling’s rum, in honor of my brother Alex, who probably wouldn’t dream of an eggnog without it. Here’s my high and low of the week:

Low: I had some low moments this week related to homeschooling. We have good weeks and not so good; days that seem like we’re in the groove, and days I’m trying not to pull my hair out. I question whether my expectations are realistic, and whether I’m approaching things in the best way, or making the experience less than it could be for my daughters. I honestly don’t think S and H would be leaning anything more or better in a conventional school, but at least the buck wouldn’t stop with me, which makes it tough.

High: Besides spending my birthday with my two favorite five-year-olds, a highlight of the week was taking the girls sledding when we had some snow this past week. They are beyond excited about snow and couldn’t wait to get out the door in it. Being sprayed in the face with the cold stuff after wiping out left one of them in tears, but overall, they had a great time.


Bonus Question: What’s at the top of your wish list this Christmas? Every year I want a large round dutch oven (Le Creuset or Staub), and ever year, Santa ignores me. But it’s my fault, because I put limits on our Christmas spending — and frankly, our kitchen is so tiny, I’m not even sure where I’d put it. But one of these years!…

Please grab an eggnog and tell me about your week. Hope your weekend is as slow as it can be. I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Images: Zoe Saint-Paul 

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1 Kari December 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

That is so crazy – a friend of mine had a birthday this week and we had almost the same conversation as your 1st paragraph! She, too, was in the ped’s office unexpectedly & didn’t know if she’d be able to keep her evening plans until an hour before.

I am pretty much ready for Christmas and have been trying not to get caught up in my tendency to think “but maybe I could find that person an even better gift,” which I tend to do every year when my shopping is done :) Advent is just flying by this year.

Happy Birthday! I’m glad you had a good day!


2 Zoe Saint-Paul December 15, 2013 at 12:56 am

Thanks, Kari! And glad your friend was able to keep her plans in the end!


3 Sandy Scherschligt December 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm


Happy Birthday. I pray that it was a good one.


4 Zoe Saint-Paul December 15, 2013 at 12:57 am

Thanks, Sandoo!


Ann Waterman 5 Ann Waterman December 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Happy birthday, Zoe! Hoping you have a wonderful time this weekend!

I’ll take the special.

Low: I’ve had a clogged ear for about three weeks now and it’s driving me crazy. I’ve been hoping it would clear up on its own, but after realizing I could barely have a conversation in Starbucks the other day, I think I’m going to have it looked at.

High: I think my three year old is potty trained. Yay!!!


6 Zoe Saint-Paul December 15, 2013 at 12:57 am

Yay for being potty-trained! But ugh about the ear — that kind of thing can really drive you bonkers. Hope it resolves soon!


7 P Flooers December 14, 2013 at 8:32 am
8 Zoe Saint-Paul December 15, 2013 at 12:58 am

Thank you, P Flooers! I enjoyed reading that.


9 Therese December 14, 2013 at 8:48 am

Happy Birthday, Zoe!

With regard to your homeschooling low, just remember that all homeschooling parents have times of panic. It is normal, don’t worry! Someone gave me that advice years ago and I remember it in my own bad moments. We actually had a very happy so-glad-we-are-homeschooling day yesterday based on an experience at a museum, so I suppose that was my high. My low was a work week in which some of the university’s weaknesses seemed too much in the forefront, which made me weary of certain elements of my paid work – in other words, work yuck. Sigh!

Hope that you enjoy the rest of your pre-Christmas prep! Are we ready for Christmas? Let’s see… no decorations up, no tree yet, no presents here, no cards or photos prepared, no gifts made, no special food prepared… sounds like a panicky no, but actually I’m feeling pretty good. My Advent/pre-New Years’ resolution is NOT to be/feel/say that I am behind or overwhelmed, as I’m bored of feeling that way all the time. So instead, I am finding myself glad that I have thoughts/plans for each even as I am happily still just anticipating doing them.


10 Zoe Saint-Paul December 15, 2013 at 1:04 am

I really like that resolution, Therese… such a good way to approach the season!

I’ve had some highs in the homeschooling department, but overall not feeling so good about it these days. Some changes might help next semester to go better.


11 Therese December 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I’m so sorry. If you want to talk about it, let me know. I’ve made enough mistakes already to have wisdom to share! ;-}


12 Kathleen December 14, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Happy birthday!

As far as the homeschooling thing goes, I think I expected too much from my oldest at age five. With my second at age five this year, we are moving a lot slower. I keep reminding myself that kindergarten is supposed to be enjoyable and not to worry too much about the timeline.


13 Zoe Saint-Paul December 15, 2013 at 1:08 am

I feel like I’ll have better perspective on how this is really going in a few years… but that doesn’t really help right now! :-)


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