Two Fridays ago, we celebrated my birthday.  You can read about it here, if you haven't already.
This past Friday, was Cliff's birthday, so we had another day of celebration. 
And it was SO different from mine.
I got up with Finley at 6:30am so that Cliff could sleep in.  He had joined us by 7:00 though, and truly considered that "sleeping in."  He wanted to go out for breakfast (and I'm all for that!) and stop by a nursery to buy our garden plants.  So we loaded up and headed out.  As we were driving down the highway and I was straining to keep my eyelids open, I noticed the sun wasn't even really all the way up yet.  I laughed at how different we are in the sleep and early-bird-getting-the-worm areas of life.  After we ate, we walked around the greenhouse and picked out our plants.  This was Finley's favorite part of the day because he got to push the cart with big wheels.
We played at the park for awhile. So maybe this was Finley's favorite part of the day.  Especially because of the things the birthday guy will do for his kiddo. 

We got home and all crawled under the covers for a nap.  This was my favorite part of the day.  
I really slept hard and woke up thinking I was waking up for the first time that day.  I looked at my watch and saw it was 11:30am and catapulted out of bed.  As I realized we had all taken a nap and I was just waking upfront that, I felt relief knowing I hadn't completely ruined Cliff's birthday.  At least not yet.
After the naps, we loaded back up and went to Brunswick for lunch at The Railyard.  Yum.  
After lunch, we drove through Dalton, population 17.  No joke.  If you don't believe me:

Dalton is a little hidden history rarity.  The little jail from 1898 is still standing.

Dalton is home to the Dalton Vocational School, originally the Barlett Agricultural and Industrial School, also referred to as the "Tuskegee of the Midwest" or "Missouri Tuskegee".  It was started by a student of Booker T. Washington. The school had a model farm home, trade shop, and hog and poultry houses. Eventually the campus expanded to over 100 acres.  It was an all black college. Black students from a relatively wide geographical area were bussed to Dalton where they studied agriculture, industrial arts, and home economics.  The fact that it was a hog house really played out because in recent years, the mayor housed his hogs in it.  Therefore, it's no longer much of a site to see.  Sad face.
Dalton is all bottom ground along the Missouri River.  The last time I saw land sell there, it literally went for $15,000 per ACRE!  It's some serious farm ground.  Most of what was there was washed away in the flood of 1993.  Sad face. 
The "Dalton Cut-Off" is a body of water between the Missouri River and the Chariton River.  I might be wrong, but my understanding is that it used to be the Missouri River, but as the river changed course and moved, it is now just more of a lake.  Apparently, Lewis & Clark camped there.  And a movie about Tom Sawyer was filmed there in the 70s.  And we fished there. This was Cliff's favorite part of the day.

Fishing with me is like fishing with a child.  After three casts with no catch, I was bored and pretty much done.  To entertain myself, I tried to cast in a different part of the water.  My lure ended up on the other side caught in a bunch of rocks and Cliff had to get it out for me.  While he was doing that, a fish ate the worm off his pole and got away.   It was pretty much back and forth like that the whole time--he'd fix one problem for me just in time to fix my next problem.  He did get to use his cast net and caught several minnows with it.  Finley slept in the truck the whole time and totally missed all the action. 

When we got home, Cliff loaded up his dogs and got to go to a competition hunt.  He won best of show male and best of show female, and got to hunt until 1:00am.  The weather was beautiful all day. 
Regardless of how different our birthday celebration requests were, we all three enjoyed both days one hundred percent.  Happy face.

I completed another trip around the sun on Friday, and although physically and mentally I still feel young, I think I am officially old.  Here's how I know:

1.  I forgot how to celebrate.
I couldn't think of a single thing I wanted to do for my birthday.  Starting the day before by celebrating St. Patty's was out, beer and shots were out, a bar and live band were out, really anything past 7pm or involving alcohol, smoke, or loud noises was out without a babysitter planned.  Seriously, nothing would come to mind.  Mainly, we are so overly busy this time of year, that I couldn't imagine having time to do something just for me.  We considered driving to KC for a visit to IKEA, but when it came down to it, I just didn't want to hold Finley hostage in the car for six hours to just hold him hostage longer through the maze of IKEA.  In the end, I decided I just wanted to sleep in and have doughnuts for breakfast. 

2. I completely forgot it was my birthday.
When I did wake up the morning of my birthday (after sleeping in, yay!) I picked up my phone and had several texts and facebook notifications.  My immediate thought was, "Oh no, something terrible has happened!  Why are all of these people trying to get ahold of me?"  I felt a heavy dread until I realized they were all happy birthday messages.

3. We can't get ready to go anywhere fast.
We didn't go for doughnuts because by the time I got up and ready, we managed our daily household tasks, and we got a 1 1 /2 year old ready and packed, it was lunchtime.  So, we went to Columbia  instead.  Of course, since nice restaurants are out when you have a toddler in tow, we had lunch at Five Guys.

4. Activities from my childhood seem "retro."
We stopped by the mall for some shopping and ended up spending the day at the arcade.  And it seemed like a retro celebration.  We had SO. MUCH. FUN. 

5.  I no longer look athletic doing athletic activites. (For the record, maybe I never did.)
First, Cliff and I played Pop-A-Shot--one of my all time favorite games.  Finley laughed SO HARD the entire time.  He thought it was funny from all angles.  He laughed non-stop.  And then we both laughed when I beat Cliff.

6.  Our toddler beat us at an arcade game.
We played ski ball, racing games, and eighteen holes of mini golf.  We still had some coins to use so we spent them on a game that required bouncing ping pong balls into goldfish bowls.  Finley beat us both.

7.  I was in bed so much earlier than I was for birthday celebrations of the past.
We dropped Finley off at my parents' house and picked up my brother (who I share a birthday with!) and went bowling.  We bowled four games between 7:00pm and 10:00pm, which would have been a precursor to events in previous years.  Instead, we were all three ready to go home and hit the hay.  Embarrassing.

8. I drank so little.
When the day was over, I had only consumed one beer.  Just one.  And that was okay with me.

9. I forgot to take pictures.
It used to be that pictures from birthday celebrations probably weren't appropriate for public sharing.  This year, I just completely forgot to take any.

Saturday and Sunday consisted of being pretty lazy and celebrations with our parents and siblings.  It turned out to be a very fun birthday weekend, even though I'm now old.
Oh, and Sunday morning I woke up and Cliff and Finley had gone out and gotten those doughnuts.
Back in October, my brother, Jacob, joined us for a road trip to my old stompin' grounds in Warrensburg for the, UCM...Homecoming.  First we watched the parade, which I think all of us enjoyed as much as the baby did.  Then we skipped the football game and headed downtown to see our good friends Bart and Red play.  Little Man really liked the music.

After some shopping at the bookstore (while my brother sat in the car because he hates shopping) and catching up with some old friends, we headed out of town and decided to stop in Higginsville at Kleinschmidt's Western Store.  If you've never been there, you should go just to see it, even if you don't wear cowboy boots or hats or anything western.  They have over 250 animal mounts throughout the store, and everyone needs their picture with 20,000 pairs of boots or thousands of cowboy hats.  (Click the link above to see the pictures on their website if you don't believe me.) 
Mainly we were just looking around.  But once we got inside, Jacob decided he needed a new cowboy hat.  So, we got a very nice saleslady involved and eventually picked out just the right one.  While doing that, Cliff stumbled upon a rack of US made overalls, and bonus (!) they had regular denim and hickory stripe!  (Yeah, like a train engineer...)  So, these two men actually went to the dressing rooms and tried on the overalls!  They were immediately sold and each grabbed a few pairs.  On the way to the dressing room, Jake realized he needed some new western shirts, so while he was trying on overalls, I picked out a few button up shirts for him.  He couldn't decide on a favorite, so he went with all of them. 
After that, we moved to the boots.  At this point, I was worn out, but Jake was still going strong.  I resorted to just letting the munchkin play on the floor.  He was thrilled.  (notice the overalls hanging on the stroller)

After browsing for quite some time, we had Jacob's choices narrowed down to these two boots. 

I loved the gray pair on the right, but wasn't sure he would wear them.  After much discussion, we talked him into just buying both pairs.  (At this point, it had become a game for me to see how much I could get him to buy.)  Turns out, he secretly wants to be Tuco Salamanca from Breaking Bad and wears the gray pair a lot! 
After the boot decision, I finally was released from my stylist duties and got to pick out my own pair of boots.  I ended up with a pair of Minnetonka fringe wedge booties.  That's it.  One pair of shoes. 
We approached the checkout counter and when everything was totaled for Jacob, we all literally held our breath as the cashier ran his debit card.  We were positive that the total was over the limit the bank would allow to be debited for one day.  We laughed after the debit card went through, imagining him having to use a credit card and the Kleinschmidt employees thinking he had a real spending problem.
We almost had to hire help to get the purchases to the car.  Instead, we carried the baby and used the stroller for the bags. 
Jacob hasn't been shopping since, but every time I see him he's wearing at least one of the items he bought that day.  So, although it's hard for me to wrap my head around, maybe I could take a lesson in shopping from him.

If you had presented the week two challenge to me anytime between mid-July 2014 (my ninth month of pregnancy) and the end of January 2016, I would have just thrown in the towel.  The second challenge in this series is sleep.  Get seven to eight hours of restful sleep every night. 

I have always been a self-proclaimed night owl, so much so that I named my own business "Night Owl."  I come by it naturally.  My grandmother, even at age 90, stayed up until around 3:00am every night and slept in until about noon.  Both my parents are night owls.  And although I love the feeling of waking up early and getting a good start on the day, I always choose sleeping in if I can.  And even though studies and textbooks and doctors will tell you that the average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep each night, I actually need nine to ten.  More than that is even better.  My brother may be the only other person that understands that need, as he can easily sleep fifteen hours on a Sunday.  So, when we had our baby in August 2014, the through-the-night breastfeedings were rough on me.  And as time went on, we quickly realized that our little guy was not a good sleeper.  So re-read that first sentence--for the last 18 months--yes, EIGHTEEN MONTHS, I haven't had a solid night of sleep.  And then, just like the flip of a switch, our miniature night owl started sleeping through the night at the beginning of February.  That means I've had four weeks of really good sleep, and man, can I tell a difference.  (I'm sure everyone else that sees me regularly can verify the difference, too.)

I really could see and feel the side effects of my lack of sleep over the past year and a half.  I was more irritable and moody, obviously fatigued, I had more headaches and migraines than usual, my memory and thinking wasn't as sharp, and after losing my baby weight, I started gaining it back. 

The night owl in me posed a major problem when the baby wasn't sleeping.  We would get him down for the night about 6:30pm and even though I knew he would be awake again by 10:00 or 11:00, I would stay up.  Then I would get anxious when he did wake up at 10:00 or 11:00 knowing I would spend 30 minutes getting him back to sleep and should be sleeping myself.  After getting him back to sleep, I would want to stay up again and take advantage of the non-baby time, and it would be 1:00am before I was in bed.  Of course by that time, the baby was awake again and I was no longer "in bed."  Then I'd be up again at 3:00am and then up for the day at 6:00am.  So I was basically getting about five hours of very interrupted sleep.  The funny thing is, once he started sleeping through the night, I totally lost my night owl desires.  I have been in bed by 9:00 or 10:00 most nights over the past month.  And now that the baby is sleeping until 7:00am, I'm getting about 9 hours of sleep every night. 

The really fun thing about this challenge is that my Garmin Vivofit tracks my sleep every night, so I have an official chart of my sleep patterns.  Over the past week, I have averaged 9 hours and 38 minutes of sleep per night.  That's an AVERAGE.  To break it down more, I've averaged 7 hours and 3 minutes of deep sleep, 2 hours and 23 minutes of light sleep, and 17  minutes of awake time (which is most likely a few minutes falling asleep and a few minutes after waking up.)  The week before that I averaged 8 hours and 49 minutes per night.  So I feel like I've mastered this challenge at 125%.  And just for the record, for me personally, this is a BIG change, not a small change.  Fingers crossed that everyone keeps sleeping like this.

Oh, and my water intake has increased a little, but I'm still not at the book's target goal.  How is it going for you?