In the midst of great joy, do not promise anyone anything. In the midst of great anger, do not answer anyone's letter. -- Chinese Proverb

Did someone say "birthday brownies?"
I had a lovely birthday weekend. My thanks to all who sent happy wishes via text and Facebook!

I thought the weekend was going to get held back by a sick child. Lila was under-the-weather (is that supposed to be a hyphenate?) on Friday. She was extra tired and had a low-grade fever. She was feeling poorly enough on Friday evening that she didn't want to go out for dinner!

We ordered in Domino's instead (Eli's pick), and watched America's Funniest Videos from the comfort of our couch. Thankfully, her body fought off whatever was ailing her and she woke up normal on Saturday!

We did Saturday morning chores, which is (oddly, perhaps) one of my favorite times of the week. The children feel differently about it. Shocking, I know! Eli hardly did anything, really, but I decided to let consequences (no video) speak for themselves.

I resisted the urge to nag, which helped my serenity greatly.

Actually, what I've started doing recently is this: Whenever I cross paths with one of the children during chore time, I'll say something like, "I just finished making my bed! What are you doing right now?"

I sound as friendly and interested as I can and I only give directions if they are asked for. It's been remarkably effective. They may not do the chores that I would choose for them, but they are contributing to the upkeep of their home and I'm not ending up frustrated!

Anyway, none of that is what I came here to talk about. [wink]

I hate minivans. I never wanted a minivan. There was a time when I swore that I would never drive a minivan. . . . I drive a minivan.

I have hated it since the day we bought it, but it's so stinking convenient when you have small children! Now that both of mine are old enough to get into and out of a car and buckle and unbuckle their seatbelt, all without help, the minivan is not such a necessity.

I have been looking forward to getting a Grown-Up Car for many months now. The practical and frugal sides of me were determined to take the minivan to 100,000 miles first, however. I didn't want to feel like I was buying a new car until I had driven my old one to the point of exhaustion.

Now, at 92,000(ish) miles, there is something wrong with the minivan that would cost several hundred dollars to fix. Doug decided that it's not worth the money to make the repairs, given its worth and our plans to get rid of it at the end of the year anyway.

So... I'm getting my Grown-Up Car! This time I'm getting something that I will love and enjoy driving for the next 100,000 miles! Yay! I am getting a Subaru Outback. I drove one of these before the minivan and I have missed it for years.

I'm exhibiting (what feels like) super-human strength, as I wait for Doug to do his research on all the options and decide on the best way to go about the purchase (or lease). Even though this is not really a birthday present, I'm going to pretend that it is.

My real birthday presents were a charm bracelet from the kids (a key charm with a tiny heart in it from Lila and a slice of pizza charm from Eli) and an anti-fatigue kitchen mat from Doug (which is exactly what I asked for - I spend a lot of time standing and cooking).

Oh phooey! I just realized that I forgot to wear my new bracelet today!* I'll have to work hard to make that a new habit. I did, however, spend half an hour standing on my anti-fatigue kitchen mat, as I cooked dinner! It was delightful.

* CONFESSION: I forget to wear my wedding rings half the time too. I can't stand to sleep in them and don't want to work out with them on. If I don't take the time to put on other jewelry, then I forget to put my rings on when I get showered and dressed. I should make that a better habit too!

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