My 49th Birthday

Sunday night was the last night of Hanukkah. The next day, Monday December 6th, was my 49th birthday. I told the kids we were going from lighting 8 candles (9 if you count the Shamash candle) one night to lighting 49 candles the next night.

Adam very kindly only lit two candles, and the number he picked to light was an even bigger kindness.

Also on Sunday night Adam mentioned to me that next year I have a big birthday coming up and what did I want to do for it? I gave him a look and said, “I’m not even 49 yet and you are already planning my 50th?”

But secretly I was pleased by the question.

Many people think the big years in life are the years that end in a 0, for example, years you turn 40 or 50. Those years are the dangerous years because you look back at your life and wonder why you haven’t accomplished what you thought you should have by that age, or the realization that you have been stuck in a situation for a long time that doesn’t make you happy. Those years ending in a 0 are like an invisible force applied to the inertia you just realized you had.

But most of my midlife crises happened in the years ending in 9, not 0. When I was 29 years old I looked around and thought, I’m in a dead end job. I don’t want to marry the person I’m dating. I spent the next year figuring out how to fix my life and a month before I turned 30 I moved from Hong Kong to Shanghai, single, and started a new job.

This is why I was so secretly pleased by Adam’s question. I’m the kind of person who plans their midlife crises early. And he’s just as crazy as I am!

My big plan for my birthday was to have no plan. Specifically to NOT do any errands, clean anything, or cook anything. Implementing this rule that was meant to give me a relaxing day. However, this soon backfired as my new rule of not doing any work quickly butted heads with my other house rules, namely never walk from one floor of the house to another without bringing something up or down that is on the wrong level. Before I knew it, I was having another type of crisis, something like a midday crisis. At some point I found myself standing in the basement next to a pile of things that needed to go upstairs, paralyzed at my indecision as my two rules conflicted each other. After a few minutes of anxious indecision I started laughing to myself and my silly first world problems. In the end I scooped up that pile. It’s not like the pile won’t be there tomorrow, right?

Now that I’m 49 I’m pleased to say that I’m in the opposite frame of mind as my 29th birthday. Instead of looking around and realizing everything needs to be changed, I look around and hope everything stays exactly the same. Don’t change my stay-at-home mom job. Don’t change my husband. Don’t let the kids get older. And don’t let my hair go gray, my muscle weaken, or my skin sag and wrinkle!

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Last Two Nights of Hanukkah

For the seventh night of Hanukkah the Bears decided to hide.

The outfits the Bears are wearing are the clues to their hiding spots.

Tuxedo Bear stole the clothing from another teddy bear that belongs to the twins. He is hidden in their stuffed animal bin.
The Captain America shield gets a lot of play in our house, sometimes as a shield and sometimes as a frisbee. We keep it in the ball bin, so the next Bear is hidden in here.
The R2D2 Bear is a twist on the Mandalorian/Groku saga.
Hidden in the mailbox outside is postal worker Bear.

And finally, the eight night of Hanukkah…

The Hanukkah Bears are flying into 9 3/4 platform.
Team of Gryffindor Harry Potter Bears.

On this last night of Hanukkah, the theme of the scene for the bears actually has meaning to it. We are taking the boys to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.

Behind the curtain are four tickets, one for each kid.
Inside the envelope.

I filmed them opening the envelopes, hoping for a “We are going to Disney” moment, but I guess the tickets were too subtle because all I got were blank stares. They were Confondo, even after Adam and I spelled out exactly what it meant. No matter, I’m sure they will be excited once they get there!

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More Hanukkah Bears

On the third morning of Hanukkah the boys woke up to bears on swings, well most of them anyway….

🎶 One of these bears is doing their own thing🎶

Fourth morning of Hanukkah….

Darth Vader vs the Hanukkah Alliance

When Sam discovered the bears, he knew right away which side he was on.

Sam is pure “light side”.

Fifth morning of Hanukkah…

Kitkat Jenga and Skillet M&Ms.

The twins are still young enough to be excited to find the bears every morning. Which makes all this nutty creativity worth it!

Guess what’s for dessert tonight?

Sixth night of Hanukkah…

My rendition of the “Stack the States” game.

This was my interpretation of a game the boys have been obsessed with lately, called Stack the States. They also play Presidents vs Aliens from the same company. I love how educational it all is, so I shamelessly promote it any chance I get. Aaron knows the game so well that he told me I got the colors of the states all wrong!

Actual picture of the Stack the States game.

In between all the wacky morning Hanukkah Bear adventures, we have been celebrating Hanukkah by opening lots more of our Legos gifts.

The Hydra Stomper
Alligator or Crocodile? We are all in disagreement as to which one it is.
Harry Potter Chess Set

This was my favorite Lego purchase this year. The instant Ben finished it, everyone started playing chess together.

I also finally manage to get myself together enough for a Hanukkah dinner, which Ben helped me make.

Matzo Ball Soup, Challah, Potato Latkes, Broccoli and Baked Salmon with Tomatoes.

Stay tuned, two more nights of Hanukkah Bears to go….

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