mid-week before his birthday, oliver's party was coming up fast and we still hadn't done much in the way of cleaning. once his bedtime would roll around, the last thing me and my feet wanted to do was anything that wasn't reclining on the couch.
i believe it was wednesday night when brian got worked into a tizzy trying to scour our rather disgusting shower to no avail. as a goodwill effort, i went to work on our rather disgusting tub, which we never use because i find it difficult to erase from my mind the fact that ttyki enjoys climbing in there and using it as her own personal puke and poo pen. and because who wants to soak in a tub that's right next to a litter box.
so, i went to town scrubbing it down and then continued by scrubbing the counter and sinks and cupboard doors. then, thursday morning came along and i realized i had disabled myself. in addition to the regular pregnancy back pain, there was a new and improved strained muscle back pain. bending more than 45 degrees was a bad idea. standing up was a bad idea. i was starting to fret times 10 about how i was going to clean much at all.
somehow, i survived. as did brian.
while i baked a two tiered banana cake friday night, brian mopped the floors. and then the bucket of mopwater got knocked over next to the mammoth bookcase and on top of the veneer floors and it was big loads of fun trying to get it out of there before it could warp and grow mold on the pretend wood.
saturday morning, i was still suffering from old lady back, also known as "brian back", and i decided to ship brian off to the little gym with oliver so i could make frosting and upset myself yet again by managing to speed up instead of turn off the handheld mixer after disengaging it from the goo. i also put many things in many bowls and buffed the table and got out the throw rug, which doubles as a table runner. i iced the cake and put a million tiny, vintage animals, plus one big foot, on the cake along with a lovely pretzel fence. it was delightful. and it's much more difficult figuring out how to place a million, tiny, vintage animals, plus one big foot, on a cake. for me, at least.
oliver refused to nap. there were too many bowls out.
people started filtering in at party o'clock... 2pm. darren showed up with a 4-tier stack of paul's cookies, which he had freshly stolen from the farmers market. 16 more people eventually followed.
i very much just wanted to sit in a corner. and, sometimes i did. it was hard getting back up.
everyone seemed to have a decent time. food was eaten. izzes were drunk.
note the giraffe with the jaunty party hat. obviously my favorite.
note oliver's giraffe party shirt. you will see the lobster version on the following day. i suffered greatly over his party wear this year as my first attempt was for an elephant shirt, which i paid an etsy seller for two months in advance and then bit my fingernails as i received absolutely no response or shirt from her. what a whore. and dang. get a load of that pregnant lady. how many you got in there?! and why does it look like one of the cats chewed the back of your hair?
oliver's first go at cake. minus the frosting. which i ate for him.
i got a little sad when i tried to sit in the chair by the window and next to the presents thinking oliver would open them there and then, he kept getting handed presents way over by the coffee table and no one was hearing my pleas to let me participate with him. i was still struggling with our video camera, which had chosen that particular moment to break in a way that would not allow me to insert a new tape. and presents were still being presented. my hormones almost made me cry. mara noticed this and gave me her seat by the table and i gave up on video. this was excellent timing. two seconds before birthday gifts and two weeks before new babies. we just bought that thing when oliver was a couple of months old and the other, nearly-new camera broke. electronics!
despite our pleas for no or reduced gift-giving, there were still gifts. though, technically, i think i did notice a scaling back. the loot....
mom & dad (that's me and brian): i made three bags out of duckcloth with shoestring drawstrings. one contained an ebayed assortment of dinosaurs, one contained an ebayed assortment of the vintage animals, and one contained fancy rocks. i had scanned a selection of each and had them printed and laminated to use as a matching game like oliver has at school.
nana and grandpa: a tricycle (we still haven't assembled it!), shorts, green paul frank tshirt
from aunt lisa and family: a gift card to target to find something to occupy his time after violet arrives (now i just need someone to tell me what that is), a pinwheel, a bubble wand, a no-spill bubble wand, and a fringed ball
grandma and grandpa ken: rocks in a box (brian gave them my idea), a foam ball and bat, leather baseball glove, card that played a song that oliver loved that he broke within days
nichole: melissa&doug animal puzzle
rachel and martin: mylar balloons. scooby doo must've had a leak because he only lasted one day. the '3' balloon lasted about a week and a half until it battled the fan. in the meantime, oliver was in the habit of twisting the ribbon around his finger and taping it into place. ozzy was in the habit of eating the ribbon and throwing it back up.
grandmother & grandaddy: card with a 10-er.
mara & donnie: a 1970s sesame street coloring book with dinosaurs, which mara found unused among her son's possessions. i don't think i will be able to bring myself to let oliver color in it. he also received a card that played a song that oliver loved that he broke within days
darren & paul: melissa&doug vehicles and signs set and two golden books (one about a cowboy lassoing the moon and the other was the saggy, baggy elephant)
my grandmother showed up bearing the usual array of seemingly mismatched grandmother offerings: a plate of homemade fried pies (apricot), a plastic tube filled with individually wrapped prunes, and a jicama. also in typical granny fashion, the pies were individually wrapped in baggies (the kind i didn't even know they made anymore where you fold over the top instead of zipping them up) and placed atop a napkin placed atop a chinette plate and inserted into a larger baggie, which was sealed with a red twist tie. over-packaging normally makes me nuts; but, it's so very my-grandmother, it makes me giggle. i have no idea what she was thinking with the prunes or the jicama, but i'm wondering if the prunes are too help me poop post-birth (i tried this in lieu of the gelatin coated stool softeners they hand out at the hospital) and the jicama is to help me lose weight. i'm basing that last one on the dietary behaviors of our former, elderly neighbor, patton, who was made of skin and bones and convinced she shouldn't eat an entire jicama or risk losing her girlish figure.
i'm sure you're wondering and... joanne and robert were unable to make it. about halfway through, joanne called me on my cellular saying something about a problem with her brother at the nursing home that they had to go attend to and she was super sorry she missed it and i didn't tell her there were still people partying because she had already mentioned three times how tired she was. i let her rest.
i had tentative plans in the back of my head that we might go to dream cafe for dinner, but i knew it was nearly 100 degrees outside and it had been miserably hot last year and all the grandparents were taking off anyway. i have no idea what we did do. perhaps take out was involved.
sunday was the birthday proper. i can't believe my baby turned three. i bagged the rest of oliver's gifts from us into the duckcloth bags. he received the largest nut and bolt with 10 washers that you can purchase at the home depot along with a little magnet that looks like wylie coyote would've purchased from acme (another idea rip off from school), two 36-piece puzzles (USA and the world), that crazy dare wright book with the doll and the bear, a little notebook to resemble the blue's clues notebook, golden book spelling card game, 1100 stickers, wooden radishes, and a little pig. the stickers were about the only gift out of everything that he was played with. see people? it is futile to bring gifts.
i'm not sure what's going on here, but it looks like a threat to sit on him if he don't get up out of my chair.
after the gift opening, there was a knock on the door. i was busy eating a fried pie, so i made brian answer it. it was joanne and robert. isolated from the crowd. they stopped by to give oliver a birthday card with penguins on it. robert has deteriorated noticeably. very hunched over and the thought of him on the stairs to our place was frightening. he sat on the couch and asked about where oliver got his curly hair and then a more uncomfortable question about where he gets his smarts from, which i seemed unable to answer and he seemed to be rather serious about it. he said other things to which i did not know how to respond. he asked who fell and then proceeded to spend some time scratching at dings oliver has created in the laminate on our coffee table. they didn't stay long, but it took joanne quite a few tries to convince robert to get up and leave. poor, little joanne.
then we loaded up and drove to the fort worth stockyards. neither brian nor i had ever been there and we were both totally surprised to see it was such a big deal. i thought it was one of those places with cattle pens that are empty except during special, cattle pen occasions. there were restaurants and general stores and coin-operated ponies like you find outside the k-mart.
we were there to ride the tarantula... an antique train that makes a 45 minute trip past the trinity river. we purchased tickets and hopped on as soon as we could. which meant we had 15 minutes of trying to keep oliver from flipping out while we sat motionless in the depot. it finally got underway and i thought "alright... a breeze." and then we left the depot only to discover we were sitting on the sunny side of the train. it's an open air number, so there was little to no shade. i immediately propped up my edema dogs and began ruing the day. i at least thought i would receive a reprieve when the train made a loop to turn us around and head back. but no. the engine detached itself, choo-chooed on past us, and hooked itself up to the other end. i thought i might explode, feet first. it was 93 degrees out there. i was wearing jeans. and a layer of sweat.
oliver teetered on the brink of collapse, but never quite got there. when we arrived back at our departure point, i was unsure what to do when they had us exit on the opposite side from whence we entered. because i knew the bathrooms were on the other side and the thought of walking fifty yards around the end of the train was unfathomable at that point. i was practically a cripple. but i made it. brian let oliver ride on some of the k-mart rides in the meantime and it was unpleasant getting him back out of there. we returned to the parking lot where the attendant unleashed his powers of adult ADD or bipolarism or whichever brand of talky-loo psychosis he was suffering from and nearly got our child run over because he wouldn't let us get him into the car. we finally drove away from him. far away.
the physical stress of the day was giving me contractions and i wanted to get back to our half of the metroplex as quickly as possible in case i was going to spontaneously give birth. as you already know, that didn't happen and i think there was more take out involved instead.