Alright, Alright…Birthdays Aren’t THAT Bad, Especially When They Last A Week.

I have done a lot of bellyaching over the past couple of months about turning F…F…Fo…Forty, and although I am still not thrilled, my chosen new attitude is helping me to settle in, along with the wonderful birthday WEEK I just experienced. My friends and family tossed so much love at me, how could I be anything but warm and fuzzy?

Last Sunday evening, Jim surprised me by taking the entire Fab Five (if you’re a newbie here at the Scrawl, the Fab Five is me, Jim, the boys, and my sister Julesie) out to dinner. Everyone knew where we were going except for me, the birthday girl. I was pretty sure I had a good idea of where we were going. Jim knows that I adore the city and I had mentioned ages ago that I wanted to go to the place where Julesie and I celebrated the publication of my book last year. So, that’s where I was thinking we were headed.

Then I realized he didn’t have a Mapquest sheet with him when he drove, so I figured the Reagle Beagle was not the final destination, because getting to that place would have been hella-confusing without directions.

When he eventually got us to Michigan Avenue and turned north, I was suspicious. And then he pulled up to the John Hancock building and went around back for parking.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said. “The Signature Room?”

My stomach was seizing up at the thought of the expense involved with eating at this GLORIOUS place, for dinner. (When we have gone there for each of the boys’ thirteenth birthdays, we have gone for lunch because, though still on the higher end, the lunch menu is waaaaay more affordable than dinner, as is customary in special occasion restuarants.)

He said, “Relax. It’s your fortieth birthday; I wanted to do something special.”

Awww, okay. I decided to just relax about it. This was a big birthday, and I just needed to enjoy it. So I did. Everything about dinner was spectacular from the service to the food to the company…I opened my gifts (also spectacular), and even my birthday cards were very cool. The boys have this thing where they always sign their last name on family cards, to be funny. My card from them was very special; on the inside right it was signed “Love, ’16 y.o.’ Wells” (yes, he used his real first name), and next to it, “Love MORE, ’13 y.o.’ Wells”. It was so typical of their relationship and so funny, but the inside left of the card was what got me.

The 16 year old wrote “I always have fun when I am around you, you always come up with ways to make sure we aren’t bored during summer break, and I think I’m pretty sure you have done a good job raising me.”

The 13 year old wrote “When something hasn’t gone the way you would’ve hoped, you just shrug it off and move on. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often. By the way, can I have a new amp? :)”

I could care less if Jim asked them to write “something nice” or if they decided to emote all on their own; what they wrote means so much to me, and I’m keeping this card forever.

After dinner, the servers brought out the most fantabulous cheesecake I’ve ever seen (pictured at the top of the post). And it was gooooood, too.

On Tuesday, I found out that Shirley, one of my founding four at Wednesday spin class, was in the ICU. I was horrified, worried, and all of that. It wasn’t looking good. I had been excited about spinning during my birthday week with *all* of my friends, and now not only would Shirley not be there but we were also worried for her health in general. I had purchased red glow-in-the-dark necklaces for everybody to wear during class and I thought that it would be weird to celebrate while Shirley was in the ICU…and then I decided that as the Leader of the class, I had to make sure we had a kicka$$ class FOR Shirley.

When I arrived at the club, I actually got some great news about Shirley’s condition. It was just what we needed. In the studio, my friends brought tiaras for all the girls (and Dave, too!), and we prepared for a super-fun class.

We wore our tiaras and looked fabulous. The necklaces worked out great, too.

In Shirley’s honor, we set up her bike with a tiara and a necklace, because she was there in spirit and we called out to her many times. I also played my club mix of “Defying Gravity” for her and for her daughter Tina, who I wrote about here but keep forgetting to give you the update that Tina is currently in Portugal playing pro basketball there for a year or two.

The gang brought me a big balloon,


and birthday treats (yum). Here’s a closeup of my tiara; isn’t it stunning?

They also brought me a magic wand, a “Birthday Girl” sash, and…Hannah Montana Hair!!! (???) Well, that came from the mind of my girl Deanna.

After I put it on with my tiara, Deanna said, “Uh, yeah. Maybe you don’t need to wear the hair during class.” LIKE I WOULD BE WEARING IT ANYWHERE ELSE? HA HA

It was a special class, one I won’t forget anytime soon.

On my actual birthday (Thursday), Jim took the day off and we had a lovely, low-key day. We went out to lunch, took a nap, hung out at home watching tv, and that’s about it. I even took Roxie out for a long walk in the rain. It was perfect.

On Saturday, I got a surprise from Sue: a hat with a tiara on it! On the back of the hat it says “If the crown fits”. I loooove it, and will wear it often. Thanks, Sue! It’s perfect for those days when my hair is not tiara-perfect. Like Saturday.

I know, I look awful. I had just woken up from another nap and I have no makeup on. But you know what? I’m forty now and I’m not supposed to care what people think. This is how I look on the weekends, people.

Saturday night we were sitting around the dinner table after eating, and I thought that it would be hilarious to try the Hannah Montana hair on the dog. I was right.


And then I remembered her Princess Hat from Halloween, and threw the magic wand in the photo for extra dazzle:


All in all, it was the best birthday week I could ask for. I received lots of great gifts, e-mails, cards, and all of that, but really, it was the family and friends who, as usual, made me feel so loved and made me realize that 40 is just a number. Over the course of the week I went from this:

to this:

I couldn’t be more thrilled, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you so much, to everybody. Hugs all around!


  • Sue

    Wow! You did have a great week! See the 40’s aren’t so bad! You look like a rock princess with the tiara and headset/mic!

  • Melissa

    Wow, sounds like you brought 40 in with a bang. Pretty soon you’re going to need two head to wear all those tiaras.

    And I have to say Roxie looks lovely all made up. Looks like she’s going to give “Chuck” a run for his money!

    Again, HAPPY 40TH!

  • Sarah

    What a terrific family photo from your special birthday dinner, and I especially LOVE that your tortured – I mean, dressed up – your dog. LOL! That’s the kind of thing I do to my cat, and he is not very impressed.

  • Kat

    ROFL that was an awesome post (not that your other posts wouldn’t be awesome either) It’s just that I am lacking words because I am GREEN with ENVY! LOL

    Glad you had a great time despite the big 4-0 ;o)

  • k a t i e

    It sounds like a truly amazing birthday 🙂 And the cake looked dee-lish!

    And little Roxy seems quite impressed with her new hair 🙂

  • Mags

    Mental note: Must get lots of cool friends, one husbands, at least 1 kid and a dog before I turn 40. I’ve got 8 years…you think I can make it?

    I’m glad that you got to go to a nice fancy pants dinner for your special day. And even if the boys were told to write something nice, it was THEIR words and fact is, they didn’t have to write what they did.

    You’re such a cool person.

  • Dea

    It’s not JUST Hannah Montana hair – it’s TIARA hair! LOL! I have to admit, though, I nearly lost it seeing the dog with the hair….I love it!!! Bwaha!

    (And why, oh, why, must I be so very, VERY unphotogenic? 😛 )

    I’m so glad it was a good week!!!! 😀 You’ll, uh – help ME through that one then, too, right??? Help me straighten my tiara and all that?? 😀

  • Michelle

    I so SO need to figure out how to get this mysterious birthday week (FYI two weeks from today in case you’re planning) 😉

    I was really impressed by the writing on the cake and was going to ask who had the talent, but now I know. And really… was this cheesecake better than the Cheesecake Factory cheesecake THAT YOU DIDN’T EAT? Just asking….

    Lovely birthday, enjoy 40!

  • Melisa

    Sue: Just call me Hannah Montana: The Next Generation. (Or is it the Previous Generation?)

    Sarah: You gotta do that now and then, you know, to keep them in their place. I think she secretly liked it.

    Mags: You’re cooler! I think that all you really need is the attitude. 🙂

    Deanna: Of course I’ll help you through that; what do we have, like ten years to go? 🙂

    Michelle: This cheesecake was WAAAAY better than the cheesecake I didn’t eat at the Cheesecake Factory. Believe me, had I not eaten the featured cheesecake as well as all kinds of other crap during my birthday extravaganza week, I totally would have ordered a slice. But I enjoyed watching you eat yours in that nice and neat little way you eat cheesecake. 🙂

    Weaselmomma: Aww, she’s used to it. At least I don’t put little dresses on her. Not that there’s anything *wrong* with that.

  • nukedad

    I virtually helped myself to a piece of your virtual cake. Hope you don’t mind. I think it tasted virtually delicious.

  • Bad Momma

    Happy Birthday!

    Isn’t 40 the new 30??? I will be 50 soon but am not feeling it. Someone told me that 50 is the new 40 and I’m going with that!

    Therefore at 40 you are still a babe!

  • Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

    That poor dog! The good news for you is I think I see another book in there somewhere…

    Love the 16yo’s comments in your card, “I think you did a good job raising me…” Ha! If only he knew he had it so good! 😉

    Happy birthday, again…

  • Huckdoll

    I’m glad to hear you have such a fabulous birthday. You so totally deserve it. I am envious that you have so many loving and wonderful people in your life to make this week special for you.

    Happy Birthday!!