Sunday, December 20, 2009

Annabelle is here

Annabelle Nicole was born on Monday, weighing 6 lbs 11 oz, which was exactly what I guessed she would weigh. The Doctor was impressed.

Anne is so easy going that even I can handle it when she cries. Most of the time she doesn't even cry. She just makes cute little baby noises. (I still laugh when I think about the time right after Alli was born when Ty said, "Don't worry, you're going to be a great Mom when the kids are five and older...") Now that I have a five year old, I'm less sure, but I'll take what I can get.
After two emergency C-sections, Anne's was my first scheduled C-section birth, and let me tell you, it is a whole lot scarier. I think it was the adrenaline I missed because the whole experience was terrifying, and I don't remember that from before. Unfortunately, the adrenaline hit after the surgery was over and, instead of enjoying a morphine induced coma, I was wide awake at midnight, at 3:00 am, at 5:00 am... When the nurses came in to check my vitals, I was so excited to see them that I don't think I've ever been so chatty. Weird, but then again, don't discount the morphine.

The surgery was just plain uncomfortable. The wonderful anesthesiologist, Kelly Myers, who, coincidentally works with my Dad when someone wants a laser treatment, told me just what to expect and practically held my hand through the whole thing. Even still, when he explained that my brain wouldn't register deep breathing because my chest was numb, I wasn't prepared for an hour of near suffocation. And when he said, "Okay, this is going to make your heart race for a minute," what he meant was, "I think interrogationists use this to simulate heart attacks." I would totally talk.

On the upside, Dr. Myers bent the rules a bit and let my Mom come in with Ty. I heard one of the nurses was upset about it, but oh well. I was grateful for another hand to squeeze and for another set of eyes to watch that monitor saying I was getting 100% oxygen absorption. No, you are not suffocating, that little number on the screen said to me. Just relax.

Afterwards, I spent three more days in the hospital with the best nurses I've ever had. They were so nice to me and made my stay as comfortable as possible, even with staples in my stomach.

We're home now and so happy to have baby Anne in our family. I know she is going to bring us all joy in ways we can only guess.

Our Christmas Letter


Happy Holidays all,

It’s time for decking the halls again: time to finally turn on those lights strung from our rooftops and pull out the Nativity— maybe set up a tree sometime before Rudolph comes to eat the magic reindeer food Alli threw on our lawn. It’s Christmas time! I’m ready to bake sugar cookies and wrap presents. There’s just one hitch: there’s this little baby girl named Anne, and she’s coming to our family right in the middle of it all.

On December 17th Anne will interrupt the festivities with her birth, hopefully coming home just in time to celebrate another important birth one week later: our Savior’s. As we gaze upon the fresh newborn face of our little one, we will remember another pure countenance—one that also radiated peace and love in ways that continue to guide me through the hardships of this life. This experience is certainly a privilege—one I will remember fondly and hopefully never duplicate…

After two emergency c-sections, I’ll have this c-section on my own terms. I’m excited to reduce the mayhem associated with childbirth, even if it means another surgery. I just pick the day and the time, and my Dr. shows up. What could be better? Not walking on Christmas day will entail some creative planning, such as freezing sugar cookie dough and what not, but maybe that makes it all the more fun and stress-free. I just might change the way I approach the holidays forevermore.

This year has been one of possibility and pain, firsts and “let us never speak of this again,” moments. Through it all, we’ve had a lot of fun. For me, it was catering my first wedding, while for Ty it’s been climbing and running 15 miles at a time like it’s easy. Alli started piano this summer and Kindergarten in the fall, and she continues to surprise us with her brilliance. I continue to hear, “Everyone thinks their kid is smart, but yours really is.” I know. We don’t know where she gets it.

Alli played “Silent Night” on par with her 7 and 8 year old counterparts for her first piano recital. She continues to love Nancy Drew, and her biggest wish is becoming a super spy when she grows up. She carries around her little girl makeup in her “spy purse” that also contains a compass, flashlight, and pretend PDA device. She cracks me up.

Even though Maddie still doesn’t fit into 2T clothes, she acts grown, and her third birthday party this February is all she talks about. She wants a lunchbox so she can go to school like Alli. (This little tidbit of Kindergarten lore has been lost in translation somehow because Alli doesn’t take a lunchbox to school.)

She could be getting her faulty information late at night, since Alli and Maddie recently started sharing a room. It was such a meaningful experience for Maddie that she responded by losing the diapers. That’s right; she potty trained herself, and I couldn’t be happier. In the midst of all these big changes, Maddie still has a killer smile that could melt a rock, and the kind of laugh that teaches me true happiness.

With so many blessings this year, it’s hard not to feel grateful for family. We wish you all a wonderful Christmas season full of joy with your own families.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Potty Saga

A couple of weeks ago Maddie gave up her room for Anne. Until Ty can build a bunk bed, Maddie gets a toddler bed in the corner of Alli's room. I was worried that the arrangement would cause my girls distress, but so far they are loving it. Maddie is so excited to be a big "tid" in Alli's room, and Alli hasn't complained once about the intrusion. Hopefully we can rearrange everything soon so it will feel more like a shared room than a sharecropping. One obstacle down, I was consigned to the idea that potty training would have to wait until after the baby. After all, Alli was in diapers long into Maddie's first year of life. Alli was almost four, in fact, when she finally took the plunge.

When Alli was a toddler I was so worried about screwing up. I read everything out there on potty training. There were programs to follow: one day programs or one week plans. Alli had potty parties. She had candy bribes and charts. She eventually had expensive toys leering down at her from atop the refrigerator. In the end, she had some yelling, I'm sorry to say.

The last day I tried to potty train Alli, she wore her underwear all day long and held it until 8:00 at night. You wouldn't think such a big bladder could fit in such a small body, but we all share this trait. Anyway, I was beyond frustrated because she refused to sit on the potty before going to bed, and we both knew she needed to go. She broke me at that point, and I totally gave up.

A month later, she put on those princess panties on her own and hasn't looked back. She's never had an accident, and I've never had to find the bathroom in Target for her (she can hold it indefinitely).

With Maddie, I wasn't about to follow a program. In fact, I finally read a doctor quoted in Parenting who said it takes 6 months to fully potty train. To that man, I would like to say, "Thank you." Finally, some advice that makes sense to me. A few months ago I bought Maddie some undies and showed her the potty chair. She was totally excited about it all, but had no clue how to use them. She never had one success in all those months. One day she would wake up and ask for her underwear, and I didn't stop her. The next she wanted her diaper back, and I was okay with that too. In the meantime, I cleaned up the messes she made and never interfered with her wishes. Maddie sometimes went a month at a time without mentioning the underwear, while the potty chair became her favorite step stool and TV chair. I never even sat her on it. She didn't want to.

Then came success. Maddie asked for her underwear. She sat on the potty and used it, while I thought, so she does know what that thing is for. She continued using it all day long! I was so proud of her I was ready to bust. Seriously, the look on her face was so priceless. It was her own accomplishment, and this time Mom hadn't tried to steal the thunder. Man, I love that little girl.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The girls had a lot of fun trick-or-treating this year. It was the usual bing bong, give me some candy kind of affair, and they came home an hour later with overflowing buckets. I always think it's funny to realize what it must be like for little kids on Halloween. "You mean, they're just
giving away candy for free? Everyone we know is giving it away?" They'll pretty much do anything to participate. Personally, it's not my favorite holiday. I don't like to dress up, and I don't like candy that much. I mean, I like it, but after about twenty pieces of misc fun size candy bars, I want to throw up. Then I go ahead and do it again a couple of hours later. I just can't hold my candy like I used to. I'm about ready to throw the rest away, to be quite honest. Don't tell Ty, or he'll have a fit.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wedding Dinner

My friend Monique got married last week, and Ashley and I catered the wedding dinner... It was a lot of work but so much fun! Monique wanted to do something like Sweet Tomatoes with soups and a salad bar, so we came up with a menu based on that. I made corn chowder and minestrone for the soups and a blue cheese and strawberry prepared salad in addition to the 25 item salad bar.
I also made an artichoke dip and we served some pita chips and hummus along with fruit and bread. Ashley made all the bread, including two kinds of muffins, wheat bread, corn bread, artisan bread for the dips, and cookies. Of course, we had to have the cookies. Those cookie recipes are still at our website, by the way (
After refilling the punch, salad bar items, etc for 100 people, we started dishing up the apple crisp and ice cream... Then I carried them out on trays to everyone. Man was I tired. At the end of the day, I needed some recovery time, but I seriously don't think I've had so much fun in a long time. Thanks again to Monique for letting me be a part of her big day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kindergarten or Bust

Alli started Kindergarten last week, and I cried. I tried not to, but the moment I watched her walk away into her new classroom, I choked. I'm the one who's supposed to teach her new things and play with her! It was like turning her over to who knows what behind that door--something I'm not a part of, and that made me a little sad. But there's no going back now. She's got to start making her own way in the world, I guess. At least it's a small one for now. At least it's not her first date with some crummy boy. Man, milestones are harder than I anticipated...
I was surprised, actually, because Alli had a hard time going back to Kindergarten after all the anticipation and excitement for the past couple of years. Ever since she knew what Kindergarten was, it's been the Holy Grail of kid-hood. Already the legend has passed down to Maddie, and all I hear about now are "pat-packs" and her lunch box that she's going to have. Alli doesn't even have a lunch box yet, so I guess part of the lore has gotten lost in translation. This is the beloved back-pack, however, that Grandma Pat bought for Alli:
After a great day with her new teacher Mrs. Wright, Alli couldn't stop talking about school. She was thrilled... Until about two in the morning when she started throwing up. I didn't know if it was school-time jitters or the real deal, so I kept her home. When Monday finally arrived, Alli had decided that school was not for her. She cried and cried about it, and I didn't know what to do. Finally, I made her a promise. Go to school for the entire month of September, and if you still hate it, you can have school at home with Mom. (I'm thinking this sounds really lame, but it calmed her right down.) She's been going ever since, making lots of friends, doing her homework with zeal, and most importantly, not crying about it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for October.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Day in the Life

Today I will get up first and hurry into the shower before anyone realizes I'm awake. Maddie will come in with a pile of books, insisting that I read them to her, and Alli will get herself dressed and her bed made before the rest of us have time to rub the sleep out of our eyes. We'll eat breakfast. If Dad isn't in a hurry, he'll make pancakes while Alli and Maddie argue over who's turn it is to get the first plate.

If we remember, we'll let Alli read us a scripture and try to explain to her what it means. Maddie will do her best to distract us all. When it's clear nothing is getting through, I'll pass out the toothbrushes in a hurry, but the girls will run away screaming anyway. When I catch them, we'll sing "When you wake up in the morning" or pretend we're brushing dinosaur chompers and hopefully remove some plaque.

Maddie and Alli will play, probably "pee-tend." Maddie will pretend she's the Mom and Alli will pretend she's the baby. Maddie will say, "you be the glirl, otay?" and Alli will agree. Then the real Mom will get something done.

If peeking into the playroom didn't ruin the fine balance of good humor that only occurs right after breakfast, I might see Maddie putting all the dolls to sleep under her favorite "bloppie" (her blanket) and Alli "packing for the trip," gathering fake food and doll clothes and shoving them into bags for easier transport. After a while, Alli might read some books to Maddie or start pushing her around in the play stroller.
After lunch, we'll put on a TV show for Maddie while Alli practices the piano. Alli will play 'the Woodchuck" for me and then try to sneak a peek at the Care Bears. Alli will play all her songs like a pro and then the two of them will lay down on the floor to watch TV under Maddie's blanket.

A few minutes later, Alli will start crying because Maddie hit her on the head with the remote. I'll put Maddie in time-out and come back a couple of minutes later to talk to her.

"Do you know why you're in time-out?" I'll ask her.

"I hit Alli on the head!" Maddie will say, smiling.

"Do you think that made Alli sad?" I'll say.

Maddie will giggle. "Yeah."

I'll try not to laugh and send her to tell Alli sorry, which she will gladly do, adding a hug just for fun.

At dinner, Ty will ask the girls what cup they want today. Maddie will say, "the Ollie cup," or "I wanna Mimi tup," But hopefully she doesn't ask for the "smiley tup" because we haven't figured out which one that is. Alli will take her water with ice or ask for milk, but Maddie will always say, "Want water, no ice." Whatever we are having, Maddie will eat all of it and Alli none, or vice-versa. There doesn't seem to be a food combination that they both eat the same night. They do come together on one thing, however, and I have to agree: Broccoli is the best vegetable ever.

At bedtime, Maddie will climb into her new toddler bed and feel like a big "tid," while Mom and Dad collapse on the couch and hope she doesn't come downstairs more then once.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Barefoot at the dentist

Last Thursday, I had a day... We were leaving for Idaho at 3:00 for a wedding, I had a doctor's appointment in the morning, and my friend from DC was coming into town at noon. Whatever, I had it covered, though. The day before we had run out of gas on the way to the temple, and I was ready to put it all behind me. I just needed to get organized and get it done.

Just as visions of super-me playing car-games with the girls all the way to Idaho were dancing through my head, I realized that my teeth were really hurting. A few minutes more, and it was like my jaw was in a vice and no amount of pain medication had any affect on it. Super-me vanished into thin air, and regular me took over with the moaning and the dying. I didn't sleep.

At 8:00 AM I was sitting by the phone to call the dentist. Luckily my neighbor is a really great dentist and he was happy to see me. I just had to make it to 11:00 AM, and everything would be okay. Oh, the pain...

Went to the baby check up. waited and waited.
...just me and my tooth.
complained about my tooth some more to the nurse. made it out in time. On to the dentist.

There was just one small problem. As I got out of the car, my shoe broke. Damn those Old Navy flip-flops! I couldn't even pretend that I had a shoe. It wouldn't stay on no matter what I tried, so I had to walk into the dentist's office with only one shoe.

You might wonder it one shoe was worth walking on at all and if barefeet would have more, I don't know, continuity, but by this point, everything was just a blur. My tooth and I were in our own little world.

About five minutes after I sat down in the chair with only one shoe, my neighbor decided it was my wisdom teeth causing all the trouble. Twenty minutes later, I was down, still one shoe, and two very large and apparantly wise, teeth.

Let me just say that having teeth pulled is gross. It actually doesn't hurt too much, but it feels very wrong. Maybe it's just the pack-rat in me. In any case, Dr. Curtis did a great job, and my mouth is much happier.

But I still had to walk out of the building half-barefoot, gauze loaded to the hilt, while balancing a pile of papers about when to eat and what not. Meanwhile, I had a day, and time was ticking. I went up to the second floor in my Dad's office building to drop off some work, still shoeless, rushed to the babysitter's to pick up my kids two hours late, and barely made it in the door before my friend from DC came over to say hi. Marathon one: done. Now on to Idaho.

But seriously, do you have any idea how weird it is to walk in public without two shoes? I actually brought the broken shoe with me to all those places. It was kind of like a prop, so I could pretend to be adjusting something in the elevator, or limping in the hall... I don't know. I was in a stupor, so who knows what I came up with to save face. I think Old Navy shoes should come with a buyer beware disclaimer.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

the perfect chocolate chip cookie

I have started contributing to a cooking website that my friend Ashley started. Together, we have added quite a few recipes that I think some of you out there might enjoy making. There are chocolate chip cookies, soups, main courses etc- lots of stuff. You can take a look at If you like to bake, which I do NOT, Ashley has a bread section that is really great. The cookies, though, even I can duplicate, so try them try them, you will like them.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Parade Time

We love a parade, although it can be a challenge to avoid heat stroke. I've decided that I need a few simple things to make a parade fun: food and shade, and if there are snow cones, it's even better. This year we went to both the Lehi and Provo city parades. After six times at the Lehi parade, some of which we spent in full sun the entire time, Ty decided to put out our chairs early in the week. It paid off, and we were much more comfortable. At the Provo parade, Ty's broker company Security Home Mortgage, did all the work for us, and now I think I might add one more necessity to my list: let someone else do the prep.

We had plenty of shady awnings, coolers full of food and cold drinks, and a popcorn machine. It was great, as is the company. We're so happy to work with such an outstanding group.
Maddie was a little scared of the noise at both parades, so she spent a lot of time in her stroller with the top down, but I did get her to come out for some candy that Alli grabbed for us. Of course, she pulled it right back down when I got out the camara, the little tease. Alli was out on the curb scouting out free stuff and pointing at the princesses on the city floats. They might as well have been Cinderella because I didn't bother to explain how the pageant scene works-I'll leave that for another year.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Top 3 Reasons Father's Day Doesn't Exist Publicly

3. Our ward didn't have a Father's Day talk (Which is, in fact, preferable to the usual topic assigned to situations such as this, namely, "The Father's Day Lecture").

2. There were no little gifts at church for the Dads. I once went to a ward in Monterey that has a tradition every Mother's Day to set up brunch in the gym served by all males young men age or older in the ward. Ward Father's Day tradition: none.

1. Wal-mart didn't have a Father's Day display anywhere, and if Wal-mart doesn't recognize it, does it really exist? I happen to know that every single other holiday is represented at Wal-mart, since I am always there, with huge displays, including non-holidays such as St. Patrick's Day. The obvious conclusion is that Father's Day is an underground movement and not a publicly recognized day.

I'm sure there are more reasons, but I think I've made my argument pretty well. The question I am now asking is this:

Is it really that hard for us to show appreciation for our hard working Dad's once a year? Maybe we should make the holiday a tri-anual event so we don't over-tax ourselves. I mean this constant ordeal of wrapping a box and signing a card... Are we expected to do this yearly? Apparantly not, since the holiday isn't real anyway.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wonder Child

Well, Alli has graduated from Pre-school. She loved every minute of it, even though she already knew how to read two years ago when she started. That's one of the things I love so much about her. She is insanely smart and yet has no qualms about learning letters with the rest of the kids. I don't think she really understands how amazing she is, and, frankly, I'd like to keep it that way.

The other day I walked into her bedroom to find her finishing up the last page of a Nancy Drew book my Mom bought her. I told her Alli liked the elementary school version called ''The Clue Crew" but apparantly she didn't know what I meant and bought the "Mystery in the Old Clock Tower" instead. It was 135 pages of old english. Well, not like Chaucer old, but you know what I mean. Being of a skeptical nature, I sat down and quizzed her. She told me all about the secret passage way and the ghost that wasn't really a ghost. Where did this kid come from? She is five right? I didn't mistake her birthday? Or maybe she is related to Benjamin Button.

Anyway, she astounds me. I don't know what to do with her, but I love her to bits.

Mendel visits my Garden

Purple Pea flowers? Every other pea plant I have ever seen has white flowers. What the heck? My snap peas have white flowers and pea pods everywhere, but there are only two tiny pods on this entire purple plant. So the question I am asking is, what am I growing? I guess all Mendel can really tell me is that the hybrid of my two plants cannot have pink flowers next year. Great news. I was so worried.

At least my strawberries are producing this year after a pesticide mishap last year that nearly killed them off. I don't want to name names, but... Okay, it was me. I did it. This year they are healthy, although I'm not exactly getting buckets of berries. Next year will be awesome...

I'm tyring some new things this year as well, like corn and pumpkin. The weather has been so rainy, so I hope they do okay. Almost everything I planted loves heat. Still waiting for the heat-75% above average rainfall is not my idea of an ideal summer either. Here is Maddie helping plant the garden earlier this year:
And here is the carrot, broccoli, and onion box a few months later: Gardening is so fun, but it really tries my patience. I can't believe it takes so long! I think it's the anticipation that makes the vegetables taste better when you finally eat them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Belated Easter Post

I broke our camera, so I took some pictures with my Mom's camera and then had to figure out how to transfer them to my computer. There were too many cords to keep track of... We spent Easter at Ty's house this year, and Jack bought lots of candy for an egg hunt. Ty filled and hid the eggs on the front lawn and did a spectacular job, if I do say so myself. Jim and Tamara came down, and I brought a ham. It was a lot of fun to spend the day with everyone.We did the Easter photo shoot at my Mom's house on Saturday and colored some eggs. The Easter bunny brought sunglasses, which Alli is modeling below:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Attacking Squirrels and other Misadventures

After a much needed break from society (no offense to those reading), I feel like myself again. My alter ego, "Mean Mom" is gone, replaced by a kinder, gentler person who I forgot existed. Vacations really are the best.

We spent the first two days in St. George with our friends the Nelsons and the Andertons and then drove to Zion for the last day of our trip. I love hiking in Zion so much. It's not really strenuous, and that's why I think I like it so much. The girls were ecstatic playing in the dirt and climbing up on the rocks. Every time we go to Zion, we have to hike up to the trail head of the Narrows so Ty can jump in the frigid water and re-prove his daringness. It was a little chilly this year, so I wasn't sure he was up for it. Plus, five minutes after we got there, the river claimed one kid's flip flop and no one was brave enough to jump in and fight for it. That little shoe is still out there somewhere, probably making a new home for an attack squirrel, but I'll get to that. After lunch, yes, Ty did get in the river.

Here he is keeping tradition and going all the way under:
But, wait! There go his flip flops. He's got to swim now, but me and about thirty other people watching know they're goners.

Look how fast that water is moving. You can see Ty up in the left corner climbing out in defeat. Oh, how little faith I have. Ty found the flip flops after all! I could not believe it.
Some of you are wondering why I couldn't get one shot of Ty and his feet together, and that is a very good question. Like I said, I was in shock and still planning my "you're hiking barefoot because I am not going home" speech.
Other entertaining misadventures of the day included lunch cave-man style. We had to hover over the food and keep a constant watch. The squirrels in Zion, you see, are well fed on trail mix, and they have gotten very brave. I was kicking them away from my lunch all day, and I swear one of them figured out how to unzip my backpack and pull out the crackers I hid there. I came over to find the guilty little guy with his head four inches deep in cracker heaven, and the funniest part was that he didn't run away in shame and fear when I nudged his head with my foot. Doesn't that violate some sort of squirrel code? Absolutely no human contact from closer than two feet. The ones in the real wild seem to abide by it.

Anyway, we had some good laughs. Now I'm wondering where we can go next for cheap.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Something for Nothing

Today I would like to make a tribute to free stuff. I love free stuff! When I first started couponing, it seemed to take forever before something was free. Finally, after two months, excedrin went on sale and it was free. I had to go to three stores to find it in stock, but I was determined to get something for nothing. That was almost a year ago, and I still have three of them sitting proudly on my shelf. I can't bear to use them because they've become sentimental to me. I'm a nut, I know.

But last week I could barely keep up with all the stuff that was free. I even missed out on some things because I just couldn't get to the store to "buy" them. In conference last week they called the "something for nothing" attitude prideful, and it's so true. But honestly, if you call driving around to eight stores and fastidioulsy storing away coupons like a certified pack rack nothing, then so be it. Judge me how you will. I can take it. I'll just be at home eating my free stuff and thinking about how much money is still in my grocery budget.

Pictured above:
$30 worth of albertson's deli meat
8 croissants
2 dozen eggs
5 quaker rice cakes
3 dial hand soaps
5 bags of halls cough drops
8 mentos gum packages
5 wrigley's gum packages

Plus there were the six boxes of post cereal, the $18 ham, and the 4 packages of diapers, but I ran out of room on my table... All free, free, free.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Hiking

We decided to take advantage of the reasonably warm weather on Saturday to go walk around in the canyon. We took some lunch and headed out down the paved trail at the mouth of Provo Canyon. So maybe it's more of a running trail and we were only out for a stroll, but we saw some nature. That's what's really important here. Ty has been working so hard and such long hours lately, that it was a stress relief to get out with the family. We climbed up hills and crawled over rocks and visited the bank of a river. I couldn't ask for a better Saturday. Alli and Maddie love to throw rocks in a river, so we spent a good amount of time doing just that. Here's Maddie showing us her rock: This is her throwing her rock: (notice the rock flying through the air by her feet- my camara caught something in motion, I can't believe it.) And this is Maddie picking up the next rock. This really could go on all day.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

There's a little bird shopping the real estate inside our dryer vent. It's warm and cozy in there, apparently, and he sang me a pretty little song the other morning as I came down the stairs, which resulted in some screaming by the kids(and me too). Then some frantic flapping noises ensued followed by silence after he finally found his way out. A couple of days later he was back. Dangerous neighborhood, but the climate is good and the other tenants are all talk and no bite.


So I have this goofy, hillarious, awesome little girl named Maddie. Maybe you've met her? She's the one that's always hiding her face in my leg whenever you're around. She just turned two! For weeks she's been singing "happy birthday to you" and having long conversations with me about her birthday party, consisting of lists of everthing she knew would be apart of the event: "Cake, and 'bloons, and grandmas, and presents..."

Then she would stop and repeat "presents?" over and over until I confirmed that, yes, Maddie, there will be presents. It was funny, I tell you, but do you think she would sing one line of "Happy Birthday to Maddie" or even look at her birthday cake when we finally sang to her for real? Nope.
In fact, she was perfectly healthy until about 3:00 on her birthday, when we started hanging streamers, at which point, and I am totally serious, she developed a fever and stopped eating any and all food or drink. She didn't take one bite of her cake, although she did consent to open her presents... Ahem. Before she went to bed, she threw up to solidify her sickness alibi.
The next morning at 6:00 freakin am she woke up chipper, with no sign of fever or illness, and ate four pieces of toast and, yes, some cake. Gotta love that stinker.

We did have lots of fun with all of Maddie's grandmas, even without her consent, and I made my first ever cake. I know that almost everyone I know can make a cuter cake, but I am particularly proud of the frosting. I made it myself and it tasted oh so yummy. MMMM... frosting.