birthweek.

Birthdays are not about us. We shouldn’t be the one receiving sweet gifts. The fact that we have whole days celebrating our existence in the world seems a bit absurd when you really get to the bottom line.

Birthdays are for mothers.

They’re the ones who labored for hours to bring you into the world (unless you’re an anomale child who was born in a matter of minutes…how did you do it? Share your secret so we normal women can anticipate labor with unrealistic expectations). They bore you for 9 months hoping you didn’t come out with a cone head or extra limb growing from your face. They took prenatal vitamins like candy, avoiding needed nectars of life such as caffeine.

So the next time you start thinking about how cool it is that it’s your birthday, remember your mom’s commitment to your life. And be grateful.

In light of this new perspective, let’s rethink the birth’day’. Once you were in the world, high-fived your mom for making it through, and slapping the doctor’s hand away from your toosh, you took responsibility for your life…mainly breathing and pooping. But you had control, nevertheless! So I say, let’s celebrate that control and command of life with the same kind of self-centeredness that most birth’day’s permeate with.

With none other than a birthweek.

This past week was my birthweek–complete with cake, presents, movies, friends, family, and even some tears because, well, the older I get, the more emotional I get. Especially when those around me are super awesome and surprise me with love and candlelit dinners. Mm, bliss (and tears). They are amazing.

To sum up my birthweek in a few words: simple, humbling, and delicious. The best kind of birthweeks.

There was boating on a lake with my bro-ski.
There was a pensive señor…probably dreaming of how big our boat is going to be at our future lake house in Minnesota. He’s dreamed it all up in his head. I’m just along for the ride.

There were pancakes, waffles, omelettes, coffee, tea, and a lovely woman named Sophia.

There was a somewhat patient birthday girl who let her señor take pictures incessantly for allotted 30-second periods.

There were goodbyes at the airport. Our faces are round. That’s how you can tell we’re related.

There was a Panda. And he was Express-sive.

There was cake. A Dairy Queen cake no less. What can you expect from an ex-(DQ)pat?

I mentioned my birthday was humbling, as well, yes? Yes. This is why: Please notice the wreckage that was my kitchen. There were literally piles of dishes from a weeks’ worth of my sabbatical from dishes. Ok, it wasn’t a sabbatical. It was a defiant, blatant disregard of the disaster. But then, my bro–the one who was all like “I’m awesome because I’m a Marine.” No, really, he’s super awesome–He. Washed. All. Of. Them. I mean, it only took him 3 hours. That’s no big, right?

Humbling.

My birthweek was also delicious. Between cake and the brownies I made last night…shoot. Sugar coma commence!

And by brownies, of course I mean, the batter was delicious. The actual brownies…subpar.

For all those involved in my birthweek, thank you. I love you. I’m grateful for you.

And you sure as heck better thank my mom next time you talk to her.

‘murica.

Land of the free, home of the dollar menu. Who doesn’t love ‘murica?

Nearly a month ago, my brother-in-law graduated from Marine Officer Candidate school. Nearly a month ago, I also said I would post pictures of said graduation. Today, I will do as I say. I am seriously making a habit of blog procrastination. And I don’t like it. Ch-ch-ch-changes need to be made!

Saying I am proud of this kid is the understatement of the year. Homeboy is so impressive. He endured 10 weeks of brutal, exhausting, body-annihilating Marine training and came out a champ. If I could give him a gold star, I would. But they gave him one of these instead.

In addition, I think they gave him a pat on the back. The Marines are so cordial.

The weekend was filled with lots of hugging, crying, laughing, and road-tripping. 12 hours there, 14-15 hours back…you cannot keep a Wisconsin family away from a Cabela’s even if you tried. And that’s just what we did. Let’s not mention that I was the only one who almost bought something…

We were lucky to beat the VA earthquake and Ms. Irene to watch my broham graduate. And, a month later, I’m still beaming.

This has nothing to do with Clint’s graduation. But doesn’t he look like he could be on a farm? He’s not. That’s an armory behind him. ‘murica.

After watching Clint be all classy in his uniform and what not, we ventured to where it all began…the home of George Washington. It was both enlightening and nostalgic. The last time I visited there, I was an overly emotional, petty 17-year-old on a class trip. This time was much less crisis-enriched.

Clearly the fashion trends haven’t changed much.

The Armstrongs, led by our fearless leader, always have the most confident directional skills.

Our new home!

Complete with the 2nd ammendment!

And failed baking attempts. I think the Pioneer Woman would be proud.

It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of the Armstrong family. Can’t wait for many more years memories with them.