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Happy Anniversary Day!

Photo on 2010-09-23 at 11.58 #2

Toby and I celebrated our eleven-year wedding anniversary last week. We didn’t go out to dinner or take a romantic getaway somewhere. Nah, that’s not our style. We had a family day and Toby bought me a new laptop. You know, the important things. And believe me, getting a new laptop is sooooooo very important to me. I’ve been squeezing out every last drop of productivity out of my old dinosaur laptop for years now. It’s seven years old. Much older than most laptops ever even dream of living.

It didn’t play videos anymore. It took what seemed like a thousand years to turn on and shut down. I’d have to start the shut-down process and then walk away and do dishes or something just so I didn’t lose my mind waiting for it. The power cord was frayed. I’d have to pinch it and pull it and situate it just so to get the little green circle of light to turn on and then out of the blue it would flicker off and I’d have to do a rain dance or something to get it on again. And don’t even get me started on the battery. That thing was shot three years ago. So anyway, I loved that laptop dearly but I love my new one even more. I can’t even believe how great it is. It’s like lightning in a thin silver box. It blows me away.


Thank you, Toby.

playing with the new laptop

What did I get Toby for our anniversary? Nothing. In my defense, he didn’t want anything. But still, I know. It’s kind of sad.

I probably sound like the most awful, unloving, selfish housewife ever. And I am in many ways. I get to stay home with my daughter all day and frolic in the waves at the beach or putz around the playground mindlessly while Toby slaves away at his job that barely covers our expenses. It really is a luxury to be a stay-at-home mom these days and I am really thankful. But I’d be lying if I said it was all peaches and cream. This year has been tough for both of us. The economy, mid-life crises, family dramas and just plain getting sick of each other because our small rundown house isn’t big enough for the size of the personalities it holds. It’s been a rough year. I just hope we look back on this year someday and smile because we stuck it out.

I think we will. Most of all for this little person we made.

breaking out the griddle

The night before our anniversary I had explained to Bug that Saturday was a really special day. I think I might have overdone it because Bug woke up the next morning shouting like we were going to a party or something. “Happy Anniversary! Happy Anniversary!” she sang out as she danced around the living room in her pajamas. “When are we going to the anniversary?” Poor kid. I had to explain that we really weren’t going anywhere but that it was a special day to do special things. Special things that made us remember why we got married in the first place.

First we made crepes.

crepes! ready, set...

Crepes are special to me because before I met Toby I didn’t even know what they were. He’s the one who taught me how to make the pancake batter extra thin and sponge-y with added eggs. On our honeymoon we went to Seattle we had them every morning in Pike Place Market. I remember it so clearly. Walking down the steep sidewalk from our high-rise apartment, into the hustle and bustle of the street market. We’d wind our way around the stalls, past the vegetables, fruit and flowers and flying fish until we found the crepe cart where a woman served us giant burrito-sized crepes filled with strawberries and whipped cream and Nutella. It’s a good thing I lost twenty pounds before my wedding because I think I put five back on just during that week. Of course half of those pounds came from the three mochas I drank a day but that’s another story.

Crepes will always be special to me.

making crepes you eat it like a burrito

I think they’ll be special to Bug now too since they are now official “Happy Anniversary!” food.

picky choosy

After our special Happy Anniversary breakfast, we took a little trip to the Magnolia Bird Farm. I know most people will think visiting a bird store is the most unromantic thing ever but it’s special to us. We only go probably once a year and it’s a fun family thing we do together.

spice finches

It’s kind of like going to a zoo that only has birds. You can walk around an outside aviary and look at all kinds of finches, parakeets, doves and parrots. There are palm trees and rubber plants growing in the middle and water drips down from the roof, creating an exotic jungle atmosphere. It’s not fancy. There is bird poop and mud everywhere and the cages are old and stained from years of use but it’s special and unique and something that most people don’t even know about. Since Toby has a giant aviary in his office that holds finches, we sort of collect birds as a hobby. We have spice finches and a few varieties of waxbills. We had a lonely orange waxbill that needed a mate so we were there to find him some friends.

zebra finches dove

We found all sorts of new friends.

holding a bird

Ali Babba saying hello


poor bunny

Even a bunny! Boy did Bug want to take that bunny home but Toby and I have had experience with rabbits as pets before and we do not ever ever want to have a pet bunny again. Not unless we live on a farm or something where the bunny can stay outside and chew outside things instead of our electrical cords and furniture. Bunnies are bad news for small run-down apartments.

watching catching a bird

In the end we went home with one red waxbill, one yellow waxbill and two purply-blue waxbills. I forget their technical names but they are very pretty and supposedly get along really well with other birds. But best of all we went home with some fresh new memories of why we love the bird farm. They all know us there and this time they let Bug come inside the finch cage and attempt to catch her own bird. I’m glad she didn’t catch one though because the guy who works there who catches them is the master of catching birds. He’s super calm and quiet and then with a flick of his wrist he’ll swipe one out of thin air. Not unlike Mr. Miyagi catching flies with a chop stick

picking a feather

Then when they were boxing up our birds they let Bug pick out a fancy feather. That’s always fun.

a family outing

I hope we have many more years of Happy Anniversary visits.


  • bethany actually

    Hahahah, when I first glanced at Sizzle’s comment I thought it said, “Happy Crapiversary!” and I was rather taken aback. :-) “Crepeversary” sounds much better!

    I am proud of you guys for finding things to celebrate despite the crazy year you’ve had, which would have beaten down many lesser beings. And really, there is a LOT to celebrate, in a world with Bug and crepes and Nutella and new laptops and a family that all loves going to the bird farm together. Love you guys!

  • Mrs. Wilson

    Hard years SUCK, but I’m so glad you three made it through and had such a wonderful day together. And CONGRATS on the new laptop! So awesome!!!

    We have crepes every Christmas morning and they are my absolute favorite.

  • a chris

    (heh heh heh Happy Crapiversary! Sorry, I do like made-up words that start with “crap.”)

    What a sweetheart, that Bug. Why do we lose that ability to get so excited we want to dance in our pyjamas? Or is that just me? At least I can still get a giggle out of the word “crap;” I can’t be completely jaded.

    Well done, Toby, for managing the laptop replacement. That must be wonderful to work with.

    Looks like you both made a great family day out of your anniversary! I doubt Bug was disappointed.

    PS Re: the rabbit, today G (22 months) saw a dog bounding across the park and said “Dog! Want it! Pleeeease!” How are we going to hold out on pets if she starts this early?

  • Kuky

    I misread sizzle’s comment too. I read creepaversary. And at first I thought I missed something in your post about how you guys called it that. Duh. :)

    Do they have pigeons there? The reptile store we go to sells pet pigeons. They had many fancy different kinds. We were talking to the owners about their fascinating history during past wars. Listening to their calming coos I almost wanted to take one home.

  • Sarah

    I love lemon and sugar on my pancakes so much that it’s the only way I’ve ever had them. But strawberries, cream and nutella rolled up like a burrito really does sound worth trying!

  • nicole i

    it’s our 10th tomorrow…we celebrated with dinner over the weekend but i didn’t get john anything. na-da, i am so lame about that but he wants for nothing, whereas i on the other had want for plenty! Happy 11th! I love Bugs excitement!

  • Christine

    Happy anniversary, and many more to come! We went to Seattle when we were engaged – I have fond memories of delicious manchego cheese in a tiny cocktail bar with cosmopolitans…

  • Melissa

    Happy Anniversary! Marriage is hard work and I’m glad you’re focusing on the positive. A family day sounds like the perfect way to celebrate.

  • Madge

    That sounds like a great way to spend an Anniversary. Bad years are tough, but they definitely can improve a relationship. How else are you going to know when it’s good?

  • Jen

    Happy Anniversary Brenda and Toby! *and Bug. Cute that she thought she was going to a party. Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate your Anniversary. Tough years suck, but they teach us valuable lessons. They pave the way for easier times. Wishing you many, many, many more Crepes and visits to the Magnolia Bird Farm. :o)

  • gingermog

    Hi Brenda, Your anniversary post has warmed the cockles of my heart. Who needs fancy, smanchy meals in so called “romantic” posh restaurants ( I’m more of take out curry on top of the roof girl myself). I think giving yourself the luxury to hang out together and do the things you love the most is the best way to celebrate your anniversary, as life is so busy you often don’t have time to revisit those special places.

    Also as any techie/designer will agree love is a brand spanking new laptop! Looks like its got a good screen size too. Wow.

    I know what you mean about some years being more difficult than others. 2009 was a doozy for us. May you Toby and Bug have a wonderful year ahead. Big hugs xxx

  • mar

    Congratulations! Your day sounds charming. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as all of you are happy doing it. Maybe the time spent re-connecting will help make the coming year a little easier, and remind you to have those family days when you can!

    22 years in November for us! My mom used to say that marriage is like a rollercoaster ride – all the big ups and downs are in the beginning of the ride, but towards the end, it’s all smooth and happy!

  • mamalang

    Rough years suck. But when you are on the other side, it’s sweeter. We’ve had several of those, and sometimes I just have to take a deep breath and remind myself that no matter what, I am committed to this relationship. Doesn’t make it easier, but helps me to remain resolute.

    Congrats. And enjoy that laptop :)

  • Kari

    Happy Anniversary! It sounds like you, Toby and Bug had an awesome day!

    PS – now I want crepes with strawberries, whipped cream and nutella. :-)

  • Sam

    Happy Anniversary! This is what love is all about…celebrating the hard years…making it through, even it’s not pretty. And you’ve inspired me – we need some anniversary rituals! Your new laptop is so pretty and VERY well deserved! And don’t feel bad for not getting Toby anything…men can be really hard to buy for. I’m sure you’ll think of something he loves later and make it happen. :)

  • Alexandra

    Happy Anniversary also! Sam’s comment about celebraqting the hard years is so apt–this reminds me, tangentially, of a friend with teenagers who told me that she now understands why people cry at high school graduations. They may cry perhaps out of happiness for their kids, but mostly because parenting (and marriage!) is so hard that they cry in a kind of relief that they got through it and survived with everyone still standing. Here’s to awesome survival and thriving in your life and a great 2010 almost 2011!!

  • Ninabi

    Wishing you a belated Happy Anniversary! Many more happy years to you.

    You have the gift of making the ordinary, extraordinary. The trip to the bird store seemed to me (a bird lover) a perfect way to celebrate.

  • BeachMama

    Happy Belated Anniversary! Why do I always think your Anniversary is in May like mine?? Not sure. Yay to Toby for being thoughful even though he didn’t have to do it, reminds me of another guy I know and live with. You guys do great with what you are given and in time when you have a nice house of your own you will remember how you made it through your time in the small apartment together. And I am sure will be laughing all about it.

  • JennyBean

    I LOVE that top photo of you all pulling faces, its very sweet and fun. :)

    Sounds like you had a lovely family day together. I don’t think the bird farm is unromantic! Sometimes its the “unromantic” things that are actually the most romantic. Glad you had a good day together. :)