Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I am now forty years old. It feels good. I have six children--one of whom is sixteen--I've been married for nineteen years, so it's time for me to be forty. In many ways, my thirties felt so much easier than my twenties. I don't miss all the looming major decisions and transitions of young adulthood. My thirties also really feels like a decade of growth--sometimes literally: our house got bigger, our family got bigger, our kids got bigger--and my capacity to deal with all that grew too. I'm planning on my forties being fabulous.

Several weeks ago, Mark announced he was throwing me a birthday party. "What kind of party?" I asked. "I was thinking chips and salsa," Mark replied. (He now says that was a joke.) I let Mark take the lead on invitations, but I took over as party planner, and we threw what I think was a delightful chocolate tasting party.

I strolled the chocolate aisle at Target and bought two of everything that looked yummy. I sliced them into small slivers and arranged them on little saucers I found at DI.
I made little spreadsheets for taking notes on the taste of each chocolate, and Haley sharpened ten new pencils for us. By the time you worked your way down the table, you'd know your favorite chocolate.

I put each chocolate wrapper in a numbered brown paper sack in the other room so partiers could identify the chocolates once they had finished the blind taste test. You voted for your favorite by writing your name on the bag.
It made for a great party. Should the conversation lull or strangers need an icebreaker, they could chat about chocolate for a minute.

The real crowd-pleasers of the night were:

Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate. It really was smooth and dark but not too dark. I don't believe anyone disliked it.
Lindt Excellence Black Currant. Mmmm.

But the most wonderful part of my birthday was this:

I was standing in the kitchen during the party, when suddenly Mark rushed up to me. He led me around the corner, and there stood...my mother. From Dallas. With no warning to anyone, that crazy girl woke up on Saturday morning, bought herself a plane ticket, and showed up for the party. I burst into tears right in front of everybody. Not much better than seeing your mommy on your birthday.


  1. Happy birthday Angela! It sounds like you had a great party and I am so glad that your mom came for it. I think your forties will be fabulous too!

  2. It was a great party Angela! Can't go wrong with chocolate. Matt and I thought it was funny...we liked oppisite chocolates...who knew? The fourties will, no doubt, be fabulous!

  3. Way to celebrate! It really does sound like a fabulous party that I need to copy STAT!
    Happy Birthday and way to own it!

  4. Oh, I am getting all teary over your mum, too. What a fabulous party!

  5. I am so sorry that I wasn't able to make it. I had a sick kiddo. However, I wanted to wish you a very happy birthday!

  6. A belated happy birthday! We all aspire to be as fabulous as you! No matter what the age!

  7. It's a little late to comment, but I just wanted to share that I am sure that your mother's impulse to go was no more than the 2nd time she has EVER done an impulsive thing. I was astounded when she called me at work to tell me she was thinking about going, then she called to say it didn't work out, then she called to say she was definitely going and I wouldn't see her at home that night. WHEW!

  8. I might have to steal this idea. I want to do something BIG.