It’s my birthday, and I’m giving you a present. (You can drop off yours in the comment box.)

birthday_candlesIt always bugged me that my mom would never tell us her age.  So I’ll be honest, I’m old.  For the first time in my life, I feel old.  I figure maybe I shouldn’t say my actual age because then all you internet information predators could do the math and steal my identity and walk away with my amazing credit potential.  So let’s just say that I am now a lot closer to 40 than I am to 30, and that is INsane.  I am the “old people” in young people’s minds.  I have been out of high school for longer than it took me to complete elementary school, junior high and high school combined.  I have been through so many different stages of life that I have a bra drawer with about 12 different sizes in it.  (I should really get rid of them, because truth be told, I only need a very small drawer now.)

I’ll concede that older does mean wiser.  I now get it that all those boys that took up volumes of pages in my journals never liked me.  I was a dork.  I also know that a person cannot live on Pringles and bubble gum alone.  Plus, life has taught me many other important lessons like what not to do if you are a) mugged in China, b) cat-called in Argentina, or c) going outside too often in your pajamas in your own hometown.  So, yeah, one year older and wiser too…

old ladySo, I’ve got this whole blog birthday party thing worked out in my mind.  First a present for you.  

What do mommy bloggers need and appreciate the most?  Quiet time.  I’d like to introduce you to JumpStart computer games to shut up educate your children while they have fun at the same time.  My boys love the JumpStart computer games, and we actually owned two of them before the company contacted me about doing a giveaway on my blog.  Just today they played the 3D Virtual 1st Grade game while I blogged did laundry and lots of important things.  They really are very clever games that incorporate math, reading and critical thinking skills into fun arcade-like games and activities.  And now they have an on-line version of their games at http://www.jumpstart.com where your child can create a “Jumpee” (kind of like an avatar) and travel all around in a virtual world of learning adventures.  My boys have spent a little time playing around on it and they were quite smitten by some of the fun things they can do there.  Anyway, without further ado… you can win a three-month subscription to the JumpStart online world! (In other words, three months of built-in, guilt-free quiet time for you.)  You’re welcome.

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Now, for my present.  I want to know who my readers are.  There are many of you who are regular commenters and I absolutely adore you, but there are so many strangers that pass through that I never get the chance to meet, except as random IP addresses on my statistics tracker.  I average about 1,000 hits a week on this little ol’ blog (which I know is small potatoes to some folks), and I’d like to thank those of you who really just reload my page over and over again every day to make me feel good when I look at my stats, but there are so many of you I don’t know.  I think Ordinary Mom made this request on her birthday, and I filed it away in my brain as a good way to satisfy my own curiosity.

So here are your birthday party instructions (I’m old; I can be demanding and crabby if I want to be.):

1.  Leave me a comment and tell me something about yourself.  If you don’t want me to know your name, that’s okay.  You can be “anonymous,” but still tell me something about you.  (Where you live, what you do, etc.)  If you’re a regular commenter, tell me something about you anyway– I’d love to know you better.

2.  If you want to be entered in the computer game giveaway, just stick the word “(Giveaway)” at the end of your comment.  Or the beginning.  Or the middle.  I’m not picky.

3.  If you haven’t voted for your favorite entry in the Diapers and Divinity Summer Poetry Contest, go do that here.  The haikus are worth reading.

4.  Pretend that you’re really at my party and that I’m giving you a hug at the door and saying “Thanks for coming!”  Really.  All joking aside,

I believe true friends not only make life more enjoyable, but they help each other become worthy of the greatest friendship of all [with the Savior]… —to bring out the best in each other and help each other live righteous lives.”  (Monte G. Brough)

Happy Birthday, indeed.