I went searching for a picture of just me to pair with this birthday post I was working on, which proved to be more difficult than I had hoped. This little bud of mine is certainly a scene stealer. But then I realized, if I was looking for a picture to represent my year of 36, it’s only right he would be included. 36 will forever be remembered as the year he joined my life, forcing me to navigate life with three while also desperately seeking more of my own identity. We think we are supposed to teach them, when all along, they are the ones giving us the lessons we need.
If this babe only taught me one thing this year it would be to slow down. It’s very much his mission statement. Sometimes we get so caught up in moving from one milestone to another, one checked item on the task list to the next, that we forget to look around and see how far we have come. I am a dreamer and a goal planner and a big picture future thinker. But I also realize I can’t do this without noticing the things I am learning along the way.
I celebrated 37 years a couple weekends ago. It was a day spent mostly alone with just me and my thoughts. It’s my favorite way of spending my birthday.
In the middle of this creative field trip kind of day, I looked through my writing and images captured since my last birthday. From this I gathered 36 things worth noting at age 36. Some are thought driven, others fun, but all were worth noting as a time capsule of my life right now, the one where much of my day goes to raising humans and learning from them along the way.
A few notes on life and community…
1. Mother Nature is my life coach. If I need an example for how to rest, how to grow, how to change, how to come alive, I just need to follow her guidance. I am constantly learning from her.
2. And on that note, summer in Minnesota has completely stolen my heart. Our beach, our backyard, our gift after a long winter, it will now and forever be my favorite time of year.
3. Also this, growing sunflowers is incredible. I will do them every year.
4. Target Drive-Up orders are a gift to my budget and to my sanity.
5. Reconnecting with Austin was exactly what we needed to remind ourselves what a gift that place was in our lives. A gift of friendship and really good tacos.
6. Finding a community in our neighborhood, in our church, in our school is providing a greater sense of place for our family. Finding people to happy hour with, to survive snow days with, to pray with, to learn with is grounding.
7. Walking Elliott to neighborhood preschool is an opportunity I longed for and I am so glad we chose the community school that we did. It’s one of my favorite times of the week, walking and chatting with these little people to start our day.
On what I am learning about my home…
8. Beginning to add to our backyard is a big part of this summer love. It’s a lesson in patience, in dreaming, in extending the life of a home. It’s also a little space of our own I have dreamed of for most of my life and it feels good to finally bring that to existence.
9. Very proud of our Christmas decorations this year. I am learning the style that this home needs and how it works for us. Cozy Minimalist has helped me in this.
10. The Winter Tree that stayed up until Spring was the greatest addition to our family Hygge experience.
11. We have room for a baby. Setting up a nursery that works for our family in this small house reminds me that we have exactly enough room for our needs. Especially those that are constantly changing.
On all things delicious…
13. Ranch is in fact delicious and I am sorry I talked badly about it for so long. It is good for many things. Vegetables, pizza, this recipe. Welcome back Ranch.
14. Vermouth on ice is the perfect summer drink.
15. Cocktail Fridays. A creative outlet. A way to celebrate a drink with out drinking mindlessly.
16. Speaking of all things delicious, resurrecting Hey Sis Try This feels right. And hopefully will lead to more posts.
17. A parenting mantra that has stuck with me is to be the Gardener not the Carpenter of my children’s lives. Straight from the book, The Gardener and the Carpenter “So our job as parents is not to make a particular kind of child. Instead, our job is to provide a protected space of love, safety, and stability in which children of many unpredictable kinds can flourish. Our job is not to shape our children’s minds; it’s to let those minds explore all the possibilities that the world allows. Our job is not to tell children how to play; it’s to give them the toys and pick the toys up again after the kids are done. We can’t make children learn, but we can let them learn.”
18. Three children is hard. The hardest thing I have done yet. But every new small success that seemed daunting feels like a win. And growing into our family team makes it all worth it.
19. The bigs meeting their new baby brother is a one of those forever memories for me.
20. Best birth experience yet. Removing the fear and unknown and allowed me to be in the moment, a sense that was lost in my previous experiences.
21. Having my best girlfriends visit at four weeks postpartum was exactly what I needed in that mind numbing body aching confusing time to remind me of who I am. And to laugh. I would recommend it to anyone.
22. I never regret holding my baby just a little bit longer than I need to.
23. Speaking of holding, my baby carrier still remains the greatest gift to my mothering experiencing. I would not have survived this year without it.
24. Introducing Harry Potter to my children is a magical delight.
25. Finding new ways to make a baby smile is my favorite goal.
26. Feeding said baby and having it go well is a reminder to care about the things we can do well in parenting and ignore the rest.
27. Knowing that I have carried my last child is a gift. I linger more on each moment with him. And I look forward to what is next in my life.
On personal growth…
28. I can write anywhere and anytime. Or at least I am better about this. And with this change I am am most proud of where my writing has taken me this year.
29. Going to bed early and then getting up early is the best rhythm to my days.
30. Reminder, don’t read books I don’t like just because everyone else is.
31. Fave podcast of 2019 goes to Forever35. Life changing. And I mean that literally. I think I have added years to my life just from listening to this podcast about self care.
32. Skin care as self care feels so good, whether or not it is doing any thing for my skin.
33. I am going gray, and proud of it. Grombre is my new favorite Instagram follow.
34. Exploring my enneagram 9-ness is eye opening for me.
35. These jeans were the best thing I wore all year. Thanks to my sis for the amazing push present (did you know your sister can give you a push present? Even when you didn’t push anything out in the literal sense of the word?) I am working on developing my personal style. Getting out of the maternity clothes for good is helping this endeavor.
And finally, one that is dear to my heart and hopefully I will continue to work on...
36. My body is capable of change. I am a during. Not a before. Not an after. Learning to trust this process is a continuing goal of mine.
Happy Birthday to Me! Cheers to another year of learning and growing!