Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another Birthday in the Books

To me, birthdays are a BIG deal. I mean, come on. They are a celebration of the day you entered the world as a tiny baby with perfect little features that only God himself could create. It's a day when you reflect on all the years you've had before you- all the ways you've grown as a person, all the people you've met along the way, and all the memories you have made up until that point. It's not an ordinary day to me, and it never will be.

I try to go big on birthdays, especially for my husband and kids. I'd love to go all out for my friends and family, and I hope that is something that gets better with time, but for now, I count the people I love lucky to get a card on their special day. Going big doesn't necessarily mean big fancy parties with lots of money spent. I'd love to throw a real "pinterest" party, but the fact of the matter is....we can't afford to. And that's okay. Sure, we've done the big cake thing, and Oooed and Aaahhhed at how perfect the cakes were and how much time, effort and talent went into making it,

 but I don't want my kids to look back and remember what we gave them or how much money we spent on them. I want them to remember the memories that were created and how special we made them feel.

So we make it a point to make our kids' birthdays as extra special as we can from waking them up to the birthday song, giving them a special breakfast, letting them choose their dinner destination, writing out their birth stories, sharing memories we've made with them and watching them bask in the love of all of those around them who try to make their day even more special. We've kept certain traditions and changed others up, but regardless of what we do, they know they are loved. They know they are special. They know that I got the best gift of all the day they were born. It is worth far more than lavish gifts for me to see the tears roll down my daughter's face when we throw a surprise party for her even though we only spent $20 on a birthday gift. Carter will never remember what we gave him for each birthday, but when he asks me to tell him about the day he was born over and over, I know he gets it. Engraved in my memory will be the million times Sawyer yelled to anyone who would listen, "Hey, Say happy birthday to me." They get it.

And then there's Dan. He works so hard to provide for our family. He rarely makes time for himself, which can make him irritable at times, but nevertheless, it is evident that family comes first for him. We are so very very blessed by him, by the work ethic he is passing on to our children, by the time he carves out of his busy schedule to spend quality time with us, by flat out showing he loves us every single day. Blessed almost doesn't seem like a powerful enough word to describe it. So on his birthday, I want him to know that I am so thankful he was born. I am thankful he was put into my life by God's own hand. I want him to know that making memories is the best way we can relive these moments over and over again, and so I plan. I plan his birthday/birthday weekend intentionally and intricately because it ranks right up there with my favorite holidays, and fits nicely into the feature presentation that is the last three months of the year.

This year we did something we've done in the past, but it never fails to deliver with it's clear glass lake, aubergine, rust and golden colored leaves, lots of laughter and exploring, and best of all, dreaming about where we want to be and what we want to do years from now. I love to dream, about as much as I love to reflect. There's something about the unknown, the opportunity, the clean slate that makes me incredibly happy.

Lake of the Ozarks does that for us. This is the third year in a row we have made the trek 8 hours south to visit Jeff and Amanda. Jeff has held a special place in my heart since we were in elementary school, and through his friendship with Dan, our friendship was rekindled in high school, and we've made so many great memories in the 9 years we've been friends.

 It hasn't been without it's ups and downs, but we have weathered rocky storms and made it out the other side. Amanda was the cherry on top. I am so thankful to call her friend, and excited to continue to make new memories with them as a couple.

Our weekend looked a lot like card games and laughter, boat rides and steak suppers, birthday breakfast and balloons, baseball games and hot tubs, cave touring and state park exploring, pumpkin spice lattes and boursin cheese, lots and lots of snacks and hard fall cider and most of all,  putting another successful birthday in the books.

Thanks Jeff and Amanda and Casey and Amy for making memories with us. Thanks for helping me make birthdays a big deal. You are #amazeballs.


  1. Awww. Miss you guys already. Thanks so much for making the trip down. Always so fun having you here.