Happy Friday, loves!
I am SO excited about this weekend!
It’s my BIRTHDAY!
Well, Sunday is my birthday, but you get the point. I’m turning 35, and I’m so excited. I’m excited about all of my birthdays. It’s my favorite day of the year because it’s all about me and myself. With four kids, a husband, a business, all the boards on which I sit…I just don’t have a lot of me time. I’m fine with that since I prefer to be around my family.
Ironically, I’m a little bit of an introvert, but I have extrovert tendencies from time to time. I prefer to spend the bulk of my time at home with the people I love the most, but sometimes I love to be social. Too much socializing, however, turns me into a monster.
I’m complicated. And I’m okay with that.
Back to this weekend. We are Disney annual passholders (is it possible not to be one when you live an hour and 15 minutes from the park and have four kids 10 and under?!) and we always take my birthday weekend to leave the kids home and head to the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. They detest Epcot, but we love it. So, they’re not invited.
All I know is that we are doing that this weekend. I have no other idea what is going on, what the plan is, or anything. My husband has been super secretive, but I can say with certainty that I definitely suspect something since I’ve caught him having more than one secretive conversation with the people we love. Very hush, hush. And I am so on to him.
I’m excited (and it better be fancy, Raiford. I’m a fancy girl, and there’s not enough fanciness where we live)!
I love my birthday because I love reflecting on the past year. I love to see how I’ve grown and changed over the year. I love to get older and wiser, and I really love to see how I’ve progressed and bettered myself. I’m always looking to be a better person than the one I was yesterday. I’m in constant competition with myself to be better and stronger.
Thirty-four has been such a fun year! We took the big girls to NYC with us for the first time to see the city for three days. They ask every time we go to join us, and we decided they were ready – and they had the best time! We spent my 34th birthday in the city enjoying date night at our favorite restaurant (Il Tinello) after brunch at our favorite place (The Boathouse) after spending the day before at Epcot for the Food and Wine Fest.
We spent a long weekend in SoCal visiting all of our favorite places (The Montage and the Surf and Sand, the Ritz-Carlton, Javiers in Crystal Cove, The Balboa Bay Club…). We cruised to the Bahamas with our four favorite couples. I did yoga in the beach in the Bahamas. We flew with the kids to Texas to spend a long weekend at my grandmother’s farm. We rented a vacation house in Orlando with family and had the best time just hanging out and having all the fun.
We took the kids to Palm Beach for a long weekend with friends. We saw Kenny Chesney and Thomas Rhett in concert. We let our 10-year-old spend her birthday at the Taylor Swift concert with her bestie. We spent most of our Sundays after church at our best friend’s River House kayaking and paddleboarding and grilling and having all the laid-back fun. We had fun. So. Much. Fun.
We spent more weekends than we can count watching Gator Football and going to Disney and enjoying date nights. We got back to basics and we’ve been enjoying all the simplicity of life as a result.
That brings me to the point of this blog post. I’m sharing 35 things about me as I turn 35. That’s right, friends. I’m officially turning the corner in which 50 is closer than 20. And I’ve literally never felt better.
- I’m a bad ass motherfucker. I’m just saying. I am. And I’m not ashamed of that. I’ve spent the past year challenging myself to do things that are just beyond my comfort zone (becoming a runner, for instance), and I’m killing it. And to quote the bestie – and nearly every conversation we have this year – I’m a bad ass motherfucker. And I’m not even sorry for the language.
- I’m really organized. Like, super-duper, crazy organized. It’s how I get so much done.
- I go through one to two laptops every year because I type so much. I type anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 words per day for my clients five days a week (and sometimes on the weekends depending on the project). That’s something like 3.9 to 5.2 million words per year on my laptop – and that doesn’t count things like my blog posts, my emails, and any correspondence or other items I type. That’s literally just for my clients. The letters start to disappear off my keys within a few months of having my computers.
- I love to bake. I really love to bake, but only during the holiday season. Fall and Christmas – let me bake all the things. It makes me feel at ‘home’ and like the holidays.
- I have become really good at saying no over the past few years. If it doesn’t interest me, I don’t have time, or I’m tired, I’ll say no. Sometimes I just don’t want to do something, but other times I’m just saying no because I know my body and how it responds to stress, and when I’m too busy for too long, I know it’s time to pass.
- I don’t care what people think of me. I know I come across as a little bit much. I know I’m not everyone’s cup of coffee or whatever, and I’m okay with that. I like me (a lot) and therefore, I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me. So long as this girl is happy, I’m good.
- Getting back to basics was one of the very best things we ever did in our house. No longer planning every weekend months in advance, and just learning to enjoy the simple things has been the best. It all came about over a long and hilariously fab dinner date that lasted almost 5 hours one night (December 22, 2017 anyone?) when we realized that we just all missed the way things used to be. The simplicity of an impromptu Sunday afternoon get-together. The enjoyment of spur-of-the-moment plans. Regularly scheduled date nights and bang bang shrimp…it’s been really, really good.
- My faith is so important to me. I begin and end each day in prayer. I spend my first few minutes with my daily devotional. I am a firm believer, and I’ve personally witnessed the grace and the beauty of God in every success, in every failure, and in every challenge.
- I wonder why we had kids like 8 times a day. Honestly. I do. Then I remember. It’s a cycle.
- I am so focused on my health and the health of my family. I love food, but I love good, healthy food. I can take any recipe and definitely not cook it because I suck at that, but I can take it and make it healthy. I want my kids to see my husband and I as a good example that a healthy lifestyle is all it takes. I don’t want them to be uncomfortable in their own skin, and I never want them to be come a statistic or obsessed with fad diets and unhealthy ways of life. You only get one life, and I want theirs to be long and healthy. Thanks, Grandma, for that lesson.
- I am terrified of snakes. I can’t even leave my garage door open longer than the time it takes to drive out. I’m terrified of them getting into the garage and then getting into the house.
- I love red lipstick. It makes me feel powerful and put together when I’m not feeling it.
- I have a black thumb. Brown one? Whatever color that kills things immediately. Someone once told me to purchase succulents because they cannot be killed. I killed them.
- If you come to my house unannounced, you will find two things. It’s spotless, and there are fresh flowers on the kitchen island, the dining room table, the breakfast nook table, the fireplace, the sitting room coffee table, and on the entryway table (well, most of the year on the entryway table. I have some fabulous fake flowers for fall that go on the entryway table from September through November.
- I don’t like to sweat. I take something like three to four showers per day. As soon as I wake up, after I go to the gym, before bed, and at least one other time per day if I sweat outside or go shopping or something.
- I think my body looks better at (almost) 35 than it ever has. I think I’ve been skinny fat for a long time, but the past year I’ve been really serious about my workouts. I have abs, muscles, and I’m pretty toned, and I really love it.
- I like good people. Plain and simple. I like people who are confident in themselves, who don’t live to please others, who don’t care what anyone thinks of them. I love people who don’t care what other people are doing in their lives. Those are my people. I like good people, and I’m so fulfilled with the goodness we have in the people we surround ourselves with. Which leads me to number 18.
- Our Wednesday night dinner tradition is one of my favorite things in life. It’s been 10 and a half years and counting, and it’s so much fun. We began having dinner ever Wednesday with our best friends before kids by going out. By baby number two or three, we were eating at home, switching homes every other week. Seven kids later, it’s hectic and crazy, but it’s my favorite tradition. We have the best time, the most inappropriate conversations, and entirely too much laughter.
- We have a friend who tells the best stories sometimes. You always know when it’s going to be a good one when he’s laughing before he even starts talking, and he cannot get it out. I have no idea how half his stories begin or end because he cannot stop laughing, but I’m sure they must be hilarious. And that is hands down my favorite thing about him. Other than his spectacular head of hair.
- Yoga and running have become two of my favorite things to do in the world.
- I’m a little obsessed with Bath & Body Works candles. Maybe a lot. Especially this time of year. Since September began, I’ve noticed I’ve had 7 packages filled with candles delivered. I cannot stop. It’s a sickness. And I’m fine with it.
- Ask me for A-1. I promise you I have a bottle in my handbag. Just ask me. There have been too many near disasters, and we must be prepared.
- Giving is what makes me happy.
- If there’s a committee, I’m on it. Well, kind of. I’m on the PTA board at my girls’ school and the twins’ school, and I’m co-running Safety Patrol for our fifth grader. I like to be present in their lives, so sign me up. But, really, don’t sign me up. There’s nothing left to go around!
- I tend to overreact a bit, but give me a day to calm down.
- I’m paranoid. About everything. I worry incessantly about things happening to us and our kids. I worry about the worst case all the time. I’m perpetually paranoid, and I’m not ashamed of that.
- I am the most routine-oriented person on the planet. I have to be. It’s called organized chaos, and I need it in my life. I need my routine. It’s how I get anything done.
- I hate wearing flats. Hate them. I love high heels. I wish I could wear them all day every single day, but that mom life doesn’t always allow it.
- I put a lot of value and importance on date night and time away from the kids. We try hard to have a date night at least every other week. We are so busy and we have four kids – and our nephew for two hours before school in the mornings and at least an hour after school in the afternoons – and we need that time. It’s good for our souls and our marriage.
- I’m not the girls trip type. I did it once, and I prefer to spend the time with my husband. I love my girlfriends, but I’m looking to be sharing my bed with my husband at the end of the day. That’s all.
- I hate the beach. HATE the beach. I hate sand. I hate salt water. I love to look at the beach. But I prefer to look at it from a gorgeous restaurant or hotel bar.
- I’ve grown so much in the past year, and I’m really proud of that. I’ve opened myself up to a lot of new experiences, new people, new things, new places – and I’ve learned from all of it.
- I give up trying to explain to people what I do. They think when I say, “I’m a writer,” that I’m J.K. Rowling and have a New York Times Bestseller. They don’t understand what a web content creator is. They don’t understand what I write or why I don’t use my name often in what I write. They don’t get how my business works. If I’m not an author of books, I must be a blogger. And while I do blog right here, this is just for me. This is not my job. This is for me to have a creative outlet for some of the very fun and creative things my job perks allow.
- I think raising a little boy is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. We have three girls and a boy, and our boy is our ‘youngest’. He’s one of the twins, but he’s our baby B. He was born five minutes after his twin sister. He’s difficult. Boys are loud, rambunctious, dirty. He wants to be outside all the time, but I’m not a big nature fan. He cannot spend time playing on his own. He needs someone to play with him all the time. The girls are the exact opposite. They are quiet. They all play well independently (and together when they want), and they’re so clean and tidy. Carter? He’s a hot mess. Boys are hard. Our sweet best friends were ‘boy parents’ until a year and a half ago when they had their third child (and first girl) and they told us a million times that boys are, well, boys. We didn’t listen to them.
- I’ve really come to appreciate grace in the past year. I’ve learned to give myself grace. I’m not perfect, though I try so hard to be the very best at anything I accomplish.
So, there you go. Thirty-five very random facts about me and who I am to kickstart my 35th birthday. It’s been a beautiful year with all kinds of great moments and not-so-great moments, and I cannot wait to see what 35 has to bring my way! Cheers to the freakin’ weekend, loves!