I’m not going to lie and tell you that the week leading up to my birthday was full of fun and excitement. It wasn’t. It was far from. It was a week full of reviewing my life. Trying to figure out when the last time my life felt full. Because this past week, I’ve realized that I am a shell of a person. A shell that has missing so many pieces. Pieces that have been left somewhere or taken or given. I’m fragmented. Not whole. Empty. I know I’m supposed to be a wife, mother, sister, daughter, nurse, etc. But, I was struggling. I felt like I was barely hanging on. I couldn’t be good at any of those things until I found those pieces and put them back where they belonged. 

Lately, I’ve felt that all I’ve done is give. If I don’t give, they take. My entire job as a nurse is to give. I give of myself at someone’s worst hour. Then after 12 1/2 hours of giving, I need to come home and give more. My children are the biggest offenders, obviously. They take until I’m completely empty. Then, they take some more and I have nothing left for even myself. I just can’t. I yell, I cry.  I go from bad mom to worst mom. The next day, I put on a smile and hope for a better day. But everyday is the same. Nothing changes. I needed it to change… I needed to be whole. I wanted to run away to find it. Preferably, I hoped I could find it with my toes in the sand on the ocean. But, I’d take anything. I just needed to be away from the constant giving and taking. 

Then last night, I went out with a great friend and after a couple of drinks, some great food, and a much needed heart to heart, I woke up today feeling renewed. I was ready for a fresh year. 37 was going to be great because was going to make it wonderful (right after I had my coffee, of course).

It also helped to start my day with a funny Snapchat from Dave and the kids while I slept in until 9am, along with a massage and pedicureūüėĀ. 

 But also, the massive amounts of love I received via phone calls, texts, or Facebook. You all rock! Somehow most of those missing pieces found their way back to me today. I’ve felt more whole today than I have in a long time. 

Granted after walking into the home to some wonderful surprises:

the kids decided to become hellions and fight and cause an enormous amount of frustration. But Dave…. he took as much as he could so that I didn’t have to give out more of myself for just one day. One day so that I could feel more whole and have a day where I felt appreciated and loved. It was so needed and I felt so grateful for him and all he does for me. 

I’m really not 36, but Dave says that it’s better to be under than over. Precisely. 

My in-laws called to wish me a happy birthday right after a frustrating conversation with Madelyn about how she needs to communicate more. I let it all out to my MIL. I told her all of my feelings lately. At times during the retelling of the evening, I wanted to cry, but she laughed. That laughter helped so much. After that phone call, I felt better. Why cry, when you can just laugh. The frustrations melt away so much quicker. 

So, 37…. I’ll be ok. Sure 40 is around the corner. But, I’m going to make sure that the rest of my 30’s are going to be a hell of a good time. 

Real Family Pictures

Family pictures. It sounds like such an easy process. Everyone stands in a particular spot, smiles and the camera captures the essence of that family. At least, thats what you end up seeing after the editing is complete and pictures are sent out on cards, put in a frame to hang on a wall or posted online for all to see and comment on.

We’ve been wanting to get family pictures taken for months now, but we couldn’t find the time to get it done. As the leaves continued to change colors and fall to the ground, we decided to grab our camera and tripod and head to a park with the kids after school to try and snap a few pictures with a pretty fall scene in the background.


Right away, we had some problems with cooperation. “Please stand over there and smile” was just too much to ask.

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Soon, there were tears because Madelyn wanted to take pictures by the picnic tables NOW, which were by the parking lot. Nowhere near where we currently were. I told her that we would do that on our way back to the car. Apparently, that wasn’t a good enough answer.

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Thankfully, Dave’s a good sport.


We finally have Madelyn smiling again, which means Asher has to not cooperate.


Just when we have everyone smiling, we¬†turn out blurry and I didn’t notice because Madelyn grabbed the camera and Dave was already heading out toward the lake.


On our last attempt to take a nice picture of just the kids, Asher wasn’t very interested in getting hugged and kissed by Madelyn…

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So, his elbow accidentally landed on her nose.


He clearly didn’t care.


As you can see, this was not a stressful experience in the least! We ended up with a couple of OK pictures. Maybe some snow will start to fall in the next few weeks and we can try again soon. ¬†I’d like to think that we’ll get some more cooperation, but I highly doubt it. But then again, maybe my kids will surprise me. I mind as well have low expectations and be pleasantly surprised instead of the other way around, right?

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Eight years ago, you came into our lives and changed it forever. When I look at you, I see me.¬†You keep us on our toes on a daily basis and there are many days that we¬†doubt if we are doing a good job. Your energy, stubbornness and independence make us worried for your teenage years! But, we love you with all our hearts and we can’t imagine our lives without you in it.

Here’s what you had to say about today:

Best part of today: Blowing out my donut cake this morning and opening up my present.

What you hope will happen this year: Keep doing everything better; like play kickball better, take pictures better.

What do you want to be when you grow up: I want to be a teacher, an artist, and a journalist.

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Love her.