The Teenager

She’s a teen now.

Not a preteen. Not a tween.

But a teenager.

I feel like I should say that Martin and I are completely knocked over by this, but the truth is, we were a lot more emotional when she turned ten. Weepy — a little — when she turned five, but ten really did it to us. Something about the double digits, the necessity of both hands to display her age, the idea that an entire decade passed since she was born.

It seemed inconceivable.

But 13? Nah. We’ve known this was coming. Continue reading

35 Things I Loved About Turning 35 [In No Particular Order]

Just a warning: this post is all about me.

We celebrated my 35th birthday over the weekend. In our family, we like to have “Best Day Ever” celebrations every five years for the kids. While the whole family is involved, it’s a day when the birthday kid gets to have all their favorites from sunrise to sundown (and usually a little longer).

Since Martin and I never actually had such a day ourselves, and because I’m the Mom, and because, well, I’m not getting any younger … I told Martin I wanted a whole weekend of my favorite things. And then I took two days off of work so it would be an extended weekend.

I have to give it to him: Martin and the kids absolutely delivered. Continue reading

TBT: My Birth Day

Today’s #TBT photos were taken exactly 35 years ago today, just moments after I was born in Abilene, Texas. My mother Tawana was still in surgery, having developed preeclampsia (now known as HELLP Syndrome) that nearly killed the two of us. Continue reading

Mom Life

Photo from 2012 with the birthday girl. (That party’s for her!)

I’m spending my Saturday night prepping for a birthday party, sipping on glühwein and watching “Hot Tub Time Machine.”

Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday to my sweet girl!!! We will party this weekend, but we got out some candles, stuck ’em in a huge frosted donut, and sang our hearts out for her right after her gymnastics practice this evening.

She’s a busy girl these days: she’s learning how to play the violin, participates in a marathon club, and has become a voracious reader, too. Continue reading

Birthday Boy

Can you believe this baby is four years old today? It seems like I was blogging his birth just yesterday.

Even though we celebrated with a party last weekend, we stuck candles in his morning breakfast roll and let him blow ’em out FOUR times in a row.


Birthday Bash


I took the day off from work Friday to prepare for a weekend birthday bash with our German family. We had 14 people in our house to celebrate eight July/August/September birthdays.
Some fun facts:
– The ages we’re celebrated were 4, 12, 13, 26, 27, 35, 73, 74.
– We had THREE pairs of siblings in that mix.
– We had a mix of American and German birthday traditions.
– The last time our Tante Bärbel (73) spent a birthday in Germany with her family was when she was 15. She wasn’t with her family the following years, and then eventually got married and moved to Italy.
– Tante Bärbel (73) and Tante Mali (74) were young children during World War II, and never had a birthday party for all the reasons you can imagine.

My intent this weekend was to make up for that.

Germans tend to keep birthdays pretty low-key.

As an American, I do not. 🙂 Continue reading

Birthday Photo

I was mortified when Martin shared this photo (and a few others) in an email blast to our friends and family so many years ago. Not only was I oblivious when he snapped it, but I didn’t know until almost a week later that it was circulated around the globe long before Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Continue reading

My Birthday on the Road


I turned 34 on our last day in the Netherlands. The evening before, our host Benita surprised me with a homemade cherry cheesecake. It was made using quark, which is this dairy product popular over here in Europe, but not so much in the United States. It does incredible things to the texture of cakes, and this was no exception. It was the best damn cheesecake ever. Continue reading

Party Time

[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]W[/dropcap]e hosted a birthday party for Lola over the weekend. There was only one thing that Lola requested and that was simply a “Frozen” party. When I asked for specifics, she simply offered up, “You know, with Anna, Elsa, and Olaf.”

So I consulted to that almighty party resource of the Internets: Pinterest. It was crazy. There are about one million ways to throw a Frozen party, and most require at least a month of planning and crafting. We only had a few days. Nevertheless, I did find some clever ideas, and Martin and I ran with it. Lola loved all of it and we had a very sweet time with her friends.

Lola and a few of her classmates enjoyed the following:

– A game of “Pin the Carrot on Olaf.” Martin drew Olaf by hand based on photos he found on the Internet. He’s always been really good at that. While Martin drew on paper from our big paper roll, I cut carrots from orange scrapbook paper.

– “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” craft with marshmallows, chocolate chips, candy corn, and pretzel rods. The kids ate him when completed.

– I bought light blue Gatorade and peeled off the labels. They were then referred to as melted as Elsa Water. Bottled water was Melted Olaf.

– Frozen strawberries with drizzled white chocolate were “Hans Frozen Hearts.”

– Carrots and pretzels as Olaf parts.

– Hershey kisses as Anna’s chocolate


Thanks to Pinterest for all the inspiration!