On Monday, I turned twenty-nine. On every birthday, I enjoy writing about how we celebrated, and also about life right now.

Most years, I prefer to celebrate my birthday with a little bit of "dressed-up ordinary." Eating good food, drinking coffee, having dessert, and spending time with people I love. All "ordinary" things, but when practiced on a birthday, they feel extra special. And that's what the weekend was! Saturday night supper was wonderful and not ordinary, I should add.

Saturday morning, we had a slow start to our day. Nicholas played Zelda, I knit, we had coffee and breakfast, and we played with Cooper. We stayed at home, since we had a new coffee table delivered that morning (we love it). In the afternoon, Nicholas let me open my gifts from him early, and he gave me a linen scarf and this daily face polish. For supper, we met my in-laws and Katelyn at a fancy pasta shop where they make fresh pasta daily (including fresh gf pasta)! On the walk to the restaurant, Cooper stared wide-eyed at the leaves in the trees. I had chicken tortellini, and Nicholas ordered short rib tortellini so we could try one another's dishes. The family took turns holding Cooper and then I wore him in the wrap when our food came and he slept through supper. (As a side note, please note Cooper's deadpan expression ;). That night, I was in the kitchen, baking my birthday cake until after eleven, entirely by choice. This year's pick was a Cardamom Sour Cream Bundt Cake with Cardamom Syrup Glaze. Baking my birthday cake is a highlight of birthday week each year!

Sparing the details, on Sunday morning, Cooper was not feeling well, so we stayed home. I made homemade buttermilk pancake batter, and Nicholas flipped the pancakes while I nursed Cooper, etc. We drank coffee together while Cooper took a nap. In the afternoon, his family came over for cake, which was so good, and the perfect thing to have with coffee for birthday fika. We opened gifts and had track and field on in the background. That evening, I made homemade chili for supper. I chopped veggies and prepped dinner, while listening to the new Lumineer's album and while Nicholas hung out with Cooper. Then we watched some Poldark and I knit in the evening, before going to bed at a reasonable hour.

And Monday, the actual day, I woke up, lit a fall candle, and wrote a little in the seven o'clock hour, while our early riser little boy took his first nap. I ate cake for breakfast, like always do on my birthday. It was forecasted to be a really hot day, so I took Cooper for a walk, relatively early in the day, and talked to my Grandma Donna on the phone. Later in the morning, I went out for coffee with my sister- and mother-in-law. I ordered an iced oat milk latte, and enjoyed our time together. I kissed Cooper's cheeks about a thousand times. I tidied up the apartment and then tidied up again. I talked to my parents on the phone and they sung happy birthday to me like they do every year. :) Cooper fell asleep in his carseat (a rare phenomenon these days) so I just went for a long drive with my thoughts and music and a sleeping baby in the backseat. Nicholas picked up takeout gf pizza. And we spent time together in the evening.

My parents asked me how I felt about turning twenty-nine. I'm entering my last year of my twenties and feeling excited about it! So many of the very ordinary details of my birthday were only things I dreamed of last year: being able to wear a sweater, cuddle a baby of our own, etc. Birthdays can be hard because they are an official mark of passing time. It's tempting to compare my twenty-nine to someone else's twenty-nine. In motherhood too, it's tempting to compare. To wonder if we could do better, to wonder if my child is "measuring up." I was talking with a mama friend the other day and she was talking about how hard it is to discuss milestones, sometimes. I think it's tempting to ask, "Is your child doing _________ [fill in the blank developmental milestone] yet?" And if your baby isn't, even if they're not even "behind" by anyone's measure, it can feel disheartening. My friend said she's instead started asking, "What new things is your baby doing right now?" And I want to routinely ask my mama friends, "What about motherhood is bringing you joy right now?"

These years of naps and diaper changes and baby-proofing your home, disrupted nighttime sleep, teething...these are not wasted years. I don't want to hold my breath through these years, seeing them as something to just get through. Between those things, there are naps on my chest, and baby giggles, seeing the joy in a little one's eyes as he learns a new skill, seeing the way Cooper stares at leaves in a tree, gummy grins, and babies who smile with their eyes every time because every smile is genuine.

So I'm excited for twenty-nine. This year, I feel a little more settled and expectant. It will be messy, and it will be hard sometimes, but I expect a lot of it to be wonderful too.

Here is a little (self-indulgent) list about me right now:

  • I need a haircut! But my hair is actually much lighter (naturally) than it has been in years, since I've spent a lot of time outside since we moved back up north.
  • I'm learning more about my enneagram wing (I'm a 2w3, which surprised me at first, but it actually makes sense if you read a description). I continue to find the enneagram a super helpful tool.
  • Bullet journaling has continued to be doable for me and I find it so helpful to keep our life organized
  • Self-care these days look like painting my toenails, music during dinner prep, walks on crisp mornings, knitting or writing a little during a naptime versus just doing chores.
  • Currently knitting a pair of socks for a Christmas gift, and a navy blue cardigan for Cooper
  • Very slowly (savoring and) reading through Light from Heaven by Jan Karon
  • I have mum-scented dish soap in my kitchen
  • Currently watching Call the Midwife and Poldark, really wanting to see the new Downton Abbey movie
  • I got a new eyebrow gel the other day (just a clear one from Tarte) and I really like it
  • As someone who has never routinely worked out, I love the Expecting and Empowered postpartum workouts that I just do in my living room.

And since I benefit from re-reading heart lessons to myself from previous years, here is an excerpt from my birthday post from two years ago:

P.S.-- I wanted to share some recent wise, incredibly encouraging and timely words from a friend on a hard day:

Just keep thinking about Zechariah [...] your's is NOT a day of small things! God wants you to remember that. He doesn't ever want His people to feel like their lives are unimportant or that God is unwilling to work wonders for you. Stay hopeful and keep trusting Him!

And also this verse, that another wise friend shared with me (paraphrased in The Message)

If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care--then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Philippians 2:1-4 MSG

I feel so thankful. For this life, for challenges that push me toward intimacy and trust in Him, for a husband I adore and who loves me so well, and for deep-spirited friends. Cheers to another year of His faithfulness.

^^All of that still speaks truth! Another year of us being to expect His faithfulness, indeed. And for anyone curious, here are previous years' birthday posts:

Twenty-four // Twenty-five // Twenty-six // Twenty-seven // Twenty-eight