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Sunday, December 15, 2013

32 Years Young!

When I turned 23, I remember thinking, "This is the start of getting old." First, you're 23, then 24 and before you know it, you're 50! You know what? I was right! Time has flown and I am growing older faster and faster. I cannot believe I turned 32 yesterday. I feel like I was just in college turning 23 and enjoying a wonderful birthday with friends. How drastically my life has changed in the past 9 years and how much my life has completely changed from that point!

Generally, on my birthday, I like to look back and reflect on my past year of life. I know many people do this at the new year, including setting goals/resolutions for the coming year. I choose to do this on my birthday instead.

One of my FAVORITE dreams I was able to make a reality this last year was to drive a brand-spanking new BMW on an Autobahn in Germany! WOW. What an adventure our entire trip to Europe was last summer, but, for me, that was one of the highlights! I have always had an affinity for BMW (it is in my DNA) and have long since wanted to drive a BMW in Germany, Bavaria specifically. I cannot express to you the thrill of driving such a nice car on an Autobahn driving across the German (French, Swiss, Liechtensteinian, and Austrian) countryside at any speed I felt comfortable driving. Knowing I had one of the fastest, most capable cars on the road was amazing. I loved every second of it! The fast I went was around 120+ mph. I know, I know. But, I had other passengers to think of and I was driving with my son in the car. I couldn't have lived with myself if anything would have happened due to recklessness on my part. But, 120 was pretty conservative for me!

Another highlight for me has been being a stay-at-home mom. Honestly, growing up I never gave much thought to anything other than college and becoming a teacher. I always knew I wanted to get married someday. I knew I wanted to have children. But, I never saw a newborn and suddenly wanted to have a baby of my own!

When Harrison was born, we needed me to keep working while Evan finished up his LPN (nursing) program. After that was finished in February and he had a good job, the opportunity arose for me to try my hand at being a stay-at-home mom. This has been my job going on about 4 months now. I am still trying to gain my footing. I still deeply miss my students and the joy I felt at making a difference in their lives. Oh, how I miss my lifelong ambition to be a teacher. But, I have been pleasantly surprised in how much peace I feel at being home with my son. I have loved every second of being his mother, even the hard ones that feel like they last for days! I am learning and growing immensely. I am working on changing my mindset to remind myself that what I am doing for my son and our little family at home matters even more than what I did at school for 140+ students every day. Sometimes being a stay-at-home mom is a thankless job when you feel like you are cleaning up the same messes for the hundredth time or you struggle to find new and creative ways to get your (now) picky child to eat.

This mom life has been rough, but everyday I hold my child close and I remember that I chose this life and I still choose it. I am married to my favorite person in the world. We have been so blessed with a smart, healthy, curious, adorable, and determined little boy. We were able to purchase our own home this year, complete with adopting a feisty, high-energy dog. We have everything we need and many things we want. Yes, life can be difficult at times. But, you show me one person who doesn't have struggles and challenges. That person simply does not exist. I have learned so much because of the struggles and challenges of this past year. I have grown immensely in my 32nd year of life and cannot wait to see what this next year will bring me! Here are a few things I'd like to do this year:

  • Write more. I really want to get back into writing daily. I'm afraid of giving myself this goal and then totally failing at it. But, when I wrote daily for years, my mind was more clear, I understood myself better, and guess what? I became a better writer. Go figure.
  • Finish decorating my house! We still have bare walls that I'd like to gussy up and rooms that I'd like to rearrange. I'm hoping to make that happen. We did so much to our house (and yard!) this year that I'm really hoping we can finish up a bunch of our lingering projects. At least I actually feel like our house has become a home this year.
  • Read a wider variety of literature. This one is tough. In order to read, I have to forego getting household chores done during Harrion's naps. Even though reading is, naturally, more enjoyable, it is really hard to balance my wants and keeping our house clean. Nevertheless, I would like to read a few more of the classics that I have yet to add to my repertoire while continuing with some fun reads as well!
  • Think about having another kid... This is a huge step for me, because I'm kind of still scarred emotionally from Harrison's newborn stage with the crazy jaundice and the pumping after every feeding and the almost no sleep, non-typical of a newborn. But, I recognize that we should probably have another child and I actually think I might want another child. We'll see!
  • Improve my talents. I sang in church today (yay me!), which I volunteered to do. I want to improve existing and find new talents and hobbies that can create beauty in our lives and the lives of those around us.
  • Increase my scriptural and spiritual knowledge. Even during my busiest days in college, I still spent an enormous amount of time reading, writing, and reflecting on items of deep spiritual importance. I would love to find a way to improve my spiritual knowledge and, hopefully, my testimony along the way. Maybe this will happen through my writing, which is very typical for me.
  • Continue to develop my relationships as a mother, wife, sister, and friend.

For posterity's sake, this is what I did on my birthday (Okay, not for posterity, but for me because I care about remembering such things):

  • Evan let me lay in bed for an hour reading (if you are a mother, you know what a rarity and miracle this is!) while he and Harrison went to the store and then made me waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. YUM!
  • During Harrison's nap, I got to read for a little while and Evan and I got to play a few games together, which doesn't happen very often any more!
  • Once Harrison woke up, we dropped him off at my sister's house and we headed out to lunch, courtesy of my in-laws generosity. I am so grateful to my sister for always being so willing to watch Harrison for me!
  • In the evening, we headed out to Oma's house for dinner and Gesundheitskuchen ("health" cake). I couldn't have asked for a better place to end my birthday! I always love being with my Oma for my birthday and know that our time together is limited!
All in all, it was a wonderfully relaxing birthday, which is more than I could say about my last birthday when Evan forgot it was my birthday and was ornery all day and the best thing we did was go to our ward Christmas party!

And, in case you're still reading, here are my thoughts over the past 8 birthdays!

Past Birthday Posts:

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