Today, I'm thirty-four years old. I'm 'in my thirties' as Nate says. It's all relative, of course, but I feel both young and old on any given day, or at any given hour of the day.

I've definitely entered the phase in life when I forget how to answer the question, 'How old are you?' I reflexively want to say 'Thirty,' but apparently the last four years have blurred together more than I knew. Where is the pause button? I need one of those for my birthday this year.

I do know that life at thirty-four is pretty fantastic. By no means do I feel like I have everything figured out, but I am starting to feel the wisdom I've earned in the past ten years. Experiences, changes, growth, an evolution of me. Was that deep enough for you? I'm happy, healthy, and loved by the best family and friends. I know my twenty-four year old self would be pleased.

Ten years ago I was getting ready to start my clinical rotations for my Masters degree. I was dating Nate, living in St. Louis, and preparing to be an adult in the real world. I vaguely remember this time in my life but not in great detail and hindsight tells me that life was much simpler, with less responsibilities. But there was so much unknown ahead of me back then, so much potential. I'm sure I could feel the electricity of it all--would we get married? Have kids? Where would we live? Would I like my career choice? I'm not sure how far I looked into the future but I think I understood the possibilities were endless.

Today I am married to Nate for nearly eight years, we moved from MO to WI to start our next chapter together, I have three of his beautiful children, a dog, a house, a job, a mini-van, and we are totally adults. Auto insurance, life insurance, home owners insurance, medical insurance, taxes, 401ks....responsibilities, man. We have them. The boring parts of being an adult that nobody really prepared me for are always there, gently reminding us that we aren't kids anymore.

And that's fine by me. Those kids of ours. This marriage. Our amazing family. Supportive friends. Life at age thirty-four is awesomely humbling sometimes, especially when I really take a breath, take a step back, and truly look at it all. Sometimes I can step outside of the daily grind, the nap schedules, the toys strewn across the floor, the laundry, the kisses goodnight, the phone calls from work, and the persistent To Do list. And when I get that moment of clarity, that's when it hits me how truly blessed my thirty-four years have been. Of course there have been hard times. But right now? Now is a great time in life.

I still feel like there are so many unknowns ahead of me in the next ten years. So much potential. This is an exciting time and yet, one that is decidedly more settled and comfortable. Full of responsibility but full of routine, and laughter, and sleep, and intense happiness right along side the intense frustrations.

Thirty-four years old, wow. I'm celebrating with a full day at work (again: adult), then Truman and Cecelia's first soccer practice tonight (again: a mom). But we made the whole weekend a birthday celebration, so I suppose the day-of can be completely ordinary. Nate and I went out for a date night on Saturday, we had a big salmon dinner with Nate's parents on Sunday, and I felt the love all weekend. There were fancy store-bought cupcakes, forced pictures with our offspring, presents and candles.

My helpers.
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It's not a family picture without a nose picker!
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Real, real life. Blurry, but happy.
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'All I want for my birthday is a picture with the kids.' Ah, yes.
Mom and kids for her birthday

Cheer up, boys!
Mom and kids for her birthday

It was a good try.
Mom and kids for her birthday

Thirty-four, 'in my thirties', and feeling reflective with another birthday under my belt. Thankful for each and every year.


  1. Happy Birthday Julia!! Kissses from azores

  2. Happy Birthday! We have very close birthdays (mine is tomorrow), so I hope you have a great day!

  3. Happy Birthday Julia!!! You're an inspiration. I hope you're enjoying your ordinary day and may life and God continue to bless you! xoxo

  4. Love this. Happy birthday, gorgeous mama! It just keeps getting better!

  5. I personally think the thirties are the bomb dot com.

  6. Happy birthday, mama!!! I hope you have a beautiful year of growth and feeling like you have even more of your life together!! :) It's amazing getting older, because we have so many more things to reflect on. Your day looks like magic (cupcakes, a loving husband, and 3 adorable kiddos) ... Happy day to you!!

  7. Happy (belated) birthday, Julia!! I'm with you - while the twenties are fun, they are nothing compared to the wisdom, confidence, stability, and beauty that the thirties bring. <3


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