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Careful. My cake might set you on fire.

Well, it’s happened again. I made another trip around the sun which means, time to celebrate another birthday. Since it’s not one of those milestone birthdays (you know…10, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 25, 30, 40, etc), my birthday has had a lot of the same feel as the last few I’ve celebrated with one exception–apparently, I’d spent at least some of 2021 thinking that I was 36 going on 37. Turns out, my last birthday I’d already turned 37, so I’m actually 38. Huh.

I guess I’ll blame it on 2020–I thought we all agreed that it was going to be a do-over year anyway.  Regardless of my mistaken age, the whole day was incredibly delightful, starting with my pre-dawn wake-up call from Henry, who in turn woke up Peter and Adam. He’d worked so hard to put together some very thoughtful presents and it about killed him to wait to give them to me. In the days leading up to my birthday, he kept nonchalantly dropping hints and asking if I just wanted him to tell me what he was crafting so I didn’t have to wait. Put me out of my misery and all that. “Nope,” I told him. So, to his credit, he waited.

Before he even asked me to make breakfast, then his second breakfast (he’s a growing boy and spends a majority of his time eating me out of house and home), he had me sit down at the table so he could scoot his gifts across to me. In an old gum package he asked if he could save, he made me a pocket computer so I can type my books anywhere I want. He also drew an adorable picture of him and me. Both were stuffed full of fake money he’d asked me to print out the day before, and real money he’d raided from his own piggy bank. Aww…so thoughtful!


A few minutes later, Claire came wandering out of her bedroom. She’s been going early for choir practice, but wanted to give me her gifts before she left. She’s been saving the points her teacher gives students for good behavior and cashing them in stickers to decorate my computer, so I think of her when I’m writing my next book. Aww…so sweet!

No, I don’t have bangs, it was just very, very, very windy.

After getting the kids off to school, the rest of the day was a lot like my other weekdays, except I kept thinking of the things I was doing as gifts to myself and my family. I gifted myself a tidy kitchen, I gifted myself clean sheets, I gifted myself a section of finished fencing, I gifted myself a half hour on the treadmill, I gifted myself time with the horses and animals while I took care of them. I even found some time to hang a horseshoe above our front door for luck. Jack rolled his eyes when I asked for his help drilling the hole, but he did it anyway because, come on, it’s so very me. Very apropos as a gift on my birthday, I think.

I saw her sneaking off with a card to her bedroom, where she filled it with letters she knows since she can’t actually spell anything yet. Her cake drawing is especially on point.
It wasn’t until after school that the real party began. When I’m usually dragging myself to the kitchen to figure out what to make for dinner, I was relegated to the couch to watch a show of my choosing and to take a nap. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself!
After dinner, I was l-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y showered with gifts. Seriously. They were coming at me from every direction. Evelyn hand drew a gorgeous picture of a woman and a horse. Aww…so beautiful! She is seriously honing her talent for art like a boss.
I may have laughed the hardest at Kate’s thoughtful gift. She’d comondeered a discarded shoebox and filled it with all sorts of treats for me. A sweet note, a framed picture of her and me out hiking, a custom word search, and a snow globe…in a bag. Technically, it was two sandwich bags filled with water and heaps of glitter. Don’t worry–she hot glued the top together so it wouldn’t leak. 🤣 I don’t know where these kids come up with their creative gifts. I think maybe the gift of laughter is the best thing they could possibly give me and I LOVE IT. Aww…so hilarious!
Jack did a pretty amazing job trying to top them all, though. He’d planned on having a gift arrive on my birthday, but with all the shipping delays, he wasn’t able to make it happen. Even the tiny toy set he’d bought off Amazon to give as a placeholder for the real thing was canceled because it got lost. 🤣 What was it? He bought me a riding arena! I’ve been doing some casual training with Dancer, but without clearcut boundaries for her, it’s hard to do any serious riding. I love, love, LOVE that Jack has always been supportive of my inexplicable love of horses. Now that we’re done having babies, I’m ready to get back into seriously competing. That means training. And a riding arena will make that much more accessible. Aww…he really does love me!

When I’d opened all my gifts and we’d had a mini dance party, complete with disco lights and glow bracelets, the kids ran to the kitchen to assemble the cake they’d been toiling to make after they’d gotten home from school. I was again assigned to stay seated on the couch and after some more laughter, a little shouting, and some ooo-ing and aww-ing, Jack strolled into the room with what could only be described as a flaming heap of chocolate and cheesecake. See, they’d tried to craft a chocolate lava cake on top of a cheesecake and despite their best efforts, it erupted before they could show me. I did my best not to catch my hair on fire as I blew out the million candles they stuck on the top and despite the unfortunate look of the actual cake, it tasted like a glob of pure heaven.

Can you see Orion in the dark night sky?

After getting the kids all tucked in bed, thanking them for the lovely day they’d given me, I went out to do my evening chores and tuck in the animals. I spotted the Orion constellation in the sky and though he evokes mixed feelings (blerg…here comes winter and yay! It’s my birthday again!), I have a soft spot for seeing him. Mostly because it means that so many people shower me with so much love, kindness, and attention that I can’t help but feel special.


Though I turned 38, not 37, it really made no difference to me what age I celebrated. I was surrounded and remembered by the best people in the world, well-wished by many more, and felt a very real gratitude for the beautiful life that’s mine.

What a special, lovely day! Thank you, everyone!

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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