In Celebration of My 32nd and a 1/2 Birthday!


My 32 1/2 birthday is coming up! It really is not cute at all when I do that, but when Arwen says she is not 2, but is 2 1/2 (when she isn’t lying saying she is 1 or 3), we giggle and think she is so funny. When I do it, it seems weird. Anyways, I am going somewhere with this. With my half birthday fast approaching on March 24th, I started thinking about my birthday and past birthdays.

Before I was taken away from my mom (wow that became a quick downer, it gets better…I hope), she and my grandma made every birthday feel so special. This is one memory of my mom I hold so closely. Through everything we went through, when my birthday came around she never disappointed. After I got taken away, around 14, for the most part it fizzled, but due to the circumstances. Even when she did something after I got taken away, each birthday there was this awful tradition that I would cry and not out of joy. I think it’s a mixture of things that did happen on my birthday and the expectations I had for my birthday and when it felt like a normal day, which obviously happens when you get older, I would cry (by the way, the crying stopped before I hit 30, so I have matured in my age). My birthday became this sad thing to see if I would cry or not, so no pressure for my husband AT ALL when we got married!

Now as an adult, an older adult, I have wonderful memories, because I have the most amazing people in my life, so the crying thing is better. But recently I have been thinking about a couple of times where I was so surprised that these memories have almost shaped me…well stuck with me, but helped me when I needed it.

When I was 16 I was in foster care and I was a cheerleader. Our first pep rally happened to fall on my 16th birthday. My mom had permission to come see me and in the style of my mom from when I was a kid she came in with 16 balloons. I loved it! Then as I was in the line sliding back and forth clapping and welcoming the school in for the pep rally with my fellow cheerleaders, one of my beautiful friends, who to this day has such a special place in my heart, organized 16 people to walk in one by one and hand me a carnation. The last carnation was given to me by my crush at the time and I was so thrown off by what was going on that I kept clapping and sliding the wrong way. In all honesty I don’t know how I made the team, I have no coordination to begin with, then add some sweet gesture in the mix, I’m gone! That day was so special to me. It meant so much that I meant so much to them that the act of just handing me a flower, before the Bachelor got popular, has stuck with me to this day and carnations are now my favorite flower. I ended up getting a migraine and lost my sight that day and some not so great things happened when I got home and I did cry sad tears, but overall, it was a great day and the good outweighs the bad in this memory.

Most recently was my 32nd birthday, if you didn’t realize that, you know since I started this post by announcing I will be 32 1/2 this month. I had been really busy leading up to my birthday that I didn’t honestly care about it, at all. We were having friends over for pasta the Saturday after my birthday to celebrate both my husband and I and I was looking forward to that. My husband told me to make sure I kept the morning of the 26th open so that he and Arwen could take me to lunch. He would have random things slip out and I figure we were going to Brunos for my birthday lunch, which I wanted to go to, but I played it off like I didn’t know. I had been feeling down that whole week, I felt old and for whatever reason unlovable, and I also felt like me, as me, wasn’t good enough for those around me. No one told me that, I just went ahead and put that smack dab on myself. Prior to the 26th I had asked my brother-in-law if he could help with something at church and he said he couldn’t because he had plans, I didn’t think any more of it. Chris then told me on the 26th we need to go and we parked in the parking structure and were headed to Brunos. I was still playing it off as if I didn’t know where we were going, but in the meantime I was sharing my feelings of feeling kind of unlovable to the people around me and Chris seemed distracted (obviously because he knew what was coming and it would pretty much make me realize how lame I was being). As we were walking I caught a glimpse of my brother-in-law and before I could even think “wait, I thought he was busy”, that is when it happened. I heard Britney Spears’ “Crazy” come over a loud speaker! If you read my blog, Glitter in the Ashes, I admitted how much I love Ms. Spears and true to form, when I hear her, I listen! All of a sudden my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and a couple friends started dancing and then I realized I was not cleaver at all. I was totally set up by Chris to make me think we were going to Brunos when really we were going to my birthday Flash Mob being done by so many people I love. I was in complete shock and as I looked around I really had to hold back tears (obviously I wanted to see their moves!). I saw my friend, who shouldn’t have been dancing because she broke her foot, dancing, her husband do a flip, our wonderful dear friend filming it all, one of our friends hiding behind a tree looking creepy, true to his form for pictures, and one of my lovely friends, who I love so much, dressed like a cow. I was in utter shock (pun intended). After it was all done, I was informed that they had been working on this for months and my mother-in-law and one of my closest friends had planned this whole thing and got everyone together. Just the fact that people cared enough to think about me so much, to practice, and dance to Britney Spears, it almost broke me. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about that day and how loved I felt and how I still feel so loved by each of these friends.

I left that moment realizing I was a dummy and that my friends love me, even when I feel unlovable. This is such a random blog, but I couldn’t stop thinking today how loved I am (not to sound conceited), but to again thank my friends and family for thinking of me. Plus I had to do this in celebration of my 32 1/2 birthday 🙂

If you want to see the video, I have posted it here.


Love 146 – Update


Since March 1st I have been walking along with my team members on team Love Wins to walk 146 miles in 46 days.  We have teamed up with the organization Love146, which is trying to end child trafficking for good.  I wrote a blog a couple weeks ago just recapping why I did this 2 years ago, and why I am doing it again.  If you missed it and are curious, you can read it here 🙂

I wanted to give a quick update on where I am on day 16.  So far I have walked 76 miles out of 146.  As I write this I have tears, because I decided to read more on Love146, and the stories broke my heart. Now the stories are on my mind and I feel like I am blowing up my Facebook page, but for some reason in this moment I feel the urgency to share what I have found.  My feet hurt, I have blisters that make me walk funny, but this is beyond a privilege to have the opportunity to raise awareness, and money to help this wonderful organization to put a stop to child trafficking. What are a few blisters in the scheme of things?  It’s nothing, nothing compared to what these innocent kids are going through, it feels silly for me to even complain about my feet.

I look at my daughter, I am so thankful for her, where she is, and that she is safe.  These kids that are forced to give up their innocence is more than my often cold heart can bare.  It is NOT ok that they are taken advantage of.

My husband and I only have 1 car, so my daughter and I often walk around town to get out of the house during the day, but as of March 1st I wanted her to know that our walking now is for a purpose.  I know she won’t understand fully what she is a part of when she walks with me, but I try my hardest without details to let her know our walking matters, and so do our prayers.  Last week I had a very special Mommy moment with Arwen.  I have been explaining on our walks that we are walking to help kids.  She is in the phase of asking “why?” and so I just explain sometimes some people aren’t kind to these kids, and they can be mean, then we often pray for the kids we may never get the opportunity to meet.  One morning last week I went into her room to get her dressed and she asked if we were walking, and I said “yes,” she asked if it was for the mean kids, and I gently explained the kids aren’t mean, there are people who can be mean to them, so she said “pray for kids?” I asked if she wanted to and she said “yes.”  She bowed her little head held her hands and prayed “Judea (translation of Arwen: Dear God) pray for kids, help them feel better Amen.”  This was not a long winded detailed prayer, but it was such a beautiful moment to have a glimpse of this sweet girls heart. I feel that blessed God as well.

We are walking to make a difference, and I am so thankful that my daughter is starting to learn that there is more out there then us, and with time I pray she learns more.

I am putting my donation page below, if you feel like you would like to donate, or to spread the word on what this organization is trying to do, or even start your own team, it is much appreciated.

My Daughter Just Says Stuff Because She is a Toddler and Knows No Boundaries, I’m a Decent Mom…No Really.

My Daughter Just

I think I have a problem. I think I am addicted to coffee. I think the word coffee comes out of my mouth like 62 times a day and on bad days 65 times a day, so much so that Arwen asks if I am making coffee, drinking coffee, wanting coffee…my answer most of the time is “yes”.

Arwen got a kitchen from Santa this year and she likes to go make hot tallie (translation of Arwen: hot chocolate), which sounds a lot like hot toddies, and I am not sure what is in those, but I have been told it’s an alcoholic beverage. I don’t often mention wine in front of her, but she sure knows that word and coffee, which when the word coffee is said in public makes me seem less like I am introducing my daughter to different alcoholic beverages. Come to think of it when she goes in her room and brings out hot tallies and then randomly says wine, seems more like she is a bartender then a chef…I think I need to talk to her 🙂 Anyways, it is kind of funny when she says this stuff in public (kind of funny). I very much feel like I have to explain and then realize I want to wear a shirt that says “I swear I am not an alcoholic (even though in that statement you now think I am and I haven’t come to accept it), and I do not condone the drinking of a hot toddy, wine, or coffee to anyone who shouldn’t be partaking, especially my toddler, I promise I am decent mom”. That would be a big shirt, but I may need to get one.

So far Arwen hasn’t yelled “wine!” in public, or if she did people didn’t notice. I can quickly say for hot tallie, “oh it’s hot chocolate not hot toddy”, when strangers look at me, then I can run quickly the other way. Coffee is pretty innocent, but I was kind of scolded by a stranger on an outing for coffee and realized I need to order my shirt quickly. I was fixing my coffee and Arwen kept asking for coffee saying she had coffee and loves it. A cute little women looked at her and asked if she liked her coffee with cream and sugar or black and Arwen said black. The women smiled slightly at Arwen and looked at me and said, “you should not give her coffee”. Yes dear lady, I am getting this coffee for my daughter, although if you look I just poured more cream than coffee and a ton of sugar in this. She clearly told you she likes it black and her and I love to talk about our feelings and the meaning of life over a cup of coffee. I thankfully just smiled and nicely said, “she likes to pretend since I love it so much and likes to make it seem like I am bad mom I guess, but she is just kidding I don’t give her coffee”, then I ran off and ordered my shirt.

The Flu & Baby Hulk


The Flu (1)Having the flu is the worst no matter what. What seems to add another wonderful element of it is when you and your husband have the flu at the same time, which you got from your child who had it a couple days before. The symptoms start half an hour apart from each other and you only having one bathroom.   “Funny” enough, a few days before this great adventure Chris and I were talking about the times we had the worst stomach flu of our lives, which was over 13 years ago…I jokingly said at least we haven’t both had it while having a toddler. That comment played over and over in my head as awful things were happening. I think I did this to myself.

Toddlers are wonderful and Arwen understands a lot, but she was having a very hard time understanding mommy and daddy couldn’t move from our spots and that mommy had to keep trying to sneak herself hydration pops. Let me say I am not sneaky as it is and when I pretty much can just crawl because of lack of energy I am even worse at being sneaky and hiding these pops from Arwen the investigator.  If you have food or any sort of “treat” she has a gift for sniffing it out.  She screamed because she wanted one and if I had enough energy I would have given her one, except Chris and both had no energy to clean up the crazy mess that happens when my daughter devours these pops. I am honestly not even sure if she gets any in her mouth.

Having no energy you also can’t shield yourself from this little Hulk that comes out of a toddler when they don’t understand why you can’t dance or go in their room and pretend to make all the food when just thinking about it will just make you get sick again.  We were dodging things being thrown at us and kept saying “no”, “don’t do that”. I think at one point she mocked us, but we couldn’t do much about it.

Thank GOD for my in-laws! Before baby Hulk came out of our daughter, my husband had called his parents and asked if they could please take Arwen.  We can’t even thank them enough. They came and got her and even offered to have her spend the night. It took us 2 hours just to gather what she would need. I always miss her, but we were pretty much useless at this moment. We would have survived, but it would have been so hard and although I am depicting it as if we ignored our daughter, we of course didn’t and made sure she had all the things she needed. You know food, water, diaper changes, and cuddles, which were basically her laying on us and us trying to lift our arms to snuggle her. We were just very slow in doing it.  In between her Hulk moments she would also grab my face and say, “Aww mommy it’s ok, are you ok?” and then Pray for me which goes something like this “Judea (translation: Dear God) pray for mama, Amen”. Makes every Hulk moment worth it.

My husband and I had to cancel on my in-laws for our date night that week because Arwen was sick, so with them picking her up, she got her much loved time with Nona and Papa and got to go celebrate Nona’s friend Charmaine and ride a train while Chris and I got our date…sleeping the day away and making a very exciting trip to the store after about 12 hours of sleep to get soup and Gatorade. Then we followed that up with an exciting time of falling asleep at 7pm until the next morning, while we both took turns watching TV at separate times in the middle of the night.

This was a fun adventure and I am hoping it will be another 13 years until it happens again, but we shall see!