it's my birthday

it's my birthday 1I have a birthday tradition of taking a non-spectacular self-portrait with my phone.

See left.

This year, you'll see a little impatience in my eyes. I was so hoping that I'd be celebrating my birthday in Texas this year, but...we're not quite ready to launch.

So many times, I've wanted to just jump in the truck and drive off into the sunset. But then I remember that we're going to be gone for a YEAR. It really is important for us to have all of our ducks in a row.

Another birthday tradition I have is to "open the mic" and ask for your questions. Ask me anything. You can ask about my childhood, my heroes, my favorites [TV shows, foods, music, etc.], my parenting philosophies, or my thoughts on RV living. I'll do my best to answer all of them - in the comments or in a future post.

(Thanks in advance for commenting. I treasure each and every one.)

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64 comments on “it's my birthday”

  1. Love the idea of your annual self-portrait and the picture IS spectacular:)
    My question is: What do you do for Bible study/"devotion" time? Do you have a set aside time or plan you use? Do you like a women's or group Bible study? I know it is very personal, but I am always curious how & when other moms make this happen. My own days often lack consistency in this area and I miss it.
    Gonna be a great year for you, lady!

    1. That is an excellent question. I wish I had a better answer. ;)

      I have a pretty "eclectic" approach: I read the Bible on my iPhone. I also read Bible stories to the girls. I pray throughout the day - by myself, with the girls, with Tim. Sometimes I keep a prayer journal.

      Pre-kids, I attended quite a few different women's Bible studies over the years...but never liked them much (that could be a post in and of itself). ;)

      What about you? What do you do?

  2. I just read your "10 Years Ago" so my question for you is: What are your plans post Give Every Day? Will you return to AZ? Do you have to plans to try to sell your house again or would you like to live there again? Do you or your husband have plans to return to work outside the home?

    Also, I hope you had a WONDERFUL birthday!

  3. Happy Birthday Stephanie!

    My question for you: What big hopes and dreams do you have for your girls? What do you want for them when they are in their 20's and 30's?

  4. a VERY happy birthday. If you guys ever make it to Connecticut in your travels, I would love to take you to my favorite Italian bistro for birthday gelato and cappucino! :) Even if it is your un-birthday! :) I hope you enjoyed your day!

    1. I love gelato. In fact, we went to a local placed called Frost on my birthday and I ordered Cheesecake gelato. Delicious! What is your favorite flavor?

  5. Happy Belated Birthday! I cannot think of a question to ask (that hasn't already been asked above), but I will say how much I truly enjoy reading your blog. Best wishes to you and your family as you begin your RVing journey!

  6. Happy Birthday, Stephanie!!!! You've got an amazing year ahead of you. Do you have plans for next year, or will you be winging it after a year on the road?

  7. I'm late chiming in...Happy Birthday!

    My question, and be prepared to be completely underwhelmed by it, is what dish washing detergent do you use? I've been asking all my friends lately because my homemade stuff is, in all honesty, pretty terrible.

    1. We have Palmolive in our kitchen right now (but we don't like it). I'd love to find a more natural alternative. Let me know if you find a "recipe" or a "brand" that you like!

  8. Happy Birthday! Hope you had a great day. I would love to know how you handle criticism from family/close friends about parenting techniques. It seems to me that my family is always saying something and after 2.5 years they are finally coming around to my way of thinking, or prefacing it by saying "I know you will do what you want, but..." Most often I don't complain about anything, yet get completely unsolicited advice. :)

    1. We haven't made any progress yet. This "preparation" and "transition" phase for our upcoming adventure has been overwhelming (to say the least).

      Once we settle into a routine on-the-road, I hope to begin teaching our girls the basics of Spanish (in the process, I hope to re-learn it myself).

      Are you multilingual?

  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Why Texas? And what part? I lived in the DFW area for about 1.5 yrs and have family still there:)

  10. Happy Birthday Stephanie!

    I can't think of an original question - but I like DesignHer Momma's question - what do your family and closest friends think about your new adventure? What is the best advice you think you've been given so far?

  11. Hope you had a wonderful birthday!! I wish you and the rest of your wonderful family a safe and great year full of adventure, memories and tons of dedication and giving. I can't think of a better family to pull this off than yours. Can't wait to see the truck drive into our drive way when you get up here. And just maybe in year or so we will end right back where we started off our wonderful friendship....our homes =). Miss you all tons!!

  12. Happy Birthday!
    Ok, a question. Give me a minute...

    What do your parents and extended family think about your new adventure?

  13. I love your birthday tradition.

    My question: if someone gave you $10,000 with the caveat that you had 24 hours to use it to change the world, what would you do with the money? {I bet you'll have a great answer}.

    1. Wow - such a creative question.

      This may be a boring answer.

      Since the time requirement would leave me little margin to plan or do something innovative, I would probably choose a reputable non-profit organization and donate it. For example, I might donate to World Vision, Compassion International, or mycharity : water.

      Or - I would invest it and earmark the money for my daughters with the caveat that THEY would have to think up a way to use it to change the world on their 20th birthdays. [I am confident that they will be brighter, more talented, and more creative than I am].

      What would YOU do?

  14. Happy, Happy Birthday!
    I like the phone photo kind of soft and a bit unfocused - very lovely.

    Okay, so my question is what challenges did you have when you added your younger daughter to your family routine and how did you work them out. My only is 6 months on Saturday and while he is a fantastic baby (when aren't they?) I'm having a hard time picturing the logistics of adding another. I'm not ready yet (and not prego so no rush, but we've been talking.) One was such a big change how does adding another truly work when they are tiny and need so much attention?

    Any other experienced moms of more than one please feel free to chime in. Thanks

    1. The transition from 1 to 2 was actually MUCH easier for us than the transition from 0 to 1. The second time we knew what to expect and we felt more comfortable "in our own skin" as parents. We knew how to respond to babies and what worked best for our family.

      Also, remember that your firstborn will continue to get older. He'll learn and grow and communicate better with each passing day. Before you know it, he'll be going to the potty and getting a snack and going to bed all on his own.

      Of course, I don't mean to make it sound EASY (parenting never is), but having two littles is definitely doable...(and super fun).

  15. Happy Birthday Stephanie! You look beautiful!! I hope this year brings you lots of happiness and blessings.

    Here's a question for you, and perhaps you've already mentioned it before but I missed it...what was the bedtime when your oldest was three? I'm having some struggles right now with my DD who just turned three and I'm wondering if i've set the right time for her or perhaps she should stay up just a bit later. Thanks! :)

    1. It's hard to remember the details, but I think our oldest went to bed around 8:00pm at age 3. On her 3rd birthday, we had a 6-month-old as bedtime was a little tricky. I put our baby to bed while Tim took our 3-year-old on a "night walk." Sometimes she fell asleep in the stroller and he would transfer her into bed. Other times, she would still be awake when they got back so he would lay down beside her.

      Now, our oldest is 4 and our youngest is almost 2...and bedtime is MUCH easier. I still lay down with our youngest, but our 4-year-old knows when she is tired. At 9:00 every night, she says, "I'm ready for bed." (And then she goes to sleep). (Just like that).

    1. I would consider it if the office hours were truly "occasional" (and if the job was something I believed in).

      That being said, Tim and I definitely want to be the primary influencers, teachers, encouragers, and role models for our kids in this season of life.

      We want to spend quality time with our kids, but we also want to spend QUANTITY time: If anything comes in and starts to "steal" from that, we typically question whether we need to rearrange our priorities so that we can live in such a way that actively reflects our dreams for our family.

      What about you?

    1. (1) Most of the crafts we do are VERY simple - creating puppets out of brown bags, drawing faces on paper plates, coloring with crayons + markers, etc. Beyond that, I find lots of fun ideas on blogs that I visit throughout the week.

      (2) I WISH I could take a formal photography class. Perhaps someday. For now, I have a nice camera (and I read the manual). ;)

    1. Since our girls are young, we don't go on very many "dates" in the traditional sense. You can read more of my thoughts on the topic here:

      That said, we DID just go wine tasting with another couple this past Saturday. It was wonderful.

      Our favorite dates typically revolve around doing something new, being outdoors, or having a long conversation. We're not as much into the "dinner & a movie" kind of date. ;)

      What is YOUR favorite date activity?

    1. I grew up with parents who loved God and talked about Him often. Even as a young child, I can remember loving God, being keenly aware of His presence in my life. I don't think there was a specific day or moment that can be pinpointed on a calendar. I welcomed Him as a girl...and I follow Him still.

  16. Happy Birthday Stephanie!!!! Your skin looks great.

    My question is.......with your house still on the market, and all the craziness that goes with preparation for life on the road - Have you ever looked back with regrets?

  17. Happy Birthday, Stephanie! Your picture looks great! I prefer natural pics of people!

    My question is ....where do you think you'll live when the Give Every Day project is over, or do you think the Give Every Day project will continue forever?

  18. I love birthday traditions. Have a wonderful birthday! May it bring your blessings, peace, love and joy.

    My question builds on Alicia's.....Where do you see yourself and your family in 5 years?

  19. Yay! Happy Birthday!! Hope this year and many more bring you everything you want! Love your birthday tradition! Great idea!

    Let's see... my question is: 10 years ago, what were your plans and goals for the future? Did you hope you would be where you are currently in your life or did you go in a another direction that lead to you where you are now?

  20. Happy Happy Birthday to you! I would love to take you out for a fun dinner and celebrate you, but will have to wait until you hit the west coast. Perhaps when you guys get here, we can get a few of the other gals from Santa Cruz that have become friends with you (Krista, Erin, Janelle, Sara, etc.) together and celebrate! Hope you had a fantastic day...and your picture is not is lovely!

      1. I am so NOT picky. I'll just be glad to hang out with you and your family. :)

        That said, my favorite foods are: big salads with lots of toppings, homemade bread, frozen yogurt, and fresh fruit (especially berries).

        What are YOUR favorite foods?

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