"Happy Birthday!" my 3-year-old bounded into her little sister's room yesterday morning when she heard us stirring and gave me a hug. It was pretty much the best way to wake up on a birthday morning, with a smiling baby by my side and a sweet 3-year-old in my arms.
"I got you a house at Disneyland," she quipped, eyes sparkling.
"A house at Disneyland?" I gasped, delighted, "That sounds wonderful." And, for the record, it really did sound absolutely wonderful.
From there, my day was pretty much perfect. We laughed. We took pictures. We jumped on the bed. We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We went on a walk. I wrote and worked a little. And...last night, after the girls were in bed, we had homemade cheesecake with cherries on top.
Since it's my birthday, I'm going to give away three of my favorite things...
I don't often re-read books. Or re-watch movies. Once is typically enough for me. But this autobiography is an exception. I've read A Severe Mercy several times and it never fails to move me.
Author Sheldon Vanauken writes about falling in love with his wife, finding faith through skepticism, and overcoming loss. It's beautifully and elegantly written, with prose that will make your heart sing. Ideal for anyone grappling with the bigger issues of human existence and/or the death of a spouse...but it's also perfect for anyone who enjoys reading unconventional and amazing love stories (not your dime-store romance variety...this is the real deal).
This book is truly one of my very favorite books and I am delighted to be giving away a copy this week...right around my birthday. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Allrecipes.com is my go-to site for recipes. Whenever I need meal inspiration, I always go there first. Always. There are hundreds of recipes with pictures and ratings from real-life people. And, so far, that site has never let me down.
Using the site is FREE, but having a supporting membership gives you a bit of added functionality. Think of it as a secret handshake or something...welcome to the club.
I don't wear foundation. I prefer a more natural-look when it comes to make-up. That said, it is nice to have a little something on my face - to even out my skin tone, add moisture, and protect from the sun. CG's tinted moisturizer is perfect for all of those purposes. I wear it almost every day and highly recommend it. Best of all, it's like $8 at your local grocery store.
One winner takes all three prizes!
All you have to do to enter is ask me a question. About anything. What my favorite jeans brand is. What our bedtime routine is like. What we eat for breakfast. Anything. It's likely that I will take your questions and answer them in an upcoming post/series. 1-2-3...GO! Ask away....until January 28.
Oh, wait...I just have to say...I think this is going to be my best year yet.
*UPDATE* The winner is #82 LV. Congratulations!
I am so excited about this question - answer session. I have two more questions (in addition to the ones in number 60):
1. where do you get your craft ideas?
2. How do you keep your preschooler entertained while you are nursing your little one?
OMG! We have the same birthday. =0) What is your favorite food?
Happy Birthday!! We are glad to enter ur giveaways
What is your favorite fragrance.
Happy Birthday! Have you always lived in Arizona? It seems like most people out west have come from "somewhere else."
What's your favorite home cooked meal?
Happy Birthday. Thanks for the great giveaway. What music do you love? Do you like to dance?
What do you most look forward to in the coming year?
I don't want to enter this time around but i wanted to say HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY and many many more :)
I was wondering what is your favorite thing about living in the great state of Arizona. My aunt is a nun who lives in Tucson and swears by the weather being awesome atleast 350 days a year.
what is your favorite color?
what are your top 3 favorite bands or musical artists?
What is your favorite kind of pie? (Very important question...)
What is the meaning of life?
My question is what is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Happy Birthday! If you could have lunch with one famous person who would it be??
So, here's my question. What's a "Birthday" like in your family. Is it a one day affair, a weeklong "birthday week", a day of being the princess or a day of normal?
If you could be any animal, what would you pick?
I'm not entering Stephanie. I just wanted to say how much I enjoy the jumping photo of you. Love love love it!!!
What is the best thing about being a mom?
Happy birthday, and I do hope it's the best one yet.
Here's my question: What is your best travel memory?
What is your favorite children's book to read to your children?
random question; whats your favorite breed of dog?
Happy Birthday To you!!
How did you get the cutest girls. I love my boys but I have wanted a little girl to dress up.All well(I am 40 I think I done with the babey thing)
Hi! Happy Birthday!!!!
what is one piece of advice somebody has given to you that has changed your life/made it happier?
What is your favorite movie?
i am a january birthday too.
do you have a favorite number?
what fiction book have you read lately that was good?
What one place in the world would you like to visit most?
I totally want to know what your bedtime routine is like.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Happy Birthday! I checked Severe Mercy out from the library a few months ago, and loved it (even though I didn't get to finish it.) I keep meaning to check it out again.
What other books are your favorites?
Happy birthday. How old are you?
What made you choose to read Severe Mercy the first time?
How do you manage being a wife, mother and the blog? I just want to say thank you though and again. Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday! I see lots of comments giving the indication that you aren't done having kids-so how many do you think you would like to have?
happy birthday-what are some of your favorate eoods
Happy Birthday, Dear Stephanie.
Thank you for your inspiring and educational posts and awesome giveaways.
I have so many questions: how do you manage to get everything done. Do you ever let other people (other than your family) watch your children? How many hours do you spend on your blog (weekly)? What do you think of home schooling?
You are such an inspiration!
Happy Birthday- How do you find time to keep up with everything, including your blog? If you an extra hour in your day, what would you do?
What is your life verse &/or life purpose statement? What is God teaching you right now?
No question, no contest entry, just wanted to wish you a very happy birthday!
I hope you had a great birthday! We were over to celebrate my brother's birthday today.
What is your favorite birthday memory from when you were growing up?
Happy birthday! What do you think of this crazy storm?
I have a question I've been asking everyone -- what were your birthday parties like when you were growing up and where did you grow up?
I'm curious because children's parties seem far more elaborate and expensive than mine ever were. I'm wondering if it's a regional thing or an age thing.
My parties were all at my house and we played games like musical chairs, red rover, and pin the tail on the donkey. We usually had cake and ice cream, but my best-attended party was the one when I convinced my mom to serve Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I think that was the only party where a 'meal' was included.
My son will be one year old in a couple of months. The norm seems to be a big party but I haven't decided what I want to do. He doesn't need any gifts, but he loves to socialize, so maybe an outing of some sort.
Happy Birthday :)
How is your marriage different now than it was when you were first married? How did your relationship with your husband change after you got married?
Happy (belated) Birthday! Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years?
How do you balance time with/for your kids and time for yourself??
Happy Birthday mama!
Tell me, what do you do when you are feeling down? What are some ways you handle stress?
Just now catching up on the blog for this week. So sorry I missed wishing you a happy birthday. I hope your day was as special as you are.
My question to you:
What is your #1 running tip for beginners?
Happy birthday!! Are you a really structured, schedule following type person/mom or are you laid back and a go with the flow kinda gal?
Happy (belated) Birthday! I hope you had a wonderful start to your year.
Are you ever planning to visit Ottawa (that's the capital of Canada)?
Have any tips on dealing with separation anxiety in an attached baby? It's not that I want to leave my child with strangers, but it would be nice if her grandparents could hold her once in a while...
Happy Birthday, Steph!
My question is, how do you keep the love alive in your marriage? You have such an obvious love for your husband, and I want to know how you keep things strong.
Happy Birthday to you! And many more happy, healthy birthdays.....I know that you have mentioned your sister on a post ( pregnant, also )! Do you have any other siblings?
Happy birthday! I wonder, are you a cook, too? Or do you just do everything else really well?
Happy Birthday, Stephanie!
I want to know...a bit more about your household management routine (I'm talking specifically about keeping the house presentable). This is a big struggle in our home even though we both work hard on it!
Just wanted to say Happy Birthday. Are you a capricorn like me? If so I know why you are such a good multi-tasker. :) My question is this: Do you sleep? No really, I see you on Facebook late at night, early in the morning and all the times in between! :) I'm so glad you had such a wonderful day, and I agree that this year is going to be the best year yet!
I love your picture. You're too cute. I must say! Or, do I say that too much? ;)
You mentioned being one of six! I'm what it was like growing up in a large family?
How bout- how old are you? Sorry couldnt resist- actually Im more interested in your birthing experience- as Im going to have my first bio baby, but third cutie pie- Im struggling to find a good provider.
I made wheat sandwich bread from a recipe that I found on All Recipes a few days ago and it was so good!
I think you have talked about this in a post, but: What country would you like to visit and why?
Happy, happy birthday, Stephanie!! Hmmm...what is your favorite guilty pleasure? :)
that's one of my VERY favorite books! i'm going to reread it now.
Happy Birthday! Mine was last week and it is always cold and yucky here. So, what can you do on your birthday that I can't (weather speaking)? Is the weather warm there? Yes, I am a little jealous.
Happy Birthday! That sounds like the perfect day--and I can't wait to see your house in Disney Land :).
Happy Birthday, Stephanie!! My question is blog related. What's your technique for responding to blog comments? I know you get lots of them, and you seem to be so on top of things! My blog is growing, and my plan to respond to each and every comment is starting to overwhelm me.
Happy Birthday!!! My question is; how many children do you plan to have? You are such a dedicated Mom, and goal oriented woman. I assume you've thought about how many children you would have one day.
Ok, Stephanie. First, Happy Birthday!
my question: What do you do to get your teeth so white? And a follow up that's totally unrelated... Did you learn SEO from starting this blog or did you learn it then start the blog? maybe a bit of both?
Happy Birthday! Tell me, how do you keep your upbeat and happy attitude...because I have to tell you, "joy" shines through your writing. I would suspect you are quite content 99.9% of the time. How do you do it...what's your secret?
Happy Birthday!! When you come to Santa Cruz, can I hang out with you and Nini??!! ;)
Also, I know you love your birthing experiences and I may have skipped through the answer to this question, but have you ever considered a home birth? We had one with baby #4 and even my husband said it was the best birth yet!!
Happy Birthday! What was your all time favorited vacation you have taken?
Happy happy birthday to you!
Don't you just love birthdays with little kids? I think my little 3-year-old like other people's birthdays better than his own. He just loves singing the Happy Birthday song, getting balloons, baking a cake, blowing out the candles and, of course, opening presents.
I used to think birthdays were boring after a certain age. But now that I have kids I can see such joys in the little things.
Ok...my question for you is...if you had to decide today, do you think you would have more children? I know you've wrestled with this question on your blog before and I'm curious to see where you're at. I think you're such a great mom and any child born to you should be so lucky to call you their mother. :)
Stephanie, I've been reading your blog faithfully for over two years now. I guess now would be as good a time as any to say thank you for the many times you have inspired me. You truly seem to live what you believe, and you're not afraid to share it. You talk about your faith in God without coming off as preachy or self-righteous. You find joy in so many little things that come with being a Mom. And most recently, you have inspired me to start running. I've made a plan, and I've just started along the path to regular exercise. I know about myself that I need a lot of variety in my workouts, or I'll get bored and quit. So I'll be doing a lot of other things too, but the fact that running is even on the list is a HUGE step for me.
With all that said, I'm curious if you listen to music while you run. I know friends that listen to books on tape and some that use that time to contemplate life and God. I will also be running with two kids in a jogging stroller, so I would like to know what works for you.
Just stopping by to wish you a Happy Birthday. It sounds like you had a wonderful day.
I agree, I think it is going to be your best year ever! Mine too!
Question: Do you have a desire to have a boy and if yes, do you think that affects your decision to have baby #3?
How did your mom raise six of you and you end up being such a confident, well-rounded women? I feel like I'm barely keeping up (sometimes not even that) with four. Oh and, it's driving my crazy, I can only remember five of you: S, J, You, B & K. Who am I forgeting?
Happy Birthday (once again)! Hehe! :) I have a few questions: How did you meet your husband? How do you keep your kids quiet (or quieter in church)? And I'll re-echo the question of how you get your 7 month old to sleep-still struggling with that here too. Oh and since I'm asking, can I know how you handle naps for both your girls?
Thanks Stephanie! :) It's been so much fun getting to "know" you! :)
Happy Birthday! I don't need to enter, but I just wanted to say, I had to read A Severe Mercy in college for a class and it has really stuck with me. I need to dig out my copy and read it again! ;)
My question: What is a fun, easy snack you like to feed your girls?? I'm in need of some new ideas! Crackers and cheerios are starting to get shunned. Help.
My question - what do you make for dinner? I know you like All Recipes, but I would love to know, specifically, what your favorite recipes are. I'm sure they are healthy, but also probably easy to prepare with two little ones running around... I need the suggestions!
In honor of your birthday! What is your favorite flavor of cake?
Happy Happy Birthday....
Now I'd love to know so many things...but what inspires you to write? Where do you glean your wisdom, knowledge, creativity?
How do you keep your 3 year old from talking in a VERY loud voice ALL DAY LONG? mine does this:)
Have you told us your favorite book ever?
Glad you had a fabulous birthday!! My question is: How do you spend your "guilty pleasure time"?? i.e. Do you read any silly magazines or watch tv ever, and if not how do you unwind?
I wear that same Cover Girl tinted moisturizer!
So... what is your biggest regret in life? (Mine is quitting piano in jr. high)
Happy Birthday! So glad you had a perfect day.
Does your 3-year old sleep in a crib or in a toddler bed or in a regular bed or what? We'll hopefully be moving this spring into something with 3 bedrooms and at that point will move Sugar out of her crib and into a different bed - just trying to figure out what we're going to do for her then.
Happy Belated Birthday!
My question--how do you function on such little sleep? :)
can I ask 2? What is your favorite food?
I want to know what your favorite red lipstick is... your smile always makes me feel like I should start wearing red lipstick again...
Happy Birthday as well!
So how tall are you anyways? Maybe its the angles of the photos but you look so leggy and lengthy.
Also, does this mean you are 28 or 29 now? maybe i have it all wrong but i remember thinking we were around the same age.
ps. have you ever tried Mary Kay's three in one moisturizer, sunblock and foundation product? it's that perfect something for my face for summer weddings or a special night out with my husband.
Happy Birthday!! You are a wonderful person, and I'm so glad to have met your e-quaintance. :)
My question is, how do you get yourself up and going in the morning? I know you stay up late working, and I do the same. But I am really having a tough time sticking to a morning schedule lately! (Could be the pregnancy, but still!) Help! :)
I consider myself a pretty positive and optimistic person, but you... WOW! So here is the question. It may piggyback off some previous questions about you being so busy, but beyond that, how do you in your hectic and crazy busy life, manage to ALWAYS be so optimistic, positive, and complimentary to others? In the short time I have known you, I have NEVER seen you down or sad, but most importantly, I have never heard negativity at all! Secret please?
I want to know when you are coming to Santa Cruz to visit or when we get to play in real life?! :) I am so thankful I got to 'meet' you this year! So glad your birthday was one of your best days ever!
Grr.. Musings of a Housewife beat me to my question! LOL. I hope it still counts :/
Happy Birthday :)
I'd like to know how you do it all AND upkeep this blog. I feel like you have so much more things to do than I do, yet (I follow you on twitter), and you keep whipping out new posts! lol. I can't even keep up with my blog and a part time job. -_-
So what keeps you motivated to get it all done?
Happy birthday, dear friend! :-)
And how do you juggle everything that you do and still stay sane? ;-)
Oh! And... Happy Birthday!!!
Tell me how you get your girls to sleep!! I beg of you! My daughter is turning 7 months tomorrow and she is boycotting sleep! Ahh! With being a teacher and having to at work at 7am, I need my sleep too! I'm curious to find out the magical way to get babies to sleep through the night!