me on October 27, 1981

Today is my birthday! Growing up my mom always made our birthdays so special. Now as a mom to 4 kids I try to do the same. Not just for my kids, but I feel like birthdays are a chance to recognize someone and show them that they are special to us. Almost eleven years ago my husband and I adopted a little baby girl. I held my baby in the hallway of a small hospital for the first time. I remember a year later on my daughter's birthday I had thought of that woman who gave birth to my daughter and how grateful I was for her sacrifices and love. 

My mom's flowers that I got her today.

Just a few years later, on my birthday I was the mom of a three year old and had just given birth for the first time to a baby boy. It was an amazing experience and the love I felt for my two children was indescribable. I started a tradition that day that I have kept for eight years now. I buy my mom flowers on my birthday and write her a card. I tell her how much I love her and am thankful that she is my mom. The card usually starts out Happy "Giving Birth" Day! 

On my 2nd birthday with my Grandma and Grandpa Budd and older brother Josh

On my 4th birthday with my Grandma Dennis 

I love birthdays and getting calls and messages telling me happy birthday. I love gifts and cards too! I especially like knowing that I am loved. I often find myself reflecting on my life on my birthday and feeling grateful for the people I have that have been a part of who I am and helped shape and mold me into the person I have become. I have always felt that everyone who we know is a part of us. Big or small they are part of who we are. 

There is a new show on NBC called This Is Us. It has become my new favorite show. I'm kind of obsessed with it. It is brilliant and lovely, and heart-warming. So far there has been 5 episodes and I've cried watching each episode. It is a show about a family, it shows where they came from and where they are now. It shows the good times and the hard times. All of us have a story. On this week's episode it really resonated with me. I want to share a quote from the show. It was the last five minutes of the show and the character Kevin was talking to his two nieces. He was showing them a piece of art that he painted.  

Earlier in the year I painted this picture. I was amazed at the progress the painting made from start to finish. just like us, We have a few rough patches, but we are all beautifully unique.

"Life is full of color, and we each get to come along and we add our own color to the painting. It's really crazy if you think about it. 100 years ago some guy that I never met with a suitcase. He has a son, who has a son, who has me. So at first when I was painting I was think ya, that was that guys part of the painting, down here, that's my part of the painting. And then I start to think, well what if we're all in the painting everywhere. What if we were in the painting before we're even born? What if we're in it after we die? And these colors that we keep adding what if they keep getting added on top of one another? Until eventually we're not even different colors anymore, we're just one thing, one panting. My dad is not with us anymore, but he's with us. He's with me every day. We all just sort of fit somehow and even if you don't understand yet. People will die in our lives; people we love. In the future, maybe tomorrow, maybe years from now. It's kind of beautiful right? If you think about it, the fact that just because someone dies, just because you can't see them or talk to them anymore, it doesn't mean they're not still in the painting. I think that's the point of the whole thing. There's no dying. There's no you, or me or them. It's just us. And this sloppy, wild, colorful, magical thing, that has no beginning, it has no end. It's right here. I think it's us." 

This is us!

I love this so much, because that is what I believe. We have a part of everyone with us. We have our ancestors, our family, friends, children and even my grandchildren who are not here yet. They are all who I am. I'm thankful for those people and for my experiences good and hard times. I've gone through a lot in my life. Things growing up that changed me, choices that were tough. It's my life and I love my life and I am thankful. I am here for myself, my Heavenly Father, my husband, and my children. I am who I am flaws and all. My family is my everything. This is us!