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1st or 30th. It’s a bid deal, regardless. |

1st or 30th. It’s a bid deal, regardless.

I’m not good at throwing birthday parties. I do try to make the day special, but a big “to do” affair is rarely part of the celebration. Someday, when I have more time and resources, I’ll get better at the formal party thing. I keep promising myself that.

Because when I  try, I end up baking cakes that will forever be referred to as “the turd cake”.

seven turd cake

Or singing a chaotic rendition of happy birthday, complete with hulk smashing the candles out, stepping on pinky toes, and odd Adam Sandler voice-overs.

But you know what? I’m positive I make my kids feel special on their bid day, and they go to bed with their little love tanks filled up. Kinda quirky, lots of weird, not always traditional, but always full of good intentions, that’s my parenting style. I’ve convinced myself that even the most low key of events can make for the most special and memorable memories.

Over the last 10 days, two of my favorite people in the whole world had very important birthdays. My nephew turned 1, and one of my best friends in the whole world turned 30.

Andrew’s 1st birthday, it was a big deal.

You see, up until about 9 days before Andrew was born, we had no idea this little blessing of a baby boy even existed. Through the miracle of an amazing (and lightening speed) adoption journey, he found his way into our family forever.













And because of that hard, painful, but beautiful process, my sister and brother-in-law celebrated Andrews birth by throwing him an epic Dr. Seuss themed party.

Chocolate birthday cake? Yes please.

Thing 1 and Thing 2? Come sit on my lap… (That’s my sister and her new boyfriend. In our family, that’s how you meet the family. Yes, this was the first time we ever met him. I think the blue hair and unitard  suits him well)

But because of school, Piper wasn’t able to make it to the party. Instead, she gave the gift of the year. A recordable storybook by Hallmark. When I first discovered the recordable storybooks, I thought they would be a cute way for a parent or grandparent to read a book to a child. But you guys, Piper recorded a story for Andrew, and it seriously melted the hearts of every single person at the party. So absolutely adorable to hear a 7 year old’s high pitched voice stumble though the pages. A priceless moment in time.

Andrew’s first birthday, it was a gigantic deal.

And then one week later, I got to celebrate Casey’s 30th birthday. If you know Casey, you know that birthdays are a HUGE deal to her. Casey’s the kind of girl that can make anyone feel loved and special through her amazing words and photos.

Casey’s 30th birthday, it was a huge deal.

casey turns 30.

Much of Casey’s and I’s relationship has been solidified over cured meats, stinky cheeses, and the written word. So for her 30th birthday, I knew exactly how to celebrate her.

With a generous plate of meats and cheeses.

now this is a party...

And a simple card shower.












See what I mean about her photos? The way they make you feel? All I asked her to do was take a quick camera phone snapshot of the stack of cards she received on her birthday, and this is what she sent me a few minutes later.

Hallmark just rolled out a brilliant (and free) service called “card showers“. Setting it up (and even participating) is quick and simple, I know, I’ve been on both ends of a couple card showers already. And honestly, who doesn’t love opening up the mailbox and finding a stack of lovely cards?

For Casey, it’s the least I could do.

Gah, I love birthdays. More specifically, I love celebrating and honoring the people in my life that make everyday is beautiful.


I’m super excited to be partnering with Hallmark this year for its “Life Is A Special Occasion” campaign. It’s truly my honor to be able to tell you stories about my everyday special moments, like celebrating birthdays.  Sharing my stories and having them sponsored by Hallmark is a dream come true. Please consider signing up for Hallmarks e-newsletter, where you’ll receive discounts, special offers, and other fun stuff.




  1. So fun.

    And I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen a kid demolish a chocolate cake quite like that. 🙂
    Katie recently posted..Wordless Wednesday


  2. That was lovely. And, my dear, you and I should take a baking class together because the turd cake looks similar to what I produce on birthdays. I try, I really do. I was never able to bake like my momma, that’s for sure.
    Birthdays are wonderful and the friendship between you and Casey is wonderful to see. You two are very blessed people to have each other and so much more! Love ya! xx


  3. very sweet. and your sisters boyfriend is a great sport!!
    i try to make birthdays special here, too. although i am not a good party planner or anything like that. tomorrow my oldest turns 6 🙂


  4. I loved sending Casey her card 🙂 It was so fun to do that for her. What a great idea Emily! 🙂
    Kim recently posted..Elliott Joseph is One.


  5. I hope Drew has as good of friends at 30 as I do. He’s a lucky kid to get to go to the family he did.
    moosh in indy. recently posted..curves, love, strength and beauty.


  6. How fun, I like celebration, happy birthday Casey 🙂


  7. Yay birthdays! 🙂 And I’m glad my card made it. I see it on the wall. heart smile.


  8. I spy my randomly ridiculous cat card.

    I couldn’t find a card that said all that Casey means, so I got her a cat flying at another cat.

    also? Card showers are this shiz. I have participated in a couple now and I get all foot itchy excited waiting to hear how awesome it was.

    I mean REAL MAIL! who doesn’t LOVE that?
    Katie recently posted..those are designer bags under my eyes


  9. Birthdays are a huge deal for people we love! And your cake! Love it. Just be proud you made it! 🙂

    You and Casey are both incredible.

    And a card shower sounds like better than other gift, for real.



  10. That turd cake still cracks me up! And I see my card! SO wish I could have been there in person.



  11. I try, I really do. I was never able to bake like my momma, that’s for sure.
    Perry recently posted..Accommodation In Chamonix


  12. I couldn’t find a card that said all that Casey means, so I got her a cat flying at another cat.
    Ella recently posted..Low Carb Diets That Work


  13. As someone who is hosting a birthday party this Saturday, I’m far more nervous about it than I was last weekend when I ran my half marathon. Children in my home are daunting.

    Love the story about Andrew and about Casey. I love cured meats and the written word, too, and my birthday is March 20th. Just so you know.
    Jennifer, Playgroups are no place for children recently posted..I won! And by “won,” I mean I finished and didn’t come in last!


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