(Photos by Flash! Digital Portraits)

As I sit to write tonight I'm feeling completely conflicted.

I remember not so very long ago thinking people in their 30s were soooo old! Here I am, getting closer to that 40 number with each passing year. I look in the mirror and wonder where the years went.

I remember reading something by a bigwig in the scrapbooking industry several years ago now about celerating your life and documenting it in some capacity. As moms we tend to be so focused on our kids that at times we neglect ourselves. I have really wanted to do some sort of book or even just a page "about me" for some time. I thought 30 or 35 would be perfect, but unfortunately it never happened. I'm not getting any younger, so I decided not to wait for another big even milestone. 37 it is. So, I booked a photoshoot- a first. I realize now that I've spent a lifetime dwelling on my imperfections.

We are all a composite of specific genetic variables and really have little say in the outcome. We are who we are. Sure, certain life choices may play some part. I think it's time to embrace who I am and to accept myself, flaws and all.

So, in my first attempt to define and embrace me I've compiled two lists- quirks and loves. This is mostly for me. It's something I've been mentally working on for a couple weeks now. You can feel free to skip this section.

37 Alicia Quirks
1. Am a list maker.
2. Can only be in a jet tub for 15 min max before hyperventilating.
3. Cannot make decisions, especially under pressure.
4. Hoard photos digitally- have 3 external hard drives.
5. Forget to eat when engrossed in a project, but can eat like a pig otherwise.
6. Constantly pick at hangnails. 2 fingers are permanently damaged.
7. Can’t function in chaos or disorganization; am an avid organizer.
8. Cursed with super strong sense of smell.
9. Always cold. Go to bed with more clothes than I wake up with.
10. Pool water on bathroom counter. Still a mystery.
11. Earphones don’t stay in ears.
12. Sluggish digestive issues.
13. Horrible time management skills.
14. Perfectionist mentality with all tasks.
15. Can get easily overwhelmed.
16. Require 8 hours of sleep. Hate mornings.
17. Very oily skin, will hopefully be a blessing and not a curse one day.
18. Phobias: heights, tight spaces, bridges, and forks.
19. Mind never stops; very scattered thoughts.
20. Prone to TMJ. The mere thought of eating a fat sandwich can set it off.
21. Prefer baking over cooking.
22. I write using my thumb, index, and middle fingers and have indentations accordingly.
23. Am hardly ever thirsty, making it hard to consume the recommended amt of water.
24. Suffer from S.A.D. annually.
25. Very detailed dreams.
26. Love stability, but long for more spontaneity.
27. Talk/laugh when nervous or uncomfortable; shy until I know someone well.
28. Love being one with nature, but will only tent camp 2 days max w/o running water.
29. Have a soft spot for animals, but hate having pets in my home.
30. Apply (and advocate) sunscreen liberally ever since I had to have 2 moles removed.
31. Would die if couldn’t have carbs any more (always have weird carb cravings)
32. Shopping in home office stores makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
33. Bad restaurant experiences can scar me for life, or at least a very long time.
34. Require sunshine and exercise.
35. Have a poor memory; have forgotten half my childhood.
36. Can choke on air.
37. Allergies to mold, which lead to regular sinus infections.

37 Things I Love
1. acnefree system
2. hummus
3. long tube socks
4. movie nights
5. zeno
6. oil absorbing sheets
7. rockaholic dirty secret dry shampoo
8. spiral curling iron
9. clorox wipes
10. panera rye bread
11. photoshop elements
12. magic eraser
13. angel food cake with white fluffy icing
14. canon cameras
15. sunglasses from gordmans
16. buckle jeans
17. target sales
18. sunny days
19. tulips
20. salt and vinegar chips
21. american idol
22. lifetime movies
23. chi iron
24. watermelon cube gum
25. arm and hammer toothpaste
26. the smell of pickles
27. fingerless gloves
28. fresh snow
29. iphone
30. boggle/word games
31. beautiful sunsets
32. panera baked potato soup
33. good old fashioned scary movies
34. the beach
35. taking photos
36. dvr
37. music of all genres, mostly alternative lately

I follow several blogs on a regular basis that inspire me. There are two that have truly touched me recently and made me stop and reevaluate my priorities. One of them is She was the 2009 creating keepsake scrapbooker of the year. She was recently diagnosed with a rare disease called NMO (Neuromyelitis Optica), also known as Devics Disease after she lost sight in one eye. She doesn't know what the future holds for her. She writes, "So just for today ... I take a few short moments, (and challenge you to do the same) to look at my kids and burn their image into my mind. Just for today I embrace the moment I see the man of my dreams, walk through the door and give me that beautiful smile. Just for today I am enjoying every moment, every second, and every minute ... because tomorrow I might not be able to."

The other blog that puts me in my place is Stephanie and Christian Nielson are truly an inspiration. They survived a small plane crash where they were both severely burned and somehow survived. Stephanie suffered burns over 80% of her body and was put in a medically induced coma. That's when I started following their story. It makes it hard to complain after reading about the challenges she faces on a regular daily basis.

There are so many amazing people out there that go through trials I will never experience or even begin to understand. But they lift me and inspire me to celebrate the life I have and not take anything for granted.

37 was actually not too painful. It was nice to be able to spend the day with my husband. He has got to be one of the most thoughtful people I know. He actually got up after I was asleep last night to make my cake since he is working tonight. Then he got up early to get breakfast. We went shopping and to a movie I know he didn't want to see. It was a day of pampering all the way around. I had sweet, thoughtful gifts and b-day wishes from family and friends all day. Thanks for remembering me. It was a great birthday!


  1. Happy Birthday- and what an excellent blog!!!!

    I can't believe you were able to think of 37 quirks and 37 likes. I have a hard time coming up with 8. I may steal it for my 23rd b-day blog. ;) Those lists are beneficial though. When you forget who you are or are trying to re-discover your "self" thinking of things like that can help. When having an identity crisis at the age of 12 I CLUNG to the Anna-fact that I hated camping. I KNEW that I didn't like camping, but I didn't know much else about myself. haha.

    You are divinely Alicia. And I laughed out loud when I read the forks phobia. Because I remember why!!! I won't get into detail..haha.

    I'm glad you are remembering yourself during this time, and I'm glad you had a good day. You are great Alicia and I love you!!! Happy Birthday!

    Anna Lisa

  2. Happy Birthday to YOU!!! I must say you don't look at all like 37. Not even 27. How do you do it? I also must add that I am proud of you that you would schedule a photoshoot for yourself- not many woman would ever do that and I think it's awesome. Look are beautiful.

    Wish we lived closer too. I think we would have a lot of fun together. I need a good friend here. It stinks. My kids are my best friend. Hey, I am going to try your hummus tonight. Can't wait. Love that stuff but it is so darn expensive- this may be the solution. My hubby eats it like by the spoonful.

    Wanted to ask you if you have printed up your blog? I want to do that but need a recommendation who to go through. How is 365 going? I think this year I may try the digital version. I have a kit but may keep that for my kids to do month layouts in. What are you doing?

    Happy Saturday. Hope you get lots done. Keep in touch.