Little Birthday Luxuries

As the weekend comes to a close, I’m thankful for small memories that are built upon small moments and real conversations with people who know my heart.

For my birthday this year, Bill and I each took the day off of work so we could spend the whole day together. Now that we no longer carpool together to work and we each have several commitments on most weekends (see the last post), a full day together feels like a luxury. After waking up without an alarm (also a luxury!), Bill made me stay in bed so he could bring me the first treat of the day. He came into the room carrying a plateful of homemade cookies lit with birthday candles; and he good-naturedly continued to hold them while I scrambled to get my camera to capture the moment!


We spent most of the morning opening a couple presents and rearranging our guest room. My in-laws gave me a beautiful new rug for my birthday, and Bill and I had recently ordered a delectable new chair for our ‘Dream Space,’ which is what we’ve termed our little loft that we use for reading, editing photos, and doing homework. Bill indulged me in setting into the project of incorporating the new rug into our apartment without delay. We love our little apartment, but our guest room has been a cold (in temperature) and mish-mashed room that we often keep closed off so we don’t have to think about it or waste heat on it. After removing all the furniture, a thorough vacuuming, and playing furniture Tetris, we stood back in satisfaction. The rug and a new furniture arrangement left us looking at the room with delight. It’s funny how some brightness and rearranging can revive something.


My childhood stuffed animal, Betsy, gets a prominent seat in the guest room, sitting in front of a fun pillow from Finland.

We then brought the new chair that had just arrived upstairs (and cleaned up a million little foam packing pieces that had the crazy ability to stick to everything!). After we assembled and admired it, Bill put it to use as he sat down and read a book (errr watched YouTube videos…) while I worked on graphic design homework. This design program I’ve started is no joke, and I couldn’t afford not to spend several hours working on a project during the day. It challenged my creativity in a good way, and reminded us that we’re using our dream space for exactly what we hoped for: to chase after our dreams and glean inspiration. That often means long hours at the computer or flopped on our stomachs on the floor reading or sketching, because change and dreams don’t come overnight. So it’s fun to pick up our heads and remember that we’re doing exactly what we previously had hoped.


After completing homework for the day, we headed into the city to a little coffee shop in Georgetown. I wanted to go into the city for the day because we both like its buzz. It makes me feel like exploring, and yet also makes me want to tuck into a corner of a little restaurant and let the whole world keep swirling around us. Bill had picked out a coffee shop that shares a space with a sandwich shop. The friendliest barista took our order, and we found a table and let the world spin around us as we talked.

To round out the evening, Bill cooked me a delicious meal of seared scallops, and we talked to our families about the day. It feels indulgent to have people ask all about you and your day and what you are excited about, so those conversations were special. I can’t forget last weekend when my best girlfriends took me out to dinner for a pre-birthday celebration. We talked for hours about our lives, got dessert, and continued to talk for another hour wrapped in blankets on my couch. They know how to make me feel loved with quality time, asking questions, and really listening. On top of all that, the evening before my birthday I had received a call from the cutest nephew who excitedly sang me happy birthday in his little voice and asked how my day had been. Talk about heart melting.


The day after your birthday always feels a bit like the day after Christmas to me; the one day for which you had so much anticipation is over and you don’t want to go back to normal life. Bill, the sweetest husband out there, told me I should still think of the whole weekend as my birthday, and with breakfast he set out a final birthday surprise…

PASSION FRUIT! Simply looking at the weird, gooey, bright yellow centers made my mouth water with tangy sweetness. I first discovered this gem of a fruit in India and Thailand, and South Africa had them too. Our favorite grocery store in Pretoria had bags of passion fruit (or grenadillas, technically) for several months of the year. We never figured out the season, so each week we’d be nervous it would be the last week of the passion fruit season and would buy most of the bags on the shelf. The cashiers looked at us strangely and asked what we did with that many grenadillas. We explained that we’d eat a bag of them at breakfast each morning. Apparently that wasn’t normal, but, oh goodness, they were SO GOOD. This weekend was the first time I’ve had passion fruit since we’ve been in the U.S. because they’re rare and expensive here. We savored two of these weird dinosaur-egg fruits and laughed about memories in South Africa.


The weekend is about to come to a close, and I’m reluctant to go back to the daily grind. But into the new week – and into this next year of life – I’ll take with me cherished memories of continuing to make our apartment our little home, letting the world spin around us as we’re engrossed in our own conversations and stories with each other, the mouthwatering passion fruit that reminds me of months of breakfasts together, and making small new memories of little luxuries that are deep with meaning.



  1. You so deserve to be celebrated for the entire weekend, heck I say the whole month of January! Your life and how God created you is a blessing to me and all who know you. Cheers to a next great year friend!!


  2. Sounds like a wonderful weekend from start to finish! I love the way you narrate and find the tiniest, fun pieces of an experience to tell us about – similar to your photography style. You have quite the knack for showcasing details!


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