Yesterday, I woke to Ruby singing to me. I nursed my girl and Andy brought me coffee in bed (really, just handed it to me as the stove is only a few feet away) in a mug that read You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. He left for work before the sun rose, a quick kiss and soft smile. Happy birthday, babe he said.

I am 34.


My daughters and I went to my sewing studio early, I got all my work done by 10. Then, they went to a play date at Bobby’s and I hiked with Alice over shiny ice, under brilliant sun. I fetched the girls, they had made me some art for my birthday. We had planned to meet Andy for lunch. It didn’t work out because of a tired Ruby and busy daddy so we drove to his job site with gourmet sandwiches and ate in our ratty Subaru, our funny family of four.

Ruby napped, Margot didn’t. I put laundry away while Margot protested and I encouraged her to talk quietly so her sister could sleep. Ruby woke after a bit and we danced to Ben Harper. They sang Happy Birthday for the 79th time that day. Andy got home from work, tired and ready for a hot shower. I took off, met friends for wine and a fabulous salad of beets, parsley, goat cheese and cubed, marinated bread. I came home to the rainbow cake Margot had dreamed up for me. We made a wish.


34 things I love right now:
(click to read 33, 32, 31 and 30)

1. Witnessing their relationship.


2. Tall socks over tights under boots. I like warm feet.
3. Spinach.
4. My new home.
5. Making art with my kids.
6. The depth of my husband’s kindness and calmness.


7. Good, motivated people.
8. New earrings.
9. Allegiant added Missoula-Oakland to their flight schedule and I’ll get to see my best friends, Lindsay and Paige, with more regularity.
10. Planning my new garden plot.
11. Every morning, my daughters eat oatmeal with honey, peanut butter and rice milk while watching deer out the window.


12. Stormy winter sky.


13. This quote:
Whatever you’re thinking about is literally like planning a future event. When you’re worrying, you are planning. When you’re appreciating you are planning…What are you planning? – Abraham Hicks
14. Hot pink.
15. This organic, raw shea butter. It’s all I use head to toe (hair included!).
16. Instagram. Loving this photo app. (I’m @nicirae if you follow these sorts of things.)


17. My pets.
18. Ruby’s blue eyes, blond curls and buttermilk biscuit cheeks.


19. Margot’s brown eyes, sass and no-longer-a-baby-but-still-my-baby face.



20. Clean sheets.
21. My work. (psst sale in the shop right now!)
22. Watching my strong, athletic kid love gymnastics.


23. Technology that allows my kids to see and talk to their friends in Spain and Mexico.


24. A good yawn.
25. Sledding.
26. Imagining human rights for gay people being as mainstream as women voting when my daughters are grown.
27. Hiking with my hair down.


28. Checking items off my to-do list.
29. Beets.
30. Kissing.
31. Margot changes Ruby’s diaper.


32. Sharing wine with friends who are family.
33. New, fine point permanent markers.
34. That very first moment I wake up every morning.


48 Responses to 34.

  1. Ailene C says:

    Happy birthday, Nici! Here’s a wonderful new year of your life. Love your blog. You are inspiring.

  2. ~ Laura says:

    Happy Birthday to You!!!! I hope your new year is full of blessings!!! Your list is heartwarming and inspiring…thank you for sharing!! :)

  3. melody says:

    happy happy birthday to the raddest mama i know!!! i love this list :) and i am just LOVING that pic of margot with the mop. she is too cool for words. also, her gymnastics gettup is pretty rockin too. so glad your day was special! coffee delivery in bed is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it :) 34 is going to ROCK.

  4. Amy L. says:

    Happy birthday, Nici! That quote is super…perfect for me today!

  5. Oh, Happy Birthday sweet mama pal. I love your list of *34* things, and I think # is my favorite. #6 is my favorite. Not because I love Andy, but I feel the same way about my man and it truly is what keeps my home of ladies swirling so happily, so well. May your birthday celebrations lead you to a fabulous weekend. xoxo

  6. Cait says:

    Happy birthday, Nici! What a fabulous list of things to love you have.

  7. Ah, I am so inspired by your lists each year. Your’s is truly one of my favorite blogs and it has been really fun to be a reader all these years. Happy 34th birthday!

  8. Marti says:

    I hope you had a great birthday!

  9. ctb says:

    happy day of your birth sista!

  10. Louise says:

    Awww. Happy birthday.

  11. paigegreen says:

    Yaaaaay cheap flights to Oakland. And I love Margot changing Ruby’s diaper. So awesome. Can’t wait to celebrate life with you soon. xo

  12. paigegreen says:

    Yaaaaay cheap flights to Oakland. And I love Margot changing Ruby’s diaper. So awesome. Can’t wait to celebrate life with you soon. xo

  13. Rhett says:

    Well, those are 34 very fine things! I love a lot of them, too. Happy Birthday!

  14. erin says:

    Happy 34th! Awesome list. I always look forward to reading your new posts. You are inspiring.

    P.S. My neighbors have a dog that looks just like Alice, only his name is Sam. I always catch myself calling that dude Alice. Ha!

  15. Happy Birthday Nici. Sending you 34 virutal birthday wishes :) And wishing you a great year full of awesome adventures & fun!
    I love Margot’s cleaning outfit…and the wink :)
    Have a good one.

  16. Jenelle says:

    First, happy birthday!!!

    Second, a nursing question… I want to continue nursing my now-9-month-old daughter for, like, ever. But I work full time. Do you think that if I stop pumping at work during the day after she’s a year old that I’ll still be able to nurse her at home? I ask because obviously you’ve been able to continue on with Ruby, and, therefore, you have more knowledge than me about long term nursing. :)

  17. ♥ Mary ♥ says:

    Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day :)

  18. happy Birthday from the UK!

  19. Sharing your love of #2 and #33. :) Happy 34!

  20. Homestead says:

    I love this list.

    Also… some unasked for advice to Janelle who commented above….

    I also work full time and stopped pumping at work when my kids (3 of them) were a year old and continued to nurse for another year or more. It works just fine. And giving up the pump was such a relief… Pumping is my least favorite part of motherhood. (My second least favorite part… in case you were wondering…. is sorting out too small clothes….)

  21. Kelly says:

    Happy Birthday, Nici! I love your list.

  22. Amanda says:

    Happy Birthday, mommy!

  23. Katie says:

    Happy 34! Love Margot mopping in her fancy dress. And Ruby looks so so old all of a sudden…more and more little girl than baby. My baby’s almost 2 and her “baby” is disappearing by the day. :(

  24. Zoe says:

    Happy Happy Birthday! I’m so glad you had a wonderful day with your sweet family.

  25. Tina says:

    A very happy birthday to you, Nici. Hope it was all kinds of wonderful.

  26. tomsgirl1129 says:

    Happy Birthday! I so enjoyed reading your list! I am thinking of mine right now!

  27. TRB Holt says:

    I was so hoping for you to do this…Happy Birthday sweetie!

    I love you Burb….Mom

  28. Sarah says:

    Happy Birthday.
    I’m having a weird day – this is the best thing I’ve read all day.

  29. Kelle says:

    The doors are open and there’s a good breeze tonight. Got my drink poured and I knew there would eventually be a good 34 things I’d like to read tonight. Didn’t disappoint. Happy Birthday, my Montana friend. On occasions like these, I like to think back when we were both “young” and mamas of one. Finding each others’ blogs. Following along until we spoke up. Who would have thought? We’ve met. Peed our pants together. Cried together. Experienced really raw moments holding a phone with each others’ voices. How cool is that? Can’t wait to see what else is in store. Sister, in your thirty-fifth year, you will jump off a dock with me at the Isle of Capri. We will watch a Florida sunset together and see our girls build sand castles. xoxo Love you. Happy Birthday.

  30. Karisa says:

    Happy Birthday Nici! Love your list…as my own 34th birthday approaches in less than two months, I suddenly have a much improved attitude about officially entering my mid-thirties. Your #1 is mine as well.

  31. You had me at beets.

    Oh, and I like the way you party.

  32. Hazel says:

    Happy Birthday Nici.
    Loving your list, and that you continue to find new things each year. Sounded like you had a pretty perfect day.

  33. Oh, these lists. I love reading them. Seeing how they evolve over the years. I am reading the book “One Thousand Gifts” and promotes the reader to be thankful and joyful by writing a list of 1000 things in your life to celebrate.

    Happiest birthday wishes to you.

    And btw, I came across this mushing sled this morning and thought of your clan enjoying the stretch of land that blankets your abode. It looks like a piss of a good time.

    Here’s wishing you many more days of happiness.


  34. Daniele says:

    Feliz cumple Nici!! xo

  35. Kelly Cach says:

    Happy Birthday! The pics of you are beautiful!!! I have hair envy :)
    And your pictures always have the best light…..or maybe it’s you bringing the light :) And your wall is turning out to be an awesome backdrop for cute, cute kiddos!

  36. Lucy says:

    And now there are 34 comments. I will be the 35th. What a beautiful list, and it improves my mood which turned sour after my 2 year old found my FAVORITE earrings on my desk and managed to lose one (while I was on the toilet). I love #34. I feel the same way. The very first moment I wake up is sweet, whether or not I got much sleep the night before :)

  37. Jane says:

    Happy Birthday. I had my first child when I was 34. It was a great year.

    And thank you for your blog, both the writing and the fantastic photo’s.

  38. Noelani P says:

    Happy Birthday! I hope you get to experience every one of those 34 favorite things today.

  39. What a fun post!! Cheers!

  40. cygnetsmall says:

    Happy Birthday! Haha, I’m totally cracking up at that diaper changing picture, my 1.5 year “changes” my 6 year old’s “poo-poos”. Keep enjoying those little sweets!

  41. Yuliya says:

    Happy happy birthday!

  42. ~ jessica says:

    Happy Birthday! And amen to # 26!

  43. Katie says:

    Happy Birthday- it sounds like it was a lovely day & I loved the optimism & joy in this post!

  44. Just found you via 6512 & Growing. Your writing is like sunshine. Just beautiful, thanks for sharing.

    Happy Birthday!

  45. Annie says:

    Happy Birthday Nici! fun pics. and fun to read.

  46. Nici, I’m glad you had a wonderful birthday. Gotta say, at 40 it just gets better and better. Hard to believe it could get better I know! Such a beautiful and wonderfully creative and supportive family. Drink them in.

  47. FinnyKnits says:

    Super huge belated but still huge birthday, sister! 34 is only a few months off for me and I look to you for inspiration. Make it great! Though, I don’t have to tell you that – you’re the master of Making It Great.

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