Turning 31

IMG_7768If 28 showed you a portrait of who I was

If 29 was ripe with possibility

If 30 was for being a better me

then turning 31 is learning the balance between being selfless and selfish.

It’s my birthday and all I can think about is how this day is not about me.

I woke up in the morning and went to Wolverine’s fall ball game. I spent the day breastfeeding and taking care of a brand new baby. In the afternoon we did a fantasy football draft. Dinner was fun. We actually made it out to a restaurant, and the baby was kind enough to sleep through the dinner so I could eat. That was, however, short lived, as I spent the majority of the evening just trying to get her to sleep and listening to her scream and cry. For a year or two before the baby, Mr. O, Wolverine and I spent our Saturday evenings having a family movie night. We took turns choosing the movies, and we always had some special treat to eat. Well, Mr. O and Wolverine were able to watch the movie together. They got to eat a snack. And when I could finally get the baby to sleep, both of the boys were asleep, and I was alone on my birthday.

Honestly, I mostly didn’t care. I love fall ball. It was fun to do our first family football draft (even though I don’t really watch or know much about football). I was happy that the boys enjoyed themselves. Most of all, I was so pleased to have a baby to feed and calm and snuggle, even if she was crying.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel a bit alone at the end of the evening.

So I did the what I thought was best. I grabbed an ice cream cone and a candle, and I made a wish enjoyed my treat in my living room before I went to bed.

So I guess you could say that my first day as a thirty-one-year old was a day that I tried to balance Selfish Erin with Selfless Erin. I definitely didn’t find a balance. I’m not sure I will find it tomorrow, next week, or next month. I might not even figure out how to find the balance before I turn thirty-two. Being selfless is important as a mother and a wife and a good human, but it’s not healthy to be 100% selfless. It’s healthy to be selfish in the sense that I’m taking care of myself and putting my needs first (and sometimes my wants, too).

I don’t think I have it all figured out just yet, but I do know that I like where I’m heading. I’m surrounded by the best people in the world. I have a husband I love who makes sure that all of my needs are met and helps keep our household healthy and happy. I have two beautiful, wonderful children who fill my days with endless joy. I am in awe of them.

So turning 31 went well overall. I look forward to this new phase of my life I’m entering.


My Life at 30

Photo on 9-5-14 at 1.41 PMToday I woke up in a new decade of my life.

I barely recognize the Erin of one year ago. I have a new name, a new job, a husband, and a stepson.

And I am so grateful.

I started this year with the intention to be better Erin. I’m really proud of how I’ve grown in 2014, and how I’ve experienced life. Even though I’ve barely written much this year, I’ve been thinking about how to be more intentional here, and have decided to post “who I am” once a month.

On 30: Day One
Wolverine is back to school and playing fall ball, so our little family is getting used to the change in routine. Earlier bedtimes, new school, completing homework… I love this season of starting fresh.

Work is still great. I’m learning more and writing more. Some days are easy, some days are a struggle, but I’m developing a routine and that feels good. I feel so fortune to work with coworkers that I enjoy spending my time with. They surprised me with an ice cream cake and balloons on my birthday. It just feels nice to be part of a team.

I love my husband. We’re just shy of three months of marriage. He’s the best.

The weather is already getting cooler. I love the weather, but I’m already dreading the winter.

I’m so excited about pumpkin coffee and my cold brew coffee maker.

Spry is awesome as always. That journal rocks my world. We are reading submissions until the end of the month and then we will curate our fifth issue.

What I’m looking forward to in the first full month of my thirties: Wolverine’s baseball banquet. Finalizing Spry’s next issue. Fall ball. Mr. O’s birthday. Trying to bargain-shop for Christmas presents early. Buying baby shower gifts for my best friend. Getting more efficient at work. Pumpkin coffee. Keeping my fingers crossed that the traffic eases up at work.

20 Weeks

In twenty weeks, I will turn 30 years old, and enter a new decade of my life.

I’m actually pretty excited by this. I’ve never had the turning-30 fear that most of my friends have experienced. It doesn’t stress me out or make me feel old. In my world, the first 25 years were about figuring out who I am, and since then, things have just gotten better and better. I feel like I’m going into my thirties with a great grasp of who I am, where I am in life, and who and where I want to be.

But the closer I get to 30, the more I want to create an awesome ending to my twenties.

Seeing as how I’m at my 20 week mark, I figured now would be a good time to celebrate the end of my twenties. Over the next twenty weeks, I’m going to do a weekly post celebrating my twenties. For each of the first ten posts, I’ll be focusing on each year of my 20s. From there, I’ll post about the most memorable moments of this past decade.

And then… I’ll be 30, and starting a brand new chapter.

2013 World Series Champions: The Boston Red Sox


I am so very excited that the Red Sox won the World Series last night, especially since yesterday was my MFA Big Brother’s birthday.

I was planning to write about our engagement today, but I’m just so excited, so I thought I’d dedicate this post to Red Sox Nation. Go team.

Boston Strong.




Welcome, twenty-nine.

Last year I wrote a post on who I was at 28. I just reread the post, and most of it still rings true. For the second year in a row, I still have brown hair. I still no longer need glasses. I still wear my Pandora bracelet from Mr. O, and I still do too many projects at work at once. I still have scars. I still carry around a purse filled with various items, although there are no cough drops in there this year, which I consider a win. It is so interesting in how much has changed in the past year, while at the same time, how very little has changed as well.

This morning, a friend accidentally posted, “Happy New Year!” on my Facebook wall. I thought to myself, as I was laying in bed reading my early morning birthday messages, “What an interesting, yet appropriate, way to say happy birthday to someone.” Then my friend deleted the post from my wall and sent me a message to say that it was meant for her wall, and wished me a happy birthday. I was confused. Later, I looked at my work calendar and realized today is Rosh Hashanah and my friend is Jewish. So the Facebook slip up made much more sense. The whole post really got me thinking. For me–and for those of the Jewish faith–today is the beginning of a new year. I think from now on, when I think of birthdays, I’m going to realize they are ripe with possibility. I’m going to wish my friends a happy new year of their lives.

So far, my favorite parts of the day have been: 1) Getting a birthday text message from my best friend and then getting the same exact message sent to me on Facebook. When I called her out on a “copy and paste” she told me she typed the same thing out twice, and it isn’t official until its Facebook official! 2) Birthday coupons! Yes, CVS, I will take those extra coupons off your hand. You know you’re getting old when you get real excited about birthday coupons. 3) Youth football practice. 4) My homemade birthday cards from Mr. O and Wolverine. Overall, it was a really nice day.

Welcome, 29. Let’s do this.20130905-190735.jpg

Starting Fresh: The Beginning

So two weeks ago, I wrote about how I was starting over.

I’m happy to report that two weeks have gone by, and I feel pretty successful. A few days after I wrote that post, we went on a fun-filled, awesome family vacation for a week, and now we’ve been home a few days. To be completely honest, the reason I’ve been so successful is largely due to my vacation. It was a happy time that focused 100% on me and my two guys. Okay, to be fair, there was a teeny tiny bit of reading for Spry that took place during one of our low-key days, but that only helped accomplish my refocusing, so all is good in the hood.

When we got home we celebrated Wolverine’s 7th birthday and my father’s birthday (on the same day). I love those two guys so much, and I’m so happy to celebrate them both. Both of them have significantly influenced me and changed my life, and I’m so happy I have such great guys in my life.

I’m so excited to kick-start my eating and exercising again now that I am home from vacation. Usually, one of my favorite parts of going on vacation is eating out, but I can’t quite say I loved all the burgers and pizza and french fries and junk I consumed while in Orlando. My body is loving the fact that I’m fueling it with green juice. I never thought I’d enjoy healthy eating as much as I do now. I guess that means I’m getting older. To top off my new wellness lifestyle, I’ll be going to yoga for the first time with my best friend on Sunday.

Life is good, friends. It does take effort to  make big life changes, but I relish the easy moments of wonderfulness like being on vacation with my guys.

Summertime and the living is easy…

I like new beginnings. Remember how excited I was to start the new year? I think it is just the idea of starting fresh.

The idea of 2013 was super exciting for me. I had big plans, and so far it has been a pretty good year. But I feel like I’ve been so busy this entire year trying to do so many things that I haven’t quite experienced the past 5 1/2 months. I’m not a fan of that. I’ve spent too much of my short life rushing through things, and starting in 2010, I really learned to absorb and experience the moments in my life. I need to find a way back there.

So today, my friends, is a new beginning. There is nothing like the beginning of summer to start fresh, to relish in the upcoming moments. I love summer and I can’t wait to refocus my life and my priorities.

I can’t wait to spend time with Wolverine and Mr. O. This summer we have our big family vacation, weekend camping trips, baseball games, and so many other activities planned (like Wolverine’s massive birthday party). I really can’t wait for every event, but I’m going to make every effort to be as present as possible during all the activities.

I plan on taking the summer to enjoy time with my friends and family, work on Spry, kick-start my own writing and focus on my career track.

Happy Birthday, Cinderella!

Today is my best friend’s birthday. She and I have known each other since we were in kindergarten. We were in the same class from firs grade to eighth grade, and then we went to high school and college together. We’ve been friends for a long time and I couldn’t be more grateful for her in my life. I think she’s read this blog like two times, so who knows if she will ever read this post. I was going to post a goofy picture of the two of us, but if she ever found it, she would probably de-friend me. So instead, I’ve posted a cartoon version of her. Happy Birthday, Cinderella.


Who I am At 28

Note: This was originally drafted the week of my birthday, although I never finished it. I just read it in my drafts folder, and thought it was a good post to share, even if it isn’t fully complete. So here is something written last month, in my last few days of being 27.


A few years ago, I would make some pretty stellar birthday lists. No, not as wish lists, but more like “lessons I’ve learned” or “goals for the coming year” kind of lists. Somewhere in the past few years (I blame grad school), I stopped making these lists. After reading Jenn’s most recent post about her 25th birthday (Happy Birthday, Jenn!), I decided to not let another year go by without writing something. Now, I have enough goals to last me, you, and your extended family a few years so there is no need to come up with any more. (I’ll just finally put some effort into my 101 in 1001 list!)  So here is a portrait of who I am (inspired by Nora from last year if you can believe it*) at the age of 28.

If you look at my hair, you will see that for the first birthday of my life, I am a brunette. There were days in the past 11 months that I missed being a blonde, but now I’m comfortably settled into the simplicity of brown hair. If you look at my face, you may notice the lack of glasses. I’m entering the first birthday of my life with perfect vision, and I see a great future in the distance. If you looked at my skin you’d notice many imperfections and scars. I’ve been cut into and biopsied and am eternally grateful to every imperfection because they prove that I am healthy and alive.

If you looked at my wrist you’d notice the only jewelry I wear: a Pandora bracelet from Mr. O with beads chosen carefully and purposely, beads that symbolize important moments for our little family. If you looked at my clothing, I’ll probably be either in work clothes or extremely comfortable clothing like pajamas or jeans and a tee-shirt. If you looked at my feet you’d see flip flops as I’m trying to get in every possible last day with them before it becomes boot weather. My accoutrements are various. If I am out of the house, I pretty much need sunglasses, my iPhone and keys; however, I will have much more on my person. I carry a huge black pocketbook, and if you dump it out, you will find: an agenda, a small notebook, at least 5 pens/markers, a wallet, a camera, many receipts, cough drop wrappers and a full bag of cough drops, a pill-box full of vitamins, eyeshadow, band-aids, tissues, finger puppets, paper clips, chap stick and lip gloss, and random other goodies.

If you watched me as I went about my day you’d notice I usually do multiple things at once. At work I seem to do four different projects at once. I’m not advocating this is a good idea (because it isn’t), but I can’t seem to get things done if I don’t multitask.

If you could peek into my brain you’d see that I most often think about my relationship with Mr. O, Wolverine, what I’m going to eat, my friends and family, Spry, work stuff and mundane tasks like getting gas or food shopping.

If you wondered what my life would look like in the near future, I’d tell you that I will be content. That I make the choice to be happy, and while I struggle from time to time, I still choose happiness over the alternative. I will tell you about Spry, the literary journal my colleague Linsey and I just founded. By this time next year we will have published two issues and be working on our third. I will tell you about Mr. O and Wolverine and how happy I still am with my two guys. I will tell you that this year of my life I plan on thriving and creating and relaxing.

Thank you, twenty-eight for the endless possibilities. I have faith that this will be an exciting year.

September Observations

September Highlights:

  • Mr. O and I celebrated our birthdays. What was really nice about this year is that we kept it pretty simple. For my birthday (it was a storm outside like usual) we picked up some Pho and ate some ice cream cake. For Mr. O’s birthday, we went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, then came home to relax and play some games.
  • Mr. O and I had a joint birthday party/my graduation party and it was nice to have our friends over for a cookout. It was also pretty nice to see our friends and family mingle. Ideally, I’d like to have a cookout every year in September. That way we don’t need to make a big deal of planning a night out with friends, get babysitters, spend loads of money, etc. People can just come over for the night with their kids and eat lots of yummy food.
  • Spry Literary Journal continued accepting submissions all month. Linsey and I set a goal for the amount of submissions we hoped to receive in our first month of our first reading period. We were so fortunate to receive a number that was far more than our estimate. We love the faith writers have in new literary journals. However, we’ve only gotten a small number of creative nonfiction submissions, so if you write CNF, send us your work!
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 240. Nuts.

Stinky September Moments:

  • I don’t have much to complain about this month. I had a head cold that lingered, a few cranky/miserable days and work was a bit nutso, but overall, nothing particular stands out which is nice.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • Baby Dylan was born. One of my closest friends had her baby boy on 9/26, and I am so in love with him.
  • Mr. O’s mom retired! Congratulations! She had the best surprise retirement party last weekend. It was a great night.
  • Wolverine has been trying harder in football. He’s had a game every weekend, so we spend a few nights a week at practice and then the weekends practicing/playing another team. Go football!
  • Mr. O and I went to see Gabriel Inglesias at Foxwoods and the show was great.
  • After a brief hiatus, my girlfriends and I reunited for our monthly girl’s night.

I’m looking forward to____ in October:
What I like most about October is pumpkin coffee and hot apple cider. Oh, I also love to see the kids in their costumes and I’m pretty pumped because we will have Wolverine for trick-or-treating this year. I can’t wait to decorate our pumpkins. I’m hoping to continue getting quality submissions for Spry, especially in creative nonfiction (my favorite). We are about to hire an intern, so I hope that process goes smoothly. Wolverine has a few more football games. Mr. O and I are going away for a weekend, which is our birthday gift to ourselves. It will be nice to spend some quality time with my love away from our apartment and normal surroundings.

Overall Thoughts:
September was a nice month. I’m a fan of birthdays, so it was nice to celebrate me and Mr. O. It went by quickly. I spent much of the month worrying about work and Spry. I feel like I’ve been on a go-go-go type of outlook. I don’t have much to say about September. I always get a bit anxious this time of year, because I don’t like when it starts to get darker at night; I don’t like when it gets colder. I wish it could stay warm and bright outside. But I do love cuddling up to Mr. O and stealing his body heat, so I guess I can’t complain. What was nice about September, was this it was a normal month. There were no crazy or dramatic moments, and the calmness of the month was nice.

Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May and June and July and August

28: Day One

This picture was borrowed with permission from the lovely Sarah at Sunny Side Up. Head over and wish her a happy birthday, too!

I’ve been looking forward to turning twenty-eight (in a very, “oh, wow… my birthday is already in three days? Wow, really?” kind of way).

I didn’t care too much for twenty-seven. Don’t get me wrong, some incredible things happened while I was twenty-seven. I died my hair brown, got laser eye surgery (I can see!), finished my thesis, graduated from the best MFA in creative writing program in the whole world, and started a literary journal (to name just a few things). In fact, it was a really nice year. So I guess I should rephrase: Twenty-seven was a really good year, but I think that twenty-eight will be a great year.

My birthday got off to a good start. I woke up on the side of the most handsome man in the world. There were already two birthday messages (and one of them had a picture of my friend’s baby attached) in my inbox. On my ride to work I got a few more birthday text messages. Around 9:00am, I received a phone call from my mom. When I picked up, my parents were singing Happy Birthday. A couple of coworkers had given me cards and a gift. I received not one, but two birthday emails from the dealership I bought my SUV at a year and a half ago (talk about service with a smile). By 11:30am, I had over 60 Facebook birthday messages and a handful on Twitter. By 12:00pm, there was a new submission in Spry’s submission manager.

You can’t tell me that isn’t a great start to the day…because it so is.

As the day went on I got more and more birthday messages on Facebook and Twitter. Spry got two donations and more submissions than I even wished for. I got out of a work meeting somewhat quickly and actually left work on time. My drive home was safe (there was a huge storm in this area with lots of flooding)*. Both Mr. O and my parents got me flowers for my birthday. I ate Pho, my favorite meal, for dinner. I spent a nice evening at home with my love and finished it off with some ice cream cake. In fact, not only did I get one mini-ice cream cake, but my mother dropped off a second!

Two morning texts, two cards at work, two emails from the car dealership, two bouquets of flowers, two donations, two mini ice cream cakes. Maybe this will be my year of the two’s?

Basically, I had a nice and relaxing day. The best gift (besides time with the guy I love) was seeing the submissions and donations come in to Spry. It is tough to start a new venture, and I’m real appreciative of everyone’s support.

So, twenty-eight. It’s been nice so far. Looking forward to tomorrow.


*I usually get hurricanes on my birthday which always spoil my birthday plans with friends. This year I’ll take flooding (which gratefully didn’t bother me) over a hurricane.

Birthday Wishes

This morning when Mr. O left for work he said, “Enjoy your last day as a 27-year-old.” See, my birthday is tomorrow. Tomorrow I turn 28, and enter into a whole new year of my life. I’m excited about 28. While this may sound ridiculous to some, I’m seem to really enjoy years when my age is even (like 28), but the actual year is odd (like 2013 will be). So there are a few months left to go until 2013, but I see good things coming.

I bet you’re wondering what to get me for my birthday. While there are clothes or books or random gadgets I’d like, the thing I would love most is a donation to Spry, my literary journal. We need to get the site professionally designed, pay for hosting, and many other fees here and there. We are a nonprofit journal, and every penny we’ve paid so far has come from our pockets. We put our goal for $500, but I’m sure we will need much more in the near future. If you’re interested in donating, click here to go to our Indigogo website. Anything will help: one dollar, five dollars, one hundred dollars. It would be the best birthday present ever, and I’d be happy to send you each a personalized thank you if you provide your email with the donation.

(Also, if you are interested in submitting your writing to Spry Literary Journal, you can do so here)

Thank you in advance for your donations.

July Observations

July Highlights:

  • I graduated from the best MFA program in the universe.
  • My last residency was incredible. I loved meeting the incredible incoming class. I loved spending time with some of my mentors. I loved teaching my seminar and giving my reading. I loved it all.
  • I am very happy with my graduation speech. It went so smoothly and I think I did a good job of involving the whole class in my speech. I’ve been toying with posting it here, but I’m not sure if I should.
  • Wolverine’s birthday party was a blast. The weather held out all day, which meant no rain until the party was over! Our water slide also worked the entire time. Mr. O put a lot of hard work into patching the holes on the slide, and the kids loved playing on the slide.
  • Announcing Spry Literary Journal. (Ha, I didn’t quite announce it yet, but the big announcement should come tomorrow!)
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 179.

Stinky July Moments:

  • My dad had a heart attack while I was away at school which was very scary. Because of this he and my mother couldn’t come to my graduation. I’m very lucky to have a great boyfriend who videotaped the whole thing so that they could watch me graduate from the comfort of their living room!
  • Everything happened at once. Between school, work, the literary journal, another editing project I’m involved in and my personal life… everything happened this month. Oh, well. All good stuff.
  • Running into people I’d rather not see.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My fantastic friend gave birth to a healthy little baby girl. Welcome to the world Isabella.
  • Wolverine, my dad, Lauren, Kerri, Linsey and both of my grandparents all celebrated birthdays. Those same grandparents also celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

I’m looking forward to____ in August:
August should be busy! Mr. O, Wolverine and I will be road-tripping down to DC and then heading to Virginia to visit some great friends and their new baby girl. We are also hoping to go camping this month. We’re going to a carnival and my brother’s annual cookout (which I’ve missed the past two years). August 15th will be the first day my literary journal will be accepting submissions.

Overall Thoughts:
July was incredible. I’m so happy and proud of the fact that I graduated from my MFA program. At the same time though, I will miss it terribly. I’m so grateful that my dad is okay and I hope his healing process is smooth. I’m glad that Wolverine loved his actual birthday and his birthday party. I’m tired, but happy.

Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May and June

Pinterest Obsession: Birthday Countdown

NOTE: I originally wrote this post at the end of June! I just forgot it in my draft folder I guess!

I’m obsessed with Pinterest. I have been for a long time. Once I thought I had the obsession controlled, but like any addiction, when I signed back in a few months later to “browse” because I was bored, I was instantly hooked again. I just can’t control myself; I’m a pinner.

So this past Saturday Wolverine and I started a countdown until his birthday. We used some colored paper, a hole puncher and a marker to make the tear off dates for the countdown. It was “cute” but certainly not that crafty. I’ll be honest and explain that when I say Wolverine and I made a countdown, what I mean is that I threw together a countdown while he played with his dad… but it was for him. So I promise I’m not insulting a future six-year-old’s creativity. He just agreed that making a countdown would be fun. That was his level of excitement.

So while the original countdown worked, I just wasn’t pleased with it. I knew I had pinned a few countdown photos on Pinterest, but I couldn’t for the life of me find them in my boards. My boards are super disorganized right now and totally need to be decluttered. Anyway, on Sunday morning I decided to search my pins one more time, and I found it!

The lovely ladies of Eighteen25 shared a free printable on Skip to My Lou and I had saved the pin in my Can I DIY board! So I downloaded and printed it and then Wolverine and I set off to find a frame to put it in. This was a little tricky, because when we all moved in together, I packed up much of my home-accessories (like all my frames). Finally we found a 8×10 frame, and at that point, both Wolverine and I didn’t care what the frame looked like. That’s it folks! Now we have a fancy schmancy wipe-off frame to countdown the days until his birthday.

This is soooo much cooler than what I had originally done.

Reviewing June and Announcing July’s Goal

Well this is going to be a quick and easy post.

I kicked ass in June. My goal was to work hard on my super secret business project with Linsey and I did! The hardest part was not blogging about it, and I’m still having a hard time refraining from sharing all the details. I want to wait until the website is set up to make the big announcement, and it appears that mid-month will be the time that happens.

My goal for July is simple (note: I didn’t say easy). In July I want to embrace living in the moment. So many incredible things are going to happen this month. There are so many birthdays and parties- Wolverine, my dad, my friend Kerri, Lauren, my grandparents. I’ll be at graduate school with incredible students and teachers. I’ll be graduating (yahoo!) and in doing so, I will be doing a reading, teaching a seminar, acting as a teaching assistant and giving the graduation speech. I just want to soak up every single moment. I want to embrace every single experience. With everything that needs to get done, I don’t expect this all to be easy, but how can I not sit back and enjoy it all?