Saturday, January 4, 2014


Just a few weeks ago, I turned 27!

It was a fantastic birthday, one which I hope to remember for years to come. Hopefully, this photo-journalized recap of my birthday weekend will help with that. :)

It all started the Friday before my birthday with a dinner out to my one of my favorite restaurants, The Melting Pot, with three of my favorite people.

Fondue for four!

The next morning, my friend Rachel joined us for some Ethiopian food and a trip to the theater to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Finger food. (We were trying to eat like Hobbits. Does this

That night, the husband and our Melting Pot friends made our way to the Starry Nights drive-thru light display at our nearby park.

Our view from the car.

On my actual birthday, I awoke to a plateful of delicious (gluten free) blueberry waffles, topped with blackberries and coconut oil.


We slowly got ready for the day and eventually headed out to do our one non-fun task of the day: a background check at the downtown police station. I don't think I was expecting how blahhh this experience would make me feel, though we didn't have much of a choice. It was either do it on the birthday or wait several weeks 'til we had time again to do it together. And I didn't want to wait because this was our last piece of necessary paperwork before our adoption case worker can do the walk through of our home.

So, we ventured downtown, ended up getting a bit lost in a series of overcrowded police buildings, finally ended up where we belonged, only to find we needed money orders in order to get the background checks done. Bah! So we gave up for the day (because the birthday princess had a hungry tummy) and left in hopes of being able to do the background checks another day at a different, less crowded and less downtown-ish police station. (This never happened, as it turns out that police station is the only one that does background checks, but that's a tale for another time.)

Though our background checks were not a success that day, seeing the poverty around us -- the lines and lines of poor folks in and around the police station; the young mother carrying her baby in a car seat near her knees, severely knocking the baby's head around with each step she took; the negative attitude of everyone we interacted with -- it all helped to encourage our decision to adopt. To be able to possibly help, in a very small but significant way, to break this cycle of poverty. To hopefully give a better life to a helpless little babe that would otherwise be destined for a life of poverty, abuse, neglect, negativity. Earlier that morning I wasn't sure I how felt about adopting a child of a different race from us; I just felt like it would be too foreign for us. But after our short time at the police station downtown, my heart was softened and I felt called to open our home to any newborn, any race. What a special gift to receive on my birthday, and in the strangest of places.

(Edit: What I've written here is just a short reflection on a situation that encouraged me to continue discerning transracial adoption. Please see the comment section of this post for a little bit more information regarding our thoughts on adoption.)

With these thoughts stirring in my mind and a very empty tummy, we headed to our lunch destination: a Venezuelan restaurant called Arepa & Salsa.

Instead of bread, they used smashed, fried plantains
for their sandwiches (called tostones). Be still my
gluten-free heart!

From here, we ventured to the Pink Palace, an old mansion in midtown Memphis that was turned into a museum once the owners couldn't afford to finish building it.

In the grand entrance hall of the Pink Palace.

Next, we went and bought an ornament, which I'm hoping turns into a yearly birthday tradition.

Handblown locally.

Followed by a quick pick-me-up of coffee and Trivial Pursuit.

And then on to dinner! Mmmmm. Sushi!

And the evening ended with some cupcakes, cuddles on the couch, and an episode of Doctor Who. A perfect day, if I do say so myself. And very delicious too! Can you tell I like food? :)

Oh, I almost forgot! My birthday gift from John this year was an AeroGarden! He was so sweet to let me open it two weeks in advance so I could have real, live herbs growing on my birthday. It's been so fun watching them grow each day. And since they've been growing about a month now, we've been able to use our new herbs in several recipes. What a treat - fresh herbs growing in our home in the dead of winter!

Just after planting my little herblings. 

My herbs pose for me on my birthday!

My herbs as of yesterday! Parsley, chives, genovese basil
thai basil, mint, and cilantro.

What a lovely birthday! It couldn't have been any better. I'm so blessed to have good friends and one great husband to thank for that.

See ya next year, December 16th!


  1. WOW what an awesome birthday!! So packed with fun, friends and food - just the way a birthday should be. (Sorry the police station trip didn't turn out though - frustrating.) Your herb garden looks great!! I've never heard of such a thing - it looks all space-age. Happy birthday!

    1. Thank you! You're right, it does look space-age! It tastes normal-age though. :)

  2. Fun! I'm always jealous of your awesome weekend plans :-)
    And you reeeeally make me wish I was living in a city again--I miss all the great restaurants and different types of cuisine in Pittsburgh!

    1. It's true! Well populated cities have more food options. Sorry that you don't have as many yummy options anymore. We're talking about moving to a much, much smaller city in the next few years and every time we visit there, I'm a little bummed by lack of food options and lack of Yelp reviews. But I'm sure we'll manage. Or just eat like a king/queen whenever we do travel to larger cities. :)

  3. Looks like you had lots of fun.. Happy Belated Birthday!

  4. Just a comment about your adoption observations.... not all people who place their children for adoption are poor. Women who choose life, who choose to place their babies for adoption, come from all walks of life and do so for a variety of reasons. As an adoptive parent also, I would encourage you to change your perspective from thinking you are "breaking the cycle of poverty" to one that does not judge other people... to one that grateful for the greatest gift that they will give you. And finally, I would encourage you to do more reading into transracial adoption. It is not something to be decided lightly.

    1. Thank you for this comment! I completely agree with all three points you've made here. And I'm so thankful to hear thoughts from an adoptive parent, as you have much more wisdom on adoption than we do at this point. I only wish you hadn't commented anonymously so I could ask you more.

      The first point you've made, that women who choose life come from all walks of life, is a point I almost included when writing this post, though I felt I was going on a bit long, so left it out. But it's absolutely true. I didn't mean to say that all birth parents come from poverty, though it is more likely that that will be the situation we encounter, as there is unfortunately a lot of poverty in our city. And when I saw the results of poverty when I was in downtown Memphis, it struck a chord with me that I hadn't reflected on before. And that is the small idea I reflected on in this post. It is certainly not the whole picture of adoption or our feelings about adoption, by any means.

      I also agree that our perspective should not solely be that we are breaking cycles of poverty. That is just a small part of our perspective. And that small part opened my eyes to something I was having difficulty discerning. (I'm sorry that I came off as judgmental.) We are and will be truly grateful, knowing that poor, rich, caucasian, african american, middle class, special needs... no matter the situation, this baby will be a most precious gift from very generous and selfless birthparents.

      Finally, I appreciate your suggestion to read more about transracial adoption. Now that I feel more strongly called towards transracial adoption, it's time to research, learn, and make sure it's right. Do you have any suggestions for books?

      Please know that we do not take any of this lightly. I realize now it may have come off that way in this post, but this was just a quick snippet of thoughts we've been sitting and praying on for quite some time now.

  5. Sounds like an amazing birthday weekend! Thanks for sharing, love all the fun things you got to eat. Yummy! :) Never heard of that type of herb garden, but looks super cool. Becoming open to transracial adoption has been a journey for me, and I hope you don't mind if I recommend

  6. books that have been helpful to me: Dr. Ray Guarendi's book on adoption was wonderful, just an overall book on adoption. The book on transracial adoption that I loved (had tons of great resources at the end of every chapter) was Come Rain, or Come Shine, by Rachel Garlinghouse. Super good. (sorry for the second post, my ipad is freaking out on me).

    1. Thank you for the suggestions! It's comforting to hear I'm not alone on this journey. I've read Dr. Ray Guarendi's book and I agree that it's wonderful. I'm thinking I should go back through to read the sections about transracial adoption again. I haven't heard of the second book though. I'll definitel be picking up a copy. Thanks for the support. :)

  7. You are beautiful, brave and awesome. I pray we both get our babies this year!

    1. Thank you, Jasminne. <3 I pray the same!! So often!

  8. Happy (very belated) Birthday!!!
    Its great to hear how things are going on your adoption journey!

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