i’m thirty. like, as in minutes ago.

and i am happily thirty.

i took all the twenties and kissed them good-bye tonight…tucked them away in boxes with all their sweet memories and sorrows.

twenty-three was easy to box up…went in there without a fight. me and twenty-three never got along that great, so the good-bye was easy. twenty-eight was another story. i held it in my arms for a long time before i packed it up…stared at it and remembered just how special it was. and then i thanked it for changing my life, kissed it and told it i’d come visit when i could.

and once the twenties were safely stored and a proper farewell was said, i brought out the new box. i can’t see in it yet, but i can tell just by the outside that there is beauty inside. sorrow too…yes, i’m sure. but there is in every box, and this one seems to come with more coping skills. more growth. more experiences. more challenges. more love.

i can’t wait.

and so, what does one write when one is turning such a page in one’s life?

i’m not sure, but it seems fitting to write a bit about what i’ve learned about myself. it’s taken me a long time, but here’s a few things i’ve finally grasped, at just-minutes-into-this-big-three-oh…

(and a quick tangent to declare my love & adoration for the song playing. i’ve been waiting for it to land on playlist, and perhaps…a little birthday present…it arrived. it is beautiful. it is moving.)

i’ve learned…that looks aren’t everything but feeling good is. and yes, feeling pretty is oh-so-important…but i think i’m finally gettin’ the hang of what makes me feel pretty. and i’ve found it in…sure, some lipsticks, a good hair-cut, eating somewhat healthy, finding a pair of jeans that make my butt look like a million bucks…but the bulk of it? in motherhood. in love. in confidence. in family. in rocking my baby to sleep in an old nightgown and disheveled hair.

…but i found it. and that’s what matters.

i’ve learned…the power of a good, long bath. on a bad day. on a tired body.

i’ve learned…that, despite feeling the need to hide it or justify it, i’m okay with admitting i’m rootin’ for britney spears. i can admit that, although trash-ily dressed and falling slightly short of motherhood’s standards, i like her music. and, synthesized or not, i like to dance to it. i can even come clean with the fact that gimme more once came on in the car, and i damn near crashed my car into a guardrail because i let go of the steering wheel to boogie down.

i’ve learned…that once and awhile, a little “damn” never hurt anybody.

i’ve learned…that i like my meat medium-rare.

i’ve learned…that i’m perfectly okay with the fact that i have laugh lines around my mouth. because i earned them. …from being happy.

i’ve learned…that it’s okay to need to be loved. i’ve always hated that about myself…fought the fact that i like hugs and e-mails and letters and phone calls and want to know i’m loved. i never wanted to need to be told i’m loved…thought it was tough to pretend i didn’t. but i can’t fight it. it’s my language. i’m a good lover (as in one-who-loves, mind you), and i think, in return, i can’t help but want it back. i love to be loved…and it took me thirty years to say that.

i’ve learned…that there are women in the world who are wonderful…not catty or cutting or jealous or competitive. there are women who love and support. there are women who fill all the little nooks of your soul with goodness and kindness. there are women who really want you to succeed and be the best you can possibly be. …and i have found them.

i’ve learned…to appreciate good food and drink…and to make memorable experiences from them.

i’ve learned…that you are the author of your own happiness.

i’ve learned…that you cannot write your past…but you can certainly write your present and your future.

i’ve learned…there is a secret nook on the right side of brett’s neck that i can fit into…and it’s safe and calm and happy…right there.

i’ve learned…that I believe in God, but that I have the liberty to explore who he is on my own…and that he wants me to. I’ve learned that God is oh-so-much bigger and more beautiful than the books written about him. …and that he can be found, most prominent, in places away from church. I’ve learned that I will never know everything about him, but that I will learn more every day.

i’ve learned…that i love babies…very, very much.

i’ve learned…that the best music, you’ll never hear on the radio.

i’ve learned…that in-laws are worth the wait. and, if you’re lucky, this awesome little family lands in your lap, half-way into your life.

i’ve learned…that family is everything. and never to be taken for granted. and that i wouldn’t be the same without mine.

i’ve learned…a kind of love that has no words. an all-consuming, life-changing kind of love.

and that i feel so much more responsibility to be confident, to love, to give…because she will learn from me. and with that responsibility comes this profound happiness.

i’ve learned…that i’d rather have a closet full of a few valuable favorites than a bunch of cheap stuff i found on sale. …because quality is always better than quantity.

i’ve learned…that sandlewood is my signature scent.

i’ve learned…that additives are bad and there’s nothing wrong with real butter, real sugar, and real fat.

i’ve learned…that i love sushi.

i’ve learned…that killing me softly is my never-fail karaoke song.

i’ve learned…that snail mail kicks e-mail’s butt.

i’ve learned…that taking photographs is a spiritual experience for me.

i’ve learned…that there is good in everyone.

i’ve learned…that picking up everything and moving to florida in three days on a whim can reap beautiful, beautiful rewards.

…and that’s all in thirty years.

…and there’s so much more to learn.

…and i will. in good time.

but for now…on this, my thirtieth birthday…i can say that i’ve learned how to be truly happy.

and for that i’m thankful.

…enjoying the it’s-my-birthday things. ~k


Leave a Comment
  1. …and no one has worn it better! Happy, happy, giddily Happy Birthday my sweet one. Enjoy every moment. I will be there soon….well, not to thirty, that ship has sailed, but to Florida! I love you!

  2. I came here to hack into yhour blog, but you beat me to it!!

    Holy shiv! That was incredible!

    Chills and goosebumps and I’m not a chills and goosebumps at every turn kinda girl! Not like some 30 year olds I know.

    Welcome to the 30s club!! Where you’ll feel more comfortable in your own skin everyday; although I know you feel that already so you should be turning 40.

    So true on the awesome and exciting responsibility on the lessons you’re teaching your daughter on how to be a girl. If you have a Kai, then it’ll teach him how to be loved by a girl.

    I love that Lily is loved by you everyday when I’m at work because it seems so seamless to how we love her too. No more Britney in the car – that’s an order!! ha ha

    Love you and how you embrace this age.

    You should be turning 40 with your wisdom!

    Maybe even 50. lol

  3. Oh yea, Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!













  4. Happy Birthday Kelle. You know what I’ve learned from you . . . your a really cool Mama who has more creativity in her pinkie toe that I do in my whole being!! I’ve also learned that I really, really enjoy your blog . . . so keep it coming girl!!! I hope every one of your birthday wishes come true!! Happy Birthday!

  5. Happy Happy 30th Birthday! The blog was so fun for me to read as I know you actually have achieved all of those things. I can still hear all of your spoken out loud dreams and they seem to be coming true – thanks to your spirit and determination to make it so. I really am proud of you and what you have become. Happy Birthday Kelle – you are a beautiful woman – inside and out. Love and miss ya . . .


  7. “there are lines upon my face, from a lifetime of smiles” Joshua Kadisen’s Beautiful in My Eyes (my wedding song).

    You are wise beyond your years. Welcome to your thirties, come on in and sit awhile. It’s a fabulous ride. We don’t let in pretentious drama queens so you will fit in just fine! Have a happy, happy day!

  8. happy happy birthday!
    thanks for sharing what you’ve learned…it was beautiful.

  9. beautiful post!! some people don’t learn those lessons…ever!! great things in store for you this decade, too!!! happy birthday!!

  10. you make everyone around you want to see the good… to love! Happy Birthday you wild, wonderful, 30 year old! It keeps gettin better!!!!!

  11. Beautiful Words……Beautiful Photos…..Beautiful YOU…..laugh lines and all! Your Happiness shines! Happy Birthday!!!!

  12. Kelle,
    Happy Birthday and …
    welcome to 30!
    It is a happy place to be. I arrived a couple months ago and …
    it feels good!
    Enjoy (as you always do),

  13. Amy Ancona Franckowiak says:

    Happy Birthday Kelle! You are such a beautiful and talented woman, you inspire me in ways you’d never realize! I hope you’re having a fabulous day, and I hope that one day Maddie will get the chance to meet you and perhaps be photographed by you! And I want to meet Lainey! Thank you for your blogs, and your immense talent. You take my breath away every day as I read about you and your family. Have a great birthday! Love, Amy (Ancona) Franckowiak

  14. oh, these comments are just precious…what a birthday gift. tears…and thank you to each and every beautiful one of you.

  15. Happy Birthday Kelle!

    Love you lots and lots.

    Your a great mom, and great wife…your inspiring.

  16. The 30’s are way way better than the 20’s, just promisin’.

    Lots of love yet to come.

    Happy Birthday!

    peace and love.

  17. Happy 30th Birthday, Kelle
    It’s amazing how much wisdom we acquire as we age!!! Ha ha.. Continue to be an inspiration to all of us!
    Tracy Truhan

  18. Happy Birthday Kelle! Your post was awesome, as usual. Brought me to tears, as usual. I entered my thirties a while ago, and am closer to the forties now! Enjoy the thirties, they are wonderful years.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. three oh! yo!

    My friend, Meg, went from a size eight to a size ten and to cope with her newly found double digits she said she was a one oh. And it stuck. Now, anything that ends in zero is oh. Anyway, it’s Funny. I promise. (not that I think a size 10 is anything to cope with. At least, I am a size 10 and I don’t feel like I have to cope with anything, but it’s a story and I am not justifying it because I am 30 and now I don’t get insecure about stuff like what people will think of my comment. Not as much anyway).

    SO, I have been thinking of you from my snowy mountain town all day…hoping there would be a wonderful post with fabulous photos. So, thanks for both of those things. Really, you just look wise and gorgeous in those pics.

    Love reading what you’ve learned. And that you are so happy. I am only 10 months in to 30 and, I must say, it is damn good. Hey, a little damn never hurt anyone…

    Happy happy happy Birth Day, blog pal.

  21. I don’t get a chance to get online much anymore, but glad I did tonight. Loving you today as always. You will love the 30’s so much more than any other so far. Life just keeps getting better and better when we are surrounded by love.

  22. You are one of THEE most beautiful people in my life…in countless ways…

    no matter how old you are.

    Happy Birthday, dear Friend!

    I love you!

  23. Quietly, calmly…your thirtieth birthday closes. Or does it begin. You decide. It is not what is over; it is what it yet to be. I am thinking about you. Like you have always wanted when you, as a little girl would look up from your play and ask me, “Is Bubby thinkin’ ’bout me?” Well…I am. And the thoughts are good. Proud. Happy. Warm. Blissful. The best is yet to be. Yes, the best is yet to be. Even more, you are your best audience–you don’t have to play to others, your own applause is full and free enough. Confident. Capable. You have arrived. Happy Birthday, Kas. Poppa is thinkin’ ’bout ya’! And lovin’ ya’ bunches and bunches.

  24. Happy 30th birthday!!….you deserve all that happiness. what wonderful memories behind you and what an exciting future ahead. you look beautiful beautiful in your new 30 year old pictures…especially the one of you and Lainey on the floor. hope you are celebrating all week. ps. lets have a fun lunch soon for your birthday.

  25. catching up…

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY KELLE!!!!! i didn’t know how much i loved my thirties until reading about all that you have learned in your 30 years!

    hey, ditto on britney spears! being you, the best you for your daughter…so true:) i LOVED all of them.

    love you and and the person you are, want to be, will be in the next 30 years. i know you’ll be blogging about 60 with just as much passion and inspiration as this post!


  26. Thirty, Beautiful Happy and Perfect! All things that describe you! Love you and Happy Birthday you are a wonderful person and I am better for knowing you! I look forward to sharing your next 30 years with you! xoxoxo

  27. One day late, but I hope you had a wonderful 30th birthday. If thirty is going to be anything like the 20’s then you will continue to be a blessed woman.

  28. better late than never – Happy Birthday! love you!

  29. Hi .. can I tell you something funny? A few days ago I went off on a rant to my friend, a fellow mom of a special needs child. My son has autism and we are doing everything we can to bring him along. I saw something so STUPID posted on someone’s Facebook page, to the effect of: “People with autism want acceptance, not a cure, bla bla bla”. And I called my friend and said, “I would do ANYTHING for a cure, I would give my very life if my son and all the other affected kids could be cured. And I’m GOING TO ITALY no matter what, not to Holland. I will NOT ACCEPT THIS, I’M GOING TO ITALY!!!”

    Then she sent me your tirade and I just want to say, I agree and I’ll meet you and your beautiful girls in Italy and I’ll buy you a glass of wine and we’ll toast our families and our journeys.

  30. Hi Kelle I love love love your writing! So much that I’m going back through. I was hoping to find the story of how you met Brette. You are so beautiful, beautiful as a blonde and a brunette from what I can tell beautiful inside and out. As I quickly approach my 31st birthday this August I’m thankful I came across this post!!

  31. I am so thankful for Nella, and that her birth intro’d me to your fab blog.. but oh how I wish I would have “known” you here. So much to learn from…

    You rock girl.. at 30,31,32 whatevs..

  32. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting.

    Clipping Path

  33. Awesome post, man. Really love this post. Thanks for this updated information.

    Clipping Path

  34. This is such a beautiful post! :)Making me look forward to my thirties.

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