Friday, April 26, 2013


WOW. Here it is. I am 40 today. 

Unlike most people, I am more than happy to say good-bye to 39.  It had to be the toughest year on record for me. Raising Clara (who has to be one of the most demanding and highest maintenance babies to ever walk this planet!). No sleep. Losing Ygal. Hubbell losing an eye.  It seemed that the punches just kept coming.  I struggled almost daily.  I gained a tremendous amount of weight in a short amount of time.  I have to be's not how I imagined I'd usher in 40.

Never fear.  I am not one to sit and lament. I welcome a challenge (and good thing!).  I see 40 as an open door, a clean slate.  And I will do my best to make up for what I will call "the lost year".  Please.....wish me luck.

In my annual tradition, I hereby present my list of 40.  I decided to include all photos from my 39th year.  Let me tell you.....I was hard pressed to find a picture of myself without Clara.  She is literally in almost every single photo of me over the entire year.  No wonder I had such a hard time! It was exhausting just looking back through my albums.  But okay, moving we go....

 Happiness is:

~ when Alain makes me tea at night before bed.
 ~ when Alain wakes me up with a hot mug of coffee.

{Last year's birthday with my two girls}

~ when Clara has a good day and I really enjoy her company.
~ when Sophie writes me love letters.
~ when Sophie draws pictures for me.
~ when my garden grows well without a lot of effort on my part.

{With Clara, in Switzerland}

~ when I speak to my mom on the phone and I hear Kenzie making sweet dog noises in the background.
~ knowing Kenzie is in a good home with people who love her, maybe as much as I do.
~ being Mom to my sweet, one-eyed dog, Hubbell.
~ when Scout & Atticus are chirping and happy and flying around my head.

{With Sophie & my nephew, Emilio, in Switzerland}

~ how Scout & Atticus tilt their heads when I speak to them.
~ volunteering in Sophie's classroom.
~ when I can tell I've made a difference in the day of one of the children in Soph's class.
~ Clara's curls.

{Celebrating Clara's 1st Birthday}

~ watching and listening to Soph play (unstructured) when she gets home from school each day.
~ when my children choose to play outside or with toys rather than watch TV, which is almost always.
~ knowing that I'm living a more authentic life since I left work (as hard as it can be sometimes!).
~ cool weather.

{In Ocean Isle with my two girls}

~ having great neighbors.
~ my blogging friends.
~ all of the amazingly good books I've read lately.
~ a lovely birthday dinner thrown and attended by 13 of my girlfriends.

{Dolphin Watching, with Clara}

~ searching for dolphins with Sophie as we drive over the bridge to Hilton Head Island.
~ a nice, warm, comforting mug of hot tea.
~ having some quiet time to myself every once in a while.
~ a nice, long, peaceful night's sleep (yes, I still remember and long for them).

{Sophie's Birthday, Hilton Head Island}

~ birthday cards, gifts & wishes.
~ red wine.
~ a long, relaxing hot shower.
~ freshly manicured nails.

{At Temple, with Clara}

~ party planning (more to come).
~ having my first Mammogram and getting good results.
~  songs so moving they can bring you to tears.

{Hanging in Downtown Charlotte, with Sophie}

~ a traditional English breakfast (without the meat, of course!).
~ playing Mah Jonng each Tuesday with my three girlfriends.
~ reconnecting with old friends.
~ counting down the days to see The Great Gatsby.
~ being on vacation with my family.
~ being 40!!!! 


On this birthday, as with every birthday, I raise up a toast in memory of my dear friend and fellow free spirit, Brian Paul Mercado. Thanks to knowing him and in part because of losing him at a young age, I appreciate EVERY birthday and understand how lucky I am to live each day. Bri, you are still loved and missed, every single day!!! Cheers....

This now goes out to Ygal too.  Life.  It goes on for some of us.  


  1. Happy birthday!! Welcome to the 40s Club :) It is so wonderful and inspiring that you have so many reasons to be happy!

    1. You are so sweet, thank you! I hear the 40s Club is a good place to be!!! Happy to be here... Thanks for visting, as always....!!!

  2. Happy Birthday, Audrey! Enjoy another year of wonderful you ~ and a more restful year! I enjoyed your pictures and words very much!

    1. Thank you, thank you, Louise!!!!

  3. Happy birthday Audrey! I'm 46 and I have to say that I have really enjoyed my 40s. It seems like I can be more "me". I don't know how to explain it but I know you'll figure it out yourself. I'm sure having little ones is a challenge but you are also able to realize how precious your time with them is. My baby is 21 and there's no more cuddling here. I hope your upcoming year brings much joy and happiness (and maybe a full nights sleep!).

    1. Hi Jeanette! Thanks for visiting and for the birthday wishes. Now that I'm finished having little ones, I like to think that the 40's will be much they grow and become more independent.

  4. Dear Audrey,
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, I am sorry to give you this wish a day late, but just extend your birthday through the whole weekend, you know I would!! (You have an April birthday just like me and my Dad, we LOVE our birthday month!!)
    Just ENJOY your 40's my dear, and ENJOY your sweet husband and dear little girls! ENJOY< ENJOY!!! (40! HA, that's young!!) I lost a dear cousin who died at the age of 50, and that is making my 50's easier, I am grateful to live this decade because Susan was not able to do so.
    By the way, your photos on your post from April 15th? I took those as one of my birthday presents, I loved them all.
    And did you know that I love elephants? You must know that, you are my HD (Honorary Daughter!!)

    1. Kay, thanks for the birthday wishes. I was over a week late sending you birthday wishes so one day late seems pretty timely to me! We had a great weekend at the beach ~ what a perfect way to usher in this new decade!

  5. Hi Audrey! I'm not quite sure how all this works, but I have given you a Liebster Award on my blog! Louise

    1. Louise, that is so sweet ~ thank you!!! I'm busy catching up on things now that we're back home but I promise I'll do my Liebster post soon.... Thank you.

  6. I (we), hope you had a fantastic birthday weekend Audrey! I would also like to ask you to please see MY blog for your birthday tribute (better late than never), seeing that you appear to be my number one blog fan, if not the ONLY person who ever reads it!
    I love your post, you are so honest and real and you look stunning in ALL of the above photographs!
    H0pe to talk to you soon,
    Jenny (Benjamin, Emilio and Diego)


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