Today I celebrate my 33rd birthday. Thirty-three years of laughter, tears, joy, sorrow, learning, growing, evolving, loving, living.

For some reason, this number – 33 – has been hard for me. Perhaps because I’m nearly one-third of a century (gah) old now. Perhaps because the days, weeks, months and years seem to be going by faster and faster than ever before. Perhaps because I’ve been taking a mental inventory of my life and haven’t been particularly happy with some of my discoveries. Perhaps a combination of these things.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful life, a charmed life. But I’ve recently had to be honest with myself about how much I can realistically commit to doing and still feel good about the kind of parent I am. I want to do it all. All of us moms do. We want to juggle all of the balls and keep them all up in the air, and, if we drop one (because invariably we will), we don’t want anyone to see it.

I’ve been getting more and more comments lately from people saying they don’t know how I keep it all together or how I do so much. I tend to answer the same way, telling them that it’s hard and I’m still working on finding that perfect balance, but the truth is when someone seems to be doing it all and have all of their sh*t together, you can rest assured that they are falling behind in at least one area (probably more) of their life. I know it was happening to me.

And so I’ve chosen to cut back on some commitments (though it was very hard to) and not take on new ones (even though they were appealing) in an effort to focus more time on the things that really matter – my children and my husband.

Jody and I had a parent-teacher conference with Ava’s Waldorf preschool teacher last night and she raved about what a delight Ava is. Ava is “fiery” (no surprise to us to hear that word), but a real joy. I love hearing about how well she is doing in school and how much her teacher appreciates her. It’s sometimes easier for me to focus on the bad and overlook the good and this was a good reminder for me that she really is an amazing kid.

Julian strung together his first two-word phrase last night. “Hol’ me.” (Hold me.) He said it first to Jody, but later to me as well. He’s been talking more and more the past couple of weeks, but this in particular was oh. so. very. sweet.

I don’t have any special plans for today, and that’s OK with me. I intend on spending some good quality time with the kids and enlisting Ava’s help in baking my cake. I think we’ll go with carrot cake and cream cheese frosting made from scratch. Mmmm. Perhaps we’ll play outside for a bit. Perhaps we’ll read some books. Perhaps I’ll focus on just how amazing these first 33 years of my life have been, how blessed I am, and make a wish for more of the same in my next 33.