Happy Birthday, Justin!

homemade thin crust pizza dough

Today is Justin’s birthday! He turned 36 and I must say that he looks good as a 36 year old. I mean, he always looks good, but he’s getting more grey in his beard and throughout his hair and I really like the salt and pepper look. He’s like 98% pepper still, but the more salt the better!

It always feels a little funny to gush about my husband in a blog post or on social media because I just tell him these kinds of things to his face, but I do have some gushing to do today so get ready.

We are celebrating 9 years of marriage next month. We met 3 years before we were married so I’ve known him for about 12 years now. If you read our love story (I KNOW I’m slow in adding to it, I’m sorry!), you would know that he and I swiftly fell in love and became nearly inseparable after our first meeting.

We’ve been together through my college, starting my private hair studio, starting the blog, starting the jewelry business, leaving the jewelry business, leaving the salon, pressing fully into the blogging career, his undergrad degree, graduate school, a long distance stint for an internship, another long distance stint for a work program, mountain climbs and adventures, a job that required a lot of travel, one baby, another baby, a third pregnancy, cats, moves, big life events with our families, and so much more. SO MUCH MORE.

We’re different in a lot of ways, but also have a lot of similar perspectives on things, so experiencing life with him in all that that entails has been deeply fulfilling and gratifying. We’ve had challenges, difficult seasons, and had to work through personality differences to come to a meeting place that works for both of us. Neither of us can last long in conflict, and I’m grateful that we generally can resolve issues relatively quickly. We both work very hard on sharing individual expectations we have, from small things like “what does tomorrow morning look like for you?” to larger things like “what can we do differently this year?” so we each know where the other stands.

On a lighter note, Justin is a great story teller, and while he’s not goofy-funny like I sometimes am, he makes me laugh so hard. He’s a hands-on dad and it has been a pure delight to be able to watch him become an even MORE hands-on dad since he quit his job last summer. Not only is he around more because he’s not traveling for work, but he also works from home on Raleigh UAV when he doesn’t have a shoot, and is spending more time with the kids so I can work a bit more. It’s been a big change for our family, but I must say it’s been great. Much easier and smoother of a transition than I expected.

Justin loves adventure, and likes to be challenged. We can look back to certain points in his life and see that, while it looked different at different stages, he’s always pushed himself to do something hard and fulfilling. He left home for the Air Force at about 19, chose a very difficult degree to achieve in college (Aerospace Engineering), graduated from Duke with his Master’s, and more recently has challenged himself in physical ways with mountain climbs and extreme sports. He has profound willpower and is deeply self-motivated. I watch in fascination as I have almost zero will-power (that was evident in my lack of self-control in buying bags and bags of Starburst Jelly Beans over Easter).

I could keep going but I’ll need to wrap this post up at some point so I’ll finish with this: Happy Birthday Justin, you make me happier than I could ever have even imagined, I’m so thankful to be your wife, and I hope you have a wonderful day.

I need to go make him a Key Lime Pie now!


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Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 04.18.18

I enjoyed this birthday post dedicated to Justin! You guys are truly a match made in heaven 🙂 Happy birthday to him!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Michele says · 04.18.18

Happy birthday, Justin!

On rare occasions, either Justin posts, or you do kinda a his and hers post. Would you consider doing one on the transition to starting a business from home and the changes, both expected and not, that it brought to your lifestyle? My husband started his own company from home 2 weeks before our second child arrived in August, and we’ve been navigating new waters that we didn’t expect when we met 15 years ago. You often write about different life seasons, and this might be one that would be interesting for you both to collaborate on since it is a major change for your marriage and family.

Just a thought. A good alternative would be for you to come over to my house, do my hair, redecorate, and tell me all about it, but you’ve got a lot on your plate right now😉

Kate says · 04.18.18

I will work on a post all about that! 🙂

Michele says · 04.18.18

Horray! Always nice to read about life seasons from the perspectives of others, it gives a fresh outlook on different things!

Amanda says · 04.19.18

A brilliant suggestion Michelle! I think this would be of benefit to many of us.

Allie says · 04.18.18

Such a beautiful family, I hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating his birthday. Feel free to share that key lime pie recipe! xAllie

Angela Jane Lomax says · 04.18.18

Happy birthday to the love of your life. xx

Jennifer C says · 04.18.18

It is so good to hear about loving relationships! HappyBirthday to Justin! And thank him for his service.

Rena says · 04.18.18

You are really a family how it should be! Happy birthday!
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

Beth says · 04.18.18

your family is beautiful!

Kelly says · 04.18.18

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUSTIN. This makes me so happy. I love to hear other women speak so positively about their husband/boyfriend. In the world, we hear so much complaining, that it is great to read this.

Have a great day!

Danielle says · 04.18.18

Thanks for sharing! Love to read about your family.
My husband also gets key lime pie for his birthdays… and anniversary, and valentine’s, and whenever he can convince me to make it. 🙂

Elle says · 04.18.18

So wonderful to read about a happy and healthy marriage. Happy birthday to Justin! Enjoy the day celebrating 🙂

Jacqui says · 04.18.18

Wow what a fabulous life, good luck with your next addition, you all look fabulous too. I’d love you to stop by and join my #chicandstylish #linkup every Thursday. Jacqui Muumabstylish

Kim says · 04.18.18

This is such a sweet post! Y’all make the most precious family. Happy birthday to Justin!


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Sydni Jackson says · 04.18.18

So sweet. Happy birthday to Justin!

Tara says · 04.18.18

Love what you said about y’all having different senses of humor. The guy I’m dating is way less silly than me, so it’s encouraging to see that you guys have made it work! I’m silly like you! Happy Anniversary!

Hannah says · 04.18.18

What a sweet tribute! I wish there were more stories and posts like this all over the internet! The world needs more happiness! Happy Birthday Justin!

Eva says · 04.18.18

Happy Birthday Justin! Such a lovely message you wrote about him – it sounds like you two have been through so many things together. Such things make relationships so strong!

Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

Heather says · 04.18.18

Happiest of birthdays to Justin! I really enjoy when you share insights into you and his dynamic. My husband and my path in our life has been similar to you and Justin’s and I enjoy getting a peek into how another couple handles things like transitioning careers to being home based, parenting differences, etc. My husband and I are very different personality wise but it is with his support that I have been able to grow personally and professionally and I think he would say the same about me and it looks like the two of you are that way as well. Seeing him parent our son has also brought me so much joy because even though our parenting styles are night and day watching him be so engaged encouraging to our son is amazing.

Sheri Pride says · 04.18.18

I love your shoes! Where did you get them?
You have the most adorable family❤️

Evelyn says · 04.19.18

Happy Birthday!! Hope you guys had an awesome day!

Kory says · 04.30.18

Happy birthday Justin!
My husband loves Key Lime Pie also and this is his favorite:

Kathy says · 04.30.18

Hi Kate, Love the photos (beautiful family!) and your love story. Thanks for sharing!!