Today is the 80th birthday of Julia Groberg Blair. Julia is the 2nd oldest of 11 siblings. The mother of 8 (Ben Blair is #7). The grandmother of 33. The great grandmother of 3. And a terrific mother-in-law.

Julia has been a teacher for most of her adult life. She is constantly reading and learning. Whenever I’m in her home, I notice a new stack of books that she’s reading her way through and then gifting to someone else who might find them interesting. With all that reading, she tries hard to keep an open mind — she never seems to assume her opinions are the one right way, and is earnestly interested in hearing opposing views. So admirable!

Julia is legendary in her generosity and her ability to open her home to one and all. Guest lists for gatherings at her house easily grow beyond capacity because she can’t stand the idea of anyone being left out.

Mother-in-laws have a reputation for being difficult to get along with but I got lucky. I love spending time with Julia — I think everyone does.

More on Julia? She loves nicknames, and here are her thoughts on pregnancy.

P.S. — The day after Christmas, Ben Blair flew to Utah so he wouldn’t miss his mom’s party. He’ll be back on Sunday. I miss him like crazy.