Mariska Hargitay sure has a lot to be thankful for as she celebrates her 48th birthday Monday.
Not only is the star kicking butt as Det. Olivia Benson in her 13th season on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but the actress -- who married actor Peter Hermann in 2004 -- has three adoring little ones to come home to after grueling days on set.
"I think because I became a mom later in life, everything in life means more," Hargitay, who welcomed her first child, a son named August, in June 2006 at age 42, has said. "Every day is deeper and richer and more soulful. Life is more sacred. Therefore, work is so much more now because I understand and value everything a little bit more."
And her life has only become more enriched since adopting daughter Amaya and son Andrew, both within a six-month period in 2011.
"This is a dream finally realized," a source tells Us Weekly of the family's now expanded brood.