happy birthday anners

Anne was put on this earth for many, many reasons (obviously), but one of them was to complete my life.  I vividly remember hoping and wishing for a baby sister for years.  Any assignment at school that asked “if you could wish for one thing, what would it be?” – little sister was the answer.  I had to wait 10 years, but then I got one!


You can only imagine how extremely excited I was and Anne did not disappoint, in fact, she exceeded expectations.  She was (and still is) super adorable, out-going, funny, and so very sweet.  She was much more out-going and confidant than me as a child, and I loved watching to see what she was going to do next.


When she was a baby I loved to spend every waking minute with her.  I loved to get her from her crib, change her clothes, change her diapers, read to her, etc.  When she was a toddler I loved to spend lots of time with her too.  I’d take her to the park, paint her nails, bake cookies with her, play games, etc. etc.  Mike loves the story I tell about how if I heard the ice cream truck I’d get into my piggy bank, pick Anne up, and run after the ice cream truck (holding Anne) to get her a popsicle.  Anne did not go without when she was with me.


I wasn’t always the perfect sister though.  I remember getting frustrated with her and yelling at her.  Then I’d quickly feel so guilty – because look at how adorable she is? – and I’d start to cry; no joke, it was pathetic.  I remember Anne coming up to me and asking me what was wrong, and I told her I felt bad because I was mean to her.  She then gave me a big hug and told me that it was okay.  That Anne has a heart of gold.  🙂

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Picture from the Jog-a-thon at Anne’s school.  You’d think by the picture that she ran a bunch, but you’d be wrong.  She walked and managed to go by every water spray bottle station she passed.  Classic Anne.

One of my favorite memories of having Anne as a little sister growing up was how she’d sneak into my bed at night – almost 7 nights a week at one point.  It was pretty funny because her head was barely taller than the bed, but she’d grab and pull her way up.  And she’d take multiple trips to bring in all her stuffed animals.  On weekends she’d sit on top of me in the mornings and pry my eyelids open.  I’d awaken to a smiling face and about a million stuffed animals around me.


I have so many memories with little Anne and now I’m making many memories with big Anne.  I guess she can’t be little anymore now that she is turning 16!  That is beyond weird.  She is such an amazing person.  There aren’t many people I’d do just about anything for, but she is one of them.

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Happy birthday Anners, I love you very much.

26 things i’ve learned in 26 years

1)  Always celebrate your birthday

2)  Most of my problems can be solved by telling myself to relax

3)  Family and friends are priceless

4)  Spilling nail polish remover on a wood table is bad news

5)  Sometimes people judge others because they aren’t confident with what they’re doing in their own life – don’t be that person

6)  Having an active lifestyle is good for my health and mood

7)  If a book isn’t good 30 pages in, don’t finish it

8)  Giving IS better than receiving

9)  Not having a response to an ignorant comment can be more powerful than having one

10)  Care labels on clothes are there for a reason

11)  Working hard makes life easier, oh the irony

12)  Don’t let birds nest in a wreath on the front door

13)  Flossing is important

14)  Cable TV isn’t worth it when trying to save money

15)  Don’t be afraid to try new things

16)  Everyone wants to feel important and loved, be kind

17)  Don’t make decisions in life soley based on money

18)  Best way to improve a snow cone, add nerds

19)  Never go to the grocery store after church

20)  Go to church

21)  Say your prayers

22)  Drink plenty of H2O

23)  Remember the importance of ports while playing Settlers of Catan

24)  Don’t waste too much time feeling sorry for yourself

25)  You’ll never regret eating ice cream (but see #6)

26)  Be thankful


Wild birthday celebration, not sure what’s going on in the background.  🙂

belated father’s day post

Because of our vacation I was unable to put up a post in time for Father’s Day.  So here it is now!  I’m extremely lucky to have the Dad that I do.  He has done so much for our family and probably doesn’t get thanked often enough.


I have vivid memories of life with Dad growing up.  I remember that he taught me to braid on one of my barbies, don’t know if he remembers that, but I do!  I remember that he always told me I looked “strong”, usually after a swim practice that I didn’t want to go to.


I remember coloring at his old work office when I was little and thinking I was pretty cool to be in my Dad’s office.  I remember him fixing our bikes.  I remember drawing out a template for my Halloween jack-o-lantern every year that he would then transfer to a pumpkin.


I remember him trying to teach me long division when I was extremely upset because I just didn’t get it.  I remember camping and hiking with him (and Ryan, my little bro) in Santa Fe, one of my favorite memories.  And of course, I remember him throwing us up in the air at the pool over and over and over again.


Thanks for all the memories Dad.  We are all so lucky to have you.  Love you!

happy mother’s day

My Mom is my ultimate inspiration.  Looking back I know that many of the things I’ve become interested in and the person I’ve become are thanks to her.


Although I used my interior design degree to work in the healthcare field, my interest was sparked because of her.  She loved decorating the house.  She had a certain skill for rearranging the furniture in the living room in different configurations – way more than was thought possible.  All of us kids got to decorate our rooms at one time or another.  And my Mom is many things, but being afraid of color is not one of them.  At one point the house had rooms painted yellow, lime green, aqua, red, green, and orange.  All of this made me interested in the designing/decorating of spaces.


She is also somewhat of a gardener.  This trait I have not acquired yet, but I hope to soon.  I do remember that one of my chores growing up in the summers was to water all the flowers.  It was basically the worst.  It’d be blazing hot outside and a light spray was definitely not acceptable.  So I wasn’t a big fan of flowers back then, but I’m starting to see the beauty in it.


My Mom has always said that she doesn’t like to cook.  I remember her telling this to me for the first time and I was shocked.  She cooked all the time for us growing up and I always loved it – unless it was beef stroganoff.  To this day I consider her a great cook who, for some reason, doesn’t like to cook.


Anyone who knows my Mom knows that she has many, many interests.  Sometimes I can’t keep up with them, but she was the one who introduced me to Smash Books (posts on that here, here, here and here).  And her interest in photography has inspired me to start learning.


Growing up she seemed to know it all.  I’m so lucky to have a Mom that I can be sure will be able to answer just about any question I have.  I’ve learned so much from her, and I’d like to think I’ve taken on some of her awesome personality traits.  My Mom could write a book on being hardworking and strong willed.  She is the most loyal friend you’ll ever have, and she’s always full of life.


On some things my Mom and I couldn’t be any more different.  I like rollercoasters and I’d LOVE to go scuba diving.  My Mom – there is just no way.  Most of the time I’m not as chatty as my Mom, the reason for much angst growing up.  Mom is fascinated by, well, just about anything and it’s always impossible for me to carry that level of interest.  Also, Mom is the most excitable person you’ll ever meet.  I’ll tell her something that I think is completely trivial and she’ll fly off the handle.


Given all our differences, she is still my ultimate inspiration.  She has such a passion for living, there is no other way to put it.  She has worked relentlessly to raise all 4 of us, and has done an incredible job (she should thank her stubbornness for some of that).  Growing up we were not allowed to have excuses for poor behavior/decisions – ever – and I know she was just as hard on herself as she was on us.  Underneath the high expectations was a love so tremendous.  If we ever needed any sort of help growing up we never doubted that she’d be there.  It was just a fact, we could always count on her 100%.  And I still feel that way today.


Thanks Mom for all of your lessons, love, and support.  It means the world.

Love you,



I take lots of pictures throughout the year and I used to print them all off and put them in photo albums.  I began to realize that at the rate I was going I was going to need a whole lot of space to hold the big clunky albums I had.  Then I saw this idea on Young House Love and loved it!

I use My Publisher.  You download the program (only takes a few seconds) and can choose to either have the program make a book for you or make one yourself.  I choose to make one myself, it takes more time but you’re able to configure the pictures just how you want them.  There is a 100  page limit, but I kinda of like that, it makes you have to select the very best photos.

Cost for one of these is about $109 + shipping BUT they have discounts all the time.  I waited for a 70% off discount and got mine for only $45 and that includes shipping!

Here are some pics of our most recent yearbook for 2013:


I put in a “table of contents” at the front with the highlights from the year:


And here are a few pages from the book:




Our yearbook from 2012 is a little different, here are couple pics of that one:



We liked how this one turned out too, but we decided to go with the fabric cover this time around.

And here they are sitting on our cabinet next to the fireplace:




I think we’ll be sticking to this system.  It’s an efficient way to keep all those memories alive!  Definitely worth the small amount of time and money in my opinion.  🙂