Dear Dad,

Happy Father’s Day to you. Even though every day is technically father’s day- you are a dad to me 24/7/365 (or 366 depending on what year it is). I just want to tell you how much I love you! And to thank you for being, truly, the best dad ever.

IMG_5987Thank you for never, ever making me wonder if you loved me or not. A lot of dads are not vocal with how much they love their children, and how proud they are of them. You are. I think this communicative strength of yours instilled my strength that I can do anything (and if I fail- I am still loved).

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Dad, thanks for spending time with us. From reading us bedtime stories, to playing patty-cake until we’re in our mid-twenties. Thank you for showing us that family is important (and so is fun). A lot of daughters are not as fortunate to have such amazing parents- and I try, try, try to not take this for-granted. Thank you for being a father to my friends. For loving them. I see so many of my girlfriends struggle with image issues- cutting and starving themselves. Thank you for taking time to talk to them; and to listen to them. Thank you for accepting me. You never tried to make me into anyone other than my weird, weird, weird self. You bought me a dog when I decided my only friend was an imaginary giraffe (Oh, sweet Maxine. She’s still alive in Africa, you know. Imaginary giraffes live for a very long time.)

You are the most patient person I know. I’m not sure if we have ever let you finish a story. 3 daughters and a wife: the world’s greatest interrupters. Thanks for showing me to listen (I’m still working on it). We are so different. If you’re not 5 minutes early, you consider yourself late. If I’m 5 minutes early…. well that will never happen. 😉 And while we are so different, we are so similar. You understand my need for alone time. That sometimes large groups can be overwhelming to me. I, so, appreciate your understanding. It makes me a happier person.

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Dad- will I ever find a man who loves me as much as you do? Who will answer my questions? Who will push me to be a better person? Who is excited by my need for adventure? I hope I do. I hope you love him and you guys are best friends (and that I am a little scared of, because I am slightly already jealous of that). You teach me everyday that family is a priority- and that love, as much as it is a feeling, is a decision. Thank you.

Most importantly- you teach me to make my relationship with Jesus my own- that it is not about legalism, but about the Gospel. My peace is that He is always with me- and the best Father of all.

I love you Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

Vacation Time

My family is the greatest. Upon hearing the news that my job was no more- their immediate response: vacation time. Thanks Mom and Dad for always, always, always showing me what is important in life. Sometimes you just need to get in a good vacation before the “real world” happens.

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Yes I did bring Dolce dog. AND yes my nephew is the best dog walking partner around.
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I whispered to my older sister in the car, “I think Dad is taking us for ice cream.” I have never felt more like a 7 year old in my life. Also my dad was not taking us for ice cream. When Lisa and I both expressed our GREAT disappointment over this, he turned the car around and stopped by the ice cream store. (Nephew is comparing his cone with mine. I won.)IMG_5943

Just the cutest kid in California.

Also thanks to my family again- for recognizing that even during a family vacation I need recharging time. They are currently at a winery- and Dolce and I are here alone enjoying introvert time. Remember to voice what is important to YOU- it was important to me that even during the greatness of family time, I get alone time. I am happier for it, they are happier for it. Everyone wins.

Bridal Shower

I am so tired. Bridal showers are exhausting. BUT SO WORTH IT. I am so bummed I didn’t take any pictures (I guess that’s the dilemma of planning, executing, and hosting the party (no sleeeeeeeep). Even though I didn’t snap a bunch of pics, I did want to share about the shower.

At first, Gayle didn’t want a shower. She wasn’t all for the idea of being the center of attention and people buying gifts for her and Patrick. After a lot of explaining that this was how people wanted to love on her (and that we were buying her gifts regardless, so it might as well be something she wanted)- she conceded.

To me the shower was important, because I didn’t throw an engagement party. The party was kind of selfish of me- I needed it. My baby sister is getting married and I needed to celebrate it. To accept it. And parties, to me, are a reality check. THIS IS HAPPENING. Also… I AM SO SO SO SO SO excited for it.

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Menu (Gayle was born in FL, and from our time living there acquired all of food tastes from the south it seems):

sweet peach tea

mini chicken and waffles

mini key lime pies

mini corndogs (this girl…)

cucumber sandwiches

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Throwing a shower was also important to me because Gayle is leaving for North Africa soon. I’m going to miss her face. One of my favorite thing to to do is send letters with her. She is the honey in my tea for sure- my life is so much sweeter because of her. I love you little owl and am so excited for you to go- and then get back. 🙂

Emet Em Ta KCP

“Sister. She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.” Barbara Alpert

Gayle and I had a secret club growing up and we would say ’emet em ta kcp’ when we wanted that club to meet. We still talk about how strange we were and also did our parents know we painted the inside of our closet ceiling with paint? Anyway we all know my baby sister is getting married soon and I hoped and prayed I would be her MOH.

When I landed from CA a few weeks ago, Gayle picked me up. On accident. She was originally going to pick us up, but then after the two days of plane delays it just wasn’t going to work out. I guess she didn’t realize that I had made alternate arrangements, and when her work conference ended early she headed to the airport. It was a nice surprise, and Sarah just took the other car home. 🙂

Gayle took me to lunch (Chik-fil-A: her conference was serving that and she was bummed she was missing it, so that’s where we went). The super nice manager at Chik-fil-A started chatting with Gayle and after a few minutes we went up to order and he paid for our meal. 🙂 Best Chik-fil-A ever is off of Paseo in Albuquerque.

We sat down and Gayle handed me a bag. I knew what was in it, but I still started crying. Why? Who knows. I am just so excited for her to be marrying Patrick- and that she is so happy.

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After a tumultuous round of ‘where is Gayle getting married,’ we found a perfect place. I keep saying ‘our wedding’ and I KNOW it’s not, but it is. I mean I’m gaining a brother! Let’s make this all about me. 😉 Gayle and Patrick will be saying ‘I do” at the Railyards. Currently Tina Fey is filming a movie there. That must mean is the perfect place right? I am so excited for this wedding- for the dancing, the cake, the crying, but most importantly the marriage! God is good and I am so blessed to witness Him in their relationship. I pray their love strengthens their love for Christ and that they serve Him through it.

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Love, love, love

IMG_5254 (1)Eloise is one of my favorite characters. She’s 6. And she always, always, always says things 3 times.

But that’s not what this post is about, this post is about how much I love Valentine’s Day. 🙂 Valentine’s Day is a fun time to dress up in a dramatically romantic outfit. Red lips. Black tulle. It’s also a time to give just because I love you gifts to special people. This year I gave out socks. You are welcome. Here’s to love! And cake.

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Also this post is about LOVE and I love that GAYLE AND PATRICK ARE ENGAGED! It didn’t happen on Valentine’s Day, he asked her a few days before. I am so, so, so excited for the two of them! I cannot wait for their August wedding. AUGUST. SO SOON. She’s got this planning under control though. And thankfully she has some amazing friends to help her out. (Even if when they look through bridal mags in my living room, my living room turns into looking like a swanky waiting room).

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60 Reasons I Love My Mom

My mom turned a certain age on the 2nd. I’ll let you guess her age by the title of the post. 😉 Every year she asks for two things: love and a handmade birthday card. In her birthday card I included 60 reasons why I love her (certainly the reasons are limitless, but here are 60):

IMG_50991. You taught me about Jesus.

2. You are beautiful.

3. You sacrifice your happiness for mine.

4.  You are generous.

5. You are the best cook ever.

6. You taught me how to clean.

7.You are pretty funny.

8.I get my sense of style from you. (Thanks for letting me dress myself since I was in preschool.)

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9. YOU ARE SO PATIENT.

10.Your house is always open for us to come over and have invite friends.

11. You love everyone.

12. You support me in all my choices. From traveling to Iraq, to changing majors, to living alone.

13. You taught me how to put others first, but also to make sure I am ok.

14. You show me what forgiveness truly means.

15. You look really cute in leggings and Ugg boots (I do not say this lightly).

16. You love my dog- and accept my obession for her.

17. You’re always honest.

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18. You don’t give up.

19. You are so creative.

20. You always packed my elementary and middle school lunches.

21. You taught me how to stand up for myself, even if I was embarrassed when you did it.

22. You taught me that sin has consequences.

23. You are always working.

24. You are the hardest worker I know.

25. You showed me that if I want something I have to work for it.

26. You take care of me when I’m sick (still. even though we live 45 minutes away. you still drop off medicine.)

27. I know you love me, because you tell me- AND you show me.

28.You’d vote for me on American Idol/ The Voice. Even though you IMG_5161have definitely told me you’d be the only one voting for me.

29. You enrolled me in etiquette classes and made sure I could successfully dine with the Queen, if need be.

30. You let me make my own choices- even when you know they end in pain.

31. You’ve illustrated the importance of thanking God.

32. You show me how to trust God- because I see the trust you put in Him.

33. I like to garden because of you. I never ever ever thought I would.

34. You are BRAVE.

35. You always pick up my phone calls.

36. You share- your food- your clothes- your stories.

37. You use to rub my ear and sing to me so that I would fall asleep.

IMG_520538. In elementary school you always sent us balloons and candy for Valentine’s Day.

39. You always have a band-aid. (I always need a band-aid.)

40. You have a really pretty smile.

41. You can’t do a cartwheel, but you still try.

42. You are so easy to scare. I love it!

43. You taught me to spend more on quality because it will last longer.

44. You know that spending time with people is important.

45. You are selfless.

46. You love your family even though we are a bunch of weirdos.

47. You like tea parties.

48. You always had a home-cooked meal ready when I lived at home.

IMG_513849. You never complain.

50. You taught me things are never ‘weird,’ they are ‘different.’

51. You encourage my need to travel.

52. You like to try new things.

53. When my sisters and I fight, you always make us hug afterward.

54. You know the importance of skin-care, and make I wash and moisturize my face…

55. and brush my teeth…..

56. and change into my pjs (my mother tells me this every night when I’m home).

57. You go to the store late at night so when I wake up I can have seaweed soup on my birthday.

58. You show me prayer is powerful.

59. You taught me my sisters are my forever friends.

                                   60. YOU ARE MY MOM AND I LOVE YOU!

Q&A

What are you looking forward to?

Ummm, what a perfect question for today. What a perfect way to reflect on what I just did. Fun fact: no one I know knows about Lovely & Alive. I’d like to keep it that way for a while too, because I am going to write about my baby sister’s future wedding. THAT’S what I’m looking forward to.

Gayle doesn’t even know she about to become engaged. I mean that’s the assumption of where her relationship is going, but she doesn’t know that her future husband to be just called me to ask for engagement ring shopping help.

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Most men would like to pick one out by themselves. It’s a very intimate shopping trip- the one ring (to rule them all….). I think it humbles a man to ask for help. It also illustrates that the future hubby to be is sensitive to the fact that Gayle is, not only my sister, but my very best of best of friends. He knew I would like to be included in this (I also know what she loves and loathes). Being kept out of the loop drives me crazy and makes me feel unimportant, and I love that this is a small way he is respecting my relationship with her. That is why I am so so so looking forward to them being engaged AND married.

seesters* fun fact: Gayle, Patrick and I have been friends for 4 or 5 years. They didn’t start dating until 2014. She tricked me. Every guy she’s liked, I haven’t known. Therefore I automatically didn’t like them. Patrick I couldn’t not like. I already knew he was a great guy (albeit sometimes when they get together it’s a little annoying- they are both so funny). I am so happy that they have such a solid friendship- it’s made the communication so much easier. 

* freakin’ freaky fact: look out for an engagement soon and a wedding within the year. SLIGHT TYPE A FREAK OUT MOMENT HERE.