Happy Birthday, Brother!

Matt, today is your 29th birthday and I suppose you need some attention, even though Luxembourg just had a national holiday to celebrate the occasion!

You’ve always been an influence in my life and I’ll never stop looking up to you.

You’ve done everything you can to work hard, make a great example of yourself, challenge the process, encourage others to be great and to make life easier for yourself and the family you’ll have someday.

I look up to you because you refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. You have the courage to stand up for what you believe and you know that if you push hard enough you can produce results.

You understand that building strong relationships is one of the most important things you can do, and you’re really good at it. I think it’s because you’re a loyal, confident, funny and witty person. More importantly you know that a BBQ always takes good friends and makes them great friends.

You understand the importance of balance in your life and you make the effort to take vacations, spend money on experiences and spend time with those who you love. Your ability to dream like a child at the age of 29 impresses me, and inspires me to live a more carefree life.

Other than your accomplishments in your career, you’ve done some pretty amazing things. Like a double major on an academic scholarship, going to grad school while working full time. Like travelling solo to Europe, just to explore, and later moving your entire life there just because you craved the adventure. You made it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, rocking a mohawk. What’s not amazing about that?

 I miss you every single day. I don’t play pool as often as I should, ride the bike you bought me like I promised that I would or even take vacations like you encourage me to, but I still know that you’re proud of me and that you’re always just a phone call away. 

You have a ‘special’ lady who thinks you’re pretty remarkable, so please take care of her and continue to show her the creative, intelligent, witty, carefree, spontaneous, games-and-prizes Matt you’ve always been and I know you always will be.

Happy Birthday, MattMan! I’m happy you turned out okay.

heart JE

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Wrap n’ Roll

Wrapping up the week and rolling straight into the weekend, that’s the name of the game! This week has flown by and I’ve also felt incredibly productive both at work and at home. I was able to run 4 weekdays (including this morning…which was a really early alarm for everyone), got a great amount of work done and was even able to sneak in a pedicure, a movie and some time with my Mr. Dan.

First of all, the half birthday celebrations yesterday were more than expected as always and I feel pampered, loved and fulfilled.

The day started out with Dan chauffeuring me into work in the rental mini-van, then returning to deliver me a extra big latte with extra big results, followed by a facebook frenzy of well wishes by friends, family and the sweet little sisters below – who are experts at photo editing #amIright?

The next wonderful thing that happened to me was this ‘omg!’ inducing lunch complete with meal-prepped grilled chicken, lettuce, 1/2 avocado and S.R.I.R.A.C.H.A. Dan was in charge of the sriracha ‘drenching’ on this one and sad to say it just didn’t kick enough. Therefore, tomorrow’s container leaves the chicken unrecognizable to the naked eye. #morespiceplz

At the end of the day after I had to put out a few tiny little fires at the workplace, Dan swooped me up and took US to get pedicures together in Beaverton. He loves taking me to get pedicures and he’s the happiest guy I’ve ever seen sitting back in the massage chair, people touching his weary hairy feet and even a little nail polish. He may not be as appreciative of me getting photo evidence for the blog, but I think he and his clear-painted nails will get over it!

To wrap up the evening, this handsome guy whisked me away in our weekend rented mini van and we headed to Cinetopia for dinner and Great Gatsby. I was thrilled beyond belief as I saw a dear childhood friend of mine enter the theater just after me, and it was a great to giggle, chat and make ‘let’s see each other soon’ plans with one another. In the meantime I’ll work on finding old photos of our younger years for a Throwback Thursday, Gretchen!

When we returned home late, I was surprised to find that my parents had dropped off a chocolate cake, fresh raspberries, a gift card to our favorite java spot and a beautiful flower in a vase picked straight from the garden – all for the special day!

I have the greatest family, friends and boyfriend I could ever ask for. It’s easy for my mind to be happy when there’s so much positive energy flowing through my beautiful life.

This weekend I have a lot of solid blog (this one) and educational reading/viewing to dive into (like this!) – many peaceful running miles while Dan’s off being important, and a whole amazing world around me to take in, one breath at a time!

heart JE

Throwback Thursday: Half Birthday

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year – my HALF Birthday.

I’ve celebrated half birthdays since I can remember and love keeping the tradition alive.

My brother claims to have started the tradition, but reality (read: how I remember it) is that a sunny spring day I learned it was my half birthday and had the scheme of a lifetime. I stood on a step-stool, reached for the wired wall-phone and dialed the phone numbers of my grandparents that were listed in my mother’s handwriting on the inside of a cupboard door. Each time I dialed a number, I would speak in my sweetest most innocent voice and invite my relatives over for a Half Birthday celebration. Yes, presents would be accepted and yes – there will be cake (mom just didn’t know it yet!)

One by one, the family started pulling up to the house via the back alley, hands full of gifts, balloons and surprises! The only ones who didn’t know about the party? Mom and Dad!

Being the loving parents that they are, and being the sweet little innocent child I liked to pretend that I was – they went to the store, bought the cake that I’d promised all of my guests, and we had a party that would last for years and years.

Nowadays my half birthday is celebrated a little differently – but I almost like it more than my actual birthday!

Normally the weather is decent in the spring, my parents take me out to dinner, I get half-ish gifts and I have zero guilt in sharing that it’s my half-special day with others. What’s even better? Mom’s half birthday is just two days later and we know we like to do each of our days justice – this half birthday thing isn’t just for me!

This year Dan and I are doing a pamper day with pedicures and evening plans he hasn’t shared with me yet, but there’s a rumor that I have a gift from mom and dad waiting for me at home. Hopefully I can also expect something special at work since I shamelessly marked the date on our calendar. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Today’s Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a little girl who knew that even the littlest milestones are important to celebrate – especially one’s centered around her beautiful cake-loving existence!

heart JE

Golden Weekend

I’m so rested from this weekend – come at me, May!

Despite some car troubles for me (Thank you Dan, Dad, Mom, Sisters!) and some additional car troubles for Dan (Thank you, Austin!) we had a pretty nice birthday weekend for Dan.

He had his golf tournament both days so we didn’t hit the town or get wild, but it was everything you’d want a weekend to be.

  • I had some quality alone time with two 10 mile runs (20 total).
  • I enjoyed a massage with miracle worker Maggie
  • We relaxed with some NBA playoffs and enjoyed the beautiful sunlight coming through the windows and illuminating our home.

I even reacquianted with these friendly drinking fountains in the neighborhood: The Benson Bubbler

The biggest part of the weekend that I didn’t like was being unable to drive to get the cake Dan really wanted for his birthday a sheet cake from Costco, so he had no cake at all.

Instead, here are the cakes from his last two birthdays we’ve spent together:

At least I learned!

He had all kinds of birthday love from friends and family on facebook and via phone calls – so overall he considered his special week day a success.

He especially loved the visits and gifts from the two little goldens that have stolen his heart:

heart JE

Throwback Thursday: Golden Birthday

Sunday the 28th is Dan’s 28th Birthday (Golden Birthday!) – please join me in wishing him a wonderful weekend and the best of luck in his golf tournament! He’s taking a half day at work today in order to get another quality 18 holes in and I couldn’t be prouder. I’m looking forward to driving down I-5 to shop at the Woodburn Outlet Mall watch him play and want him to know that I’m his biggest fan!

I thought today would be a fun opportunity to embarrass him share a few photos that his mother in Chicago sent to me this week at my request. I have her full permission to make the birthday boy blush today so I’m going to take this for some good mileage.

Enjoy…!

The great news is that I now have a ton of ammo to use and have some great stories behind some of the photos already planned.

In all fairness, it IS his birthday week so I suppose I’ll have to pick up some Golden BIRTHDAY Oreo’s if I can find them!

heart JE

April’s Eight Great Goals

If you were anywhere near Portland this weekend you already know how great I’m going to say my Easter weekend was. So that’s a story I’ll save for a different day – Tomorrow if you’re lucky

Today our focus here is on April and looking forward to what it may bring.

First of all, it definitely will bring a lot of smoothies.

The trick? Toss any fresh fruits or veggies into a blender, add protein, sample, pour and watch that smile on your face grow! Some pinspiration for other smoothie drinkers here.

More pressure will be on us at work, coming upon the end of the fiscal year in 60 days and needed to be on my A game non-stop. This hustle at work will make the days go by faster and clearly will make the weekends more valuable. I plan on spending a lot of time doing what I enjoy and making certain that Dan and I are having fun together when he’s not out teeing it up on the weekends and whenever the sun decides to poke out from behind the clouds.

Eight Great Goals

1. Always have fresh flowers in the house and at my desk. There’s beautiful daffodils in my backyard that I’ve been clipping and looking at in my home – so I want to make sure that I am always changing it up, keeping it fresh, and getting signs of spring everyday of the month.

2. Keep a food diary where I write down every last crumb that I consume – I’ve heard that can help to keep you more aware of what you’re putting into your body and ultimately help you to make better choices in dire moments of snacking and hunger.

3. It is a little sad that we have anxiety about setting this goal and it might sound like too many for you – but Dan and I like stopping for latte’s in the morning on the way to work… really like. This month we are only going to have seven latte’s each and hopefully can save a little money in the process.

4. Landscaping fun at our house to get everything beautiful and groomed for the summer. There’s old plants to uproot, weeding to be done, raking of leaves that have fallen and plenty to keep us busy.

5. After dinner in the evening if the weather is dry Dan and I are going to put our walking shoes on and go count puppies in the neighborhood rather than watch re-runs or the 5th inning from our reclining chairs.

6. For the 6th goal, I’d like to run at least six times in the morning before work. Pack my outfit and lay out my clothes the night before, get up early, drive to work, run, shower, and be well prepared for my day. This should be easy to do next week especially as Dan won’t be carpooling with me due to his 9 day vacation – so that’s why the goal goes above and beyond what I can accomplish in one week alone. I also need to go to six NTC sessions this month – it’s been a few weeks since I’ve attended.

7. Dan’s birthday is coming up this month and I’d like to make his 28 on the 28th a special one. He will be representing his golf league on that day thanks to his victory last year so I’ll have to find ways to work around it. However, I don’t think he can imagine a better way to spend his day on the course hitting the links!

8. Oops – Dan chiming in here… “Your last goal should be to hit a golf ball 50 yards (in the air)”. Looks like we’re going to the driving range!

April is normally one of my favorite days of the year to get my prank on, so we will see what I get into with my family, my co-workers and of course – Dan! I expect to see several “fake” engagements on my facebook feed so just know that I’m ready for you!

Thanks for hanging around another month – look forward to hearing about the sunny weekend tomorrow!

heart JE

Throwback Thursday: For the Best Dad

Happy Half Birthday, Dad!!

{A little something you’ll enjoy knowing about our family is that we celebrate half birthdays. The golden sisters actually celebrate “monthdays”, and us humans celebrate half birthdays – admittedly some more than others. Ahem, me!}

Dad, it seems like just yesterday we were out on the porch grilling up your birthday dinner in September while you, mom and Bailey waited for me to snap photos for the post about it. I know that you don’t like thinking of yourself as 6 months away from a speed limit – but think of it instead as days you can count down to your retirement. A  countdown to when you’re no longer limited to the time you can spend at the beach, the mornings you can wrestle with the puppies or trips you can plan to go visit Mattman. For the next few months you can start to count down to a life of choice and freedom – just like mom’s been rocking happily for a few years now.

I want to take today to thank you for a few things that I don’t think I’ve thanked you enough for:

  • Thank you for driving me to countless softball practices and pitching lessons
  • Thank you for taking many of those pitches in the knees / shins over those 10+ years of practices
  • Thank you for teaching me how to drive a stick-shift
  • Thank you for encouraging half birthdays!
  • Thank you for doing my taxes year over year (I swear I’ll do them someday)
  • Thank you for understanding when I wanted to stop playing basketball my sophomore year of high school
  • Thank you for teaching me how to check my oil and the importance of auto-maintenance
  • Thank you for being a loving husband to mom and a loving son to your parents
  • Thank you for allowing/suggesting that Dan move in with me
  • Thank you for protecting our country
  • Thank you for always working hard to support our family
  • Thank you for being a handy fix-it/do it all-man around the home and recently at the beach house.
  • Thank you for doing everything you can to keep mom happy
  • Thank you for always volunteering to help however you can to make our lives easier
  • Thank you for finding my newest sister, Bella
  • Thank you for giving Matt and I your height!
  • Thank you for doing all you can think of to help me feel safe in my home
  • Thank you for your wit, sense of humor, playful attitude and surprising silliness
  • Thank you for passing on your gentle, humble, quiet and observant nature
  • Thank you for making me proud to call you Dad

Today’s Throwback Thursday is brought to us by a father who has always been a great role model, a wonderful father, a loving husband, a thoughtful son… and previous owner/rocker of a classic ‘stache.

Thanks for being the best, dad!

heart JE