Yearly Archives: 2011

happiness

A few years ago, I read a really great article summarizing the findings of eight different studies on “happiness.”

The conclusions of the studies were all the same:  people’s satisfaction with their life-experience ‘purchases’ — anything from seeing a movie to going on a vacation — tended to start out high and go up even higher over time.  On the other hand, although they might be initially happy with that shiny new laptop or the latest in fashion, their satisfaction with these items always waned with time.

And although I am not willing to completely cut creature comforts out of my life, that article has stuck with my husband and me and I think it has helped guide us into some of our very best and very happiest experiences and memories (some as a family and some as a couple) over the past few years.  From Twins games, State Fair visits, and family “up north” getaways, to bigger trips like Disney World, San Francisco, and London.

And last week, my husband and I took a little trip to Key West.

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And it was wonderful.  My husband did a lot of traveling for his job during October and November and he was beat (stressful traveling and working long days is no fun) and I was beat (solo parenting for long stretches of time is also no fun).  And our time together in Key West was about as well-timed and as well-needed as a vacation could be.

We didn’t do anything fancy while we were there, but it was still perfect.

We took in a little night life:

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We jet-skiied 26 miles around the island (I can verify that jet-skiing on the ocean is absolutely nothing like jet-skiing on a lake … I thought I was going to die 3/4 of the run):

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We came to the conclusion that absolutely everything is bigger in Key West:

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We enjoyed the inbred, six-toed, island cats and the crazy, wild roosters that were everywhere — from the sidewalks to the gift shops to the beach.

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rooster

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We watched the Top Gun jets fly over the island for their tactical training (there are 3 tiny jets in the sunset picture).

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Hi Maverick!

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And we just generally took in the sights and sounds of island life.

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My satisfaction with this trip is definitely in line with the conclusions of that study.  I am so happy my husband and I had this experience together and I know I will love and appreciate the memories even more as time passes.

Our time on this planet is short.  I think taking time out — time to let life wash over you and warm you from head to toes — is really what it’s all about.

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snow session

Another one of my favorite families (and their wonderfully sweet dog!):

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These girls were troopers, even in the chilly snow.

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What a gorgeous morning.

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Thank you for braving the cold with me, you guys. 

Have a wonderful holiday!

a creative and sweet family moment

One of my favorite Families of Four will soon become a Family of Five!

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And I seriously do not understand how this woman can stay so beautiful, no matter what. 

Even while pregnant and sitting on a freezing stone step on a cold December morning.

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It is unfair to the rest of the women in the world. 

And also to mankind.

But I will allow it.

Just this once.

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Below is the soon-to-be Big Brother Times Two.

He is pretty tough — I wouldn’t want to try to date his younger sister.

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I’m so very excited for these guys.

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So, after we left the chilly Arboretum, we headed back to the family’s house.

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And after hanging out for a bit, it was time for something special.

The following pictures require a little bit of back-story, but it’s worth it.

Earlier this week, mom-to-be had her ultrasound.  She had the ultrasound technician write down the baby’s gender onto a piece of paper and put it in an envelope.  The envelope was given to a friend, who then baked cupcakes with a “gender revealing” frosting center (blue frosting if it’s a boy, pink frosting if it’s a girl).

So in the pictures below, no one knew yet what the gender of the baby was (except for one auntie, who was standing by with some decorations for after the reveal).

Could this family be any cuter?

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Little sister is ready to get to the good part:

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A big bite to find out what color is inside…

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And it’s a…

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GIRL!

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Although he had been wanting a new little sister earlier in the week, Big Brother decided at the last minute that another sister was not what he wanted.

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He was so sweet.

And I love this image:

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But the rest of the family was thrilled (and Big Brother eventually came around, too).

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A Team Pink fist bump:

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Congratulations, you guys! 

And thank you for letting me be there for this extremely creative, super fun, and very special family moment.

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gift ideas: kids stationery

Now that the holidays are just around the corner, I started thinking about gifts for my own family members.

For my sister’s 4 kids, I decided a nice gift might be their own set of personalized thank you notes with envelopes.

For my 12-year-old niece, I did a “button” card.  I included her name on the back and ample writing space.

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For the two teenagers, I did a “text” theme.

Because I am hip like that. 

I used pink for the girl and green for the boy. And even added an emoticon after their names on the back. 

See how hip?

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And for the 10-year-old baseball lover, I did basic letter frames with a photo I took at the Twins stadium behind them.

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I really like the way they turned out and I hope the kids feel grown-up having their own stationery for thanking school friends, family members, teachers, or anyone else important in their lives.

And I get to cross off 4 more lines on my holiday gift-buying list!

holiday greetings

I seriously considered putting up some outside Christmas lights today.

I think there is something wrong with me.  Our kids aren’t even finished with their Halloween candy yet.

But I know one thing that contributed to my premature happy holiday mood were these lovely 5×5 press-printed, boutique circle holiday cards that I got to box up and deliver:

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With images of each of the family’s cute kids on the front and a full family photo on the back, these cards are so clean and simple and perfect.

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And the really fantastic part is that if you add a ribbon, they pull double-duty as holiday cards and two-sided ornaments that can be hung on the Christmas tree.

What a great, little gift for family and friends to receive in the mail.

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Love it.  And what a gorgeous family.

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he’s not much of a morning person

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Our cat, Tibby.  Age 15.  And a half.

He is the epitome of laziness.

one year

One of my favorite little guys just turned one. Could he be any cuter with those big, brown eyes and that perfect curl of hair on top of his head?

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I’m so, so happy I got to meet this cutie last year when he was just a newborn.

And have been able to hang out with him as he’s grown through this year.

And now he’s one!

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And so incredibly CUTE!

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And part of such a great, laid-back, loving family.

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Egads, those teeth are adorable.

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Love this one:

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Even the happiest baby on the planet has moments of worry:

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Happy birthday, little man.  Thank you for such a fantastic year of photos.  You are absolutely one-of-a-kind.

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