My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Life’

Questions I’d Like to Ask Future Me

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What was your career like?

Did you ever figure out what you wanted to do, and if so, did you do it? How important did the money end up being, did you take dreams over paychecks and struggle to follow your passion? Did you create something you loved? Did you work with integrity and honesty and drive? Were you a good mentor, and did you remember to give back to the people who looked up to you? Did anyone look up to you?

Did you take risks?

Did you ever climb that mountain? Did you eat the dessert whenever you wanted to? Did you see the movies you wanted to see? Which books were your favorites? What was your favorite ritual, your alone time, your just-for-myself thing? Did you remember to put yourself first sometimes, not for the sake of being selfish, but for the sake of your own sanity?

Are there people who take care of you now?

Do you have kids? Did you ever decide whether or not you wanted to have kids, and if so, how did you know? Was it a light bulb moment or was it gradual? Did you see some little girl on the light rail one afternoon and realize the pang in your heart was real and telling you that you wanted kids after all? Did you know you were ready or were you scared the whole way? And what were their names? What are they like? Are you proud of them? You must be proud of them, I imagine, the way most parents are proud of their kids, should be proud of their kids. Do they look like you? Do they love you? Were you a good mother? Do they think you were a good mother?

And if you didn’t have kids, how’d you decide? How’d you know they weren’t for you? Was there backlash when you made that choice? Was it even your choice?

Did you travel the world?

Did you explore your city as often as you could? Did you ever move back home? Or was homesickness just a comfortable constant? Was it just a small memento, and a reminder of your roots?

How did you meet the love of your life?

Did you ever have one? Or were there many, and if there were, did one stand out? How did they act? What were they like? What did they do, how did they take their coffee, and did they prefer pancakes or bacon and eggs? What color were their eyes and did you feel safe in their arms? How and when did you know that you loved them? Who said it first?

And if it ended, how did it end? Was it violent and bitter, or two friends saying one last good bye? I hope it was the latter.

Do you regret anything?

What do you regret? And if you do, do your regrets outweigh your good memories?

I hope they don’t. I hope the good far outweighs the bad.

And most of all, were you happy?

Maybe not all the time, because that’s the impossible goal, but overall, were you happy? Are you happy now? Did the things you did and the places you saw and the people you loved… did all those things bring you joy and give you meaning and fuel your drive and determination to make the world a better place?

But I guess that last answer lies in me. Current me. Present day. Right here and now.


Because the things you do now, and the people you love, and the dreams you chase determine whether or not you feel fulfilled in this moment. The risks you take build up to larger rewards, and the things you choose not to do in the here and now determine your biggest regrets.

So chase after what you love now.

And take your risks and leap off those cliffs and book those tickets to that new city and read as much as you can and love as hard as it is humanly possible.

Make the answers you’ll give when you’re older the best they can possibly be.

Laughter Looks Good on You

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I love my laugh. It’s probably one of my favorite things about me.

(I know, in a society that values modesty above all other things, that’s not exactly something that you’re supposed to say. You’re not supposed to have favorite things about yourself; other people can have favorite things about you and give you compliments and you take them graciously, but you never admit that you agree. Well, I think that’s kind of silly, because if you love something about yourself, you should own it. But I digress.)

Someone once told me that my laugh is the kind of thing people know they’ve earned, that makes them feel good about themselves, because they feel like they were genuinely funny enough to earn such a reaction. It’s a loud laugh, obnoxious at times and certainly the direct opposite of sexy (boy, I’m really selling this thing, aren’t I?) because I’ve never been able to learn how to make it quieter and I’ve never bothered to try. I’ll giggle when I’m nervous — because I can never keep a straight face when I’m really freaked out — or I’ll text a polite ‘lol’ when I don’t know what else to say, but when I laugh, I laugh real. Ugly-snort-laugh real. I think everyone should.

Life’s too short for fake laughter when you find something really funny.

After all, why shouldn’t you react accordingly when you find something funny? I don’t mean the harmful-to-other-people, at-the-expense-of-others funny, but rather just flat-out humorous. And there are tons of scientific reasons why you should laugh – from stress relief, to combatting depression, to making yourself feel closer to the person with whom you’re laughing, to the fact that it works like a domino, and is bound to make people around you feel happier, too.

With the untold number of tragedies that keep piling up this year alone, it feels sometimes like the world is growing a little darker, a little sadder, a little more cold. It’s hard to see the positive when everything seems to be pointing in the opposite direction. It’s hard to find the good (which there is so very much of) when it gets overshadowed on a daily basis by an influx of bad news.

It’s in the moment when we begin to feel the heaviness that we need laughter the most.

If only to get through all that bleakness to the next bright spot, even if it feels like it might never come.

You have to believe it will, though. And you get there by laughing. Even if it feels false at first. But laugh at your own jokes (because I know there are moments when you say something that you think is really funny–can I get a holla for all the fellow dad joke and/or puns connoisseurs out there) and laugh at the jokes your friends tell, and go out late at night and laugh about the things you did and said and strangers you flirted with the next morning.

Make memories.

Laugh until you cry. Make lame jokes and witty jokes, sarcastic one-liners and corny comments that make people look at you sideways. Laugh anyway. Laugh despite their looks. Laugh in spite of them.

Laugh every day if you can.

Even if you feel sad. Even if some tragedy struck you. (Sometimes that’s when we need laughter most.) And don’t feel guilty for it, either. The people who love you would want you to be happy, and would want you to laugh. Surround yourself with people who you think are funny. Laugh honestly, and you’ll be surprised how many people will think you’re funny too, just by virtue of the fact that you’re laughing. And you’ll feel better. Even if it’s just for that night, about a joke you won’t remember five years from now, but you’ll remember how you felt and hopefully that was happy.

Laughter brings happiness.

And the world could always use more of that.

28 things I’ve learned by 28

This Saturday I turn 25 for the third time (so weird how that happened, right?!). Actually, I’m turning the big 2-8 and while I would normally be freaking out just a little bit, I’m surprisingly pretty chill about that fact that I’m inching ever so closely to my thirties and…ohmygoshimgettingsodamnoldhowdidthishappen?! Okay. I’m maybe slightly possibly kinda sorta freaking out about it. But ever the more reason to celebrate, right?!

Right.

So celebrate I will, damn it! Friday night I’m going out with some friends to whoop it up downtown Denver and then on Saturday the sis and I are going up to Ft. Collins to see my friend play in his band. It should be a great time and a perfect way to ring in my 25th x 3 year 28th year.

But before I put my party hat on and dig into the cake, I wanted to take a second to reflect on not only this past year (which has been pretty amazing, if I do say so myself), but all of my 28 years thus far. I like to think as you get you older, you get wiser. You experience new things, you make mistakes, you learn, you grow.  As you get older, you also begin to form a sort of perspective about life; love, relationships, your career and yourself. You recognize the things that you value most–the things that are important–and the things that aren’t. I don’t think I would be where I am at right now if I hadn’t done those things. It’s actually fun to look back and see how you have changed; to think about those experiences you would do over again; my first concert, sky diving, moving across the country and landing my dream job and those that you probably wouldn’t; my first kiss (sloppy, just so sloppy), my obsession with crimped hair and Doc Martins (basically all of sixth grade) and when my grandma lost her battle with cancer.

Through all of those experiences, I’ve changed, I’ve grown and have gone through some pretty crazy hair styles.

Here are 28 things that I have learned in my 25 x 3 28 years so far:

1. Mom really does know best.

I’ve always been close to my mom, but as I’ve gotten older a whole new respect, admiration and love for her has developed. She is the strongest woman I know and I can only hope to be like her one day. And those things she has always told you (always carry a jacket with you just in case it gets cold, listen to your heart—it will never steer you wrong, and all you need is a little faith) were absolutely right!

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2. Smile.

You never know the impact you may have on another person simply by smiling at them or saying hello.

3. Do what makes you happy.

As long as it’s not a felony, basically. Life is too short to miss out on all the chances to be happy, to experience new and exciting things, to live the most kiss-ass life ever.

4. Floss.

5. Plans will change.

According to the plans I made in my early 20’s, I should be married with 2.5 kids, living in a cute cottage on the lake somewhere while working on the follow-up to my NY Times award-winning novel right now. The reality is that I’m about as close to living the direct opposite of that life as humanly possible. Cue ironic laughter. But you know what, that’s okay. Where I am right now is pretty alright. Things don’t always work out the way you planned them, and not just the big stuff—sometimes you will be handed a chocolate chip cookie, when all you wanted really was a peanut butter one. It’s important to embrace what comes, unexpected or not, and just roll with the punches. Sometimes the best laid plans are those that aren’t….planned, that is.

6. Tell those that are important to you how much you love them as often as you can.

7. Love your body.

‘F’ fashion, ‘F’ photoshop, ‘F’ the media. If you treat your body well, move it, put good things in it, care for it–it doesn’t matter what it looks like. You only have one body, there’s no use in hating on it because (in case you didn’t get the memo) you’re literally stuck in it. Embrace what you have and shake what your momma gave you!

8. The truest beauty is found from within.

It’s really not that hard to be a good person. It mostly just means being considerate of other folks and not being a jerk. Being a jerk actually takes more effort to do than being a good person, because you have to actively do jerk-like things, whereas being good is as simple as a smile (see above).

9. There’s always room for dessert. Always.

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10. Read for the sake of reading.

Don’t do it to be smart or to impress anyone. Do it because you want to get lost in a story, you want to feel all the feelings and see what it’s like to live in somebody else’s shoes. It doesn’t matter what you read; just read. Also, there’s no such thing as having too many books. Take it from someone who does.

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11. You’re never too old for blanket forts and Play-Doh.

12. Pizza is never a bad idea. Have another piece.

13. Life doesn’t necessarily ever get better.

There are good times and there are bad times. Always. You just get stronger and learn how to laugh at yourself.

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14. Never miss an opportunity for car karaoke. Ever.

13. The only thing more crippling than the fear of failure, is the realization you’ve missed or thrown away opportunities due to your fear of failure.

Do. Try. Make as many mistakes as you can. Another piece advice from my mom (see above) is that you will never know unless you put yourself out there and just go for it!

14. And if you happen to fail—which you will, and that’s perfectly okay, dust yourself off, get back up and try, try, again.

15. Make pantless Saturday nights in a thing as much as possible.

16. This is the best show in the history of ever. Do not even try to fight me on this.

17. You’re never going to be able to make everyone happy. And that’s okay.

Be honest, open to new experiences and opportunities, and dedicate time to activities that are constructive and make you happy. Worrying about what others are thinking of you is not going to achieve anything. So just do you.

18. Laugh hard, laugh much, laugh often.

19. Travel hard, travel much, travel often.

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20. If someone doesn’t look at you the way you look at a burrito, then move on.

This whole love thing is hard. In fact, it’s a battlefield. But one of the things I’ve learned is that it really shouldn’t be. If it’s good and pure and true love, it should just come naturally, it should be easy. I don’t think I’ve found my burrito…yet, but I know that when I do, it will be amazing and wonderful and will put Chipotle to shame.

21. Pick up the phone and call your friends/family.

No texts, no i-messages, no emails. Just talk. Every once in a while real convos with the people who mean the most to you are just the thing that you—and they, need.

22. You’re allowed to say no.

23. But you also shouldn’t be afraid to say yes.

24. Giant, suffocating bear hugs are the best.

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25. Pray.

26. Banana, stuffed with marshmallows and chocolate, wrapped in tin foil over an open fire.

Do it.

27. Don’t you dare give up. Ever.

28. Life is crazy.

It’s unpredictable and weird and absurd and completely bonkers. You will meet amazing people and see incredible places. You will fall, get back up and fall again. You will have your heart broken, only to have someone walk into your life and put the pieces back together again. You will wonder, you will dream, you will inspire.

Life is crazy. But it’s also pretty damn amazing.

I may be turning 25 x 3 28, and it may be a bit scary, but if this is what I have learned, what I’ve been able to experience so far? Bring on the next 28 years, baby!

I’m ready!

Celebrating the little things

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It’s important to celebrate the small victories.  Sure, it’s easy to celebrate things like holidays, birthdays and promotions, but what about the smaller, more routine accomplishments?  Most of us tend to ignore them and let them pass without acknowledging them.  But when we do, we end up missing out on a lot of truly good things.

Small victories are opportunities to count our blessings and be grateful.  They are also a chance to reflect on how much we’ve accomplished, which gives us strength to carry on.  I think that celebrating the smaller things is an important habit in living life to the fullest.

We need to remember to celebrate more often – not just the big accomplishments, but all the small victories in our lives as well.  Here are some things to stimulate ideas to get celebrating NOW!

  1.  Celebrate that it’s Friday (or simply that it’s not Monday, amiright?!)
  2. Accomplishing a goal or task that you’ve been working towards for a while.
  3. Sunny days.
  4. Feeling someone take your hand in theirs.
  5. Making time for a book you’ve been dying to read.
  6. When someone does something nice to you “just because.”
  7. Making someone smile.
  8. Having an itch that you can actually reach.
  9. Taking in a baseball game in a summer day.
  10. Brewing fresh coffee/tea/hot chocolate on a cold morning.
  11. Making someone laugh.
  12. The smell of freshly baked cookies (and devouring said cookies right out of the oven)
  13. Learning something new.
  14. Teaching someone else something new.
  15. Friends who encourage you.
  16. Friends you can encourage.
  17.  Your awesome family.
  18. A cozy bed at night.
  19. When your Netflix show moves to the next episode without asking you whether or not you’d like to continue (because of course we do!)
  20. Dreams for the future.
  21. Happy memories from the past.
  22. A good hair day.
  23. When someone holds the door for you.
  24. Looking through old pictures.
  25. Getting off work while it’s still light outside.
  26. A smile from a stranger.
  27. A compliment from a stranger.
  28.  Opportunities to make a change.
  29.  The ability to learn from mistakes.
  30. Children playing – a great reminder to be joyful.
  31. A small gesture of kindness from someone who loves you.
  32. Waking up before the alarm goes off.
  33. Getting pumped up and inspired by music.
  34. An outdoor lunch.
  35. Five minutes of deep breathing.
  36. A clean house.
  37. A hug or embrace that lasts just a little longer than usual.
  38. When the traffic light turns green the moment you arrive.
  39. A small change to your routine to make your day feel exciting.
  40. Sneaking time for your favorite snack (Ben & Jerry’s, you complete me.)
  41. Scratching an item off your “to-do” list.
  42. A deep stretch.
  43. When you say “no” to someone.
  44. When you say “yes” to an opportunity.
  45. Finding time to witness a beautiful sunset or sunrise.
  46. Playing a game you loved as a child (I don’t want brag but I am the Scattegories queen!)
  47.  An extra half-hour of sleep.
  48. Spare time to realize how lucky you are to be alive.
  49.  A home cooked meal.
  50.  Finding time to pray.
  51. A long phone conversation with a friend.
  52. Puppy snuggles/kisses.
  53. Reaching into your pocket and finding money you didn’t know you had.
  54. Receiving a hand-written letter.
  55. The exact moment you have a wonderful thought.
  56. A sweater straight from the dryer on a cold day.
  57.  Something so funny it makes you laugh out loud.
  58.  Flowers you didn’t expect.
  59.  A small gesture of support.
  60. Random acts of kindness.

Celebrating the small things definitely adds joy and happiness to our lives. And while my list here is by no means exhaustive, it’s a good place to help you get started thinking in the right direction. Become more mindful of the good things in your life.  The more you appreciate them, the more joy they will bring to you.  A part of living the good life is stopping long enough to relish in the moment.

As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Happy Wednesday!

Since we’re almost over the hump of the week, I thought I would do something a little bit different today. This is one of those super-random blog posts that I figured might be fun and also spark some great comments from you guys since I always love learning more about you!

The questionnaire provides 25 prompts to reveal “25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me,” and while longtime readers probably already do know some of these things, there are a few random nuggets thrown in that may reveal some new stuff. Feel free to play along in the comments section of this post and have fun with it!

25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

  1. I’m happiest when…1.) I’m hanging out with my family and friends 2.) I’m reading a great book 3.) I’ve made someone laugh or smile
  2. …Especially if it involves…1.) The Milwaukee Brewers, 2.) Great food 3.) Doing absolutely nothing together10367122_10100433488439342_1590496733671690307_n
  3. I’ve always wanted to…visit Italy. It’s at the tippy-top of my bucket list which will hopefully (hopefully) be crossed off very soon. Mi amore 🙂
  4. My family and I…are some pretty crazy characters who support and love each other unconditionally. And always, always have a lot of belly laughs and fun together.
  5. I was a terrible…go-kart driver. When I was 13, my family took a trip to Estes Park and one day, we all decided to go go-karting. I decided to be little miss speed demon and while on my last run of the track, I slammed (SLAMMED!) into the side barricade, sending the protective tires and hay bales in every which way. The go-kart track attendant was more than a little PO’d at yours truly, but in my defense, I was only trying to turn around so that I wouldn’t get yelled at for going around the track one last time. And that’s what those tires and hay bales are there for any way, right?
  6. My first job was…working at a shoe warehouse. It was hot. It was sticky. And it was A LOT of work. But I still tried to put my best foot forward (I mean, you didn’t think I would let that pun-derful opportunity slip me by, did you?)
  7. I could probably eat ice cream every day. There should not be a “probably” in this equation.10329189_10100403469467602_7814414441383554681_n
  8. I stole…candy once from the grocery store. I was five and didn’t quite grasp the concept of the “fill your bag with candy from these large bins, weigh and then pay later.” I still feel guilty every time I eat a gummy worm.
  9. I was born on the same say as…Melissa Joan Hart (aka Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Siri Cruise.
  10. My all-time favorite film is…a toss-up between Field of Dreams and Father of the Bride.
  11. I do a mean…Kermit the Frog impression.
  12. I’m still mad…that the Brewers didn’t make it to the World Series back in 2011. But this year is THE year. I can feel it.
  13. I met my husband…in college. Actually, I’m single as a Pringle, but just between you and me (it’s in the vault?), there is someone who I have secretly crushed on ever since college, someone who I love dearly and is my best friend. Someone who I could definitely see as my husband one day.
  14. I always knew I wanted…to become a librarian (or work with books in some capacity). Bookworm to the nth degree.
  15. I’m not afraid to…jump out of a perfectly good airplane.1461043_10100295367444922_1481298755_n
  16. I make the best…Chocolate-chip cookies. Ask anyone. I’ve got references.
  17. I have almost…no dance ability whatsoever. I mean, I can dance. If this is what you call dancing.
  18. I always cry when…I see those holiday Hallmark commercials. The family all coming together over turkey and pie…just bring me the tissues already!
  19. I’m (now) a…Coloradan, but I will always be a Wisconsonite at heart. mountains
  20. I’ve lived in…Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and now Colorado.
  21. I wish my folks…didn’t live half-way across the country.
  22. At 5, I was deeply in love with…The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and jelly shoes.
  23. I believe that if everyone exercised a little bit more kindness, the world would be a better place.bekindtoothers
  24. I can’t stand…the smell of tuna. Or the taste. Blech.
  25. Whenever Seinfeld is on, I’ll watch it. Best. Show. Everrrrrrr.

Okay, friends. Your turn.

Answer one or all of the following prompts from the survey (or choose your own!)

I’m happiest when…

I was born the same day as…

At five, I was deeply in love with…

I could eat_ _ _ _ every day

I make the best…

We Make Plans and God Laughs

Last night as I was sitting in bed, my pup Thunder snoring down the house on my lap, re-re-re-reading one of my favorite books, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, I came across this quote from Tibby, one of the main characters: “We make plans, and God just laughs.” My immediate thought was “Ha! Isn’t that the truth.”plan

In fact, when it comes right down to it, I am a regular old Seinfeld. I would venture a guess that I’ve had the good Lord pee-his-robe, six-pack-ab-inducing, tears-streaming-down-his-face, ROTCL (rolling on the clouds laughing) on many an occasion. You see, I am a planner. I have been and probably always will be to some extent. I like having a course of action, an idea of where my life is going, or at the very least, something to work towards.

I like having a goal.

I like knowing what’s going to happen.

I like knowing what’s going to happen.

HA!

This. This right here. This is the main punch line, the cause for all of the big man upstairs’ belly laughs.

As much as I would like to having everything mapped out, a clear direction plugged into my GPS telling me where I am supposed to go, how long it will take me to get there, and roadside assistance available for those times when I get lost (which I never, ever do. I just happen to prefer taking the scenic route. A lot), it doesn’t quite work that way.

They say (I still haven’t figured out who “they” are) that our lives are planned for us, even before we are born.  Each person  is given a purpose, their unique legacy if you will to pass on and leave for others to learn from, grow from, affect in some way. I’ve often wondered what my purpose is, or even the purpose of the events that have  happened to me in my lifetime. I know that I hope to be the very best daughter, sister, friend, wife and hopefully mother one day that I can be. I hope to inspire, encourage, and provide a source of strength and courage to those who may need it the most.  I also know that with everything that has happened in my 26 years of life, everything that has yet to happen–good, bad, and everything in between–there is always a lesson for me to learn. I sometimes wonder though…how many lessons can one person possibly learn?

That’s when it dawned on me. Until I have learned the lesson that I’m supposed to learn, obstacles will continue to be put in front of me. It’s all part of God’s plan for me. And as much as I would like to sometimes, I can’t mess with that plan. I have no idea what is in store for me. I do know however that it took me a long time to figure out that where I am, is where I’m supposed to be.  I will always continue to try to improve my situation, but isn’t that all part of the lesson, all part of the plan?

Life isn’t meant to be easy. It was meant to be full of roadblocks, potholes, and flat tires. Life will challenge you, take you out of your comfort zone, and try and break you. Life will take your plan and sneeze all over it.

But you want to know something else? Life is also meant to be fun, exciting, and unpredictable. If you are lucky, you will presented with opportunities to grow, to laugh, to  love.

It’s a good thing each of us has the most reliable, unyielding, and loving GPS (Godly Positioning System) that is with us wherever we go.

I guess sometimes we just have to throw our plans out the window, put the top down, and let God do the driving.

I may not know what my plan is, where I am going, or when I will get there, but I do know that everything that has led me to this point is only preparing me for one heck of a road trip, one pretty amazing destination.

From now on, I think I will try and let Seinfeld do the joke-telling. 😉

The MOTHER of all days

She’s my confidant, my mentor, my best friend, my mom.

Words can’t express how much she means to me!

She emulates who I want to be, how I want to carry myself, and how I want to live my life. She taught me to be kind, to laugh, how to be a friend, and to go after my dreams.

If I end up being half the woman she is, I will consider myself the luckiest girl in the world.

Today and everyday, I love you mom!

Thunder and Grandma :)

Thunder and Grandma 🙂

Golly, whoever gave you that shirt daddio has amazing taste! ;)

Golly, whoever gave you that shirt, daddio has amazing taste! 😉

"Come on guys! Let's go!" says Thunder with every wag of the tail

“Come on guys! Let’s go!” says Thunder with every wag of the tail

Our BEFORE "We're almost there!" picture...

Our BEFORE “We’re almost there!” picture…

Our AFTER "We're THERE!!" picture. Cue the yawn from momma ;)

Our AFTER “We’re THERE!!” picture. Cue the yawn from momma 😉

I am glad that I got to spend this day with the world’s universe’s greatest mom EVER! God blessed us with the perfect day for a hike. So a hike is what we did. My mom, daddio, the pup (and my little sister in spirit who wishes she could’ve been there too) hit up Kennesaw Mountain earlier today and had an absolute blast.

Thunder of course had a serious case of sensory overload. Apparently all of Kennesaw thought it was the perfect day for a hike as well because they, and their dogs, were getting their hikes on as well. Needless to say the pup went a little cray-cray with all of the smelling and licking and sniffing of his fellow pup’s bums.

By the end of our roughly four mile walk, the poor guy was pooped out (quite literally. Note to self: two poop bags are never enough!)

I couldn’t have imagined a better way to celebrate this amazing woman than spending it with the people (and animal) I love most, rehashing old memories and making new ones.

To all of the wonderful moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

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