Fall Leaves, Quality Time, & The Youngest Two

Life

I have so many fond memories of growing up among my seven cousins. Due in part to our shared lake home in Northern Wisconsin, we created bonds and shared many good times. I was the youngest, which meant I had a slew of role models, play mates and even chauffeurs by age six!

Maybe what’s even more special is the closeness we still share today. I hear from many of my cousins on a regular basis. We have gone to each other for advice, taken trips together, and even stood up in each others’ weddings.

Kasey is the second-to-youngest cousin. The two of us spent last Saturday together. Oh how I so loved our one-on-one time together!

Our time together wasn’t technically one-on-one though, as the Little Baby she is carrying was so evidently with us as well!

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Here’s to the beautiful fall leaves, semi-sketchy alleys (but who were those weird guys who walked by?) and quality time with my dear cousin.

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Girl Cousins

Life

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the company of my cousins. All 10 of us cousins were born within 10 years. We spent many days and weeks in our shared cabin up north. We played in the sand and water. We built snowmen and performed synchronized skating routines. We put on theatrical productions and we sang in the front of church.

I don’t remember the last time we were all up north together- but we seem to do a pretty good job of staying in touch.

We had a baby shower for my sister-in-law Melissa this weekend, and almost all of the girl cousins were able to attend (Nikki, we miss you but you’re totally excused from attending this one!)

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Our family is most definitely in an “expansion period.” How special it is to see so many babies being born, and more new people to love.

2014: Ringing It In Right

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Going “Up North” is something that’s been in my family for a very long time. My mom’s grandma bought a place in northern Wisconsin on a tiny lake several years ago; five generations have now understood what it means to drive through the pine trees, breathe the freshest of air, and REALLY see stars.

Usually most of my cousins, aunts and uncles come up to ring in the new year. Traditionally we’ve had awards, themes, costumes, and Auntie’s Punch. We had a very small crew this year, but we still did our best to have fun. We had a casino night featuring Texas Hold ‘Em and Oceans 13.

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I got second place in poker! Unfortunately for me, it was Winner Takes All. I’ll leave that loss in 2013 😉

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Raspberry is my new favorite flavor of Wood Chucks. Cheers to gluten-free cider!

Speaking of RINGing in the new year, I was so excited that my former roommate and very good friend Victoria came up to celebrate the new year with me and my family! Victoria got engaged right after Christmas, so I loved sharing the new excitement in her life (and shamelessly browsing Pinterest and other wedding sites to our hearts’ content).

My feeling for 2014 is ever-increasingly good. Great things are in store!

This Is My Christmas

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I loved Christmas 2013; it was wonderful, as Christmas always is. I loved seeing almost all of my cousins, and my two “nieces” and two “nephews” as well. We ate a lot of really good food and enjoyed the day being among the best company. Our family is pretty low-key, so we spent the afternoon lounging, chatting, and munching on more food. We missed our cousin Nikki, who lives in Denmark and spent Christmas day eating whale with her boyfriend Mads and his family.ImageImageImageChristmas is a time for family, tradition, and the season of giving. I love the sweet memories of my Great Grandma and the joy she had throughout November and December, preparing for Christmas Eve at her house. I love the smell of turkey when my family comes home from Church, and I love greeting everyone who comes into our home. I love Auntie’s punch and being my mom’s helper. Oh, and I like presents, too 🙂

What does your Christmas look like?

For The Holidays

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Funny how you could say “There’s No Place Like Home” and think one thing (WIzard of Oz, anyone?) but then when you add “For The Holidays” you immediately change your train of thought to the cheerful Christmas song.

Well, it’s true–there’s no place like home for the holidays, and I’m glad to be spending this one with my family. I loved yesterday with several of my cousins, aunts, uncles, and a few friends who are more like family. I’m giving thanks for good times that become sweet memories.

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To The Oldest

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My family consists of ten cousins–ten kids born within ten years. I am the Grand Finale Child; Zak debuted first.

Zak was honestly a celebrity in my book for many years. I remember his junior high and high school musicals-each performance, I felt as if I was at a Broadway production. I remember watching Zak in play sports games. I can still sense the thrill of riding in the car when Zak drove (that was a beginning of an era and BOY was it liberating).

Sweet memories with my great cousin have continued throughout the years, especially this summer when we got to spend many days together at work.

All of my cousins are wonderful (consider this a shout out- Jackie, Nikki, Jeana, Kasey, Maggie, Jake and the married-ins and children!) but today I’m celebrating the one who leads off The Perfect Ten 🙂

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Happy birthday Zak!

Life in a Northern Town

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I’m loving life in a northern town, and it’s especially great that I’ve been here for days and I still have another day to enjoy this slower-paced life. Being with many of my favorite people is so special, and taking full advantage of the bright sun is another big plus of this great getaway.

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Today’s agenda will include a trip into town, sun time, good food, games, and chill time with the fam.