Category Archives: Birthday

Celebrating 90 Years!

We celebrated my grandfather’s 90th birthday this past weekend! Thanks to my Daddy Ken, I have a completely unrealistic idea of what aging looks like. He still works out and up until a few years ago he was the one teaching an exercise class for seniors. His mind is as sharp as ever and he is in better health than many people who are 20 years younger. Also he is kind of hilarious. See below. 😉

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Daddy Ken is the one who taught me how to drive. He has always been exceedingly patient with me and showered me with kindness and love. I can’t think of one time when he has ever spoken harshly to me.

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He taught me how to cook eggs in bacon grease and how to mix cereal and how to eat molasses and butter together properly. He taught me how to cut my own hair into layers so I wouldn’t look like a total ragamuffin in between my visits to see him when we lived overseas or when I was in college.

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When we moved overseas and would come back to America for visits, his home was the one place that felt like a home-away-from-home to me since he lived in the same house for nearly all my life.

the add ons{The “add ons” as they call themselves. Daddy Ken with his sons-in-law and grandsons-in-law}

He taught me about fidelity and loyalty and true love as I watched him care for my grandmother who battled cancer on and off for 20 years. And then again as he cared for his second wife, sweet Mrs. Carolin, as she recovered from a stroke.

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He taught me that having fun doesn’t stop at a certain age. Being silly and laughing with family and friends has always been high on the priority list.

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He taught me about being a faithful follower of Christ. He leads by quiet example and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

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This is my grandfather. He is truly one of the most special people in my life. I am so very thankful for the nearly 30 years that I have spent being blessed by him. Happy 90th, Daddy Ken!

Love Rach

Celebrating 60 years!

This past weekend we celebrated my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday!

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For her birthday we decided to surprise her by gathering notes from people who love her and putting them together in the scrapbook. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but I definitely got lucky as far as mother-in-laws go. She has never been anything but kind to me. Always so loving and supportive. And that has meant the world to me. So putting this scrapbook together was a delight! I loved reading each note as I received them because it’s so cool to see how she has had an impact on so many people over the years.

Isn’t her reaction precious?! Ah! I just love it! I’ll be totally honest with you guys – my father-in-law (who has suffered from early onset dementia for many years) has been in the hospital a lot lately and he isn’t doing well. We have had a lot of hard visits over the past two years (especially the last year) and these past few months have been the hardest yet. Saying this sort of slow goodbye to a loved one is just heart wrenching. So bringing her this little bit of tangible joy that she can turn to over and over again in between our visits was the best way we could think to bless her right now. Seeing her reaction made us so glad that we did this for her!

We also gave her a little homemade coupon book full of things she loves to do. Her face when she saw that “mini golf” was included was priceless! We were so glad to be able to bring a little joy to her over this weekend. Happy 60th to my mother-in-law!

Love Rach

Happy birthday, my love!

Today my precious husband turns 31 and we plan to celebrate all day long! I’ll probably be sharing on Instagram throughout the day, but first I want to share something that I’ve been thinking about this week.

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A few weeks ago someone asked Christopher and me what the most challenging year of our marriage had been. Christopher responded, “This will sound crazy, but marriage hasn’t been challenging for us. Maybe it’s just our personalities or that we are so easily compatible, but marriage has honestly been easy for us. In fact, marriage has made dealing with the challenging things in life easier. It gives you a person to face the hard things with. Someone who loves you, supports you, and gets what you are going through because they are going through it with you.”

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And he’s really right. I know that the things that come with marriage (living together, making decisions together, sharing finances, etc) aren’t always easy for everyone so I try not to take that part for granted. But what he said about how life is hard, but marriage makes it better is my favorite part. You guys, we have walked through fire over the past few years with the things life has thrown at us. And yet, having each other to lean on for support has been such an awesome blessing.

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I am so grateful that I get to live life with this man. Happy 31st birthday, my love.

Love Rach

Chocolate Eclair Squares (and a video with bloopers)

Today I want to share with you guys the delicious dessert that Christopher made for my birthday. If I remember correctly this recipe originally came from my mom. It’s one that we’ve been making in my family since we found out about my heart condition (see here for more info on my heart and why I limit sugar in my diet) so I can’t remember exactly where we first found this recipe. But it’s delicious!

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Chocolate Eclair Squares {no sugar added}

Ingredients:

24 chocolate graham crackers (we buy the ones with the lowest sugar and then shake off the excess sugar crystals before using them)
2 (3.4 oz) boxes of sugar free white chocolate instant pudding (also delicious with vanilla flavor)
3 cups unsweetened almond milk (or preferred milk)
1 (12 oz) container of sugar free Cool Whip
1 (3.4 oz) box of sugar free chocolate instant pudding
1 1/2 cups almond milk (or preferred milk)

Directions:

1. Place 8 crackers in the bottom of a 13 x 9″ pan.

2. Mix white chocolate pudding and 3 cups almond milk and let set for 2 minutes. Gently fold in Cool Whip. Pour 1/2 on graham crackers then top with another layer of crackers. Pour remaining pudding over crackers. Top with last 8 crackers.

3. Mix the chocolate pudding with 1 1/2 cups almond milk and let set for 2 minutes. Spread over top layer of crackers.

4. Chill 6 hours. We usually just make it the night before.

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Why yes, yes I do eat it straight out of the pan sometimes. No shame in my game. 😉

It has been awhile since I made a chatting-with-the-camera video for the blog so on Sunday I decided it was high time. In this video I briefly confess how many pieces of this chocolate eclair dessert I ate on my birthday and then I go on to show how out of practice I am at making videos. 😉 Enjoy watching me be terrible on camera, haha!

As bad as that freeze frame is, you should see the other two options Youtube gave me. 😉

Are you good at sitting down and talking to a camera on the fly? Obviously I am way out of practice, ha!

Do you have a favorite birthday dessert?

Love Rach

Birthday Recap!

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My birthday week kicked off on the Sunday before my Saturday birthday with a celebration with my parents, grandparents, and one of my sisters. My younger sister lives in Nashville which happens to boast a Maggiano’s which I LOVE. Being the wonderful sister she is, she brought me TWO spaghetti meals to-go from Maggiano’s when she came to visit! I ate spaghetti all week long during my birthday week. It was delightful!

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Friday night (my birthday night eve) Christopher and I made homemade pizza like we always do, but we took time to take a few photos (something we’re always saying we should do, but never remember to). It’s such a small thing, but I love this Friday night tradition so I’m so glad we took the time to take a few photos of us making pizza. 🙂

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Saturday morning aka BIRTHDAY DAY began with a trip to Panera for a blueberry bagel! My fav! Christopher gave me a sweet, handmade card and then surprised me with tickets to Pentatonix! I should also mention, Christopher made me the most delicious dessert and I absolutely ate five servings of it all throughout the day. More on that later this week when I share the recipe. 😉

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From breakfast we headed out to Shelby Farms (a huge urban park in Memphis with lots of trails and lakes and such). We attempted to take a family photo, but Oreo was so distracted by every little thing that all the photos are hilariously terrible. So instead Christopher snapped this one of Oreo and I walking together. 🙂 From there we spent the day browsing through a few stores. We found dried figs at HomeGoods and bought them because we both wanted to try them. Then naturally we made all of our friends try them too, ha! They are a bit of a weird texture and look super ugly, but actually taste like fig newtons. So random, but actually pretty good.

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We met up with friends for dinner and it was such fun! Normally I have a terrible time picking and choosing who to celebrate with because we run in so many different circles of friends and I hate the idea of anyone feeling left out. Hence why last year for my birthday we ended up having nearly 50 people at our house. It was a lot of fun, but a bit chaotic. And since our dog sitter is out of town (she normally keeps Oreo busy in an upstairs room while the party happens so he isn’t underfoot), we decided to go small for my birthday this year and then host a big party in the fall with all our friends.

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So picking and choosing was definitely difficult for me, but I decided on the people who we have found ourselves confiding in the most over the past year. The friends who have prayed for us and loved on us and encouraged us. Plus this particular group I chose to celebrate with… none of them knew each other. 😉 So it was fun introducing our best friends to each other and watching them all get along so well! 🙂

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After dinner we went bowling and had a BLAST! I started out with TWO strikes in a row (that has literally never happened to me before) and then several spares. I’m pretty sure that was birthday luck. 😉 But then my early luck faded and I managed a few gutter balls here and there later in the evening. 😉 We had a blast and I’m so thankful that we had these friends to celebrate my birthday with AND to live life with. I went to bed (late) that night feeling wrapped up in love and blessings. 🙂

Twenty Nine, I’m excited to see what you bring me! 🙂

Love Rach

Birthday Week!

It’s my birthday week! This Saturday, on July 30th, I’ll be 29-years-old. Twenty nine, you guys. Closing in on thirty. And yet I find that I don’t mind aging. I love the confidence, growth, and wisdom that has come with each year. I love looking back on life and seeing how far I’ve come in so many different ways. Life has had it’s hard moments for sure, but all in all, it has been very sweet to me. It helps that I have the best guy ever to live life with (it’s my birthday week so all of you other happily married ladies can’t argue with me just this once, haha)!

Disclaimer: the photo you are about to view below is kind of risque. Okay, not really. But for us it is. Especially to share on the internet. But we took it last week and I love the sweetness of it so I’m sharing it here today. 🙂

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I was 17 when we started dating. How is it that I blinked and suddenly I’m 29. I’m afraid I’ll blink again and be 60 with a lap full of grandchildren. What an amazing life this is with this precious man. It’s true what they say: time flies when you’re having fun. 🙂

Love Rach

Four precious, wonderful years

Yesterday my little Mallory turned 4.

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How is she so big already?! I’m pretty sure it was just yesterday that she was this size:

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And then I blinked and four years flew by.

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Oh Mallory, you sweet, hilarious little girl. May your life always be filled with so much love and laughter.

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May you keep your sense of humor and pair it with kindness and humility. May your tender heart be protected from the cruelty of the world as long as possible and when the day comes that life hurts – may you remember that you are always surrounded by people who love you. And sweet Mallory, as you grow up, may you always seek after the heart of Jesus. This is my constant prayer for you and your brother.

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Four years ago when we met our financial goals and I left my desk job to be a nanny I had no idea what was in store. I knew I would love what I was doing, but I had no idea just how much. I had no idea how precious this family would become to me. And how these children would be like my own family. Watching both of them grow and change has been such a delight over the years. I do get a little weepy seeing them growing up on me, but I love the awesome little people they are becoming.

rach and the kiddos4.jpg{please ignore my wet hair. I wasn’t originally planning on being in pictures yesterday when I threw my hair up in a bun after a shower and walked out the door, ha!}

I also had no clue that taking a nanny position would give me the freedom to pursue things I am passionate about. Like my photography. Will and Mallory were some of my first subjects that I photographed regularly. And nap time gave me plenty of time to learn the book side of photography as well as to edit photos. Their mom was one of the first to  brag on my photography on social media and make me feel like I might be able to make my hobby into something bigger. And then when the photography business picked up and I found myself needing to make a decision between the two – my nanny hours changed from 6:30am-3:30pm to 11:45am-4pm (about a year and a half ago). This has given me the opportunity to still see the kids during the week (especially in the summer when Will is out of school) while still pursing my photography business full time. I love that instead of having to make a choice between two things I love doing, I got to choose both. Blessing upon blessing. 🙂

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Happy fourth birthday, Mallory! Four years ago, I had no idea how much you and your family would bless me. I love you for always.

Love Rach