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This past year evolved from baby shower invite craziness to first birthday invites! How cool is that?! McKensie asked me to make her little Josiah's first birthday invite and wanted it to have a woodland creature feel (in her Google search for this she found Jamie's invite from earlier this year, that was pretty cool I must say!). She sent me some ideas on the colors and type of animals she was looking for, which was such a big help in getting on the same page for what she wanted. With that in hand, I could confidently move forward with the design knowing exactly what she wanted but with room to add my own touches. The mood board also helped me figure out my own design rather quickly, and even though I had a pretty solid idea in my head, I sketched it out so the smaller details wouldn't be forgotten

I had just left my position at the dance studio when I asked Rachel if I could take her to Disneyland on her birthday—it was the Year of a Million Dreams and you were given a free ticket for your birthday. She said yes—of course—and my worries of not seeing the Johnson family subsided. Who knew that that one ticket would turn into a pass, and that year pass would turn into two. And here we are, our third annual trip to celebrate Rachel's birthday, with many a trip in between. I've seen this young girl turn into a young woman, embarking upon her first year of college. I've seen her from braces to implants (ha!), from ballet to "hip hop," from the awkward middle school stage to flourishing college student. And have loved every minute of it. Thanks for wanting to spend time on your birthday with me and sharing my passion for the Happiest Place on Earth, Rachel dear. Happy 19th Birthday! P.S. I had no idea I made you take a photo with your button each year so I had to put those together too! P.P.S. Rachel has also been so kind to help me learn photography by graciously modeling for

My Grandma was always the cool grandma. The one who notoriously hosed my fourth grade class down when the asphalt was just too hot. The one who dances on tables. The one who encourages pajama days—and pajamas worn out to restaurants. The one who treats my best friend as if she was one of her own grandchildren. And the one who has helped watch over me for twenty five years. May she never lose the intense love of life that she has been given! We celebrated her seventieth birthday on Thursday. Starting the night out at Ooka Japanese restaurant with a hibachi made dinner and ended the night with Casey's cupcakes at the holiday light show at the Mission Inn. Along the way, I caught some photos that one may consider capable of counting as blackmail, but this is just my grandma, and I am glad I caught her in her goofiness to make us all smile! Catching food from the chef

Have you ever been to a hotluck? Have you ever heard of one? 3 years ago, Andy was watching the Food Network and heard about hotlucks on the show Unwrapped. It was just three weeks before our birthdays and he told me right away we needed to have a hotluck birthday party. Basically, it's a potluck but everyone only brings spicy food, which is my favorite food. It's really fun to see the range of spiciness too! I was rating all of them, but mostly everyone got 1 or 2 out of 5, basically, I wasn't the best judge as my spicy levels are very different from my friends and family! We also play a game, we call it spicy roulette. Everyone is dealt a cup of some type of food (this year was chili, last year was jambalaya). Only 1 cup has an extra kick of heat. Andy started with increasing drops of Dave's Gourmet Insanity hot sauce then brought out the big guns with Dave's Ghost Pepper sauce. The player gets the choice of staying in or bailing on the heat. I only lasted to the final three and got out of there after my first deal of

As with all good birthdays, there was food. This post is actually less about my birthday but more about what I ate on my birthday. But that's okay with me! Did you read my 25 Wishes post a couple weeks ago? Well, here I mark off two wishes! seafood dinner chocolate chip cookies Thanks to my husband and Kathleen for checking those goodies off! Andy made me, our friends, and my family shrimp and shredded beef tacos. He didn't want to be photographed even touching the shrimp so you'll see I had to get creative on that shot! He also made a jalapeno white sauce that they serve at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Miguel's Cocina, on Coronado Island. Yum yum yum! Then Kathleen made me cookies!! She makes the BEST cookies! So delicious

Have you ever attended a hotluck? It's like a potluck, but only with hot and spicy food! We celebrated Andy's and my joint birthdays yesterday with our third annual hotluck. But before that we celebrated with a morning of french toast and then some German chocolate cake baking! Basically, we spent the whole day of Andy's actual 29th birthday eating food! Here's just a sneak preview of the night, including our game of the night: spicy roulette. I'll be posting more photos later this week, so stay tuned!! This video was made using my new iPhone 4S and iMovie to edit. Song: Big Wave by Jenny and Johnny

For over a month, I pestered my husband. Well I know I pester him a lot more than that. But for the past month, I specifically pestered him to make me a homemade seafood dinner on my birthday. He flat out refused. To me, him making me seafood—a food group he downright despises—would mean he loves me. He cares for me. His sacrifice of cooking such a food, would mean he unselfishly loves me and would do anything for me. Andy has known since the beginning of our relationship that the way to my heart is through food. I just love food. All food. It's disgusting really. But he learned and memorized—before we had even become official—exactly how I order at every fast food place. A task that only my mother could do. When he first recited to me how I would get a burrito with no tomato, extra sauce, and xyz at Taco Bell and then go on to tell me how I order a burger at In-n-Out and then what I would get at McDonalds, I knew two things: 1, I eat out way to much; and 2, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with someone