Category Archives: Friends

Happy Little Trees

Thursday was my monthly Girl’s Night Out with gal pals Jessie and Rachel. We’ve shared some hilarious moments in the past–usually at a restaurant or sitting around one of our dining room tables. But this month, we decided to get crazy. Er. Crazier. And we took our ‘we’re louder than you because we’re also having more fun than you’ attitudes and waltzed right into Bottles ‘n Brushes for a night of wine, art, and fun.

bottles and brushes logo

Click on the logo for their full website!

For those who have never heard of such a thing, let me explain exactly what it is that Bottles ‘n Brushes does so well. You show up to this lovely little art studio, beautifully decorated with tons of finished paintings from previous classes, and are immediately faced with your empty canvas. In two hours, they teach you how to paint a masterpiece–all in a step-by-step, you-can-do-it-even-if-you-can’t-draw-a-straight-line-with-a-ruler, it’s-ok-if-you-drop-a blob-of-paint-somewhere-because-we-can-totally-fix-it sort of way.

For someone like me, who considers THIS to be a work of art, this is a priceless teaching concept.

Final product

An olive oil bottle I painted for Mom.

Jess and I arrived a few minutes before Rachel, and we quickly donned our cheerfully paint-splattered aprons and fancied ourselves as ar-teests.


By the time Rachel, and our other classmates, arrived, we were in full-fledged ready-to-paint mode.

We were also in full-fledged let’s-crack-open-this-bottle-of-wine mode. Which we did. Which made the rest of the night that much more awesome.

As our lovely instructor, Carley, took to the stage, we sat at our stools, pulled out our paper plates filled with blobs of the rainbow, and dove right in. With Carley and Meg (her assistant), cheering us on, we learned how to paint a lovely hilltop scene, complete with…you know it…a happy little tree.

Before we go there, though, let me share with you the stages of achieving painting excellence.

Step One:
Paint the sky.


Step Two:
Learn how to blend colors.


Step Three and Four:
Have a drink, a cookie, and some bruschetta. Also, ask loud questions and cause the rest of the class to look at you like you’re a giant orange Muppet.

Step Five:
Happy tree!!


Now that you have seen my finished product, you will understand why, all night long, I was channeling my inner Bob Ross.


The truth of the matter is that, at some point, each of us was unhappy with the progress we were making on our painting. Jess was unhappy with a spot of canvas she inadvertently forgot to fill in with green. Rachel didn’t like the way the grass appeared to be taking over her path. I wasn’t thrilled with the shape my path took toward the bottom of the canvas. But just like Bob Ross, Carley and Meg taught us how to shade in that white spot, to embrace the artistic nature of our natural hand, and to believe in our artist’s eye.

It was a beautiful thing, y’all.

And so, we wrapped up the evening, incredibly proud of the work we’d done, happy that we’d done it together…


…and just a lil’ bit tipsy. Not gonna lie.

Thanks so much to Carley and Meg, for bringing out our inner painters. We will absolutely be back!! Maybe next time we could paint the TARDIS? Or perhaps a lifelike portrait of Donnie Wahlberg? Just a suggestion…

Wii Bowling Party: An Abby Gabs Tutorial

A little friendly advice, from me to you: when your husband/wife/significant other/roommate/little sister/self-built android comes to you and says, “Let’s have a Wii bowling tournament party!” —–>just say yes. 

Because we did one this past weekend, and it was SO. MUCH. FUN.

Here are my tips to creating the world’s awesomest Bowling Party, all from the comforts of your living room.

You Can Do It, Too: Wii Bowling Tournament Tutorial

Tip #1: Let Your Husband/Wife/Significant Other/Roommate/Little Sister/Self-Built Android Come Up With The Name Of The League AND The Event.

Because then, you wind up with a name like:

While it makes some decorations a little more difficult to create (YOU try putting that many letters on a banner), it makes everyone laugh when you step into the room to announce that the Inaugural Tournament of the Incredibly Excellent Bowling League of Awesomeness is about to begin. 

Don’t worry. If you say it enough, you won’t have to look it up every time. Promise.

Tip #2: If you have someone with minor OCD in your life, allow them to take over the planning, decorations, and food for the party.

In this little scenario, that person would be me. And I had an absolute blast planning bowling alley themed foods, bowling pin cards to identify said themed foods, meticulously wrapping the white plastic eating utensils with red electrical tape to look like bowling pins, and coming up with the most complicated bracket known to man.

Cheesy Bowling Ball

It only took four hours…ish.

OK, I lied. The bracket was too complicated for me. Brian made it up, I just wrote it all pretty.

Tip #3: Re-stock your printer with paper before you allow the OCD person in the scenario to begin creating decorations.

I made banners, lane markers, food cards, and more, just using my printer, some scissors, tape and string. I’m the MacGeyver of crafts, y’all.

Tip #4: Take pictures.

And once you’ve had a few beers, feel free to give the camera to your friends so they can capture some candids as well. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on all of this:

Seriously, the best shots are often the ones taken after you bust out the booze. As long as they’re in focus. Which brings me to my last tip…

Tip #5: Don’t take so many pictures that you aren’t allowed a little creative room to groove when it’s time to blog about your party.

Because after three beers and a rum-and-coke, my camera was left in a corner somewhere, and I forgot all about a hundred different shots I wanted to take, including a group shot of the 11 bowlers that came to our party.

But never fear, Photoshop and our Nintendo Miis are here!

Back row, from left to right: Zach, Kristie, Arielle, Steven, Jenn, Ashley, Fred, Ray, and Sam
Front row: Abby and Brian

Seriously. That’s one epically awesome team portrait–which is perfectly fitting for the Incredibly Excellent Bowling League of Awesomeness. (See, I told you remembering the name gets a little easier the more times you say it.)

AbbyGabs in April

Here we are, a brand new shiny month. This year is flying by already, and I’ve got so much stuff to look forward to in the coming months. April is a big one, and I thought you might like to know what’s coming down the pike for me, my family, and my blog. So here’s a peek at the first few weeks of my calendar for this month.

April 1, 2013:
Day one of Camp NaNoWriMo–the online support system for budding writers is at it again, and I’m jumping in with both feet.  And as usual, the 50,000 word count goal in 30 days is plenty enough to get my competitive juices flowing. I’ve managed to do it twice…and I happened to bang out a my very first novel by participating in NaNo 2011 and 2012.


The real beauty behind Camp Nano is that, while you can start a brand new project, you’re also encouraged to take that thirty days and do pretty much whatever you want to do (involving writing, of course.) Edit a past project, write poetry/blogs/short stories, work on a timeline for your next big idea—the point of Camp NaNo isn’t just to write a new work. It’s to write. Period. The End. That’s All Folks.

I’m really jazzed about Camp, especially since I’ve not been writing nearly as much lately as I’m used to, and I’m missing it fiercely. So, I’m going to stoke my inner campfire, blow the dust off of my very first novel and edit the crap out of it every single day in April, in hopes that by the time I’m finished, it will be 100% publishable material.

You guys know the drill–I’ll still be posting here as regularly as I can manage. I plan to set aside one day a week to write several blogs, and they’ll all be scheduled to post while I’m doping up on coffee and popping aspirin to battle my keyboard-hunch back pain. And with you cheering me on, anything is possible! Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to Camp we go!

April 3, 2013:
Appointment with my OB and fertility specialist.

I’m scared and excited and worried and nauseous and thrilled, all at the same time. We’ve waited years for this opportunity, and I’m *trying* to be hopeful that we will receive some helpful answers to solve our fertility problems. And since I cried all over you guys a couple of weeks ago in a blog about that very subject, it seemed only natural that I tell you about this latest development in our journey to become parents.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep you in the loop. Especially if there are hormone replacement drugs involved. Because they make me a little crazy, and more prone to film video blogs involving tears, snot, and smeared mascara. So stay tuned, friends. Stay tuned.

April 7, 2013:
The Inaugural Tournament of the Incredibly Excellent Wii Bowling League.

Yes, you read that correctly.

My ingenious husband finally figured out a way to cram our tiny apartment to the brim with practically every person we know within a thirty-mile radius—and all in the name of bowling. He created a Wii Bowling League, and we are having the first tournament at our house this weekend.


There will be brackets, bowling-themed food, fierce competition, and trophies. (Yes, he bought trophies. Just like the one pictured above.) It’s going to be epic, and we are hoping to turn it into a regular thing. Once we weed out the serious competitors from those more interested in the bowling ball cupcakes (yes, that would be me you’re picturing with chocolate crumbs on her chin) we may just invent team names and create bowling shirts (which I will have to beg for, because I’ll be the one losing on purpose so I can sit in the kitchen and chat with my friends between turns.) Don’t worry, readers…there will be a full blog with pictures after the event. It’s going to rock.

Sometime Mid-April:
I’m moving.

Not me, personally, but my blog. 

That’s right, I’m making the leap from Blogger to Word Press. 

source–and also not the website I’m using to navigate my move. That’s HERE.

It’s been a long time coming, and I’ve been thinking about it, and planning for it, since the beginning of the year. I’ve finally convinced myself that I can do it without the help of a paid professional (although I’m considering asking my doctor for a prescription in Xanax). With the support of blogger friends who have done it before, a father-in-law who I’m convinced could fix the internet if it was completely broken, and pep talks with some of my favorite Word Press bloggers, I’m ready to make the leap.

If you’d like to send assistance in the form of tequila, email me and I’ll send my mailing address.

April 10, 2013:
Abby hosts Dinner Club for the first time.

Back in January, two of our favorite couples contacted us and asked if we’d be interested in joining a dinner club. For those fuzzy on the details, it works like this: the host couple comes up with the theme and provides the entree. Couples two and three are in charge of the appetizer course and the dessert course, respectively. 

Truth: it’s a great excuse to get together with our friends not once, but twice, to eat great food, drink great wine, and enjoy each other’s company.

Most people, while in the planning stages of this event, would be focused more on coming up with a menu that will be pleasing to the palate, but will allow them to act as hostess and spend more time with their guests.

You read the part above about my “competitive juices” though, right?

I’m feeling very….”Barefoot Contessa” about our first club where I’m in charge of the culinary experience. As in…I have to rock this, and rock it hard.

Abby rockin’ the kitchen, circa 2010.

I’m not looking to intimidate our friends and make them worry about the contents of their spice racks before the next dinner…much. I’m just looking for everything to be so awesome that we’re still talking about “that first dinner club at Abby’s house” five years from now.

And maybe, just maybe, I’m holding out hope for a gold ribbon of cooking genius. 

So that’s what’s going on with me, friends and neighbors. No huge announcements, just lots of little stuff to look forward to. What’s going on in your neck of the woods? (Be forewarned: if it sounds like a good time I might just crash your party.)

Magical Godmother Moments

We celebrated my godson’s third birthday this past weekend. And we celebrated in style, with the whole Sesame Street gang. It was a day filled with laughter, presents, Elmo, and all the cuteness that comes with a child’s party. 


As usual, there were plenty of moments that I tucked away into my heart for safekeeping: Ellie napping on my chest, Jacob’s delight with his giant balloon bouquet, quiet conversation with Jenna over a cup of coffee. 

But there was one moment in particular that was so special, I’d like to share it with you today.

As usual, Brian and I arrived hours before the party so we could help Jenna set up. There were decorations to be hung, fruit and veggie trays to prepare, and games to organize. Naturally, all of those things were sprinkled with pauses for the tickle monster, singing songs, and kissing babies.

Jenna’s mom (affectionately known as Gran) arrived shortly after we did to help with “kid wrangling.” She bundled them up, tied their little shoes, and whisked them outside for playtime. The rest of us got busy setting up for the party.

At some point in the morning, Brian and Jenna were busy at work, moving furniture to make way for guests. I took my cup of coffee and joined Gran and the kids in the backyard, where my godchildren were happily swinging in the hammock. 

I stood with Gran, admiring their adorableness, commenting on the warm spring day. Suddenly, Jacob decided he wanted to get down. He reached out his arms to us, and together, we hauled him up and out of the hammock. Ellie was retrieved by Gran, and it looked like it might be time to find a new game to keep them occupied.

Just as I was about to head back into the house to make myself useful, Jacob walked over to me, put his arms around my leg and said, “Aunt Abby, I swing with you?”

He looked up at me with those big, beautiful, chocolate-brown eyes. And I simply melted. 

“You want me to swing you in the hammock?” I asked.

“NO, swing WITH me, Aunt Abby!” he said enthusiastically, and pointed at the hammock.

I had a brief panicked feeling. Will I be too big for the hammock? Will it break? But I didn’t have time for my insecurities to keep me from enjoying the moment. I followed my godson as he tugged me toward his goal, his feet crunching in the leaves on the ground.

I steadied the hammock, sat back carefully, and helped him climb in beside me. “Are you ready?” I asked.

“Ready!” he said.

And so I lifted my feet, allowing the momentum to swing us forward.

I looked down at the child laying beside me, and my heart swelled at the sight of the smile on his face. He scooted over as close to me as he could get, snuggling up so that his head was on my arm. 

We got comfy and enjoyed the gentle swaying of the tree branches overhead. Sunlight warmed our faces, and the birds chirped us a sweet spring lullaby. 

I sighed with contentment, and caught Jacob peeking up at me from beneath his cap. “I could do this all day,” I said to him quietly.

“I could do this all day,” he parroted. 

And when his hand curled up over my heart, I pushed off with my feet again, and we laughed as the hammock lurched forward, higher than ever before.

Happiness Is A List (An AbbyGabs Video Blog)

It’s a good day. The kind of day that makes me happy to be alive. In fact, I’m in such a good mood that I made a list of all the things that are making me happy and turned them into a quick video blog, all for your viewing pleasure.  

What are you happy about today, readers? Tell me all about it in the comments below. Happy Weekend!

This video is dedicated to gal pal, Arielle, for lodging a formal protest yesterday about my lack of video blogs lately. She’s a fan, and that’s one of many reasons why I adore her. So I whipped up this little ditty just to make her laugh.

Twenty Questions, Revisisted

A few months ago, I reached out to my friends, family, and readers, and asked them to submit questions for a video blog. They did, and it turned out to be one of my favorite vlogs I’ve ever done.
However, there was one friend and reader who went above and beyond the call of duty. The questions she sent me were so fantastic, so funny, and SO PERFECT for Abby Gabs, that I just had to revisit our interview, and post them for you here. Prepare to laugh, because my pal Rachel is one funny gal. 

Rachel: It’s said that you turned down the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind because Clark Gable was unwilling to leave you in the final, crucial scene. On her deathbed, Vivian Leigh cursed you for upstaging her at the premiere where this tidbit came out. Tell us… Did she really give birth to a litter of puppies at that event? And what happened to those said puppies?
Abby: I cannot confirm or deny the rumor of puppies, as I was too busy flirting with Gable and wowing the cameras with my authentic 1930s hairdo. Also, I was giggling in the corner with the Doctor, because how else could I have gone back in time to upstage Leigh, without the transportation of the TARDIS?

R: You’ve been offered the role of love interest in the new Transformers movie. Michael Bay has offered to Photoshop Megan Fox out of the previous movies. Your own love interest, Brian, is a huge Transformers fan. Will these men influence your decision to accept the role?


A: I had originally turned down the role until Mark Wahlberg, Donnie’s brother, contacted me and begged me to do it. I don’t normally accept roles under those conditions, but as I’m a close, personal friend of the Wahlbergs, I decided to join the cast so I can work with Mark again.

However, I really don’t care what Bay decides to do about Megan Fox. She dug her grave, and now she has to lie in it with cast-off copies of her, *ahem*, “movie,” Jennifer’s Body.
R: We’ve all seen the made-for-TV movie, That Gabby Abby. It’s a required course in 47 of the 48 continuous states’ 5th grade education. How does it make you feel that North Dakota refuses to make it a required course as well?

A: I applaud any and all states’ rights to create their own laws, so long as it does not interfere with my bank account. Therefore, I will be staging a peaceful protest on the North Dakota/South Dakota border in the upcoming months. There will be cupcakes, people waving signs around, and a New Kids on the Block cover band. I’m working on getting a cameo appearance by Donnie Wahlberg himself, but he still hasn’t confirmed the dates with me as of yet. By the time I’m through, North Dakota will adore me, and my film will be forced down the throats of adolescents in the snowy north as well.

R: You’re running for President this year. What is your stance on jeggings and should they be illegal?

A: Here is my public service announcement about that very subject.

R: You come from humble beginnings, and yet you decided to turn down Brangelina’s offer to give you their mansion in California. Your landlord went on national television to offer to take down the wood paneling in your country flat, but you refused citing his love for ’70s wood paneling and your respect for it. This has sparked a trendy design craze for the wood paneling and designers praise you for your bold statement. There are rumors that you’ll be using orange shag carpeting in your home next… Are they true?

A: I was high at that television interview with my landlord. Wood paneling sucks. It should be ripped from every wall in America and burned in a giant bonfire. We’ll call it an effigy to bad taste and horrible design. 

I don’t mind shag carpet, though.

R: When you bought the new iPhone 5, Siri began speaking exclusively to you, neglecting all other iPhone 5 users and forcing Apple to attempt to correct the glitch. Siri responded by detaching herself from the Apple mainframe and becoming the first recorded sentient computer program. She now claims the title of Abby’s BFF and there have been several attempts on the lives of other people who attempt to claim the title as well. Do you feel responsible for her actions?

A: Siri can be difficult to read. She tends to have a split personality, especially when asked questions regarding the space/time continuum, when giving directions to Mars, and when fielding that difficult question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. I cannot comment on the attempted murder claim, as my lawyer advises me against it. What I will say is that Siri is great. She is so great. She is, like, the best friend, ever…I swear…
R: A new phenomenon has been sweeping the world. Leading scientists cannot explain why spiders are giving birth to and randomly turning into fluffy bunnies. Some speculate that it is a direct reaction to the revelation in the Broadway musical hit, That Gabby Abby starting Merryl Streep, that you are frightened of spiders. What are your thoughts?

A: To Drs. Hoffstetter and Cooper, who are leading this research, I send you a huge thanks. Spiders give me the willies. And bunnies are adorable!

R: The New Kids On The Block have recently announced a brand new tour. Donnie Whalberg has gone public with his love for you and has even named the tour, “Abby Will You Marry Me?” He regularly Photoshops himself into pictures with you and has blogged about his obsession many times. You have made it very clear that you love and are faithful to your cabana boy, Brian, going so far as to marry him. What advice would you give others with this level of unrequited love?

A: Ah, unrequited love. It’s a sneaky, painful, careless mistress. Here are my tips to those who suffer this terrible fate.
    1: Be kind. Regardless of your feelings, there are others in the world who would give anything for a kind word from you. 
    2: Be cautious over the words that you choose, but don’t be afraid to share a little piece of yourself with your fans, just to make their own lives a little more meaningful.
    3: Try to refrain from posting too many racy photographs of yourself on Twitter. Sure, it’s fun to get the fans all whipped up into a frenzy, but it’s taxing on their hearts. Give sparingly, but give.

Thanks, Rachel, for sending me the most creative questions, ever. I hope you are suitably impressed. 🙂

Our Friends Rock

Sometimes, life gets stressful. 

And sometimes, when the stress begins to boil over and we start to look for an outlet to help us cope, social media, inevitably, becomes involved.

That happened with Team Abby Gabs yesterday. Concern over money–paired with lack of sleep, impatience regarding paperwork, a problem with our bank, and taxes–led to a monumental breakdown, all available for your viewing pleasure on my husband’s Facebook page.

Suffice it to say that our friends and family were concerned, especially when you factor in the part about how my husband NEVER loses his cool, especially during a rant on the internet.

Brian, in no way, intended to worry anyone about our welfare. He may have blown the situation out of proportion just a tiny bit, and it may have all been a reflection of the mini-mental breakdown he had yesterday morning. 

You can’t blame the guy. He’s had a LOT on his plate the last few years, and it all boiled down to WILL I GET MY NURSING LICENSE IN TIME TO START THIS WEEK, YES OR NO, IT BETTER BE YES OR I WILL BE REALLY ANGRY ARRRRRRRGH.

Regardless, there it was, all over Facebook. Our dirty laundry. 

The response could have been anything ranging from “Who needs a hug?” to “Who needs a Valium and a hug?” In truth, I wouldn’t have blamed most of our family and friends if they’d tossed their hands up in the air and backed away slowly. (Because it really is very, very, very rare for Brian to lose his cool, in any situation.)

It all started with a phone call. Someone I’ve been friends with nearly half of my life called to check in, offer support, and asked if she could wire us some money.

Within half-an-hour, I’d gotten text messages from four other friends, a few personal messages on Facebook, and an email.

Eleven a.m. rolled around with a knock at my door, and a dear friend bearing an armload of groceries, so she could stock our empty fridge.

By five p.m., I had a dinner invitation for one night this week, another for one night next week, and a third to be called in ‘whenever it’s needed.’

And as I was logging off last night, headed to bed, I got another message from a friend who heard about our stress, jumped into action, and secured a mini-spa-day, just us girls.

As I turned out the lights, I was left feeling humbled, grateful, and unquestionably blessed. The outpouring of love we received was enormous, and I’m still riding that wave today. Thanks to each and everyone of you! Whether it was a text message, a phone call, or a grand gesture, we thank you. 

Simply put, you guys rock.

Let Me Take Off My Invisible Super Hero Cape For A Minute…

Sometimes I worry that I’m an over-helper.

When I hear that a friend has suffered a loss, or a family member is sick, or someone I love had a bad day, I immediately want to jump in with both feet and help.  I’m the one who offers to get your mail, feed your dog, or fold your laundry. I’m the one who scours the internet for articles specific to your plight, sends them to you in an email, triple-checks every hour to make sure you know I sent them in that email, and then sends them to you in a text message just to be sure you got the info. I’m the one who wants to show up with a casserole, two pies, and a week’s worth of magazines.

I know, I know. I’m sure most of you are thinking, “Oh, she must be a nice friend to have!”

Maybe. But I worry.

A lot of my desire to help comes from that period in our lives when Brian had first been diagnosed with cancer. Each and every person—from the maintenance workers at the hospitals to the dear friends who dropped off sub sandwiches so we wouldn’t have to cook—were so very valuable to us. I’ll never forget the kindnesses we were shown–from friends, from family, from nurses and doctors and surgeons and techs. It was the only thing that kept us standing, kept us moving toward a destination rather than staying stagnant, cooped up in our own sorrow and fear.

And so, when I hear there’s trouble in the neighborhood, I feel called to action, ready to offer my services in any way, no matter what is needed.

I show up with my casserole and my two pies and my week’s worth of magazines, hoping that the help I’m offering is appreciated. Wanting to be helpful. Wanting to be valued. What I tend to forget, in my gusto, is that every person reacts differently in any given situation. Where I might be thrilled to my toes to hear the doorbell, my friend may rather be left in peace to deal with life in their own way. 

And sometimes, their own way doesn’t include a stack of magazines three miles high.

I’m glad now, looking back, that I wasn’t given much time to grieve and worry and pace. Relieved that our friends and family filled the scariest moments with conversation, casseroles, and consolation. I know, for us, that it was exactly what we needed.

I think it makes sense, then, that my immediate reaction to a friend in need is to don my “Save The World” cape and swoop in to save the day. Often with baked goods and some form of mindless entertainment.

So I’m learning to offer a kind word instead of a pot of chicken noodle soup every once in awhile. I’m trying to hold back that part of me that wants to rush to everyone’s rescue when, in fact, they may not need rescuing at all. But above all else I’m trying to remember that, while a stack of magazines a mile high might just be the ticket to someone’s happiness, it might just be coffee table clutter for another one to deal with later.

But don’t worry. If you give me the green light, I’m still going to offer to bring them over. Especially if you haven’t read the latest issue of “O.” But I won’t be offended if you say no.

A Moment to Say Thanks

Today I awaken to a silent house. For the first time in days, I am alone. Brian is off at work, family and friends are back to their normal routine, and I am left here, in my quiet house, with my thoughts.

Too easily could I get swept away by all the terrible things that have happened in the last twenty-four hours. My heart is broken for those families and teachers, first-responders and hospital staff. I have not had a moment to shed tears for them yet. Up until now there has been enough to keep my mind occupied. 

But instead I choose to cling stubbornly, selfishly, to the happy moments of the past several days. We’ve had so much to celebrate, so many things to be grateful for, so many reasons to smile. 

Brian’s pride as he welcomed friends and family—a veritable entourage—to his graduation ceremony on Wednesday…

My own glee at watching my husband reach for his dreams, and succeed.

Being surrounded by friends and family—some related by blood, most related by love—on our important occasion.

Laughter, fun, friendships that feel more like family…


To those who carved time out of their busy lives to celebrate with us this week; for the phone calls and text messages and cards and Facebook messages; for those who braved the rain and the cold to attend the ceremony; to those we love the most, we send you a heartfelt thanks. You made an important day into a party. And we were humbled and overwhelmed by the love we felt. 

And from me to each and every one of you, a hearty thanks for making my husband feel like a total rock star, because even though I remind him of that status every day, I don’t think he always hears me.

So today I will reminisce. I will relive those moments of jubilation and joviality. I will wrap myself up in those feelings. I will remind myself of all we have to be grateful for. I will hug my family tighter, tell my friends that I love them, and focus my attention on living this life to the fullest. And I will smile today, even though my heart weeps for others who know not my joy. That is the greatest gift I can give to myself and to the world today. And I have you, our nearest and dearest, to thank for it.