a match made in st. paul.

this weekend we are celebrating the marriage of two wonderful people (like i said, august was the month of weddings). our friends kari and sam are tying the knot on saturday, and Mister Man and i both get to be part of the festivities. my husband as a groomsman, myself as a reader.

part of the reason we are lucky enough to be included is because we had a little hand in introducing the two crazy kids to each other. sam has been friends with MM since junior high, and i became friends with kari when i started working at my company. the two of them have tons in common (like they are both wonderful people and great friends to us), but somehow it took me two years to realize that they would be really good together and to secretly set them up during a night out at our local bar. they took it from there, and the rest, as they say, is history.

the groom to be with my groom.

the beautiful bride to be.

so right now, i am 100% successful in my matchmaker endeavors. and because i’m incredibly egotistical and want to be perfect at everything, i’m thinking that they might be the first and last couple i set up. why would i want to mess with perfection? i consider myself retired after this wedding.

although i have been asked (let’s be honest, poked fun at) by people who want to know if i would be interested in recreating the magic of that first success for them. and i always tell them i’m retired. but lately, with all the excitement of this weekend’s festivities, i’m starting to think about coming out of retirement. yes, i may fail and create some awkward situations amongst my friends, but i could also succeed and create another awesome couple. i’m going to have to noodle on this one for a while.

(i will be just as humble about creating the next one as i clearly am about creating the first one. promise.)


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happy birthday mister man.

it’s my favorite person’s birthday today.

wedding mister man

and i am so thankful that he was born.

he is hardworking, loving, and thoughtful. he cares about God, his family and his friends above anything else. he takes care of and supports me through everything, never asking anything in return, and i could not hope for a better husband and partner in crime than him.

(he ages like a fine wine.)

i thank God every day for bringing MM into this world, and for sending him my way.

happy birthday honey. i am so excited to spend every year of the rest of our lives with you. here’s hoping 29 is your best year yet and that they only get better from here!


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today i have been married to my handsome, loving, wonderful husband for one year. when did that happen? how has it already been a whole year since we walked down that aisle together? i guess that cliché, “time flies when you’re having fun” is true. and if the rest of our lives are anything like this year, we’ll be at our 50th anniversary before we know it.

the one-year anniversary is traditionally known as the “paper” anniversary (why?), so i’ll be writing some nice things on a card to give to Mister Man this year, but i also wanted to share a few of the reasons why i feel so lucky to be his wife here on this virtual paper.


i love the way you make our bed even when we’re in hotels.

i love how you have dance parties with me in the kitchen when we’re cooking dinner together.

i love the smile that comes over your face when you realize i’m about to start ranting and raving about whatever i feel passionate about at that moment.

i love that instead of saying, “you’re welcome”  when i say, “thank you”, you say, “you owe me big time”.

i love that you watch “dr. who” on netflix with me, no one else has ever wanted to put in the time or nerd out with me like that.

i love your face when you haven’t shaved for a few days, it’s so scruffy and gingery and perfect.

i love when you cook me breakfast on friday mornings before i leave for work.

i love that you know exactly when to cut me some slack for not working out, and when to kick my butt into gear and get to the gym.

i love the way you say goodnight to me over the phone when you’re away on a work trip.

i love all of you, and will forever.


happy anniversary my love. you are the butter on my popcorn. thanks for being my husband.

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cold water and raw onions.

we used to beg my grandma to turn up the heat on the swimming pool at their house. we would beg and beg and beg, and she would say, “well, i did turn it up! it’s at 70 degrees already!”. that was what she considered to be warm water. the woman could swim in subzero temperatures and not bat an eyelash. so on our annual family vacation, when a few brave people started to swim in the ocean at sunset, she decided to make it a mandatory tradition that the entire family (all 35 of us) be in the water by the time the sun dipped below the horizon. rain or shine, waves or still waters, hot or cold, we all were expected to be down on the beach to participate in sunset swim.

she also had taste buds of steel. the woman could pile her hamburger high with raw onions and just nom it down, no problem. she never met a meal she didn’t like, and yet somehow was the tiniest human being. even when esophageal cancer made it hard for her to eat solids, grandma would put her foot down and demand a taste of whatever was being served for dinner, side effects be damned. i will always be thankful to her for passing down her appreciation of food to her entire family. that gift made for a lot of awesome family dinners.

the saying on her sweatshirt in the above photo says, “there is reason to believe that some people can marry an irish person and still go on to lead a normal and productive life.” too true, too true. i learned lots of awesome sayings like that from her. i also learned that flirting with your husband after over 60 years of marriage is a requirement, and you best believe that frequently smooching on your spouse is as well. that’s one legacy that i will be sure to carry on.


today, she would have loved to sit in her spot in the kitchen, looking out on the lake and enjoying the snow falling. even though it’s late april, it wouldn’t have occurred to her to be upset about the weather. she would have enjoyed her coffee and her brilliant smile would have lit up the room, just like always. we’re going to miss that smile.


from my post on prayer, which i wrote two months ago around the time i lost one of my grandfathers:

“when we get to the part that says, “thy will be done”, let’s stop there and repeat, repeat, repeat. then pray that soon, “i want” and “do what is best” will be one and the same.”

for my grandma. 

happy birthday to my mama hools.

get the kleenex mama. for anyone that knows her, you know why i say that.

for any of you that don’t know her, i’m sorry for you. and i’d like you to meet my mom. she turned 50 today, and even though she is still in maui with my dad and i’m a little mad at her for that, i think she still deserves a happy birthday post, don’t you?


you know her as the mastermind behind many of the delicious recipes i post on here, as well as the inspiration for all of my deepest wishes to better myself. and i’m going to need all the inspiration i can get if i ever hope to be as awesome a lady as she is.

my mom is not only a gorgeous lady on the outside (if you remember, she and my dad have incredible anti-aging abilities), she is made of pure gold on the inside.

are you sick? she will be the first one to bring you a meal.

are you hurt? she knows exactly what is wrong and if you need the ER or just a couple of advil and a heating pack.

are you just having lots of feelings in the grocery store and need someone to talk to? she’s your listening ear.

mom and me

if you can’t tell from those things i just wrote about her, then let me spell it out for you. mama hools has always dedicated her life to taking care of others, and everyone who has been touched by her love over the past 50 years is better for having known her.

all of this to say, she is the best mom i could ever have asked for. she raised five pretty awesome kids who she taught to be very functional adults. she is the reason i have empathy, the reason i can laugh at myself, the reason i have self-confidence. she has been my support for my whole life and almost half of her own. my mom is my role model for how to be a good wife, a good mother, and a good person.

mom and joe

so happy birthday to a lady who deserves a living sainthood. i hope your next 50 years are even better than the first, and i want to thank you for setting the bar so high for all of us! i love you so much more than coffee.

mom and me

you can put down the kleenex now mama.

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