Category Archives: Hey It’s Your Birthday

Leo’s First Birthday


Leo woke up on January 10th a one-year-old.


It feels both completely insane that a year has gone by and yet it also makes total sense. If you’re a mom you get it.  The days are long but the years are short…SO SHORT.

I didn’t think we would celebrate with a party, but when the time came, as well as Auntie Erin, I couldn’t resist. The party hat my mom made for Leo anchored the whole thing. : )




Contrary to the ‘serene’ nature of these photos, the day was absolute mayhem. What you can’t see in these photos are the at least 5 other babies and children, the 15 adults in the basement, and my head spinning in circles. I don’t think I got to speak to anyone for more than 10 seconds.



Leo was entirely unimpressed with his sugar-free, gluten free birthday cake. The kid knows what’s good, what can I say.  I imagined smashed cake and a messy face but he got a bit on his hand and then tried to crawl into my lap when everyone stared at him and sang Happy Birthday.


We had a great day, we’re so thankful to everyone that came, and special thanks to Auntie Erin for most of these photos.  I’ve included some additional photos I took of him at 12 months at the end of this post as well as one from each month leading up. So fun to watch him change and grow!


It’s probably time for the ‘rocker photos’ to end.  : )








Hey…wasn’t it your Birthday?

I’m not sure how many of you know my mom, but if you do, you’ll agree she’s pretty great.  I believe I’ve called her ‘my favorite person in the world’ more than once.

Well, she had a birthday on November 13th and while I did mail her a gift, I didn’t mention her day here on the blog.  This was mostly due to the fact that I hardly blogged at all in the month of November, but it was also because I couldn’t think of a way to say what she means to us all.

Then it came to me yesterday.

Several years ago, either for Mother’s Day, Christmas, or her Birthday, I gave her a print from one of our favorite artists.


There is no one who comes here that does not know this is a true map of the world, with you there in the center, making home for us all.  -Brian Andreas

I always thought it applied to our house in Ada, where it hangs.  What I realized after hosting both Jon and my family for Thanksgiving away from home, high up in the mountains, is that it actually applies to wherever she goes.  She makes a home for us all.

Happy belated birthday mom.

DSC_0085 DSC_0088WedNicFinal-226

Throwback Thursday

Nostalgia was dangerously thick at my house yesterday.

This is because I spent the better part of two hours going through old photo albums, my Facebook timeline, and shoeboxes filled with mementos and photographs.

I scoured through almost 28 years of memories.


I still have one more day before it’s official.


Tomorrow is my 28th Birthday.  My golden birthday.  28 on the 28th.

I guess I was feeling fairly indifferent about it.  It’s not like it’s a major birthday.  It’s not like I’m turning 30 (!!!!) or anything.

I didn’t even go into the closet looking for anything.  I hadn’t intended to spend all that time spiraling down memory lane, examining how perfect my pores used to look, realizing how much I took my 22 year old body for granted, or cringing at the several photo’s in which I’m holding a cigarette.  I was simply trying to put away the very sweet birthday card that my Grandpa sent me in my ‘favorite cards’ box.  Which is stored next to several other boxes crammed with old letters, memorabilia, and tons of photographs (from way back in the day when we actually used to print photo’s).

I was surprised when, in looking through all of those images, I was able to find photo’s from each birthday since I turned 18, and a few from childhood.  Then my brain suddenly stopped working and I somehow came to the conclusion that I needed to visually chronicle my aging process thus far.   I thought I could probably wait until the big 3-0 and tell the story up to that milestone, but by then who knows if I’ll still have a blog to publicly humiliate myself with.

I didn’t want to take that chance.

So we’ll start at the beginning.

This isn’t exactly a birthday I guess except that IT TOTALLY IS.  It literally is my birth day.  Those are my adorable cousins Marissa and Chandra ready to welcome my chubby bald self back from the hospital.

Fast forward a couple of years to the age at which I refused to wear anything but pink.  Here you can see I was finally beginning to believe my Dad, who told me every night before bed that I was a ‘pretty princess’.

Yep.  Still rocking the tiara.  It’s comforting to know that my inability to commit to a particular style has always been a problem for me.

This was the year that ALL I WANTED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE EVER was a keyboard and I begged and begged for one.  A tiny little wrapped box sat on the living room shelf all day in an effort to taunt me.  My mom repeatedly told me throughout the day when she caught me glaring at it that it was my only present.  Well a keyboard doesn’t fit in a box that small so I decided to pout all day.  When I opened it that night, it was a cord of some sort.  My disappointment and I were then led upstairs to the hall closet where the keyboard belonging to the cord awaited. I squealed.  It was awesome.

Ah.  This one’s fun.  THIS, I believe, was my first birthday that took place while I was being home schooled.  5th grade.  My birthday fell on homecoming weekend for the Ada-Borup Cougars (of which I was no longer) so we decided to have a bonfire at my house and then I would go with ‘all of my friends’ to the football game.  Oh yeah, I had friends there, they were just busy while this picture was being taken… know, over there, away from the weird home schooled girl.

It was horrible and I was shy and sad and got made fun of at the game.  I remember being there and just wanting to go home so badly.  I think I blocked out the next several birthdays because I have no evidence they happened.  I was probably too traumatized from this one.

Skip ahead a few years and eventually I went back to school and was once again an Ada-Borup Cougar.  It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be in the end, but by the time I turned 18 I was once again friends with all of the girls in the photo above.

I was also 90 pounds, 5 of which could be attributed to all the metal in my mouth.

This was a great birthday.  I was a lead in the play Annie and the cast, along with other friends, all came out to a local restaurant for food and games.

I didn’t realize it then, but in looking back, this was probably the one day in my turbulent high school career where I felt I most accepted and that I finally belonged.  It was a good day.  We went to a gas station (out of Ada as not to be seen) and bought a pack of cigarette’s.  What else do you do at 18?!

Here I am, 19 years old and FINALLY coming into my own.  I had been out of Ada and in college for a little over a month and my life had completely changed.  Everything suddenly made sense.

You bet I rocked braces the first half of my freshman year of college.  It was all part of the plan.  I was still a timid small town girl in the beginning and needed the braces to keep scary people away from me until I got adjusted and became my now awesome self. : )

My 20th birthday brought my high school and college friends together for a dinner at my house in Ada.  It was pretty cool.

The other cool thing is that by this point, I had become pretty good at weeding out the real friends from the fake ones and I’m still close to almost every single person in this photo.

THE BIG 21!!!  This is what my celebration with my family looked like.  A very nice and very expensive (sorry dad) dinner at my place of employment at the time, the HoDo restaurant in Fargo, ND.  Livi was just over a month old at this point and was still in the hospital nearby.  We all went to see her and celebrate that night where ‘she’ gave me the necklace I’m wearing in the photo.

This is what 21 with my friends looked like.  Well actually it was much worse than this, but this is the only photo I’ll be allowing my parents to see.  Apparently lingerie as a shirt worked for me at the time.

My last birthday as a college student was my 22nd.  We rented a big party bus and just went nuts.  From what I remember anyway.

If I recall we ended up a strip club.  I told you there would be cringe worthy moments.

For my 23rd I decided to class it up a little.

And all of a sudden, Jon appears, and everything changes again.  I’m living in Denver, having dinner at a very nice and expensive (sorry Jon) restaurant in Vail with the man of my dreams.  He’ll never not be beside me for my birthday ever again.   Weird.  

That was number 24 and we celebrated the weekend in Taos, New Mexico.  I’ll take that face and body back any time now thank you very much.

I have no photo’s from the day of my 25th birthday because I spent it holed up on the couch feeling sorry for myself and how old I was getting.  I should have been slapped.  These photo’s were taken a few days later at a Jason Mraz at Red Rocks concert.  My friend Lindsay and I have birthdays three days apart and we celebrated that year with her coming to Denver to visit.

Yep!  Jon was there too : )

26 was awesome as well.  I was newly engaged and apparently injected with some sort of happiness glow because I think this was the best I’ve ever looked.  I could have stayed in those happy weeks forever.

What was so great about this birthday was that it was celebrated with what have become life long people for me.  Grown up friendships that are so much better than the 5th grade ones.

They just start to kind of whiz by don’t they?

There I was just a short year ago, newly married and turning 27 years old.  Happiest I’ve ever been.  Most confident in my life, choices, and friendships than I’ve ever been.

Fast forward to today.  Here I am yet another year later.

Twenty. Eight. Years.

Gone in a blip.

But that’s never quite true is it?  It wasn’t a blip.  It was a long, long time.

I was reminded of that when I went through those albums and boxes.  A lot of memories, adventures, laughter, tears, and joy in those 28 years.

A lot more to come.

Many of the photo’s I found tugged pretty hard at my heart.  The one’s of Livi as a baby, the one’s of me carefree in college, the one’s of my friend Adam who passed away.

Places, people, memories I’d almost forgotten.  It was surprising.

Tears sprang up a time or two, but for the most part I spent two hours with a reminiscent smile on my face, wishing I could go back and do it all over again.  I was astounded at how much I’ve lived and how little I would change.

We’re heading out tomorrow, back to Minnesota for the weekend, to celebrate golden 28.  Jon hasn’t let me in on much of the plan, but I know it involves a hotel stay and hopefully some family and friend time.  If I realized anything in reliving past birthdays, it’s how sickeningly lucky I’ve been to be surrounded by wonderful people, friends and family, no matter the age.  My birthday wish this year will be one wishing that never changes.

Bring it on 28!

Hey It’s Your Birthday…

What can I say about how much I love this little girl that I haven’t already in this post.

Today is Livi’s 7th Birthday.

This means several things.

It means that she is officially a kid.  Not an infant, baby, toddler, little girl, little kid.  She is a kid.  A big kid.  She might as well be 17.

It means that she’s arriving at the age where kids stop being sweet to each other and  learn how to be bully’s.  I plan on kicking some big kid ass if anyone so much as sneezes in her general direction.

Most importantly this means that I have not been 21 years old for SEVEN YEARS.


It hasn’t even hit me that she’s not in diapers anymore so the fact that she’s in grade school will catch up to me by the time she’s going to prom.

I guess we’ll make somewhat of a Throwback Thursday out of this post as well and meander down memory lane.  My Livi memory lane.

(pardon the quality of photo’s – technology has come a long way in 7 years)

Livi, this is when you stayed with me overnight at my college house my senior year.  We had Erbert and Gerbert at the kitchen table, went for a walk around campus, I got called a MILF, and we snuggled all night.

This is you in our front yard crushing an Outpost ice cream cone while sporting a combover.     : )

Here you are, still such a little baby, rocking a mow hawk.

This is Tyler teaching you everything you need to know.

Here you are with mom and I on Christmas Eve laughing incredibly hard due to how hilarious we are.  Or because I’m tickling you.  Details.

These are from your very first movie theatre experience – Ratatouille at the Orpheum Theatre in Ada.

Here you are freezing.

This is also from Christmas Eve and I believe you’re pretending to be interested in the porcelain ornament you received.

These hurt a little.  These were taken by me the night before I moved to Denver.  I took you for ice cream and then to the playground and choked back tears the entire night.  Just you and me.

It’s Christmas again and you’re pigtails are so cute I wanna eat you.

One of my favorite pictures of you of all time.

At the Norman County Fair with your favorite big sister.

Being your nature lovin self in our backyard.

My first visit home from Denver.  You and daddy picked me up from the airport and we spent the entire day with Greyson and Sawyer in the woods.  It was spectacular.

You are so beautiful.You are so sweet.You’re so thoughtful.

You bring everyone so much joy.

Especially me.

I love you Livi Lou – see you in a few weeks!


Hey It’s Your Birthday…

There’s this one girl I know…

…yes yes totally, the one with the mustache.


As you might have guessed, it is in fact her birthday today.  She’s turning something obnoxiously young like 22 or something.  Or at least she looks like she is.

By “looks” like she’s turning 22 I most certainly mean “acts” like she’s turning 22.

At least she does on Saturdays and at bachelorette parties.

On other days she acts like the newly 28 year old powerful, blonde, kick ass shoe wearing, chicagoan business woman THAT SHE IS!

(insert photo of her looking and behaving like a powerful, blonde, kick ass shoe wearing, chicagoan business woman here)

Unfortunately all I have are photo’s of her being an incredibly powerful, blonde, kick ass shoe wearing, party animal.

But I think the powerful business side of her might look something like this…

…at least in my mind.

ANYWAY…it’s her birthday…and she just happens to be exceptional.

She’s that girl that everybody likes because she’s smart, smiley, friendly, adorable, genuine, and sweet.

What makes her amazing is that she ALSO happens to be the kind of girl that I like because she’s witty, snarky, bossy, and HILARIOUS.

One of the greatest gifts my friend Erin gave me was a friendship with Ryan.  Hands down the best gift Ryan has given me was Pizzeria Locale.The best gift I’ve ever given Ryan is…….


…well it’s definitely not this blog post.

It’s probably our creepy voice that we insist on speaking with every time we’re together.  It makes us sound like morons.  Funny morons.  But a funny moron is still a moron…right?  Or is a funny moron simply HILARIOUS?!?!

I’ll work on a better gift.

Moving on.

Ryan.  You have been a fantastic addition to my life.  My momma loves you, my auntie loves you, my hubby loves you, my friends love you.

What I mean to say is, when it comes to you I am…Happy Birthday you brave and successful lady.  Can’t wait to have my first visit to Chicago include a tour from you.  We miss you around here : )

Hey It’s Your Birthday…

Before we begin…a disclaimer.  There are approximately 2 people that will find this post worth reading.  Erin and myself.  I apologize in advance for all inside jokes, stories and events that make absolutely no sense to anybody else.  Ahem.

Happy Birthday Miss Erin!

I know that all the hits I’ve had on my blog today are from you checking to see if I’ve posted this yet ; )

In honor of your birthday I decided to take a long trip down memory lane.  If you’re not sure where memory lane is, you can conveniently find it on Facebook.  According to Facebook (God) we became friends in December of 2006.  December 7th to be exact which I know because the very first thing either of us posted on FB was the morning after by an oh so eloquent me.

Ali Kinkade Hendrickson


It was a post in response to what had happened the night before…the night we fell in love.

I mean who wouldn’t love faces like those.

You can see our friendship developing on our Facebook walls over topics like concerts, television shows, twilight, and random things we and we alone find hilarious, like sandwiches apparantly:

Erin Rose Larsen

“It’s like I just found out my favorite love song is written about a sandwich”

(Ali in response) I like sandwiches…

Ali Kinkade Hendrickson

Remember that one time you got stuck in your dress in my car?  Or that other time you sat on a homeless mans lap on a dirty street for a photo-op?  Or that other time your watched me motorboat my sandwich?  Good times.

Our memory lane carried on through me graduating college, you living in Minneapolis, me moving to Denver, you moving to California, you visiting Denver, you hating California, me making you move here.   Here are a couple Facebook wall post highlights from our then obsession with the website texts from last night:

Ali Kinkade Hendrickson

“If last night was a website it would be called OR”

Erin Rose Larsen

“I just went to get groceries.  A cashier said she saw me last night.  I guess I carried a broom back from the party and swept the street the whole walk back…and I claimed to be in the cast of wicked.”

Ali Kinkade Hendrickson

“Do you remember how we all fit in that bathtub?”


Ali Kinkade Hendrickson

There is only one person in the world that this applies to…you.

“We sang ‘a whole new world’ together.  Either he’s my gay best friend or the love of my life.”

We also have many many posts that are 100% supportive, non sarcastic, and really sweet.  By looking at the dates I can remember exactly what they were about each time.

Ali Kinkade Hendrickson

E, I saw this and instantly thought of you.  

“You made me lose my sparkle.  I got it back now.”

Erin Rose Larsen

olive juice…just in case you didn’t know.

Ali Kinkade Hendrickson

Thank you for being such a loyal and dedicated friend.

Erin Rose Larsen

I am very excited for you today.  Just so you know…and full of calm, positive thoughts for you…and armed with tequila and relaxing vitamins.  I’m here for you is basically what I’m trying to say.

So you finally moved to Colorado.  Boulder first, and then to Denver.  A lot has happened since those early crazy days of living in a big new place.  I left a few times.  I came back.  We grew apart a little, then grew right back together.  Jobs came and went.  Boys came and went.  A boy proposed to me.  You were maid of honor at my wedding.  I motor-boated a sandwich.

Now you’re leaving.  Going back to California for a new job.  I have no doubts it will go better than the last time.  You’re wiser now, you’re happier now, you’re confident, sparkly, and ready for what’s next.  You’re so very brave Erin.  It’s what I’ve always envied about you.  You aren’t fearless, because it’s good to have a few fears, but you are brave.  Remember that.

It was actually beneficial to read through our Facebook history because I was reminded of all the tactics I used to get you to move here in the first place.  Get ready because they’re coming again as soon as you leave.

Just ONE more doozie before I go.

Ali Kinkade Hendrickson

So I innocently put a random CD in this morning before hopping in the shower. Hell broke loose. It started with ‘My Humps’, swiftly moved on to ‘Come to Jesus’ followed by an unknown techno/tribal/yodeling song, which led us right into ‘Air Force One by Nelly followed by Lee-Ann Rimes. Finally all remaining doubt was erased from my mind when ‘Nothing but a Hound-dog’ came on…accapella. This CD belongs to you. It was like my CD player was having a seizure. And I was trapped in the shower soaking wet being traumatized with every passing second.

Oh yeah…and this too.