310 seconds. Give or take a few.

Last year, on my 32nd birthday, I decided to start recording a video. More specifically, I’d heard about an app through my cousin, called 1 Second Everyday. The plan was to end it on my 33rd birthday and try and get as much cool stuff in it as possible.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

But then…roadblock. This past week, I had finally had enough of my storage notifications popping up on my phone. I couldn’t download any new apps, podcasts, was constantly having to delete photos, just to make room for this thing.

Yes, I realize I could just have not gotten the iPhone with the least amount of storage ever, but it was the cheapest!

So my self-imposed challenge to take at least one second worth of video daily for the past year came to an end about 55 days early.

I’m still pretty proud of the effort though. That’s a lot of videos.

So here it is, for your enjoyment. And I realize it seems like I watch a lot of TV. It’s because I do.

(It’s also because that’s where I was on some of the days that I realized I hadn’t taken the daily video yet, most likely. And my mild OCD would not let me skip too many days in a row.)

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We’re worried about you, Justin Timberlake

Now that my sisters and I are older and all out of the house, it’s harder to get the whole fam-damily together for a vacation. Schedules are all over the place and Sami and Austin are in a different city now and Rachel and Chuckie were and it’s just…life.

The last time we were all together for a vacation was 2009. The first weekend we were gone, Michael Jackson died.

Fast-forward to a couple weeks ago. We all reunited in Denver, to visit Sami and Austin for four days.

And Prince died.

We are now afraid to go on another vacation because we have this unexplainable power. Our collective energies outside of Louisville, Kentucky are too strong and a major pop star pays the price.

I think we’re going to Gulf Shores next summer and I’m genuinely concerned that if we can all go, who is in danger.

Other than the passing of sweet, talented Prince, our four-and-a-half dayish jaunt to Denver was all kinds of awesome. We visited Boulder (Hippie HQ), Golden (The Cutest) and Red Rocks (I’m in love). And climbed a mountain and ate good food and had all kinds of fun together.

And did not smoke any weed despite landing in Denver on 4.20. #regrets

I compiled a list of quotes that you’ll see pop up here and there on the blog, so stay tuned.

For now though, let me show you our trip – it’s much easier (and prettier) to do through pictures.

Enjoy!

#tbt: Tales of a third-grade Laura

Today, we visit the subject of being a parent. And what it apparently meant to me, at age 8.

First, to be a mom:

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You only get school clothes and trolls. Oh and school supplies.

To be a dad:
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I am so glad I didn’t end up a father because I do not want to be a band director, however I would be a better one than the guy currently doing the job my dad was doing when I was 8. Also can we note that when you’re 8, $40-$50 a month is BANK.

Grandpa Kardashian and Grandmother Nollner

Sometimes when our immediate family is together, we talk about when my parents become grandparents one day, what they might be called.

Growing up, we just called all four grandparents “Grandma” and “Grandpa.” And differentiated with last names when we needed to (mainly Christmas present labels).

But now it’s a little different. And my sisters and I have talked about what we might want our future kids to call our parents. Then we have run a few by Mom and Dad.

A frontrunner for Mom is from Sami’s BFF and one of our unofficial/official adopted sisters, Kate. She calls one of her grandmas “Grandmother Nollner.” So naturally, we told Mom that’s what we’d have our kids call her. In a posh accent because how else should you say it. Let me reiterate. That name exactly. Even though our last name is not Nollner.

Dad has known he wants to be Pawpaw (sp?) for a while. That’s what his grandpa was called, and he was the only great-grandparent still living and that we got to know growing up. However, when we were debating names for Mom to go by, he wasn’t so sure he’d get his way (having a house full of girls his whole life? Can’t imagine why he’d think that).

So while we looked online for trendy names for Grandpas, he kind of complained aloud: “I’m probably gonna be Grandpa Kardashian or something.”

 

#TBT: A bit of a quiet year

In an ideal world, one where I had loads of free time and keeping this blog up and running was my full-time (or at least part-time) job, I’d have posted a lot more this year. It wasn’t for lack of trying, or lack of things happening to write about. In fact it was the opposite. There was too much of that. And no taking advantage of what downtime I did have to get some stuff written and scheduled to post, because that’s a ton easier (behind the scenes of blog world, guys).

This past week, my lil’ blog baby turned six. SIX! Cannot believe it was that many years ago I decided to start writing on this thing with some sort of regularity.

I’m going to keep it up of course, because the eventual hope (don’t tell anyone) is that I someday write a book. And this is a good start for it, plus all the best bloggers end up with a book or two. So it’s bound to happen.

Usually I pick a bunch of my favorite posts from the past year. This year, because six years, I’m picking six.

In no particular order, and in honor of Throwback Thursday, too, here are my six favorites of the stuff I posted this year.

1. That time I wrote down everything my friends said while they watched Magic Mike (and they didn’t know I was doing it).

2. When I got lil’ Charles

3. Turning 30, with a bang (and a sore ear)

4. Saying goodbye to Grandma

5. Lies my brain told me

6. #haganstakenewyork

On deck for lucky year 7? SO much, you guys, most of which is conveniently kicking off right around my birthday. I can’t wait to tell you about it, check back soon!

Dear Lucy

Dear Lucy,

I miss my roommate. I’m not talking the ones who lived upstairs and yelled at me sometimes for feeding you too many marshmallows.

I miss the roommate that slept at the foot of my bed for over a year and when you weren’t perched there, you were in the doorway of my bedroom, partially because I think you were a little claustrophobic and partially so you could protect me.

When I moved back in with Mom and Dad last January to save up some money for a place of my own, I anticipated it only being a couple months. I anticipated it feeling like an extended visit, but soon enough I wasn’t a “visitor,” I was back home.

I don’t remember when exactly it started, but it was pretty immediate, I think. You were glad to have me there, glad to have me back. You started waiting at the top of the basement stairs every night as I went down to my makeshift apartment, not moving until I said it was OK for you to come down.

I’m wondering if it’s because we didn’t get that time together when you were little. When you were a puppy, and really, until last January, I was the sister that visited a lot, but I always had to leave. Only now I wasn’t leaving, I was there all the time. I think you were making sure we had time together and our own memories together because you know it wouldn’t be forever.

I knew it wouldn’t be forever either, of course, I planned to move out at some point, on my own again, but you know what I mean. I thought we had more time than we did.

Before I lived with you again, I already knew you were a good dog – an old girl who still believed with all her heart that she was a puppy. Even if you got a little wobbly on the stairs those last few months and your breathing sounded a little different, you still crammed all your toys in your mouth to carry them from one place to the other. You still could take out a rawhide bone in 2 hours or less and threw your rope toy around whether someone was holding the other end or not.

You are the only dog I have ever let eat food that was sticking out of my mouth – when I’d stick one of those huge marshmallows in my mouth, stoop to your eye level and you’d slowly and gently grab the other end and take it. That was our best trick, you and me.

When it became apparent sleeping upstairs for you was going to just be for naps only, I made you a little bed, remember? That old blanket folded up all nice for you at the foot of the bed? You laid on it to humor me until I fell asleep, I think, but I saw you later, laying on my shoe or the balled up T-shirt or sweatshirt I’d left on the floor.

Sometimes you snored, but I couldn’t get mad, because I did too. I knew it meant you were comfortable and sleeping well, having great dreams about chasing squirrels and getting ice cream from Dairy Queen – two of your favorite things ever.

Sometimes you’d be upstairs when I woke up – you’d gone up to visit Mom and Dad before they went to work. If you came back downstairs, or were just too tired to go up at all, you waited for me. It was a silent communication between you and I. You’d rest until I was done with my shower and dressed and ready. And when I headed for the stairs with my bag, there you were, ready to follow me up.

Remember that time I tried to make you run with me? Sorry about that. You weren’t havin’ it, I know. I tried to make you keep going but you pulled us toward home and I had to relent. You were a 63-year-old with about 30 pounds of hair, it was a little crazy for me to ask you to run in Kentucky in the summer. I agree.

I loved that I could take you on a walk without a leash. That even if you got too far ahead you’d stop and look back and wait for me to catch up. Payback for the running, maybe?

Remember when you spent a couple nights at my apartment during the ice storm? You were probably the happiest one there, since there were four adults and you crammed into a one-bedroom apartment. And you behaved so well! (Dad will disagree because of that whole taking your time outside when it was freezing thing).

You’d love my new place. I’d have had you come visit or stay with me when Mom and Dad were out. There’s still plenty of room at the end of my bed, and a nice sunny spot by the doors to the deck, because I don’t have curtains yet.

I’m glad we got that year, you and I. I miss your company, and even your dog breath in my face sometimes when I would sleep close to the edge and you’d come over and sit, usually trying to get me to pet you.

I still look at your spot in the living room when I go back to Mom and Dads, hoping none of it was real and your bed is still there in front of the fireplace.

The day we said goodbye to you hurt like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I thought I might run out of tears. I just went numb for a while.

I take comfort in the fact that you are keeping Grandma company – I don’t think God would separate Dog Heaven from People Heaven, because that’s cruel.

She loved you, you know? Remember how she opened your stocking at Christmas for you every year?

I think about you all the time, little one, and miss you terribly.

Thank you for the year we had. I wouldn’t change a thing.

And I hope hope hope hope hope that you’re getting so many marshmallows where you are now.

I love you.

Laura

Saying goodbye, a little late

In March, some very bad things happened. My grandma, who suffered from Alzheimer’s for years, took a quick turn for the worst and, after missing my grandfather for the past two and a half years, she was finally able to go and find him.

The very hour we came home from her funeral, we got word of another impending loss – our dog Lucy, who was 10 years old and had seemed fine until the week Grandma died – was sick and wasn’t going to get any better. So, tears not yet dry on our cheeks from Grandma’s service, we went to the vet to say goodbye to our sweet Lucy girl.

I’ve written posts about both of them in my head countless times, but couldn’t bring myself to put them down on paper or on the screen for the longest time. But now I have.

I plan to share some words about them both on this blog soon, because the one thing that makes me feel better about being without loved ones is to remember them, to write about them, to think of a time when things were better and be happy and smile and not just think about how they’re gone from my every day life. Because for as long as I have the memories, they’re not.

Pets are like family, and anyone who says different is lying. That day and so many days following it, when we said goodbye to my grandmother and also to the pet we’d had for so many years, were a fog.

I don’t know that we’re even – I’m even – completely out of it yet. There have been too many reminders.

I think I’ve been afraid to write about any of it – afraid I won’t do justice. Afraid it will hurt too much to bring everything back up. But at the same time I need it. I need the release of letting my feelings out through my fingertips.

And soon I will share them with you. Soon.

Celebration Summer

As of right now, I think the parties are over for a little while. At least the major ones. I think… This is why I have a planner. Helps. Well, whenever I remember to write things in it.

But they have been pretty much nonstop since early May.

I’m not complaining – at all. I loved every single one of them. But WOW I’m worn out… So worn out, in fact, that I’m giving you the short version now. Longer versions of some of them will come later. You can see some of the photo booth-ness from them in my last post.

It started with some graduations: Baby Einstein and my cousin, Caitlin, graduated from the University of Kentucky. My cousin/little brother, Cool Ethan, graduated from University of Louisville.

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Then we had a party. Where basically every one of our family and friends did a keg stand.

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No seriously.. they did.

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We celebrated my other cousin/little brother’s beautiful wedding to the sweetest girl ever and that ceremony was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

We celebrated Liz’s upcoming (at the time) wedding with a 2-in-1 day…wedding shower in the morning, bachelorette party at night.

Then we went to Boston – for the last time for a while – so Charles could graduate from MIT! On account of he’s a boss. And a mega-smartie.

We moved them home to Louisville (yay!!!!!!!) a couple days later and then went right into wedding week for Liz.

After that it was one more grad party and just last weekend, the last in the string of weddings for the summer – one in Minnesota for our very good friend, Lauren, who we’ve known since she was five, when she and Rachel met in kindergarten and became BFF.

It may have been the happiest summer ever! So much to celebrate, and something going on literally every single weekend.

And now, we sleep.

‘Tis the season…for photo booths

There are few things more fun than a photo booth. It’s pretty much par for the course for a wedding reception to have one anymore… so being that I am trying to become more of a professional photographer that does weddings and such, I thought I should try to start getting in on it.

Plus, I just love photo booths. That’s all that is on my refrigerator right now – photo booth strips. It’s a sickness.

Earlier this spring, I was looking for things to add to my Amazon wish list (because addicted. Also poor.) and happened upon a really great deal on photography stuff. So I ordered a backpack (that was then stolen in Boston, but more on that later) and some filters and other cool stuff. The most important part of that purchase? A remote.

The first time we tried a photo booth with my camera it was at the Murder Mystery Party for New Years. It worked pretty well, but to take the picture you had to keep going over and pushing the timer on it and running back into place. No bueno. Remote solved all that.

So you better believe, that starting with the first of the several parties we were attending, I was going to test it out.

Well, correction, we tested out the props first.

And then, the day we had both Liz’s wedding shower and bachelorette party – the photo booth became very important because we used it at both.

I’m thinking it was a hit..

And some self-promotion real quick… hosting an event and looking for a photo booth? I’m your girl!

Straight (paint)ballin’

When I started thinking about what I wanted to do for my 30th birthday this month, I had so many different ideas. I tossed around doing something for others – doing 30 things for others or something nice for 30 people or maybe just a chill dinner with family.

It never once crossed my mind to use this big-deal birthday to cross something off my list.

That’s where the BFF comes in – it crossed her mind, so she and my sister and my cousins made it happen.

The list item of choice? Paintball.

Now when it was mentioned at the paintball place that this was a bucket list item, the toddler who worked there (I picked that saying up from my traffic school teacher this past weekend. My name’s Laura and I drive fast.) acted like having that on a bucket list was stupid. And to that I say “Worry ’bout yoself, Paintball Boy.”

Lemme back up.

So I get all ready on my birthday thinking I’m gonna go get a bit of a pre-dinner buzz from some mini-margaritas at Jennifer’s house.

Then I get blindfolded and after many death threats from Jennifer, to my surprise I end up at the paintball place – this is what we’re crossing off my list and it’s gonna be awesome!!

Once I’m changed out of my dress and into my paintballin’ clothes, the nerves start to hit a little.

There are SERIOUS paintballers there. As in – significant amounts of camouflage and oh look over there, there’s a whole TEAM of guys who have had shirts made and have their shooter code names on the back. COOL.

Meanwhile, the only ones in our group who have played before are Sami and a couple of the boys. And they tell us newbies that, SPOILER ALERT: Paintballs hurt like a motherfucker.

SWEET. Happy birthday, I still might die today.

So anyway, after signing a waiver that probably says “If you die out there it’s not our fault, you just suck at paintball” and me getting a free shirt – because birthday – it’s time to suit up.

This is where I should have known it was gonna be..interesting. You don’t get a helmet – just a mask that covers your forehead, eyes, nose and mouth and a vest that probably is helpful for most people but I have some serious boobage and, well, it was kind of a joke.

Oh and then you go load your gun with marbles, basically. For newbies to paintball, it’s when you see how hard those damn things are, and that’s before they’re being shot at you from a gun that puts a shit-ton of air behind it.

Then a couple of us got a little bit scared. And that was before we even walked over to the scary-looking zombie town kind of place where we’d be “playing.”

I put that word in quotations on account of when we got over there the people that play every other day and think they’re hot stuff were like, “OH, FRESH MEAT.” And I almost peed.

Tavon, our “supervisor” or whatever they’re called gave us a quick rundown of what we’d be doing and what we weren’t allowed to do (take our masks off, basically, everything else was a free-for-all). And then we were set free to attack at each other.

He said “go” and all we could hear was “pop pop pop pop pop pop pop.” And I almost peed again.

It took approximately 20 seconds for me to get shot. First one went right into the side boob. AND OH MY GOD PAINTBALLS HURT. ESPECIALLY IN THE BOOB.

So – once you get over the initial pain/shock of being hit the first time, then you’re ready. The adrenaline’s going, you’re ready to play again and you know that that stupid little hut thing is not good shelter. Oh, and the paintball “regulars” are crazy AF.

We ended up having to pick teams at one point and in addition to the eight in our group, we needed two more. So we ended up with two more toddlers (Trevor and Jase) on our team to keep things even. We had no idea of their shooting ability (or lack of it), but they were standing closest to us, so it made sense.

Other notable moments from the rest of the three or so hours we were there?
– I had two of the professionals cornered at one point and they were pissed that they couldn’t get out or shoot me, so, GO ME.
– Two seconds after I moved out of the position of having them cornered I got shot in the ear.

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT GETTING SHOT IN THE EAR WITH A PAINTBALL.

Rang my bell pretty good. Couldn’t hear for a second. Also thought I was bleeding. And that it took a piece of my ear off. I don’t overreact at all.

Keep in mind that when you get hit, the paint ball explodes. But there are pieces left behind sometimes.

This is NOT what’s going through my head after getting shot in the ear. Instead I am thinking part of it’s missing, a la Evander Holyfield when Tyson bit it off, because when I reach back to feel it, I feel ragged edges of something so obviously it’s my ear. Oh and that wetness? Definitely can’t be paint, must be blood.

WRONG ON ALL ACCOUNTS.

Did win me some cool points with some of the pros. And it made for a good conversation piece the rest of the night, especially when I couldn’t get it all out/off before changing into my dress for dinner.

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How hot is that?? (And gosh dang if my eye makeup doesn’t still look great…)

Others got it worse – Jenn, Hope and Ethan, from what I remember, all had paint on their faces – especially around the chin and mouth, where it had hit their mask.

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And I didn’t have nearly the amount or intensity of bruises as some of the rest of them did. Also, Hope almost had to smack a girl wearing an Elmo shirt and Sami shot a guy in the nipple and it ripped a hole in his shirt because she’s a badass.

Let’s see, what else…

OH. We basically adopted Trevor and Jase for the rest of the time there except for a few minutes when we were mad at Trevor for siding against us in one of the games and I called him Judas. Then they told us we didn’t seem as old as we were and we were fun and like their friends so we let them back in.

And Jennifer may or may not have been on her way to starting a small army of children that she was captain of but at that point we were all out of bullets and had to go.

Like I said before, it was the most fun birthday of my adult life and I cannot wait to go again. Especially now that all the green paint is pretty much gone from my ear.