Category Archives: Birthday

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Dear Mom,

Today is your birthday.  Happy birthday to you!  I’ve probably already called and sang (in my beautiful singing voice) to you.  If not, then it’s coming.  So be prepared.  As I’ve gotten older, I have realized just how lucky I am to have a Mom like you.

You’ve taught me so much in my 30 years on this planet.  I could never thank you enough for all you and Dad have done for me.  I’m sure I wasn’t the easiest kid, especially when I was hungry.  I know I still have my moments when I’m hungry, too.  But I am working on that!


You are the hardest working woman I know.  I’ve been telling you for years that you work too hard, but you never seem to listen.  That’s actually one thing you taught me at a very early age – it’s okay to be a career woman while putting your family first.  I know that I can juggle parenthood, family life and my career because I watched you do so effortlessly each and every day.  You’d wake up early, get ready then get us ready for school.  I’m sure it was a huge relief when we were old enough to dress ourselves and fix our own breakfasts.

You were there for me every time I fell, literally and metaphorically.  Which I fell a lot as a kid and spent many nights in the ER.  Thank you for never making me feel like it was my fault.  You’d teach me, but the most important thing was if I was okay.

You were always fair between us sisters.  You never took one’s side over the other.  As the baby I did like to push those limits, but somehow you always knew.  And somehow you and Dad were always on the same page.  If I asked Dad something and he said no then I would immediately try you – somehow you always had the same answer!  I could never get away with anything!

In high school our house was the best place to be.  I realize now that you strived hard to make it the spot.  We had the best snacks, music playing, swimming, and you never minded if I had friends over.  I hope to some day have the house-to-be for my child when he’s older.  That way I know he’s okay and where he is.  Of course, he’ll be oblivious just like I was.


I hope your birthday is wonderful.  If anyone deserves a day dedicated to just them – it’s you.  Happy Birthday, Mom!  Thank you for all you do!

Let’s Celebrate My Husband

My darling husband is turning 30 today! I want to wish him the happiest of birthdays – he deserves it!


J and I are so much alike in some ways and then complete opposite in others.  Maybe that’s why we work so well together.  I’m logical when it comes to everything but my emotions – that’s when J steps in.  He keeps me calm and level-headed when I start to get overwhelmed. He lets me complain when I need to, but knows when enough is enough.

One of the first qualities that really attracted me to him was the fact he didn’t let me walk all over him. He’s strong-willed and I appreciate that so much in a man. He didn’t let me get away with anything (not like I tried that much!) and always made me think before I acted.  I know it’s crazy to think I was really attracted to him because he put me in my place, but it’s true. He stood up to me when no one else would. He wasn’t afraid of hurting my feelings when telling me the truth, but he always had a pretty-kind way of letting me know I had crossed the line.

Another quality that I love about him is his tenderness.  He’s sweet to me and he’s sweet to the dogs, which is a huge plus for me. Especially when I see him becoming a Dad.

habits to better your life

During our first New Year’s together I had invited a bunch of friends over to my apartment to have a low-key night. After some wine and beer drinking, a glass had shattered on the floor. I was trying to get it cleaned up and remember my dog was walking around. I was worried that she may hurt her paws on the shattered glass. I looked up and there was J, he had scooped up my precious Maggie into his arms and was carrying her around so she wouldn’t hurt her paws.  He was even telling her it was going to be okay so she wouldn’t get overwhelmed by all of the chaos.

My heart melted. Without hesitation, he knew the most important being to me was Maggie and he took care of her.

gender reveal party ideas

I know he will do the same for our son and I can’t wait to see how great of a Dad he will become.

Happy birthday, J! You are the man I want to spend the rest of my days with.  I can’t wait to continue to grow and become a stronger family unit.  You are the best!  Happy 30th!

29 While 29 – A Birthday List

birthday, merelynne, meredith rines

I turned a year older yesterday, which means it’s time for another list of goals to accomplish this year.

Is it just me or does it seem like as we get older the excitement goes away?  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining about getting older.  I just can remember being six years old and not being able to sleep the night before my birthday.  My excitement was overwhelming and I couldn’t wait to wake up one year older.  To party like a rockstar with my friends and celebrate with my family.

With each new birthday that passes, the joy fades a bit.  It’s no longer a holiday, but just another day at work and another day that I have responsibilities.  If I had the option to go back in time and celebrate like I did at 9 or 22, I’d pass.  I don’t want to go back, I just want to keep moving forward.

28 was a great year for me.  I feel like this year has been a real growing year for me.  I have had my ups and downs, I wouldn’t change anything that happened.  Every down has taught me something and has made me a little bit stronger.  I have to remember that God has a plan for me and though I may not know His plan, it’s there and I need to trust it.  Sad things happen, but it doesn’t have to hold me back.  I can’t let one bad thing prevent me from growing and becoming the person I’m suppose to be.

Plus, there were some really great things that have happened this past year.  So I need to focus on the good.

Here’s my 29 while 29 birthday list:

1.  Stay with my healthier lifestyle – this was on my list last year and I did really good with it so I want   to keep it going
2.  Work towards my CFP® designation
3.  Travel to a new city
4.  Go to the lake as much as possible – again this is a repeat from last year, but it’s such a good one!
5.  Work on paying down debt
6.  Save for our future home
7.  Take more pictures
8.  Craft more
9.  Cook at home more often
10. Throw a dinner party
11. Organize our house
12. Do good for others
13. Laugh more
14. Visit friends
15. Become a better baker
16. Train Bud and Tiny
17. Develop a budget series
18. Become more confident in myself
19. Dog photoshoot
20. Grow this blog (I think this will be on every birthday list of mine-ha!)
21. Start video blogging
22. Paint an image to hang in our bedroom
23. Downsize my closet
24. Overcome my fear
25. Create more recipes for the blog
26. Decorate our guest bedroom
27. Become more patient with myself
28. Finish the backyard
29. Journal more to remember the good stuff

Recap of 28 While 28

birthday list, merelynne

Tomorrow is the big day – the big 2-9. I can’t believe I’m turning another year older. Pretty soon I’m going to stop aging all together. …I had a great grandmother do that. She just stopped telling people her age and after a few years no one knew (or was willing to say out loud) her true age. That’s going to me be… I’m going to be 29 forever.  Well not forever… but I’m going to work on staying ageless.

Here’s a recap of my 28 while 28 list, let’s see how I did.

Here’s what I accomplished:

Continue kicking butt to become a CFP
Get better taking and processing photos
Travel to…anywhere and everywhere
Grow by 50% this year
Take exams for work to become licensed
Do a fun Christmas photoshoot with J, me and the pups
Pay down more bills
Worry and Stress less
Have the time of my life
Stay with my healthier lifestyle
Help someone in need
Go to lake as much as possible
Get involved with CrossFit…again
Decorate our new house

What I failed at and need to keep working on:

Create a beautiful workspace at home
Finally create our engagement (and now wedding) journal
Somehow manage the crazy pups so I can do a photoshoot of them
Go to 28 concerts/shows/plays/etc.
Launch my new calendar line that I am obsessed with
Start an e-newsletter for my calendar and
Mother/Daughters’ trip
Put a little blue in my hair for a short while
Stop drinking soda
Host a Christmas party
10 DIY projects
Girls’ weekend
Make a t-shirt quilt out of my Sorority shirts

So I succeed on about 50% of my list…. that’s not really a passing score, but I’ll still take it.  I got a few DIY projects done, but not 10.  I wasn’t able to go on a girls’ weekend because I ended up sick and had to skip out.  I didn’t host a Christmas party, but we went to two so I feel like that’s still a success in some way.  I also didn’t fully redesign my blog, but I updated it.  See?  I wasn’t a complete failure – haha!  I was pretty busy this year and I made a lot of memories.  It was a win-win.

Recap of 27 To Do While 27

My 27 year has come to an end.  Now it’s time to bust out my 27 to do while 27 list and see how I measured up. Here is a list of what I accomplished… or sort of accomplished.

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wedding photo
We got hitched!

I continued to work and build up this little blog of mine

One goal was to move to a home with a basement, which we did for about 9 months then we moved to a house without one.  Oh well – I have to pick my battles.

Pay off some bills, which we have paid a few off and we still have a few more to go.

Teach Tiny a few new tricks was one goal. I am proud to say she now knows how to stay.  Not a huge improvement, but she’s not as terrified as she used to be around others and that’s a huge accomplishment in my book.

guilty pleasure

Become an avid amateur photographer.  I still have a lot of work to do, but I’ve held a few photoshoots for friends and family.  It makes me happy to develop my skill and even more happy that people will be my models.

I am proud to say we hosted quite a few dinners with our friends.  Nothing beats beautiful weather, ice-cold beer, playing washers in our backyard and someone grilling some good food.

I’ve also gotten a lot better in controlling my road rage.  I have my moments, but am finally getting calmer on the road.  I had a pretty bad habit of getting annoyed with people driving slow or trying to pass me in the right lane.  I knew I needed to slow it down when I tried to race a sheriff on the highway who was just trying to get around me. Yeah, that happened.

I have been cooking so many different recipes and creating my own this past year.  It’s been amazing the new ingredients I’ve been using and the meals I’ve been whipping up.

With all the cooking we’ve been doing, J and I haven’t felt the need to eat out as much.  It saves money and we can spend more time together without a lot of people around.

I’ve slowly but surely created a blogging routine that works for me.  I have a calendar planned and I work hard at sticking to it.  Of course I’m willing to change things up when I have something fun or exciting to talk about.

I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to keeping my bedroom clean, but the parts of the house guests see has been kept a lot neater.

J and I took our honeymoon last month.  AHHH it was ah-mazing!  I mean so beautiful!  We laid on a beach, drank pretty drinks and just spent time together.

12 out of 27 isn’t the best odds. I mean it’s not even 50%.  A few months after turning 27 I took a hard look at my goals and realized that some weren’t even important or a priority.  I am not upset about changing my goals, like…

I ended up closing my MereLynneConcepts Etsy shop (well putting it in vacation mode).  I just didn’t find the work worthwhile to stress with.  Now I am working on a new project and am super excited about it.

We didn’t take a drive down to the local drive-in for a date night, but there is one close to us in our new town.  We may go at some point.

I failed at starting a small garden, but I like to think it’s because I didn’t even attempt… not because I was scared of my black thumb or anything.

Learn to successful do a fishtail braid… Well that was a failure because now my hair is too layered and too short.

And… there were some that I revised and added to my 28 while 28.

28 To Do While 28

Today is my birthday.  I am still pinching myself in disbelief that I am 28 years old. I just can’t believe it.  My life has changed so much since I turned 27, and when I say change I mean a roller coaster of ride to the better type of change.

Let’s see – J and I moved – twice…We got married…I started a new career that I am so uber excited about that I couldn’t sleep for days after talking and planning it…I live in my hometown and it’s actually not that bad.  I enjoy it…I am in the process of designing and creating a new calendar…I have spent lots of time with our families and our friends…we took our honeymoon…I could go on and on.

Now that I am 28 it’s time to start contemplating what I want to accomplish this year… What is my 28 to do while 28?

  1. Stay with my healthier lifestyle because it really does make a difference
  2. Go to 28 concerts/shows/plays/etc.
  3. Launch my new calendar line that I am obsessed with
  4. Continue kicking butt to become a CFP
  5. Get better taking and processing photos
  6. Grow by 50% this year
  7. Start an e-newsletter for my calendar and
  8. Travel to…anywhere and everywhere
  9. Help someone in need
  10. Host a Christmas party
  11. 10 DIY projects
  12. Girls’ weekend
  13. Go to lake as much as possible
  14. Mother/Daughters’ trip
  15. Put a little blue in my hair for a short while
  16. Stop drinking soda
  17. Take exams for work to become licensed
  18. Make a t-shirt quilt out of my Sorority shirts
  19. Get involved with CrossFit…again
  20. Redesign
  21. Create a beautiful workspace at home
  22. Do a fun Christmas photoshoot with J, me and the pups
  23. Finally create our engagement (and now wedding) journal
  24. Somehow manage the crazy pups so I can do a photoshoot of them
  25. Decorate our new house
  26. Pay down more bills
  27. Worry and Stress less
  28. Have the time of my life

AHHH!  I cannot wait to get started on my list and to see what this next year holds for me.  I’ve been pretty blessed and am counting my blessings!

Happy Birthday to My Sister

Some people aren’t lucky enough to be born into a family that supports and loves one another like I was.  I have been on such an amazing journey knowing that I am loved.  I know I have a family that will stand up for me, no matter what.  I remember once in junior high my Mom staging a sit-in at the principal’s office, all because I had one-too-many tardies and was going to get Saturday school.  I was too young to drive and why should I be punished for the bus running late because every kid on the bus received a tardy that morning or why was I going to be in trouble because my parents were running late?  My Mom didn’t see the point of Saturday school and my tear-filled face couldn’t stand the thought of being punished for something that was out of my control.  So, my Mom sat, sat some more, and refused to get up.  Wouldn’t you know the principal cracked first and my tardiness was excused, and I was free to sleep-in that Saturday?  That’s love.
Untitled design (4)

I grew up in a small(ish) town knowing that my older sister was my protector.  I was one of the first kids in daycare to learn how to tie her own shoes.  Mainly because my sister was tired of always having to show me.  So she sat me down in our family room one afternoon and showed me how.  She must have demonstrated a thousand times.  For some reason she didn’t lose her patience with me and celebrated my final victory of getting the last around and through the hole.   She was the one that taught me how to be cool, not be a tattle-tale because “you know what happens to tattle-tales? They end up stuffed inside a locker,” and she taught me how to let loose in college.

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I’m lucky my sister stood with me on my wedding day and held my dress while I went pee like fifty times that day (at least it felt like that much).  I cannot wait to celebrate her big day on a beach in Florida with her.  She deserves greatness and is destined for success.  Happy, happy  birthday to my older sister.  I can’t wait until the day that we are both in our 80’s sitting outside on a front porch yelling at those youngin’s while holding a martini in one hand.

4th of July is my favorite

4th of july

4th of July is my favorite holiday of the year.

The smell of fireworks fill the dark sky, lightening bugs flickering in the air, and the sound of crickets chirping far off in the distance.  It’s a beautiful thing.    What’s not to love?!  I get to spend all day laying out by the pool while the Mom grills yummy food.  Then the evening is filled with bright lights, crackling sounds and lots of laughter.  Sounds like a pretty decent way to spend your day.

Last year J and my sister were deemed the official firework artists.  They were getting all into it and not really paying attention.  I mean, it was pretty dark outside and they didn’t really come prepared with flashlights.  Next thing we hear is my sister tell J that there was a small fire behind his foot.  He stomped out and then Dad took off to get a shovel.  The entire family couldn’t stop laughing.  The two pyros were about to really get the show going.

My Grandma carried the hilarious incident over to Christmas and gave them both a baseball cap with a light attached to the bill.

The 4th of July brings out the best in all of us.

My birthday and my sister’s is only a few days after the 4th.  When I was little I naturally thought all the fireworks were the kickoff to my birthday celebration.  It didn’t help my egotistical ways when we ate birthday cake the day BEFORE my birthday thanks to my sister’s being 2 days before mine.  She had to wait a whole day and I got cake early.  I had to be the favorite child, right?  Right.

Okay, I know that’s not true.  A girl could dream though.

What’s your favorite holiday?  I’d love to know!

And They’re Off {recap of J’s birthday}

birthday recap
It was a big birthday – this past weekend we celebrated J turning 28.

And it’s official – he is one year older than me (well at least for the next 2 months)!  It was a full weekend of celebrating him and to be honest, he deserved it.  But please, PLEASE do not tell him that.  I had a hard enough time convincing him he didn’t need the whole weekend to be all about him and his birthday, but was so unsuccessful at it.  I mean, it pretty much was the J Show, but it doesn’t need to go to his head.

His actual birthday was Friday and we headed over to my in-laws for dinner.  We ended up staying pretty late thanks to an intense game of Logos.  Of course me and Grandma won because we were pretty much rockstars!  If you have never played Logos before, I suggest getting it.  It’s really fun and all different age levels can play.  Plus it’s a blast watching J get excited over an answer.  His finger pointing gets pretty out of control.

Saturday we woke up early thanks to our lovely dogs.  I swear they want to sleep in during the week when we have to get ready for work, but they can’t give us one extra hour during the weekend.  We had lunch with my family who was in town then headed to Fairmount Park to watch the horse races.
birthday recap
I had never been to a horse race before and it was interesting, fun, exciting, depressing, and a little sketch all at the same time.  You could tell the regulars from the non-regulars.  The real-time betters from the ones just looking to have fun for only $2.  The inside reeked of shame and depression, but I just avoided it as much as possible.  Outside was where the party was at.  We had great seats and my mother-in-law brought a birthday cookie cake (J’s favorite) and a giant pretzel from Gus’ in the shape of 28.

birthday recap birthday recap We partied hard until the last race was over.

Sunday we had brunch with my folks for Mother’s Day and then headed to J’s grandparents for Mother’s Day dinner with his family.
J and me
The weekend was fast-paced, never ending and a ton of fun.  I seriously could have used Monday to recoup and catch up on some sleep.

Happy Birthday, My Darling

groom photo

Happy birthday.  You are my best friend, my rock and the man I desire.  I love you more with every passing day.
engagement photo happy birthday
When I was younger I asked God and wondered how my future would look.  I was curious about the path I would take and the man I would call mine for all eternity.  I know He had a plan for me and that plan was you.  I am glad I didn’t have a crystal ball to tell me what life would be like because I would have been skeptical.  Some days I cannot fathom how I got this lucky.  I have the opportunity to spend the rest of my days with someone like you, it’s a blessing.  You are a blessing.
Here is to the next 365 days of your life and I hope they are filled with joy, love, and laughter.