#IfIWere22

Standard

Dear Avery,

I came across this fantastic idea for a blog series called “If I were 22”. The series was inspired by the well-respected and thought provoking President of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington.reflection

I love this idea of going back to an age that is quite possibly one of the scariest yet exciting times of your life. At 22, you are fresh out of college, the world is your oyster, and you have no idea what is to come. Will you succeed in your career? Will you fail? Will find a partner to share your life with right away? Will stay where you are, or will you move? You’ll have so many questions and so little answers. Take a minute to think back and reflect on what you’ve learned, who you’ve turned out to be thus far, and the dreaming of what’s to come… is something I find myself doing often.

Personally, I had just graduated, was planning a wedding, and had no job. I’ve ALWAYS had a job. For 4 months, I searched and searched for a job to fulfill my psychology major dream… but learned that it was not that easy. Most jobs of that nature required so much more schooling and experience. What I’m trying to say, my career track didn’t go to plan… in fact, turned out better than I ever imagined.

But life at that time is more than your career, its personal too.

Here’s what’s to come at 22:

  • If you end up living in your college town, realize that not everyone will do that. Some friends will move, and some will stay. You will ultimately need to restart your networking efforts.
  • The real world gave you an out for being a naïve college student, but now you are an adult. You have bills to pay for yourself, now. Woohoo!
  • You’ll learn a lot about yourself: your limits, your expectations, your desires, etc
  • Drama and acne never really go away. You think these two things will go away after your schooling years. But no, they come back in all forms.
  • You’ll find that some people are completely happy with doing mundane work and tasks with no real desire to do more. You’ll find people who put in 110% every day to move up as quickly as they can. You’ll also find people who are somewhere in-between. You’ll learn to deal with everyone in their own ways.
  • Calling your mom will be more important now than ever. Keep doing that. It’s good for both of you.
  • Finding a life partner will be hard for some, and easy for others. Try your hardest to resist the urge to compare what others have and you don’t.
  • Loud bar scenes become less and less fun. Finding a quiet wine bar to sit and enjoy your company becomes well worth it. Wine bars? Say what?? Yeah, I wouldn’t have believed that at 22 either. ;)
  • If you are ever given the opportunity to travel, you’ll regret it if don’t take advantage. You aren’t too tied down to anything yet… so go.

My twenties (yes, I’m still in them) have been the best years of my life, and at 22, you are only just beginning the adventure. So enjoy!

With love,

Aunt Megs

Punny Valentine’s Day Puns

Standard

Dear Avery,

I’ve always loved Valentine’s day cards. Even as a kid, I loved the cheesy ones with a funny pun.  I automatically think of The Simpsons when Lisa Simpson gives Ralph a card that has a train on it and it read “I Choo Choo Choose you”.  Adorable.





I thought I’d share some adorable cards I found on this wondrous internet of ours:

Valentine's day pun

Valentine's day pun

Valentine's day pun

Valentine's day pun

Valentine's day pun

Valentine's day pun

Valentine's day pun

Valentine's day pun

Hope you enjoyed these punny cards from your punny Aunt Megs.

And I hope that you give and receive many of these throughout your life.

With Love,

Aunt Megs

I Promise You These 5 Things

Standard

Dear Avery,

Life will have more than 5 promises… But I came up with 5 while on a plane coming to see you. I wrote this entire thing on my phone for an hour flight. Technology always blows me away. So here are my free flowing words of wisdom.

1. You will have bad ordinary days.
You will experience in many occasions a day like this: woke up late, no time to fix terrible hair, the outfit you chose last minute has a stain, it’s foggy out so naturally people forget how to drive, a stalled car in the middle lane of a busy street makes traffic hell, when you do get to work 30 minutes later, every little thing becomes an issue. Naturally you become brattbad and good daysy all day because of the funk you started with.

Now this is MY bad ordinary day. Others may read this and roll their eyes because their bad days are worse. But to each is own. These types of days happen. Guaranteed.

^^ Quick remedy? See #3.
^^^another quick remedy? Close your eyes and take deep breathes. Works like a charm.

2. You will have good ordinary days.
Good days are when you wake up naturally and feel good. Like Sleeping Beauty wakes up everyday to singing birds and perfect hair. Everything will go right. You’ll find a $20 in your pocket, and notice your zit disappeared. And your hair has volume today?! Say what? You are on top of the world. At this point, you are probably listening to Beyoncé to give yourself that extra jolt of girl power.

^^See #4 to fully understand that context.

Rock these days. As soon as you know it’s good… Keep it going. Don’t let one thing piss you off that day. Ain’t no one got time for that. Your mantra: WHO RUNS THE WORLD, GIRLS! – Beyoncé.

3. Praying always works.
Whether you believe in God or not… The simple act of praying to something greater than yourself will make you feel smaller. Which is a good thing because the world does not revolve us and we need to feel smaller than we typically act. And at times, when you pray about a hardship in your life, the feeling of something bigger (I believe this to be God) magically makes your hardship feel smaller. Even for a second. And sometimes, you only need that second to realize: this too shall pass. And it will pass.
Praying about happy things and blessings will do the opposite. It will make those happy things seem bigger and will bring excitement to your heart. Bottom line: praying helps all situations and will always calm your mind.

4. Music will speak to those who listen.
For me, I use music as a way to validate my feelings of the moment… Kind of like a soundtrack of my life. Silly I know. But on a rainy day, listening to coffeehouse singers adds that extra connection to the world. And then an hour later, blaring Taylor Swift because I need a little pep talk to get me moving. I use all of it. I need to start working on my life’s soundtrack — perhaps in another post!

5. You will feel pretty, ugly, fat, and skinny.
Everyday is different, and every interaction with other people will help shape these ideas of yourself. Even when people compliment me, I only really half believe them, but it still matters to your self image. Your subconscious still hears the “your eyes look so pretty today” and sure enough your eyes will feel pretty. And same goes for negative comments.

^^Quick remedy for this? Compliment other people. Find something you like about how they look that day. It will help them, and ultimately make you feel prettier too. Funny how the mind works.

{Oh yeah, it’s all in your head. That is the secret to life.}

So go blare that Beyoncé song, kick those bad days in the face, pray like someone is listening, compliment the world and feel like a million bucks. All day. Everyday.

With love,
Aunt Megs

MLK Day – He marched, so others could fly.

Standard

Dear Avery,

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of my favorite people in history to read and learn about. Even as a 10 year old kid, his “I have a dream speech” gave me chills. I read it over and over, and loved listening to it. I wrote reports on him and found myself empathizing with a man that had died 20 years before I was even born. He was that influential. That crucial. That powerful. He was just what the world needed.

It seems as though we have a newcomer to our generation that is also making influential waves. A child of great joy and wonder. A child who uses YouTube as a way to spread goodness and love — much like Dr. King did in his day (minus the internet!). He goes by the name of “Kid President“, and a President (of anything he wants, really) he WILL be.

{I love him. I love him. I love him.}

Take a listen to what he says about Dr. King:

You know I love quotes, so here are some amazing quotes from Dr. King:

MLK

MLK

MLK

Moral of this great story, Aves?

You can be anything you want. You can do anything you want. If you have a dream, see it through. Be the change. Be the good in the world. And above all else, “Decide to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Show love. Show compassion. Show others that you care. Always.

With love,

Aunt Megs

Writing A Good Story For 2015

Standard

Dear Avery,

Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book…and I intend to write a meaningful one. New Year, New Book

It’s a new day, and a new year. It’s funny because the first day of a new year usually feels like any other day… except for this feeling of being renewed. I am a firm believer in looking back at the past, whether good memories or bad, so that we can march forward with perspective.

Avery, if you grow up to be anything like me (which I think we will share some similar traits), you will find yourself sitting a red light in 2014 and hear a song from your high school days, that will take you back to a winding car ride to Half Moon Bay with your then boyfriend, when you were a young sophomore. You’ll remember thinking then “oh, he is so adorable.” And then you flash back to 2014, you will either think…oh that sweet, or what was I thinking?! :)

A myriad of moments make up this interesting life we live. So, I hope that when you are old enough to read through all of these letters, that you will use each New Year Day as a way to sit back and reflect on the year’s past. You may smile, you may cry, you may laugh, you might even be angry…. but the important thing is to feel those emotions, remember, and move on to the next.

2014 was full of adventures as well as some heart ache. Luckily for me, there were many highs and only a few lows.

The Highs included celebrating a 5 year marriage anniversary, attending a Giants World Series, getting a promotion, spending time with the whole family (including Uncle Ryan and Aunt Ellen) in SF, growing in my true friendships, and being happy and confident in my own skin.

The Lows were there for a reason — teaching me patience and understanding that I can’t make my life move in every single direction I would like it to be in. This is where I would turn to God and pray “it’s all in Your time, help me trust in Your plans for me and not in the plans I have for myself.” << One of the hardest lessons to learn.

So there is my reflection on 2014.

In 2015 I hope to:

  • Smile more
  • Experience a new role
  • Volunteer
  • Share only funny or insightful or happy or uplifting social media posts. Ain’t no one got time for sadness! ;)
  • Become more involved with church activities
  • Go to Europe and experience a new country
  • Read more
  • Create an animated short that’s been in my imagination for a over year now. << FUN one!!

{What will your story look like?}Family in 2015

Currently in 2015… it looks like this! Off to a goofy start with your Mom and Dad. Ha! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Here is to a brand new year with brand new start!

With love,

Aunt Megs

Baseball Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

Standard

Dear Avery,

Last month, I got to check a HUGE event off my bucket list: Watching the San Francisco Giants play in the World Series. This came as a surprise 5 year wedding anniversary/birthday gift from your Uncle Matt (the Dodger fan – you will one day understand the importance and thoughtfulness of him buying Giants WS tickets is!). At the time of receiving the tickets, the Giants were not guaranteed to go. They were in the middle of their playoff round — so if they didn’t win out, we wouldn’t get to experience the World Series. Every. Game. Mattered. More.

{World series, SF GiantsSure enough, they beat the St. Louis Cardinals…and off we were to the ultimate baseball championship!!! And yes, I pinched my self over and over, and then over again.}

I’d been to AT&T park over a dozen times in my lifetime, but walking into the stadium this time felt so different. So exhilarating. So surreal. I had a pep in my step — the whole time I was there.

Naturally, we got there an hour early, and left an hour after the game. I wanted to soak it all in. The fans. The players. The food (mmmm, garlic fries). The light chill in the air. The sea of orange and black. But most of all: the game. I love this game. I love the slowness of it. I love a good pitching duel. But I also love to see a whole team go through their lineup in one inning — moving people around the bases in a multitude of ways. I love how few and far between a grand slam is — and the eruption of crowd that comes from it. I love when a games comes down to the last out. And that’s what happened. This particular Game 3 came down to the very last out. Royals were up 3-2, and the Giants just couldn’t come back. Was I sad? Yes, of course.

Did it kill my mood? Absolutely not. I just witnessed a W O R L D  S E R I E S.

That, and they eventually went on to WIN the entire series. 3 championships in 5 years. Simply incredible.

baseball diamond girls best friend

We sat in amazing seats down the 1st base line. Even though we ended up in the Royals section… we figured out later that these weren’t just fans, but friends and family of the players. They were such respectful and kind fans. Only silver lining about losing — seeing these fans whom had waited 29 years to get to the playoffs, get to celebrate together.

To some, diamonds are a girl’s best friend. To me, baseball diamonds, and the memories they create…are my best friend.

Aves, I hope you check off as many bucket list items as you can in your lifetime!

With Love,

Aunt Megs

No One Else Can Play Your Part – World Suicide Prevention Day

Standard

Dear Avery,

I know you are used to fun posts, but this one is heavy and really important.

Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s a day to remind ourselves that we matter. Every single one of us. I hope and pray that this will never impact your life personally, but you may know someone suffering from all kinds of pain one day. I hope you have the strength, courage, and the will power to help make a difference.Dr Seuss You are youer than you

First and foremost, I want you to always remember “No one else can play your part“. You were uniquely created. You are here for a reason. It’s that simple.  Life is that wonderful. Life is that magical. It is worth it.

There may come a dark time in your life. That’s OK. Everyone has them. I have. Sometimes it’s a moment, sometimes it’s a day, sometimes it lasts longer than we ever imagined it would. I promise you… whatever it is… it will pass. You will overcome it because a bright day is ahead. Have faith in that.

 

There was one instance for me: the thought of leaving this world would be easier. One time. A dreadful thought. I thought the darkness was caving in on me with no end in sight. (No real action was ever taken, but the thought alone  is just as powerful) And I’m telling you this as living proof that LIFE IS SO GOOD. It gets so much better. Who can play my part in this world? No one else but me.

Who am I?

Let me show you…

No one else can play your part

 

No one else can have your laugh, your smile, your joy, your excitement. It’s yours. Use your life for good. Be good to yourself, and to others. Be proud of who you are, and never be ashamed of it. I’ll always be proud of you. I’ll always be happy that you are here.

{Your story is important, so go share it with the world.}

I’ve  supported/followed/admired an organization called “To Write Love on Her Arms” for over 10 years now. They help give a voice to those who don’t feel worthy enough to have one. While I personally don’t suffer from the heavy weight of depression, I can certainly show my love and my support to those who do. I hope you will too. Show people that they matter.

 With love, Aunt Megs

 

Oh, the places you’ll go! First stop: preschool.

Standard

Dear Avery,

Today you started your first day of preschool! You are no longer a baby, but a tiny person. It is so incredible how fast time goes. There is no doubt in my mind that you will LOVE school. Not only do you make friends easily, but you are already such a smart kid.

 

When I think back to preschool, I can remember:Avery_preschool

  • playing outside
  • chasing boys (shocker, right?)
  • eating graham crackers
  • taking naps
  • making play doh
  • running through jungle gyms
  • finger painting
  • and having no stress whatsoever!

Ahhhhh! You are entering the best phase of life. And you have no idea!

May you make as many friends as possible.

May you always remember to share.

May you take many restful naps.

May you learn, learn, and learn some more. Stuff as much information into your brain as you can.

May you enjoy and have the time of your life.

{Can’t wait to hear about your new adventure.}

With love,

Aunt Megs

Family Memories: Lake Tahoe 2014

Standard

Dear Aves,Family

Last week we spent the week as a family in Lake Tahoe, one of my favorite places in the world. Your mom picked me up from the airport on the way to the lake, and you were in the back seat, asleep. Every time I see you, you’ve changed, grown up so beautifully. When you woke up, you said “oh hi, Aunt Meg Meg” like we haven’t been part very long, and so our trip began.

{I love to roll the windows down, close my eyes, and take in the fresh mountain air. Ahhhhh! Take in the huge trees, the rushing rivers and creeks, and smell that woodsy air.}

It’s important to enjoy these beautiful places on earth with the people that mean the most to you, and it’s also important to write down those memories so that they live on.

We spent the first part of the week in Tahoe City, as we usually do. We love to bike ride along the lake, raft the Truckee River, shop downtown, eat at restaurants with amazing lake views, watch movies, go to the various beaches, eat, eat, and eat more, lay by the pool, and eat some more. We did all of those these that week. This was your very first time rafting down the Truckee, and at 3.5… you did SO well. It’s a 2 hour cruise in the sun, and most kids your age would have a meltdown…but you didn’t. You sat there, enjoyed, talked to people in other rafts as we passed them, smiled at the 7 year old boy, and had a great time. That was so much fun. I’m happy that I got to experience your first time on the river. Although you’re ACTUAL first time was when your mom was 3 months pregnant with you…so maybe that’s why you enjoyed it, you’ve done it before. :) After Tahoe City, we spent the last half of the trip at your cabin in Zephyr Cove. With a quick walk to the private beach, all we did was stay outside and play in the water during the day, and watch sunsets on the dock at night. You love that cabin, and as you should. It’s a special thing to have a place like that to call your second home.

I love spending time with you and noticing the small things that change.Biker Avery

==================================================

At 3.5 years old, you are:

Sassy.

Funny.

Intelligent.

Caring.

Chatty.

Not afraid of talking to people you don’t know (like that 7 year old boy, Lucas, that you met on the river and then shared ice cream with after rafting. Older men, huh?!)

Loving.

Silly.

A terrible singer, but you keep on singing anyway. And I hope you never stop.Shades selfie

Elsa. At this moment in time, you are OBSESSED with the movie Frozen. You were pretending that everyone in the family was a character in the film; You were Elsa, your mom was Ana, Uncle Drew was the evil Prince Han, your dad was the funny Olaf, and I was silly reindeer Sven. And you sang “Let it go” more than a million times.

Fearless. Not only did you river raft like a pro, but you jumped in an inter tube, without a life jacket, into the lake and spent most of the days being a mountain girl.

A lover of selfies.

Special to all of us.

===================================================

Here’s to many more Tahoe vacations.

With love,

Aunt Megs

Keep Calm and Glamp On

Standard

Dear Avery,

This past weekend I experienced my first ever GLAMPING trip. What’s “Glamping”? It simply means “glamorous camping”…and by that, it means camping without the tent or sleeping bag. It’s “camping” in a cabin with a bed, electricity and a full bathroom…but in the middle of nature.

You get the point.

We went in honor of a wonderful friend, soon to be Mrs. Sarah Hilken, for her bachelorette party. It was the BEST weekend. We had long talks, were away from our phones (no service was pretty refreshing), hung out outside and had a fire going in the fresh air…. I mean, all the best things about camping without the dirty stuff. It was  A M A Z I N G. (Your dad will probably die reading this one day because he is very outdoorsy — but your mom will totally side with me — it’s the way camping should be!)

I have really creative friends, and I was happy to be apart of this process when hosting her party.

How does one plan a Glamping party? Well, here is what we did:

  • Put treats on the each of every “glampers” pillow
  • Painted pine cones in various colors and glitter and used them as a centerpiece on the main dinner table
  • Used burlap material for the table runner and wrapped around the porch deck
  • Hung paper lanterns from tree branches
  • Wrapped the cabin doors with twinkly lights
  • Made signs with paint and a wood burning pen (see the top right photo — this was hard, but really fun!)
  • Made a “Future Mrs. Hilken” banner with twine and scrapbook paper
  • Hung string of pictures with Sarah and all of us on a long piece of twine
  • Brought s’mores ingredients and a had lovely night roasting mellows! << That’s a MUST.
  • and put lots and lots of love into it

Here are a few pictures from the weekend:

Glamping

Glamping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glamping bachelorette

Our main goal was for Sarah to have a weekend she’d never forget, and sure enough it was something we all will never forget. Planning this party was fun to do with my friends, but the best part was really the time we spent together. The laughs we shared, the tears from the laughs, and the great conversations that came from it (like our favorite and first memories of each other).

{Times like these make you feel supremely blessed and grateful to be surrounded by wonderful women.}

Cherish those moments, Aves. I know I do.

And when you ever get a chance to “Glamp”…. DO IT. And enjoy the glamorous life.

With love,

Aunt Megs