Saturday, November 30, 2013

3 Years an Angel

November 26th marked 3 years since Dakota’s accident. This 3 year mark was definitely a time of reflection for me. I allowed myself to go back to that dreadful day…and just remember. I remembered it ALL!! You may wonder why in the world would anyone want to remember that…don’t you want to forget?! But the answer is NO!

Although that day and the weeks and months that followed were the worst days of my entire life…I felt pain I never knew existed. That pain has helped me to realize and appreciate what PURE joy really is! As I cried tears of pain remembering how dark and hurtful that time was in my life I also smiled and cried tears of joy as I see how far not only Dakota but WE have come as a family. I remember still clear as day after months of enduring the pain and hardships of our new life…wanting to fast forward. I knew one day I would see and feel light and happiness again I just didn’t know when that would ever be. I didn’t want to endure and suffer one more day…I would have fast forwarded 3, 5, 10 years…however long it took to feel happiness and joy again.

Life obviously hasn’t fast forwarded for me, I have worked hard and endured every day for the last 3 years but today I smile because I made it!! I feel joy again in my life and I appreciate it more then EVER before because I know how quickly things can change and I know what REAL pain is. Life is obviously still not easy or perfect and we still have our struggles but we smile, we laugh, and we enjoy being together and that is truly ALL that matters.

The fact that we even feel ready to take on another child is a miracle. I honestly didn't know when or if that day would ever come but here we are!

Zach has been a little stressed lately with lots of things and I texted him that day and just said, “Remember what you felt 3 years ago. ALL of your stress and worries today didn't matter. We got through that …we can get through this. We got this! ;)

So…as I reflect on Dakota’s 3 year anniversary mark of gaining his angel wings, I smile at amazement at how far he has come. As I look back at all the pictures it is SO clear! As I remember those days, weeks, months, and even years following the accident and how little he could do or even respond, I am SO grateful today for where we are at. When we came home from the hospital his head was stuck to the left. He couldn’t move his body or arms and legs at all. His tongue was out all the time. He was overweight from the formula. His face was always red and sweaty because his body couldn’t regulate his temperature. His eyes could barely track and if they did it was just for a few seconds. His eyes were often focused just up. He had no response or even acknowledgement to things or people.
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Today I see a 5 year old cowboy full of personality. His eyes sparkle with happiness and excitement again and he tracks anything especially his mom and dad when they come in the room or a succor. He smiles again and that is the BEST! I tell him all the time he has a magic smile. It is magic because it lights up the room and it makes everyone who sees it smile too!

He moves his whole body and has become quite the roller. Just Thanksgiving morning I laid him on this blanket facing his tool box to eat his breakfast and this is where I found him several minutes later when I came back in.

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I’m stuck mom!

He communicates with us in his own simple ways and we understand each other. He is the same little boy inside a body that he still can’t quite control completely but he is happy and healthy!!

I still miss that funny, active, cowboy I once had running around and making lots of noise but I adore my quiet, gentle, and sweet cowboy just as much. He is the same but different and I love him now just as much as I loved him then. He has sacrificed so much to teach me EVERYTHING I know. He is my light!!

So Dakota…Happy 3rd anniversary of gaining your angel wings. Keep letting your light shine to others and share that magic smile that mom and dad love so much!! WE LOVE YOU!!

Just because I LOVE to remember him before…here is a video of my cute little muscle man when he was 22 months! (I know it's nothing out of the ordinary of other kids videos but to me it is so so special! Just seeing him walk, move, and talk is amazing! ;))

Monday, November 25, 2013

3 yr Anniversary…Time for a GIVEAWAY!!

This week marks 3 WHOLE years since Dakota’s accident. It probably sounds like a weird time to want to do a giveaway but these 3 years have been a journey that has taught me more then the almost 30 years I have been on this earth combined. So…it is a time to celebrate!!

I will post more about my feelings of this 3 year mark soon, but I wanted to start this week off celebrating YOU readers who have given me strength, courage, love, kindness, encouragement, and inspiration to keep moving forward one step at a time. I know I have said it before but this blog was never meant to be anything but a family journal to me. BUT after Dakota’s accident it became my outlet to share all of my deepest feelings both horrible and wonderful. A place wear I could be completely honest about my feelings…I could cry and type and not know who was listening. No one had to see me cry in the process of letting it all out. And when I was done I could take a deep breath and I could let it all go until my next meltdown. It has also been a way to celebrate the things we have learned and the progress Dakota has made. I am in awe at how many people have fallen in love with my sweet angel boy.

I can honestly say…this blog has meant more then I ever could have imagined it being. It has brought me friendships over miles and miles with people I have never even met but that I love and adore. It has connected me to others who have struggled on life’s difficult path with their own tragedies and has helped me see that I am not alone in this journey.

SO…this giveaway is a HUGE thank you to ALL of you who have EVER left a comment or even taken the time to read my story and let me vent to you. Thank you for listening! ;)

SO…on to the fun part!!!

IF you haven’t noticed from pictures of me on my blog I have a bit of an “OBSESSION” with headbands. I LOVE them. In fact I think I am a horder of headbands. If I walk into any store no matter what type…I seem to always find myself looking at the headbands. I just love them for the fact that on a bad hair day or a lazy hair day they can dress you up and make it a great hair day. They are a simple thing that can add SO much! I love them to workout or run in because they keep the hair off my face or even cover my ears to keep them warm on a cold day. I LOVE them!!!!

My horder drawer full will prove it to you! ;)
There she is folks…all sizes, colors, and patterns! I need a bigger drawer!!!

One of my dear friends Sarahn must have the same obsession I do because she decided to start her own business of making headbands! I couldn’t have been more excited when I saw all of her fun fabrics on instagram. I ordered 4 right away!!!

She has most graciously allowed me to give away TWO of her AMAZING headbands to 2 of my AMAZING readers!!! This is just a tiny sample of some of the awesome styles and patterns she has available.

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Isn’t she a hottie!!! I’m dying over the new faux leather one and the half camo and green one!!!

You don’t have to be a local to win…we can ship them to you so enter, enter, enter for your chance to win!!

So…how do you win?! I know all you headband horders out there are wondering! ;)
You can have up to 3 entries:
1. Just leave a comment below that you love headbands and want to win! ;)
2. Become a follower of my blog by clicking on the join button on the right or leaving your email in the follow by email and then leave a comment that you are now a follower. If you already are a follower just leave me a comment that you are.
3. Follow my lovely friend Sarahn on Instagram @dodawraps to see all of her greatest and latest styles. Once you do this leave me a comment that you are now her follower.

I will announce the winner on Sunday December 1st so check back in to see if your a winner!

And because Sarahn is the ABSOLUTE bomb (who uses the word bomb anymore?…I do! ;)) if you can’t stand waiting any longer and need yours RIGHT NOW or you want to go check out which one you will choose when you win…she is offering 25% off to all my readers on her etsy shop. So go to to check them out and enter coupon code: FRIEDLIFAN25 to get your discount. This coupon is good till January 1st so if you have some lovely friends or sisters to shop for, or you need to stuff your own stocking since Santa seems to always forget you ;) you have time!!

Good luck everyone!!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

It Is A….

Well… the verdict is is kind of out…only 75% sure it is a girl! I love my doctor cuz she is good at what she does but she is ALWAYS in a hurry! ;) Which also means we never have to wait very long for our appointments which is nice! So when she came in she said we got to get it to move so we can see. She wiggled the thing on my belly. Said he/she is not cooperating. Tried again real fast. Tried a third time and she barely moved and she said I don’t see anything there but she isn’t cooperating very well. My guess is about 75% chance it is a girl but we will have to double check next appointment!

In my head I was thinking wait…just give it a minute…she is destined to move. But I know how quick my doctor is so I knew my shot was over.

So…I’m gonna go with girl for now. Do some black Friday shopping for this little girl but keep my reciepts in case she turns into a boy in a few weeks! ;)

So I wanna know…where are the best places to shop for girls??  Online or stores?? Places with good deals and places with just dang cute stuff? I am SO clueless since all I have looked at for the last 5 years is boy stuff. I feel a little overwhelmed thinking about all the things for girls! And my wallet isn’t cooperating with my desires! ;)

Monday, November 18, 2013

BOY OR GIRL?!?!?!?!

One trimester down…2 more to go! ;) I am 15 weeks and my next appointment is this Thursday and I will be 16 weeks on the dot. My doctor thinks we should be able to tell what gender it is and I am SOOOOOO excited. I really can’t stop thinking about it. Even though I don’t care, I am dying to find out!!!

My girl name list I love keeps growing…I am up to 4 names that I ADORE!! Boy names are still stumping me. I do have one I love but Zach didn’t so who knows?!

My belly is growing for sure. Just last week I got home from my morning workout and Zach was getting ready for work. He looked at me (and I wasn’t even wearing a super tight shirt) and goes “WOW…you REALLY ARE pregnant!” So when your blind husband finally notices your belly then you know you are getting big! ;)

So I took my first baby bump picture right then to document that moment…when Zach finally believed we were having a baby! ;)
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Just remember this was taken at 6:30 in the morning after a sweaty workout and no makeup. Scary I know but I had to document that moment in time! ;) Plus it’s a rare occasion lately that I actually get ready so a picture of me ready is hard to come by! ;)

I’m still feeling pretty good just still extremely tired. I can’t believe that this little apple (that’s the size of the baby right now! ;)) can suck the life and energy right out of me!! There are some days where I literally feel like I can’t function unless I go take a nap. Then after I do I feel like a new woman. Luckily Dakota is in school for a few hours 4 days a week and still naps most days so I can usually sneak one in when I really need it unless it is a crazy busy day. I think I need one right now just talking about it! ;)

So leave your guess in the comments what you think it is!!! EVERYONE so far has said a girl. I’m guessing girl because Dakota smiled when I asked him if it was a sister and not when I asked him if it’s a brother. So unless he is tricking his mom then my guess is a girl…because I know he knows!! ;)

P.S. Stay tuned for an awesome giveaway coming up this weekend! Doda Wraps are coming at you!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013


So last week I had the most amazing and fun experience to go to the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Something that has been on my bucket list for a long time…since I am getting so old and all!!

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My amazing friend Katie who I went to high school with and just got to go visit in September in Colorado has the sweetest husband on the planet. He planned that big surprise party for her and flew me and our other friend Abbey in for her birthday and then on top of that got her Ellen tickets!!! He had emailed me months ago asking if I would go with her since he doesn’t really care for Ellen. He was willing to pay for our hotel and rental car if I could get a flight there…my answer was OF COURSE!!! Going to Ellen, spending a few days with one of my best friends, going to California…YES PLEASE!!!

It is quite hard to get tickets and he watched like a hawk for weeks at a time until the day he wanted us to go opened up. He requested within thirty minutes of it opening up…waited to see if he got them…and NO! Bummer! I kind of thought that was the end of it but he decided to try again. I was like sure…thinking our chances are obviously not good…so I was losing my hope and enthusiasm about it until I got the phone call…we got them!!!!!!!!!

It took forever for the day to finally come but then it came and went SO fast!! We flew into California last Monday at 9 a.m.
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Waiting at the airport…so excited…even though I had to get up at 4 a.m. to get there!! Who wouldn’t get up at 4 a.m. for Ellen?!

We spent our three days getting lost, driving in circles, laughing are heads off, eating yummy food, exploring, and just enjoying some freedom together. It was so fun that we were together and that we could do whatever we wanted. We had no agenda except to go to Ellen the next day.

Check out those bad boys! And yes…we took a selfie in the mirror…at the restaurant! ;) And yes…I easily ate that whole thing! ;)

We decided to take a walk down Hollywood Boulevard. It was quite crazy and busy because that night was the premier of Thor and they were setting up the red carpet, stage, etc. for Mr. Thor to make his big appearance.

We found some of our favorite celebrities handprints.
We sent this picture to our friend Abbey since she used to have a crush on Will Smith in high school (and who knows…maybe still does! ;))  and we missed her! ;)

We were pretty sure this one was Brad Pitt…but if it’s not don’t tell me! ;) Check out that smile on Katie’s face! :)

My favorite was John Wayne because his feet were tiny!!! Do I look like him with that pose?! ;)

Seriously…I wear a size 6 and his were barely bigger then mine!! Love him!!

I really wanted to try and get into the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show that night since that was the only night we could do it. I didn’t plan ahead so I thought we could shoot for standby tickets. It’s a rare occasion that I watch his show cuz I can’t stay up that late but when I do I think he is pretty hilarious!! We showed up a couple hours early as ticket holders were getting lined up. I talked to the crew guy and he said our chances were pretty awesome that we could get in on standby so we started the line for standby with a lot of anticipation.
See that face…
Scary I know! ;)

Katie had never even watched Jimmy Kimmel and kept calling him Jimmy Kimbel which cracked me up…but she was game for it anyways! ;)

As time went by the line behind us grew and the guy came over and said it wasn’t looking as good. Since it was the premier of Thor…Thor was going to be on the show that night so it was bringing a lot of people out. He said he could maybe get a couple of us in…which meant Katie and I…so I held out hope. As it got closer to time he came by and said…Merry Christmas go get in line with the ticket holders. We were so excited and pumped. They slowly started letting people in a few at a time. More and more ticket holders were getting in line behind us. Then about 4 people after us they sent everyone behind them home cuz they said they had too many people. I really thought we were lucky then. Then it got down to 4 of us and lo and behold they said they had no more room!!!!! Aaaaah…we were SO close!!! But with Ellen tickets for the next day…we got over it real quick! ;)

By that time our feet were tired we decided to be crazy and go to the hotel and relax! ;) It is so funny what getting old and being a mom makes you think is fun. Relaxing and sleep!!! ;)

We woke up the next day SO excited!!! We got a little workout in at the hotel and then got ready for our big Ellen debut! ;) From the minute we got there it was like a whirlwind. Time was FLYING by!!
We got our ticket numbers…
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They had us fill out some papers that were mostly questions about music. They then went around the crowd to ask “who is the biggest country music fan?”
Of course that is me!!! So I let them know ;) and they had me go get in a line with a bunch of people to talk more. They then took the group of about 70 of us out to an open area. They told us they picked way too many people and that they were going to send people back to their seats. They were whizzing down the line sending most people back and keeping a few. When they got to me my heart was pumping and I was SO excited. I let them know for sure I was the #1 country music fan so they asked me to stay. ;) They ended with about 15 of us and took us into this little trailer.

This is where the excitement REALLY got going. They asked each of us individually a few personal questions like  name, where from, age, what you do, and why we thought we were the #1 country fan. Then they preceded to prepare us what to do if our names were to get called for a giveaway, a game, etc. They personally had no idea what would happen on the show but their job was basically to find people that would have a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.

Whenever I watch Ellen and see people win stuff they go CRAZY!! I always thought I would never be that crazy person…it’s just not my personality…BUT sitting in that room with adrenalin pumping…you better believe I would act CRAZY if my name got called. I was SO excited that maybe their could be a CHANCE that I could get picked for a game or a giveaway. We knew if something were to go down that someone in that room would be the lucky winner.

After the rundown they took us to the rift raft room where our friends were there waiting for us. They then took us in very first and spread all of us out. Your seats were just chosen randomly by them. It was SO cool to be in the studio. To see it all so up close and personal. It was so real!!!

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That’s how close we were to it all!!!

As soon as the show started it was just a ton of screaming and dancing!! It was like a big party! Her guests were Ashton Kutcher, Sting, and some chef guy. The coolest part was just seeing Ellen so close!

Unfortunately I didn’t get my name called. She didn’t play any games that day which was a bummer…those are always so fun to watch. She did give away 2 tickets to the CMA awards the next night. That would have been INCREDIBLE to go to but it would have been hard to schedule with Dakota and everything so I wasn’t too bummed it wasn’t me.

The show went by so fast…we both were in shock it was done. Cute Katie was so bummed afterwards cuz I guess her and her husband had written Ellen a letter telling her our story in hopes that she would surprise me with something…which was SO incredibly sweet of them. She thought for sure that was why I kept getting picked to go in that room. My sister Annie texted me after too that she had written in too. These sweet thoughtful people! It’s okay Ellen…I’m sure you didn’t read the letters or I’m sure you would have done something…right! ;) J/K
The experience was worth it all!! I TOTALLY recommend ANY Ellen fans MUST go to at least one show in their life. I totally want to go again…today!!

This is after the show…if it were closer you would see all the sweat on my face from getting my groove on! ;)

Afterwards we of course had to get some Ellen gear at the Ellen shop! We went to our hotel that night (to relax again ;)) and sported our new gear!

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We are TOTAL nerds I know!!!

The next day was sad because it was over! We ended our trip with a relaxing trip to Venice beach. The sun was shining, the water was waving, and it was so beautiful to just lay on the beach and chat.

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It was hard to leave the sunny beach to go back to our cold homes but we were rejuvenated moms and wives ready to take it all on again! There is nothing like a little R and R with your girlfriend!!!


Thanks Katie for the fun and most memorable trip!!! Love your guts!!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Hope everyone had a a HAPPY Halloween!!! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays!!! I have some of my best memories as a kid going to the neighborhood bonfire to have some hot chocolate and hot dogs before running off down the street with my friends and siblings to go knock on ALL the doors and try to get the most candy you could possibly get. I LOVED dressing up and what kid doesn’t LOVE candy?! Or even what adult?! Let’s be honest…we eat there candy too! ;) (At least Dakota doesn’t mind! ;))
Because of the Friedli Halloween party tradition, Zach and I are forced to still dress up…and secretly I STILL love it!! We always take the cheap, funny, and easiest costume we can think of and so far I have to say…we have gotten pretty creative. ;) Last year we were a bra…

The year before that we were a tampon and a period! ;) Gross I know…but funny! My mom isn’t too proud of me for either of these! ;)
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This year it was down to the wire…a day before the party and we still had nothing. I decided to go for something less original but still funny and easy…an “awkward” old couple! My MOST amazing friend Jina has her elderly parents living with her so between their clothes and some of her dress up clothes we came out looking like this!
I’ll have to say…Zach makes a pretty dang hot old guy! ;) I sure am a lucky lady!!!

For Dakota’s birthday party he had gotten a cool Superman chest plate and cape so I decided Superman/Clark Kent was most fitting for the SUPER KID that he really is! Another one of his friends from his birthday party had given him a Superman shirt, towel, and card and on it they called him their Super Kid! I LOVED it and ever since then I have looked at him as MY little SUPER HERO!!

Last Tuesday was the day of the family party and Dakota’s first attempt at being Clark Kent.
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He looked SUPER cute but the chest plate kept moving around too much and his glasses wouldn’t stay on to save his life and bugged the heck out of him. So for Halloween day we had to make some changes…

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We traded out his Superman chest plate for his t-shirt and drew on his glasses! ;) Still looked darling to me! ;)

The party as always was SO much fun! Everyone had some dang good costumes and  gave me some good laughs!

The whole crew!

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Zach’s parent’s were the cutest little smurfs. Larose family top right announced with their costume that they are having a baby with “the bun in the oven!” (So that will mean THREE Friedli babies born with in TWO months. Ashley on the bottom left is only a day a apart from my due date!!!) The Hadley family bottom left are each other…She is Beau and He is Ashley! ;) Too funny! Their kids are obvious! ;) And Ryan & Lindsay are the cutest little police officer and jail mate! I LOVE that everyone goes all out! ;)

We had some jack-o-latern pizzas with bone bread sticks and homemade smoky root beer. It was all delicious. And of course we had some fun games. Kids were first. Dakota wasn’t feeling the greatest so he didn’t love the games…but we played anyway! ;) (cuz I’m a mean mom like that!)

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The ole bean bag toss…look at that frowny face!!!

Last year Zach and I tore up the adult games…this year Ashley and Beau schooled us all! We better start practicing and training up for next year! ;)
We had to get saran wrapped. Zach enjoyed doing this to me a little too much!! Look at that grin!


GO!!!! Look at those intense faces!! We had to run/waddle/jump to the finish line!

Then it was the guys turn to get all wrapped up…

But they had to scoot on their tummies to the finish line!!!


Finished!! I love Bobby in the VERY back…he didn’t quite make it! ;)

Grammy and Poppy and all the kiddos! They do SO much to make each holiday SO special and memorable for everyone! Sure love them and appreciate ALL they do!!!

It’s crazy to me to think that next year I will have ANOTHER kid to dress up!!!! Can’t even wrap my mind around it still!!!

Halloween was super fun! Dakota got to dress up for school and have a fun Halloween day there.
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Off to save the school!! (He kinda looks like an old man! ;))

Then we kicked off our trick-or-treating at Papa Ed’s assisted living place.
Didn’t he make the toughest football player you have ever seen?! He is the cutest thing ever!!! Sure love him!!!

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The residents all sit in a little circle and you just walk around to each of them.
Dakota was SUPER into it if you can’t tell! ;)

The very first lady was already worn out! ;) (She was so cute and made me smile…I couldn’t resist snapping a picture!) She had a cute mustache on her lip that was falling off.
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That is how I feel lately with this pregnancy…I just want to nap ALL day EVERY day, WHEREVER I am!

After there we went to Grandma and Grandpa Marilyn to visit with them! They are always so sweet to Dakota and just love him so much!! We always enjoy our time with them!!!
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She gave Dakota a super cool skull ring! He smiles at her so sweet!

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Sure love these 2!!

We then went to Zach’s second parent’s (his parent’s next door neighbors) Greg and Tina. They truly love Zach like he is their son and have taken Dakota and I in with just as much love! They are some of the greatest people we know!!!
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Tina always asks to hold Dakota…even though I know he is so heavy! It is so sweet! Sure love them!!

We then of course hit up Zach’s REAL parents for some yummy soup and chats between their constant flow of trick or treaters. Zach’s mom has been a preschool teacher for over 20 years so she gets LOTS and LOTS of her preschool kids. It is so cute to see how much they all love her!!
Trick or treat!!!

Luckily Aunt Jenny and cute Tater stopped by too, so we were able to see those cutest pirates too!!! So happy!!! Love them!! Still not sure if Dakota ever knew it was Grammy and Poppy under all that blue!

We flew out of there with our superhero…
(Is Zach not the cutest dad?!)

and ended the night with a visit to Lois…who is THE WORLD’S CUTEST little lady from Zach’s work. She is in her 70’s and is SOOOO full of love!!! Since the day Zach has been there she has showered him (as she does with ALL the people that work there) with love, kindness, praise and encouragement. She is one who honestly sees the good in EVERYONE she meets and LOVES them like the Savior would. She goes out of her way to come just peak in and tell them she loves them or to give them a peppermint paddy. She leaves cute notes at their desk and is always telling them how wonderful they are. She is the cutest!!!

We walk into her cute little home and she is just full of hugs, holding your hand, and kind words. She had a special present just for Dakota and she made doughnuts for us. It was SUCH a pleasure to get to meet her and feel her love and warmth. I hope one day that I can be just like her!! That I can LOVE with pure sincerity, EVERY person that I meet and that they will be able to really feel it like I feel in her!! Truly amazing!! (So sad I forgot a picture of her cute little self…but one day I will get one!)

Just getting to see all of these people we love so much on this Halloween day made this the VERY BEST Halloween I have EVER had!!! Obviously with Dakota the excitement isn’t all about the candy…but it’s kind of nice! For us holidays are so different…but I’m learning that that is not all bad!

I just have to end by telling you that I am going to the Ellen show on TUESDAY!!!! I'm SOOOOOO excited I just can't stand it!!! It has been on my bucket list for sure and I can't believe it is happening! More to come soon! Watch for me on the show that airs Wednesday! I will be dancing away in the audience!!!! AAAAHHHH!!!