30 days of gratitude: day 15 – my stc boys

day 15

dear adam, cooper, curtis, patrick, peter, and timothy (in alphabetical order),

although all of you deserve your own day, you would take up an entire week, so you get to share a gratitude post. and truthfully, i am equally as lucky to have each and every one of you in my life.

i am grateful…

  1. for freshman and sophomore english classes (vant and schaeffer really brought us together)
  2. that pete was impressing girls (like lindsay brady) with his gentlemanly wiles way back in 7th grade
  3. that i have endless video footage of patrick singing show tunes and cooper explaining historical events to me (i won’t post it here…)
  4. to adam for the depth of my understanding of how to play fifa and a slew of other video games
  5. for your legendary saints night out boy band performance
  6. for that time you visited curtis and i at michigan and somehow got on television pretending to bleed maize and blue
  7. for the time i visited illinois state and got all adam’s frat brothers wasted on homemade wine, and the time we all went down for dumelle’s big 2-1
  8. for the time i visited princeton and knew as soon as i met her that daniela was the one for petey (mainly because she instantly started making fun of him with me)
  9. and for the many times i headed over to east lansing or down to champaign-urbana
  10. that you all put up with me, even if at times i’m probably like an annoying little sister
  11. and that you all look out for me (and judge the people i date) as if i were your sister
  12. that your families are all amazing and that i’ve had the opportunity to get to know them well
  13. that you have all remained such a tight knit group of friends over the years and distances
  14. for ridiculous nights being drunk and disorderly at duerr’s house
  15. and for ridiculous nights being drunk and disorderly in john’s garage
  16. for cooper’s magic ability to turn serious when i actually need to talk through something
  17. and his magic ability to make deep dish pizza appear at 3am
  18. for the beautiful, intelligent, and witty women you have found to start your lives with
  19. for all the times you’ve let me crash on your couches, guest beds, and floors when i am back in chicago or passing through los angeles
  20. that when my grandpa just passed, a few of you were some of the only friends to personally reach out and see how i was doing
  21. for that time tim and i embraced our love for jam bands at bonnaroo
  22. for my first real lesson in love, heartache, and the meaning of “hardwork” from our state champion athlete
  23. for that time that i got to perform alongside the best pippin ever to take the norris stage
  24. for tgi fridays friend dates
  25. that we all get to say we are friends with the leader of the teenage mutant ninja turtles
  26. for that cow mailbox and the one time when i couldn’t find the cow mailbox, got confused, and walked straight into a complete stranger’s house instead
  27. that i have gotten to watch all of you boys grow up into such amazing men (my motherly pride is seriously disgusting)
  28. that you let me be part of your voxer group for a short while (even if you had another one that was boys only)
  29. that i know if i really need any of you for something, you’d be there for your “schneids”
  30. that some things just never change with you boys…
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30 days of gratitude: day 14 – chicago jr. school

day 14

dear chicago jr. school,

it only feels right that for day 14 i write about my second home, it is technically korrie’s birthday after all.

i am grateful…

  1. that the older i get, the more i appreciate the education i received at cjs
  2. that i spent the first 14 years of my life surrounded by love, diversity, and nature
  3. for your 50 acres of woodlands (including one of the last white cedar forests in illinois)
  4. that by the time i got to mr. mikulak’s 8th grade class, he had watched me grow up from birth (and already learned how to handle a schneider from my brother and sister)
  5. for the chance to play and experience every sport (since we only had 14 kids in our class)
  6. that environmental education, music, and art were required classes
  7. for the 12 character building qualities (i think they really did help build my character):
    CHARITY We care. We help others.
    COOPERATION We work together to support each other.
    COURTESY We use good manners.
    CREATIVITY We have our own ideas.
    GOOD JUDGMENT We think before we act.
    GRATITUDE We appreciate. We are thankful.
    HONESTY We always tell the truth.
    HUMILITY We are patient with others and ourselves. We are gentle.
    RELIABILITY We are dependable. We are punctual.
    RESOURCEFULNESS We care for our natural world. We solve problems.
    RESPECT We are kind, considerate, and thoughtful to others and self.
    SELF-CONTROL We do what is right. We chose to behave.
  8. that i was able to perform in our school assemblies and annual school musicals (even if korrie always got the lead…)
  9. for our annual camping trips and the trouble we got in during them
  10. for the outstanding educators that taught me and that i will remember forever
  11. for friday electives that taught me things like scrapbooking
  12. that in-school suspension meant i just got to hang out in the library all day and finish all my homework before lunch (i mean, taught me valuable lessons about why i shouldn’t hit patrick on the head with a dictionary)
  13. for the lifelong friendships that i formed within your walls
  14. that kenny decamp taught ballet after school at “bates” and that my love for dance started at age 3
  15. that the “big hill” seemed way bigger when i was a student with a sled
  16. that i got to have my mother as a preschool teacher and hang out in her classroom after school every other year
  17. that my first “boyfriend” was african american and when he dumped me for a cute korean girl, i dated a hispanic boy in the grade below us, and all the meanwhile my best friend was pakistani, and never did i realize that that was a thing to be grateful for until i attended a nearly all white public high school
  18. that mr. mikulak’s 8th grade prediction was that i would return to cjs to run the early education department like mrs. doolin (what an honor that would have been)
  19. that i have trespassed through your closed gates to show everyone i love just how amazing my childhood school was
  20. and that now reopen your doors and become a school once more (even if it will be under a different name and mission)
  21. that i was learning how to make animated gifs and write simple code in middle school thanks to our computer classes
  22. for the young authors program and the fact that i graduated 8th grade with 7 “published” books under my belt
  23. that the tune of edelweiss will forever have lyrics for me (oak trees fall over all, on our junior school campus…) and silos will only make me think of cjs
  24. for my 7th grade trip to washington d.c. and the wreath i got to place on the tomb of the unknown solider
  25. for inservice and teacher conference days, so us staff kids could explore the woods unattended, following the streams wherever they would lead
  26. for mrs. johnson, mrs. gaines, and mrs. arndt – three of the best art teachers a child could have asked for
  27. for mrs. woolard and mrs. spears for their cultivation of my performing arts skills
  28. for kindergarten song circles where the now mrs. donnelly subliminally exposed us to music from world-renowned musicals (there is a castle in the sky…)
  29. that i knew the cafeteria kitchen staff, so that i could go make myself a pb&j when the daily lunch items were disgusting
  30. that i was lucky enough to have an extended family of peers and teachers that made me into the woman i am today

30 days of gratitude: day 13 – jonathan

day 13

dear jonathan,

there are very few people that fit into every relationship definition, but you are one of those everythings for me. although we lead oddly separate lives in rarely overlapping spheres, you and me are intrinsically intertwined.

i am grateful…

  1. that you are like a brother, sister, father, mother, best friend, creepy uncle, loving aunt, therapist, muse, stranger, teacher, employer, and every other form of someone to me, and yet there is not a single word to describe us
  2. that despite my “obvious nervousness” you hired me for my first big girl job freshman year at university of michigan
  3. for the times you brought me chicken nuggets and a frosty
  4. that brandon couldn’t resist my sarcasm and wit (and neither could you)
  5. for the time you accidentally killed my goldfish while watching them over break, but kept their bodies in the freezer for me until i returned in case i was sentimental and wanted to say goodbye
  6. that we became friends and remained in touch even after i left you for a better job 🙂
  7. for the numerous and overwhelmingly kind recommendation letters you’ve written for me (all lies…)
  8. that i have been able to surprise you at more than one of your theater performances
  9. that you think my dramatic antics are highly amusing
  10. that you trust my opinion when it comes to things like your screenplays (even if i never get back to you with notes)
  11. that i can go months without talking to you and still know you’re always there when i need you
  12. that my eternal optimism may have rubbed off on you slightly
  13. for all the times you have talked some sense into me before i do something dumb
  14. and for all the times you’ve listened (albeit while shaking your head) after i’ve done something dumb
  15. that you are older and wiser than me (and have made all the mistakes so i don’t have to)
  16. that you finally quit your old job and pursued your dreams
  17. that this image exists
  18. that there is a creepy scary clown book that makes you think of us
  19. that you know me better than i know myself
  20. for your kind eyes and complex soul
  21. that one day you’ll probably write a hilarious sitcom about my family and my life
  22. that we hilariously don’t have a single photo of us together from the past 12 years (that i can find at least, although i feel like i tried to rectify this one time…)
  23. that no matter how shitty i feel i know i can always text you for a super quick pick me up
  24. that we will be friends forever (because you’ve seen it)
  25. that you are a loving and dedicated father to two amazingly beautiful children
  26. that you write silly blog posts for my clients when i don’t want to
  27. that you taught me to be flexible in my beliefs and to reevaluate them often and adjust accordingly
  28. for your beautiful way with the written word
  29. and that there are so many “jonathan quotes” that can be found scattered in my journals, on my computer, and on post-it notes stuck to my desk as helpful reminders (example: “playful confidence is a gem matched only by true and deep humility in a woman. arrogance, however steep or soft, is not a trait to be associated with desirability. ever.”)
  30. that i have a person like you to guide me through this journey called life (good thing it comes with lemons)

30 days of gratitude: day 12 – aunt vivian

day 12

dear aunt vivian,

it’s a shame i didn’t have a relationship with you until high school, but i think we’ve made up for it in the last 15 years! life wouldn’t be the same without your wisdom and humor.

i am grateful…

  1. that my dad has a twin sister equally as cool as he is
  2. that i can still fit in most of the clothes from ruthie’s guided shopping sprees from my youth
  3. for spring break 2009 when you let me crash lily’s texas tour to help me recover from a broken heart
  4. for your incredible basketball skills, especially in the pool
  5. that you, ruthie, and pupsi (and annie) are such amazing female role models
  6. that we both love gin & tonics
  7. for the 60th birthday we got to celebrate together with you twins
  8. for your support of my endeavors, especially when it means donating to causes like the boys & girls clubs of grand rapids
  9. that you have taught me that true love comes in all forms
  10. and that it takes work to last (35 years and counting?)
  11. that ruthie is embarrassed by us in public (but secretly loves us more for it, maybe…)
  12. for that time you “accidentally” touched the matthew barney exhibit with your foot to see what the goopy sculpture was made out of (example of #11)
  13. that you rock socks with sandals and can pull off a visor somehow
  14. that you (but probably mainly ruthie) support my love of the arts by taking me to amazing exhibits and musicals
  15. for your sense of humor, worry-free attitude, and outgoing spirit
  16. that you let me spend a few weeks at your place every summer in college
  17. and that i now consider your house one of my adopted homes (although i guess i have to fight pupsi for my bedroom every now and then)
  18. for the stories of your past adventures
  19. that you aren’t afraid to fill me in on the schneider family secrets and memories of my dad as a child
  20. for your and ruthie’s heartfelt listening and “subtle” guidance
  21. that you need me to help set up your technological gadgets and teach you how to use facebook
  22. that i am a “schneider woman” and am proud of everything that comes along with that title
  23. that you were able to join us for one of our recent family reunions
  24. that you’re in good health, even if we had to postpone skiing in tahoe
  25. for the fact that you’ll binge watch netflix shows with me (despite ruthie’s disapproval)
  26. that you infect everyone you meet with joy and laughter
  27. that you and my dad blow your noses the exact same way (not grateful that i may have inherited that trait)
  28. that you love sports and cheer for michigan for me
  29. for your stubbornness and independence
  30. that you’re my aunt (who dreams about what it would be like if i was your daughter)

30 days of gratitude: day 11 – aisha

day 11

dear aisha,

from first grade on, you have helped me grow into the woman i am today. you have taught me so much about acknowledging privilege, embracing humility, and taking responsibility (just to throw some cbq’s out there). my memories with you are some of the fondest from my childhood and adulthood.

i am grateful…

  1. that your mother decided to send you to a boarding school (chicago jr. school – cjs) in elgin, illinois in first grade
  2. that my mother allowed you to come home with us basically every weekend
  3. that we thought it was a good idea to dump the bathtub water all over the bathroom floor and play slip ’n’ slide on the tile (that dang heating vent did not make a great stopping bumper)
  4. for your amazing spelling skills in elementary school
  5. that you let me be batman and were okay with being my robin (metaphorically)
  6. that your mom decided to take you out of cjs for 4th and 5th grade (not sure if that is accurate), so that i could take my first flight to come visit you in columbus, ohio
  7. for every single one of our shopping trips to gabriel’s (although i guess we should always try before we buy from now on…)
  8. for the tgi fridays waitstaff that humored us and “believed” that we were actually twins celebrating our birthday together
  9. for your tough love (we all know i needed it)
  10. that we had big dreams of opening a salon where i did hair and you gave massages
  11. that you matured faster than me and could give me the low down on boobs and periods and sex
  12. for your weirdly optimistic cynicism
  13. that you gave birth to the magical creature that is anna lisa
  14. and that i have been able to watch her grow up into a spitting image of you
  15. that no matter how long it’s been since i’ve seen you last, we always pick up right where we left off
  16. to have been your maid of honor and by your side through everything (even if only in spirit)
  17. that you have always been a role model to me, demonstrating strength, fearlessness, and the ability to stand your ground
  18. that i can be there for you when shit gets crazy
  19. that you are a constant reminder of how grateful i should be for all that this life has provided me
  20. for that time you wore all white and pretended to be an angel
  21. that you work so hard to support your family with all those long nursing hours
  22. for your laugh
  23. that your mother and grandma have always treated me as an adopted daughter
  24. for all the hours you sat watching my endless dance classes (i’m sorry)
  25. that you love “death becomes her” as much as i do and forced your daughter to watch it
  26. that you were there to remind me to be grateful for my stepfather
  27. for your infinite love and understanding of my shortcomings
  28. for the time you and your crew took me to shoot my first (and only) gun at the gun range
  29. that a trip to west virginia is one of the best things ever for me
  30. that fate gave me another sister (a twin even!)

30 days of gratitude: day 10 – kari

day 10

dear kari,

you’ve been holding down the kiddy table with me at family holidays since we were born… exactly 6 months apart. it has been an absolute pleasure growing up alongside you and watching you develop into such a stunning woman and mother.

i am grateful…

  1. that we were born exactly six months apart and basically are the same person
  2. except that i will always be younger than you (you’re old)
  3. for the childhood video of us shaking our sillies out together
  4. that we learned to make ice cream together
  5. that the fire only affected your arm, and not your life
  6. for the endless love you give everyone you come into contact with
  7. that you found a man to love you so deeply
  8. that you and gary were able to take a vacation and come visit me in hawaii
  9. for the thoughtful things you do completely unprompted, like drawing me a bath (complete with candles and relaxing music) after a long day of travel and family time
  10. that your son and stepchildren look up to me and are so fun
  11. for aunt beth and uncle scott raising you however they did to make you turn out so lovely
  12. that you gave birth to tavyne and have raised him with such strong values
  13. and that i guessed the exact date on which he was to be born (and pretending to be pregnant as well…)
  14. that you have always taken care of our grandparents
  15. for the fact that i can still kick your kids’ butts at any dance video game
  16. for your ability to remain calm in the face of chaos
  17. that you correct people’s grammar as much as i do (lovingly, of course)
  18. that you didn’t light your face on fire when you couldn’t blow out your s’more marshmallow
  19. for always making me feel so special
  20. that you found a job you enjoy and excel at
  21. that despite the distance between us, we still manage to stay close
  22. for the love and understanding you show your mother (and my mother) during rough times
  23. that you make me laugh by doing things like wearing a million layers while working out
  24. that you continue to explore your faith and find what works for you
  25. for your incredible strength and ability to overcome adversity
  26. that you wear grandma’s old sweatshirts with pride
  27. that i always know i have a bed and am welcome in your home
  28. and that tavyne will make me breakfast
  29. for your incredible listening skills
  30. that i have a cousin that i am lucky enough to call one of my best friends

30 days of gratitude: day 9 – nancy

day 9

dear nancy,

you’ve been a part of my life since childhood in one way or another, and i’m so glad i grew up alongside the evolution of your love for my father. “step” parents aren’t typically supposed to be awesome, but you are absolutely awesome.

i am grateful…

  1. that you make dad change out of his work uniform when not at work
  2. for your intelligence, wit, and matter of fact attitude
  3. for that scary pinky finger pointing (no messing around when the pinky comes out)
  4. that you put up with the schneiders magic ability to bring up toilets in any conversation
  5. and our need to correct every minor detail
  6. that you always have a spare bed made up for me when i come home to visit
  7. that you’re reasonable and let me borrow your car occasionally (despite dad’s judgement)
  8. for your amazing nana-ing to your grandchildren (maybe one day you’ll have more…)
  9. for how excited and animated you get over the smallest things
  10. that you push dad to travel to new places and experience new things
  11. for forcing our whole family to purge unneeded junk when we moved out of the big green house
  12. that you bring out the best in dad and keep him in check at the same time
  13. that you only broke a rib under that atv
  14. for your great listening skills
  15. for letting me use your address as my forever mailing address
  16. for the love and understanding you have for your family
  17. that you treat amy, dan, and i as your own children
  18. that you got to retire and have been enjoying the more relaxed side of life
  19. but that you still volunteer and find meaning to fill the hours of the day
  20. that you let me in on some “secrets” about my dad
  21. for your outgoingness and positive energy
  22. that you respect my mother and always make sure us kids are thinking about her
  23. that you nicknamed me “hula” even before i moved to hawaii
  24. for your abundant giving to others
  25. for the example you set when it comes to food restraint (go get a pumpkin spice latte though, seriously)
  26. that you got dad to finally wear shorts and sandals
  27. that you always have the coffee ready for everyone in the morning
  28. that you let ryan and i store our winter coats in your closet
  29. that you let me intrude upon your spot on the couch when i am home
  30. that i know you are always there for me, my dad, and my family

30 days of gratitude: day 8 – bruddah

day 8

dear bruddah,

whether in person or across the globe, distance has never been an issue for us. you are the best brother i could have ever imagined, and i am glad our relationship continues to deepen year after year.

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i am grateful…

  1. for you tucking me into bed every night as a child and giving me “bear kisses”
  2. for you level head and logical thinking during times of high emotions
  3. for your hilariousness and reincarnation of chris farley (minus the drugs and stuff)
  4. for your “big brother” judgmental opinions of the boys i date and yet your full support of my choices
  5. that even though we are eight years apart, you still found ways to bond with me in our youth
  6. that when people say “oh, you’re dan’s little sister,” i am proud to say “that’s me!”
  7. that you are always there to turn to for prayerful guidance and support
  8. for skype and facetime and every other form of video chat, so i get to see your face from whenever i am and wherever you are
  9. that i can bounce marketing ideas off of you and talk shop
  10. that you still let me curl up in your lap, even though i am an “adult”
  11. for your extreme passion for movies (and making sure i know all the good ones to see in theater)
  12. for your willingness to take chances and risk failure
  13. that you are the best “danta claus” ever
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  14. for your creativity and artistic endeavors, especially your stint as a choreographer
  15. that you turn to me for advice and trust my knowledge
  16. that i never broke any ribs while being repeated steamrolled in our youth
  17. for the app that records your sleep talking (one of the best and funniest things ever)
  18. for every time that i have shot milk out of my nose at a family dinner thanks to your hilarious antics
  19. for your honesty, integrity, compassion, and understanding nature
  20. that you helped me grow into the woman i am today
  21. for that one time you slapped me in the face unexpectedly and got the whole thing on video in slow motion (and that it is funnier every time i watch it)
  22. for your love of bright colors and the interesting outfits you’d sport during the 90s
  23. for your vhs, dvd, and cd collection back in the day (good thing you wrote your initials on those cases…)
  24. that you are patient and gentle with the women in your family, including me
  25. that you are always up on the latest technology research and releases
  26. that you followed your gut and moved back to japan (mainly so i can come visit, but also because you seem so happy within that culture)
  27. that you decided to make blue baby back ribs one time
  28. for the times when i get to hang out with you in person (see you at christmas!)
  29. that i have siblings who continue to amaze me with their accomplishments
  30. that i am your little sister

30 days of gratitude: day 7 – grandma bird

day 7

dear grandma bird,

i have never seen such immense love in someone’s eyes. when i looked at you looking at grandpa in his hospital bed last week, i could not help but get lost in your sadness, and yet, there was such an intense connection of love and life. i guess that is what 68 years together does.

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i am grateful…

  1. that your love and marriage is an enduring example of commitment and loyalty
  2. that you and grandpa had my mother and raised her to be the woman she is today
  3. for every grandparents’ day that you came to and that you let me share you with aisha, since her grandparents couldn’t be there
  4. for your sage grandma wisdom including, but not limited to, making sure to look smokin’ hot for my man, so he’ll never stray
  5. for your reliable prayer work and dedication to christian science
  6. that you knitted me an amazing baby blanket
  7. for your peach cobbler and baby back rib recipes
  8. that you made me jump over a broom so i’m not living in sin with my boyfriend
  9. for the love and generosity you have for your grandchildren and great grandchildren
  10. for the jewelry passed down to me that you acquired from your many travels
  11. that you have kept a detailed account of when and where you and grandpa have traveled
  12. for the strength you have and the strength that comes with being a “bird woman”
  13. and that i am a bird woman
  14. for your relationship advice and reminding me that forgiveness is essential
  15. for your beauty, in youth and now
  16. that backseat driving runs in the family, starting with you
  17. that you are always there for my mother (as a mother should be)
  18. that you took care of grandpa for all of us, especially over the last few years
  19. that you always buy milk in a bag
  20. for your skepticism of the internet
  21. for that time you got down on the dance floor with anthony at mark’s wedding (seriously, so good)yeah anthony!
  22. that thanks to you, i will always have a plethora of beautifully embroidered pillow cases
  23. for all the photos you collected over the years and the album you created to preserve them
  24. that you are healthy
  25. for your hugs and big kisses on the lips
  26. that you are the glue that holds this family together
  27. for how warm and inviting your home has always felt to me
  28. for all the times you babysit me as a child
  29. for your infamous wall of photos of your 14 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren
  30. that i am your granddaughter

30 days of gratitude: day 6 – seester

day 6

dear seester,

with six years between us, i know i was that annoying little sister that would never leave you alone and wanted to be just like you, but you know what, i’m not sorry. i still look up to my older sister and enjoy every minute that i get to be around you.

i am grateful…

  1. that we totally both think of each other and get super emotional every time we see a movie about sisters, hear a song about sisters, or read an article about sisters (insert reba now… “my sister…my friend”)
  2. that despite protest, you eventually were okay with me taking horseback lessons (aka your sport), i think…
  3. that you bought me my very first journal as a gift when i was sick in fifth grade (who knew it would be the first of many, many, many more)
  4. that you sat through the “boring” ballet half of my dance recitals to get to the good stuff like tap and hiphop that came after intermission
  5. for that time you visited me freshman year of college and we took a random road trip that involved a selfie photoshoot with our wendy’s order???

  6. that you ran my bookkeeping for me`free of charge when i first started my own business
  7. that you are such an amazing adventure partner always up for the next snowboarding trip or wakeboarding outing or atv excursion
  8. for the drunken bar phone calls i would get where you would tell random guys next to you how hot your little sister was (i think you’re hot too)
  9. for loving karaoke just as much as i do and owning the mic whenever we go
  10. that you play hockey and brought home a bunch of hot canadian freeze players to live with us for awhile
  11. that i was there to witness you slashing that asshole and getting 10 minutes in the penalty box during one of your hockey games (you’re a badass)
  12. that you potty trained me (or so mom says)
  13. that people say our personalities are similar and i take it as a compliment
  14. for that one time i stayed at your house and you cut up watermelon for me just like mom used to do
  15. that you’re always there to help me pick up the pieces when my heart falls apart
  16. for all the times you dropped me off or picked me up from somewhere because mom or dad couldn’t
  17. for giving me a key to your house and all the times you’ve let me crash in your guest bedroom
  18. for the incredible passion you have for learning new things
  19. that despite all our sisterly fights, i know you always have my back
  20. that you taught me how to summersault (and that there is video evidence of how awesome i can summersault)
  21. that you would let me hang out with your cool, older friends around the bonfire when we were figuring out our lives post parents’ divorce (even if my habachi style massage techniques were slightly annoying)
  22. for the times you’ve set me straight (everyone needs a little tough love sometimes)
  23. for being the one who takes care of our parents when dan and i are thousands of miles away
  24. for the fact that i have two of the most amazing siblings ever (not biased at all)
  25. and that i got to watch you both and learn from your mistakes (benefit of being the baby)
  26. that you found such a strong interest in technology and have crafted an amazing career from it
  27. that you have always been such a positive role model to me
  28. for that time you sent me like 10 birthday cards in the mail for my 30th birthday (oh how i do love me some greeting cards)
  29. that you forgave me for cutting off all of your “my little pony” tails (i really thought they would grow back, i’m sorry)
  30. that i have a built-in best friend to help me get through the hard times and celebrate the good times