Once upon a time, I took it upon myself to dedicate an entire month to me and my birthday and getting together with friends and family because, let's face it, January is depressing as all get out! So here is a lengthy recap STOLEN PRETTY MUCH WORD FOR WORD FROM MY INSTAGRAM/FB:
Official caption: Happy New Year! And of equal importance, happy first day of #janasjollyjanuary - that's right, my month-long quest to meet up with friends (both of the long-lost and current varieties) has an official hashtag now! 😎 If I haven't heard from you yet, let me know if you'd like to get together sometime! Happy birth month to me!
It was only fitting to kick off the festivities with my dad, whose birthday is the day after mine (thus another jolly January baby) and also without whom I wouldn't have a birthday ;). One of our favorite haunts is the BK by his house and the little kiddos had a blast!
Official caption: Lunch today with my handsome dad! One highlight: the awesome snowsuit he found for me (that yes I did try on over my clothes in the middle of Burger King😂) that might double as a ghostbusters costume in a future Halloween!! My dad is caring and interesting and giving and I'm grateful to spend time with him! #janasjollyjanuary
Next up was Janell, who is one of the coolest people I know. When I explained that I couldn't choose a place to eat because I rarely stray from McDonald's, she upped my cool factor by taking me to a trendy pizza place downtown and even reluctantly took a picture with me - which I told her would get a bazillion likes on fb because everyone loves her and it did!
Official caption: Delicious lunch today with the incomparable Janell. One time soon after we moved into 2nd ward, Janell was offering hugs to a group she described as "her young women" - some past, some present. I jokingly asked if I could be one of her young women and she unjokingly said yes and hugged me and has amazed me ever since with her incredible, God-given capacity to love and care for others. Thanks again for lunch, Janell!! You are GREAT!! 😉❤️#janasjollyjanuary
Not every reunion was scripted:
Official caption: My original plans for #janasjollyjanuary fell through today, so imagine my surprise a couple hours later when I heard my name at Costco and my sweet Jacob, who moved back to Nampa over the summer, ran up to me! And also he's grown like six inches since I saw him in March - I can't handle all my old Cub Scouts now being taller than me!! Yay for impromptu Costco-facilitated reunions!
Maren was one of the people I thought of immediately for this month, because she moved back in... July? August? and we had only seen each other a couple times since then which is RIDICULOUS because I love her. And it was perfect timing because Karlina had just been ruthlessly stolen from me (or just taken off my visiting teaching list...) so we made her come over too!
Original caption: Ack, I'm already behind on posts! 😳 I could had posted this yesterday but I waited to see if my head looked smaller when I pulled the picture up today 😂. Anyways, yesterday's #janasjollyjanuary was a fun visiting teaching reunion with Maren and Karlina! We sat and drank hot chocolate and I juggled my yahoo kids while attempting to maintain a conversation so it was just like old times!! Love you ladies!
Oh man, for three people that love each other as much as we do, we are TERRIBLE at getting together, i.e. right now we're attempting to see Andrew's new house and it hasn't happened yet haha.
original caption: Ahhh and here we have the inspiration for #janasjollyjanuary : three high school best friends who hadn't gotten together since before Carma was born, despite the fact that we all live around here 😬😳. Emily and Andrew gave me light and fun and friendship when I needed it 13 years ago and I love that we always pick up right where we left off!
Girls' night! Emily, Nycole, Kara and I are ALL January babies so marked the extra special occasion by crossing the street and going to Applebee's where the food was good, the desserts were discounted, and the entire restaurant staff hid in the kitchen so they wouldn't have to take our picture hahaha. Luckily Kara stepped up and got us all in the shot:
official caption: Honestly, this crew makes every month jollier... But I'm still counting them for #janasjollyjanuary because I need the numbers 😂🙌🏼😍
Cassandra and Grace are both awesome, and I loved just sitting on my living room couches and catching up with them one night! They both live within walking distance of me... like very short walking distance... so I'm not sure why we don't do this more often!
official caption: Had a way cool 'girls night in' with these two earlier this week and it was just perfect: comfy clothes, snacks, and girl talk. Grace and I go from seeing each other all the time in my front yard during the summer to hardly EVER during the cold/sick winter months so it was fun to catch up haha! #janasjollyjanuary continues to be such a fun endeavor and I'm genuinely excited and grateful to everyone who's indulged my randomness! (I'm still setting stuff up, so don't worry if you haven't heard from me yet!!)
I decided early on to use my kids for the jolly shenanigans in case not enough people wanted to hang out with me haha! And if it meant that I got some one-on-one time with this rapidly-growing-up mini-me, so be it ;).
official caption: #janasjollyjanuary with Clyde yesterday - errands (I gave him my ATM pin so hopefully that doesn't backfire), a random chess game at the library (I'll let you guess who won) and cashing in his free sundae for earning a Teamwork award at school (ironically he ate it by himself while I watched 👀). Such a cute, sassy little fellow!
And here's Will!
official caption: #janasjollyjanuary with my sweetheart Will last night- he's been asking for a while about his turn ❤️. We went to swimming lessons and Taco Bell and practiced beatboxing and when he kissed my cheek (completely unprompted, hence me trying not to laugh) I realized again that the future Mrs. Will.i.am is a lucky lucky girl 😍☺️💕
I'd had good intentions of visiting my dear Sister Walker for a while but hadn't followed through (possibly a recurring theme in my life, working on that...) Now I need to get over there again!
official caption: Possibly the sweetest/most emotional #janasjollyjanuary reunion today with Sister Walker (left and top at my wedding and bridal shower) who was the epitome of light and love and good cheer as one of my Young Women's leaders - she was also the first person to notice and validate orange as my favorite color🔶! (As a bonus I got to see Brother Walker too, who greeted me with "Who let YOU in?" accompanied by the best hug ever ☺️😂) Stephany's example of offering a kind word (and a story!) to those around her impacted me greatly as a teenager and I was grateful for the reminder today 💕.
Star! Another friend that I'm trying to reconnect with again, but life keeps thwarting us. Soon!!!
official caption: Ohhhh I was so overdue for a visit with this cute girlie!! Once upon a time (like 14/15 years ago...) I was Star's homework tutor and we've stayed in touch and she faithfully visited me (with gifts!!) in the hospital every time I've had a baby and now we've graduated to Starbucks dates where I show up late and she has my hot chocolate and brownie waiting for me 😍 and then we sit for almost two hours and talk and talk and talk. #janasjollyjanuary continues to be so fun and humbling as I realize how many beautiful friendships I've been blessed with throughout my life. Love you Star!!
Oh Jayna! Despite our best resolve, we don't see each other very often... but when we do, we make it count ;).
official caption: #janasjollyjanuary with my ebff Jayna - she introduced me to delicious Panera🍴👍🏼, I taught her how to up her selfie game😉📲, two darling toddlers merrily ran circles around us 👫, I marveled at her adorable chunk of a baby EJ👶🏼, and we resolved to bring our primarily virtual friendship into the real world more often 💻➡️👯. Thanks so much Jayna, love you! 😘
Ohh I just love Wendy! Our temple date was really wonderful :).
official caption: Lovely morning at the temple with my dear, forced-to-be-my-friend Wendy 😉 (and Charlotte was there too, in a happy coincidence/tender mercy). Wendy is thoughtful and generous and patient and we had such a great discussion about how the Lord uses each of us to bless others, and so often we don't really know how we've helped but it's humbling and gratifying to know that we serve a purpose. And also Wendy showed up on my bday last week with Shaynie and hot chocolate so she's clearly amazing!! 😍😘#janasjollyjanuary
This picture makes me happy because I've seen both of these girls in the last two days!
official caption: Sometimes I show up for #janasjollyjanuary and Paulina gives me a selfie stick and Kautri treats me to dinner and I'm so touched that my friends know my two main interests: myself and food that I have no part in preparing. And as a bonus I got to talk and laugh and bond with two amazing girls!! It alllllmost makes me miss running with them multiple times a week haha- not quite enough to start again though 😉😂💃
Ohhh this was so fun:
official caption: Once upon a time I went to BYU freshman year and stumbled upon the coolest group of friends and I love that I'm still in touch with so many of them (I ❤️ fb/blogs/Instagram). I FaceTimed yesterday with Jaime for #janasjollyjanuary and it was soooo fun to catch up and laugh and simultaneously nurse babies while we talked. My favorite memory of Jaime is how I used to make her pluck my eyebrows for me 😂. Those six girls were the closest I came to a stereotypical college/roommate experience and they made it the best! Love you Jaime!
Holly was not given an option re: participating in jolly January, but luckily she was on board anyways!
official caption: #janasjollyjanuary FaceTime with Holly the other night = two hours of awesomeness. Holly and I became friends four years ago when we both overlooked our first impressions of each other (I thought she was a pregnant teenager, she thought I was a crazy lady who wears Halloween striped tights to church... OH wAIT) and she moved away like four months later but our friendship has blessedly endured and I'm so glad bc I don't know what I would do without her 👭❤️
My mama! Love her.
official caption: Super behind on #janasjollyjanuary posts but never fear, I'll keep going until I catch up ... Starting with the amazing woman who went to the edge of death to give me life, my mom!! We spent my birthday afternoon together at DI and Savers (where else?) and she helped me buy jeans and we both bought books and possibly other things we didn't need 😉. My mom is spunky and fun and kind and friendly and devout and I don't tell her enough but I really really love her! 💗💚💗💚💗💚💗
official caption: A collection of #janasjollyjanuary with super cool girls from church! Emilie (top left) surprised me one night with a beautiful orange bag (from DI - I don't know how I missed it!!), Sharon (top right) and I finally got together to chat one morning and had a great time and three of us January birthdays combined forces and generously shared our fries with some friends for a girls night (bottom, Dee, Tasha, Tawny, Esther, me, Shelly). These ladies all brighten my Sundays and seeing them during the week is always an awesome bonus!
I always pick my favorite brother based on who contacts me first on my birthday, and this year Quinner won when he facetimed me that morning:
official caption: My dedicated little brother took my birthday off work so he could FaceTime me that morning... or maybe there was no school because of a federal holiday- we may never know for sure. Either way, I'm the best sister Quinn could ever ask for and I'm glad he knows it 😉. Quinner is thoughtful and a good listener and fun and practical and a stellar friend and seeing his cute family was an excellent/jolly way to start being 31! #janasjollyjanuary
Courtney. Aka the reason I'm blogging right now. Girl is PERSUASIVE. I should have remembered this based on the time our families celebrated her (June) birthday in April. Complete with cake.
official caption: I've known Courtney since the early 90's and I'm so, so lucky to count her as one of my best friends(/sister/cousins😉). Like, we're texting as I post this haha. Courtney is smart and resourceful and an excellent sounding board and gorgeous and loyal and a convincing liar- no matter how boring and rambling my emails/texts/blogs are, she assures me she was captivated. I saw Court at the end of December in person (joined by my niece Courtney too! I ❤️ Courtneys!!) and then we FaceTimed for our official #janasjollyjanuary date and the other picture is circa 2003 in our young, carefree days 😍👯. Love you Court!!
This was such a fun morning! Charlene and I have been in the same ward forever but never really spent time like this together - I'm so glad we finally did!
official caption: One of my last #janasjollyjanuary was a way fun date with Charlene to watch our ward Young Women in one of their volleyball games- we set aside our personal complete lack of understanding of the game and yelled random, supportive-sounding cheers at the girls and we must have not been a total distraction because the Red Pandas played amazingly well and won! Then we crashed their post-game team meeting/mini-devotional and the whole thing was just awesome! Charlene and I had a great time talking and discovering random things in common 😉. Also I may have developed an addiction to salted caramel peanuts 😳😬😂.
I love my two little jolly friends:
official caption: Sooo I didn't specifically spend time with Jack or Carma for #janasjollyjanuary ... Mostly because the three of us already spend every waking moment and 95% of our sleeping moments together 😬👀😩. They really are the cutest little yahoos and between Jack's current why?how?why?how? phase and Carmas's current "ain't nothin' gonna break my stride" (aka run away from mom constantly) phase, they keep me busy and I wouldn't have it any other way ☺️ UNLESS THEY WANTED TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIgHT IN tHEIR OWN BEDs; I could get on board with that 😉😜😴🙋🏻👀👍🏼
Oh my heck I love the Murphys! Miss you Kiska!
official caption: Kiska!! I was so thrilled when I found out Kiska was coming to town for her parents' 50th anniversary party and could therefore participate in #janasjollyjanuary - I've yet to meet a member of the Murphy family who isn't kind and generous and funny and Kiska is no exception, plus her name is fun to say and she gives me cookies 😍😂. AND I'm so in love with the picture of Rich and Dee from their wedding day so I obviously had to include it as well 😉. See you again someday Kiska!! 😘
Just found out I will be in the same state as this girl in two weeks and suddenly all is right in the world...
official caption: I have known Heidi lit'rally (pronunciation courtesy of Chris Traeger) her entire life and the joy she has brought to my life is hard to explain. We probably spend 97% of our time together laughing (the other 3% is her doing my makeup and baking me cookies). Heidi is witty and smart and generous and aware and gorgeous and either supports me unconditionally or has the best poker face ever because regardless of what I say/do/confide in her, she still loves me and I am so so grateful to have her as a best friend(/sister/cousin) and FaceTiming with her was the perfect send-off to #janasjollyjanuary 💃👯😍🍪💕☺️😎
Ohhh my sweet husband! And what do you know, I'm going to the temple with him tomorrow!
official caption: Saved the best #janasjollyjanuary for last: going to the temple with Chuck! We are living proof that a marriage can survive/thrive! on dates solely to the temple and Costco 👩🏻❤️👨🏻. Chuck is my hero, he's the perfect calm, logical balance to my crazy, emotional self and when I say to him, "Hey, I'm devoting an entire month to gadding about with friends!" he sweetly responds, "Awesome, have fun!" and sends me on my way👍🏼💃. AND THUS CONCLUDES my jolly month! I actually didn't do a complete count but I know I surpassed my goal and had so much fun with all y'all! Thanks for making my 31st birthday so memorable 🙌🏼🙅🏻💕.