Alisha Nicole, Harper Elizabeth, Sydney Maelee, Juli Elizabeth

May 18:  Alisha Nicole

How this character arrived in my life:  On her front porch with a new born baby in her arms.  Alisha and her husband Tom were the first neighbors Chris and I met when we bought our house.  Actually, the day we met Tom we asked about his family and he said his wife was pregnant and inside resting.  A few days later she was on the front porch with the tiniest little baby in her arms who had a onesie on with a little peace sign on the front.  We later watched all the houses go up as they were built in between their house and ours which brought a whole new group of neighbors – but we always consider Alisha and Tom special because they were the first ones we met in the neighborhood!

My favorite memory with this person:  The women in our neighborhood get together regularly for dinner, chatting, games, etc.  One of the nights we were all supposed to get together just happened to be my 5 year wedding anniversary.  I had RVSP’d that I would attend because Chris was out of town that night anyway.  Not only did Alisha make sure we recognized that it was my wedding anniversary, she was in her wedding dress when I showed up to her house (see pic below), there was wedding music playing in the background, everyone brought their wedding albums to share pictures from their big days, the food was wedding-type food, and there were bows on the back of her chairs resembling wedding reception decor.  There was even a mini wedding cake!  She made that night so silly and so special which was awesome, fun, and really made me appreciate the blessing of a good neighbor!

One word to describe this person:  Thoughtful

What I admire about this person:  Alisha makes a point to be connected with people.  The reason the women in our neighborhood would even get together regularly was due to her organizing it.  Unfortunately, there was a woman in our neighborhood that none of us really had a chance to get to know that ended up passing away from cancer I believe.  Alisha recognized that she must have been suffering and none of us were able to be there and support her so she started getting all the women together regularly just to get to know each other.  She even opened her doors and her kitchen and had us at her house nearly every time.  I love how she puts people first.

Fun facts that makes me love this person so much:  She is adventurous!  Last year she decided that her and her family should hit the road and explore – so they sold nearly everything they owned, rented out their house (we still miss them!) and bought a huge RV that they now live in as they travel the United States.  She even blogs about their adventures along the way (http://roadhouse4us.blogspot.com/).  She’s a really good listener.  She’s very sweet.  She’s very encouraging and is always cheering for people in whatever they go after.  She’s down to earth.  She doesn’t make life overly complicated and I think she could even be caught with no iphone and the old school type of address book as of a couple years ago.  She’s a great mom and wife.  She’s the type to appreciate moments and likely to be the one person with a camera to capture them.  If I ever had the need to borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor….I’d stop at her house first.  She has a KitchenAid mixer and actually uses it.  I remember going to her house one evening and she had whipped cream with a dessert she was serving and she made the whipped cream herself in the mixer….for some reason I thought that was super domestic and cool.  She’s very nurturing.  She puts her family first.  She has pretty eyes!

Alisha has way cooler pictures from their current RV travels, but I felt this one was appropriate given that it went with my favorite memory.

Alisha

May 19:  Harper Elizabeth

How this character arrived in my life: As the tiniest most perfect baby girl in the whole world after she lived in my best friend’s belly for 9 months.  Harper is the daughter of my best friend, Molly.  I drove all the way back to Dayton the day after she was born just to see and hold her tiny little self (I may have cried a little on the way home because I was so proud of Molly, but that will not be confirmed or denied). 

My favorite memory with this person:  It was more-so an indirect memory.  My favorite memory was watching my Grandma go shopping for Harper for Christmas.  My Grandma was babysitting her at the time and seeing how happy Harper made her made me so happy.  I think since I don’t have any kids, my family (myself included) has just decided to adopt Harper as their own daughter/granddaughter since we’ve all known Molly for 27 years and consider her a part of our family.

One word to describe this person:   Tiny

What I admire about this person:  She can make an entire room smile and shrug their shoulders and say “awww” just by existing.

Fun facts that makes me love this person so much:  Her voice is so high pitch and cute yet her vocabulary is great.  My Grandma used to babysit her for a few years which brought so much joy to my Grandma’s life.  She’s a good helper – standing front and center at any party where gifts are being opened.  She is a good little artist with works including stick people or pickles with faces and hats holding tiny pickles.  She is a really good big sister to her brother – standing close to him or touching his face after he wakes up from naps.  She knows all the names of the ponies in her My Little Pony collection with the ability to tell you which ones have sparkly hair and which ones don’t have sparkly hair off the top of her head.  She turns 5 in a couple weeks but I already know she can probably read better than I can just knowing her mom.  She has a sweet giggle.  She’s so pretty.  She calls my Grandma “Grandma Linda.”  She makes a lot of people really happy just by being her cute little self.

I’ve been keeping to 1 picture per letter recipient, but when you’re this little and this cute…you get 2 pictures.

Harper    Harper 2

May 20:  Sydney Maelee

How this character arrived in my life:  Called “daughter” by my step-mom, called “sister” by me.  Sydney arrived in my life as a tiny little newborn baby a couple months before I turned 17 years old.  She took my only child status to oldest child status and allowed me to experience what it was like to be a sibling for the first time!  She took up residency in the bedroom next door and would later take over my room when I moved out.

My favorite memory with this person:  When Sydney was really small she had a little pair of pajamas that were purple with white polka dots on them.  She was in the back room playing with a 3 hole punch (no clue why?) and when she opened it all the paper holes fell out and she started crying thinking all the dots were coming off her pajamas.

One word to describe this person:  It’s a tie between Smart and Responsible

What I admire about this person:  Sydney is so mature for her age.  She’s 16 now (watch out Tipp City roads!) and she has always just felt like another little adult in the family.  She’s had type 1 diabetes since before she started school and I’m sure this has played into her maturity level.  She has always been so responsible with everything that has come with diabetes – honestly, you’d never even know she has it because I think she wins the prize for fastest blood pricker/tester ever!  She’s not only mature and responsible when it comes to that, but just in general, she has a natural tendency to think things through like a mature adult.  I never worry about her because I know she can take care of herself and she’s growing into an amazing young lady who is brilliant and will probably do something someday that will change the world.

Fun facts that makes me love this person so much:  Sydney is an amazing soccer player and works out like crazy….she could probably kick my butt if ever necessary.  She loves fashion and always has her eye on the latest trend.  Her middle name is a combination of our Grandma’s middle name (Mae) and her Grandma’s middle name (Lee).  She’s very crafty and can bake!  She has a compassion for people and can be found volunteering at church or tutoring students younger than her.  She’s funny!  She looks just like her mom.  She’s so smart she’s probably somewhere right now studying something just for fun and she’s totally the girl in the class that gets an A on her tests and actually understands the material.  She’s honest.  She’s very creative.  She’s an awesome daughter to my step-mom and dad.  She’s pretty!  She loves shopping and has expensive taste.  She’s been carrying designer hand bags since the 5th grade.  She’s a good listener and always catches details in stories.  She was on homecoming court her freshman year.  She’s good with kids and would be an A+ babysitter.  She makes me proud!

A picture of us with our Dad

Sydney

May 21:  Juli Elizabeth

How this character arrived in my life:  In a leotard ready for gymnastics practice.  Juli and I went to the same school starting in 5th grade, but the majority of our connection started when we went to the same gymnastics gym starting around that same time.  We spent all day at school together, 20 hours a week at the gym together, we were cheerleaders together, and then spent most weekends having sleepovers where we’d watch the Olympics on VHS when we weren’t making up our own routines.  We share a bond from gymnastics that no time or distance can break. 

My favorite memory with this person:  Wow…I can actually write a book on this one.  Juli was my everyday throughout the 90’s.  I’ll go with the first one that comes to mind which is making up gymnastics floor routines at my dad’s house into the early morning hours.  He kept coming out and telling us to turn the music down (classical floor routine music of course).  We would score each other based on a 10 point scale of course.  There really are too many memories to pick one…

One word to describe this person:   Determined

What I admire about this person:  Juli gets her eye on the prize and goes after it.  I’ve watched this unfold from the time we were 10 years old through now.  Whether it was gymnastics, school, her career, etc.  She gets this fire and determination inside and goes for things.  Who doesn’t want these types of people in their life?!  I know I do!

Fun facts that makes me love this person so much:  We literally laughed and cried our way through our entire gymnastics careers.  She’s a nurse and someone I’d totally want by my bedside if I was ever sick!  She has 2 beautiful kids.  She’s funny.  She’s loving!  She’s the friend I think I’ve hugged the most in my days just cause.  She’s close with her family.  She’s pretty!  She’s a perfect combination of sensitive and strong.  It doesn’t take much to jump back into comfortable conversation when we run into each other.  She was an amazing gymnast and so strong…..as in physically strong!  She’s always open to making new friends and greets my family like they’re hers.  She reminds me of so many things about my pre-college/pre-adult-life days.  I always run into her at Kohls on Black Friday.  I think of her all the time!  We were cheerleaders together.  We had 5 million slumber parties in our day and used approximately 1,000 cans of hair spray between 1992-1996 on our bangs.  Juli did my hair a lot before gymnastics practice.  Her dad would carpool me around and my dad would carpool her around.  She loves kids.  She’s home to me.

Approximately 10 years of our friendship was spent in the gym so this picture is only appropriate….but, yes, it probably deserves it’s own blog and conversation.  I mean…look at us!  Neither one of us reached 100lbs until mid-high school age I don’t think.

Juli