2017 Year In Review

I can’t believe another year end is upon us! This year has been a year of highs as well as a year of lows. Without further ado, here’s the 2017 wrap up!



  • Jan 21: Moving Day! After what seemed like the longest process ever, we FINALLY moved to our dream home and ranch! I still can’t believe it’s ours when I wake up every morning!
  • Jan 30: Filed LLC paperwork to open Black Dog Stables. Never in a million years did I imagine we would have our own business! It is so amazing to have the ranch and to be able to work with horses!



  • Feb 5: Superbowl Party. Our first get-together in our new home! Mike made ribs and we had an absolute blast!16826115_10155001342098895_8754661430342286694_o
  • Feb 18: Jeremy & Mary Ann’s wedding. I practically grew up with Jeremy, so it was wonderful to watch him find his true love and to marry her!



  • Mar 4: New chicks & ducks. We lost several chickens this year IMG_8313to old age and heat. I got a new batch of chicks and decided to give ducks a try. Enter Quackers and Cheese! They’re disgusting animals, but the duck eggs are absolutely amazing!



  • Apr 6: Shadow diagnosed with cancer. My little old man started showing signs of not feeling well in early April. We took him to the vet and found out he had cancer. We ran some tests to prep for surgery and discovered that it had wrapped itself around several organs and was inoperable. We brought him home to spend his last days in peace.032_edited-1
  • Apr 14: Shadow passes away. On one of the first beautiful days after a week or so of rain, Shadow went out, laid down by the pool in a patch of sunshine, and passed away in peace.




  • May 6: Run for Rory. I am beyond proud of my stepdaughter, Kayla. Her friend Rory committed suicide and Kayla organized a run that benefited the local suicide prevention group. It was a beautiful day and so good to see a large turn out!
  • May 7: Jenny joins the family! In what can only be described as God’s plan, little miss Jenny started hanging around Mike’s fire station. She was clearly a stray and we decided to make her ours! In a twist of fate, we found out that day that she was pregnant!
  • May 13: Kennedy Mine Tour. For Mother’s Day, we headed out to the local mine for a tour. It was absolutely amazing to see and to learn all about the history!



  • Jun 7: Seven puppies!!! The puppies were born just four short weeks after Jenny joined the family. It was absolutely an amazing thing to watch and Jenny is such a good mama! Little Tritip was the first born and I fell in love almost instantly!
  • Jun 24: Guild tea party. My mama is a fantastic quilter and a member of a guild. They had a tea party that also raised money for the guild and my sister and I joined her. It was so much fun and I can’t wait for next year’s event!
  • Jun 26: My “puppy shower”. My sister and best friends tricked me into thinking we were just having lunch, but it turns out they threw me a puppy shower! Everyone brought gifts for Jenny and it was absolutely the sweetest thing ever!



  • Jul 1: Mom’s Surprise 60th birthday party. We pulled off an epic surprise – a surprise “diamond jubilee” 60th birthday party for my mama! We held it at the ranch and had her friends from all over join in the fun! There was music and even riding the blow-up bull in the pool!IMG_3008
  • Jul 24: Tari joins the family! We own a horse ranch, so of course we were going to end up owning more than one horse! Tari joined the family and is retired. She gets to be ridden once in a while but mostly gets to hang out in the pasture with her friends and just be a horse!



  • Aug 5: Jamie’s baby shower. My good friend Jamie was expecting her first little one and her shower was amazing!
  • Aug 7: Epic dog collision. A game of ball turned into an epic mess. Jenny needed 7 stitches and knocked a tooth through her lip, while Brady broke a canine tooth in half.
  • Aug 10: Brady’s surgery. After the collision, poor Brady had to have his canine tooth removed.
  • Aug 15: Lady Gaga concert. I won tickets to the company suite at work – Lady Gaga was absolutely amazing!
  • Aug 19-26: Lake Almanor aka “Tippy’s Big Adventure”. Normally Brady would go IMG_8940with me, but he was recovering from surgery, so I decided to introduce Tritip to Lake Almanor! He was a mere 8 weeks old, but had a blast – he went for his first swims, rode in the boat, and did really well!



  • Sept 1: Jenny gets spayed. As much fun as the puppies were, it’s not something I wanted to undertake again, so little miss Jenny had to get spayed. She did really well!
  • Sept 15-17: Cabin trip. I loaded up the horse trailer and headed out for a great weekend of riding with my friends – it was amazing!IMG_8980
  • Sept 19: Mike promoted. I am beyond proud of my hubby – this year he was promoted to Division Chief! I had the honor of pinning him – so very proud!



  • Oct 14: Juliette’s 3rd birthday. My sister knows how to throw a party and Juliette’s Paw Patrol birthday was no exception!
  • Oct 20: Preston Castle Haunt. I went with my sister in law Nicki and her friend Lori to the Haunt – it was so much fun!
  • Oct 22: 6 Year Anniversary. Time flies while you’re having fun! We took our anniversary trip a little later this year, but spent some time together on our special day!


  • Nov 2: Nate pinned as a battalion chief. I’m so proud of my brother in law who was promoted to Battalion Chief this year!


  • Nov 10 – 14: Chicago anniversary “roadtrip”. We spent 5 days in Chicago and had a blast! While we were there, we went to the Shedd Aquarium, caught a Chicago Bears game, visited the “bean”, and stood on the glass in the Willis tower!
  • IMG_3772Nov 20: Oma passes away. After a hearbreakingly long battle with Alzheimers, my sweet Oma passed away. It was difficult, but I had a few days to go visit with her before she died and I’m so thankful for that!
  • Nov 26: Seahawks vs. 49ers game. As a surprise birthday present for Mike, I snagged us tickets to see the 49ers play the Seahawks at Levi stadium. Our good friends Sean and Erin came along with us – we had a really wonderful time!


  • Dec 1: Oma’s funeral. It was a beautiful day to lay my Oma to rest with my Opa. 25440003_10108098813654360_5736622663435040773_o
  • Dec 16: Chloe’s 5th birthday party. This sweet little girl had the best princess birthday party!
  • Dec 24: Christmas with the Blankenheims. We had a great Christmas at my in-laws!
  • Dec 25: Christmas with the Smithsons & Barcklays. It was a wonderful Christmas at my parents house!
  • Dec 27: Tritip gets snipped. Keep him from running, jumping, and rough housing, they said. Yeah, right.

2016 Year In Review

I love doing this post every year, even if I haven’t posted much on my blog throughout the year. It’s a chance for me to look back and to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the year. 2016 was a pretty good year and I’m so looking forward to the adventures 2017 brings!


Jan 9: Jeff & Jamie’s Wedding: Our good friends Jeff and Jamie finally got hitched! The wedding was an absolute blast and we had so much fun with all of our friends!

IMG_1776Jan 18: Epic Trail Ride. There was really nothing special about this ride, except that it was one of the most beautiful days and I snapped one of my favorite pictures.

Jan 18: Glenn Frey dies. The Eagles were a pivotal part of my childhood and my musical education. They’re one of my favorite bands and have produced some amazing music. I was lucky enough to have seen them live in San Diego. The loss of Glenn Frey as a singer, songwriter, and performer is heartbreaking.


Feb 5: Tore ACL: My sister won tickets at work for a fun day in the snow. We headed out toIMG_0001 Squaw Valley and spent a little while on the slopes skiing. Then, disaster. I fell and instantly knew something was really wrong. Kati had to head down the slope to get ski patrol to come pick me up and sled me down to the clinic where the doctor told me I had torn my ACL. This began a long journey of rest, surgery, and recovery that I’m still working through today.

Feb 19-22: Bodega Bay Trip: Even with my knee braced, our annual Bodega Bay trip was a blast!


Mar 10: Listed House: We made the decision to sell our house in March. An opportunity came up for us to buy the ranch that my horse is currently stabled at and it was one that we couldn’t pass by. It would turn out to be a long process, but we got the house on the market.


Apr 6: Merle Haggard Dies: Mike and I were lucky enough to see him at the Opry last year. He was a wonderful musician!


Apr 21: Prince Dies: This one was another heart breaker – I had the opportunity to see Prince live and to see what an absolutely amazingly talented musician he was.

Apr 22: ACL Surgery: This was the beginning of the recovery process. The surgery went really well and I was able to begin exercises the very next day. It was a long, hard road to recovery, but well worth it. I’m so thankful for my wonderful family who took very good care of me in the weeks before and after when I couldn’t walk!


img_0518May 10: Broke Pinky Toe: While hobbling around at home trying to heal from ACL surgery, I tripped over my crutches and broke my damn pinky toe. That little sucker hurt!!!

May 17: The Dark Side of Surgery: I really hesitated over posting this one, but felt it was really important to share with people facing the same surgery or something similar. I was amazed at how my body reacted to tapering off the pain meds that were prescribed for post-op. I’m so happy that the addiction part was only physical for me – I could very easily see how it could get out of hand had the mental part been there! Please share this with anyone who faces addiction – if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone! If you or someone you know need help with prescription or other drugs, please visit http://www.na.org. Talk to your doctor, find a meeting, take action.

May 23: First Day Back In The Office: This was a huge milestone in my recovery – it felt so great to be back in the office and see all of my work friends!


Jun 3: Muhammad Ali Dies: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”.

Jun 12: Pulse Nightclub Terror Attack: In what would be the second-worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, a single gunman walked into Pulse Nightclub in Florida and gunned down 49 people. My heart breaks for those killed and for those who live in fear because of the attack. In honor of the victims, I’m currently completing 49 random acts of kindness. #loveislove


IMG_0934Jul 3: Brady Visits Gracie & Tucker: In preparation for our August Lake Almanor trip, we decided to introduce Brady to my parents dogs, Gracie and Tucker. They had the most amazing time romping around the yard and swimming in the pool! Brady is a super mellow dog, so I knew he would have no problem at all getting along with both dogs – but he and Gracie became best buddies very quickly!


Aug 6: Roaring Camp Dinner: My parents and I went to Roaring Camp with my sister’s in-laws for a really fun mining camp dinner and gold panning.

Aug 18: Father George Thomas Dies: Fo400058_10150538260729421_77239242_nr those of you who were at our wedding, you’ll remember the priest who married us as a funny, witty man. An extended member of the family, Father George was a fixture at many a Blankenheim celebration.

Aug 20-27: Lake Almanor: Mike wasn’t able to get the time off, so I took Brady and headed out to my happy place img_8140with my parents – the cabin at Lake Almanor. It was such a relaxing, mellow week and I had the best time hanging out with my parents. I couldn’t waterski this year because of my knee, but we did a ton of fishing. Highlights of the trip were singing around the campfire, playing Mexican Train dominos, and watching the dogs swim – in fact, Brady swam multiple times every single day we were there!

Aug 29: Gene Wilder Dies: Rest in peace, Willie Wonka.


Sept 30 – Oct 1: Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity: I headed to Reno for the last NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity that will be held there. We had a blast!


Oct 14 – 18: 5th Anniversary “Road Trip”: This year we spent a img_8159weekend in Pecks Canyon with our friends Chris and Kassie – a cabin with no cell service, no internet, and only a generator for power. To make it even more fun, we got to ride in a helicopter to get there! It was such a blast!

Oct 22: Our 5th wedding anniversary!


14991790_10154747019419421_1891366681455060528_nNov 5: Kiwi Harvest: Our friends have a kiwi farm and every year invite us to help harvest. We haven’t made it in a long time (well, for Mike – ever for me). It was so beautiful and so much fun!

Nov 13: Tea Party: I was invited to Chloe’s tea party at her ballet studio – it featured all of the Nutcracker dancers and she had the best time talking to them and having tea!

Nov 24: Thanksgiving: We hosted Thanksgiving this year – it was a blast to have the whole family over!

Nov 29: Accepted Offer On House: After a long 9 months, we finally had an offer on the house! We accepted and if all goes well will be at the ranch in early 2017!


Dec 16: Rogue One: Work paid to send us all to the movies! Rogue One was seriously awesome!

Dec 24: Blankenheim Christmas: I went to Mass with my in-laws, but ended up with an epic cough attack (yay awful cold that I’ve had for 3 weeks). I did make it over for appies and presents.

Dec 25: Smithson Christmas: This year Kati and Nate hosted Christmas and it was wonderful as always. Watching the kids open their presents has to be the best thing ever!

2015 Year In Review

Every year I do an annual recap, published on December 31st. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to look back on the year, reflect on the good and the bad, and to prepare for the new year. Without further ado, I give you 2015.


Jan 2: Katie goes riding. I took my niece, Katie, riding. She was the cutest little rider and we had a ton of fun!

Katie & Missy
Katie & Missy

Jan 4: Stuart Scott dies. I had the chance to meet him a long time ago and he was a really cool guy.

Jan 23 – Jan 26: Moonshine Manor. We went to Bodega Bay with the fire wives and their hubbies for Bobby’s 40th birthday. It was a blast! #bcbc40.


Feb 8: Schooling show with Sue. It was cold, it was wet, and he ran off with me. But we nailed that pesky right lead!

Feb 21: Crab feed with the fire wives and husbands. Always a fun time!

Brad Rides

Feb 22: Brad goes riding. I took my nephew, Brad, riding. He showed up in boots, wranglers, and a hat… just about melted my heart! And, in true boy fashion, just wanted to ride fast! 


Mar 5: Sue has his teeth floated. It was really cool to spend the morning

Working On The Front Teeth
Working On The Front Teeth

watching Sue get his teeth worked on by the dentist!  The vet was very patient with me and answered all of my questions. Sue was a champ!

Mar 7: Behind the Cellar Door. Our annual wine

Mike & I
Wine Tasting

tasting trip was amazing! I love that Amador county does this every year.

Mar 15: Chickens! I went to the feed store and came home with 10 chicks. Seriously, my husband loves me.

Mar 28: Garth Brooks gone wrong. Horribly wrong. Anna + Red Bull = no good.


Apr 13: Schooling show with Sue. This show was the first one that we

Chloe, Sue, & I
Chloe, Sue, & I

made it through all of our classes without being disqualified! It was a great experience and we had so much fun. Even Chloe got in on it, sitting for a minute or two on Sue with me.

Apr 19: Finished the chicken coop and moved the chickens in. I built my own chicken coop with my own two hands. It’s still standing and I love it – so do the girls!

The Finished Product!
My First Tattoo

Apr 25 – 26: Monterey getaway. We had some free passes to the aquarium, so we decided to head out to Monterey for the weekend. The weather was beautiful and I got a tattoo!

Apr 25: Seahorse tattoo. I got my first and only tattoo… a seahorse on my right ankle. The tattoo and placement are very special and meaningful to me – it’s on my right ankle which is my “bad” foot and also matches where Mike has his tattoo. I’ve always loved seahorses and what they represent – tenacity, perception, patience, and contentment.


May 26: Septic tank overflows. The Sweet Pea man is my new best friend. Yuck.


Jun 5: My brother in law, Nate, is pinned as a peace officer. So proud of everything he went through to get there!

Jun 6: My 10 year anniversary at Intel. Time flies when you’re having fun! Honestly, I can’t imagine working anywhere else!

Jun 6: American Pharoah wins the triple crown. What an amazing horse!

My people

Jun 10 – Jun 16: Newport Beach trip. Despite a brief bout of seasickness, losing an engine 8 miles off the coast, and a flat tire on the way home, the trip was a blast! We caught lots of fish, visited Catalina, and paddle boarded along the beach.

Jun 20: First time working cows. I had no idea what I

was doing or how my horse would react. As it turns

Cutting A Cow
Working cows

out, we both loved it! We started with buffalo before moving on to cows and have not looked back!

Jun 23: James Horner dies in a small plane crash. He’s my favorite composer of all time.

Jun 30: Legs transforms to “Bruce”. On this day, we discovered we had a rooster.


Jul 4: Dad’s surprise 60th birthday party. My parents share a birthday

Surprise party

(cool, huh?) but this year was a special one for Dad – his 60th! We threw him a surprise party at my house. We sang, we ate, and we celebrated. It was a blast!


Jul 22: Plantar Fasciitis. I got a cortizone shot (my first ever) in the bottom of my foot and a boot for 6 weeks. At least I could still ride!

Jul 26: First egg from our chickens! It was amazing!


Aug 4: Jury duty. Did my civic duty and thankfully got excused!

Aug 22: Felix and Mask come home. Yup, I added to the zoo – two barn cats who have taken to hunting!


Sept 4: Brady joins the family. Shadow is not impressed. Through a series

Meet Brady!
Meet Brady!

of fortunate circumstances, this handsome fella joined the farm and we haven’t looked back since! He’s a kick ass dog that loves to go places, meet new dogs, and hang out at the ranch!

Sept 9: Butte Fire starts. It was a scary few days for me since not only was the fire about four miles from my

Butte Fire

house, but my hubby was out there fighting it. So many lost their homes, animals, and lives. It was devastating to see, but truly amazing to watch my community come together!


Sept 18-20: Cowgirl Posse Trip. I look forward to this weekend so much! This year was even more exciting because my friend Jamie bought a horse and came along as well! The trip was great – Brady got to come and I had my first ever bareback ride on Sue!


Oct 2 – Oct 4: NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno. This was so much fun! I went with my friends from the barn and we did just about everything in 3 days! I saw my first horse auction, watched the pros compete, and bought my first chaps and hat!

Oct 4: Schooling Show with Sue. We won our first ever ribbon – third place

First Ribbon!

in our rail class! The ribbons mean so much more to me – it’s the hours of work that Sue and I put in together that finally pays off in those few minutes in the show pen!


Oct 10: Juliette’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 1st Birthday. Julsey had her first birthday party! She has quite the little personality – so different from Chloe!

Oct 15: Bought a horse trailer. I’m so excited to now

Truck & Trailer

officially have just about everything that you have to have to own a horse! We’re independent now! I got a beautiful Turnbow two horse slant… and the truck pulls it like a dream!

Oct 15 – Oct 25: 4th Anniversary road trip. This year we covered Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama!

Oct 22: Our four year wedding anniversary!

Crimson Tide Game

Oct 24: My first Crimson Tide game! Roll Tide! One of the best parts of visiting Alabama was spending time with my great Uncle Banny. He’s my grandpa’s younger brother and it was just great to see where they grew up. Spending time with him was like seeing Grandpa (who died in 2003) again!

Oct 30: Bought an Apple Watch. It replaced my Fitbit Surge and I absolutely love it!


Working Cows

Nov 7: Worked cows with Sue. Working cows is always fun! Sue seems to love it (he’s what is called “cowy”, meaning he loves chasing them) and I have a great time too!

Nov 8: Schooling show with Sue. This show was particularly special to me, because we won our first blue ribbon. We got it in the trail class, which is something that Sue always seems to like doing, but was especially special because one of the obstacles was the water box – something that Sue has been terrified of. Not only did we conquer it, but we won! The ribbon represents more than just winning at the show – it symbolizes hours of us working together to overcome that fear and build trust in each other. I’m so proud of my boy!

First Blue Ribbon

Nov 15: Jamie’s bridal shower. My good friend and riding buddy Jamie is getting married in early 2016 – she’s marrying one of Mike’s really good friends. It was so awesome to go to her bridal shower and spend the day celebrating her!

Nov 26: Thanksgiving & Mike’s birthday. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year and it was a blast!

Nov 29: Stretch the chicken is killed. It was bound to happen, but it was still sad. One of my favorites, Stretch was known as a chick for stretching her head to see everything. Not sure what got her, but I buried her, where she was “resurrected” three weeks later…


Dec 6: Schooling show with Sue. We placed second in our rail class and

Show Posse

reserve in our ranch pattern class. Some random guy took a picture of our barn all on horseback waiting for our classes – I made it black and white and think it’s amazing!


Dec 12: Chloe’s 3, let’s have tea birthday party! This little girl sure does love a tea party! She was so busy decorating her tea cup with stickers that she didn’t want to open presents!

Dec 20: Annual cookie baking at my parents house. I absolutely love this

Making Cookies

tradition – it’s so nice and cozy at my parents and now that my nieces are getting a little older, they’re starting to participate too!

Dec 24: Christmas with the Blankenheims/Guzmans. It was a different kind of Christmas – a snow storm and a crash into a power pole took out the power to the entire county. Christmas Eve mass was cancelled, which felt really weird, but we had a great time celebrating with the family!

Dec 25: Christmas with the Smithsons/Barcklays. We had the best day – Kati and Nate made an amazing prime rib and we had a blast watching the kids with all of their new toys!

Visiting with Oma

Dec 26: Christmas with the Zenos/Myers/Jones. Besides having an amazing breakfast and hanging out with the family, I got a chance to visit my Oma, who suffers from Alzheimer. It was hard, but it was so wonderful to spend time with her!


2014 Year In Review

As always, this is one of my favorite posts of the year. I get a chance to reflect and review the wonderful (and sometimes not-so-wonderful) things that happened to me throughout the year. I’m so thankful for all of the family and friends who helped make 2014 a great year! I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!

Riding Group
Riding Group


Jan 2: My 33rd birthday.

Jan 24 – 26: Tahoe Trip. We headed to Tahoe with the bunko crew… and my sister ended up in the hospital with the flu from hell.

Jan 29: Group riding lesson. Riding really grew on me in 2014… this was the first of many group lessons

and the first of many trips around Lake Tabeaud. We took fourteen horses out that day… it was so much fun!


Feb 8: Pinterest Master. After a few weekends of hard work, I finished my first Pinterest project… a wall mounted laundry drying system for our laundry room.


Me & My Horse!
Me & My Horse!

Mar 22: Got barn cats (Charlie & Kenzie). They did pretty well for the first couple weeks and promptly

disappeared. Kenzie has not been seen since, but Charlie apparently adopted my neighbor Charlie and is now living over there. So much for my mousers…

Mar 27: Bought my first horse. Quite possibly the best day of my year. I bought Sue, a three year old quarter horse gelding. In the last nine months we have bonded like I never imagined and I’m having the best time learning with him!

Shadow Getting Sun
Shadow Getting Sun


Apr 6: Shadow impales himself. In possibly one of the worst days of the year, Shadow jumped against the gate to his pen and impaled himself on the latch (about 2 inches in). After a terrifying drive down to the emergency vet, lots of stitches, one annoying cone, and a ton of pain pills, we were back in business.

Apr 12: Willie Nelson Concert. This had to have been one of the most disappointing concerts I’ve been to.

Easter Train
Easter Train

We loved the Greek, but Willie was sorely lacking. I think it’s just age… the potential was definitely there, but his voice was not.

Apr 13: Easter Train. We took Chloe, Brad, Katie, and Skyler on the Easter train… it was such a blast!

Apr 27: Sue’s new tack. I finally got all outfitted – new saddle, new bit, new headstall. Sue is a good looking fella!


May 10: Strazzo Retirement Party. This was a blast… as all good firefighter retirement parties are!


Jun 7-14: Newport Beach Fishing Trip. As always, our annual Newport trip was amazing. We spent time on

Shoe Coming Off
Shoe Coming Off

the beach, fishing, and just hanging out. The highlight would have to be seeing the hundreds of dolphins feeding near our boat!

Jun 15: Western States Horse Expo. Mom, Dad, and I headed down to Cal Expo for the Expo – they had just about everything you could think of to buy for horses as well as some pretty neat clinics.

Jun 26: Day at the ranch. I spent a day at the ranch helping clean and exercise the horses – it was a great experience to get to work with horses other than Sue and I got to watch the farrier shoe him!

Sand Fire
Sand Fire


Jul 4: Waklee 4th of July Pig Roast. Epic is the word to describe this one. We had a fantastic day hanging with the Waklees and friends.

Jul 7: Sand Fire. This one was a hard one… I could see the fire from our house (although far away) and it really stressed me out. Mike was gone for a while on this one and several others this summer!

Jul 26: Amy’s Baby Shower. Kati and I had such a blast at Amy’s baby shower to welcome miss Lyla!


Aug 2: Brad Paisley Concert. As always, Mr. Paisley was amazing. I could see him a hundred times and not get bored!

Kati's Baby Shower
Kati’s Baby Shower

Aug 8: Kati’s Baby Shower & Miranda Lambert Concert. This was a busy and exhausting day! We held Kati’s shower at my house and had an absolute blast! The Miranda concert was awesome too!

Aug 9: Country in the Park. Mom and I went to this one… it was pretty good! I got tickets through work and they took very good care of us! We had a blast just hanging out together!

Aug 22: Rascal Flatts Concert. Love this guys. Another group I could watch over and over!

Aug 31: Falconry Lesson. Mom and I did one of these a few years ago and loved it. She decided to take my Dad and I tagged along! It was great learning about the birds and actually getting to handle them!

Cabin Trip
Cabin Trip


Sept 12: Blake Shelton Concert. This was the last concert for me on the Mega Ticket (I had to skip Luke Bryan). Amber and I really had a lot of fun going to this series! Blake Shelton was great, as always!

Sept 26-28: Cowgirl Cabin Trip #1. A group of us headed to my trainer’s cabin near Arnold for a weekend of girls and riding! It was absolutely amazing… Sue and I had so much fun! One of the highlights was a ride in the rain… the storm came out of nowhere and we galloped through the thunder and downpour to get back to the cabin! I made some great new friends and had a ton of fun!

Sept 30: NRCHA 2014 Snaffle Bit Futurity. My trainer and I headed out to Reno to watch the Snaffle Bit Futurity – basically a cow horse competition in which all of the horses are three years old. It was absolutely amazing to watch the pros and I even got to talk to some of them!


Mike & I At Central Park
Mike & I At Central Park

Oct 2-5: Cowgirl Cabin Trip #2. I had so much fun the first week that I decided to go back for more!

Oct 12: Juliette Elise is born. My sister was kind enough to have her second child after my cowgirl trips, but before my anniversary trip. Little Juliette is such a sweet baby… with a set of pipes! This one is our opera singer!

Oct 18-27: 3rd Anniversary Road Trip. This year we headed back to the East Coast to see Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York. We had the most amazing time!

Oct 22: Our 3rd wedding anniversary. Still love him to pieces!

Show Morning!
Show Morning!


Nov 9: Our first show. Sue and I competed in Placerville together for the first time. We got disqualified (my fault, not his) but had an absolutely great time! We’ll be starting up again in February!

Nov 15: Jersey Boys with Dad. I won tickets at work to see Jersey Boys and took my Daddy to see it! I didn’t really know the storyline, but it was an amazing musical!

Nov 23: The first firing of the pizza oven. After a long time in building, the pizza oven was finally ready to go! I can’t believe how much fun it’s been to make wood fired pizza and to spend time with our friends and family!

Nov 27: Thanksgiving & Run To Feed The Hungry. This year we had Thanksgiving at my sister’s house… it was a great time! My mom and I did our annual Thanksgiving morning run which was so much fun, as usual!


Dec 13: Chloe’s “Pancakes & Pajamas” 2nd Birthday Party. This was an absolute blast. That little girl was a social butterfly!

Dec 24: Christmas with the Blankenheim/Guzmans. As always, Christmas Eve mass was beautiful, we had delicious food and a great time!

Dec 25: Christmas with the Smithson/Barcklay/Zenos. We hosted Christmas at our house this year because Mike was working. It was a wonderful, cozy day!

Dec 28: Juliette’s baptism. I get to be a fairy godmother again!!! I love this little girl… she has a set of pipes and decided to show the whole church that she could “sing”! It was also the one year anniversary of my first riding lesson!

2013 Year In Review

This honestly is one of my favorite posts of the year. I love looking back at both the highs and the lows (honestly, without the lows, how would we know how great the highs were?) and just reminiscing about this crazy thing called life. Each post will have a link embedded into it, so if you’d like to read a little more about that experience, click the link to go to that post. Enjoy and Happy New Year!


January 2: My 32nd birthday. It was a mellow day – the best kind! We hit up trivia night at our favorite place (they’re closing today!!!) and had a blast!

January 16: Finished Random Acts of Kindness. I did 26 random acts of kindness in honor of the 26 people killed in Newton. I learned a lot about myself and regained some faith in humanity!

January 27: Rock of Ages. This was my birthday present from Mike and musical did not disappoint! Even Mike liked it!

January 31: George Strait concert. I am so happy I got to see the Cowboy on his last tour! He was awesome! Martina McBride opened for him and she was phenomenal as well!


February 2: SuperBowl. My 49ers do not win. That’s all I have to say about that.

February 23: Snowshoeing with Shadow. Mark, Mike, Shadow and I headed out for an adventure in the snow with Shadow. He did so well – it was really fun to see him frolic in the snow!

February 24: Chloe’s Baptism. I became Chloe’s godmother… I’m so proud to call that baby girl my niece and goddaughter!


March 2: Behind the Cellar Door. Our annual wine tasting trip. We rented the van again this year and had so much fun with the Blankenheim clan!

March 6: I lost a good friend, Carol Hawk. She passed away unexpectedly after a short battle with cancer. It came as a shock but I’m happy she was surrounded by her family.

March 24: First visit to daffodil hill. It was absolutely beautiful and it was so fun to see Chloe take it all in!


April 28: Tore a ligament in my foot. Fun times in the boot ensued.


May 10: Miranda Lambert concert. This was the first in the country mega ticket series and was so good! The Pistol Annie’s were there (Miranda Lambert’s girl band) and Blake Shelton came out for the last song! I had a blast rocking out with Brigitte!

May 12: Mother’s Day. We had brunch with Mike’s family, then a BBQ at my parents house. It was great!

May 19: Sharkfest. Mike and I hopped on a ferry boat, rode it out to Alcatraz, jumped off, and swam back to shore!

May 24-26: Memorial Day getaway. We spent the weekend with the Debenedets and Waters families at their cabin in the Sequoia National Park. It was a beautiful cabin and we had a wonderful weekend with friends!


June 11-16: Newport vacation. We headed down to Newport Beach for Kayla’s graduation and to spend some time fishing on June Lightning. We had a wonderful time with my brother & sister in law and niece and nephew.

June 21: I get a beehive. Not the hairdo… bees. Lots of them. It was a really cool adventure and I learned a lot in my short tenure as a beekeeper!

June 26: The Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.


July 13: Mike does the Death Ride. Yup, he’s a stud.

July 26: Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z concert. I joined Adam and Eva for this one at Candlestick. We had an absolute blast laughing, dancing, and just enjoying the people watching!

July 30: Dinner with the Dennys. My college roommate and her awesome family were passing through town and stopped for dinner. It was so great to see her, Chris, and Abby!


August 1: A bear ate my bees. A mere two months into my career as a beekeeper, things came crashing to a halt. A bear decided that he wanted some honey, so he tore down the fence and ate the hive. RIP Queen Latifah.

August 17: Straight No Chaser concert. I have been waiting for years to go see SNC. I was joined by Mike, Adam, and Eva. The boys did not disappoint… it was an awesome show!

August 23: Brad Paisley concert. I love this guy. I’ve seen him before, but he’s good every time. He can play guitar like crazy!


September 9: Dave Matthews Band concert. Apparently summer concerts are not meant to be for Mike – he was once again on a fire. I went with the Waklees and we had a blast.

September 22: Keith Urban concert. Amber and I went together and, as always, had a great time. I was actually more impressed with Little Big Town than I was with Keith Urban, but the music was all good!

September 23: Falconing with Mom. We took a falconry lesson which was absolutely amazing. We learned how to call the birds and how they feed and live in the wild. So much fun!


October 1: US Government shuts down. Absolute embarrassment to our people and our country.

October 11: Jason Aldean concert. Amber and I went together and had a fantastic time singing and dancing!

October 19-28: East Coast Road Trip. As usual, we did a road trip for our anniversary and covered New JerseyPennsylvania, Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. It was absolutely beautiful and I got to check off “see the fall colors” from my bucket list!

October 22: Our 2nd wedding anniversary. Still love the man!


November 17: Zac Brown Band concert. This was my final concert of a very busy year of music. Brigitte and I had the pleasure of watching the show from the Intel box at SleepTrain Arco Arena

and it was an absolutely amazing show! I will see them time and time again!

November 23: Raymond’s retirement party. Ray’s my father-in-law and we threw a hell of a party for him. There was a roasted pig, lots of beer, and a ton of people who came out to wish him well!

November 28: Thanksgiving. Mom, Dad, and I did the Run to Feed the Hungry this year and had so much fun! Then Mike and I had Thanksgiving dinner with the Blankenheim clan, which was fun and delicious!

November 30: Mike’s 40th birthday party. Chaos ensued.


December 5: Nelson Mandela dies. While not altogether shocking (he was pretty old), it was sad to hear that someone who did so much good for the world was gone. Hopefully his legacy of peace and love lives on in South Africa.

December 7: First snow of the season – we got 7 inches at our house! Shadow and I headed outside to run and play in it and generally had a fun morning!

December 8: Ran the California International Marathon, my 2nd marathon. PR of 2 hours, 42 minutes! It was a really great experience and I’m so glad I decided to do a 2nd one. Definitely different than the one that I had in San Diego, but I wouldn’t change either one!

December 28: My first ever riding lesson. I had the best time!

2012 Year In Review

Every year I like to take a little time before the New Year’s craziness to reflect back on all that’s happened over the last 365 days. It’s always kinda fun for me to put this post together – even though it takes a long time, it reminds me of all of the great (and sometimes not so great) things that have happened. Without further ado, I bring you 2012!


January 2: My 31st birthday. I spent a nice day at home and went to dinner with my family. Nothing like The Union’s fried chicken and macaroni & cheese to ring in another year!

Director's AwardJanuary 4: Mike gets the CalFire Directors Award. It was an honor to attend this ceremony not only to see Mike get his award (so proud!) but to see all of the wonderful work that others did to go above and beyond their daily jobs!

January 28: Pioneer Fire Department Crab Feed. Yes, I went to a crab feed. No, I did not eat crab. But it was actually a lot of fun. It was hosted by Perry Creek Winery and we had a great time. We entered the raffle and actually won a night’s stay at Fitzpatrick Winery and Lodge!

January 29: Professional Bull Riding. I got tickets to this through work and thought “why not?”. We had an absolute blast watching the cowboys try to stay on some pretty angry bulls! We got to sit in the suite and had a really good time!


February 11: Whitney Houston Dies. At the way too young age of 48, Whitney Houston passed away. This is one of those celebrity deaths that took my breath away… she had such an amazing voice and it’s a shame that she’s gone.Brigitte's Baby Shower

February 25: Brigitte’s Baby Shower. Our theme was mini-everything, so we had mini-desserts, mini-appies, and individual veggie cups. It was a really fun time and Brigitte looked super cute!


March 8: Fitzpatrick Winery Stay. We had the whole week off and decided to do a staycation. It was really nice to have some time home, but we also used the opportunity to use our free stay at Fitzpatrick Winery. It was absolutely beautiful and a really neat place to spend the night! We went home with a case of their anniversary Zin!

Shamrock'n HalfMarch 11: Shamrock’n Half Marathon. After three months of training, Kati and I finally made it to race day for her first and my second half marathon. I am beyond proud of my sister – we ran a 2:13 and had the best time together! I think training with her really brought us closer together!

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day Bunco. Kati and Nate hosted this one and it was so much fun! We got all dressed up in our green (even Mike got on board with his “Irish you were beer” shirt) and had a really fun time!

March 29: Lady Antebellum Concert. Kati and I did a sisters night out (little did we know, this was baby Chloe’s first concert!). It was a really good show that had Thompson Square and Darius Rucker opening for Lady A who were awesome!


April 1: Shadow Turns Seven. And promptly destroys his gift.Aspen Nicole

April 8: Kati & Nate Announce Their Pregnancy. And thus, little Chloe came to be… 🙂

April 8: Aspen is Born. Brigitte had Aspen a little earlier than expected (she’s an Easter bunny!), but she was healthy and absolutely beautiful! She weighed in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 inches long.


Mother's DayMay 5: Ashley & Jim’s Wedding. Our year(s) of weddings continued with Ashley and Jim’s. Theirs was held at the Italian Picnic Grounds in Jackson and was a beautiful outdoor ceremony. We had a great time!

May 13: Mother’s Day. We spent Mother’s day with my mom at the Amador Flower Farm. It was a beautiful day and we packed a really great picnic lunch before wandering around the grounds.


June 4: San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Yup, I ran my first marathon. That’s 26.2 miles for those of you counting. My worst nightmare came true and I got really sick (hello blue porta potties), but I still finished. I’m so proud of myself – I consider this one of my biggest accomplishments so far!

June 16: Wicked. We were given tickets to see Wicked as a wedding gift from our friend Chris. This quickly moved up my list of favorite musicals to #2, right behind Phantom of the Opera. We made a night out of it and had dinner downtown – it was great!

Jake's WeddingJune 17: Father’s Day. We spent the morning boating and barbecuing with my family and the afternoon barbecuing with Mike’s. It was a fantastic day!

June 23: Jake & Gina’s Wedding. Another member of the J.A.K.E. club bites the dust. Jacob made his grand entrance in his suped up rock crawler and it was a beautiful evening. Welcome to the family Gina!


July 5: First Day of Sabbatical. I am incredibly lucky to work at an amazing company, Intel. Every seven years that you work there, you get eight weeks off (in addition to your regular vacation). The idea is that you get away from work, recharge, and come back refreshed. It’s an amazing program. It took a couple weeks to mellow out, but once I did, I had a fantastic time!Paris

July 14 – 25: Switzerland & France Trip. We decided that we wanted our big trip to be over to Europe to watch the Tour de France. We spent 16 days roadtripping through Switzerland and France. It was one of the best vacations I’ve been on – we had an absolute blast together! We hiked, rode our bikes up the Alp d’Huez, and watched the big finish in Paris.

July 31: Barenaked Ladies Concert. I joined Adam and Eva at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. I absolutely loved the venue – it’s a intimate outdoor venue, perfect for a summer evening concert. The show was amazing… I love BNL!


HouseboatAugust 4: Aerosmith Concert. They were absolutely fantastic. I can’t believe the vocal chops Steven Tyler still has… he sang “Dream On” while playing the piano and it sounded just like when he was younger!

August 14: CeeLo and Lucia join the Blankenheim family. Shadow’s life will never be the same.

August 10 – 12: Girls Houseboating Trip. I spent the weekend with my besties out on Lake Oroville. As always, we had a blast jet skiing, swimming, dancing, and drinking.


September 18: Mike Gets Promoted. I am beyond proud of my husband. After a ton of hard work, he was promoted to Batallion Chief.

September 22: Al & Kim’s Wedding. This was a beautiful wedding up in Chico. We had an awesome time and danced the night away!

September 30: Tim & Lynn’s Wedding Reception. These two lovebirds decided to surprise everyone and elope! They had a reception a month or so later so that we could all celebrate with them. In true Blankenheim style, Uncle Tim was surrounded by his family and hooked up to the ball and chain. It was great!


Kati's Baby ShowerOctober 13: Kati’s Baby Shower. We stuck with a lavender and butterflies theme, which is how the nursery is decorated. The weather was beautiful and it was so great to see all of Kati’s friends come out to celebrate with her!

October 21 – 24: First Anniversary Road Trip. Mike and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by taking a road trip up the North Coast. It was absolutely beautiful! We started in finished the trip with a visit to Mike’s aunt and uncle up in Eugene, Oregon. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful trip or a better time!

NovemberRun To Feed The Hungry

November 22: Run To Feed The Hungry. This was the first race/event that my mom has done and I was honored to run with her. We had an absolutely great time! We’re thinking about making this a Thanksgiving Day tradition – it was nice to get some exercise in before we ate!


ChloeDecember14: Sandy Hook Elementary Shootings. A man walked into several classrooms and opened fire, killing twenty children and six teachers. He also killed his mother before turning the gun on himself. Inspired by Ann Curry, I start the 26 Random Acts of Kindness.

December 15: Chloe Noelle is born. After 28 loooong hours, Chloe was finally here. In a weekend that was a blur of exhaustion, snuggles, and poop, I got to meet my new niece. I still can’t believe how much I love her! This is one of my favorite pictures of her because she looks so goofy in it! I already took a zillion… they’re all adorable!

December 24: Christmas with the Blankenheims. We spent our traditional Christmas Eve with Mike’s family – first church, followed by an appetizer feast at Grandmas, and then presents at Ray and Nancy’s. It was great!

December 25: Christmas with the Smithsons/Barcklays. This year instead of going to my parents house, as is the tradition, we went to Kati & Nate’s since the baby is still so new. We had a blast cooking, watching movies, and of course, opening presents!