family, june 2013, memories, photos, summer 2013

My Sassy Grandma Gooding and Fifi La’More, the skunk.

Grandma Gooding circa 193?

While I’m in transition of moving back to Munich, (Yes this is happening. So much to update you all with, all in due time. I promise.), I have had a lot of time to just be. I’ve been able to sit down and read a book without the thought of the critical analysis I’d need to write about it afterward. I’ve been able to go to the store just to go to the store. Observing and thinking and not on a mere hunt for the things I’d need for the upcoming week of chaos. This is a rare occurrence, I know. I am so grateful for this time to breathe. To think. To regroup.

This next move to Munich will be a whole new ballgame, a new chapter, and I have the kind of butterflies in your stomach that let you know something really really good is about to happen. Something new and scary and a new part of your life is just about to begin.

So yes, I’m trying to cherish this time, while also beyond hopeful about what’s ahead.

In this time I’ve been able to spend some time with my Grandma Gooding and help her write a bit of her life story. I come from a family of many, many cousins so I’ve never had much of a chance to talk to her one-on-one. So our Thursday lunches and afternoons filled with talking about her life are just wonderful. (I will be sad when I leave for Munich and we can’t eat at our new favorite diners and chat on Thursdays, but thank goodness there are telephone dates!)

I’ve realized that my Grandma has been sassy since she was a little girl growing up in a small town in Nebraska. I’ve learned that she has had quite the adventures and has gone through a lot of hardships. But she is just as feisty, if not more, than she was as a teenager. She is hilarious and has this brilliant ability to mention crazy stories with such nonchalance you’d think she was just talking about her shopping list…

“Oh we had the pet monkey after the our pet skunk, Fifi La’More…we’d walk Fifi around town on a leash. She had a bejeweled collar…”

You guys. It’s just as good as it sounds. Better even.

She quit her job when her friend was fired when they were teens out of solidarity.
A lady she babysat for asked her to get her cigarettes and instead of telling the lady she didn’t know how to drive, my grandma just took the keys and tried to remember how she had seen people shift gears. She made it back unharmed (thank God) cigarettes in hand and the lady never knew.

She’s a hoot. And a holler.
And one tough cookie.

More than anything though, she’s shown me that you can’t let people walk all over you, you need to demand respect, work hard–and most of all, have a little fun while you’re at it.

I’m so blessed she’s my grandma.
I love her
(and I love that I think I’ve got a bit of her sass).

A lot of it, actually…

And it’s an honor.

I love you, Grandma!

family, may 2013, photos, thought catalog

Learning how to come home.

[Overflowing with happiness reuniting with my nieces and the rest of my sweet family.]

To come home from another home is a weird feeling, because people expect you to be the person you were when you left, and that’s impossible. You expect things to be exactly the same as when you left, and that’s impossible. Maybe it’s impossible to even truly come home once you’ve gone away because of those changes. Coming home is strange, because now that place is just a tiny bit less of a home.


I plan on writing more soon, dear readers. At the moment, I am on a wee hiatus. I’m just trying to find my groove. xo
family, favorites, january 2013, joy that little things bring

Joy is contagious.

One of my favorite things in the entire world is seeing a groom’s face when they first see their bride. If someone were to capture those few seconds in a bottle, I’d buy a lifetime supply. Such raw love is rarely shown, and I love it so.

Another one of my favorite things? New dads. (Old dads, too.) Of course new mamas are like angels on Earth, but mamas never cease to amaze us daily, right? But dads don’t generally get as much attention as their new bundles of joy or their gorgeous baby mamas.

My cousin Michael and his wife are having a baby and man oh man, are we excited to have a new babe join our quirky family.

He’s writing his experience on his new blog 40 Weeks to Fatherhood. It’s hilarious, honest, and so flippin’ sweet.

Also, this exists. 

And this post made me laugh for a good twenty minutes.

…and because I can’t help myself…this.

birthday, blessed, countdown, family, growing up, joy that little things bring, life lesson, little reminders of life, twenty+three

twenty + three.

{one of my favorite photos from year 22: rome, July 2011}

Yesterday I turned twenty-three! I don’t know how this past year managed to fly by so quickly. It seems like just yesterday I turned twenty-one… eeps.
But this past year, it was amazing & life changing. Last year I was sipping on champagne in Germany that day I turned twenty-two. Little did I know the adventures that were in store for me. And to think, that the adventures have merely just begun, well that is an incredibly wonderful thing. 
But, as an ode to the last year, I’d love to share twenty-three things I’ve come to know during this last year…

23. If you want to do something, do it. People will be skeptical, people will tell you a million reasons it won’t work. But if you feel you can do it, you probably can. And more than that, you’ll regret it if you don’t. Au pairing was the greatest adventure of my life. It changed the way I think about life, and the way I live my life.
22. On that note, coming home to finish my degree, thus having to return from my new home, was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, though definitely also one of the hardest.
21. I’m going to Dubrovnik on my honeymoon.
20. If you get the urge to get bangs, go for it (just don’t use skype for your mirror…).
19. Getting a Kindle, though I am a forever-lover of print, is a brilliant, brilliant decision. Eleven books in one month? Yes.
18. Though far away in terms of distance, you really do keep those you love close in your heart, no matter where you are.
17. Attending a University in a foreign country was, by far, one of the most eye-opening experiences. I learned so much not only in a school sense, but in a cultural sense. And I was able to participate…in another language. One of my childhood dreams came true. Still so surreal.
16. People that are meant to come into your life, do. I can’t control that; I can only have faith.
15. It really is about perspective & where you put your joy.
14. Blogging is still, by far, one of the greatest things I have decided to do.
13. I can actually cook. Real food. And some wickedly scrumptious home-made break. Yup.
12. Graduating from college is extremely exciting, but equally terrifying. But it’s normal to feel that way. I’m going to be ok.
11. We’re all going to run into a lot of nay sayers in life. Let’s ignore them– better yet, let’s prove them wrong. 
10. People come into our lives when they’re meant to, just as much as they leave our lives when they’re meant to
9. Copenhagen causes me to burst into tears. I love it that much. I never, ever knew.
8. There are a lot of things I need to quit being afraid of & just try.
7. People you don’t see very often, or know particularly well, have the ability to tell you things that stay with you forever. (and things you most need to hear.)
6. Life in your twenties is pretty tricky, & exciting, and really, really scary. It’s ok to feel that.
5. I actually loved riding a bike as my main mode of transportation.
4. I need to embrace uncertainty
3. I need to be more patient.
2. Being vulnerable is brave.
1. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have such wonderful family & friends. I am surrounded by blessings.

Thank you so much for letting me share these special life moments & lessons with you. I am forever thankful for your support! Love, love, love.

back in kansas, christmas 2011, december 2011, family

Christmas (back) in Kansas City.

 i hope your holidays were merry & bright.
{Christmas night. 2011.}

if you’ve ever been apart of an Allen family Christmas, you’ll understand my delayed posting. 
it is the most exciting, laughter-filled, stuffed to the brim with grub, zillions of tales exchanged, trivia challenge-jam packed, fun experience you will ever have.

start this three day celebration right after a 30+ hour day of travel & jet lag? yep, you can guarantee you’ll be a bit zonked for a few days.

so if i fall a bit behind on my posts, i apologize. but my bed awaits & my abs are resting from all that laughter.

p.s. my sister is way better at this keeping up business. you can see all of our shenanigans at her blog. 😉

fall 2011, family, growing up, memories, missing you, november 2008, photos of love

three years of missing you.

[grandma & grandpa allen with the bunch, circa december 1991.(that’s me with the finger on my teeth…like that hair, do ya?!)

“She will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving because I will never stop loving. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.” 

-jandy nelson-

three years ago we lost our beloved grandma allen.
our lives have never been the same since that somber day.
but she lives on.

oh how her love lives on.

i love you grandma,
your annie

adventures, au pairing, Copenhagen 2011, family, germany 2011, october 2011, travel

With Love– from Copenhagen.

{illustration above by mads berg.}

off to København to meet up with my cousin Geoff for a few days.
be back soon with lots of photos & adventures to share!
p.s. i’m slightly obsessed with bicycling about here where i live now in Germany… so i’m pretty convinced my mind will be blown when i see first-hand the rad amount of bike riders in copenhagen (36% of commuters are by bike–wowza!)
p.p.s. this made me giggle.