I remember very distinctly my G-ma turning 50.  Her 3 daughters went allll out on a HUGE 50th birthday surprise bash… and it really was her best birthday ever.  Now, I KNEW that it was mostly on me to turn up the awesome for her birthday… afterall, I am her only kid!

Now, I don’t mean to brag… but when it comes to my mom… I’m kind of the shizzz when it comes to gifting.  She’s SO easy to buy for… and I absolutely love doing nice things for her. When I was a kid… I was artsy. Shocking, right?  Every time it was gift giving time I’d ask her, “what do you want me to get you?” Her response was ALWAYS, “Make me something, I love it when you do!” And to the drawing board I’d go… I’d spend days crafting the perfect gift.  Now, once I turned into a teenager… I sort of became too cool to make stuff… I don’t think I’ve given my mom an artsy gift since I was 12…

Fast forward to 6 weeks ago… it donned on me… My mom is going to be FIFTY… as in… FIVE ZERO… as in… I better give her THE most amazing gift ever… as in… her birthday is in TWO WEEKS… OH EM GEEEE WHAT AM I GOING TO DO???!?! How the hell did I forget about the importance of this??!? HER BIRTHDAY IS IN TWO WEEEEEEKS!!!!!  Now, as I’ve mentioned one million times… our world was in absolute chaos leading up to Vegas, but that’s NO excuse…. I just couldn’t believe that I’d almost let this slip past.

So, I did what any good daughter who had a mom turning 50 would do… I asked my Twitter/Facebook friends 🙂

You guys REALLY came through. I had tons of great ideas… mostly involving spas/massages/pampering… you know… a spa day with me. Now, that’s just not our scene. I mean, I could be wrong… but that just didn’t feel like us. Know what I’m sayin’? Maybe I’ll whip something like that up for 51. 🙂

Back on topic…

MARCIA TUMMINARO TO THE RESCUUUUE!!!!!  She responded on Facebook with, “I’d say go with something that’s going to make her FEEL younger. Like,  giving her a handmade gift like the kind you used to make when you were a kid. Sentimental stuff never fails!” She was SO right!!!!! As SOON as I saw that I KNEW that I was about to get my craft on! Then another Facebook friend (Kim Browning) chimed in, “How about getting a blank journal and writing your top 50 memories of times spent together?”

HMMM… the wheels started spinning… what if I asked all of the people she’s closest to to write something… anything they wanted… could be as long or as short as they’d like… and with each writing they’d send a single photo… and I’d lay it all out into an album. HMMMMM…. I LIKE THIS IDEA!!!!!

I told Mike my big idea.

“Bobbi, we’re leaving for Vegas in 9 days, how are you going to get this done in time?! You’re always biting off more than you can chew!”

My usual response, “It’ll be easy… I’ll get it done in no time… don’t worry about it…. it’ll be special… I PROMISE!”

“ARGH!” he responded… knowing full well that I’m incapable of doing anything that isn’t ridiculously over the top… ESPECIALLY for a 50th birthday… and ESPECIALLY with the time line I forced myself into.

I started sending emails…. making phone calls… begging asking her family and friends to contribute… and contribute quickly 🙂 I gave them a 2 day deadline. WHEWWW to that!

G-ma, Aunt Karen and Aunt Kay went to work… next thing you know I have a box of my mom’s entire life in pictures. WOW! I was NOT expecting this!!!!! I sorted them… chronologically… Mike started scanning….

Then the stories rolled in. Wow guys. THE STORIES… I LOOOOOOVED reading what people had to say about my mom. This was my absolute favorite part.

I then spent the next 2 days putting together and perfecting every aspect of this album. If you’re a Twitter friend… you knew how hard I worked on it. 🙂

I’m TELLING you… this book was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. This was NOT something I was anticipating happening… I just thought it’d be a cool thing for her… I didn’t realize what it would do for me and our mom/daughter relationship.

Sometimes, as daughters/sons… it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and to see our parents as more than just “my Mom.” We only think about how our parents are effecting us RIGHT now… or we’re guilty of focusing on the negatives in our past. But to see how other people view my mom… you know… as KIM… was something that I’d never been able to do. Hearing everyone’s stories and memories filled me with pride. She loves her family and would do anything for them, and has. She makes people around her happy.

On that note… EVERY single one of you out there need to jump into a project like this for the most important people in your life.  To watch my mom and I grow up on these pages… to read the amazing stories… to help our relationship/friendship heal and grow… it really is priceless.   Please guys, it’s important… do it. K?

SOOOOO… the album 😀 NOT gonna lie… IT’S FLIPPING AMAAAAAZINNNNNG!!! 😀 😀 😀  What makes it amazing, you ask?

  1. The photos were the shiz
  2. The layout is simple/consistent… putting the entire focus on the images/text
  3. It’s a Renaissance  album 🙂

A quick side note: Renaissance has THE best customer service I’ve EVER experienced with ANY company I’ve done business with.

I was on a ridiculous time line (because I waited so long to make this album) that didn’t allow for ANY wiggle room. As a result of that, Renaissance was overnighting the album to KC… where we all were to celebrate her birthday. 🙂 Everything seemed like it was A-OK!

THEN, as I was tracking its every move online, I noticed that FedEx routed it through the wrong hub or something (weird, right?!). The SECOND I noticed this I called Renaissance in a panic. Ken and Tasha were ON it! They were on the phone with the people of FedEx for over an hour ON A FRIDAY NIGHT trying to get them to straighten out the mess to make sure that this album was going to get to me on time… and it did!!!! 😀

I’m leaving out a lot of specifics of this story as to not make this blog entry longer than it already is… but MARK MY WORDS…  in my OH SO humble opinion, Renaissance is THEEEEE most amazing album company in existence 🙂  I genuinely can’t think of any other photography vendor who would have gone above and beyond like they did. I’m still totally blown away by them.

Please know that I’m not one to praise a company for any kind of kickbacks (have you ever heard me talk about ANY photog vendor here?). I just think good customer service is a big deal… and I want you all to know of their amazingness 🙂

OOOOKAY… enough words… I’ll get on with the images!!!


I had the cover done in red silk. For YEARS my mom was known for her BRIGHT red lipstick… As a matter of fact, when I close my eyes and picture my mom, that’s exactly how I see her. 😉

Three cutouts.  The first, my mom, 1964. The second, mom with her sisters, mom, and me in 1985. The third, mom and me, 2009.


The book was in chronological order. Here’s the first page. I think that these photos were taken before my Mom was born. On the right, that’s what G-ma wrote.

Mom and her sisters.

Mom joined the Air Force in 1978… where she met my dad in 1979.

For this blog entry, I mostly focused on the images of me and my mom, friends of mine & people who’ve influenced my life… but I assure you that there were PLENTY of other photos with her friends and family  in there, too.

This is one of my favorite layouts. 1. pregnant 2. in labor (21 hours, WHEW!) 3. fresh Bobbi 4. at home, as a mom. 🙂

I looked just like my daddy.

One of my favorite photos of the entire book. When I was 4, I had an imaginary friend (don’t make fun of me… most only children have one!). My imaginary friend fit in my hand and would ride on my tricycle handle bars. I named my friend after my favorite person. Her name was Karen. That photo… that’s me and Aunt Karen… and you can just TELL how smitten I was with her.

Aunt Karen’s (Mom’s  younger sister and a HUGE influence on me) writeup was my favorite… those two are best best best friends.  Karen’s included lots and lots of memories and inside jokes.

I often get questions about my dad, as I don’t talk about him much… well, there he is. 🙂 He now lives in Washington state with his three kids. My mom, with the help of Aunt Karen, Aunt Kay, G-ma, Papa and mom’s best friend Judy all helped raise me. I wouldn’t be who I am today if you took just one of those people out of the equation.

Oh, and for those who know me really well…  see in the far right photo? In that Smurf stroller? IT’S BABYBLUE!!!!!

That photo of us in red… that’s the only family photo of my mom and I. It was taken right after the divorce.  My mom and dad were living in Alaska when they decided things weren’t working.  Mom moved from Alaska back to KC, with a four year old in tow.  Can you imagine that? I can’t. Man oh man… you’re such a strong woman. I now have that photo framed on my desk.

QUICK TANGENT: Mom and Dads of the world… GET YOUR FAMILY PHOTO TAKEN!!!! I’ve always known of their importance… but after working on this project… I can’t stress  it enough! Even if WalMart is what you can afford, DO IT! Also, it doesn’t matter if you think you’re chubby/not attractive… these photos aren’t for you… they’re for your kids… and they think you’re beautiful. 🙂

That guy there… he’s been the only male constant in my upbringing. He’s my Papa. I lived with my G-ma and Papa off and on my entire life.  He passed in 2002. Sucks, big time.

My mom on Halloween… this is SOOOO her! I think we were both witches that year. It was an easy costume! Wear black clothes, add a pointy had and you’re good to go!  That photo on the left? That’s Mindy and me. 🙂 She lived across the street from my G-ma. Her mom, Judy, is my mom’s best friend. See that long ratty hair? I’ve had REALLY long hair my entire life.  It was kind of my identity. Then I turned 21 and wanted to be a grown up and cut it all off… I’m weird.

I’m the kind of person who always has a best friend. I moved a LOT LOT LOT growing up… so it was just easier for me to attach myself to one person. I met Corrie in the 7th grade, where I started at that school halfway through the year. I was very unusual, quirky, wore ugly clothes, had that long nasty hair, was strangely confident and overly dramatic. No one liked me… which was usually the case. Corrie, however, she found me interesting. She invited me to her house to spend the night. We’ve been best friends ever since. She’s my Grigh. 🙂 I know that she loves me regardless of my successes/failures and would see me no differently if I chose to be a garbage man. I’m her Grigh… and I tell the best stories 😉 Afterall… if I were a garbage man, you KNOW I’d have some great stories!

I was a Sparkette at Indiana State 🙂 We got to perform the halftime show at the Colts/Bengals game in 1999. Mom and Aunt Karen cheered me on… where they somehow were able to sneak on to the sidelines.  Here we are in the parking lot after the game. Mom was so proud.

Then I joined the Army National Guard. That photo of me hugging my mom… that’s the day I graduated basic training. She, along with my Aunt Karen drove to North Carolina to watch me graduate. Top 3 most amazing mo
ments of my life.

And then… I got married. 🙂 Also in the top 3 most amazing moments of my life.

Here’s the last layout of the album… where I wrote my story. 🙂 The photo on the left… Lauren took that last summer. The photo on the right, I took that 3 years ago.  There I am… allll grown up.  There’s mom…. alllll grown up. 🙂 I love this page. Big time.

If you’re interested in reading what I wrote… here’s an excerpt…

Mom, I love you.

I couldn’t have asked for a more fun person to be my Mom.  When you’re around, I can’t help but have fun.  You shimmy, dance, sinnnnnng loudly, make that goofy face you make, you’re just so weird and I love it!

I remember very vividly being 3 years old and hiding in your bed under the covers and you would lie on top “AHHHH!!! SO COMFORTABLE!!! WAAAIT!!! WHAT’S THIS LUMP UNDER MY BED… AND WHY IS IT GIGGLING?!”  I’d laugh hysterically, “MOM IT’S ME SILLY!”

I also remember wanting to be just like you.  I’ll never forget being 4 years old; you came to pick me up from daycare in Alaska with all of your long hair cut off… I was so upset, “MOM! NOW WE DON’T LOOK ALIKE!”

By the time I was 8 we were moved in with G-ma. I had a countdown to Fridays. After all, Friday was “our night” which usually consisted of egg rolls from the local Chinese restaurant or if I was REALLY lucky, I got to eat canned hot tamales, YUM!  Then we’d usually go the $1.50 movie theater, only after going to WalMart to sneakily stuff candy in your purse.

I remember waking up, at 9 years old, with my chest hurting… “Ohhh Bobbi, you’re going to be just like your Momma with big boobs…” “But Mom, all of the kids at school are calling me Boobie!” You said, and I’ll never forget, “Bobbi Michelle, if you laugh at yourself first, no one has anything left to say.” I’ve since lived my life that way.

At 11 years old, you found the “shoe shirt,” needless to say, my “wanting to be just like you” stage wore off. I’m convinced you only wore it so much because I hated it! Do you still have that ugly thing?! I bet you do just to potentially antagonize me!

You bought me a computer when I was 12. In 1993, that was a HUGE deal! Computers weren’t the norm then like they are today. Though we never had much money, I never did without. You did what you had to do to make it happen.  That computer is still, to this day, the best gift I’ve ever received.

While in college, I came down with a pretty serious case of strep throat. Within 2 hours of calling you, from my DEATHBED  (don’t mind the dramatics), you were right by my side, taking me to the doctor and patting my forehead. There is no one in this entire world that I can count on more than I can count on you. You’d drop everything if you knew I needed you.

Now, I’m 28. Though we don’t have the same haircut like we did when I was 4, I am, in many ways… just like my Momba. Like you, I make no apologies for being exactly who I am and have built an incredible business with that mentality.  Furthermore, I have your loud laugh, large chest and today I bought my first pair of clicking shoes.  But, don’t get your hopes up, big hair and red lipstick are not in any foreseeable future!

Mom, you’re one of my best friends. I love laughing with you. I love who you are. I love seeing you as Kim.  You’re confident, silly, hilarious, trustworthy, loving and determined.

I’m proud to have you as my Mom.

I love you, big time.

Bobbi Michelle.

PS. You’re pretty!

Now, it’s time to give it to her. Don’t be mad that I’m posting a photo of a stupid bow… I was proud of the creation. 🙂

She was SO excited to open it… she was “wigglin'”!

These next three photos were taken within 1 minute of each other. She went from being surprised…

to crying…

to thankful…

G-ma with her 3 girls… Kim, Karen and Kay.

Each person was able to read out loud what they wrote. On the left, that’s Aunt Kay… the youngest.

On the right, G-ma… with Johnny. 🙂 Johnny was sitting on G-mas front porch when we drove home from Papa’s funeral in 2002.  None of us thought anything of him sitting out there… we just thought he was a stray dog. The next morning Mike said… “Sharon, that dog is still on the front porch, and he has icicles hanging from his beard.” Grandma brought him in the house and fried him an egg. The rest is history. 🙂 Oh, and the name Johnny… Papa was OBSESSED with John Deere tractors… need I say more? 🙂

I love how much he cares for her. I’m a lucky girl.

My turn. PS. BOY OH BOY I have some DEEEEEP dimples!

I made my first home made cake. But… did it with help 🙂 Mom’s favorite… German Chocolate Cake. When I hear that…. BLEHHHHH!!!!!! Coconut… BLEHHHHHHH!!!!!! Needless to say, as  I was looking up recipes… I had NO idea what to look for.  So, I sent a text to a high school friend who’s now a chef in Chicago… she helped me through the entire process. It was a pretty hard core cake! I mean… we’re talking… I ROASTED THE COCONUT!!!!! Yeah, HARD CORE!!!!! So, thanks Allison!

The night of her party… Mike set up a photo booth 🙂 She LOVED it!!!! Here I am testing the light 😉

One more test shot 😉

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!?? Melt my heart into one ZILLLLLLION pieces!!!!!

I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without these two ladies. That’s the famous Aunt Karen on the left.


That’s Linda… she’s their adopted “SEEEEEESTER” PS. Mike’s fun 🙂

Judy, Mindy’s mom. I spent every weekend at her house for mannnnny years. 🙂 We decided to wear matching outfits 😉 SPEAKING of that green jacket… I SWEAR to you I have more clothes than that… it just seems that every time there’s a camera present it’s what I’m wearing. Though, I will admit… I do feel pretty when I’m wearing it 😉


Three generations… THIS IS MY FAAAAAVORITE!!!!! ❗ I’m so glad we took this photo. This was my only request 🙂

If you read this entire entry… MAD props to you. Thank you for caring. 🙂

To everyone who contributed your time and love to the album… I can’t thank you enough.  Thank you for making my mom happy. Thank you for showing me the side of her I could never see. Thank you for being a part of our lives.

Mike, thank you for all that you do for us. I love you SO incredibly much. I’m lucky to have you in my world. Oh yes, I am. 😉

Mom, HIP HIP HAPPIDY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!. Hope it was perfect. I love you.


~bobbi ❗