“The Land of Stories”

Hey guys! How’s everyone doing?

I wanted to start this post by saying a huge thank you! In the last couple of weeks (since my one year Surgiversary post), I have received an outpouring of love from y’all! I have received over 350 emails, Facebook messages, and texts from people. Wow! I couldn’t have even imagined the type of love and support I would get just from taking the steps to better myself. I have met so many incredible people, made so many lasting friendships, and learned so much about myself in the last year. This journey is far from over, and it’s the most beautiful one I could have imagined. I have fallen in love with life all over again.

Things are great on my end! For those of you who don’t know, Alex works in a school district as a teacher’s aide for special needs students. During the summer he wanted to keep working so he found a job at a daycare. He was recently promoted to a high school position (he was working with kindergartners before), and he took off the last couple weeks of summer before the high school starts so we can have time together as a family! I’m loving it! We go swimming all the time, we cook together, go to the library together… we basically do everything together and I love it!

Other than having my best friend home with me 24/7, not a whole lot of big updates. I’ve been spending lots of time with my friends. A couple nights ago I went to Dinah’s house and we watched some Batman, then we went to a hookah bar, and then we went to a real bar. It was super fun! I didn’t get back until quite late but it didn’t matter since Alex doesn’t work we stayed up and cuddled still. And yesterday we went to National Night Out in downtown Arlington Heights. It was so fun! It’s a cute festival with a live band, free stuff everywhere (popcorn, Popsicle’s, water, stickers, markers, face painting, moon bounces, the list goes on and on), and village trucks for the kiddos to play on (firetrucks, police cars, army hummers, etc). Autumn had a blast! I’ve also been reading the series “The Land of Stories” by Chris Colfer. Awesome books!

We leave for Wisconsin Dells next week! We’ll be spending three days in the water park capital! One of the days Autumn is going to this place called Kids Quest which is a daycare type center so the adults can go do all of the scary slides (and maybe enjoy a margarita or two!). Most of the crew is going: Alex, Timur, me, Autumn, Sophia, Dinah, and Gregg will be meeting us there. Woohoo! The last major hoorah of summer! Maybe.

My birthday is at the end of the month! Not sure how we’re celebrating yet but I know all of my friends will be getting together to do something. I will be 25. Jeez, time flies when you’re having fun!

Can y’all tell I really don’t have many updates? I’ve just been enjoying life every day! I hope you guys are doing the same!

Dimand Girl

“Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that makes you smile.”- Mark Twain

^^I’m only using one quote today, because that quote means everything.^

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^^Girls night! Dinner and drinks at Blackfinn!^^

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^^Night out on the town with Dinah!^^

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^^National Night Out in downtown Arlington Heights!^^

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Happy Surgiversary to Me!

Hey guys! How’s everyone doing? I just wanted to let y’all know I have been getting all your Facebook messages and emails, it’s just taking me a while to respond because there’s a lot of them. I promise I will keep getting back to you guys as quickly as possible! Thanks for all of the love and support though!

Two days ago (July 22nd) was my one year Surgiversary. Crazy! It’s actually hard for me to even comprehend fully how far I’ve come. I recognize that I have a long way to go still, but I’ll be damned if I don’t take full credit for how far I’ve come! Surgery is not the easy way out. This last year has been one of the hardest of my life. Surgery is a tool. You must have the strength and will to utilize that tool for positive results. I am incredibly proud of how much I have utilized this tool. This surgery has been one of the best decisions of my life!

A year ago I ate like shit. The idea of exercise was almost comical. I sat in bed like a slug most of the time. The life I was living was honestly pathetic. Not anymore! I live life to the fullest now. I play with Autumn, I spend tons of time with my family and friends, I take trips, I exercise regularly… I have taken a huge bite out of life. I could never go back to how I was before. Never. I am 240 pounds as of this morning, which puts me at a total loss of 90 pounds since I began my journey! 90 pounds!! Holy crap. How did I celebrate my Surgiversary? Alex and I went to dinner at Bonefish Grill (where I skipped the carbs and ate shrimp, scallops, and french beans), and then I went for a 35 minute run! Yup, things have definitely changed!

I just wanted to say how much I love and appreciate every single one of you. I never knew my blog would become this big. I thought I would be lucky if all of my friends and family read it. I was wrong. Every morning I wake up to tons of emails, Facebook messages and friend requests, and text messages from weight loss surgery friends I’ve made along the way. The support I’ve received is dumbfounding. I am not done blogging. I intend on keeping up with this blog as long as possible. It may not always be about weight loss surgery, but I want to keep you guys updated and keep y’all in my life. We’re now in this together.

Love, happiness, and health to all!

Dimand Girl

HW: 330

SW: 310

CW: 240

“Inevitably at some point you will fall off the wagon. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is having the courage to get back on again.”- Unknown

“The difference in winning and losing is most often… not quitting.”- Walt Disney

“If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.”- Unknown

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^^Before and Afters!^^

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^^Look how “normal” I look!!^^

Life is Beautiful

Today’s post might be a little deeper then usual. I’ve had a lot of thoughts lately and I’m using today’s post as half catch-up for y’all and half diary for me. Okay? Ok.

When we got back from Canada I was a little sad. It’s hard to come home after an incredible vacation. For the last week or so I’ve submerged myself in friends and positive experiences. I’m already feeling exponentially better. I’ve thought a lot recently about life. Life is just so short. Too short to be spending it with people that make you feel negative at all. I realize that negative encounters will happen no matter what (at work, at school, in public, etc). But I fully choose to spend the vast majority of my free time around people that make me happy. I am honestly insanely blessed to have the group of friends I have. It’s not common to meet a 24 year old mom who is married and still see’s her friends 3-5 times a week. This is how I know God watches over me. Some people go a lifetime searching for the happiness I’ve found in a short 24 years.

Three birthday’s have come and gone: July 8th- my brother-in-laws birthday. July 9th- my brother’s birthday. July 10th- Dinah’s birthday. The only birthday I had the opportunity to celebrate of those was Dinah’s. It was an awesome day! We all had lunch and beer at a new BBQ joint called Smokey Bones. Alex had work that day so it was just Timur, Mel, Dinah, and I. Alex’s dad watched Autumn for a couple hours. After lunch we went back to my place and went swimming. Be played football in the pool and had a blast! When Alex came home we all talked and hung out. Great day and night!

We went to the beach a couple days ago! It was freakin incredible! The water was perfect, it was a beautiful day outside, and Autumn had the time of her life. We built sand castles, went swimming, collected rocks, and eventually got dinner and went home. I love the beach!

Believe it or not (NOT!), I will be celebrating my one year Surgiversary in exactly one week. Insane, right?! It’s just incredible, when looking back at who I used to be, how far I’ve come. I’m definitely a different person. I seek adventure now. I have even more confidence now. I have the energy of a child. I take advantage of life. I have never been happier! I never even imagined that the change would be this drastic. I feel completely and utterly renewed. I say this with all of my confidence: I will never go back to who I was before. Never.

In lieu of my upcoming Surgiversary let’s talk a little more about where I’m at. I weigh 240, and my highest weight was 330. That’s a total loss of 90 pounds!! My weight the day of surgery was 310, so that’s still a loss of 70 pounds. I’m insanely proud of myself! Admittedly, I’ve been terrible about exercising. I am much more active then I was before, but I need to start exercising again. I also want to start water tracking, calorie counting, and protein watching again. I’ve stopped with all of that. At this point I’m just kind of being conscientious of what I eat/drink. That’s not enough though. My goal is to get below 200, and I will accomplish that. I really and definitely will.

I also wanted to include some more NSV’s (non scale victory’s): 1.) I started at 4xl. It’s much harder to find cute clothes at that size. I wear xl now! I can shop at almost any store! 2.) My stamina is out of this world! I can walk, jog, run, and jump without flinching. 3.) I fit everywhere. In restaurant booths (even smaller ones), in every seat, in roller coasters, etc. I’m never even worried about it now. 4.) I look in the mirror, and love that I see! I’ve become pretty conceited actually (hopefully in a good way!). I have a million selfies of me now, face and body. I’m so proud of how I look!

Health, happiness, and love to all!

Dimand Girl

HW: 330

SW: 310

CW: 240

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”- Dr. Seuss

“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”- Vince Lombardi

“Never explain yourself. Your friends don’t need it, and your enemies won’t believe it.”- Belgicia Howell

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^^Happy Birthday again, brother!!^^

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^^Happy Birthday Dinah! What an amazing day!^^

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^^Yup, sometimes I splurge on ice cream!^^

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^^I love my friend time!!^^

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^^Beach outing!^^

Bonjour!

Bonjour everyone! I’m so sorry it’s been basically a month since I’ve updated you guys. If it makes you guys feel any better, I was caught up in happiness!

Bare with me today, I have a long update. But first thing’s first:

HAPPY (belated) FATHER’S DAY to all you amazing dad’s out there!! Sorry I’m so late in saying that. How did y’all celebrate Father’s Day? I worked during the day but when I got off at 4 pm Alex and I went to Evanston. We did a chocolate sampler at this adorable Belgium Cafe (called Leonida’s) and then we had French food and wine at our favorite French restaurant (Jilly’s Cafe). After dinner we went to Dave and Buster’s and played arcade games for hours. By the time we got home Autumn was already asleep but it was an amazing day!

Canada was amazing. I can’t even put an explanation point after that sentence because I’m too sad to have left Canada. Alex and I are about 100% sure that we will live there one day in the near future. We want to apply for dual citizenship and live in Ottawa. I have never fallen more in love with a place in my life. St. Louis was beautiful. But Canada was home.

It was a 7 day trip. The first day we got to Toronto basically just to lay our heads down at night. Toronto was nice, but it was rainy so we barely got to see it (yet). The next day we went straight into Montreal. Wow. I was dumbfounded when we arrived. Everything is in French. The street signs, the stores, everything. Alex and I went on a dinner date, and we were the only English speakers in the restaurant. Everyone greets you with “Bonjour!” A trait which I also picked up. The first day we just explored a little bit, and then went to the hotel and went swimming (that’s the night that we had the dinner date). The next day we went into the heart of the city and parked and walked for miles. The city is beautiful! Not as large as Chicago but still traditional looking and beautiful. We went to St. Josephs Church. It’s HUGE. We climbed all of the stairs to the very tip-top. Something I would have never been able to do a year ago. The sight was intoxicating. It over-looked the entire city. The clouds seemed so close that at points I literally felt like I was floating up to heaven. For lunch we found an adorable French cafe called Duc Du Lorraine. It only had 10 tables. I felt like I was in Paris. We had dishes like roasted chicken in a white wine sauce, and finished our lunches with 3 amazing desserts (the cafe doubles as a pastry shop). I probably gained three pounds that day, but luckily I walked it off. Our time in Montreal was like something from a dream. My smile couldn’t be moved. In fact, I don’t think I stopped smiling for the entire trip.

After Montreal we set off for Ottawa. for those of you who don’t know (I didn’t until this trip), Ottawa is the capital of Canada. The first day in Ottawa we explored the city a little bit. We drove through to see all the buildings. Then we went swimming at the hotel. Timur and Soph were nice enough to watch Autumn again so Alex and I could have another dinner date. We went into the downtown area and ate dinner together on a patio over looking the city. I was beaming. By the way, it just-so-happened that we wound up in the capital for Canada Day (our equivalency to the 4th of July). The next day we took a taxi into the city again (all of us) and walked around. We took a tour of the Parliament Building (even went up the clock tower), went into souvenir shops, ate lunch downtown, took a tour of Rideau Hall (home of the Governor General), etc etc etc. This was one of my favorite days of the trip. After about eight hours of exploring the city we went home, ate dinner together, and swam. After swimming I asked Timur and Soph if they could take Autumn out for a bit so Alex and I could have some alone time (#sorrynotsorry). Well, after Alex and I had some alone time we got dressed and left to find the rest of our crew. It was the night before Canada Day and there was an insanely loud party across the hall. Tons of people (our age group), loud music, etc. Long story short, we met some of them and they invited us to the party. Since we didnt know where Timur Soph and Autumn were, we went to the party. Everyone was so friendly and incredible. The vibe was amazing. We were dancing, mingling, and just celebrating life. Did I mention how much I love Canada?

The next day was Canada Day. We woke up bright and early to see the changing of the guard and watch the Prime Minister speak. Celebrating Canada Day in the capital was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. We saw the Prime Minister, saw a bunch of Canadian bands and singers play on stage, and proudly waved our Canadian flags as we did so. All the roads were shut down and the whole city was literally one huge party. I have never seen anything like it. It was one of the best days of my life. I was actually horribly sad to leave.

After a long day of celebrating in Ottawa we drove to Toronto. When thinking of Toronto, three words come to mind: huge, modern, and gorgeous. All the buildings were literally breathtaking. Pictures would never do that place justice. We ate dinner downtown and explored the city, then went back to the hotel and went swimming. Though I love Toronto, I felt fine only having a day there. There’s not as much to see as there is in Ottawa.

We woke up and immediately “set sail” for Niagara Falls. Oh. My. Gosh. All of our jaws dropped when we got there. It was like the holy land of adventure. First we walked around the town (before we went to the actual fall’s). We rode the Skywheel (a giant Ferris wheel over-looking the falls). Then we went to an awesome wax museum! We went shopping, had ice cream, and ate lunch (sushi for me, hot dogs for everyone else). We went on a ride where you go through this “haunted house” (it’s kid friendly) and you have to hit these ghost targets. Very fun! Finally we walked up to the Fall’s. Wow. We all just stood there to breath it in. We decided on a last minute whim to buy boat tickets to go up to the Falls. This, I think, may have been the most amazing memory for me on the whole trip. We all put on poncho’s, got on the boat, and literally went in the middle of Fall’s. Everyone was soaking wet but cracking up hysterically and having the time of our lives. Autumn has never looked happier. It was the perfect finale to a perfect trip. We explored some more and eventually we headed back home.

As I said before, I have never fallen more in love with a place. I can honestly say this was the best trip of my life. Being home just hasn’t felt the same to any of us. We are already researching home prices in Ottawa (that’s the place we’ve decided to eventually move to), how to attain dual citizenship, etc. We will go home one day. Canada: Until we meet again! Next time hopefully it will be a one-way drive.

Oh yeah, and HAPPY (belated) FOURTH OF JULY!!! I just missed everything this month, didn’t I? What did you guys do the 4th? Do y’all have cool traditions? We brought our friends to my in-laws house were we saw family, grilled, drank, and played games. It was VERY fun! It was cool having a bunch of our friends hang out with Alex’s family and get to know them better. Afterwards we went home with out friends and cooked a huge feast! We made burgers, hot dogs, potato salad (was store bought), corn on the cob, etc. After dinner we had flag cookies and then drove over to a carnival. We all went on a bunch of rides (including Autumn) and then at night we watched fireworks together on a blanket. It was an incredible night and it made coming home from vacation much easier!

In other smaller update news: we’ve been swimming a ton, and I love it! During the colder months of the year I feel like a fish out of water. Every summer it’s amazing to be reconnected to my “second home”. Also, Autumn celebrated two firsts! Her first time having her nails painted, and her first movie in theaters. And they were both on the same day (July 5th)!

Back to the trip (kind of). I was absolutely fine doing all the walking (which by the way, there was a lot of). I did gain 5 pounds of the trip (EEK!), but I’ve since lost it all and even another pound. I stopped watching what I ate for a while, but I’m starting to get back on track again. The biggest thing I need to watch is water intake.

I promise not to go so long without updating again!

Love, happiness, and adventure to all,

Dimand Girl

HW: 330

SW: 310

CW: 241

“Weight loss is like driving: if you ever veer off the road, just make a U-turn and head back in the right direction.”- Unknown

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”- Unknown

“Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive.”- Unknown

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^^Happy Father’s Day to the two best Father’s out there!!^^

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^^Our Father’s Day celebration!^^

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^^Did I mention how good I look in a swimsuit now?!^^

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^^Bonjour from Montreal!^^

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^^Ottawa!^^

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^^Toronto!^^

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^^Niagara Falls!!^^

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^^Fourth of July Festivities!!^^

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^^A day of first’s!^^

Updates, Updates… Read All About ‘Em

I quit State Farm, and I’m really happy with my decision. I requested more hours at Old Navy, and they’re giving them to me so I don’t feel too bad because I still have an income. And now I’m doing a lot better all around. I’ve been seeing friends, spending more time with my family, and I’ve already lost 2 pounds this week! I’ve been cooking a lot more, too (my favorite meal right now is zucchini noodles with shrimp and broccoli). Plus now I’m able to go to school full-time in fall.

Everything’s going well over here, but I don’t have too many updates for y’all. I guess a cool update is after only a month of working at Old Navy, I’m tied for the top employee of the month spot! It’s really exciting because I was told that new people never get that high that quickly! It’s especially a good thing because since I’m doing well, I’m getting a lot of hours.

The most important update is I feel really happy again. Like I said in the beginning of this post, I’m seeing friends more, I hang out with my family a lot more (we go swimming a lot now too because it’s summer- which rocks!), I’m eating better, drinking more fluid, and all around just a lot happier! We’re also planning a trip at the end of this month, and I’m very excited for it!

Love, happiness, and FUN to all!

Dimand Girl

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”- Socrates

“I dwell in possibility…”- Emily Dickinson

“When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.”- Ernest Hemingway

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^^My new red bathing suit that I would never have worn a year ago!^^

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^^Finally getting to catch up on some much needed girl time!!^^

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^^I look good!^^

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^^Top employee’s list!^^

Blog Post of a Working Girl

Hey y’all! Got a small break in my hectic week to catch y’all up. There’s a lot going on right now, some good and some bad. My life’s a little up-in-the-air at the moment and I’m busy trying to make sense of the mess.

I started Monday full time at State Farm Insurance (as the office manager). I am working Monday thru Friday from 9-5. And I work at Old Navy on the weekends. I will be quitting one of the jobs, but I’m not sure which one yet. State Farm looks amazing on my resume, much better pay, and is great experience (in three days I feel like I’ve learned so much). But Old Navy offers flexibility (which allows me to still have a social life) and is also really good experience. It’s very tough. Sometimes I feel like it’s coming down to a battle of money versus happiness. I’m not as happy at State Farm because I’ve lost any sense of a life like I had before. I can’t see friends, barely get to visit my dad, and by the time I get home I feel too tired to play with Autumn and hang out with my family. I usually get home, plop myself down on the bed or couch, take a nap, wake up and eat dinner, and then it’s time to get Autumn in bed. It kind of sucks.

This is the part where everyone tells me: “but this is what adulthood really is!” And this is the part where I respond saying… “then I’m not sure I want it yet.” I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. A huge piece of me thinks Old Navy is the best bet because that way I can go to school full time, still have a job, and still have time to have a social life. It’s all completely hectic right now. I will keep y’all updated on my decision.

Another downside to State Farm is the hectic schedule has caused me to not watch what I eat. Not to mention I haven’t run/exercised at all (another perk of Old Navy=free cardio!). I’ve gained 2-3 pounds this week since I started working. I don’t cook anymore because by the time I get home at 5:15 I’m too exhausted to cook. And I love Alex to death but he is not exactly the cook in the family (love you babe!). So lately I’ve been eating processed dinners (Hungry Man frozen meals), frozen chicken nuggets…. junk food crap. And I feel like crap because of it: bloated, fatigued, and uncomfortable. Alex and Timur said eventually I’ll get used to this schedule and I won’t be so tired so I’ll be able to meal prep/cook again. But I’m not 100% sure that’s true. To be continued…

Memorial Day weekend was awesome! We went to a beautiful town in Wisconsin (GO PACKERS!!) called Lake Geneva. We ate lunch right on the lake, walked around the town, went shopping, etc. It was an amazing day! Also, Alex and I had a date night and went to dinner then walked around a carnival. We went on the Ferris wheel and the tilt a whirl. I laughed so hard on the tilt a whirl I thought I would die of hyperventilation! We had such a great time! And another NSV (non-scale victory): the bar came down to both of our waists! Side note- as if I don’t say it enough already- I love my husband so freakin much! 

Before I end this post I just want to say something. In regards to my journey, the most important thing is my health. I have a come a long way, but I also still have a long way to go. It will be a forever battle… but I will win. I promise that even when I have tough streaks, I won’t give up.

Peace and sanity to all!

Dimand Girl

HW: 330

SW: 310

CW: 245

“I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if I don’t.”- Neila Rey

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^^Football season will be back soon y’all!!^^

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^^FaceTiming with my family on my break at Old Navy! I always have an extra pep in my step after seeing them!^^

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^^I recreated the photo (same shirt and all)! I still have a long way to go, but jeeeeeeeez…. I have to give myself some more credit!^^

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^^Memorial Day Weekend!!^^

M U S I C >

GUYS!! I am so happy! I have fallen back in love with life again! Food tastes better, music sounds more vibrant, the sun’s shining brighter, I’m smiling a bit wider… everything is amazing. I lost my way for a while. Got buried beneath the stress of figuring out our futures and raising a toddler. Not anymore. All I needed was a little perspective. EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY!!

Now I’m leaning towards taking the State Farm job. But who cares?! No matter what path I choose, EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY!

Still no clue which job’s the boys will take. Maybe Alex will stay at home with Autumn this summer while I work. But I promise… no matter what we decide to do- EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY!

After having Autumn something happened to me. I forgot about the little things in life and only focused on the stress of being a young mom. I’ve spent the last three years happy but held back by worrying about everything. In the last week I’ve found my “bliss” again. I’m done worrying over small things because life is too damn short! Autumn will be okay, finances will be okay, school will be okay, we will all be okay. I have faith in God that EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY! And it will- just watch and see.

How do I know everything will be okay? Because my small family has built a life around love. At an early age we have found something that many people spend a lifetime searching for and never find: true happiness. Bliss.

I will come to you guys soon with actual updates. But not today. Today I will play loud music and take Autumn outside.

Love you all!

Dimand Girl

HW: 330

SW: 310

CW: 242

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”- Berthold Auerbach

“When you’re happy like a fool, let it take you over.”- One Republic

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”- John Lennon