#100: Create the “100 Things in 2016” List

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Now that we’ve posted the 100 Things in 2016 list, we can officially ring in the end of 2015!

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So what have we learned this year? Well, firstly we reaffirmed our finding from last year – that life happens, and the list must adapt, just like we do. The list isn’t a hundred tiny goals, it’s one big goal – to lead an interesting and eventful life. The first rule of 100 Things for us is to always keep that in mind, and not feel like a failure when we need to swap some of them out.

We’re doubling down this year on personal achievements; each of us has seven Things that are just ours. We liked what happened with them last year, but we ended up finishing early, so adding more seemed like the right thing to do.

We’ve also made a few Things into permanent fixtures, like the two road trips, and Pajama Day. Our whole family liked them so much, we decided they were worth making into traditions.

A big adventurey thanks to 100thingsblog, where we got the idea for this challenge in the first place. They continue to inspire with their yearly lists, too!

Here’s to a fun-filled 2015, and an eventful and interesting 2016!

100 Things in 2016

This is our third time doing this (Here are 2014 and 2015) and we’ve learned a few things along the way. Some of these are repeats, some are brand new; some are individual, others are for the whole family. We’ve tried to balance achievability, ambition, and interestingness. Wish us luck!

The rules

  1. Every Thing must be completed by 11:59 pm on December 31, 2016.
  2. They are not required to be completed in any particular order.
  3. Unless otherwise noted, each Thing requires that both Becky and I be present. Some are for just one of us, some also have the kids involved.
  4. More than one Thing may be completed in a single day, if circumstances permit.
  5. We are allowed to modify the list to adjust for life changes during the year, as long as the goal of doing 100 great things is still met.

Current Progress: 0/100

  1. Kidd’s toy museum
  2. Dine at a Portland Monthly restaurant of the year
  3. Road trip without a destination
  4. Road trip with a destination
  5. Write anniversary letters
  6. Explore a new beach town
  7. Surprise date planned by Ben
  8. Visit an amusement park
  9. Read a parenting book
  10. Visit a new country
  11. Get a trampoline
  12. Go on a long bike ride
  13. Stay at a weird AirBnb
  14. Quarterly pajama day
  15. Family karaoke
  16. Explore a new US city
  17. Watch films 51-70 on the AFI’s 100 greatest american films of all time list
  18. Establish some winter holiday traditions
  19. Make Saturday a pizza/movie night
  20. Go on a Straubsgiving adventure
  21. Move in
  22. Make four fancy seasonal cocktails
  23. Create emergency kits
  24. Go bowling
  25. Dinner by candlelight
  26. Leash training
  27. Dine at an old-guard Portland restaurant
  28. Go horseback riding
  29. Visit the Portland Japanese Garden
  30. Set up a family portrait wall
  31. Finish our legacy folders
  32. Visit Mount St. Helens
  33. Do a thing from each issue of Portland Monthly
  34. Make one recipe from each issue of Saveur
  35. Make a book from 2015’s Hundred Things
  36. Take a photo every day, and make a book
  37. Set up Lucy’s closet
  38. Visit Fort Vancouver
  39. Visit Great Wolf Lodge
  40. Play a duet
  41. Go whale watching
  42. Spend the 4th of July in Neskowin
  43. Go skydiving indoors
  44. Buy a thoughtful and beautiful piece of furniture
  45. Attend a live musical event
  46. Afternoon tea at the Heathman
  47. Join Postcrossing
  48. Memorialize ashes
  49. Render lard
  50. Loft beds
  51. Start a world sand collection
  52. Replace the dining room chairs
  53. Attend roller derby
  54. Eat Trifecta’s hot fudge sundae
  55. Attend a live dance performance
  56. Build shelves in the garage
  57. Give to a charity
  58. Make 3 new recipes from every one of our cookbooks
  59. Visit the Oregon Pacific railroad museum
  60. Listen to new music every week
  61. Visit a nature preserve
  62. Make a bonfire on the beach
  63. Ride a jet boat
  64. Hit balls at a driving range
  65. Walk Peacock Lane
  66. Solve a locked-room mystery
  67. Paint something
  68. Go ziplining
  69. Attend a murder-mystery dinner
  70. Attend a Thorns game
  71. Hike Dog Mountain with the kids
  72. Pickle/can/ferment something
  73. Brew kombucha
  74. Set up a puzzle table
  75. Do 12 hikes from our guidebooks
  76. Visit a meadery
  77. Set up glass item shelves at the beach house
  78. Adventure on Mount Hood
  79. Set up the deck
  80. Learn Italian
  81. Put pins in a world map
  82. Set up a workshop
  83. Take Becky on a 40th-birthday trip
  84. Ben: record a video course
  85. Ben: read 12 books
  86. Ben: bake something paleo-ish and complicated
  87. Ben: smoke 5 food items
  88. Ben: speak at a conference
  89. Ben: play through a videogame
  90. Ben: attend a social software event
  91. Becky: complete a chunk of the OCT
  92. Becky: learn to sew
  93. Becky: Gretchen Rubin’s book club
  94. Becky: read every magazine in the month it arrives
  95. Becky: work with a personal trainer
  96. Becky: make photo albums
  97. Becky: join a group
  98. Community education: Ben
  99. Community education: Becky
  100. Post the 100 Things list for 2017

#6: Explore a New Part of the USA

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Technically, this was supposed to be “Explore a New US City,” but we realized that with our remodeling project, that was going to be difficult (and expensive). So we picked an area we’ve never visited together instead: the San Juan Islands.

We found a little cabin on Airbnb, and rented it for a week. We drove four hours to Anacortes, detouring through Tacoma and Federal Way. We rode the ferry to Orcas Island. Then we decompressed. If it seems like we never stop moving, believe us, we’ve been noticing that too. We hardly ever take trips to relax, but this year we decided to make a point of it.

This entire week has been full of hiking, relaxing, movies, reading, quirky historical museums, and food. No working, no obligations (except from blogging), nothing but gorgeous sunrises, effortless conversation, and breathing. We’ve had the best cookies Becky remembers ever having, and had a fancy tasting menu that included kale pizza paired with a can of Ranier beer. It’s been really good for us, and we feel ready to rejoin the human race. In a few days, though; we’re still busy being here.

#18: Family Game Night

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Becky doesn’t actually like boardgames. She understands all the things you get from playing them – taking turns, being a good sport when you lose, pattern recognition, fine motor skills, teamwork, strategy – but she doesn’t enjoy the playing of them. But since she’s a good sport (and a good parent), and because the rest of us love them, we decided to officially play and review twelve games in 2015.

(We’ll be including our own reviews of these, but if you want a professional’s view, we’ll include links to BoardGameGeek at the bottom.)

1. Lego Champion

Becky: I get the concept behind the game, but it was somewhat disjointed. I discovered a hidden skill for building a copy of another’s structure in a remarkably short period of time. (I handily won that challenge each time it came around. Much to the others’ annoyance.)

Ben: The game isn’t terribly strategic. It reminded me of Cranium, where each time someone has a turn, there’s a “kooky” challenge that everyone needs to complete. Some of these are slightly unbalanced, so you can tell who will win before you start. We had some laughs, but it probably won’t come out many more times.

Lucy: It was pretty hard but fun.I liked that it was easy to put together, but it wasn’t easy to get to the finish line very fast. And I liked that there were different colors of blocks.

Will: It’s a pretty cool game. It has a lot of cool new challenges for the family. I liked how small the people [game pieces] are, and they had cool costumes.

2. Catan Junior

Becky: I didn’t find this game to be too onerous. I’d played the regular version several times and this kept the distinct flavor while still being easy enough for kids to enjoy. I would recommend to others.

Ben: Enough of the complexity of Settlers has been stripped away that a 6-year-old can play. But it seems like there’s enough depth here to amuse you until you’re 12, maybe. As a grownup who’s played the full version, this one seems kind of bland, but at least there are tons of pirate puns to be made.

Lucy: I thought it was pretty cool, and it was a good family game. I also thought that it was nice that you could buy three different things, and you didn’t have to buy like one thing and you didn’t get to choose what it was, or you having to trade with somebody else. It was cool that you could pick what color you wanted, and that you could trade in the market, and you could get parrot cards and move the pirate.

Will: It’s much different and less complicated than regular Settlers of Catan. It is much different, the board isn’t like puzzle pieces. I like the parrot cards that help you out, and I don’t like that it isn’t very complicated, I like complicated things. The pirate is pretty cool!

3. Bugs in the Kitchen

Becky: I really enjoyed hearing the kids giggle at this one. There’s really nothing to it, and I accidentally won, but the fast pace, the laughing, and the uniqueness of it made for a pretty fun gaming time.

Ben: This is more of a twitch reaction game, and your strategy is limited to just a couple of seconds in the future. We all got a good laugh from the little bug robot, which skitters around much like an actual insect. The turns go fast, and we had to devise rules about which direction you rolled the dice in. A great time was had, and we’ll be pulling this out again.

Lucy: I liked how the bug could crawl around by itself on its legs. And I liked that it actually looked like you were trying to trap the bug, it had pictures of food where you try and trap the bug. And I liked the background picture. I liked that you could take it apart and put it back together, and there were tokens so you could keep track of your points and not lose them.

Will: It’s awesome. Very interesting. I like that you don’t have to think very hard. It’s super easy. I’d rate it 5 stars, definitely. I liked that is has a mechanical “bug”.

4. Incan Gold

Becky:  This game was okay. Much simpler than it was advertised to be.

Ben: The game is pretty simple, really. The kids were more enamored with the jewels and creepy zombie cards I think than the actual gameplay, but they certainly liked it enough. It’s pretty light

Lucy: I thought it was a good game. I also like that I chose it. I chose this game because I thought I would like it. If you wanted lots of people to play it, it said it was good for a party game. I liked that there were different kinds of treasure. Wouldn’t it be boring having only one kind of treasure in the game? I kind of didn’t like that you only had two chances, then you’d have to run away. I would have a tight grip on my gold and jewels, and not lose them.

Will: This was fun. Really realistic, and very surprising. The game is better than I thought it would be having read the box. I liked the pieces, how they were sculpted, and how realistic the cards are.

5. Telestrations

Becky: I really enjoyed this game and think it will be a great addition to our camping activity box!

Ben: We’ve played this informally before with post-it notes, but having an official set of dry-erase pads and rules gives it enough structure that the kids can enjoy it too. Many laughs were had, and the kids learned that this game is the most fun with wrong guesses.

Lucy: (thumbs up) That was super duper duper fun. It was super funny that I got from a crying baby to a little boy.  It had a lot of laughs, and I got a little bit lucky because my card had one that said I could choose.

Will: Very funny, and exciting to learn and play. I really liked the drawing. It was really funny when something got mixed up, like a calculator to a marshmallow, or a marshmallow sandwich.

6. You’ve Gotta be Kidding

Becky: Similar to Apples to Apples in concept, but much grosser. Not a bad game overall.

Ben: We had fun with this one, especially the challenges where you get to make up your own “would you rather” questions. All of us got a tiny bit outside our comfort zones, in a good way.

Lucy: That one’s a really fun game. I like that you can learn new would-you-rather questions.

Will: Weird. Very weird. It has a lot of funny stuff, and it’s recommended to kids of all ages. I really liked it.

7. Sneaks

The game was released in 2000, so there’s no website, but it’s essentially Spoons.

Becky: This is exactly the game “spoons” that I used to play with my extended family, but they’ve made it into a board game. Simple, fast-paced, fun. (Found at Goodwill for $5)

Ben: Pretty fun, but frustrating for those of us who get too focused. Also, beware having a big differential in skill level; the only handicap available is to move the weaker players closer to the sneakers, which adds lots of tension, and may not help frustration levels very much.

Lucy: This one’s super funny, when you’re taking a card out you should look at the sneaks to see if they’re gone, and if one of them was taken, you have to take one! It was a little frustrating, because I was always the one who didn’t get a sneak, but I still think it was a little bit fun.

Will: Fun game of fast grabbing.

8. Don’t Make Me Laugh, Jr.

Becky: I think I surprised the kids with just how much of a physical comedian I can be. (The wine helped.) Simple game, really could be played with just the cards, the board and pieces were unneeded. (Found at Goodwill for 99 cents.)

Ben: This is obviously designed for a younger crowd. Many of the prompts are simplistic, or hard to make a joke out of. We had to allow a lot of latitude. Not so much a game as a bunch of joke/gag ideas.

Lucy: I liked it, and I think it was nice that it made you laugh, it was a really funny game. But one thing, Lololand is a good place to be, because then you can be ahead of everyone, or behind everyone. I don’t like that you can win so soon. The jokes were pretty funny, and some of them were pretty hard to do.

Will: Funny game, makes everybody laugh. Easy to play. I liked acting out the cards, because it’s fun and I like making people laugh.

9. Apples to Apples, Jr.

Becky: I quite enjoyed this (I also love Cards Against Humanity). We played on a camping trip and it was simple, entertaining, and we all had a lot of laughs.

Ben: This is the third variation on this theme that I’ve played, and the formula works very well. There’s very little equipment, and everybody learns how to play to a crowd (even a crowd of one).

Lucy: I liked the game, that it had like funny words in it for the cards.  I like that it can have a lot of people to play if they wanted to. One thing I didn’t like is that 2 players can’t play together. You should be able to do 3.

Will: Fun game, really cool. It’s very funny. I really liked it. The cards were nice and stiff, not super flimsy. I recommend it to people over 8, because Lucy was having kind of a hard time, and she’s just 7.

10. Munchkin Treasure Hunt

Becky: Despite this being the kind of game I really dislike, I put on a brave face for the good of the family.  And then accidentally won the game. The rest of the gang had played before, I was the newcomer.

Ben: Will’s getting pretty good at games like this, so he wanted to skip some of the steps, including the things that make this game fun. So we slowed it down, emphasized the story-telling aspects, and it turned into a new game. Pretty sure we actually had fun, even though Becky doesn’t enjoy this kind of game.

Lucy: It’s a good game, I like that it has lots of funny treasures and monster cards. It was fun playing, even though I lost, because it was fun getting help and stuff.

Will: Fun. Funny. Exciting. It made me feel like I wanted to win. I like the game, and I wanted to win. At least I didn’t get last. We’ve played this a lot, so it wasn’t as exciting as when it was new. Kind of frustrating how slow we had to play since there was a newcomer.

11. Sushi Go

Becky: Fairly entertaining and deceptively simple.  I’d play this again.

Ben: I loved the variety of scoring rules in play, plus the fact that you pass your whole hand to your neighbor. There are a lot of strategies to pursue, which means it’s a game you can actually get better at, which is a refreshing change from things like Candy Land. It was fun, and I liked it.

Lucy: I liked the game because there were these cartoon foods, and they’re super cute. And I liked it because you could get the good cards, like chopsticks and wasabi, and that they would help you. There weren’t any parts I didn’t like. I like the pudding card the most, because it’s super cute and I love eating dessert.

Will: I liked it. It’s complicated when you’re just starting, then it gets easier. It’s supposed to be fast, but it starts slow. I would like to play it more, it’s a fun game.

12. Tokaido

(Based on playing through a third of a game together; we had a christmas party to get to!)

Becky: This is interesting and is worth another play-through. It’s got several layers to learn.

Ben: This game is gorgeous. The visual style is amazing, and it evokes a mythical feudal Japan in a really engaging way. This is the most complicated game we’ve tried with the kids, but they both seem intrigued, and they handled it okay. We’ll be trying again at some point.

Lucy: My least favorite part was that if you were ahead of all the people, you would lose those turns. If someone got ahead, they’d have to wait while all the other people took their turns. One of my favorite parts was that you can get lots and lots and lots of points, and those would all add up to your points and you would win. I liked that the travelers all had interesting names that we don’t know. I liked the game. Three stars.

Will: I liked how, I’m not sure how to explain it, the whole combines like it’s one big thing, I don’t know how to explain that. Everything connects into something bigger than a village. It fits together really well. I like that I got to pick a card every time i got to a hotel. Almost everything was completely different than other games, it isn’t like and it isn’t built the same way. Completely different than any game I’ve played so far.

BoardGameGeek reviews:

12 Days of Christmas – 2015

This is how we do Christmas. Every day for 12 days, we drop everything else, sing the silly song, and we all take turns opening a single gift. Most days we try to time this so that there’s time to actually get to know the thing that was opened. The 12th day is always an adventure.

We love this tradition. It teaches the kids how to get happiness from someone else’s happiness (the word for this is mudita). Watching someone open a gift and be happy should make you happy, too. It also reminds us that we don’t need large gifts, or a large number of them, to be happy at this time of year.

We hope your holidays were as joyful as ours.

#96: Becky – Participate in a GoodReads challenge (100 books)

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

I put no thought or planning into this challenge, other than to purposely make more time each day for reading.  Yet I still ended up with exactly 100 books!  (I thought I would have more, but the three I’m currently reading are pretty heavy, so are taking me longer than I expected.)

I mostly read whatever seems interesting and/or available at the time.  I’d say a good third of this list is in audiobook format. The chapter books I read aloud to the kids are also included. I pick up many of my books from thrift shops and the “new section” at the library. I’ve noticed a trend, however, I was really drawn to autobiographies and memoirs this year, especially if the author was writing about some type of Quest.

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Here’s the list of everything I read this year. I linked up the ones I rated 5 stars, but I reviewed every single one of these on GoodReads.

  1. PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives, by Frank Warren
  2. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes
  3. I Suck at Girls, by Justin Halpern
  4. Revival, by Stephen King
  5. Messenger, by Lois Lowry
  6. Big Girl Panties, by Stephanie Evanovich
  7. The Emigrants, by Wilhelm Moberg
  8. Son, by Lois Lowry
  9. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
  10. Tender to the Bone, by Ruth Reichl
  11. Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl
  12. The Romantic Movement, by Alain de Botton
  13. Ramona Quimby Age 8, by Beverly Cleary
  14. Living Oprah, by Robyn Okrant
  15. Delicious, by Ruth Reichl
  16. Girl Walks into a Bar, by Rachel Dratch
  17. All Joy and No Fun, by Jennifer Senior
  18. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
  19. Unto a Good Land, by Vilhelm Moberg
  20. Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo
  21. Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest, by Jen Doll
  22. The Stray, by Dick King-Smith
  23. The Settlers, by Vilhelm Moberg
  24. Portland: A Food Biography, by Heather Arndt Anderson
  25. Rise of the Horde, by Devan Sagliani
  26. Ramona Forever, by Beverly Cleary
  27. Whitethorn Woods, by Maeve Binchy
  28. A Thousand Mornings, Mary Oliver
  29. A Gift Upon the Shore, by M. K. Wren
  30. Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin
  31. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg
  32. The Last Letter Home, by Vilhelm Moberg
  33. Chestnut Street, by Maeve Binchy
  34. Herbie Jones, by Suzy Kline
  35. Educating Alice, by Alice Steinbach
  36. Death by Pad Thai and Other Unforgettable Meals, by Douglas Bauer
  37. Life From Scratch, by Sasha Martin
  38. Fried Eggs with Chopsticks, by Polly Evans
  39. Stone Mattress, by Margaret Atwood
  40. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
  41. The Sweet Life in Paris, by David Lebovitz
  42. You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught me the Secrets of Happiness, by Julie Klam
  43. Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. by Rob Delaney
  44. The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner
  45. Cleaving, by Julie Powell
  46. Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster
  47. Run Away Amish Girl, by Emma Gingerich
  48. Glitter & Glue, by Kelly Corrigan
  49. The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, by Kathleen Flinn
  50. A Week in the Woods, by Andrew Clements
  51. The Whipping Boy, by Sid Fleischman
  52. Leaving the World, by Douglas Kennedy
  53. The Girl with All the Gifts, by M. R. Carey
  54. Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not, by Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello
  55. Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, by Susan Jane Gilman
  56. I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections, by Nora Ephron
  57. The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet — A Memoir, by Dara-Lynn Weiss
  58. The Magician’s Nephew, by C. S. Lewis
  59. Parenting Your Adopted Older Child, by Brenda McCreight
  60. Hawaii The Big Island Revealed, by Andrew Doughty
  61. What I was Doing While You Were Breeding, by Kristin Newman
  62. The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2009, edited by Lucy McCauley
  63. Coming Clean, by Kimberly Rae Miller
  64. In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume
  65. Unabrow, by Una Lamarche
  66. Ramona’s World, by Beverly Cleary
  67. Wildfire!, by Elizabeth Starr Hill
  68. Food, A Love Story, by Jim Gaffigan
  69. How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran
  70. Pretty in Plaid, by Jen Lancaster
  71. Lonely Planet an Innocent Abroad, by Don George
  72. Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver
  73. Stargone John, by Ellen Kindt McKenzie
  74. I Regret Nothing: A Memoir, by Jen Lancaster
  75. Stone Fox, by John Reynolds Gardiner
  76. Skinnybones, by Barbara Park
  77. Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella
  78. Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors, by Fred Armisen & Carrie Brownstein
  79. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), by Felicia Day
  80. If You Were Here, by Jen Lancaster
  81. The Tao of Martha, by Jen Lancaster
  82. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson
  83. Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari
  84. Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling
  85. I Don’t Have a Happy Place, by Kim Korson
  86. Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, by Kathleen Flinn
  87. How to Eat Fried Worms, by Thomas Rockwell
  88. Mess: One Man’s Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act, by Barry Yourgrau
  89. The Half-a-Moon Inn, by Paul Fleischman
  90. The Know-it-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, by A.J. Jacobs
  91. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
  92. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert
  93. My Fair Lazy, by Jen Lancaster
  94. I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star, by Judy Greer
  95. The Apocalypse Renegades, by Peter Meredith
  96. My Heart is an Idiot, by Davy Rothbart
  97. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae
  98. The Apocalypse Exile, by Peter Meredith
  99. Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed
  100. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, by Rhoda Janzen

#63: Live Musical Performance

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We’re spending the last week of 2015 on Orcas Island, and when we got here we found out there was live music happening! The show at the Random Howse last night was Almost Classical, a trio of young but talented musicians who play string-and-piano covers of pop songs.The house was completely packed; we didn’t have a reservation, and only showed up 20 minutes before the show, but the host was kind enough to set up an extra table for us.

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The performers were really good. They’re even doing all their own arrangements! You can see them on Youtube, and you can even order their Christmas album if you so desire.

If you’re on Orcas, Random Howse is a great music venue, and their drinks and food are rather nice. Recommended.

#94: Becky – Connect With My Sister

I’ve been really into the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft. Not only do I learn and enjoy from their fascinating content, but I’ve been very inspired by their reason for creating their podcast. It was to have a reason to connect with each other as grownups and stay connected day to day even while living on opposite sides of the country.

I’m 11 years older than my sister Sarah, so traditional sister-bonding didn’t really happen. I moved out of the state when she was 7, and got married (for the first time) when she was 9. Now she and her family live in Wisconsin while we are in Washington and we don’t see each other very often. I am allergic to talking on the phone, so that doesn’t happen. Yet I wanted a way to start a messaging dialogue each day so that we’d have a reason to reach out and share the little stuff. She was instantly on board and we tossed some ideas around. We came up with the idea to watch the same TED talk each day (on our own time) and then use it to start a conversation. It’s been great! Not only are we having our minds broadened by awesome TED Talks, but we are connecting every day about our lives; both the little stuff and the big stuff. We’ve been going deep and really exploring our inner selves together and helping each other with our goals and trials.

We are now both happily married adults with children, so have much more in common than a toddler and a teenager, and I’m glad I get to know her now!