"My biggest goal in life is to be better 
than Carrie at everything I do."
I read this in Katie's diary when I was a tween; 
oh the delights of sisterly relationships!
My dearest and only sister turns another year older this coming weekend. Girls run in my family. My mom is one of 3 girls. She and her two sisters had two girls each: Whitney, Katie, me, Regan, Heather & Holly.
Whitney now has two girls of her own. Some of us have yet to either be married or have kids. I'm excited to see the tradition continue or break. 

And I am continually in awe of and want to learn more about
the relationships between women and their sisters.
 I know there were times when Katie thought she got the short end of the stick and that I got her in trouble...
Or that I was a wimp and just couldn't take her weight while she sat on my head...
Or shook her head while she silently watched me down my second mega muffin from Costco for the day...
Or thought that I was weak because I swam so slowly...
(I'm being held by Dad, Katie's standing by Grandma Malo & Aunt Dot)
But she has certainly held true to her own promise of being better than me at many things. She went to one of the top 5 colleges in the nation, she had a high paying job right upon graduation (Thank you US Government), she has a great fashion sense and good taste in home decor. She writes neatly and always legibly, she loves to study and is pursuing her third degree--a Physician's Assistant degree--this June. While based in England and working 12 hour days, she taught aerobics/kickboxing classes, helped coach the base's swim team that competed internationally, and attained her forensics pathology master's degree. She's a lover and owner of dogs (Weimaraners Nixon and Leika), or any animal for that matter, is hoping for a litter of "chins" this year from her chinchillas Lola and Cuervo, and will compete in more body building competitions this year.
(Katie & I when we visited her in England at Mildenhall AFB, 2006)
I, on the other hand, went to a "small wiberal arts cowedge in the midwest" (Thank you Mrs. Kasper), I am paid hourly wages, need help in the clothing department, and some guidance in home decorating. I can write in probably 5 different impersonations, get headaches when I study extensively and am most likely done with higher education minus a few seminars here or there. I've never lived for more than 2 weeks overseas, nor worked 12 hour days 5 days in a row on a weekly basis; I coach 6th-8th graders in their musical studies, it takes a lot for me to get off the couch to work out. Though I do own a dog, I have no desire to own an animal of the rodent family and will never have the capacity to physically look like a body builder. 

Congratulations to Katie.

Katie, I love you dearly, miss you clearly, and can't believe the paths that life has taken us both. I am infinitely proud of your accomplishments and continue to admire you from the cheer section of the swimming pool. From the albatross of the butterfly events, to the gaurdian of the goal for water polo at the Academy, you always astounded me with your capacities for athletic feats. Your body building both humbles me (scares Gerard) and inspires me to treat my body as a temple of our living God. Your drive to learn and study the bacteria that grows in your cottage cheese is creepy yet educating and the life to which you have devoted yourself with Eric is dedicated & honoring. 
A military wife encounters challenges that many don't ever know. 
We are continually praying for your marriage, your travels to Des Moines in May (yay!), your schooling that starts in June, and life beyond Eric's deployments. Despite family being a distance away, I hope that you feel special and loved on your birthday.  I especially pray that our relationship can continue well and strong despite mileage distance, career changes and animal-ic additions to the families we've developed. Remember what this hug felt like and imagine I'm giving you one just like it today. I LOVE YOU.
Your sister, Carrie