Thursday, June 26, 2014

summertime blogging catch-up

The past week or so has been full of ordinary and some not-so-ordinary, mostly good, some bad. And it's random, which seems to be my M.O. lately.

The girls spent last Friday in Omaha with Aunt Beaner. They ate food I refuse to cook for them (boxed mac & cheese) and hung out, getting spoiled by their aunt of course. They went swimming, ate ice cream, and played with bubbles. All of which they can do at our house, but it is much more fun when it's with your aunt. 

Aunt Beaner reported minimal fighting and only one incident in which a larger elementary school aged boy jumped on Avery in the pool, causing the lifeguard to jump from his post and "rescue" Avery.  Minor near "drowning" experience aside, the trip was a complete success.

While the girls were gone, Graham got some one-on-one time with not only Mommy and Daddy, but Grandma Sherri and Papa as well - which never happens. 

He also took advantage of Avery's absence and got some good use out of her pink cowboy (cowgirl?) boots.

This past weekend was the funeral of Nick Hildreth - someone I have known since he started kindergarten with my sister Felicia. He married a classmate of mine and they lived here in our small town. He passed away unexpectedly in an electrical accident and left behind a wife and four children. Funerals like that are gut-wrenching. To see the devastation on the faces of his parents and wife, not to mention their kids, it's just horrible. 28 is just way too young...

And while living in a small town can sometimes be well... annoying - everybody knows your business, everybody talks about your business - I think that in this case living in a small town will be a blessing. People in a small town care. They might be all up in your business at times, but they want to help. 

Funerals like that one make you think about what is important in life and what would be left behind if you died right here, right now, today. Family is the legacy you leave and I am grateful to be able to spend so much time with mine.

And speaking of family, we went out and bombarded visited my grandma Connie and grandpa Lyle this morning. The usual coffee time and what-not.

Bailey knows right where to look for Great Grandma's snack stash.
Bring on the cookies!

We couldn't get out of the house without bows. Bailey and Avery needed bows with their ponytails. 
And Graham is not going to be left out. 
He stood at the door yelling "Bow!" at the top of his lungs and would not be silenced. So I let him pick his bow too, placed it in his hair, and the miraculously the yelling ceased. We could finally leave the house. 

Checking out the corn which is doing really well in our parts - just enough rain but no flooding like so many other farmers have to deal with.
And while I know people think Iowa and think boring, boring, boring -
I truly love Iowa. 
I love the green of the fields right now. It's green as far as the eye can see. And I love to watch the corn wave back and forth with the wind. It's the farm girl in me. I used to go on walks down our gravel road growing up and loved just looking at all the green as I walked. I think it is beautiful. I'm always going to think it is beautiful. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Wishing a Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, but especially to the most important man in our house.

You were there to hear their very first cries, scooping them up and posing for pictures with that awestruck look on your face. You learned how to feed Bailey, how to swaddle, how to position them so they could comfortably rest their tiny cheeks on your chest and fall asleep. You changed diapers, warmed bottles, found the Boppy that was always disappearing, and looked past my never-ending parade of nursing tanks.

You're the most important man in their lives. 
Splashing in the pool.
Bedtime stories.
Movies with popcorn.
Planting flowers.
Bike rides.
Homemade fudgesicles.
Under-dunks on the swings.
Cooking in the kitchen.
All typical moments in a kid's life, 
made special because of you.

We're still learning every day how to raise these three crazy kids.
And while lots of days I feel like I'm not getting it right, it always helps to know we are in this parenting thing together.

Happy Father's Day to my husband.
Thank you, Jared, for all you do each and every day. 
The four of us love you so very much.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


I had intentions of doing a combo blog post this week - a compilation of all the things we did. Turns out, we didn't really do all that much worth reflecting on. But I wanted to include some photos from a recent concert. 

You see, I was my grandma Connie's date to Cher.
She bought the tickets for her and my grandpa, but seeing as the seats were on the floor and my grandpa would not enjoy standing on his feet for hours in order to see, I went along in his place. 
My grandma Connie is a big Cher fan. She went to Cher's previous farewell tour (this was farewell #2) ten years ago.
Two of my sisters - Beaner and Justy - are big Cher fans along with my mom. My dad came along for the ride too, although I am not sure he particularly enjoyed himself. 

We roadtripped in the 1995 Econoline per usual. 
It lends itself well to selfies in the back.

Grandma had a few good laughs.
And a Mike's Hard Lemonade.
Us granddaughters expose Grandma to all kinds of new stuff.
Sidenote: she liked it.

I am not the biggest Cher fan, but I thought the show was awesome. It had a bit of a Cirque du Soleil feel to it. There were lots of performers swinging from ropes and awesome dance routines during all of Cher's many costume changes. My sisters and I would watch and try to guess what song was coming next. She sang all our favorites (with the exception of one) and I surprisingly knew a lot of the words, which always makes a concert more fun. 
Oh and FYI, I am sparing you the distant, out-of-focus concert pics. We have all seen enough of those on Facebook to last a lifetime.

Since the concert I've had "I Got You Babe" on perpetual repeat in my head, and it still makes me think of that hilarious Golden Girls episode every single time. 

And then there is the rest of my week that will not be highlighted:

forgot the camera, which is a bummer because little kids batting is adorable

*Doctor's appointment for Avery, all 3 kids along for the fun
a complete shit show and I should have brought the video camera so everyone could watch and be glad they weren't me

*Garage Sale-ing
a tad bit disappointing as my only finds were a mirror and two candlesticks I want to repaint for use during Christmas

Sunday, June 8, 2014

6th Anniversary Trip

Our wedding anniversary was this past Saturday. To celebrate Jared and I planned a day trip to the Amana Colonies in eastern Iowa. It's a collection of seven villages comprised of descendants of German settlers. Basically they maintain an Amish lifestyle, living without the modern conveniences we all use on a daily basis. 

It's a tourist destination known for its food, crafts, and wine.

We arrived in the early afternoon and immediately found our way to the wine sampling.
We ended up buying 18 bottles. 
But before you email me a contact number for Al-Anon, 13 of those were requests from other people who knew we were making the trip. 
People love this wine. 

We hadn't been there more than 20 minutes when the sky clouded up. After loading our case(s) of wine and other impulse purchases into the car, we decided to spend the storm cozied up at a restaurant enjoying some authentic German food.
Lunch was wiener schnitzel served family style with other traditional German side dishes. It was also delicious. 
Unfortunately our plan to wait out the storm didn't exactly pan out. As we made a dash for the nearest shop after eating, sheets of rain came down and within seconds we were drenched. I am not exaggerating when I say it looked like we both just stepped out of a swimming pool.

Soooo that brings me to this classy picture. 
Which Jared really did not want to take, but hey - it's a memory right?
I do especially love how the glare off the poncho makes you look about 50 pounds heavier. 
But thank God for those $1.75 ponchos because it rained for three hours like that. 

We managed to make it as fun as possible. 
We ate homemade fudge.
Sampled some cheeses.
Bought German noodles and some pastry.
(Anyone noticing a trend here?)
We browsed cute shops.
There was no leisurely walking or window shopping. It was serious business: rush in the rain from store to store, poncho on, head down.

After finally tiring of all the dismal running around in the rain, we drove to our hotel. Jared went to check in while I waited in the car. It took forever! Thirty minutes later Jared emerges to tell me that they overbooked our room.
You have got to be kidding me...
And since there were no more regular room available, we were upgraded to a king suite instead - free of charge. And along with that, they comped our entire stay. We didn't pay a cent for our room.
Now we're talkin'!
The room was amazing - by far the nicest one I have ever been in. It was huge. Much more than we needed for one night, but I was not complaining! I was pretty pumped about it... and then I saw the bathtub. 
It. was. massive. 
And because I am a child of the 90's, I saw that tub and instantly thought, "I will be having a "Pretty Woman" moment tonight!"

Cut to a few hours later...
There is no bubble bath to be found anywhere, so we decide that a bottle or two of the hotel shampoo might do the trick. 
And it worked just fine. 
And then Jared turned on the jets and walked away while the tub continued to fill...
I walk in to find two feet of bubbles on top of the bath water. 

It was ridiculous. We basically flooded the bathroom with bubbles. When Jared sat down, I couldn't even see him because the bubbles enveloped him completely.
(This random crap never happened to Julia Roberts.)
And these bubbles lasted for h-o-u-r-s!
I hadn't laughed that hard in a while. I think we both felt like 3 year-olds. Not exactly what I was originally going for, but really, the whole day was like that. 
It wasn't exactly what we had planned on - torrential downpours or bathroom bubble flooding, but that is what makes great memories.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Five on Friday

Tomorrow is our 6th wedding anniversary. 
We aren't huge into presents (correction: I am not huge into presents); we prefer to go the experience route. I would much rather go do something or go somewhere new than get a pair of earrings. My parents volunteered to watch the kids overnight so that we can get away and go do that something new. I have been looking forward to it all week!

My newest addiction:
It's a TV show about exactly what you are thinking it is about. It's on Showtime so it is naturally racy, but after the first episode or so it settles down... a bit. It isn't just smut though - there are complex characters and story lines that keep you wanting to watch the next episode. But let's be honest, there ain't nothin' wrong with a little smut. 
Bonus: it is set in the 1950s, so that always adds an interesting dynamic - the hair, the clothes, the gender inequality...

And in case you are wondering, no, we do not get Showtime. In fact our cable package costs about 20 bucks and all winter I hear my sisters whine during their visits about how we don't even get ESPN. We use an amazing little site called CouchTuner and it is awesome. You can thank me later.

From smut to the anti-smut...
I have been in a classic book reading mood lately. I have zero idea how I graduated high school having read hardly any classic novels, especially since I love to read and was in an English lit class every semester. I was forced to read Beowulf (shoot me now), but never picked up a copy of The Great Gatsby or The Grapes of Wrath.

In the past month I finished both of those books. I felt like I needed to read them. 
I need to be able to answer those Jeopardy questions! 
No, but really. 
I am glad I read them. And maybe it is a good thing that I am reading them now instead of 12 or more years ago. I don't know if I could have appreciated them fully as a teenager. Both books had excerpts where I got caught up in the writing, reflecting about life. I think that those parts would have sailed right over my clueless teenage head.

Next up, an Agatha Christie classic: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
I have heard it referred to as one of the greatest mystery novels of all-time. I am looking forward to reading my first Christie novel.

Random outdoor photos

That's it, folks. 
My uneventful life is tapped out at 4 subjects this week. I am off to sneak in an episode of my aforementioned guilty pleasure while Jared is out drinking a beer with our neighbors. 

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tee ball

This week marked the first week of t-ball for Bailey and Avery. 

And also my first ever experience in coaching. Granted it's a bunch of 3 and 4 year-olds, so "coaching" loosely means teaching one child to hit the ball while the rest of the kids draw stick figures in the dirt.

But that is the fun of it. 
It's no serious thing. Just a bunch of kids learning some (very basic) basics and having some good ole-fashioned fun outside. I coach with one other parent and he is laid back and chill, so we get along great. Neither of us truly knows what we are doing, so we improvise. It's all good.

Avery is probably a bit too young for all of it really, seeing as she just turned three last month. But since her sister was doing it, there was absolutely no point in pretending she would be okay sitting on the sidelines. As a rule, if Sister is doing it, Avery is too.

Their favorite part is batting (isn't everyone's?) so they were cheesing it up for the camera this afternoon, practicing their swings. 
When it comes to all this new t-ball stuff, Avery carefully watches how Sister does it.

And then they had to hug because that is what they do when they are excited about anything. 
(Last week at the zoo: "Look Avery, it's a shark! YAY!" *jumping hug*)
So far so good. Other than the fact that Avery has already begged me to stop being her coach, they seem to be liking tee ball. And what is not to like? New shirt, hanging out with friends, making dirt angels in the infield? A total blast, right?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

being a bad blogger

Summer has {basically} arrived and blogging has slipped to the bottom of my list. 
I think of things I want to blog about, I formulate ideas and sentences in my head, but they don't really come to fruition. In the past my usual blogging time took place during nap time or at night after Jared left for work, which is after 10 PM. 

But lately other things have taken precedence. 
I started back on the whole weight loss journey. (Yes, again...) At the beginning of April I started to work out 5-6 days a week without fail. I found a great fitness site on YouTube that I love, so it's easy to work out in the comfort of my own living room just by hooking up our Ipad to the TV. At the end of April I added in calorie counting along with the workouts. I use MyFitnessPal (MFP). I downloaded the app on the phone and it is a breeze to use. It was a bit of a shock to see what actual portions are, but I know I needed to learn that. After being all over the map weight-wise for the last 5 years due to the pregnancies and constant pumping/breastfeeding, it was time to rediscover what my body needs and get back in shape.

It's been almost two months and I have happy to report I have lost 9 pounds
Yep, that sounds like not much.
And most days it feels like not much, too. 
But I feel stronger and am making better decisions when it comes to food. I am not super strict about my diet, but by using MFP, I can see what extra work it takes for that brownie or a night spent drinking a few beers with friends. I am not a person who is going to severely restrict calories - I love food! - so working out regularly and counting calories is what I'm going with. 

But by making working out a priority, other things take the back burner - like blogging. 
And the dishes. 
And the huge mess that is our living room by the time afternoon naps roll around. 
So now instead of blogging or doing the dishes during that hour or so of peace, I am jumping and pressing and lunging my butt off... hopefully in a literal sense. 
If any of you out there use MFP, feel free to add me as a friend. It's nice to have friends for support and encouragement and vise- versa.

Also distracting me from blogging is the call of the outdoors. There is weeding to do and the lawn has needed mowed about every 4 days or so lately. We have outside projects we are working on and kids are constantly outside doing something.
Plus it seems like every summer we want to cram in tons of fun stuff into three short months - hence the Summer Bucket List.

This past Friday was the Omaha Zoo.
We have gone every year since Bailey was born.

The Omaha aunts came along and made the day more fun.
Plus it's always nice to take shifts with those bulky, weighed-down strollers.