Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ah, screw it. Let it snow! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

I am usually one to always wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas. It might be the day after Thanksgiving, but it is after Thanksgiving. 

But all this snow in November?
I am mentally giving in. 
Christmas could be tomorrow and I'd believe it.

So I'm all in.
Let it snow.
Crank that Christmas music. (Wait, what? It's been on the radio for weeks? Oh yeah...)
Bring on the mountain of green and red storage totes and let's decorate this place up. 

If it looks like Christmas outside, 
it might as well look like it in our living room too!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Two, Dude

Almost exactly two years ago to the hour, I was holding our son in my arms for the first time.
My son.
The reality was finally sinking in, and I think I cried like twenty times that day. 

And much later, after the worst of the sleep deprivation was over,
we realized just how complete our family felt with this little man in it.

I just finished tucking in our now 2 year-old baby for his daily nap. 
He grabbed my face in his chubby hands and pulled me in for a big kiss on the lips. He smiled and said, "I yuhv you" before turning over on bed, snuggling in to sleep.

It melts my heart every time. 
He might not technically be a baby anymore, but he is still my baby.
Although if you ask him, he will proudly let you know that he is "two, dude."

Happy Birthday little G.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Last night was another conversion van ride (through snow-covered roads) to a concert. It's the third one this year - we road tripped to a random concert last February and then to Cher this summer. 
Truly, the 1995 Econoline just sets the mood for a fun time. 

It was a Tracy Lawrence concert. You might remember him if you listened to country back when country was awesome - aka the 1990s.

But you can't tell we are going to a country concert, can you?
Look at all that plaid...

When we heard earlier this year that Tracy Lawrence was coming to Iowa, we definitely wanted to get tickets. For one, they are cheap as hell. Fifteen dollars? Sign me up.
Reason #2:
The year was 1994 and our grandma Connie never knew what to buy us girls for Christmas. So she goes into WalMart and informs the sales clerk that her granddaughters like country westuurn (how G-Con says it) music and she needs help picking something out. The lady proceeds to come back with VHS tapes of Tracy Lawrence and John Michael Montgomery. She assures my grandma we will love them. And we did - mostly because we thought it was so cool to watch the same music videos over and over again. 
My mom heard "Sticks & Stones" so many times that she probably wanted to take a stick to her eardrums. 

Cut to 20 years later, we buy 3rd row tickets to his concert.

And just like the last time at this venue, we headed for the front of the stage and stayed there. 

We had a good time - we always do together - and when the concert was over we headed to the casino floor.

I am not a huge gambler. Jared and I go maybe two or three times a year, and it is usually because we are in a group like this. But I haven't spent any of my birthday money yet, so I brought along a couple of twenties. My parents like to gamble now and again so I found a seat next to my dad and Beaner and started playing a quarter slot. A few minutes later he wanted to change locations, so I cashed out and followed them. We ended up in the high stakes room. 

And since this is small-town Iowa, the high stakes slots start at a whole dollar. 
I have never played a dollar machine - I am way too much of a tight-ass - but I figured hey, whatever, it's my birthday money. Also, I had a few drinks at the concert and was really going with the flow at this point. I pick a machine, put in the $13 I have left from my twenty, and hit the big red BET button. 
Seven dollars in and my machine starts going nuts.
My brain is working a little more slowly than normal thanks to that Captain and Coke, but the constantly increasing numbers is getting me excited. I yell for my dad that I think I might be winning some real money. 
The machine stops on 480 credits. 
I process for a second. 
Wait, this is a dollar machine! 
A credit is a dollar.

I won $480?!

Night made.

I wish I could show the snapchat video my sister took of me immediately after. I am totally tipsy and fanning myself with my hand because I can't believe I actually won money.

Now, you would think I would be the big winner for the night, right?
Justy's boyfriend Zac put 20 bucks in another machine in this same room and hit $770. And he had never been there before and hardly ever gambled in his life.

We later tried to celebrate our winnings by purchasing some late night McDonald's, but the van window wouldn't roll down in the cold (How could you let us down, Vandie?!) and by the time Jared got out and hit it into working again, it was a minute past midnight and the lady in the drive-thru wouldn't take our order.
Fast Food Fail.

But don't worry, I comforted myself with my winnings.  ;)

Friday, November 14, 2014

There's just been so much cake...

Well, it's been about an eon. I swear I don't ever mean to take a 3 week blogging vacation, but it happens. Life got busy. Blogging was at the bottom of my list and apparently being a sick person was at the top. For weeks.

So let's recap.

We came back from our Colorado vacation and that next Tuesday was my birthday. 
I'm 30 now, y'all, in case you missed it.
So that week went quickly because I was busy eating cake and stuff.

Flash forward to that Friday night. 
My sisters had long planned to take Jared and I out for an evening to celebrate. We planned to meet at my parents' house and when we were chauffeured there, we were greeted by a joint surprise party. And trust and believe - we were surprised.
We celebrated with {more} cake and some adult beverages.

Jared's dad and step-mom came from Kansas and his mom even drove from Colorado after just seeing us the week before. I was shocked.
So a quiet weekend at home turned into two days of fun entertaining family that we don't get to see very often.

Literally the day we said sayonara to our visiting family, the kids got sick. Sinus infections, waking every hour all night long, generalized whininess... the whole nine yards. They missed school all week and basically drove me up the wall. We toughed it out for approximately 9 days before I had enough. (That's what you get when both your parents are nurses!) Then we spent a couple days going to doctor appointments. 

Their noses crusted up long enough for us to dress them up to go trick-or-treating on Halloween. Yep, we probably spread around colds to the entire neighborhood. My bad.

Please take note of Picture #1...
...and Picture #2.

Graham was not tolerating an actual costume. We listened to about five whole minutes of pitiful crying and screaming and tearing at the hood of his costume before we gave up and let him win. Jared ransacked his dresser upstairs and came up with this outfit. 
His costume? 
We're calling it Dapper Toddler.

It was another weeks of colds (after kicking the sinus infections) and then we loaded up for a weekend trip to Fremont, Nebraska. The girls were to be flower girls in Jodie and Keith's wedding on Saturday. Jodie has been Fe's best friend for the past ten years, and in that time she has come on vacations with us, attended our kids' birthday parties, been around for holidays - you name it. She is family. There was no way we were missing that wedding!

Aunt Beaner was the bride's personal attendant.

Aunt Fe was the Maid of Honor.

Now, I partied with Fe and Jodie and their friends back in college, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. But throw in Keith's friends? The beer was flowing and the party was on. 

This picture was taken about two hours in to the dance, so please excuse my sweaty face and ramshackle hair. 
There was a lot of dancing going on people!

I love weddings. I love the opportunity for an open bar, a festive mood, and great music. There was all of those things and more. (The more being the father of the bride down on the floor slapping around doing the dance to "Taking Care of Business.")  

I also love that at weddings my husband turns into this guy:

Some people don't get to see this particular side of Jared, but my husband is F-U-N. When the drinks are flowing and there is a good time to be had, Jared is there building the beer can pyramid and singing to Backstreet Boys' songs with the best of them. We don't get out much together, and when we do, usually someone has to stay in control. But that night there was a shuttle taking us to our hotel so it was game on. I am positive we both were displaying some pretty awesome dance moves for most of the night.

This past week we finally got out to my parents' farm for our annual combine rides. The kids are still small enough that I could fit in there with all three of them and my dad. It was interesting at times - there was always one child trying to yank on the steering wheel - but they loved it. Hopefully next year we won't be sick all month long and they can go out and spend part of a day riding in the buddy seat with my dad.

 Combine selfie!

So that's it. The past three weeks summed up in a few pictures.

Tomorrow night my sisters and I are attending a Tracy Lawrence concert. Like Tracy Lawrence that was on the country charts in the 1990s. Or as we like to call him, Tra-Law. 
Because we have names for everyone. 

So come 9 PM tomorrow night, I am going to be singing "Texas Tornado" like it's 1994. 
You best bring it, Tra-Law!