Fun Stuff

Five on Friday – I’m Back Edition!

My favorite posts to read all week long are weekly “favorite” posts.  Having been MIA for a little bit, I have a backlog of some favorites to share with you all!  This week, I’ll share a little bit of everything.  Let’s get this party started!

FiveonFriday.o.n.e.

PodcastHappierLogoWhen I drove to Tennessee in August, I knew I couldn’t make the solo trip depending on my short playlist of favorite singles.  I downloaded Serial and fell in love with podcasts.  Since then, I’ve added some other favorites including: Spawned, Note to Self, RadioLab, and HappierHappier and Spawned are my favorite to listen to during my commute to and from work and they’re the perfect length.

.t.w.o.
amazon music
Amazon Music!  This is new to me and it’s amazing.  We purchased Amazon Prime a couple of months ago and I had no idea that I could create playlists and listen to their entire library of music!!  Gone are my days of buying songs on iTunes.  Greatest thing ever.

.t.h.r.e.e.
door county
Fall weather.  Oh em gee.  It’s my favorite time of year.  September stayed SO hot in Wisconsin (uppers 80’s and 90!).  This week we hit a MAJOR cool down and temps are where they should be in the upper 50’s and 60’s.  It’s a dream.  Colors are just starting to change, the sun has been shining, and the temperature has been perfect!  Side note: While that isn’t my photo, Craig and I drove that road last week in Door County on our anniversary getaway.  So pretty.

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InstagramPhotos
Instagram/Etsy shopping – I follow so many adorable shops on Instagram.  Part of the reason that I took my October challenge is because of all the wonderful things I keep finding (and buying).  Some of my most recent purchases include the adorable green Sophie hoodie from Evy’s Tree.  Pricey, yes – but I buy them on sale.  AND they wear and wash great and can be dressed up or dressed down.  One of my favorite bloggers, Bonnie, recently opened up a shop called Hey June.  I purchased a sapphire necklace to commemorate my wedding month.  And finally, I recently bought Eddie a pair of those buffalo plaid jeans from Dudley Denim.  I missed out twice before finally snagging a pair before sellout last weekend.  He will be such a little stud wearing those this fall.  Instagram: My new favorite way to shop.

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pip
These pipSquigz are amazing.  Small enough to tuck into any bag and entertaining enough to keep our 10 month old happy for an extended period of time.  They easily suction to high chairs and tables and Eddie loves to pull them off because of the noise they make (“pop”).  They rattle, too.  And he loves to suck on them and throw them on the ground (and promptly begin sucking on them again when I hand it back – gross).  These were on a wishlist for Eddie way back when, and GiGi delivered.  We love ’em.

Linking up with April and Christina!

Show and Tell Tuesday: Groundhog Day

Show and Tell Banner - mwn

So it appears we have 6 more weeks of winter.  And apparently some groundhog bit some mayor or something.  That’s what Facebook told me yesterday, anyway.

If I could choose one day a time in my life to live over and over again – I think I would choose a day my sister and I spent in Europe together.  That trip was almost 5 years ago!  I’m not sure how that is possible, five whole years!?  Time flies.  Gah.  Because it was 5 years ago, I can’t pinpoint a particular day, but I’d love to relive that trip over and over again.

I was finishing up my first year of grad school and Kelsey was wrapping up her semester in Spain.  We planned a little tour that included Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Ireland.  I am really close with my kid sister, so being able to experience what we did together was so special.

We booked flights and hostels, but outside of that – we went without a plan.  I’m type-A and that was really hard for me.  Kelsey is much more of a “go with the flow” personality and I ended up relying on her heavily as we made our way through Europe with minimal direction.

In each city we found a grocery store and bought water, Special K cereal, and apples.  That was our diet.  We “treated” ourselves to one local meal in each city.  Hey, we were both college kids and on tight budgets.  With what we ate and how much we walked, we both lost a decent amount of wait over those 13 days!

It turns out that all of those things were the recipe for the time of my life.

Copenhagen, Denmark
We picked Denmark because my great grandfather immigrated from there when he was a young boy.  My mom had studied abroad there when she was in college.  I have all sorts of nationalities in my background, but this is the one Kelsey and I identify the most with.  We spent our days walking the city – visiting parks and museums.  We took a boat tour and saw where Hans Christian Anderson lived, as well as the Little Mermaid statue.

denmark flowers

flower lined sidewalks

denmark hca

honoring Hans Christian Anderson

denmark houses

HC Anderson lived in the brown building

denmark ship

Danish ship

Malmo, Sweden
Sweden was a day trip.  We took the train from Copenhagen.  The train went under the ocean.  It was crazy.  It was awesome.  Sweden wasn’t originally part of our plan, but once we realized how easy (and quick!) it was to get there, we went for it.  We did some shopping and wandering.  There are so many beautiful parks!  We had fun frolicking through the flowers and mimicking statues.

sweden malmo

on the square

sweden statue hug

hugs?

sweden statue jessi

twinsies!

sweden statue kels march

it’s like where’s waldo, isn’t it?

sweden statue kels

twinning!

Berlin, Germany
When we arrived in Berlin, we got lost trying to find our hostel.  Trying to read a map when all of the words are no less than 15 characters long is hard.  It was raining.  I was dragging a rolling suitcase (yeah, learned that lesson, definitely backpack Europe, don’t do suitcases!).  The sidewalks were stone.  I was pissed.

Despite that, Berlin was by far my favorite part of the trip.  We first found a free city tour and at the end they told us about paid tours we could take, including one to a concentration camp.  We visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, which was surreal.  Many of the original buildings were still there – complete with drawings some of the prisoners made on the walls.  The camp was outside of Berlin, but in the city was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

We also saw a book burning site near the university where Einstein worked before coming to America.  We visited the East Side Gallery, which is part of the Berlin wall, now covered in graffiti artwork.

Another notable stop the the Berlin Parliament.  The building is lit by the reflection of light off of an impressive dome in the center.

berlin

Sachsenhausen

berlin memorial

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

berlin book burning memorial

A memorial to the book burning in Bebelplatz square

berlin einstein

Humboldt University

berlin east side gallery1 berlin east side gallery

berlin parliment

Ireland
Truthfully, Ireland was probably my least favorite stop.  I wasn’t a fan of Dublin – it wasn’t much different than any old, dirty city here in the States.  But, I know plenty of people have visited and loved it, so I suppose it’s just a matter of opinion!  We picked up another free city tour (like we did in Berlin) that took us to see Trinity College and other historic sites.  We did more wandering, toured Guinness, and took a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher.  On the way back to Dublin we also made a pit stop at Kilmacdaugh monastery and Doolin Beach.

ireland trinity

Trinity College

ireland guinness

Gravity Bar, Guinness Brewery

Gravity Bar, Guinness Brewery

ireland cliffs of mohr

Cliffs of Moher

ireland church

Kilmacdaugh

ireland coast

Doolin Beach

Kelsey and I had the best time.  If I could relive this trip over and over and over … I would in a heartbeat.  I got to relive our trip to a certain degree in August 2012, when Kelsey helped me plan a sisters trip to NYC before I got married.  I don’t doubt that another sisters trip will happen in the future – which will allow me to relive our adventures together again and again.

Weekending

Can I call it weekending?  When basically every day of my life for the past five weeks has been like a weekend?  Meh.  Go with it.

My weekend started fabulously on Friday when I got to see my oldest and dearest friend, Allie.  She was in town from Colorado and made a special trip to meet her little nephew.  (Okay, obvs not her nephew, but she’s totes Auntie Allie, so ya know, go with it.)  She had a jam-packed weekend filled with flights and driving, so it meant oodles that she drove an extra 2 1/2 hours round-trip to see me and the little nugget.  Also got to say “hey” to her boyfriend, Thomas.  They’re dating because of me.  You should know that.  He was my neighbor when I lived in Denver.  Allie and Thomas met my last night in Denver before I moved to Tennessee.  Sparks flew.  And they’re still together today!

allie, circa march 2011

allie, circa march 2011

Friday afternoon, I headed to a local bakery to meet a friend I hadn’t seen in 3 1/2 years!  I worked with Mel while I was in grad school.  She was an undergraduate student worker in the Admissions office and we always got along famously.  She finished her bachelor’s as I finished my master’s.  Life took me to Colorado.  Life took her to North Carolina.  And now we are both back in Wisconsin!  It was super fab to see her.

mel, circa may 2011

mel, circa may 2011

Saturday I made a rookie mistake.  UGH.  Craig was up early to take our car in for an oil change.  Eddie and I hung out while I recovered from the day before.  (Seriously, you try being a hermit for 5 weeks and then having so much excitement in one day!)  After Craig got home, I headed out around 1pm to go grocery shopping.  I’m an idiot.  Saturday afternoon has to be the absolute worst time to grocery shop.  Seriously.  I bet if they studied it, the conclusion would be “only stupid people grocery shop on Saturday afternoons because that is when everybody and their flippin’ mother is at the grocery store.”

I thought I was going to have to park across the street in order to get into Trader Joe’s.  And by the time I got to Woodman’s I had my heels run over by a cart the jerk behind me was driving.  Dude, I literally cannot walk over the person in front of me, so I’d appreciate if you didn’t try to walk over me.  K, thanks.

I made it home about 2 hours later, with about 14 more gray hairs.  Seriously.  Craig and I had usually done our shopping late Friday or Saturday nights or early Sunday mornings when all the good folk are in church.  Why did I change up our routine?  #idiocracy

That brings me to Sunday.  The day the world didn’t end.  The Packer’s won their playoff game against the Cowboys.  WHEW.  My husband spent the rest of the day in a happy mood, so that’s always good news.  Like I said, the world didn’t end. 😉  I half-watch the games (today I was working on my Project Life album while “watching”).  I think it drives Craig nutso because I’ll half hear something and then ask him what happened.  So, he’s trying to explain what just happened while missing what is currently happening.  Bless him.  He’s so patient with me.

I should also mention that I got to sleep in.  I mean, I had to ask ahead of time, to make sure he’d get up to feed and love on Eddie, but whatev.  Life of a mom.  When I rolled out of bed at 9 (I was starting to feel guilty, I don’t doubt I could’ve legit slept until at least noon), I found my sweet little boy dressed and happy as a clam:

eddie packer - mwn

I die.  Is he not the cutest little Packer fan in all of the universe!?

I got some meal prep in for week numero dos of my Advocare Challenge.  More quinoa, chicken, and homemade avocado dressing.  Those are pretty much my staples.  I have a post started with some stuff to share, but when there is only 3 minutes of daylight during the winter, it’s hard to get photos that aren’t totally embarrassing.  Wait, I usually don’t care about the quality.  So really, it’s just an excuse.  I’ll get to it.  Maybe.  You know…baby and all.

So, there you have it.  Weekending.  If you can call grocery shopping weekending.

Until next time!

Five on Friday [january]

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve linked up with these lovely ladies.  I promise that my five aren’t all baby related.  Though, that’s a teensy bit difficult since my days revolve around le bebe.  But, I promise, you will get through this post with only 2/5 being baby-related and I didn’t even include a baby photo.  For those of you feeling overwhelmed with my newfound obsession, you’re welcome.  For those of you looking for a baby photo, no fear, you’ll be provided one at sometime in the near future, I don’t doubt that!

FiveonFridayIf you want in on the fun, join Darci, April, Natasha, and Christina each Friday.

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These 20 Dogs Who Unapologetically Delight in Being Jerks made my entire week.

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1989
It happened.  I finally broke down and bought T-Swift’s latest album.  I knew it was time when I was trolling my satellite radio presets every time I got into the car, hoping to find “Blank Space.”  I picked it up on a solo trip to Target and I can tell you I felt a little lighter after cranking the volume and jamming on the way home.

.t.h.r.e.e.
Instagram

Guilty. I check my Instagram all day long.  It’s by far my favorite social media medium and since Eddie has arrived you’d think my entire life was consumed by the little 12 pound nugget.  …oh wait, it is.  So, I guess (??) I’m sorry for inundating you with all of the photos of my adorable child.  And while they all probably look the same to you – in my opinion, he has a distinct expression in each of them.  “Look at my cute baby half smiling.”  “Look at my cute baby fully smiling.”  “Look at my baby crying.” “Pooping.” “Fussing.”  etc, etc.

I get it, not everyone is as smitten with Edison as I am.  So, thanks for humoring me.

.f.o.u.r.
bringing up bebe

One more baby related thing for today: this book.  My sister gifted it to me at my baby shower in October.  I loved it when I read it and I have even referenced it a couple times since Eddie has arrived.  I don’t necessarily agree with everything Pamela talks about, but there was quite a bit I wanted to remember.  Perhaps the most interesting idea was “the pause.”  I think this would be a great idea to gift someone that’s expecting.  Because even if they already have kids, it will definitely bring a different perspective – and either reinforce what they already believe or challenge (possibly change?) other thoughts.

.f.i.v.e.
red quinoa
YUM!  I prepared some of this good stuff last Sunday in preparation for my makeshift Advocare challenge.  It’s served as the base for majority of my meals this week.  I made it with chicken broth rather than water to give it some extra flavor.  It’s filling and super flexible.  I’ve eaten it with chicken burgers, mahi mahi, chicken & broccoli, etc.

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Can I say that it was legitimately difficult to find 3 nonbaby related items?  I mean, without sounding like my life is pitiful.  I could’ve gone on and on about the HGTV or food Network marathons I watch all day long.  Or all the baby gadgets we’ve tried that have or haven’t worked.  Or the distress I feel when I have to clean bottles (there’s seriously no good way to do it, even our dishwasher complicates it by flipping the bottles and filling them with dirty water).  But, I put on my big girls pants, dug real deep and found a few items I thought could appeal to the larger audience.  How’d I do? 😉

2014: I’m Forever Changed

When I think back on the past 364 days, the theme that runs through it all: the last year has forever changed me.  For better or for worse, I am a completely different version of myself.  I’ve felt sadness I never could have imagined and happiness I didn’t know could exist.  People have made their entrances and exits and I’ve learned so, so much about what it means to love and respect.

January
Jessi Game
When the year started, you’d have found me over at What The Efff.  That space is gone, but all the posts can be found here, at Our Midwest Nest.

Craig and I headed to Lambeau for the coldest Packer game I’ve ever been to.  I helped re-home the sweetest German Shepherd, Max, to my dear friend Allie.  Finally, the day before I started my new job, I found out I was pregnant, but none of you would know that for quite some time.

February
February was a quiet time for me.  I lost my pregnancy and struggled to cope with what that meant.  I would ultimately learn that it meant I married a man so much stronger than I ever imagined.  I would learn that there were people in my life that didn’t belong there; but, it also meant that I would be reminded that I have some of the most incredible, giving, compassionate people loving me.

March
Confetti - What The Efff blog
I resurfaced and was ready to refocus my energies to something I could control – my fitness.  I began to heal and move past our loss and decided to share it here with you.  The strength I gained from other mamas pushed me to do that – and I hope just one person found that it helped.  Loss can be lonely and it can be hard to remember you aren’t alone.  During this month, I also spent a long weekend with my parent’s in Texas.  Time away from my day-to-day reality helped me gain a different perspective and I came back feeling much better.  On a lighter note, I also shared a really pretty birthday cake!  It’s equally as delicious, definitely worth trying – promise!

April through June went silent again.  On April Fool’s Day (oh, life is ironic) I found out I was expecting again.  Cue: immense amount of fear.  Let me tell you, pregnancy after miscarriage is stressful.  So stressful.

July
baby bump mwn
I resurfaced (again) in July with our happy news.  Because I went MIA for quite some time, I also shared a highlight reel to catch you up.  The month ended on a high note when I spent a week on my parent’s ranch in Texas and read to my heart’s content.

August
cinnamon roll - mwn
I treated you all to what might be my most favorite dessert, Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie.  Perfect for a summer BBQ!!  Craig and I also ventured to IKEA to furnish Bumpster’s nursery.  It was Craig’s first time in an IKEA and it’s safe to say he was impressed (especially with those dang cinnamon rolls!).

September
about mwn
This month was tough.  I talked about our Rainbow Baby in light of my first due date passing.  But, it ended on a high note, with Craig and I celebrating two years of marriage.  I’ve never been more thankful for him.

October
jessi eagle tower
I recapped our “babymoon” // anniversary trip to Door County.  Craig had never been and I had a blast visiting some of the places from childhood memories.  Our hotel was sketch as hell (thanks, hunny), but it was a great, great trip.  Our family was also showered with gifts at Bumpster’s baby shower.  Lots of people joined us, no doubt Bumpster (and his mama) were feeling the love!  Finally, I shared my Pregnancy Must Haves.  I purchased and tried things based off of blog recommendations, so I wanted to share my own!

November
Matthews-23
This was the month we were really gearing up for Bumpster’s arrival.  I shared our Maternity/Family Photos, as well as our Woodland Nursery.  I was secretly hoping for a November baby.  Spoiler alert: I didn’t end up with a November baby.

December
Eddie - xmas photo
I got a little quiet again, but for good reason!  Edison Lawrence arrived!  I plan to share his birth story. (Another spoiler: it did not go as planned.  At all.  And I didn’t even have a flipping plan.)  I’m working on it, so hopefully that will show up tomorrow.  In other happy news, Craig also “okayed” my sharing of little Eddie here.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but knowing Craig was comfortable with it got me all excited to share our little squish.  Stay tuned!

I don’t doubt 2015 will be incredible.  I cannot wait to watch Edison grow and change.  Motherhood is challenging, sure, but it’s also the most rewarding, joy-filled endeavor I’ve ever taken on.

Thanks for sticking with me over the past 12 months.  It’s sure been a doozy!  Happy New Year!

A (fall) Bucket List

Running a bit behind today – I feel asleep at 8 last night and woke up at 7 this morning with my alarm.  With just a single trip to the bathroom.  That’s how tired I’ve been!  I’ve spent the last week feeling more worn out than I ever did in my first trimester.  What the heck!?  Anyway, onto today’s regularly scheduled programming…

I have two free Saturdays between now and Mini M’s due date.  TWO.  Between working and baby classes – this mama will be busy, busy, busy.  I have plenty of Sundays to soak in the time left with my family of four, but I know it’s going to fly by.

Fall is my favorite time of year.  The weather is perfect.  It’s beautiful.  And pumpkin.  Yes, pumpkin.  Enough said.  Who remembers my Trader Joe’s haul last year?  I’ve already enjoyed pumpkin waffles and pumpkin macaroons from TJ’s this year. Yum!

In addition to buying all the pumpkin things, here are some things I want to do in the next 10-ish weeks:

Apple Orchard/Pumpkin Patch
Craig and I actually found a bomb pumpkin patch while living in Tennessee, called Grandaddy’s Farm.  We went in 2011 and 2012 and it was a fun, easy way to spend an afternoon.  Last year, I found a Groupon to check out a Wisconsin corn maze – whichhh was pretty lame.  On the way home, though, we swung by the Elegant Farmer, because we were in the area.  The Elegant Farmer is famous for their Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag.  We were nearby, Craig had never had one of their pies, so I suggested we stop by.  Little did I know they have an epic fall setup.  The orchard, pumpkin patch, cider donuts, and home-baked goods.  Swoon.  I was so upset that I hadn’t thought to check them out first.  So, this year – Elegant Farmer it is!

Watch lots of football
Wait, what?  Who am I?  Truth is, I don’t care to sit for extended periods of time watching any sort of television.  BUT.  Craig loves (loves) football, especially the Packers.  It’s his quiet time.  I don’t like to just sit.  However, I’m going to take the time to just sit and be with him – because our days as two are numbered.  Pretty soon we will be overtired, begging for a few hours to just sit.

Make homemade applesauce
I’ve found some awesome recipes to try out in the crock pot.  The plan is to stock up at the Elegant Farmer apple orchard and make some epic applesauce to enjoy!

Carve pumpkins
Craig doesn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I do, but he humors me.  We never got around to it last year and I felt a little sad about it.

Take short hikes
There are some nice local trails that are quite easy to walk.  I want to get out and enjoy the cool weather and colors!  The pups really enjoy getting out into some different scenery, too!

Have family pictures taken
Sunday, we are meeting up with Craig’s cousin who has a photography business.  She ‘s doing our “maternity” photos.  As excited as I am for the little guy, I don’t want the bump to be the main focus.  Instead, I want them to be “family” photos of me and Craig.  We had photos taken in December 2012 and they’re some of my favorite.  See that photo on the right?  That’s one of ’em.  I definitely want to document my pregnancy, but also want to celebrate the little family we’ve established so far.

Find a farmer’s market
We stumbled upon one last year, but I haven’t been to one since.  Madison is widely known for theirs, but with only 2 free Saturdays, I don’t foresee myself spending one of them willingly walking into an extremely crowded capital square to enjoy farmer’s market.  I’ll opt for a smaller, local market.

What are some of the items on your fall bucket list?

Highlight Reel

What have I been up to for the last 3+ months?  How nice of you to ask!

In May, Craig and I completed year two of our “tradition” to go to the Badger Spring game.  We went last year as well and decided it was a perfect way to see a game at Camp Randall without a ton of drunks and a large crowd.  We’ve gotten old and have come to appreciate less and less the situations where there are large amounts of people.  AND It was much warmer than last year!

spring game mwn

Later that month one of my dear friends, Allison, got hitched.  I’m so happy we got to be there.  I hadn’t seen her since we moved from Tennessee.  I met her while working at MTSU and learned she grew up literally less than a half an hour from me.  Small world!

cas wedding mwn

I spent Memorial Day weekend in Indianapolis to see one of my closest friends, Bobbie Jo.  I met her at MTSU, too.  We clicked instantly and have remained in close contact since I left.  I’ve been in Wisconsin for about a year and a half and I’ve seen her three times!  Rather than one of us making the drive in it’s entirety, we decided to meet halfway.  Turns out Indy is almost exactly halfway between Milwaukee and Nashville!  My heart needed that trip.  Jo is so full of happy – she filled my tank right back up!

indi mwn

In June, Craig and I made it to Summerfest – not once, but twice.  What was I just saying about not liking crowds?  We spent the first night seeing Lady Gaga.  THAT was an experience.  She’s so talented though.  And the people watching was at it’s best.  Lots of her little monsters dressed up.

Two days later we went to see a childhood favorite, John Hiatt.  His music is the background music for most of my childhood memories.  He was great to see live.

Looking at these two artists alone you can see  just how diverse my taste in music has become!

summerfest mwn

Early July, Kelsey was finally home from Spain!  Wahoo!  She’s been staying with Craig and me on and off until she finds a place to live and a job.  I secretly hope she stays forever.  It’s been so nice having her around.  My mom made the trip back with her.  She hadn’t seen me with a bun in the oven, so that was fun for everyone.  That first week of July was just a really, really good week.

On the fourth, Kelsey and I decided we wanted to go see Grandpa’s park.  He donated for its creation and spent a great deal of time taking care of it before he passed away.  It’s really special to both of us that we have a space to go and “see” and “feel” him.  It’s become the hub of all of the Independence Day activities in our small hometown.  It was a fun afternoon.

4th mwn

Also, special thanks to Kelsey for indulging with me.  This pregnant lady couldn’t walk away from the funnel cakes and sno cones!

4th mwn2

So there you have it!  Looking back, I had quite a bit jam-packed into the past few months – I’m only hitting the highest of highlights.  We have some other fun plans for the remainder of the summer, but I’ll save those for another time.

Have a happy week!

 

Five For Friday v. 7

Spring time is officially here!  The temperatures have finally started to act a little spring-like and the snow is melting away.  It’s about time!  I was ready for that shiz to disappear weeks ago.  This weeks Five for Friday is all about spring.  Spring has sprung!

.one.
I love tulips!  My very favorite flower is in full bloom when spring rolls around.  I just wish they lasted longer.  I got the prettiest birthday tulips from my inlaws yesterday!

spring tulips.two.
I think Craig and I have started a new tradition – the Badger Spring Scrimmage.  It’s a super cheap date ($10 for tickets) to go see the new football team.  We don’t usually make it to a regular season game, which is fine by me.  I hate crowds and drunk college kids!  Last year was a the perfect day – despite being chilly, it was sunny.  There wasn’t a packed stadium.  And we had a great lunch at the Great Dane!

gamespring game 2013

.three.
Dogs that don’t mind being outside.  This is huuuuge.  Our dogs drove us insane during the cold weather.  They wanted to go out and run around for five minutes before coming back to the door and barking to be let back in.  …and then two minutes later (after warming up their tootsies!) they were at the door again begging to go back out.  Drove me insane.  Now, we can let them out and leave them be for an extended period of time.  Downside?  Muddy paws.  Ughhh

.four.
Craig’s birthday.  I love gift giving.  And surprises.  Craig’s birthday is in May and I’ve already been scheming what I can do to surprise him.  When we lived in Tennessee, I teamed up with his bosses to get him to Nashville and surprise him with tickets to a Preds game.  Last year he got to enjoy a bomb cookies and creme cake (and watch his wife in a dance recital).IMG_1105

After my very last recital!

*Hey Myles!

side note – should I cut my hair off again?  #havinganidentitycrisis

.five.
Grilling!  Craig became quite the grill master last summer, which is impressive considering he was working with a tailgating grill.  Tailgating grills mean that you can cook like two hamburgers at a time, which caused for some creative problem solving when we were entertaining.  For Christmas, he got a “real” grill from my parents.  He feels like a real big boy with his big boy grill and I can’t wait to put him to work!

What are your favorite things about spring?

FiveonFridayThanks to April, Christina, Darci,
and Natasha for hosting!

Five For Friday v. 6

Howdy!  While I’m off playing cowgirl at my parents’ ranch in Texas, I thought it’d be fun to dedicate this weeks Five for Friday to just that – Texas!  My parents moved while I was finishing up my junior year of college, so I’ve made the trip quite a few times now.

Here are five of my most favorite things about Te-has.

one.
The ranch.  My parent’s live in the middle of flippin’ no where and at first, I didn’t love it.  Now?  I love it.  I’ve spent a few visits sleeping until lunch time, only getting up to lounge by the pool and read books to my hearts desire.  Their backyard is an oasis.  Love, love, love.  I also really enjoy jumping on a horse and getting my cowgirl fix in, too.  Books, pool, horses, quiet, and a mom that will feed me whatever I want?  Sounds like a perfect vacation destination to me!

Texas Backyard - What The Efff blogIMG_0168

two.
The music scene.  You guys.  Seriously.  So many great artists.  Such unique venues.  I’ve seen great shows at La Zona Rosa, The Nutty Brown, and Gruene Hall.  I’m the first to admit I love me some Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake, but I also love seeing people like Ryan Bingham, Reckless Kelly, and Charlie Robison.  Fun fact: Gruene Hall is the oldest dance hall in Texas.

IMG_0072Ryan Bingham

three.
Johnson City Christmas Lights.  I had never seen anything like it before!  Who do you think sponsors these beautiful lights?  Yes, the electric company.  Whether we have been down there for Thanksgiving for Christmas, we always make the drive to see them.

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four.
San Antonio River Walk // The Alamo.  I haven’t overly enjoyed the shopping or the food I’ve had on the River Walk, but I did enjoy the boat tour quite a bit!  It’s just something really unique that was fun to do with the fam.  The Alamo is right “next door” and the history associated with that is pretty neat.

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five.
These guys.  Usually, the only time we can all be together is over the holidays when we visit mom and dad.  Now that I’m married and Kelsey has such an adventuresome spirit, it hasn’t happened recently.  But, having us all together is always pretty special, since it’s become so rare.

Proof-1044 Proof-1087family photos done by Parish Photography, San Antonio

bonus.
Cooper’s BBQ.  I always request a trip to this joint.  YUM!

COOPERS

FiveonFridayThanks to April, Christina, Darci,
and Natasha for hosting!

Five for Friday v. 5

March is my birthday month.  More than once I’ve tried to do the math to figure out how old I’m going to be.  Majority of those times, I’ve failed and just had to ask someone to do it for me.  No, I’m no exaggerating.  Yes, it’s very sad.  Actually, quite pathetic that it’s come to that.  I’m not even that old.  My instinct is to say that I’ll be 28, but in reality it’ll just be 27.  So, that’s nice, I suppose.  It’s like I’m giving myself an extra year.  Sort of?

In the spirit of my birthday, here are five fabulous finds I surely wouldn’t mind adding to my collection of material things.

.one.

I love this bag.  When I first saw the Gaiam Everything Fits Gym Bag, I passed it up.  When I started looking for it a few weeks ago, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  And I was sad.  Very sad.  BUT IT’S BACK!  I might be using some birthday money for this!  I’m having a hard time deciding between black and purple, though…

Gaiam Everything Fits Gym Bag.two.

Another blogger posted about this watch – isn’t it so pretty!?  And YES, I actually really like the pink!  I’m not a huge pink-loving girly-girl, but I think it just works.  Because it’s a watch, I think you could get away with wearing it with things that pink might not normally “match” with.  Love it.  AND it’s on sale!

MK watch.three.

Advocare everything.  Seriously.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been texting with Kim, coveting all things Advocare.  I have treated myself to more of the vitamins and such (arriving today!), but there are some other things that I’m dying to try.  But, I have to pace myself financially – it is a tad pricey.  The three things I’m still dying to try are the Rehydrate, O2 Gold, and Post Workout Recovery.

Advocare Collage.four.

An appointment at the salon!  I haven’t had a hair cut in like 9 months.  Mostly because last March I had to chop it all off after a terrible experience with a Brazilian Blowout.  I need a good trim and I want my highlights back!  My hair is the typical dirty dishwater blonde and I’m tired of it.  I’m really gearing up to get myself back on track physically, so I don’t want to feel frumpy.  And frizzy, boring hair, in desperate need of a cut screams frumpy to me.  womp womp.  My salon of choice gives Deva cuts for those of us gals with naturally curly hair.  I’m tellin’ ya – once you go Deva, you never go back!  The best cuts I’ve ever had! …the salon also has a spa.  So, I think that if I go for a hair treat, I should also treat myself to a massage…don’t you!? 😉

spargo.five.

New kitchen counters.  Yep.  I’m officially an adult.  I hate our kitchen counters.  They’re granite tile.  Pretty to look at – so not practical.  Trying to keep that grout clean and sanitized?  Impossible.  They’re just icky.  I’d really like to paint our cabinets white, but Craig firmly tells me ‘no’ each time I bring it up.  But, how pretty and classic are these!?

countertopscountertops2I don’t love the paint color in the second one, but you get the idea 🙂

There ya have it.  The wishlist of a soon-to-be 27 year old!

What tops your wish list these days?

Thanks to April, Christina, Darci, and Natasha for hosting!