Pelican lake 2015

I wish I could have stayed longer! Loved playing with the girls.  Here are the photos I took!










Chi-town / D-town

The last couple of weekends have been filled with friends, fun, and family.  Two weeks ago, I went to Chicago to celebrate a soon-to-be bride, Carly, who is the fiance of one of Z’s life-long friends.  I sometimes forget how easy it is to fly to Chicago.  By the time we’re up in the air, we are practically making our descent!

There were some scenic views from my window seat this time.

Chicago June 2014 -5

Chicago June 2014 -6We split up into 2 groups and stayed at two apartments near downtown.  I stayed with a gal I’d never met before, Saleigh, who was one of those people I felt immediately comfortable around.  Don’t you love meeting those kind of people? We hung out for a little bit, then got ready for a late dinner at Dawson.

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Chicago June 2014 -7

We bar hopped around after dinner, then headed back for some shut-eye.

(Some of the group)

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The next day we woke up to a beautiful day, so we hung out by the pool all day.  Both girls live in high-rise buildings, which I’m not sure I would enjoy.  I’m not very afraid of heights, but I don’t know how I’d feel about spending every day 20 floors above the ground (eek!).  The views are pretty spectacular, though.

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That night before dinner and dancing, we met up at the other apartment and played some fun games, and especially had fun with this guy…

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Yup, that’s a cardboard cut-out of AJ from the Backstreet Boys.  I’m just going to leave it at that. 😉

It was a great weekend hanging with the bride and meeting some new friends!

Chicago June 2014 -4

Over the 4th of July, Z was out of town, so I road tripped it down to Des Moines to see my parents and hang with my niece, Addy.  My sister  and her husband had a wedding to attend, so my parents and I had toddler duty.  She is growing so fast!  The life of a 2 year old is a bit crazy, but really fun.  She says my name all the time now and I’m eating it up with a spoon!

My road trip buddy & navigator.

June 2014 6

June 2014 9We saw the 4th of July parade this year!  It was the most gorgeous day.

Nothing says American Midwest like John Deere.

June 2014 10

Parade-ing, bath time fun, and shopping with Addy!  It was good to be home.

June 2014 11

June 2014 8

June 2014 7

auntie squared

I am an Auntie once again!  Annie gave birth to another beautiful baby girl on February 28th.  Ella Jean came into the world with a full head of hair (just like her sister), her Grandmother’s middle name, and a not-so-sure-about-you-yet older sister.  I drove down I-35 for 7 hours to see her lovely face this weekend.  My Mom had already been there for a week, giving Annie a helping hand while Nate went back to work.  It was nice to get to spend my birthday weekend with the fam!

I got to see Annie and Nate’s new lovely house in the burbs, it’s a huge 1980s house that has beautiful details.  They are updating the entire thing over time, you can follow along on their progress on her blog   On Friday we all hung out with Nate’s sister Kristen, and her husband and twin boys.  We watched the Iowa State game on TV and ordered Chinese.  On Saturday the ladies all went to my sister’s “Sip & See”, hosted by her friend Jamie.  A lot of people I mentioned this to had never heard of such an event, but it’s basically a shower after the baby is born, so everyone gets to meet her.  It was held at a really cute restaurant on the Plaza on an absolutely gorgeous day.  It was sunny with a high of 70, and it felt glorious.  I even felt compelled to snap a picture of everyone the patio basking in the sun… ahhh I miss patio weather.

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Here I am with the guest of honor:

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And Mama:

kc trip 7After the shower, we said goodbye to my mom and Nate’s sister, and enjoyed the rest of the nice day.  We took a walk around their adorable neighborhood, and Addy and I played in some dirt in the backyard. 🙂

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After the long day, the littlest was pooped!

kc trip 1I will miss seeing these cuties, but am excited to watch them grow.  Did I mention I love being an Aunt?? 🙂

family milestones

This month has marked some exciting milestones for people in my family.  First, my older sister is pregnant with her second child, (my second niece!), and is due ANY DAY!  I cannot wait.  Her first child, my niece Addy, has been SO fun to watch grow.

addy feb 2014I love being an Aunt.  Or, as (native) Minnesotans say “Awwwnt”.  I have loved watching her grow from a tiny peanut, born with a full head of hair, to the bustling toddler she is today…with just as much hair!  I think she has the eyes of my sister, the smile of her daddy, and the skinny, no-toddler-rolls bod of her mama.  She is getting close to 2, and every day she learns new words and phrases.  I can’t wait to see what she has learned when I see her next!  My sister and her husband are great parents.  My sister isn’t an obsessive mom, constantly posting her kid’s every blink to social media, or freaking out and being over-protective.  She is laid-back, cool mom.  Nothing seems to phase her, even if it does, she doesn’t show it.  Those two make parenting seem easy, and I hope to be the same way if I have kiddos of my own.  Baby girl #2, I’m ready for you!!

On the opposite side of my family, my grandmother recently turned 90 years old.  My dad’s mother, grandma Ginny, has been my only remaining grandparent since my early teen years.  She is whom I have gotten to know the most, on a personal level.  I think what I love about her the most is her non-traditional Grandma personality.  She isn’t the gushy, flowery lady who just wants to pinch your cheeks.  She is real, genuine, and most of all, hilarious.  She laughs a lot and makes us all laugh a lot, sometimes when she isn’t even trying.  She swears, tells great stories, and is strong and independent.  I was mega-bummed I couldn’t make it to her 90th birthday party because of our snow storm, so I will have to make time to visit her small Iowa town as soon as I can.   Here is a pic of us at my sister’s wedding back in 2008.


Happy 90th Birthday Grandma!  And Happy almost day of birth to special peanut, niece #2!

Hooray for family.  Blessed.