Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weekend Adventures

On Friday, a few of my girlfriends, Jared and I all gathered to see Dierks Bentley for FREE!  Yes, it was a free concert, but it was a 102 degrees at least.  Hot, humid and pretty horrible until there was a 2 minute rain that brought renewed hope!  The ice cones were quite refreshing as well! 
 Sweaty and still looking good!  Little shameless promotion for USAA while we are at it!   The next day we were lazy and didn't do much which was needed and enjoyed! Sometimes you just need lazy days even in the middle of summer on beautiful sun shining days. 

Sunday Funday was consumed with friends, rock climbing, cousins, grannies and a slumber party!  Rock climbing with Julia was a blast!  Thanks to Groupon we were able to go rock climbing for $9 a piece as opposed to $40ish!  Gosh, I love a good deal!  Our thought process went a little something like this let's try to find something inside because it is just so hot outside and the sun is deadly.  Rock climbing sounds perfect!  Well, we got there and it was a huge, unairconditioned garage and it was hot hot hot.  We were good sports and lost a gallon of water even with chugging it like it was our job. 
 Jared was a little monkey and loved Miss Julia!  Who could get to the top and touch the ceiling was a huge deal for Jared, so Julia and I obliged and showed him how it was done!  Little girls came and all he kept saying was how he could get hirer than they could.  He's a little competitor that's for sure!
 Swimming with Granny and his cousin was a blast too!  The water felt absolutely amazing after a few hours of sweating and climbing.  Did I mention, my arms were in pain the next day??  Well, they were and if felt good, real good!!
 Boys will be boys!  Cousins will be cousins!  They had a great time playing and swimming and being hams!
Much love.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Playing with his puppy on the floor and listening to some Johnny Cash A Thing Called Love  on our record player are two of the coolest things to do on a rainy day aside from playing on Daddy's PS3 and riding his bike.  The record player was a huge hit!  In the words of Jared, "that's more advanced than a CD player!" hahaha!  While it is far less advanced than a CD player, the basic concept is the same and great to teach little ones about the evolution of music electronics.  Music was a huge part of my childhood and continues to be a great sources of enjoyment to this day.  Music can express so much emotion and truly is one of the most important pleasures in life!  If I could have different music on in every room in the house, I would.  Music makes daily chores so much better!  Who doesn't love rocking out to music with a broom and dancing while dusting?!?! I know I sure do!  My love for music is something that I want to pass onto my children.  My father successfully passed it on to me and all of my other siblings and I am so grateful for that!  Music makes my life all the sweeter! 
To a little boy, fishing lures from Uncle Tom are sweetness!  The smellier, brighter and slimier, the better!!  Fishing is another strong interest in my family.  While I don't have the I can fish for hours, not catch a thing and still have an amazing time love for fishing, I do enjoy fishing for a few hours and catching fish.  The best type of fishing is when you actually catch fish or if either kayaking or swimming falls into the plan as well! 
Jared happens to have the fishing bug!  It's pretty sweet because Ryan loves to fish and it's definitely a hobby that my family can bond with him over!  I think it is probably a tie between my mom and my brother Tom for who has the strongest love for fishing!  My mama is a die hard angler!  She has her lucky hat  and can fish for hours on end with the hopes that the next cast is the one that will catch the big one! 
Little Lira went fishing too.  She just chilled in the grass and was her typical lazy self. 
She is definitely learning to be a dog a bit more each day!  She always follows me into the kitchen hoping that I will drop a little something for her on the floor.  She knows what you want a treat? (in a high pitched voice of course) and you want to go on a walk? mean! Oh and she has a bone that she loves to chew on and chase.  The hotter the day, the lazier she is...
At the age of nine, he caught his first fish!!  He actually caught two, but only one was a keeper.  It was a blue catfish.  Uncle Tom must know the spots and the right bait because he hasn't been successful in all his other attempts.  We are hoping this is the beginning of many more great catches!  We went crabbing yesterday and caught 8 crabs, but sadly I didn't take any photos.  I am still a little nervous about bringing my nice camera to the beach with all the sand and wind.  Any suggestions on how to protect your camera would be appreciated.
Uncle Tom at work.  Thanks to him we cannot have a catfish fry!  Apparently with catties, you nail them to a tree and carve the fillets off.  Their bone structure is dorsal ventral flattened unlike bass.

We ate Jared's catch this evening.  It was yummy, very wild tasting, but still pretty good.
Off go the boys on their 3.1 mile run!

Much love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Derby Day with my Girls!

On Saturday, a few of my new and wonderful friends went to Colonial Downs!  Thanks to Julia, this entire event was planned!  Hats were crafted with care, dresses blew in the wind, heels clicked and $2 bets were placed!  Is it best to go by odds or the best named horse?!?  Odds generally wins even though I rarely stuck to a strict rule of straight odds.  I am a follow your gut kinda girl and  it totally backfired on me.  I bet $20 and only won $4.80.  Shucks.  I will totally go again though and I think I will follow the odds route this time.  I hate writing that because I like to take a chance on the underdogs and I just love names like Lilly Leggs, Lipstick Traces, Sassy's Dream, Unbridled Music Fly by Phil,  and Putthebabiesdown!!!  That last one was the most loudly screamed name of the day!   

Heather, Meg and Julia (the planner) viewing the winner's circle where we all modeled our hats with high hopes of winning Best Homemade, Southern Belle, or Catour. The races began, but only after we made our bets!    
Who's going to win?!?! I know!  Not the horse I bet on!  Heather and Julie did the best! I should have copied their bets.  I will say, the two races I didn't bet on, but I chose who I wanted to win based on name, should have been the only two races I actually decided to bet on because my horse won!  Such my luck... It's A-OK, I had a blast anyways!

 The derby (I like that word) was hopping with hats!  You name it, we saw it! 
Here is our very Homemade group!  Melissa is in the black and purple hat!  Jillian is in the white and blue peacock hate; She was most popular for sure!!  People LOVED her hat and rightly so because she looked dynamite!  Meg is in the black, red and white butterfly themed hat!  They all looked lovely and made it to the top 10!  Way to go girlies!

Julia and Heather looking like true Southern Belles and betting fools!  I had a blast running around with them even though they were winning big time and I was on the losing end. 

 Miss Julia and myself!  All the old men loved me.  That's a total shocker to anyone who knows me...NOT! Side note: generally old men just adore me.  I'm not sure what it is, but they do.  My husband will vouch for me on this fact.  Well the derby wasn't any different.  A little old man came up to me and told me "You are the prettiest girl here!  Don't ever change!"  I told him I'd do my best.  One thing I know for sure, my mama would be proud of my red lips!  She the the retro red lipstick queen!! 
The Homemade hat girls in the grandstands looking good!! 
It was inevitable that the day would come to an end, but what a beautiful sky!  When the sky turns hues of pink and purple, my heart skips a beat! 
The night has officially ended and while some lost $20+, other broke even and others walked out with more than they had in their purse 5 hours earlier, we all had huge smiles on our faces.  I am very lucky to have such wonderful new friends!  A year ago Ryan was deployed and I was living at my parents' house dreading the move to Virginia, starting grad school and not knowing anyone.  I never imagined that I would be this happy and this settled in a place so far from my childhood home. 
 One last picture!  I like it because Julia has the Official Program of the Colonial Downs under her arm! 
Much love.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Little Lira

We'd like to announce the newest little member of our household, Lira!  Lira is Jared's two year old puppy; she's a terrier mix!  She arrived late last week and was super excited to see Jared; she is a snuggler and loves, loves, loves to sleep! Now that she is a bit more comfortable with Ryan aka "Big Jared" and myself aka "Not the Mama" (these are the nicknames Ryan gave us because she looked at us like we were aliens for the first few days.  We amused ourselves greatly with made up dialogue in Lira's little doggie brain!) she comes bounding in when I call her name and she doesn't run and hide when she sees Ryan. 

The sun was shining really brightly, so this photo was pretty washed out, but I like it in black and white.  Plus, that is the Who are you and where am I? expression that we get a lot!
Where oh where would we be without our guard dog?!?!  NOT!  We have crazy insane barking dogs in all the yards around us and she just stares at them.  It took a little dachshund puppy, Laney, to teach her how to bark and even then, we laughed because it sounded like a squeak!  Laney also taught her how to be a crazy puppy and run around!  I was worried about her for a while, but now she is showing true signs of puppy insanity.  When I get her leash and say Wanna go for a walk?!?! she runs around in circles and stands on her hind legs!  I love it!!!  While she loves her walks and smells everything and I mean everything, she is exhausted and flops down on the cool floor when it's all over.  And when I say walk, I mean two blocks twice a day; I am not running little Lira into the ground or anything.
I would love for her to be able to go on 2+ mile walks with me every morning!  I'm just building up her endurance for the fall!  Worst case, she'll always make a good arm weight if she can't make the long walks!  Right now she is a tired puppy who enjoyed a little hose bath this afternoon to cool her down nice and good. 
I think I'm falling in love! 
Much love.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Camaro

This post is a request of Ryan.  I was informed that I forgot one of the most important parts of our trip, the camaro and told to write something the camaro because it was awesome! 
Here you go baby!  Ryan and I wouldn't normally splurge on a rental car, but since we hadn't had more than two days off together since Christmas break, we decided to have a little fun and rent a convertible CAMARO!  Why we got the silver one instead of the yellow one, we don't know, but regardless, we had fun in it!
Ryan went up to 113 MPH on a straight stretch of nothingness and would have kept going if I didn't tell him to slow down!  We passed a ton of people and made sound effects for pure entertainment!  It was a ton of fun!  There is something captivating about cruising around under a beautiful blue sky in a sundress, big glasses, crazy hair, a smile on your face and your honey behind the wheel next to you! Note to self: While it may be fun to have your hair flying around for 2 hours straight, if you aren't showering immediately afterwards, it is pretty impossible to look classy without much pain and hair ripping :(

Jared thought it was pretty cool too!  His dad is the best!  Ryan used to have a mustang convertible and little J-rad remembers everything about it.  This camaro was constantly in competition with daddy's mustang!  It was cute.  Sadly we had to drive back to the airport with the top up because the trunk space wasn't big enough for the top and our luggage :(

Much love.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lego Land Store at Mall of America

To a little lego loving boy, there is no place in the world like Lego Land! While this isn't the real Lego Land, it was a pretty awesome Lego Store and eyes were wide and very green! From Star Wars to Harry Potter to Indiana Jones, these two boys were in heaven and in a world of their own as they ooh'd and aah'd over all of the details.

There were some impressive lego models on display as well! Many talks revolved around guessing how many legos were used, how long it took to build the models, how many people helped build them, who designed them, and the list goes on. :) In my opinion, we have a little lego builder/designer on our hands! Concentrating hard to build a tall lego building with a strong base of course.

On last look before we had to head to the airport.

Little did we know, our plane would be canceled as a result of no crew and then we would be rerouted through a nearby-ish airport, hit a huge storm that would prevent us to land, land to refuel, take off again, hit the same storm for a 4th time and then land 2 hours late. Eek. We made it, but boy o boy was it an adventure. Luckily we have an amazing friend who drove out to get us and waited the two hours! We love you, Mel!!
Much love.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Don't Chya Know?!

In the land of green cornfields, beautiful skies, and an abundance of loving Norwegians, we celebrated a rich and long history of faith, love and family.

Who doesn't love to be welcomed by a hyper and jumping little 9 year old and a darling, sleeping baby girl?!?! We sure love it, don't chya know! Side note: It's a tie between "Don't chya know" and "We are so happy you are here!" as the two most popular phrases of the weekend. Since the trip, "Don't Chya know" in a Norwegian accent has been said hundreds of times and it brings a smile to me face each time.

Babies express themselves with their entire bodies! Little Kylie is a glad baby! She loves her mama, papa, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandmas, grandpas and great grandmas, that's for sure! A weekend full of them makes for one happy baby! I went a little camera happy on her, but hey, wouldn't you?!? :) This is her being entertained by her cousin!

J-rad and his great Grandma were both deep in thought at this moment. Literally, these photos were taken within seconds of each other.

There were many first timers at the reunion, but none quiet as young and cute as this one. Thanks to a little help from her cousin and uncle, she was able to sign her name to the scavenger hunt of Who fits this? for First Time at the Family Reunion.

And if Ryan didn't have baby fever before this trip, her sure does now! I have it a bit too, but for all those wondering when we are going to start having babies, the answer is not now. I am finishing my masters and would love to work a bit.

I have the sweetest husband! Him and Grandma had a wonderful time hanging out!

His mama loved him being there too! I was so excited to snap this picture and was even happier when my hubby smiled when he saw this picture! It was the thanks, that was a wonderful moment and I am thrilled to have it frozen in time kind of look! His mama will be happy when she sees it too! I love how her arms are wrapped all the way around him!

For a smile and possibly a little giggle!

Boys will be boys. They look and were so mischievous exploring the model town that the reunion was held at. It was a little boys paradise completed with old fashioned cars, piles of junk to climb on, stores and museums to explore, an old jail with a fake criminal and rats, lots of grass and much more!

Ryan and I even did a little exploring ourselves. Ryan mainly read and focused on the Norwegian history in the town while I took advantage of a zillion photo opportunities in peace and quiet!

Family photo time minus Kara and Ross *tear* With four military members in the family, it is quite a challenge to get us all in the same place at the same time. Maybe in three years we will all be there. We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed! It was an absolute joy to hang out with some of my in laws!

Four generations of amazing people! That is impressive! J-rad is a very lucky little boy to know his great grandma! She is 92, almost 93, and doing quite well! Having all of her kids, most of her grandkids and all of her great grandkids there made her the happiest lady in town!

The proud grandparents to two amazing grandkiddos!!!

Grandma with her grandbabies! The kids did a wonderful job at behaving and smiling!! It's a rare day to get a picture this perfect in my opinion.

Cousins! Jared loves loves loves his little cousin! He thinks she is just the cutest little thing. She has changed his mind about what he wants first, a brother or a sister. It used to be, I want a little brother. Then it evolved to, well I guess I could have a little sister. Now it is, I think I want a little sister; a little sis that is cute like Kylie! Little does he know, he doesn't have a choice and neither do we! We always tell him, we just want a healthy little baby! Either way, he will be a stellar big brother!

And for a little fun! My baby and I had a quick photo shoot of ourselves thanks to J-Rad! He is quite the photographer! Thanks little man!

The weekend was beautiful! Ryan has an amazing family and I am lucky to be a part of it!

Much love.