Easter 2017

Lots of Easter festivities this year. We all know I love a good egg hunt. 🙂

First up, our annual Easter egg hunt with our friends and believe it or not, I only took one photo!

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Next was Easter with my side of the family.

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Then Easter at home with just us.

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And finally, Easter with Mark’s family at Mike and Tree’s.

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Niagara Falls 2017

Amanda turned 30 this year and that meant one thing… Girls Trip!!! We had several places listed on our excel sheet (literally), but knowing that Niagara had some amazing wineries, airfare was pretty affordable, and getting to see a wonder of the world (even though it may or may be one officially) meant that Niagara Falls won out!

The weather was HORRIBLE. Granted, we did choose to head north during late spring/rainy season, but believe me when I say that we did not see the sun the entire time we were there. They even cancelled the winery tour we signed up for, to which the lady at the hotel replied: “Wow, they never cancel those tours.” (sigh)

Regardless though… all us girls really needed to be happy was some rum and wine and, luckily, they do sell that regardless of rain/clouds. As for attractions, we were able to go under the Falls (SO cool), enjoy some High Tea, ride on the nighttime boat tour, and conduct our own personal tour of the cutest little nearby town, Niagara on the Lake.

I love these girls so much and I feel so unbelievably lucky to have them in my life. I have no doubt that we’ll be taking these girls trips when we’re 80. 🙂

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Our rental car. There are perks of traveling with Amy.

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View from our hotel window.

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Behind the Falls. It really was surreal.

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This about sums up the weather.

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Happy Birthday, A.Ross!!

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Thornbury!

Walt

Mark and I: “Welp, with everyone sleeping through the night now, we are probably getting TOO MUCH sleep. How can we mess that up??? GET A PUPPY!”

So, that’s what we did. We had been talking about our next dog for about a year-and-a-half. We talked about a lot of different breeds in that time period, but Mark’s front runner was a husky and mine was a lab. I knew I wanted us to adopt a dog from a shelter, so I’d look on Petfinder often for a little guy (we knew we wanted a male) that met our criteria. One day, I see a little husky/lab mix puppy and Mark and I both immediately became smitten. The only downside… he was 5 hours away in Hastings, NE. Just to check it out, I went ahead and called the shelter. They said that he had previously been claimed, but the people that were supposed to pick him up never arrived, so he was still up for grabs. They called our vet for references and immediately called us back and said we could have him if we wanted. It took some coordinating with my parents watching the girls and the puppy getting sick on the day we were originally supposed to go, but on April 23rd, Mark and I took off on our (there and back) 10 hr day trip to Hastings!

What we know about him:

One of his parents is a husky/malamute and the other is a husky/lab. (So, yeah, he’s really only 25% lab, but we were hoping it was a strong 25%.) His Mom’s owners didn’t get her fixed and she accidentally had puppies. The owners were able to give away some puppies in the litter (not sure how many), but Walt and two of his brothers were brought to the shelter, Start Over Rover, in Hastings, NE. Walt is a mix of creme and black, one of his brother’s was all black and the other brother was all white. Walt’s original name was “Fang”, which the shelter made clear to me that the owners gave him that name as they would never give a sweet puppy the name “Fang”. 🙂

All in all, Walt has been a pretty good puppy. He is definitely all puppy and we struggle with chewing and house training, but he is a sweetheart and the girls and him are three peas in a pod!

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The first photo we saw of “Fang” online.

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When they first handed him to us.

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Walt’s brother. You can kind of tell from the photo, but Walt was definitely the runt of the litter.

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The long ride home from Hastings.

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Flowergirl Debut 2016

Uncle Greg and Aunt April got married October 29th and we all had a great time! Most surprisingly… both girls actually made it down the aisle!! I mean, M carried Nat so that wasn’t quite as impressive, but E actually walked down the entire aisle herself. After rehearsal, we REALLY didn’t think there was any chance of it, but E basically saw the aisle as her means to get to Nana and Papa and her Frozen sticker book. She, luckily, didn’t really comprehend the fact that 300+ people were staring at her and she just marched right down that aisle to get to the prize. There were no petals thrown, but who cares, I was SO PROUD of her. Here are several pics from the day.

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You wouldn’t know it from this pic, but these are three of Nat’s favorite men. She loves a good beard!

Halloween 2016

I’m currently giving up on any type of “chronological order” in these posts. Again, I’m just happy to get them up.

I had brainstormed costume ideas for a long time and wasn’t coming up with anything that M and I agreed on. Finally, I saw an adorable pic of a little girl as Dottie from A League of Their Own and I threw out the idea to M.He didn’t immediately oppose it (like my other ideas) and suggested that Nat be Kit, so I texted my Mom to run with it before he could change his mind. My Mom created some adorable costumes and I loved how they turned out.

I didn’t take a ton of photos this year, but we spent the day before Halloween (Sunday) at the Fairway Halloween event. On actual Halloween evening, we swung by Sheriden’s, then by B&C’s, and then finally made the rounds in our own neighborhood. Some of our neighbors have a get together in their driveway and we hung out there for awhile before M and E hit up a few more houses.

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There’s no crying in baseball!

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Nat’s First Birthday

I remember being so excited about Elin’s first birthday and not sad or nostalgic. I can’t say the same is true for Natalie’s first birthday. My baby turning in to a toddler was a little rough for me this year. I found myself babying her and agreeing to hold her more than normal in the weeks surrounding her birthday.

But it was inevitable… our baby turned one, so we made the most of it.

Her actual birthday fell on a Friday. We started the day with a few presents (rocking chair from Nana/Papa, clothes and cardboard bricks from us) and then the four of us headed to Crown Center and had lunch at Fritz’s. Both girls found the train-themed restaurant pretty entertaining and Mom and Dad were just thankful to get out of there with only a 20 min wait and without any meltdowns. After lunch we went to the Crayola store and the girls loved it. Finally, it was an unseasonably warm December day (about 50 degrees) so we headed across the street to play on all of the fun kid stuff that they have outside.

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Her party was held the next day, on New Year’s Eve. I remembered hearing about a local library doing a “Noon Year’s Eve” where they ring in noon on NYE every year and I thought that would be such a cute idea for a birthday party, especially since NYE fell on a Saturday this year. We bought a balloon drop kit and it ended up working great! To be extra cautious, M and I dryer-sheeted (not a word) each individual balloon to make sure that the static wouldn’t keep the balloons from actually falling. Luckily, we counted down to noon and everything went off without a hitch. Well, except for the fact that E was not at all a fan of the commotion. 🙂

Oh, and Nat actually enjoyed her cake a little more than I thought she would.

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Oh Natalie. Describing you is so hard to do. Every word I can think to describe you seems to contradict another word I would use to describe you: serious but fun, stubborn but easy-going, small but mighty, happy but finicky. If I had to narrow it down to one word… it would be: JOY. You are just a joy. That doesn’t always mean you’re easy (you barely slept the past year, you have already started pushing your sister, you are NOT a fan of change), but you just have your own little personality that is just so uniquely YOU. You make us laugh all of the time with your VERY timely laughs (when we make a joke as though you get it) or screeches (when we talk about how much you weigh and it’s like you’re trying to silence us from embarrassing you). You have a resting bitch face like I’ve never seen before and it just cracks me up. Nat, at the age of one, you already have your mind made up about a lot of things and I can tell that you’re going to be a prickly one, but I also KNOW that you are going to take this life by the horns and make the most of it. You are going to be the life of the parties and the one that everyone wants to hang out with… and I’m no exception to that. Please hang out with me forever?!?!? 🙂

We love you, NDA!

Christmas 2016

The girls really are so good about not destroying the ornaments. Here E was telling N which ornaments she could and couldn’t touch.

Our Christmas celebrations got kicked off on an… interesting note. The plan was to leave for GB the Thursday evening before Christmas. I went to pick the girls up from school after work on Thursday and N’s teacher informed me that she had fallen and bit her tongue, but she seemed to be handling it fine. She seemed okay to me, so I didn’t think much of it and we headed home. By the time we arrived home and I got her out of the car seat, her mouth had started bleeding again (likely because of sucking on her pacifier). Anyways, we COULD NOT get it to stop bleeding. After a solid hour-and-a-half of her looking like a lion after dinnertime, I called the Dr and they suggested a popsicle. The cold helped restrict the blood flow (or something like that) and it finally stopped bleeding. It was now later than we planned on leaving, but oh well, we jumped in the car and headed for GB. The girls fell asleep soon after and they slept almost the entire way. I say ‘almost’ because we were about 45 minutes away from Grandma and Grandpa’s when we see the police lights behind us (M was driving). 🙂 We pull over and the red and blue flashing lights fill the car and wake up the girls. As the cop approaches M’s window, the girl’s cries begin and it turned out to be a blessing because I think the cop realized the poor timing of it all and just let us off with a warning. Oh, and I can’t fail to mention that we were only going 8 OVER in the first place. Anyways, we eventually made it, headed straight for bed and then spent all day Friday celebrating with M’s family.

The best present… we found out that Greg and April are expecting and due in July!

Elin and Gage were such an adorable/funny duo. They played together All. Day. Long. Here is Gage testing out his (fake) shaving kit on Elin. What else are cousins for?

Natalie also got to open a few birthday presents while we were there.

The ride back to KC on Christmas Eve morning was slightly less bloody and involved fewer cops.

After we arrived home early afternoon on Christmas Eve, the four of us just took it easy, baked some cookies, and watched some Christmas movies.  It was awesome.

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When you asked Elin what she wanted from Santa, her response was always “To leave the presents outside”. When we went to see Santa, we informed him of this and he quickly pinkie swore her that he would just call Mom and Dad and ask us to bring the presents inside. Since Santa was being so nice to accommodate our special request, we of course, had to make sure we left him cookies on the front porch.

I just want to say to any future Elin or Natalie reading this… I get it. It is a creepy concept, and to be honest, I loved putting our own “Elin” twist on Christmas this year.



Nat wasn’t too in to Christmas this year. The photo below is one of the only presents that she actually helped to open. The poor thing wasn’t feeling well though, she ended up getting a fever Christmas afternoon and didn’t actually shake it until four days later.

After Christmas morning at our house, we headed to Lawrence to see the great-grandparents.

The day after Christmas was spent with Mom’s family at Nana and Papa’s. Poor Natalie still wasn’t feeling well.


Christmas this year consisted of four straight days of celebrations. It was exhausting (especially with Nat’s fever), but all of that quality holiday time with each other and extended family was well worth it.

Pre-Christmas 2016

Here are some of our December festivities:

Santa Visit


The Santa visit went exactly as expected… No one wanted near him. E was even hesitant to get in a photo with him. We went the free/easy route again this year at our neighborhood Santa event.

K-State Christmas Party:

We hosted the K-State party this year and had a great time. Love these peeps!


Cookie decorating: 

The H’s hosted a cookie decorating party and the kiddos loved it!



E’s party at school: 


Miscellaneous (trees and holiday card):


Nat’s birthday tree


Winfield 2016

I finally made it back to Winfield this year and it did not disappoint. Just like in 2008, the normal Winfield fairgrounds flooded so all the campers were relocated to a nearby lake. Our group actually loves it because it provides a little more breathing room at the campsite and less stress in terms of how early you have to get down there.

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If I could sum up Winfield in one photo… it would be this one:20160917_230932