Archive for the ‘Family/Friends’ Category

Wartburg Homecoming

This past weekend was my 10 year reunion at college.  It’s so hard to believe it’s been 10 years!  So much has changed!  I’ve moved across the country, gotten married, traveled to Jamaica and Hawaii, lived in 11 different places, welcomed 3 animals, and last but CERTAINLY not least, had 2 babies!

With the kids left safely at home with Grandma Sheree entertaining and chasing after them, we headed on out to Waverly, IA (about 5 hours away).  On our way there, we couldn’t decide what excited us most: seeing old friends, dining out without children, or sleeping in.  We then realized that I agreed to meet up with everyone at the parade on Saturday morning so our sleeping in dreams were taken away from us (at least for Saturday).

It was so much fun to be back on campus to see all of the things that have changed and all of the things that have stayed the same!  We snuck in to our old dorms, visited where we spent the MAJORITY of our time… The FAC  (Fine Arts Center), watched the football team dominate their homecoming game against The Dubuque Spartans, and ate very expensive croissants!

Engelbrecht Girls

Galena Girls +2

We were blessed with such a beautiful day so sitting through a great football game was a lot easier that we thought it would be at the beginning of the day when the temperature was in the low 40′s!  Before the football game, all of the alumni gathered in a tent to enjoy a very expensive croissant with veggies and apples while sharing our memories of days in the past.  It was almost like the past 10 years never happened and we could just jump back in to college mode.  It was so much fun!

Renee and I at the Game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we were SO far ahead in the game, we decided it was ok to head on out for supper!  Back in the day, we’d go take a nap for a few hours before heading on out for supper around 8!  BUT, our 10 years older bodies liked the idea of supper at 5 instead!  Renee really wanted some good Mexican food and I wanted Queso Blanco so Britta made sure to find just the restaurant!  Los Cabos in Cedar Falls was the pick and it hit the spot beautifully!  Margaritas and Sangrias all around for this group!  (But don’t worry, nobody had more than 2 as that’s all our parent induced tolerance allowed – except for Britta and Tory – they don’t have kids yet, so they can tolerate a bit more than us tired parents!)

Meanwhile…

Back at home…

Max ~ Tayden ~ Will

The kiddos seemed to be having a great time!  Grandma Sheree met up with Grandma Teresa (who was also entertaining her grandkids because their parents left them for a Pearl Jam concert!  I’m thinking Seth probably would have preferred to be with his cousin in the Cities at a concert instead of good old Waverly, IA… but he didn’t ever complain!) and Aunt Neen and they had so much fun!  They made Halloween cookies, a ghost family which currently resides in our kitchen, went to the zoo and played outside.  We were anticipating arriving home to some very happy, yet tired kiddos!

Now, back in Iowa we had finished up our supper and decided to convene back at the hotel for after dinner drinks.  I mean, back in the day, we surely would have headed to Joe’s or something to dance the night away, but that was in no way going to happen tonight!  As the night wore on and the clock neared 10pm we started yawning.  We managed to make it until around 11pm before we called it a night!  That’s late for us parents, you know!  We finally got to sleep in the following morning (you know, past 7am) and met at Ihop before departing in our separate ways for our homes to be reunited with our adorable kiddos!

All in all it was a great weekend and we look forward to our 15 year reunion!  We hear that we actually get to eat our reunion meal inside and might actually get served food on real plates!  Wahoo!

Tayden and Evalyn were so happy to see us when we got home and I’m sure Grandma was ready to go sleep in her own bed again too!

Evalyn is still enjoying the swag I brought back for her :-)

Future Wartburg Cheerleader?

Orchard/Pumpkin Patch trip

For the past few years, we’ve managed to make it out to the orchard to pick some apples and or find some pumpkins!  This year, we made it out there twice! Once with Grandma Sheree to pick apples and once with our great friends Dan and Cathy!  We are enjoying to get to know Cathy (Dan’s girlfriend) better… and if she loves our two kiddos half as much as Dan does, then she’s welcome in our house anytime!  :-)

When we went to look for pumpkins, they were quite picked over, but Tayden managed to find his perfect pumpkin. (To add to the multitude of pumpkins we brought home from Grandma Sheree’s pumpkin patch) We plan to paint and carve our pumpkins a bit later, so we’ll have to keep them nice and safe until then!  When I say safe, I mean safe from the little hands that like to play catch and such with anything that will roll or bounce!
It was fall festival at the Harrisburg Apple Orchard which made Tayden super stoked to partake in all of the activities.  Evalyn was content to watch her brother play, but definitely had to get out of the stroller to check out the animals.  She is a lover of all creatures furry!

Climbing to the top of the slide!

Waiting for the train ride!

Haystack Jumping!

Checking out the Chickens

Tayden the goofball

We had the opportunity to watch the neighbor boy Alex a today because his mom was at a meeting at his big sister’s school so what do you think we did?  We made Halloween cupcakes, of course!  The boys were so excited to help make them too!  I think the hardest part for them was waiting for the cupcakes to bake and cool!  Tayden kept coming up every 3 minutes asking if they were done yet so they could frost them!  I finally had to explain to him that if he keeps coming up to ask me that question, I’ll never get the frosting made for them to decorate the cupcakes with!  :-)

Making the cupcakes

Tayden’s friend Alex is quite picky so when I gave the boys the beaters so they could lick the batter off, he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to try it!

Checking the recipe

After the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I had the audacity to make the boys eat lunch!  Can you imagine how hard that was?!  Who wants chicken nuggets and *gasp* veggies when they can have a freshly frosted cupcake?!  Haha!! Unfortunately, I never got a picture of the boys frosting and devouring their cupcakes but I did manage to snap one of Evalyn testing hers out before she smeared the frosting all over her face and high chair!

Once Alex left with his cupcakes to share with his family, it was time for us to clean up.  Of course we had to do some laundry and Tayden finally figured out that he can be a great helper when it comes to laundry.  I’m so glad…

And with that folks, I’m headed off to the store to grab a gourmet cupcake.  I hear Hy Vee has some delicious ones!

30 years of Service for Dad

So, when I was 5 1/2 we moved from Sioux Falls to Spirit Lake, Iowa for my dad to manage the Hy Vee Wine and Spirits store.  It was a great opportunity for our family but it was a hard move for my mom.  She loved Sioux Falls and she was 9 months pregnant.  She wasn’t excited to move to a small town where she didn’t know anybody.  Fast forward 3o years and my mom would tell you she’s so glad they took that chance and so am I!  I loved growing up in Spirit Lake.  I loved the small town feel.  Our school was great with a fabulous music and athletic program.  I had enough opportunities to grow into the woman I am today and realize what I want in my life in regards to how to raise our kids and what values we would like to incorporate.  I always find myself trying to figure out how we are going to provide our children with the same opportunities we had as kids yet not overwhelm them.

But, back to my dad!  It was fun to hear all about the Hy Vee corporation and what they are doing now to grow.  Apparently they are moving into The Cities (MN) and I think that’s awesome!  I had the chance to work for my dad during the summers when I was home from college and I wouldn’t change that for anything.  I helped my relationship with him and to be honest, having him as my boss helped me to respect him more.  I was able to see him in action and I think he does such a great job with his store.  He knows how to manage his accounts so as to keep them happy with product in their restaurants/bars and the promise of his service whenever needed.  You can ask that man anything about wine, beer or liquor and he can answer it (something that came in quite handy when I was newly of drinking age!)  I just had so much fun working with him and I honestly think that most of his employees do too!

My dad was probably the best boss I’ve had!  I’m assuming he probably won’t work for Hy Vee much longer but I think he will agree that he is super lucky to be a part of this company!  He deserves recognition for the service he has given to Hy Vee!

 

Block Party

A few of us in our neighborhood got together to plan a block party and it was this past weekend!  It was fun to get to know some neighbors a little bit better and meet some of the new ones!  I just learned that a new family that recently moved in is from Marshall, MN and I worked with their son in the marching band when I was there a few years ago!  It’s such a small world!

Quite a few people got up early on Saturday to play golf and enjoy some adult beverages.  Those of us that stayed home got the snacks ready and watched the kids play in the giant inflatable water slide (which was a hit!) and bouncy house.  Once the golf teams got back and the winners flaunted their trophy, more adult beverages were shared and the grills were started. Kids played. Food was consumed. Drinks drank. People mingled. Bags were tossed. And more drinks were drank!  It was a fun day and I’m glad our neighborhood was able to do this and I definitely look forward to next year!

Hi Again!

I see that I haven’t updated my blog for quite some time!  A lot has happened since then! I think the most obvious change is that our family has increased by one!  Evalyn Olivia has most definitely made our lives much more exciting, and as of late, busy!  I definitely embrace the saying that once they start walking, there is no stopping them!

Tayden is doing great too!  He starts preschool next week and is looking forward to it.  Seth and I are a bit nervous as he is a very ‘energetic’ boy and loves to express his feelings, loudly. :-)  It should be good for him though as he will be able to learn new things and socialize with other kids his age.  He will be attending Peace Lutheran preschool; it’s coincidentally where I went when my family lived here before we moved to Spirit Lake!  It’s hard to believe he’s already preschool age!  My little baby is growing up!

 

Well, there you have it!  A quick little update on the kiddos!  I would like to try to keep this blog more up to date, so we’ll see how that goes!  Here’s to a new type of school year for me as it’s the first of many with my children attending!

We went on Vacation!

For the third year in a row we headed to The Dells as a family so Seth could attend That Conference. While we played at the Kalahari water park, Seth would network and attend sessions (and occasionally meet up with us for a trip or two around the lazy river and a ride down the water slide).  We were lucky enough that my mom was able to come with to help out with the kids which was so great because then one of us could stay back with Evalyn while she napped and the other could go out to play with Tayden.  We also met up with one of my college friends, Renee and her two boys Jackson and Max as well as Seth’s Dad and Sandi.  That’s what so great about our little vacation in The Dells!  We have family and friends so close!  Each year it also gets to be more fun because the kids are older and able to enjoy the rides more!  Tayden even finally realized that when you put tokens into a machine, you can actually play the game!

Evalyn, our sweet little 13 month old baby girl is FEARLESS!  She went up and down the slides without abandon and got water in her face like nobody’s business.  We were so proud of her as Tayden cried during his baths up until – who am I kidding, he may still cry if he gets too much water in his eyes! (Sorry, these pics are blurry – they were the best we got!)

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There was a day where the local zoo brought animals in for the kids to pet and Tayden loved that!  He was up in the front the majority of the time (unless he was following the tortoise around) trying to pet the animals and listening to what the zookeepers were saying!  It was adorable!  It just reminded to him that he really did want a fox birthday cake!  It seems to be all he can talk about whenever his birthday is brought up!

Petting the tiger

Grandma Barb and Evalyn

Makin' music on the tree!

Our trip to The Dells sure was a fun one and we cherish all of the memories we made!  There were water slides, lazy rivers, dippin’ dots, pizzas, musical turtles, hot plates meals, cool neighbors, vanilla lattes, tigers, beach balls and so many more! We look forward to our 4th annual trip next year!  Tayden’s wish is to take a Duck Boat tour!

Underwater swimmer

Tayden got an owie

Eva and Petey Boy

Renee and her boys!

Renaissance Festival

This past weekend I went with Roosevelt HS Marching Band for our first competition in the cities at Rosemount HS.  We did ok for our first show, but we are excited to keep on working towards a better show. :-)

Seth and Dan drove up with Tayden and met up with my High School friend Jayme to get Tayden settled in for the night.  Then Jayme left them after making them an amazing pizza to come get me at Rosemount HS.  The next morning we headed to the Festival after a great breakfast of coconut pancakes (amazing), bacon (Even better) and bear sausage (you’ll have to ask Seth how it tasted!).  Yes, you read that right, she made a GREAT breakfast which included BEAR sausage!  Her boyfriend Joel and his dad are avid hunters and I believe this bear was Joel’s dad’s catch up by their cabin in Northern Minnesota.

Anyway, the Festival!  It was a lot of fun and there were SO many people there!  I think Seth is getting excited to bring Tayden back when he’s a bit older so he can show him actual swords and all things Renaissance-like!  Even though I did not eat a turkey leg, I managed to eat a bunch of unhealthy foods such as caramel apples, a corn dog (because Tayden would eat it), a raspberry chocolate truffle, some of Seth’s Salted Caramel Cupcake and I had no regrets!  We were running out of time and Seth and Dan requested that we at least make it to the other side of the Festival Area.  I wish we had gone there sooner because the crowd was much more spread out and the animals were there (hence Tayden’s favorite part!).  I didn’t take many pics but here is what I got!  You’ll have to use your imagination when it comes to the kinds of sights (and people) we saw there, these are just of Tayden!

 

Tayden’s Grandparents are Awesome!

If we haven’t mentioned how lucky we are to have such wonderful parents, then we will do it now!  Grandma and Grandpa Smook, Grandma and Grandpa Keller and Grandpa Larson are so amazingly wonderful to Tayden and they spoil him with their love every day.  He’s so excited to see each and every one of them and he loves them to pieces!  I’m pretty sure he is always more excited to hang out with them than he is his boring old mom!

So this blog is a tribute to the wonderfulness of Seth and my parents!

Below is from My Parent’s House in Spirit Lake.

Below is from time spent on Grandma and Grandpa Keller’s Farm in Twin Brooks!  I don’t have many good pictures of Grandpa Todd so I’ll have to add some at a later time.  But there is a picture of Great Grandma Marilyn in there!

To the left is from time spent with Grandpa Marc.  We don’t get to see him as often since he lives in Janesville, WI.  The top picture was taken at Big Stone Lake while Marc and Sandy were staying in Seth’s Uncle (Marc’s Brother) Mike’s cabin.  This was a day before a tornado swept through the area and basically took out the cabin.  I’ve never been so close to a tornado’s destruction in my life and I can say that I never care to again!

And just to prove how special Grandpas are, below is my dad teaching Tayden how to wash cars!  Pretty soon he’ll open up a mini car wash of his own and that’ll be how he makes his first dollar!  But the cars will probably only be clean from the window level and down…. ;-)

Trip to Wisconsin Dells Part II

As promised, here are the remainder of the photos from our Dells trip!  Grandpa Marc came to play with us a bit and enjoyed a nice dinner with us before heading  back home!  We had such a good time in the Dells and are already talking about our trip next year!

I love this picture of Tayden!  If you look closely, you’ll see his mouth is open as he’s super excited to be up this close to the gorilla!

These two photos ^^ were taken the last night we were there in front of the Elephant.  i had the 3 conference attendees jump in for their photo op. too!  (We were headed to the water park – hence the swim trunks!)

And below are the remainder of the pictures from our water park trip!  Grandpa Marc playing with Tayden and me watching!  (Note to self: if you don’t try to keep a smile on your face, you sometimes look upset!  Re: A picture taken of me at our wedding listening to the amazing Jasmine sing our unity candle song and I look so upset when in fact, I was just listening intently and loving every minute of her solo!)

Photo for reference: