30 Rules for 30 Years!

Do you have one of those friends that is super creative? And thoughtful? And simply fantastic? I’m so happy and honored to say that I do. She gave me an awesome present for my 30th birthday, so it was only fair to channel my inner creative instinct to give her something even half as cool. So what did I do? I cheated and looked online for some ideas. And since I found them so helpful, I thought I would post what I ended up creating. Perhaps I’ll help someone else! The theme: 30 Rules. (Because a whopping 7 months in, I have to agree, it kind of does! :))

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#1 – Celebrate! Cheers to 30 years! (tequila shot)
#2 – Don’t celebrate too hard, you aren’t 21 anymore! (Advil)
#3 – Accept, Relish and Enjoy your awesomeness. Because you are…(30 compliments)
#4 – Moisturize. Your skin is your largest organ, take care of it! (lotion)
#5 – Travel. Big or small trips, keep your sense of adventure alive. (“Oh the Places you’ll go” pencils)
#6 – Try. You can’t win if you don’t play! (lotto ticket)
#7 – You can never have enough bags. (cosmetic tote)
#8 – Seriously. Ever. (large tote. “What the French Toast”)
#9 – Don’t take life too seriously. (referencing the tote saying!)
#10 – Accessorize. PS-babies pull hoops, studs are your friend! (stud earrings)
#11 – Wear sunscreen (see #4). (Sunscreen)
#12 – Pamper yourself. (nail polish)
#13 – Life is messy, be prepared. (wet wipes) 
#14 – It’s okay to have a good cry. (Hope Floats)
#15 – Always make time for stories. (baby bedtime book)
#16 – Get organized. (to-do notepad)
#17 – Cook more. And then share the goodies. (favorite recipe) 
#18 – #18 – Visit friends. (photo of our trip to WI)
#19 – Expand your vocabulary. (thesaurus)
#20 – You’re never too old for fun socks! (polka dot socks)
#21 – Bribery works. (stickers for impending potty training days!)
#22 – Silly things seem really cool these days. (sunglasses/car clip)
#23 – Multi-task. (Scarf – warmth, style, nursing cover, blanket)
#24 – Snacking is your friend. (popcorn)
#25 – Keep Dancing! (iTunes gift card)
#26 – Breakfast is a perfectly acceptable dinner! (Cinnamon Toast Crunch – bonus, created in 1984)
#27 – Carry more cash. You save more that way. ($1 bill)
#28 – Coffee rocks. (Starbucks gift card)
#29 – Spend EXTRA time with those you love, doing what you love. (EXTRA gum – bonus, created in 1984)
#30 – There is ALWAYS room for cake! (Funfetti cake mix)

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Hello Wisconsin!!

The hubs and I packed up Smith and hit the road North this weekend, visiting our friends in Wisconsin. They had a sweet baby girl, Maisy, about three weeks after us. My girlfriend and I have shared many, many, many Momma texts in the last six months so it was so much fun seeing our babes meet and play together and to share parenting stories in person.
Here are some photo highlights to share!

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We kicked off Saturday morning with a walk to breakfast on the patio. So yummy! The babies slept their way through the event. Can you blame them? A personal bed in the shade!? Notice Smith’s propped leg. Hey, whatever if comfy dude.

20140608-212204-76924689.jpgNext up, we went to their local Farmer’s Market. It was literally the perfect day to enjoy wandering around to all the local vendors. You better believe some cheese sampling happened. Some more than others, *cough*, husband! 20140608-212207-76927233.jpgMyself with the Mieure beauties!!!20140608-212209-76929347.jpgOh, did I mention their market was on beautiful Lake Michigan!? It just added to the perfection we had on this beautiful Saturday!

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We even made the time to stop and watch the duckies. Always make time to watch the duckies!!!!20140608-212211-76931080.jpgThe evening ended with a nice dinner at home watching these two little nuggets become friends. Nothing could melt my heart more.

Thank you again so much Tori and Jason for hosting us for the weekend. It was perfection.

 

Dirty Thirty

It’s a big day today folks. I turned 30. That’s THIRTY, 3-0, The Dirty Thirty, a new decade. Ohf-ta!! In honor of the big day, I thought I’d write a list. One of my favorite things. I figured it would be impossible to think of 30 life highlights (not because they don’t exist, but because it would be impossible to write them all down!), but I can think of 30 things that I love in my life, or just about life in general (in no particular order). I mean what better day to count your blessings than the day that starts a whole new year of life, right??

1. My handsome son, Smith.
2. My handsome and charming husband.
3. My sisters. Who are constantly teaching and showing me you truly can ‘have it all.’
4. My parents. Who show me time and time again what unconditional love really means.
5. My brother-in-laws. I couldn’t have asked for better ones if I could have picked them myself. They add some awesome value to our trivia teams! ;)
6. My nieces and nephews. Who constantly make me giggle. And are the key to keeping me young. It’s all about SnapChat and Rainbow Looms, yo! Wait…do kids these days still say ‘yo’?!
7. My mother/father-in-law. Honestly, I struck GOLD here people. They are so helpful and supportive helping us out with Smith. And are always good for that, ‘oh hey I just happen to have stopped by over dinner time….!’ :)
8. All of my other in-law family. They are such a great (slightly crazy, in a good way!!) crew. Mass group text are our new thing and I dig it!
9. My friends. There are not enough words in the world for all of these wonderful people in my life. From grade school, high school, college, and grown-up life. They all hold a special place in my heart.
10. My husbands friends, who have become my friends. They are such a special group of people. Many can learn from them on how to stay close as the years go by. It’s impressive and I’m honored to be apart of it.
11. My job. It’s challenging, fulfilling and based on relationships of all kinds. I truly enjoy going everyday.
12. My co-workers. They are a goofy bunch, as I was reminded of today at lunch, and with the crazy days we have, we need that fun!
13. My house that is a home. The walls grew a bit smaller with the introduction of our son, but it will always be our first home and hold a special place in my heart. That makes it sound like we are moving or something….we are not…yet!!
14. Going back to school. Yes it’s costly, yes it’s time away from my boys and other fun things, but I very much enjoy pushing myself to be a better professional.
15. Living in Iowa. Sure, it’s bitterly freezing right now and the summers get annoying humid, but I choose to live here for a reason. The heartland is just that…full of heart. I love traveling away, but I love calling this pace of life home.
16. More specifically, living in the Corridor. We are right in the middle of it in North Liberty and am thankful for the options of shopping, dining and play we have in this area. Those who say there is nothing to do, don’t look hard enough. Now, if we could only get our farmer’s market every Saturday….! ;)
17. On this trend, Okoboji. It’s our summer escape and I love every second of it. I simply cannot wait to get Smith up there!!
18. Participating in fitness races. I signed up for my first post-baby race for this coming August. I’ll likely do a couple between now and then, but August is my prize race. I love the adrenaline rush from racing and appreciate the motivation to get, and hopefully stay, in shape!
19. Traveling. I’m not a world-traveler by any means, but my hubs and I try to escape once and a great while. Lucky for us, we have a lot of great friends around the country to visit. And great friends that plan trips we tag along on! ;) This year’s agenda: Colorado, Mexico and NYC.
20. Pampering. We all have guilty pleasures, right? I am okay admitting that I probably have more than others. But, I like to argue that it keeps me happier too! :) An occasional mani/pedi, a shopping trip, etc. It clears my mind and rejuvenates me to keep on swimming!
21. Watching movies. I love escape from reality movies provide. It’s award season, which I really enjoy. I made a tiny dent in the Best Picture nominees, but not by much. I hope to see some more before the Oscars air!
22. Attending concerts and theater shows. I always look forward to catching a couple good shows outdoors over the summer months, but attending plays in the winter is a fun treat too. So far on the docket: Spamalot here in a couple weeks. I need to work on this list!!
23. My health. I think everyone needs to take more time to appreciate their health. I’m thankful I dodge the flu and cold season often without coming down with anything (KNOCK ON WOOD), but also that I don’t have to deal with anything much bigger than that (KNOCK ON WOOD). People need to be more thankful for this, every day.
24. Parties. Who doesn’t love a good reason to celebrate…anything? Birthday? Yes! Anniversary? Yes! Retirement? Yes! New hair color? Why Not!!
25. FaceTime. I vow to use this more in 2014 and beyond. I mean why just call a friend that lives away when you can SEE them?! Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy catching up with friends that are separated with miles in between. Maternity leave with some awesome mommy friends have really made me realize how great this is!
26. Sweet treats. Remember when I said I had a lot of guilty pleasures? Sweets is a big one! But I’m ending my birthday with a cupcake with my husband and life can’t get much better than that!
27. My blog. Truly, I love having a blog. It’s my person diary that people seem to enjoy. How flattering! ;) I caught myself looking back at some pregnancy posts during one of my mid-night feedings with Smith. I love having life documented!
28. Lake and Pool time. My in-laws have a pool. My hubs and I have a boat and live right by a reservoir. Life.is.good. Well…in the summer at least! ;)
29. Sleep. It really is something one can take for granted before a baby enters their life. I look forward to getting more than a couple hours at a time. But until then, I just remind myself that I’ll miss that one-on-one time with my man when those days are gone.
30. And last but not least…just…life. It’s great. Appreciate it friends! Don’t take things for granted, and be a good friend. Keep in touch. Technology makes it too easy NOT to.

Cheers to the next thirty years. Now, I’m off to enjoy that cupcake!

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2013: What A Year!

How is it that life gets better as the years go on? I honestly consider myself extremely lucky and blessed to be able to say that for me…it really seems to be the case! I’ve spent the last day organizing, filing and printing photos from 2013 and can’t believe how much happened in just one short, fast, year.

So, here we go, some of my best highlights to share.

A trip to Colorado in January to visit our dear friends that live outside of Boulder. We had an absolute incredible time!

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Another fun trip, this time to Charleston, South Carolina for a friend’s wedding. What a blast! Five days at a beach house and downtown fun. The only bummer was the weather…and also having to ‘fake drink’ the whole time. I found out the day before we flew out that I was pregnant!

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I was fortunate to enjoy a lot of really great shows on stage. Those included; Beauty and the Beast, Legally Blonde, and Rock of Ages.

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I had the pleasure of being the ‘Host’ for my niece as she competed for Junior Miss Iowa, and, she won! It’s unreal how fast all my nieces and nephews are growing up.

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Another amazing summer passed and I was able to enjoy some wonderful time at Spirit Lake/Okoboji. Here I am, with my first purchase from an Ice Cream Man truck, ever! It just goes to show you, there is always a new adventure, no matter how small, around the corner.

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We had some great time with family over the summer months (and all year really!). Here I am with my in-laws (and my fellow preggo!) at a local baseball game.

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An epic night at the Delaware County Fair with my family for the Beach Boys concert celebrating my Mom’s birthday. So.Much.Fun!!

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Enjoying some ‘simple days’ of wandering downtown with a dear friend, kicking our feet up, and enjoying some frozen yogurt. This photo reminds me how much I enjoyed being pregnant and how lucky I was to have an easy-going with it from start to finish.

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Reconnecting with some wonderful ladies for our monthly date. We all got a little too busy to be an actual ‘book club’, so we decided to ditch the book and just get together to do something fun together. Gatherings have included; wine bar, DQ for Miracle Treat Day, Apple Orchard with our families, DISH night (making freezer meals), and a Cookie Exchange.

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Jimmy Buffett in Alpine Valley. This will be a yearly highlight as long as we keep going! :) This year was extra fun because my hubs and I brought along many ‘JB Virgins’ with us. And, of course, the show did not disappoint for them!

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I was lucky enough to be included for a road trip to Nashville for my dear friend’s 30th birthday celebration. It was super hot. But so much fun. My highlight was the Grand Ole Opry concert and seeing Steven Tyler walk right in front of me!

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My husband, and his best friend, turned 30. What more of an excuse do you need to have a party than that!? And a party it was. I’m so lucky to have been welcomed in to such an amazing group of friends. I’m in constant Awe of how much these boys stay in touch between their email list-serve and marathon text message chains. But nothing compares to seeing them all together in the flesh.

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And speaking of parties….my Dad’s retirement party. I’m so incredibly proud of his hard work and dedication to Alliant Energy. It’s also been great seeing him enjoy life after work the last couple months of the year.

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Having all of these lovely ladies in my life is such a blessing. Whether they are a friend since kindergarten, high school, college or through my husband, each lovely lady means so very much to me. I love having events like a baby shower for the selfish excuse of getting them all together!!

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My team at work is so wonderful. Some of our male colleagues participated in No-Shave November, so us ladies wanted in on the fun. So here we are with our ‘stashes’. All our off-sitters are there in spirit!! :)

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The birth of our first son goes without saying, doesn’t it? The year started off as a continuation of trying to get pregnant, then we found out mid-March that I was, next I spent 40.25 weeks pregnant, and boom….it’s all done. Yet, truly, it’s just beginning.

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And we ended the year with another holiday season. A little stressful with a tiny newborn, but becoming a family of three was the best present I could have ever received.

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Cheers to you and yours as we say good-bye to 2013. To 2014, I welcome you with open arms!!

Showered With Love

Today was a special day. Baby L was showered with gifts and love and I’m so thankful for those who took time out of their busy lives to help us celebrate! It was a gorgeous fall day, so I took advantage with some great outside photos. Let’s let them do the talking, shall we!?

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My lovely, lovely hostess! Thank you both so much. My “Ready to Pop” shower was so cute and fun! I especially loved the game of “Pair the Celebrity Mom with baby.”

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GROUP SHOT! So blessed to be surrounded by such loving and caring women. And yes, the grandma’s-to-be found the babies of the bunch!20131013-204620.jpg

The future baby sitters….Baby L’s [girl] cousins!

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My sisters and soon-to-be life-lines for panic new-Mom calls!! They have six kiddos between the two! Although, it’s been awhile since they’ve had newborns! :)

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The grandma’s!

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My sister-in-law, who just had her second baby seven weeks ago. She makes post-baby look good!! She’ll also be on speed dial this winter!

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The handsome Daddy-to-be! If this baby cookin’ is a girl and she has my dimples and his baby-brown eyes…I have a feeling all of his worst nightmares will come true! ;) We’ll find out soon enough. Five weeks and three days to go!

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The loot*. It’s nice and condensed in these bags…but trust me when I say we hit the jackpot with goodies today and we are SO thankful. Plus…baby stuff is small! ;)

*Not pictured: our killer travel system. I’m so excited for nice long walks with baby and dadio next Spring!

Dirty Thirty – Nashville Style

A dear friend, since elementary school, asked me a few months ago if I’d be interested in a girls road trip to Nashville for her 30th birthday. Ummm….YES!!!!!!!! Can you see why we are friends!? ;) So, off we went. There were five girls total and we had a 9 hour road-trip and three days to cram in as much fun as possible. Ready, set, go!

The road trip was great, complete with a live scavenger hunt by a friend who was unable to be with us in person, she was certainly there in spirit. Once we got to the hotel we freshened up and hit the famous Broadway Street.

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(Honestly who let me wear this zebra dress…so much print around so much belly!! EK! ha That said, it was an extremely comfortable dress, so I stand by my choice…at the time! :))

We got a special treat our first night there…major celebrity spotting!! Look real close below…do you spy a country cutie?

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How about now?! BAM!! Keith Urban, with special guest Steven Tyler, played approximately four songs at three bars on Broadway, walking outside and greeting fans between each stop.

I didn’t get a photo of Steven (but I did get a quick video!) because honestly, I was too star struck. I’ve been a huge Aerosmith fan since about 4th grade. And Steven has always been my Rock God of choice. Don’t judge, you have one too!! Ahhh, it was so much fun!!

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After our celebrity spotting was complete, we headed in to the famous Tootsie’s Bar. This tiny hole-in-the-wall bar that was INCREDIBLY fun all night long. Some of the biggest country stars on the radio right now got their start in this very bar.

And when the clock struck midnight, it was time to celebrate (she would say embarrass!) the birthday girl. So I slipped the singer some cash and a note to give her a shout out and he totally ran with it…including getting her up on stage!

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And so our first night ended.

On to Day Two.

Of course…boot shopping!! There were a dozen or more shops that all had this same view…walls and walls of boots! Of course, I walked out with a pair for myself, but I’ll save those for another post! ;)

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We took a lunch break to watch the Iowa Hawkeye game with the Nashville Iowa Alumni group. Sweet! Extra bonus: a very nice groom-to-be, on his bachelor party, told me I was a very cute pregnant lady. Thanks stranger man…considering it was 90+ degrees and I sweated my butt off all weekend and therefore felt like a whale…I very much appreciated it. Note: Compliments are always nice. Pass them along from time to time, will ya!?

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Our grand finale for the weekend, pun intended, was to attend a show at the Grand Ole Opry. It was a BLAST!! We all said that this is a must for any and all future Nashville trips.

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Such an iconic venue and so much variety to the show. The highlights for me were James Otto and Deana Carter.

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And with that, our time in Nashville was done. It was short and sweet…but oh so much fun!

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Happy 30th dear friend…may you always have your cake, and eat it too!!

Single Digits Folks!

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I know it probably seems like I just went on a tangent of pregnancy updates, but it hit me today. I am 30 weeks along. Which means come tomorrow, I am officially in single-digits with my weeks.
So here are some short pregnancy updates from weeks 28-30 (August 28-September 11). I don’t want these awesome memories to slip my mind. Pregnancy brain is a real thing folks!

  • Baby keeps a moving-and-a-shaking and I love it!
  • I passed my glucose test, have “only” gained 15 pounds (gulp!), measuring at 29 weeks and my doctor appointments are now two weeks apart. Which makes the time go crazy fast!
  • I had a big sneeze the other day and peed a little. Gee, that’s fun!
  • Speaking of, I feel like I am peeing all.the.time. For some who spent my college years mastering the art of ‘not breaking the seal’, this is a big adjustment for me!!
  • I went up a cup size in the bra world, much toy husbands enjoyment!
  • No, we don’t know what we are having; yes, we have names; no we are not telling. Haven’t we covered this already!?? ;) It’s still the number one question(s), so worth repeating!
  • I have signed up for some great baby classes in October. I look forward to them!
  • I’ve caught my profile in the mirror, I look so much bigger than I feel!! I suppose this is an ‘okay’ thing…but wowza, my stomach is so BIG!
  • Life has kept me busy so time is really flying. It’s full of jam-packed weekends, busy work days, starting up my MBA classes again, etc. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit out-loud that I’ve ventured over that hump of “so yea, I’m pregnant”, to being anxious. I can’t say I’m ‘ready’…still so much to do! But…I’m getting ready. I’m noticing the body changes, I’m feeling baby (which just makes me want to snuggle with him/her!), and well, it’s been 30 weeks!
  • We are still putting final touches on the nursery and can wait to share the journey through photos!

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Pants: Express, Shirt: Gap Maternity, Shoes: Von Maur, Earrings: Cookie Lee

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I love these little polka dot wedges. I’m still rockin’ all my styles, shapes and styles with ease. YAY!