Smith Turns Three

A month or so before Smith was set to turn three, I asked the very brave question of, “What kind of birthday party would you like, Smith?” He answered with a resounding — “Paw Patrol AAAAAAAAAAND Paw Patrol!” Your wish, is my birthday command little buddy. So, here we go. Days and Days of Paw Patrol love.

First, we treated Smith to Paw Patrol Live! What perfect timing, as the show took stage on his birthday eve. He was memorized from start to finish!

On the morning of Smith’s birthday, I treated him to a donut and let him pick out the treats for school. We had so much fun, I hope to be able to do this for many years! He was so cute, he asked if he could get frosting all over his face…of course buddy!

Grandma and Grandpa Brown came to town a couple days early, so he was a lucky boy and got a little extra present preview. Cars, spiders and a Paw Patrol hat. They know him well!

Party time! Smith was breaking down his Paw Patrol decorations — quite literally. Apparently I didn’t set it up correctly. Three years old and already setting me straight, oh boy!

Present fun with cousins!

Grandpa Don’s hand-crafted ramp, complete with two water spouts!

I love this photo — the pure JOY of Smith seeing his Paw Patrol cake for the first time. Momma, FTW!!!

I found a local Mom in town that makes these amazing cakes. How fun is this! (Figurines compliments of Grandma Carol!)

Happy 3rd birthday Smith. You are unique, lovable, funny, silly, smart, sassy and all boy. We are so lucky to get to be your parents!

Yummy cake!

Cousins Noah and Kalya helping Smith test his ramp skills!

Well, we survived the terrible twos — bring on the Threenager!!!



Happy 2nd Birthday, Smith!

I can’t believe I have a two year old. As the big day was approaching, I caught myself thinking, ‘oh yea, Smith will be 1.’ I can’t even really explain why. I think it’s because the first year is just so change-change-change; breastfeeding, baby food, first steps, etc. And moving in to the second you, you feel like you get the hang of life with another human a little bit!

Anywho. Smith is two. He is funny. He is cute. And he is smart. We celebrated our main man with friends and family on a nice Saturday afternoon with a Sesame Street party. It was a crazy fun couple hours and Smith had a ball!

Enjoy the slideshow below!

Here are some of Smith’s favorite things these days (per his birthday board above!):

Favorite characters:
Itsy Bitsy Spider (all.the.time.)
Thomas the Train
Sesame Street
Favorite things to do:
Play outside
Read Books
Build blocks
Play trains and trucks
Favorite Foods:
Red peppers
Cinnamon Rolls (it’s possible I’m a bad influence here!!)
Smith, thank you for being such a joy in our lives. I love watching you grow up and can’t wait to see what this year brings.

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! :))


#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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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. 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!


Happy Birthday to my One and Only!

The years may be flying by…but some things never change.



Happy 30th birthday to the man who only seems to get better with age. And, of course, still loves snuggling with animals! I love you dearly and am honored to be your wife and side-kick in this crazy thing called life. Cheers to many, many more my love!!

Birthday Girl!

Do I look any older and wiser?! It’s the big 2-9 for me today. I don’t feel a day over 23…I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, I’ll get back to you on that later! 😉
I had the most amazing birthday-weekend trip (Colorado) to kick off the celebration, but those are worthy of their own posts, so more to come there! Then I was welcomed home by the most amazing news, my best friend in the whole-wide world had her baby boy (on Monday) who I met last night. And that brings to me today, wuftha! I woke up to a present from my hubs, had a day filled with some Facebook love, enjoyed lunch with my great co-workers, got a floral delivery, and spent the night hanging with my Book Club crew. I am one.lucky.girl!!!
My photos are lacking in quality, but I still wanted to show off my fun dress I sported to kick off my final year of the decade!

I started things off with my fun fancy coat!

Then boom, my bright geo-print dress!

Coat: Jessica Simpson, Tights (fleece lined!), Shoes: Steve Madden

Dress: Francesca’s, Jacket: Ann Taylor, Earrings: Cookie Lee

Ps-fashion tip/secret..I actually have a cardigan under my blazer for extra warmth, it’s crazy cold here. It didn’t add bulk to my look but made a world of difference with keeping cozy!

Birthday Boy

My hubs turned the big 2-9 this week so we celebrated doing what we love the most…eating and drinking our way through the night, and town!

Luckily these pants have a little stretch to them! 😉

Blazer and shirt: Forever 21, Jeggings: Old Navy, Shoes: Payless, Bracelets: Cookie Lee


I love the mix here, soft touch of polka-dot and hearts, hard with the metal bangles. And the slight tough of blue, fun!


Peep-toe and floral cut-out…perfect transition to fall shoe.

Now for the birthday date tour. Prepare to mouth-water!

First stop, Backpocket Brewery. Beer cheese and some good wheat and IPA beer.

Next up, OUR place, Takanami in Iowa City. Best sushi around, hands down!

Some Riesling to get the taste buds going.

The main course. O.M.G.

My hubby’s fav, salmon roe with quail egg. I’m not quite there with my taste buds, but it’s his happy place!!


On to dessert. The new cupcake place in town, Molly’s Cupcakes. Delicious.

The birthday boy. Look how cute he looks on the swing.


Happy Birthday babe, ride out your 20s in style!! 🙂