Friday, July 30, 2010

5 years 'mon amour ' (my love)

From the sweet boyfriend...

to the fun-loving husband...

to the proud Dada you've become....

I'm so thankful for the man you've been in my life.

Happy 5 years my love! I pray the next 5 are even sweeter.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What a race...

{Saturday 7:30 am - before the race}
Nik . Jamie . Shannon . Greg

13 teams

2 days in the windy (ahem...humid) city

15+ miles on foot

27 clues

1 absolute downpour


{we snapped a quick pic in front of the fountain during our mandatory lunch break on Day 1}

That's right! Team Deer came in First Place!!

Without going into too much detail....

Just picture the real show of "The Amazing Race", but shot in only 2 days.

Some of the clues took an hour to figure out, and then 30 minutes to find the location. We tried to use buses and trains when possible, but we spent a lot of time on foot. I wish someone wore a pedometer to see just how many miles we actually walked/ ran.

Strangers became our best friends
as we sought them out to find answers or directions to the next clue. We will always remember the little old lady on the bus who figured out the scarecrow song from the Wizard of Oz, and led us directly to Oz Park. Nor will we forget (another, but different) little old lady who heard we were on the way to the finish line, and actually came to cheer us on. We thank all the people of Chicago, and especially these 2 ladies who we never even found out their name. :)

And let's be honest, I've never been more exhausted in my life....literally. Somehow, we managed to stay hydrated, and there were no injuries on the team (which is pretty amazing if you know our husbands).

{at the finish line- first team to arrive!}
The umbrellas were used throughout the race as a way to spot the next clue at various locations.

It was fun getting to know so many new people from other teams, and we are incredibly thankful to the people who organized it. I can only imagine how much work went into it.

They are already talking about where it will be next year....

Mackinaw Island!

We had such a blast, and you can bet to see us back next year!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


If you notice, I've added several more website/ blogs under "Just my Style" in the sidebar. One of my new favorite sites is

I've honestly never attempted true party planning...but her website sure makes me want to!

Just look at this adorable
"gingham garden party".....sooooo me.

I especially love the puffy tissue flower balls hanging about....and who doesn't love gingham?

Or how about this adorably decorated mantel and cake display??

You can't tell in these pics, but it's a "turtle themed party" with pink and green throughout. (turtlemegs, I know you would love the "turtle pops").

And I just HAD to add this cute "strawberry party" die for!

There are SO many others I could add, but this is just a taste. So go check it out for yourself....LOTS of yummy treats and creative ideas.

Now if only I could decide what I want to do!! Feeling a bit overly-inspired right now...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


We have this "in-between" space in our home. It's an empty traffic way that connects the fireplace room, the living room, dining room, and kitchen. I love how it makes the house feel bigger than it really is, and provides a nice area if we have a lot of people over for extra standing room, or a place to set up an extra table if needed...a very open layout indeed.

As you can clearly see, this open space has become the play area in the last few months. A convenient spot to dump all of Kensie's toys. Upside- I can see her from pretty much anywhere in the house. Downside- it's a tripping hazard for one (especially in the middle of the night), and it doesn't stop Kensie from crawling to all the "no-no's" in the other rooms (especially the fireplace). Not ideal, to say the least.

We also have this great sunroom that steps down off the back of the dining room. It pretty much sat empty for the last year and a half....until NOW! Thanks to a few suggestions, we gave this space a new purpose...

Welcome to the new playroom!!

Two nights ago, after Kensie went to bed, Greg and I stayed up until 10pm vacuuming, rearranging, and moving every toy OUT of the house and into here!

Not only is it baby proof, but it lets in TONS of light, and has a great view of the backyard. Plus, with the sliding glass door, I can let her roam free in there while I am workin' away in the kitchen.

Ahhhh, my open space is actually OPEN, and my house has regained it's confidence.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Greg's dream come true...well sorta.

Yes, other than marrying yours truly of course....

Greg's dream is to compete in the Amazing Race. Yeah. The one on TV that lasts a whole season, but is really only filmed in like 12 days or something. And although we don't even have the TV hooked up, his eyes get wide with excitement when anyone talks about it.

he says, "I'd give anything to be on that show!"

Well, now's his chance...kind of.

This weekend, Greg, myself, and another couple are teaming up to compete in a mini version of the Amazing Race. It's basically a church group that decided to make up their own course. They get 25 teams together (4 people per team) and cram it all in one weekend.

This year, the race is held in Chicago.

We are only allowed to use public transportation.

We must carry everything on our backs.

Each team must carry a digital camera.

No cell phones or access to interent of any kind is allowed.

We will compete in both team and individual challenges throughout the race.

Oh, and we are "Team Deers" - each team is a different animal. We signed up late...thus the slim pickings for a fierce sounding name...oh well. Deer are fast right?

Wish us luck, we will update you next week how it all went!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

10 months and some birthday thoughts

10 month chair pic

(PS-don't think that that tear in the armrest doesn't bother me. I already attempted to sew it up once only for it to burst open within a few days. It drives me NUTS! Cheap reupholstering anyone???)

We are only 2 short months away from celebrating 1 year in this little lady's life.

And what a blessing she has been.

Now, for some birthday thoughts:

1) This year, Kensie's birthday will fall ON Labor Day (Sept. 6). I'm kind of excited about that because most people have work off. PLUS, I'm always fond of parties actually ON the day.

2) A bonus activity that same day will be joining Greg and his big rig in the annual Labor Day truck parade. Last year was AMST's first appearance, and Greg was beyond excited to drive. To put icing on the cake, his Mom also made a poster to announce Kensie's birth. (She was born the day before Labor Day). This year, Greg insisted that Kensie and I ride in the truck with him. And we are more than happy to oblige. :)

3) Who to invite? We are still going back and forth on whether to make this party open to family only, or family AND friends. It's always hard when deciding who to invite, where the cutoff is, and who will take the most offense if they are ones NOT invited. The sensitivity of the issue can sometimes make me not want to do a party at all. I know I know. I'm not going to let that stop me, but we just can't decide how to make it work yet. I've been to a few "Open house" style parties. I like how those make the numbers not so overwhelming. People come and leave when they please, and it really spreads the guests out so your house isn't packed.

3.5) Has anyone ever heard of the "# of guests = # of years old"? For example, you can invite 1 guest when you turn 1....then 2 guests when you turn 2, and so on. Not a bad idea, and makes it easy to have an excuse when confronted with a sensitive situation. "Well, you can invite them next year I guess..."

4) Gifts. I really don't want a ton of toys and (no offense) junk to pack my house out. If we do invite family AND friends, I'm thinking a polite "no gifts please" on the invitation is appropriate.

5) Theme. Definitely incorporating green and pink....but no characters from movies or cartoons. I'm picturing something like a "Garden Party" with lots of flowers and simple decorations. Maybe a cute handmade sign, and a simple but elegant cake.

So, that's that. Any thoughts on first year birthday parties?? I would love to hear what you've done, or are planning on doing. Do tell!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gun Lake

Mosquito bites - CHECK

Sunburns - CHECK

Family disputes - CHECK

Don't you just love camping in 90* weather, with bugs, a baby, and family that can sometimes get on your nerves?!

Ok, it wasn't THAT bad....but pretty darn close at times.

We headed to Gun Lake over the 4th of July for the annual week long camping adventure with the in-laws and extended family.

A short 45 min drive from home made it possible for us to come back and sleep at home during the nights and drive back during the days.

humidity + a baby + tight sleeping quarters = sleeping at home was a MUCH better choice.

Things kicked off with a kiddie parade, followed by games for all ages. Even Kensie could scoop ducks out of a tin bucket in hopes of claiming a tootsie roll (only to be quickly confiscated by her parents).

And the day wouldn't be complete without a watermelon eating contest of course. Greg gave his go at it, while his gracious mother endured the sloppy mess so could I snap a pic. Thanks Mom!

The lake was the only escape from the heat, so we went Kensie proved her love for the water (just like her Dada) and would have relaxed in her floaty ALL day if she could.

And if you remember my post from LAST YEAR....we started a new tradition with the Brink family. The Gun Lake Triathlon. I was 7 months preggo last year at this time, but attempted the bike and walk portions. It was indeed a small taste of the real thing.

Triathlon participants 2010 (double from last year!)

For the past 8 weeks I've been running, biking, and (yes, the dreaded) swimming. I thought by testing out the waters (no pun intended) a comfortable family setting at Gun Lake, I might sign up for a REAL race if things went well. And they did! The race was by far shorter than a real one, but it was a good chance to see what my training prepared me for. Who knows, maybe I'll sign up for one in August now!

Hope everyone had a great Independence Day!