Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mama's Day

Today is a special day.

It's 3 days before August.

It's Friday-eve.

It's the day "Alice in Wonderland" was released in 1951.

But most importantly...

It's my mom's birthday!

I'd like to wish a happy 30th birthday to one heck-of-a-woman! (Ok, so she may not be 30, but she's still pretty darn young if you ask me.)

For a long time, it was just my mom and me. We grew up together in many ways, me through the terrors of childhood and adolescence and her through the challenging times of adulthood, parenthood, and independence. But life isn't so scary when you've got someone like my mom by your side. I have to say I fell pretty darn lucky to have had her to guide me, to support me, and to comfort me. I wasn't always the greatest daughter (it's amazing the attitude and disobedience that can flow from a teenager), but she's always been a great mom.

She's patient and loving. She always answers the phone (or at least calls you back right away). She'll let you dress up her infant son as a girl, and laugh as you take pictures that you'll one day show at his wedding. She won't scream at you when you wake her up in the middle of the night to tell her you tore the door of the car by backing up into a lampost with the door open (but she might still be mad the next day). She'll give into your begging and let you cut your bangs, even though she knows you have a terrible cowlick and chances are you're going to regret it (hey, you have to learn for yourself sometimes, right?). She'll help you move 5 times in 3 years. She'll pick you up from work when your boyfriend gets laid off from work and YOU'RE the one whose too distraught to finish the day. She'll listen to you complain (and not say a word about your foul language) about someone or something that really gets you going. She'll have just the right words to say when you call her sobbing, whether it's the result of a no-good-very-bad-day or nothing more than PMS.

More than anything, she'll love you--fiercly, unconditionally, wholely.

I'm so lucky to have a great mom who doubles as a best friend. Happy birthday mama!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tune in Tuesdays

Circa 2009. Gotta love good friends, good weather, and good times.

Want to know what Tune in Tuesdays is all about? Read more here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Patience is a virtue

When it comes to trying to teach me something new, I’m not always the best student.

A few years ago we rented a cabin at a ski resort with a bunch of friends.

I was one of only a few who had never skied before, but we all went in with high hopes of at least giving it a whirl.

It was a ski-in, ski-out resort, so the easiest way to get to the slopes was to actually ski there. Well that’s not necessarily the most ideal way to try skiing for the first time, if you ask me. I ended up taking off my skis and hiking well behind everyone else, my skis slung over my shoulders and my legs already cramping from the uncomfortablness that is a ski boot.

By the time we reached the destination, I thought everyone was kidding me. Looking out ahead of us was a hill—a perfectly groomed, glistening slope of white powder—but a hill nonetheless. Remember, I had NEVER been on skis before.

I threw a tantrum that rivals those of toddlers begging for candy at the grocery store. “How the hell am I supposed to get down that?” I shouted. “You’re supposed to start me on the damn bunny hill!”

Sean, who skied competitively in high school, very nicely explained that we had to get down this small hill (half of a hill really) to get to the ski lift that would take us to the bunny hill. When he started explaining how to turn, I shouted back, “Shouldn’t you teach me how to SKI before you teach me how to TURN?!?”

“Skiing is turning, honey,” he calmly explained. It was an ugly few minutes but we eventually made our way to the bunny hill, not without streaks of tears and mascara staining my face though. Over the course of that trip, he continued to be a great teacher, never losing his patience or snapping back at his short-tempered girlfriend. I never quite picked up the sport, whether for lack of skill or lack of effort I’m not entirely sure, but Sean put in a valiant teaching effort.  
I was reminded of Sean’s impressive patience this weekend. We decided to take a trip to the driving range so he could get some swings in before the upcoming memorial golf tournament for his dad. Mini golf aside, I’ve only hit a golf ball once before.

A couple divots and handful of whiffs later, I was already frustrated and ready to give up.

And here we were again. Sean never lost his cool, never got frustrated or upset with me. He patiently told me where to place my feet and calmly instructed me on a better hand position. He stood quietly behind me and watched my motion, helping me to realize when I took my eye off the ball or forgot to straighten my wrists. Later, he taught me the art of chip shots and waited time and time again for me to get it down (as much as “getting it down” is for a first-time golfer).
I walked away with a new appreciation for the game of golf. But even more, I walked away even more amazed by this incredible man who in less than 11 months I’ll be calling my husband! His patience, his love for teaching, his genuine enjoyment in time spent together—all of these are things I’ve always known about him. But in a simple evening at the golf course, I was once again reminded of how lucky I am to have someone like him in my life. (And I couldn’t help but imagine him teaching our future children. He’s going to be a great dad someday!)
Seeing as how I am seriously lacking in the patience department, I could probably take a lesson in that from him, too.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I got nothing

It's been one of those weeks. The kind where nothing exciting happens, nothing horrible happens, but you're still pretty sure Friday afternoon couldn't come a second sooner.

The early part of this week brought wicked heat and record-breaking humidity to Minnesota, along with 35+ other states in the U.S. Hearing that temperatures topped 120 degrees in southern states (and that it happens much more frequently there), made me feel much better about the few days I had to put up with it here. It still made for an unpleasant few days. I spent as much time in air-conditioned indoors (work, car, home) as possible.

The humidity finally broke today and there's a noticeable relief in the air. This is the kind of summer weather I love.

 I can't believe we're already nearing the end of July. We have a lot of fun things planned for the rest of the summer, which is actually sort of a blessing and a curse. I'm very much looking forward to everything that's ahead - a girls day, a couple of road trips, the 2nd annual golf tournament for Sean's dad, a few vacation days from work, wedding planning, and a baby shower for two of our best friends who are expecting their first baby. But I know this busy schedule also means one thing: summer will be over before we know it. Time does fly when you're having fun, doesn't it?

I'm slacking in the blogging department lately. I wish that I could say it's because I'm too busy to find the time (sure, it's the reason every once in a while). But mostly it's because I'm blank. Call it writer's block or lack of inspiration, but some days I can't seem to muster up anything worth writing about - at least not anything anyone would want to read about.

Kind of like this post. File this in the "boring" department. I promise I'll get back on my game soon.

As for you, what fun plans do you have before summer ends, now that we're about half way there? I do love fall, but I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to summer just yet!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tune in Tuesdays

After dinner last night, Sean retreated to the upstairs to take his nightly shower and I started channel surfing for something girly to watch. It's usually the only time of night I get away with watching anything that resembles a chick flick or a wedding show since they're not really his cup of tea. I can't say I blame him. What guy does?


I was pretty excited when I found one my favorite movies: P.S. I Love You. There was only about 20 minutes left, which was perfect timing, in fact. So I laid down and settled in for a good cry.

You might ask why I love a movie that does almost nothing but make me sob. I can't answer that. I just find it incredibly sweet and moving. And sad. Just sad I tell 'ya.

So today's lyrics are inspired by this movie, by the sweet song that is weaved into the story line. If nothing else, it makes you want to turn to someone and say, "I love you 'till the end."

Want to know what Tune in Tuesdays is all about? Read more here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday afternoon entertainment

While browsing Brand Flakes For Breakfast, a very entertaining marketing blog I like to follow, I came across this fun post. Browse photos from the end scene of a variety of films, and see if you can identify the movie on that alone.

I got the very first one (shown below) and was feeling pretty proud and confident (it is one of my favorite movies, after all).

Then I scrolled down and the tables turned. I only got a few of them, but it was fun nonetheless.

So I'm copying Brand Flakes and sharing it with you, too. If nothing else, it's a brief distraction from Monday afternoon monotony.

A pretty nice little Saturday

Will Ferrell’s “nice little Saturday” line from Old School had lots of people laughing, and lots of people repeating it, too. Like I’m doing right now, see!

Funny as it was, I still think a day at Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond does sound like a pretty nice little Saturday! When did I grow up?

Anyway, we did have a nice little Saturday this weekend. In fact, the whole weekend was nice.

Softball was cancelled Friday due to storms, so we got dinner and ice cream with some friends instead. When we got home, we watched the series finale of Friday Night Lights. I’ve been following the show since it started, but Sean just got hooked this year. I’m sad to see it end!

Saturday morning was relaxing and uneventful. We stayed in our PJs far too long and caught up on shows from the DVR. Eventually we were motivated enough to do our grocery shopping. With the hot, humid temps we’ve been facing, the ice cold air conditioning of the grocery store was a welcome relief. Later that afternoon, we went out for smoothies and a snack. At a small table by the window (for people watching, of course) we sipped our strawberry smoothies and munched on some of the best muffins in town (I had banana, he had lemon blueberry).  

After snack time we did some shopping. We got some kitchen storage containers and a new casserole dish (see what I mean? When did I grow up?). I also got my phone fixed, because it had suddenly started going directly to speaker phone on all calls.

Saturday night we had made plans to meet some friends at Highland Fest, an annual “fair” in our neighborhood. We went a bit early to browse the art booths and get some dinner. I knew it was hot outside, but I was completely unprepared for just how uncomfortable I would be. I was a hot mess of sweat and crankiness (and I had even dressed appropriately!). We toughed it out though. Once the sun went down it got a little more bearable, and we were able to make it through the band’s entire set. We stayed for the fireworks, grabbed some shaved ice on our way out, and headed home!

Sunday was even hotter than the day before (a trend that is going to continue through much of this week, yuck!). It was the perfect excuse (as though we needed one) to stay inside and stay cool. Short of a few errands, we didn’t leave the house most of the day. We made homemade mint chocolate ice cream (I’m in love, and also in trouble because it’s not really of the healthy variety). We also did laundry, watched the Twins game and World Cup final (what a game, and such a disappointing loss!), and even took a small cat nap on the couch. We had Sunday night dinner with Sean's family and grandparents, so we did get our sorry asses off the couch for a little while longer. Later, we finished the night by watching Big Brother and finally crawling into a bed of freshly washed sheets. Perfect!

What was the highlight of your weekend? Are you like me and already counting down the days to next weekend?

Friday, July 15, 2011

You know it's Friday when...

…you wake up at 3 a.m. to a horrible dream and wonder if it’s really Saturday and you get to go back to sleep indefinitely.

…you want to cry when you realize it’s not Saturday, and your alarm will in fact be going off in less than 3 hours.

…you put the knife you used to cut your English muffin in the ice maker instead of the dishwasher at work.

…you up the size of your favorite morning drink order (For me it’s a mango iced tea with a shot of sugar free raspberry…delicious! And I’ve been trying to limit it to once a week, so today was a great day to splurge.)

…it’s storming! (We play softball Friday nights and it has rained for all but 2 of our games. So of course it’s supposed to rain all day today!)

…you hate the gym a little bit less. It’s the last day of 6 a.m. workouts, for a couple days anyway. (By Friday, I usually feel like if I hear the sound of my alarm 1 more time I will throw it against the wall.)

…everywhere you turn another coworker is walking by with a deliciously tempting breakfast treat. (My work serves free bagels, fruit, muffins, and donuts for all employees on Fridays. I try to avoid it at all costs, since choosing fruit when you’re surrounded by all the other carb-loaded goodness is practically impossible.)

…you’re wearing the same pants you already wore earlier this week. Since we have casual summer dress at work, we can wear jeans every day. While I have enough jeans to get me through the week, I tend to start re-wearing my favorite pair by Friday. Is that a fashion crime? Actually, I’m not sure I care even if it is!

...1 minute feels like 5. Five o’clock never comes fast enough on a Friday.

…despite everything, you’re happy! Love the feeling of a Friday!

How do you mark the end of your week? Any fun plans for the weekend! Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tune in Tuesdays

I don't know about you, but I've got some big dreams. And why not have big dreams? There's lots of possibility and potential in this life. You never know what can happen.

Want to know what Tune in Tuesdays is all about? Read more here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What a weekend!

We had another great weekend, thanks in large part to our wonderful wedding party.

On Saturday, they threw us an engagement party. It was a fun night of drinks, food, and good company. Sean and I were so grateful for all of the hard work they put into it, and for everyone who came to celebrate with us. I can't wait for all of the exciting things that are still to come in the next year.

Mmmm....great food!
They created a slideshow and had it looping all cute!

Family photo! My brother, sister, me, and my mom

More guests!
Summer is such a busy time that it's hard to get everyone together at once. Many of our groomsmen were unable to make the party (2 of the 6 were there), but all but 1 of my girls were able to be there!

Thanks to these lovely ladies and everyone else who made the party possible. We are so blessed to have such great friends and family!

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I’m currently trying to do this:
{Via Pinterest} an attempt to solve 2 rather frustrating issues in my life:

Number one: feeling like a pizza face. Chalk it up to the weather, hormones, or drinking skim milk (rumor has it), it doesn’t matter. Truth of the matter is my face is turning into an oily feeding ground for adult acne. You can say “gross!” I’s have to agree. I’d like to extend a big, “WTF life?” because I thought embarrassing skin problems stopped when you graduated puberty.  

Number two: feeling like a heffalump. My slightly less-than-ideal food choices lately have left me feeling pleasantly plump. While the scale has only shifted slightly in the last 3 months (2 pounds—there, I said it), it’s enough to make me feel, well, fat. It’s not ok. It’s time to “tighten.” (Name that movie?!?)

And before you even consider going there, no I am not pregnant. Let’s just clear that up right now—for all of you and for anyone else out there who might be panicking at the thought of it (hi mom!). While it seems such a “condition” would be good cause for blemishes and blubber, it simply isn’t the case. The only baby in my belly is a food one.

So back to the water. I realize it won’t actually solve these problems. But it's a good start, and it can't hurt! Drinking lots of water is great for your skin. And it’s great at making you feel full (which is apparently what I need to stop me from grabbing a handful of something deliciously un-nutritious when I’m cooking dinner or on-the-go). So next time I reach for the pita chips or a double stuffed Oreo, I think I’ll grab an ice water instead.

Do you have any secrets of the trade—for skin care or healthy eating?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tune in Tuesdays

This song always reminds me of watching fireworks from Harriet Island, a park near downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Every year, my friends and I would gather blankets and snacks and head to the island to watch the 4th of July fireworks. We'd huddle together and listen to the music playing at the local bandshell as we watched the colors pop against the dark night sky. This song was always a favorite, and it made the entire crowd swell with pride and sing along.
They've since stopped having the festival they usually have at Harriet Island. The fireworks just don't seem the same without the music. But any time I hear this song, I'll always think back to those summer nights, celebrating our country and all those who serve it.

Want to know what Tune in Tuesdays is all about? Read more here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I love me some long weekends

Long weekends are lifesavers. I wish that I could have 3-day weekends all of the time. There's something to be said about having just a little extra time to rest and relax before getting back to the grind.

Our weekend was wonderful. The weather couldn't have been better; the heat covered the city like a blanket and the sun never stopped shining.

Friday highlights
  • Took the afternoon off of work - glorious!
  • Grocery shopped - love checking things of my to-do list early in the weekend!
  • Went to dinner and a movie - date night #1! (Since we had some time to kill after dinner we stopped in a pet shop near the restaurant. Big mistake! I felt so bad for all of the adorable puppies and wanted every last one of them to come home with us, especially this little guy.)

Saturday highlights
  • Got our workout done before 10 a.m. (that rarely happens for us, so I was thrilled to have it over and have so much of the day ahead of us)
  • Cleaned the house - ahh, the smell of clean floors and Clorox!
  • Got sucked into watching way too many re-runs of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding - have you seen that show? All I can say is, "Wow!"
  • Went to our first Twins game of the year - a beautiful night for outdoor baseball!
  • Stopped by a going-away party for Sean's best friend who is going to South Africa and then moving to Colorado for a year - lots of laughs with those guys!

Sunday highlights
  • Lazy Sunday morning - 'nuff said
  • Helped "rescue" our neighbor - we saw an elderly couple banging on the window of our neighbor Ruth's house. Ruth is an adorable 93-year-old woman who has lived in the house since she was a little girl. Her brother and his wife hadn't been able to get ahold of her so they came over to check on her. Since the doors were locked, Sean called a friend of his from the police department (Sean works for the department too) and had them come over for a welfare check. When they finally got in the house, Ruth was conscious but disoriented at the top of her stairs. She had taken a fall. The paramedics came and took her to the hospital. Thank goodness her brother came over to check on her!
  • Had dinner with Sean's family - love dinner on the patio!
  • Visited with friends who just returned from their week-long annual summer cabin trip - I missed my best friend !
Looking back at how much I got done in just those 3 days makes me wish we always had a bonus day for the "boring" stuff - like running errands and doing laundry. I didn't mind doing that today since I got a full weekend of fun.

Unfortunately I don't think I'll be staying up late enough for the fireworks tonight. I think I'll be happy with that decision come sunrise tomorrow, though.

Happy Independence Day!