Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday Daffodils

"Hey Michael, lets go sit on this big rock by the pretty flowers!"

"What, these pretty flowers?" 

"That is boring to me. I would rather climb on this big rock!"

"I am naughty boy! Hear me roar!"

My silly, silly boy. What am I going to do with you?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Spring Garden Preview

Yay for spring! This has been one great weekend. The weather is warm, the sun is out and we got to spend all of our Saturday outside in the yard. We are completely enamored with the budding life that is happening all around us. Michael even said, "Mom! There!...on your tree!" in reference to my little crab apple trees. He is also excited for the tulips to bloom and says, "Just green stuff yet". 

Speaking of blooms....I checked my archives and last year my crab apple was blooming on April FOURTH. Can you believe it?? Wow. 

We tackled two huge lawn cleanup projects this weekend. The first was tying, cutting and burning all my tall grasses. Scott was a huge help to me this year and used his weed whacker on them. It went really fast! It is still a mess out there, but we'll get it taken care of over the next week or so.

We also completely cleaned out our front bed by raking up the mulch, and tilling it up. The dirt was getting really compacted and hard to dig in the annuals (which make up most of the bed) and I think this was a good move. I did have to take out my perennials and then replant them but I'm hope they won't mind as they put up with a lot of abuse. We also tilled in some compost and fertilizer so I hope this helps feed the soil as well. I realize it looks only like a blurry photo of dirt at this point in time but just you wait--I'll be back with more photos! 

Trace's lilac is getting lots of buds on it and I'm excited for it to bloom. We still have some work to do in his little angel garden area because like everything- it is a work in progress. I'm waiting to see if the special hydrangea I bought comes back and if so, I want to add a few more around my yard. They are just absolutely my favorite. 

That's it for the spring tour! I hope you had a great weekend and got to enjoy the nice weather with your families also!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Our VEISHEA Saturday started out with a very fun birthday party for two of Michael's friends (they are twins) who turned 3! It was a great chance to celebrate and also watch the VEISHEA parade! They had a very cute Toy Story themed party which I loved....yay for all things Disney!

We saw lots of our favorites at the parade: Aunt Denise, the Cyclone bball tean (Haaaay Egim and Georges!!) and of course CY!!!!! Michael was so excited to see him the whole parade and when he finally came around it was like a celebrity sighting among the 3 year olds with screams for Cy!

Afterwards we did a quick tour of campus, enjoying the sunshine. The temperatures were in the 40s, hence the winter gear, but the sun felt good and it was a welcome change from the snow and rain we'd had earlier in the week. It was one of the nicest VEISHEA's I'd had in a long time. 

All the Cyclone spirit definitely got me excited for football season and also got me thinking I need to visit campus a little more often- maybe we'll plan a day trip this summer for some walking and photography. Stay tuned! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Shutterfly Disney Photo Books

Obviously, you all know I love taking photos. But I also love organizing my photos into photobooks or scrapbooks that can become family treasures. Did you know that looking back at old photos is a great way to de stress? I always feel warm and fuzzy inside after looking at old photos....and not just ones on the computer. I love having something tangible to hold in my hands and flip through. 

I usually do 12x12 individual pages for Michael's album (as seen here) but for trips or something special, I like to do a stand alone book. I will probably also do some layouts to pop into Michael's book later this summer when I update his album.

I ordered a 12x12 hardcover book from I had 50 total pages with 5-12 photos on every page. It was a labor of love for sure and I spent a long time working on it. Shutterfly is constantly updating their online site, so this time seemed to go the smoothest of all.

While I was at it, I also made a version for Scott's parents and his sister's family. This was more of a family album as I collected photos from everyone on the trip. I ordered them a 8x11 hardcover with about 42 pages. Since it hard turned out so different than mine, I ordered a mini 5x7 version for myself with a soft cover. This is more of a flipbook that is just for fun but I still really like it!

I have them displayed in my living room and have picked them up several times just to browse through. I think it is fun and hopefully will help jog our memories of our awesome vacation!

Friday, April 19, 2013


It's Friday! 
I feel like Friday always calls for a celebration, especially now that I am back in the working world. It is such a good feeling knowing that a whole week of work is completed, with all the challenges and celebrations that come with it.  When I was staying home part time, Friday just didn't have the same kind of sparkle and sense of achievement as it does now (although I did have those moments staying home, just not as definitive as it's friday!). Now I feel like, "yes! I did it!". :o) 

This week has been a wing-dinger for sure starting out with Michael coming down with a stomach bug on Monday. We are in the depths of concert season at school so I needed to be at rehearsal in the morning but then I was able to come home with him for the rest of the day. We watched three Disney movies (including Peter Pan which I had not seen for years and is awesome!!) and did lots of napping.


He seemed to be doing better later in the week and we watched Scott's hockey game on Wednesday night. However, I got the dreaded call from Michael's childcare yesterday that he had gotten the bug again. :o(

So he is home today with Scott and hopefully on the mend.

I have been doing a considerable amount of feeling sorry for myself lately, so I've been hitting the Y again early in the morning before school. I enjoy going in the mornings and it seems to get my day off to a great start (minus the 5am wake up call-that will probably never stop being painful!). 
This morning I got to see this beautiful pink cloud sunrise. Believe me, the photo does not do it justice. It was a nice reminder to me to be thankful for all the blessings this week brought...even if they came in the form of challenges. 

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Disney Blast from the Past: Epcot '07


In my last Disney post, you might remember me saying we wanted to go to Epcot on our next trip since we skipped it this time around. This got me thinking about the time we went to Disney and only went to Epcot. Lo and behold, with the help of my husband (finding photos in the wrong year folder on the computer!), I finally found our long lost photos from the trip! 

Our 2007 trip to Orlando was with Scott's office. I think at the time Allegiant Air had pretty cheap flights so it made for a great little getaway. It was very generous of his boss and a great reward for his hard working employees (and their wives!). 

Here you can see me crafting our touring plan for the day and probably bossing everyone around while I was at it. Isn't it nice to see that some things never change??? :o)

We stayed at the Orange Lake Resort which is a timeshare place right by Walt Disney World. It was fantastic and had a great pool area (above photo). It also had a Starbucks onsite! The temperatures were pretty cool for Florida (low 70s) but we forced ourselves to spend a morning swimming since we had left behind a bad ice storm in Iowa!

We had a lot of fun touring the different pavilions, Morocco being one of our favorites. We also squeezed in rides on Soarin', Test Track, and the Maelstrom. We also managed to partially participate in "Drinking around the world" with stops at the Rose and Crown, Mexico, and the Biergarten. We were there before Christmas and had no idea of all the festivities that went on (or that you had to have tickets way in advance for the Candlelight Processional). We did get to catch a glimpse of it from a distance and it was neat to see the decorations out for the holiday.

When we were looking at these pictures Michael was right by our side and he kept asking where he was. He would interject things like, "I don't remember doing that!" or "was I at gramie's house?". It was really confusing to him how he just couldn't believe he wasn't there with us. It was soooo cute and although it made me miss the days of being childfree it is also hard to imagine that to one little guy in our family, those days are so foreign it is like they don't even exist.

I hope enjoyed this blast from the Disney past!

Friday, April 12, 2013


Happy Friday!

Do I look tired? I feel tired. How many more Mondays until school is out?

We had a chance to spend an awesome evening after work at the park on Monday. It was so beautiful out and we packed a little picnic supper. It was perfection! 
Michael, pondering the meaning of life. 

Dear Spring, please come soon!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Disney Bucket List

I am not going to lie to you all....I have been in Disney withdrawal mode since we've gotten back. Luckily, making my photo albums and putting together my posts have been super fun but now I can't wait to go back! We are aiming for taking another trip in about four years, when Michael is in elementary (!!!) school. 
I feel like I am keeping this running tab in my head of things I want to do next time and I am hoping by just putting them down on my blog I will have a good spot to keep them safe. Hopefully then they will stop driving me crazy!

1. Lodging
  • We would love to stay at a Walt Disney World property next time or buy points from Scott's parents to stay at Bonnet Creek. 
  • The two resorts I like the most are the Polynesian and Art of Animation. These obviously differ in price radically but wouldn't it be nice to stay on the monorail? It would be so awesome to me.
  • I think if we stayed on a Disney Resort we would still take our own food and plan for one meal out a day. I think this worked really well and easily costs half as much as a dining plan.
2. Parks
  • We would love to do a day or two at Epcot next time, but not sure how this would impact our overall travel plans....and would also love to stay for more than 7 days.
3. Attractions
  • While we did hit a lot of attractions we didn't do the previous time we visited Disney world, there are some that we missed this time that we can hopefully do next time. 
  •  Magic Kingdom
    • Tomorrowland Speedway
    • Tea Cups
    • Meet Ariel
    • 7 Dwarfs Mine Train (will open in 2014!)
    • Splash Mountain (was under construction)
    • Space Mountain (too hard to do with a little one)
    • The Castle show before Wishes
  •  Animal Kingdom
    • Tusker House Character Breakfast before park opens
    • Finding Nemo- the musical 
    • Flights of Wonder
    • Walk the Jungle Trek
    • Parade 
    • ....basically I felt like we didn't do very much at our day at Animal Kingdom and I know there is so much there to offer. It was also one of the days that felt the busiest and most claustrophobic to me and I felt like we just walked and walked. 
  •  Hollywood Studios 
    • More character meet and greets (I had forgotten they were in the animation building)
    • Take the Animation class at Art of Animation. 
    • Enroll Michael in Jedi Training Academy
    • Do Star Tours 
    • Do a dinner and advance seating package to Fantasmic! 
4. Other
  • Take more photopass photos (and get photopass plus so we can get ride photos)
  • Start a monthly savings account for vacations.
  • Plan a princess dining meal at Akershaus in Epcot (I will go by myself if I have to!)
  • Rent or buy a wide angle (or wider prime) lens to use at the parks for better night photos. 
  • Be sure and take the kids out of the stroller for photos (we were so worried about Michael running off but seriously...he is in the stroller in about 95% of our photos!)
  • Visit in early June when school is out instead of spring break. Historically (looking at crowd calendars), it seems like the beginning of June has been less busy than the middle of March. It did seem way busier when we were there this time compared to last time and overall it seemed like this past March Disney World had some record crowds (most were luckily the week after we left).  

 Thanks again for stopping by and listening to all my Disney ramblings...hopefully this will be the last post on the topic for a while! ;o)

Friday, April 5, 2013


Happy Friday! 

We have been waiting a very long time for the weather to be nice enough to play outside at the park and the time has finally come. We've hit up the park several times since last week...such a blessing.
I tried getting my house into the Easter spirit by some lovely spring flowers. We also had a pre-Easter fiesta dinner with my sister on Saturday night. It was a nice weekend. 

As I mentioned earlier, the church service for Easter was so emotional for me. I have so much hope for the future and I know that heaven is real. After church they had these baby animals running around in the courtyard and it was just so perfect. Michael absolutely loved them.

We also took some happy flowers out to Trace and it was nice visiting now that the snow has passed. I am looking forward to many more visits now that the weather is getting warmer. 

We also had fun playing at the park next door. It was so fun to just be outside. I like to think that by us having fun with each other is a way of honoring Trace- hopefully he is looking down on us from up above!

And...its been back to school for the rest of the week. I am enjoying the consistency of being back in the routine of things and we are working hard for our upcoming concerts! Each day we plug away at is one day closer to summer break!

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