Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pool Time!

It was so hot today, we decided it was the perfect time to go visit Abbie & Wade's pool! Ryan hadn't been swimming at all this year and was pretty proud of his new swim trunks and shirt. It took him a while to warm up to the idea of getting in the Cozy Coupe pool float (which they scored on a garage sale for $1--GREAT find!), but once he got the hang of it, he had fun driving "crazy" and then being pulled around the pool by Adam and Uncle "Weed". He was a little unsteady on the air mattress, but liked kicking his legs and splashing in the water. It was a great way to cool off. Thanks for letting us come swimming!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Last Day of Work

I have been working in Marketing at a candy company for the past 5.5 years. I started as a Product Development Associate, was quickly re-labeled as a Brand Manager, and have been the Director of Marketing since February 2010. A large portion of my job has been to develop and then market new candy brands for the wholesale market.  This has been a terrific opportunity for me to use both creative and analytical skills, work in a fun environment, travel to places like Germany, develop management skills, and really grow as a marketing professional. However, with our pending move to a nearby community, I seized an opportunity to both work and live in the same town, thus adding 1.5 hours to my day by avoiding the commute and an hour at my own house over lunch. Those 12.5 hours of time per week, plus a terrific organization and challenging new projects led me to give notice at my old job on May 30, with my last day of work being June 29.

I loved a lot of things about my candy job, the least of which wer my co-workers. So as the final day drew closer, I found it a little hard to believe that I would be leaving. My co-workers did a great job of keeping the mood light and sent me off in style, as only they could!

First, we had a super-fun lunch at the local restaurant and as we walked in joking about how I should just put all their lunches on my company Am Ex, we realized a VP at the company was sitting right there! Good thing we were j/k! At lunch, I gave everyone totally cheesy homemade cards that had embarrassing pictures of each of them and memories of funny things we'd done. It was great reminiscing about the events of the past 5 years! Unforgettable!

After I had my office pretty much cleaned up (first time in 5 years), they said they'd walk me out to my car. Turns out, they had left me a going-away CARd.
Then, it was time for a picture with the "Quitting Time Ave." sign my boss made for my office.

I was told no photo session is complete without a "trust fall". This is how I'll always remember you guys! Thanks for all the memories! It was a blast!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wedding Photos

On Saturday, June 25, we spent much of the morning packing, but wrapped it up in time to attend one of my co-worker's weddings. I was good friends with her older sister since elementary, so it seemed natural to be out on their family farm once again. The wedding was beautiful, Maria's dress was amazing, and the reception had the best food I've had at a wedding (including my own)! 

We brought Ryan to Adam's parents before the wedding and he had fun playing basketball "up high" with Daddy and Grandpa.

I realized recently that I hardly have any photos of just Adam and me. 
Now I think I know why (see bottom right corner.)

We did manage to get one of just the two of us:

But only because I cropped it:

If you can't beat, join 'em, right?

Does the hat need explanation? I think it might. It is my in-law's hat and Ryan loves it. Part of me imagines Adam wore it as a kid as some part of a costume and the other part thinks he just wore it as a kid.  It makes holding Ryan on your hip or playing basketball tricky, but I guess it's a good sunshade (if you're a member of the Swiss Family Robinson).

But on to the wedding...I don't have any good pictures of the actual wedding or reception, but if any of you know Maria's mom (and I'm guessing about 40% of you do), I'm sure there will be an album of photos printed at Harold's that you can look through and possibly order. So, here's about the only pictures I have from the wedding of some fellow (and former) TFCC co-workers.
 And don't ask why only my hair is being blown by the wind.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Meeting

On June 20, 21, and 22, I attended the Annual Summer Meeting for my new job. This year's theme was "Cowboy Up" and we were told to dress in cowboy attire for the Monday night picnic. Nothing like meeting your new co-workers for the first time, dressed like a cowgirl!  Good thing I had two handsome cowboys to accompany me.

We all stayed at the hotel on Monday night, but decided trying to get Ryan to sleep in a Pack & Play in the same room as us was a lost cause.

We ended up tucking him in the King Size bed between us and turning out the light at 8:15! Once the boys were asleep, I turned the light back on and read for a long time...but part of me could get used to going to bed that early!

The next day Adam left with Ryan and I attended meetings, meals, and a vendor fair all day. It was a great chance to get a feel for the organization and meet a lot of people. Adam joined me for the Awards Banquet and comedian at night, but then left again Wednesday morning while I finished up my meetings. Joe Gibbs gave the keynote speech that day and it was a great wrap-up to a good event.  I'm looking forward to next year's meeting, though, held at the Kalahari in the Wisconsin Dells!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

We had a pretty low-key Father's Day today, being quite busy trying to get packed, not only for our big move, but also for some short-term overnights in the next few days. But, Ryan did manage to give Adam his card and present this morning (Thank-you, Gordman's Father's Day display for making grilling accessories an easy pick.) We went to the late church service and then headed to the fire station for a pancake/sausage fundraiser. Afterward, Ryan checked out the fire trucks (which say "ee--oo--ee--oo," in case you didn't know).

It was quite warm and sunny out, but we did spend a while outside after nap time playing tee-ball, golf, and going down the "big slide" at the park.  Ryan loved watching the U.S. Open with Adam and said "Rory! Big hit!" when he saw Rory McIlroy on "tee-bee" (TV). Ryan also likes to clap when the crowd clapped and encouraged Y.E. Yang to "try it again" when his short game started suffering. But, after finding a foam pad from one of our packing boxes, Ryan found a better way to watch golf:

Happy Father's Day, Daddy! I Lah-loo!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Good Ol' Summertime

Saturday was the day of our town's "Good Ol' Summertime" parade. We found a great spot to watch the parade next to some friends and Ryan liked watching the "BIG TRUCKS." He even did well with all the sirens and noise--only getting upset when an old car backfired.

Here are my picture captions, starting in the top left and going clockwise:
  1. At least SOMEONE is excited to see some tractors coming.
  2. I hear a si-ren!
  3. Waiting patiently with Gabe and Tori.
  4. Picking out his favorite "frooties" flavors with Gabe.
  5. Waving to the pretty "Miss [Town]" girls
  6. Three candy catchers ready to receive.
  7. Wow! Lots of candy to pick up!
  8. It ain't a parade until you see the Clay County Fair float.
 After the parade, we walked home for a quick bite to eat, then headed down to the Beach House (the local drive-in) for some ice cream and to view the classic cars. It was a lot of fun seeing many of our friends, even if Ryan did kick a vanilla shake to the ground so it did a slow-motion ker-SPLAT which threw ice cream into the air, all over the stroller, and even in my hair. Oh well!  On the way back, we stopped by one of Adam's co-worker's houses and hung out with her family and with the new counselor (Adam's replacement) who just got moved. We had a great time and Ryan ran hard until 9:00 playing soccer, petting Lucky, and entertaining us all with his new favorite phrase: "Boom-shaka-laka."  It was a great "small-town" celebration and we're thankful for all who work on the festivities.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Handsome Boy!

Ryan is starting to look and act like such a big boy, it makes me wonder where the last 20 months have gone! What fun we have on the weekends--our chance to re-connect after the craziness of the week where he gets shuffled around from one loving grandma to another (and to Aunt Abbie's too!) while we try to piece plans for the summer/fall together.We are grateful he is so adaptable and for the help we get from so many people, but nothing beats spending time together on the weekends. I spent a big chunk of time shopping on Saturday but got many essentials checked off my list. Ryan was a good sport trying on some of his new (to us) clothes and they just reminded me of what a handsome boy we have!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Saturday night shaped up to be a beautiful night, so we called a few friends for a last-minute bonfire. We always keep supplies on hand for s'mores and broomstick pies and love when people stop by to fix a few, play some tee-ball, and have a good time!

 Some of the kids and their array of kid-sized chairs, obediently staying out of the fire and waiting for "mahsh-a-mahl-lows".
A game of tee-ball and "ring around the horse-shoe pit post".

Ryan will really miss all his friends!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Office Kitsch

After the last post, I thought I'd show you a small taste of the office kitsch I've collected over the past 5.5 years. We work hard, but try to have a good time. If a memory-making event creates a bit of kitsch, I proudly display it inside my office door.  Can you spot the following? (double-click to enlarge the photo).
  1. A picture of the slice of finger Maria cut off with an Exacto knife.
  2. Gary the zookeeper who looked slightly more like Gary the UPS driver.
  3. "Jared", a character we decided was a little too fat to be promoting candy, so we slimmed him down.
  4. Ryan dressed as a french bonbon
  5. Thumper reprimanding Jason for killing yet another Bambi (this was originally a cake-topper)
  6. My co-workers putting on any spare clothes we could find in the office (including a Hannah Montana wig)when the air conditioner turns it into the tundra
  7. The sign I wore on my shirt for a past Super Bowl announcing Kurt Warner as the 2nd coolest UNI alumni of all time.
There's a story for every picture and memories I'll cherish! I'm getting a tad sentimental as I start cleaning out my office in the next few weeks. My last day is going to be June 29 because I start my new job in our new town on June 30! No rest for the weary, folks!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cheese Fest 2011

 The cheese plant which owns the building where my office is celebrates Dairy Month in style with a cheeseburger/chips/milk/ice cream meal for $1! You can imagine how that reels in the Dutchmen from miles around. My dad even brought a pair of two-day-old calves for the kids to pet. Free petting zoo + cheap meal + threat of ran= big tent needed.

My co-workers and I decided to take advantage of the on-site lunch option and proudly wore our "Cheese crowns" that were given out at last year's event. Many commented on our attire and we decided to take "Nice hat" as the compliment it may or may not have been intended to be.  The employees of the cheese plant were amazed that we had kept them from last year, but if you've seen our offices, you'd understand we keep pretty much everything that's kitchy and memory-making!

Me, Jen and Brit ain't afraid to shout it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday in the Park

 On Sunday afternoon Ryan and I went for our second walk of the day. As we strolled by the park, I noticed the "MUSEUM OPEN" sign was out. The park in our town has a historical museum that houses county artifacts and is open for a few hours on Sunday afternoons in the summer. We visited last year, but I thought Ryan might enjoy a few things now that he can walk, talk, and understand what a few things are. He was mostly enthralled by the taxidermy, including a coyote (he called a fox) and a deer (he called a moose).  We had to take a picture of the museum's most popular exhibit, a 2-headed calf that was born in 1952 somewhere in the County. In is in a new glass display case and we're glad it's preserved for future generations of kids to enjoy! :)

Overall, I like the history shown in the museum and find it interesting. For 1-year-olds, Ryan gives it a solid "meh" rating:
 I think he was just anxious to get to the "BIG SLIDE!" He loves the little playset that is just his size--he can go up and down the stairs, through the tunnel, over the bridge, and down the slide all by himself!
 After a hot afternoon at the park, we came home and Ryan had his first taste of one of my favorite summer treats: Mr. Freezes! or Pop Ice! or Flav-o-Ice! or Polar Treats! or "Mommy was having a stressful day and these reminded her of simpler times plus it was on sale for $2.50 and had a $2.50 rebate so they were the cost of a postage stamp."

Ryan wasn't too sure at first, but soon got the hang of it. At the end, he kept squeezing so hard the ice would pop out and fall on his tray and he'd try to stuff it back in the sleeve. And yes, he was that sweaty.
 That night we headed back to the park for a picnic with our small group.

The kids had fun playing together.
We will miss this group of people (and all of our former small group members) a ton!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Big Backyard

 Ryan enjoying the nice landscaping.

 A walk down Hasta lane.

 Look at me jump! Without even leaving the ground!

 "March, march, march around the pole."

 Does this thing move?

We use the cover on the horseshoe pit as a "poor man's trampoline."

Ready, Set, Go!

Friday, June 3, 2011


After about 2 months on the market and many prayers, our house has SOLD!

We signed a purchase agreement on Friday and need to be out by July 1. Yikes! That doesn't leave much time since we haven't found anything to buy yet in the town we're moving to. The housing market has been a little scary with a fair amount of sticker shock, but we're hopeful to find something soon since I start a new job in the new town at the end of June. In the meantime, we might be crashing at parents' houses and storing our stuff. I'm finding it hard to pack when we don't know if we're packing for a new house, a temporary rental house, or a storage trailer and my in-law's guest rooms.

As excited as we are about getting our house sold without losing our shirts, I do have sentimental attachment to this house. When Adam and I first got married, we lived in a basement apartment (ironically, in the town we are now moving back to) while he finished college. When he got a teaching job, we were a bit skeptical about housing here and only looked at one house with a realtor. That day we visited some family that included the town's HVAC guy. He said he's just been working in a house that was being remodeled and called the owner to see if we could look at it. We hurried over and even through the flooring wasn't in, shingles weren't done, and a few other things were in progress, we pretty much knew right away it was the one for us. We basically said "yes" on the first visit and never looked at another house.

This is the first house we owned and has been so good to us. Here's a few of the things I remember about this house that I want to record so we can tell Ryan about his "first house" someday:
  • It was completely remodeled in 2005 when we moved in. We were grateful for all the updates, and grateful that we didn't have to choose most of them. I remember the owner holding up two shingle samples and us saying.."um, that one" in about 2 seconds. We also went to the furniture store to approve the carpet and vinyl flooring and didn't change a thing.
  • Every wall was painted plain white, so we were able to add our touches by coming every weekend to paint before we moved in. I tried out many different painting techniques, from strips in the bathroom, rag-rolling to look like red leather in the office, sponge-painting random frame shapes in the bedroom, choosing eggplant purple for the kitchen, and doing a herringbone pattern in the living room that people can't believe isn't wallpaper. And can't believe I talked at least 3 people into spending me 2 weekends doing it.
  • No major repairs in 6 years besides a new water heater
  • It is less than 1100 square feet, but has been adequate space (and not so much to clean) for our family.
  • I was not thrilled with the gold color, but the steel siding was in good shape and we decided the 10 seconds you see it before you pull into the garage wasn't worth trying to paint.
  • We have a beautiful landscape Adam designed and installed, a retaining wall I helped build, and fun outdoor projects like a fire pit and horseshoe pit. Many bonfires have been had and we'll really miss the big deck and outdoor space.
  • This is the only home Ryan knows and I will hold special memories of bringing him home from the hospital, watching him learn to walk, and the fun times we've had playing in the backyard and the living room.
It hasn't quite sunk in yet that we're leaving, but we will sincerely miss this house. We've joked that if we could pick it up and move it, we would have. But, we're ready to pass it on to someone else to enjoy.