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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Birthday surprise!

I LOVE my birthday. I love the attention and the surprises! and my wonderful husband just GETS me, ya know?  
He took me rock climbing! Yeah, I got that reaction a couple times. Even I was like... oh... oh okay cool. Yeah let's do this.

I kid you not! It was so Fun! If you've never been you need to go! It's a great workout!
We decided to keep with the healthy theme of my birthday and went for sushi afterwards. It's a new place called Haru, by where we live!

Best place you've been for your birthday?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

7 Things That Never Occurred To Me As A Mom.

My mom had all of us kids within three years of each other (Yeesh! I know) That coupled with my parents knack for moving a lot made me and my siblings pretty close. We were all the same age growing up and as a result never really got exposed to babies. Yes we had cousins younger than us but it wasn't like I was old enough to babysit and I was more interested with what my older cousins were doing than playing with a baby. So when mother hood rolled around for me, I had no clue what I was doing.
I had read books, pamphlets, online articles, you name it, I read it. But there is doing something in theory and there is doing it in practice. Boy oh boy was my little Madison a wonderful crash course in that. And the surprises keep rolling in with Mr. Lucas. So here are 7 things that had either never occurred to me, never thought I would do or just plain surprised me.


1) Compromise. What is that? I'm right, there's only black and white, no grey area. Well a toddler doesn't care about your hard-headedness when she refuses to swallow the carrots in her mouth.


Okay, swallow and you can have a little bit of juice.


 2) Have you ever pee'd with a little person sitting on your lap?... I have. I didn't even know this was a thing.

3) When I found out I was pregnant I thought I'd miss taking my time to get ready. Because you "don't have time for yourself" when you have kids, right? What I really found out is, I had WAY too much time on my hands in the first place. Plus I love getting my little girly ready along with me.

4) Dirt doesn't really hurt.

Let him eat the leafs, he'll learn.

5) Kid's are pretty clever. My husband, Matt, told Madison boys were icky. She then asked "are you a boy daddy?" Ha-Ha! Good One Madison.

6) I didn't realize my heart could hold so much love in it.

As silly as it sounds I was worried I would love one kid more over the other. Or I would feel bitter towards one kid for taking my time away from the other. All that non-sense floated away once Lucas was born.

7) Not On Bit of Jealousy......
Now I know this all depends on a kids personality. Honestly I was expecting it and read lots of materials about what to do. It would be the natural reaction to have when you were an only child for so long. What I wasn't prepared for was not one bit of it came out of Madison. She didn't get jealous when I held the baby constantly and was always wanting to be involved some way!



What has surprised you as a MaMa?



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beer City Runner: Meet Chris

Grand Rapids is Home to over a dozen breweries, along with many more in the surrounding western Michigan area. It's been a popular thing here among us natives but we drummed up some national attention when we were anointed "Beer City USA" by the "Father of Home Brew" himself Charlie Papazian. Along with USA Today deeming us  "Best Beer Town", Forbes Magazine naming us one of the "Best Places for Business and Careers" and "Best in Job Growth" (39th & 17th respectively out of 100) and to top it all off we are still expanding! New Holland Brewing Company is opening up a Brew house right on Bridge ST! This is definitely a place live and visit.



SO why is this happening? Because the rest of the world is finally catching up to what we already know! Grand Rapids is Awesome! It comes as no surprise to us, that we are such a thriving city. We live in the hipster vibe of East-town all the way down to the lively atmosphere by the B.O.B.Grand Rapids is host to Art Prize,  Rock the Rapids, Blues on the Mall, Community Yoga lesson put on by Funky Buddah House, Dr. Grinns, Brew HaHA... I could go on and on.

Along with our expanding city exists many entrepreneurial opportunities! Which Brings me to Chris:


Chris runs a Business called Beer City Runner. What it is, is a shuttle bus, cleverly named Hoptimus Prime (gave me a chuckle too), that runs on a loop around to the Grand Rapids breweries. A $10 ticket will get you on and off that bus as many times as you'd like all night. The shuttle bus takes a bout an hour to make it's loop back around to get you, which is plenty of time to enjoy one or two (or three or four) of the finest barley pop's known to man.


Just your Average American Living the dream, Chris has a wife, three kids,  a house, and a steady job working on control panels for a company named Progressive Surface. Chris came up with the idea while at work with a buddy. 

Q: Did you hear about this idea before hand? Because I have to say it's pretty genius.

A; Well, a friend and I were talking about how these brewery tours were so expensive and you only get to visit one at a time. The local breweries are so close to each other too. I was looking at google map and saw the little brewery signs pop up and thought what a nice circuit they made. And it all of a sudden came to me. I looked at my friend and said "a shuttle bus!"

Q: How did you get your wife to agree to it?

A: I just came home so excited about the idea and explained it to her. She agreed that it was a really good idea.... I bought the bus in September, 2014 put two adds out one of them in experiencegr.com and haven't had to advertise since.

Suffice to say, Chris's business is doing pretty well.

Check out his website at http://www.beercityrunner.com/

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Reintroducing Your chickens

Over the winter one of our chickens, Cinderella, got injured. A pallet fell on her and hurt her leg. We had to separate her from the other chickens so they would not peck at her. We put her up in the garage for lack of a better option. Usually you don't wan to separate your chickens out of view of each other. Chickens have short term memories and forget easily. But we are a resourceful family and successfully made it work.


We kept Cinderella in the garage all winter long because there was really no good way to get the chickens around each other. it was too cold to stand outside and keep and eye on them in the coop and well.... there was snow everywhere so it wasn't like we could just let them roam the yard together. So around the end of March we started bringing our injured chicken out to the coop with us to feed and water the other chickens. Of course the alpha female puffed us and tried to attack but we would intervene. 

Soon the chickens got used to seeing her during food time. and as well all know we associate food with good feelings. and any primal instinct will lean you towards wanting to see that chicken because  food is near by. Pretty clever if I do say so myself. 

Ignore all the junk around the shed, that was during the clean up phase.

We did that until it warmed up enough for some of the ground to be exposed. Not all the snow was gone but we let all the chickens out to roam the yard. I don't think they found much by scratching but once again it was a step closer to getting the chickens re associated. 

Soon the chickens were eating side-by-side and the injured chicken would even go into the coop and lay in the nesting boxes. I am sure we could have made the leap to put Cinderella in with the rest of the flock but it just so happened that we were building a new coop for them.
 In the process of building the chicken run



The nesting boxes... even though they will only use one of them

This was golden for us. The coop was brand new to all the chickens so they were less inclined to be territorial. It worked like a charm. After being away for a good 4-5 months, it only took about 2 to get them back together. 

This could of happened sooner had we had the time to get the chickens together everyday but with our schedules this is the way it worked out. Just take your time and watch for the chickens reactions.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lucas's First Royal Rumpus!

Oh how I love Pintrest, with whom this party would of not had been so wonderful.
But besides the decorations, this day was filled with so much friends, family and love my heart my burst! 



My mother-in-law got Lucas his cakes. That little one right there was his "smash cake", which he destroyed.

We brought the book out for everyone to signs and leave a note for our wild one.

I printed out a picture of Max and one of the wild things and glued it to card board and cut it out. Glued pop cycle sticks on the bottom and stuck in a jar of beans.  I bought a bulk amount of wooden spoons and forks to match the theme.
These paper poof balls came from Party City.


The Birthday boy's outfit. I took a regular white onsie and bought this vinyl iron on off of Etsy.com. From "Owl Little Family". (Check them out and "like" them on facebook!) I'm planning on framing it and hanging it in his room.
Our Party favors! We filled plastic gift bags with the cheesy snack crackers Gold fish along with a miniature play dough. These folded gift card taggs were bought off etsy.com as well. Made by The Creative Sideshow. And placed inside a golden crown. 












My son is one lucky little man and blessed to have been born into such a loving family.
Needless to say the party was a success and we celebrated Lucas's birthday with style. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wanderlust

Do you ever just day dream about things? I do. I day dream about laying down in the sand, soaking up the sun in the Caribbean and looking up into the clear blue sky. Then I remember I have a life and a family and it brings me back to earth. Don't get me wrong it's not a downer by any means, I love my life and family. I'm just saying it's okay to get the wanderlust and day dream about all the traveling you want to do.  It's just a different kind of happy. 

These day dreams keep me alive inside though. They keep me working towards what I hope will come, Gods grace given. I was talking about summer goals in my last post but now I want to talk about life goals. Obviously I want happy and functioning children but after they grow up and move away what will we have planned? 

My sister and I talk about owning our own shop together. She doesn't know it yet but I want to call it Second Runnings. Second running is the second use of grains in the beer brewing process. Which is fitting since we hail from Grand Rapids, MI aka Beer City USA (2012-2013). It will be a boutique with locally made clothes and craft items. Along with antique's hand picked by myself. We'll sell candles, unique toys and gag gifts. It will be the kind of shop you'll love to just visit and take a walk around.
Courtesy of wikipedia.com

Matt and I want to own property up in Baldwin. It's not the most prospering area in Michigan but it holds a lot of significance to us. We both grew up around there. We spent summers there and learned life lessons. I grew up moving around a lot and Baldwin was one of the first places I felt like I belonged to. It was the only stationary place I had in my life and it came with a long history. If you know anything about me,it's that I cherish histories. 

I want to travel, often. Every summer, or maybe winter. I don't know yet. I want to travel through the Rockies, Ireland, and visit my birth place Heidelberg, Germany. I want to experience the world and all sorts of cultures and I'm excited to do it in time.

I've never been a person to get into a rut so maybe I'll just change it up all the time. I just know I wont be tied down in one spot because I have to be. I'll come back home because I want to be.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Summer Goals.

 Of course all the other seasons have their perks but summer is by far the best time for the year for me! People come out of hibernating, I see family and friends more, it doesn't take a half an hour JUST to put enough layers on so you don't freeze to death on your way out of the car and most importantly it's finally WARM! The days longer, you feel more energized and HaPpY!

The past two years have been focused on our journey of getting out of debt and stabilizing the house hold budget. Well my friends we are certainly not done with that path but we are to a point where we can finally breath a little and relax with our family.

SO! This brings me to my summer goals of course!

I want to tone up! 

Pregnancy takes it's toll on your body. Lucas is now a year old! (where did the time go?) So now it's time to work on myself and get back in shape. I'm planning on some 5k's this summer and need to build that stamina back up. Don't get that mixed up with loosing weight. I don't look at my weight, I look at results.

Play More:


More cook-outs! More playing in the sprinkler! More visits to Grand Haven! More spending time with Family and Good Friends.

Less T.V.:

This has already started in my house. Just because we are inside, doesn't mean the T.V. needs to be on. Time in the sun and soaking up the Vitamin D.

Pay off My Car:

Yes, this is may take longer than the summer but it's a goal of ours. Dave Ramsey (whom we consult for all our finanical decisions) says to use Gazelle like intensity! (See his The Total Money Makeover for more information, you won't regret it!) So we are setting our sights on knocking out that debt!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter AKA Ressurection Sunday!!

As a nurse it always stinks when you have to work on holidays. You're away from your family, missing out on all the action and not enjoying the Easter Ham. (Oye Vay!) But being here with all my patients it reminds me how lucky and blessed I am. When I leave here I get to go home to my family and see everyone, while some of my patients won't get a visitor today.

So I remind myself that right now, I am doing the lord's work. He needs me here with his older children, to bring them smiles and wish them a Happy Easter.

So a Happy Easter to you and yours! Hug your loved one's tight and thank God for Blessings.