Vegas Vacation 2016

Since both our birthdays are in April, we thought it would be fun to go away on a vacation as our birthday presents. We left Emerald with my parent’s and went to Lake Las Vegas, as well as the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and the Hoover Dam.

The Westin at Lake Las Vegas was gorgeous, we had a great stay and would go there again in a heartbeat.

**All these photos were taken with Portra 400 film, scanned & developed by The Find Lab

2015 – Year in Review

How is it already December already? It seems like we all were just making our new years resolutions and our little baby was still immobile! 2015 was pretty great for us, we made it a priority to create family time, no matter where we were – at home, at the park, or at the beach. Here’s what we’ve been up to…

Drew – He’d describe his year filled with intense, fast paced projects at Milwaukee Tool and lots of homework while he works on getting his masters at Marquette. He also traveled to China twice this year, but is always glad to come home!

Vanessa – Focused on improving her photography this year and launched her own photography business during the summer. She’s also works part-time as a graphic designer at an e-commerce company.

Emerald – She learned to eat real food, crawl, walk, talk and well has turned into a little human and is no longer quite a baby. She keeps us on our toes, but are so thankful for how much joy and laughter and craziness she brings to our home. Some of her favorite things this year were: the beach, walks, swings, splashing water, bubble guppies and trying to take ornaments off the tree.

We can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!

5th Anniversary Weekend Away

This past weekend Drew and I got a chance to get away for the weekend (thanks mom & dad)! The main thing we wanted to do was head to Devil’s Lake and hike and kayak – so we stayed in Madison for two nights, since it was close and meant there would be other things to do there for the remainder of the weekend.

I left my big girl camera at home this trip, which I’m glad I did, it would not have been fun carrying that around Devil’s Lake.

Devil’s Lake was a lot of fun, despite how hot it was out – we were dripping in sweat the entire time. We hiked around the entire lake, and one of the trails was the more difficult one that takes you up to the “Balanced Rock”. To cool down afterwards, kayaking and relaxing in the super calm lake was awesome.

Even though it was similar to a staycation, it was so nice to do non-parent things also… like seeing a movie, I’m not sure the last time I saw one. PS we saw Jurassic World and I was terrified during about 95% of the movie. We also stayed out later than 7:30, ha… we went shopping, to the State Capitol and the Madison Farmer’s Market and just tried to relax a bit.

As hard as it is to leave your baby sometimes, we know how important 1 on 1 time is with each other and how needed it is! After 2 nights being away, even Drew was saying how much he missed Em.

5th Anniversary!

FIVE YEARS. Five of the best years of our lives!

To celebrate we spent a low-key day with each other, sans Emerald. We first headed to Barnes and Noble and just browsed books and sipped Starbucks. A quick lunch at Qdoba, then binged watched some TV shows, tried on my wedding dress (it still fits!) then went to see the movie SPY and ended it with pizza from Dock’s Dry Dock that we brought to the beach for a picnic.

Though we didn’t do anything extravagant, i have the best time no matter what we are doing as long as we are spending quality time with each other.

Our plan is to get away for a weekend once Emerald is fully weaned this summer!

It’s a…

It’s a…GIRL!

Reese (our niece) is pretty excited about having two baby girls to hold next year (one her baby sister and one her baby cousin). The baby girls will be about six weeks apart so we pretty much are already betting they will be BFFs.

Drew and I are also very excited and we were actually both surprised, because we both thought the baby would be a boy…. due to dreams of having a boy and being sick so much. But on the inside I was hoping for a girl and Drew was hoping for a boy, but we are most thankful for healthy baby.

We found out at 15 weeks (last Saturday) because we went to an early gender ultrasound and 3d appointment. A lot of people claim that you can’t tell gender 100% at that point, but with the added 3D, us and the ultrasound tech are able to see full on what’s happening down there. Our tech said she was 100% certain it was a girl because of the way she was positioned and the fact that she was moving so we got a full view of everything. But just in case, we have our normal anatomy scan appointment coming up on January 17 (18w6d), so we’ll confirm it’s  a girl, but we feel very confident in what we and the tech saw.

I keep telling Drew at least Eddy is a boy… but maybe next time!

Kitchen Island & Lights

When you last saw our kitchen, we had just finished putting in the wood floors. What an amazing difference that made! Now I’m back with an update on how it’s looking today… ta da!

We’ve since added the big eat-in island, yellow stools and swapped out the lighting! First up was the island. We bought stair posts that we cut to size to use as the legs (and when I refer to we, I mean my dad). Then my dad made a frame to support the countertop. And while we’re waiting for our countertops, he added a plywood top so we could still utilize the island. And man is it sturdy! Plus, check out the stools I spray painted yellow during the summer. They started off as those school lab stools.

The next weekend, my dad took down the one (way ugly) ceiling light and then the fan with a light. Instead we replaced them with pendants over the island and two pot/can lights. It’s amazing how different lighting really changes a space. It’s a million times brighter and just all around better atmosphere thanks to the pendants.

And yes to a few questions I’m sure some of you have… yes we have patch the ceiling still and repaint it (boo) and yes there are christmas lights still drawn on our chalkboard. I need to grow taller to reach that to erase it.

So next up is painting the legs and island (which I’ve currently primed and painted one coat so far, hopefully I’ll finish that this week). Then we need to order our countertops this week, along with a new sink and faucet. Then the exciting backsplash and eventually painting the ceiling. So close! And to remind you where we started, here is the before…

3 Years…and Counting!

Seriously can’t believe it was over three years ago that we got married – yet each year gets better and better. This last year was a great year, we bought a house and got to test our marriage when it comes to DIY, haha. I’m happy to say, we are still in love!

Long ago, we decided that each year we want to celebrate our anniversary in a way that is more than just an average day (aka day at work). Our first anniversary, we went downtown to spend the weekend, our second anniversary we went on a cruise, and this year, we did a staycation.

For our third anniversary, since we had both just taken trips for work (Drew to China, me to Portland) we didn’t want to travel and do the whole hotel thing. We just really wanted to spend some good quality time relaxing together. On our anniversary we spent most of the day netflixing, but went out for dinner to one of our faves, Mama Mias and hit up Sendik’s for some good fruit. Because of the rain on our wedding day, we ended up in the grocery store taking photos amongst the fruit (yes, sounds weird, but was awesome). We thought it would be fun to reminisce and try out a shot. 

Since we took three whole days off for our anniversary, we also went to six flags one day, to ride roller coasters – which is something we both love to do! Last but not least, I tried on my wedding dress again and happy to report that is still fits perfectly!

Birthday Recap: Giving Back

So catching up on blogging here… my bad!

Last week (April 1) I celebrated my 24th birthday and for some reason 24 seems crazy old! I know it’s not, but it just seems like wow, just the other day I was still a kid, still eating Chef Boyardee and Lunchables… nevermind, that still occurs on a regular basis in my life.

To celebrate, both Drew and I took the day off, so it started with sleeping in. We didn’t really have plans for the day, and that is usually what I like best. Since my sister, niece and brother-in-law were in town, I decided to take the opportunity to spend most of the day with my sister, niece and mom. Drew wasn’t opposed to playing video games with Josh either – win win. We just hung out, went for a Target shopping trip and visited Yo Mama for a birthday treat. It was also Reese’s first time!

After Drew and I went to Olive Garden and enjoyed some delicious food – then came home and caught up on a bunch of Mad Men episodes to get ready for the season premiere which was Sunday.

When asked what I wanted for my birthday this year… from Drew, my parents and his parents, It was a challenge to think of things I really needed. There was definitely things I wanted, but it just sometimes seems so silly to just get things just because you want them when there is so much that other people in the word need. So this year I made it a goal to make my birthday gifts about giving back. From Drew I asked for these floral TOMS – I knew that TOMS gives a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair you buy, so I figured this was a good start – and these are super cute for spring!

Next, I asked Drew for this 31bits necklace. 31bits is a company that sells jewelry made by  women in Africa. It provides them a way to make an income without selling their bodies in order to support their families. Plus, all their jewelry is made from paper (how cool!?) and they have awesome designs.

Last but not least, with the money I got from my parents and Drew’s family I was originally going to purchase stools for our kitchen when we remodel this summer. However, I just kept thinking about how I really didn’t need those now and decided that part of the money I was going to give towards an IheartLC need – which would use the money to really help someone in need around our city or world and meet a need now, instead of a want I wanted later. The other part of the money I got from family will be going towards a new roof for our house this summer. Obviously, it is also important to take care of our own things God has blessed us with.

So there is my birthday of giving back – instead of making it about myself, I really wanted to think of others and bless them. Hopefully it inspires you to give back in someway whether in our city or somewhere in the world.