Thursday, October 31, 2013

The "Annie One Can Cook" Halloween Extravagaza

..yeah, not really.

This post is actually going to be pretty weak but I felt like I had to do something for Halloween!

Truth be told, I have never been too big of a Halloween fan.. I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved it when I was a kid (you get to dress up and get free candy? umm yeah, sign me up!) but apparently once you're an adult, it's looked down upon to go door-to-door asking for free food.

Psh, whatever.

Anyway, these last few years have been fairly decent and I am starting to actually get more excited for the holiday to roll around (24 hour horror movie marathons on AMC are fun, right?). I'm so excited to dress Baby Sand up as a little lion, Alex from A Clockwork Orange, or something as equally adorable next year! Please know that I'm semi kidding about the Clockwork Orange costume But until then, I will be handing out candy (come trick-or-treat at our house!) and working on assembling a few Christmas gifts.. does that sound like a perfect Halloween or what?!

Here are a few pictures/stories from Halloween's past that I would like to share with you (my parents have all of the cute childhood costume pictures at their house so the following pictures are ones I found on my computer/Facebook).
This isn't really a throwback picture.. this is my husband at work yesterday. He ordered a horse head off of Amazon for $18.. just thought I should share. 
Halloween 2003.
My dad took Jen and me to the video store after school on this particular Halloween to get some scary movies for the sleepover we were having--we were so excited! Long story short, we had a few titles like The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre picked out, my dad immediately said no ("Those are rated R. Here, get this one!" *hands us Casper w/Christina Ricci*), I was mortified, threw my 13-year-old hissy fit, and we left empty handed. We were somehow able to talk my mom into taking us back to the video store (she didn't know my dad had already taken us.. not good, I know..) and this time left with Children of the Corn! It was going to be an epic night! We dressed up as little kids (pictured above) and went trick-or-treating so we'd have candy to eat while we watched our movie.

We wound up not being able to sleep that night because the movie scared us so much and I was so grossed out and disturbed that I couldn't eat for the next few days (candy included).. Good call, dad. Good call.
I don't have any pictures from Halloween 2004 (ugh!) but I have to tell my haunted house story. Jen and I went to (the park formally known as) Six Flags Elitch Gardens in Denver with her church youth group for Fright Fest and we were pumped--we were going to ride so many roller coasters, eat so much greasy carnival food, and go through their awesome haunted house! 

The. Haunted. House. Was. Terrifying. 

Jen and I walked together and held hands the entire time but somehow managed to get separated about halfway through. I was freaking out! I finally found her again (a few rooms later), grabbed her hand, and we continued walking along. "Jen, I'm so scared," I kept whispering over and over. Suddenly, off in the distance, I heard the blood curdling scream of a girl who sounded an awful lot like Jen.

Wait.. It couldn't be Jen.. Was that Jen?? But, if that was Jen, whose... hand.. was.. I.. hoooooooooooldiiiiiiing.. Not Jen's!

Definitely not Jen's!

I had been walking and talking with one of the scary monsters from the haunted house.. and I was holding his hand!

I gave him my most scared/disgusted face, made some weird gutteral noise, pushed his hand away, and ran.

I finally caught up with the real Jen but we were once again forced to separate after one of the actors scared me into a corner and Jen karate chopped him in the throat..

We had to finish the rest of the haunted house separate. 

Halloween 2008
It was my first Halloween in college (and political season, of course)! Here are a few shots of me as Hilary, my dad as Bill, and Jen and I with "Grandpa Moot." I think I spent that actual Halloween night making dinner with Jen at her townhouse. 

Halloween 2010
Left: Abby, Jason, and I went to a bar (oh, college..) dressed as a mob princess and Greek god & goddess.
Right: Abby and me as Thing 1 & 2 on Halloween night.
Halloween 2012
We spent last Halloween with Brandon's family and had a blast! Mamma Nancy dressed as a vampire, Benny as a scary robot, Baby Sara as a beautiful flower, and Aunt Annie as a mob princess (again). We had such a fun time taking the kids around the mall in their costumes and making smores around the fire pit!
That concludes my walk down Halloween memory lane.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sweet Friends, Sweet Family, & Sweet Sweets

I have once again hit a streak of several great weekends in a row (AKA the weekend jackpot)!

Two weekends ago, we visited with Brandon's family from Tennessee and North Dakota, shopped 'til we dropped, and had a wonderful surprise--a family baby shower thrown by my sweet sister-in-law, Britney!

Here's a glimpse of this last weekend..

  • Left for my parents house right after work.
  • Chowed down on delicious pizza for supper.
  • Nap!
  • Visited with several family friends at my parents monthly museum meeting (they both sit on the board for a really beautiful heritage museum; my dad even serves as the co-chair!). 
  • Early to bed.
  • Took my car into my parents mechanic for an oil change/checkup.
  • Headed to Denver to shop!
  • Treated my mom to a delicious slice of pumpkin pecan cheesecake and (decaf) coffee at the Cheesecake Factory (words cannot describe just how good it was).
  • Visited with my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Rolf. 
  • Feasted on one of the best pasta dishes I have ever tasted (recipe coming soon).
  • TV & lots of chatting/giggling with the girls (we all stayed the night at Nancy's).
  • Bed! 
Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake=Heaven
Fall in beautiful Wash Park.
I have been majorly craving this all day--it has pasta, spicy sausage, heirloom tomatoes, black olives, and feta cheese. I need to stop thinking about it now (and we topped it off with my moms homemade strawberry rhubarb pie)..
  • Visited my Great Aunt Millie (who you may remember as my fabulous roommate from last summer/honorary grandmother at our wedding) at her new apartment. 
  • Lunch at Andres (where else?!) with mom, dad, Aunt Nancy, and Aunt Millie.
  • Headed north for a beautiful baby shower with my best friends from high school (much, much more on that later this week--I'm still waiting to get a few more pictures from one of the gals).
  • Drove back to my parents.
  • Went to church (and nearly fell off the kneeler). 
  • Tried so hard to stay awake for SNL, but ended up falling asleep on the couch before it started. 
Lunch at Andres: the choices for the day were chicken Florentine with pasta, tomato, and bread or a cheese pie with a mixed salad. Being the red blooded, American family that we are, we all opted for the chicken--yum!!
A raspberry torte for dessert--I really have no idea how I ever passed my glucose test..
My beautiful family!
I can't wait to share more details/pictures with you about Jr.'s shower. My friends Jen and Erin did such an amazing job planning the day--they are both so crafty and creative! It was wonderful seeing the old gang again; we haven't been able to get together since Brandon's and my wedding in January! 

  • Attended my hometown churches annual fall supper (my fave!) with my mom and dad.
  • Headed back to Hays. 
So to recap (in case you're keeping track..), I ate half a slice of cheesecake, a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie, raspberry torte, a chocolate cupcake, gumdrops, a piece of turtle pie and a piece of pecan pie (at the fall supper) within a 72 hour period. We shall see if Baby Sand gets his mammas sugar veins.

I had such a fabulous time visiting my family and friends in Colorado but it was sure nice to get home to Brandon and Bitsy (I missed those two). What a blessing of a weekend I had--thank you so much to everyone who took part in it!

Monday, October 28, 2013

31 Week Bumpdate

Wow, another busy, busy week (more on that tomorrow)!

This is the first week that I have actually felt really, really pregnant--my pencil skirt will no longer zip up all the way (more on that below) and I had one heck of a time kneeling during mass the other night (I was helping my dad do the music in the choir loft at my hometown church and there wasn't enough space between the wall and my bump as I kneeled--I had to hang on to the ledge for dear life!). I feel like a whale but wouldn't change it for the world--I love feeling my sons every kick, hiccup, and jab. As excited as I am for him to be here, I have to admit that I'll miss being pregnant!*

*Check back in 5 weeks to see if I'm still saying this.
How far along: 30 weeks, 4 days

Total Weight Gain/Loss: My bathroom scale is saying 8 pounds but I'm pretty sure that's a lie.. I'd guess somewhere between 10-12.

Maternity clothes: I CAN NO LONGER ZIP UP MY FAVORITE PENCIL SKIRT!!! This incident happened the other day, but I wanted to wear it so badly that I just decided to zip it up as much as I could and wear a long shirt over it.. it kinda worked (but it might be time to invest in some maternity work clothes)..

Stretch marks: Still no marks!

Sleep: I have no problem falling asleep every night.. staying asleep is the tricky part. I'm usually up 4-5 times each night beginning at around 1:30.

Best moment last week: It was another wonderful, wonderful week! I got to spend time with my parents, aunts and uncle, and best friends from high school (who also threw a beautiful shower for Jr.)!

Movement: Lots, but he's a little stinker about it. My friend Lore was wanting to feel him kick at the baby shower on Saturday (which he's always doing) but of course he decided to stay perfectly still/sleep through the entire thing.. but the second I got back to my parents, he was as lively as ever. He's in utero and is already doing the opposite of what I ask.. :)

Food cravings/aversions: Nestle Chocolate Breakfast Essentials--yum!! I have one every morning with my oatmeal.

Gender: Boy babe. 

Labor signs: Occasional Braxton Hicks.

Belly button - in or out? The top half is starting to poke out a little bit and I noticed that when I cough, it pops out all the way.

What I miss: My family and friends--time really does fly when you're having fun!

What I am looking forward to: Tyler and Jessica's wedding this weekend and actually getting to spend some time with my husband (we've been on the go so much these last few weekends that we haven't seen much of each other)!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Funnies

Bad news..

I don't have a computer or Internet (I'm posting this from my phone).

Good news..

I'm in Colorado visiting my family! My mom, dad, and I are getting ready to head to Denver to visit family, friends, and to shop it up!

So... I only have one Friday Funny to share today. Sorry. I may have already posted this one too (it looks familiar), but it's hilarious nevertheless. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Surprise Baby Shower!

If you read my bumpdate from yesterday, you know that my sweet sister-in-law, Britney, threw me a surprise baby shower over the weekend. I'm so excited to share the pictures/details with you so I'm going to quit my rambling and get started!

Sunday afternoon (after surprising Brandon's dad with a cake and presents for his 50th), a few of us girls went to the jewelry store to get our rings cleaned--Britney is the floor manager at a jewelry store and that's where all of us got our wedding rings and to keep up with the warranty, we have to have the rings inspected/cleaned every 6 months. We spent nearly an hour and a half perusing the jewelry store and shopping around the mall before our rings were ready and as soon as we were finished, we started heading back to Britney's house.
Why I shouldn't be allowed in jewelry stores.
When we arrived back at the house, I noticed a few blue balloons and decorations hanging up in the dining room but didn't think a whole lot about it because I figured they were for Bryan's (Brandon's dad) birthday. But as I stood there talking to Brandon, it dawned on me that Val's (Brandon's step-mom) mom, sister, and niece were all sitting in the dining room, too. So I said hello to everyone, took one more look at the blue balloons and it finally dawned on me what was happening..

..we were going to have a baby shower for Baby Sand! 

I was so surprised and excited!
A few of the decorations--Mamma Nancy (Brandon's mom) stayed back and decorated/set up while we were at the jewelry store!
Britney did such an awesome job with organizing everything! We played several fun games including:
the "Don't say the word 'baby' or lose your necklace" game (which Aunt Debbie won--she's too good!)
Guess the number of clothespins (I believe Val's mom won that one?)
Guess the size of the bump (Mamma Nancy won)
The melted candy bar/diaper game (Val won)
Who can make the best looking baby out of Play-Doh (Aunt Debbie won)
Babes with their Play-Doh Babes!
Debbie's winning baby.
Whenever somebody won a game, they got to pick something out of the bowl for Baby Sand--we got some really nice bottles, bath accessories, diaper cream, pacifiers, and more!
Oh my goodness--we received sooooo many beautiful and wonderful gifts for the baby including clothes, frames, books, money (for the savings account I'm setting up this week!), CDs, a vintage buggy, toys, a ceiling projector, photo album, bath time essentials, blankets, diapers, and more! What a blessing to have such a thoughtful and generous family!
Cute (and delish) cake!
I know I say this all the time, but I am so utterly humbled and overwhelmed by how wonderful our families are--I really couldn't have asked for better group to marry into (or to be born into, in the case of my family)! 
It makes me absolutely giddy inside to think of how loved this little baby is and how lucky he is to have such incredible family and friends. God has truly blessed us!

What a perfect weekend!
A few randoms from over the weekend

Monday, October 21, 2013

30 Week Bumpdate (How Is That Even Possible?!)

30 weeks?! Only 10 more weeks left?! Really?

I can't believe how quickly this pregnancy is flying by (well, at least now it is--that first trimester dragged on and on and on).

We have had a very, very busy week!

Monday--I took my sugar/glucose test and PASSED (it looks like eating straight sugar the past 23 years has finally paid off) but discovered my iron count is low.. so I started taking an iron supplement in addition to my prenatal.

Tuesday--Enjoyed an aaaamazing hour long pregnancy massage after work.. BEST decision I've made since marrying Brandon.

Wednesday--Check up with my OB/GYN--they were running behind so I sat in the waiting room for nearly an hour but once they got me in, they checked me out and said everything is looking/sounding/measuring well (and then they poked me... with a needle.. I got my flu shot!).

Sunday--Surprise baby shower (much more on that tomorrow)!!

I'll let my regular bumpdate do the rest of the talking now.
"Guess the Bump Size" game--okay, even I'll admit that I don't look very pregnant here.. but he's there!! I promise!
How far along: 29 weeks, 4 days

Total Weight Gain/Loss: 10 pounds (taken at doctors with my boots and coat on--not sure if that added any extra lbs., but I'm just going to go with it).

Maternity clothes: No... but I did go shopping at Old Navy yesterday and bought three loose fitting tops and a cute, forgiving dress for only $13.

Stretch marks: Still no marks!

Sleep: Brandon has been visiting his family since Thursday night so I haven't been sleeping too well.. the electricity went out at 4am Friday morning (I woke up right away when my fan turned off) and then I swore somebody was breaking in at 4am Saturday morning (turns out it was just the wind). I have a pretty wild imagination.

Best moment last week: So, so many things! Hearing Jr.'s strong heartbeat again, massage, spending the weekend visiting with family, hanging out with my brother Thursday and Friday night (I made him stay in our guestroom so I wasn't alone), celebrating my father-in-laws 50th birthday, and our surprise baby shower!

Movement: Oh yeah. He didn't move much at all Tuesday afternoon until I got to my massage appointment and the relaxing music began to play--then it was time for him to dance/rock out.

Food cravings/aversions: Sweets! I had a brownie with mint chocolate chip ice cream on Friday night, pumpkin spice birthday cake and ice cream Saturday night, chocolate vanilla swirl birthday cake Sunday at noon, and then chocolate baby shower cake Sunday afternoon.. I can't believe I'm saying this but I think I'm all sugared out for awhile (I'm sitting here eating broccoli as I type this.. no joke).

Gender: Boy babe. 

Labor signs: Braxton Hicks still but they seem to be simmering down a bit (not as often/noticeable).

Belly button - in or out? Innie

What I miss: My in-laws :/ We don't get to see them nearly enough!

What I am looking forward to: Visiting my family and high school gang in Colorado this weekend!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Funnies

Happy Friday!!

My husband left me...

...for the night to visit his family, but my brother was nice and humored me by  hanging out/staying in our guest room so I wouldn't have to be alone. We watched Catfish, ate a bunch of Chicken McNuggets, and sat around talking/laughing.

It was a fun night!

Time to laugh some more! Have a great weekend, all!
I actually had this happen in a restroom in Vegas..


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I'm sure many of you saw the title of this post, rolled your eyes, and thought "You're just now making your own laundry detergent?!" Yes, I know.. I'm super behind on the times when it comes to making my own, natural detergent.. but at least I finally joined the party, right?? Right?!

Our friend Jana is the one who originally turned me on to making my own laundry detergent--I knew people were doing it but I never really considered trying because we don't spend that much on store bought detergent to begin with (maybe $20/yr?). Anyway, after Jana finished explaining how easy it is to make and how much money it saves (no need to buy expensive Dreft for baby clothes!), I was sold.

I couldn't wait to try it!

*4 Months Later*

A couple of weeks ago, I'm in Jr.'s nursery looking at all of the wonderful gifts he has received when I notice a few of his outfits laying on the changing table. "I need to fold these and put them away in his dresser," I thought to myself. It then dawned on me that I needed to wash them first.. but I couldn't because all we had was the regular store bought detergent. So, I grabbed my keys and my purse and headed to the store to buy Borax, Washing Soda, and Ivory soap! Side note: if you shop at Dillon's/King Soopers/any Kroger affiliated store, the Borax and Washing Soda are on a bottom shelf in the laundry detergent aisle.. it took me forever to find!

So far, I'm very happy with our homemade laundry detergent! I went ahead and made powdered detergent but if you prefer liquid, there is a recipe for that as well. Here's the 'cipe (some new slang I just invented) I used from DIY Natural:
  • 1 bar (4.5 ounces) of shaved bar soap (Ivory, Dr. Bronner's, ZOTE)
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda
Thoroughly stir together for 5 minutes and enjoy!

And that is it! As you can see, I just bought a small plastic tub at Dollar General ($2) to store mine in.

Maybe one of these days I'll get fancy like the DIY Natural guy did..

Do you make your own laundry detergent? What do you think of it?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blessings (and Thanking God)

My brother came over on Friday evening to visit--I hadn't seen him all week so it was nice to just sit down and catch up on life for a few hours. The crisp autumn weather was absolutely glorious that night and something in my heart was telling me to go outside and walk.. so I did.. and my brother joined me.

That walk was exactly what my soul needed.

We walked a total of three miles and spent the entire time talking and reminiscing about our grandparents who have passed away, the small town our mom grew up in, our hopes and dreams, the goodness of God, hard times in our lives, and anything else that was in our hearts and on our minds. We eventually stumbled upon a beautiful golf course (Brandon and I live across the street from a country club) and continued our walk along its long, winding path.

Time stood still for a minute as I inhaled the fresh, cool air and admired the changing maple trees, ablaze in burnt reds and golden yellows.

"How did I get to be so blessed?"
If you need proof that God exists, head outside this month and walk around for a bit (Source).
  • I am happily married to my best friend; the most patient and understanding man I have ever known.
  • I'm carrying and growing the symbol of our love and commitment to one another inside of me.
  • If I had the option to personally pick and choose who I wanted in my family, I would chose the same fun bunch that I have now (seriously, I love my family--immediate, extended, and in-laws!). 
  • Kansas is beautiful--I don't care what people say (or what Business Insider magazine thinks)! I am proud to call the "Sunflower State" my adopted home.
  • I have the greatest job in the world--it never feels like work and I get to use talents to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Church every single day.
  • "Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life." -Mark Twain (well, I have the first two at least; not so much with the sleepy conscience!)
  • I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in the refrigerator, and a little money left over each month to give back to our Church and community. 
Business Insider, I give you the Flint Hills of Kansas (source).
I have been friends with most everyone in the picture since childhood/junior high.
The Wernsman/Sandmeier crew on vacation--March 2012.
Yes, I am even blessed by this girl who shows me unconditional love all hours of the day (even at 1:30am, when I'm trying to sleep).
It was then I thanked God for this moment and for this beautiful life. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this crazy world we live in and I so often forget to thank Him for all of the blessings he bestows upon my family and me.

Our gospel last week was 2 Kings 5, which is the story of when God healed Naaman of leprosy. Fr. Kevin talked about how our God saves and how we need to take the time to thank Him more--sure, we may talk to God on a regular basis, but how often are we praying and talking to Him just to say "thank you"? Too often, we pray when we need something: somebody we love is hurting, we are facing struggles in our jobs or relationships, we need help and guidance in making a decision, etc. Our God is so merciful and good; we need to learn to take the time to thank Him.

I am going to make a conscious effort to thank God more throughout my day: when I've just completed a project at work, when I'm reading in bed next to my husband, even when I'm driving to the grocery store for the third time that day. I will thank Him and continue to lift His name on high.

Won't you do the same?

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