Friday, July 31, 2015

Jackson's First Movie

Last Friday, Brandon and I took Jackson to his first ever movie (outside of our house, that is)!

We had planned to wait until he was a little older to take him, but when our local drive-in (88 Drive-in Theater, Commerce City) reached out after an Only in Colorado shout-out, we decided that now was a perfect time to go!

Free admission + Free popcorn = Winning the Sandmeier's hearts
Arriving an hour before showtime = selfie central
I love Colorado! P.S. Who brings a cab to the drive-in?

Jackson was in HEAVEN sitting up front with us, being able to move around wherever he wanted, and eating large amounts of popcorn -- he was so sweet and squealed with happiness the entire time! The movie itself (Inside Out) didn't start until after 9, so he only watched a few minutes before falling fast asleep on me, but I know that he enjoyed the time leading up to it.

We didn't get home until 1:30 (we stayed for Ant Man.. #worstmovieever.. we should have just gone home after Inside Out) so it was an unusually late night for us, but so worth it! I can't wait to go again when Jackson is a bit older. Thanks again to Jack at the 88 Drive-In for reaching out and treating us to a perfect family night! If you're in the Denver area and are looking for a fun, inexpensive outing, we highly recommend checking out this theater! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Meatloaf Hater's Meatloaf

Growing up, I swore that I would never, EVER (ever.ever.ever.ever.ever) make meatloaf for my family. 

I despised meatloaf night. 

The onions.. the ketchup.. the loaf.. I just couldn't deal! 

My poor mother -- she is truly the best cook I know but she had to put up with a lot from my picky, onion hating palate.. 

Anyway, fast forward a few years and guess what I made for dinner Sunday night? 



When we were visiting Brandon's family earlier this month, his mom made the best (onion free) meatloaf I have ever tried -- I was instantly hooked and HAD to have the recipe! This meatloaf is stupidly easy to make and even better to eat! If you are like me and never cared for loaves of meat, try this recipe. #gamechanger

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs (I used Stove Top Turkey Stuffing)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 bottle original BBQ sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In large bowl, combine the hamburger, breadcrumbs, egg, and 1/2 bottle BBQ sauce, and place in a lightly greased 5x9 loaf pan. 
  3. Poke holes in the top of the formed loaf and pour another 1/4 bottle of BBQ over the top, evenly coating. 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Voila! A simple, delicious, and hearty meatloaf perfect for your Sunday dinner! Enjoy! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Splashing the Back

When we first bought our home, I was concerned about the kitchen.. it was small, the appliances were black (which I would have never chosen -- they always look dirty no matter how much you clean!), and it was pretty dang small. However, I figured that since it is our first home and that we only planned to be there for a few years, we could definitely manage.

Today I am happy to report that I have a beautiful NEW kitchen thanks to my husband!

Okay, it's not a completely new kitchen, but it feels like it because of the new backsplash Brandon applied over the weekend. Check out the before, during, and after pictures to see what a HUGE difference it made to our kitchen!




My shoddy photography skills don't do our "new" kitchen justice, but you get the idea of how it looks now and what a HUGE impact it made! I absolutely love our kitchen and how much more personality it has now because of our tiled backsplash! I'm so glad I have a handy husband who likes to do projects around the house :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

{this moment}

I found the prompt for this post on one of my favorite blogs (Little Miss Momma) and thought I'd give it a go!

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember
Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Jackson's 19 Month Update

Yesterday my adorable, strong willed, smart, and hilarious boy turned 19-months-old.. and I have yet to plan his second birthday party!! My planning game is weak this year (his first birthday party was planned by the time he was 3-months-old).. anyway, it's been an exciting month for our little guy with visits to see family, new words/tricks, and our national television debut!

Without further ado, here is what we've been up to this month:
Baby's 1st Happy Meal deserves to be documented. 

Weight: 21 lbs.

Length: 31.5 inches

Nicknames: Jax, Babies, Bubbies, Tinks, Babes, Stinker

Wearing: 18 month clothes (with the exception of a few 12 month pieces); Size 3 diapers

Sleep: Still not a good sleeper.. refuses to go down until after 10 and then wakes up in the middle of the night to get in bed with us. I talked to his doctor and I think the course we have to take is to let Brandon put him to bed at night (he wants to nurse if I try) and then just let him CIO whenever he wakes up. It'll be a long couple of nights, but hopefully it results in better sleep for all!

Jax likes: Running, playing outside, playing "Toddler Preschool" on the tablet, Family Feud/Steve Harvey, reading to mommy, Cassie (babysitter), trains, animals of every kind, being independent, water/pools/sprinkler/splash pads, his cousins, nana's farm, "helping" grandpa work, mimicking everyone he sees, and playing at the library. his new backyard playset, looking through pictures, mimicking everything he sees, train sets, furniture shopping

Jax dislikes: Mommy reading to him, fireworks, being told "no", being carried when he wants to walk, long car rides, time out, being dirty/having food on his hands, having to be carried around while furniture shopping

Food: Still nursing only before nap & bed -- his favorite foods are Honey Greek yogurt, Belvita biscuits, veggie noodles with melted mozzarella, crackers and breads, sweets, fish, sausage/bacon, popcorn, milk, fries, chicken, and pizza.

Teeth: He still won't let me get a good look, but it seems like 12.. I wish those pesky eye-teeth would come in already!

Happenings: Cassie (our babysitter) staying with him for a few hours each Monday; lots of playing at the park/library; visits to Grammy & Grandpas; trip to see Nana in Kansas; second 4th of July; visiting friends in Hays; national television debut :); his new playset from our neighbors; and visiting Great Aunt Nancy and Uncle Rolf. 

~As many of you know, I work from home as a freelance writer/marketer and absolutely love it -- however, it can get extremely overwhelming because I like to focus all my time on Jax while he's awake and do all my work in the mornings before he wakes up, during nap time, in the evenings after Brandon gets home, and then after he goes to sleep. It was kinda of a rough time, as I didn't have any time to spend with my husband or to even sleep! It only took me 18 months, but we finally have a babysitter (Cassie, pictured) who comes over Monday afternoons to play with Jackson while I escape for 3 glorious, uninterrupted hours of work. It is AMAZING and I can't believe we didn't think to do it sooner! Cassie was one of the babysitters for our mom's group at church, so I got to know her through there and watch her interact with Jax. Do you think he likes her much?! :)

He would not leave the Chick-fil-a cowman alone -- he shrieked everytime he saw him and kept wanting to cut the line of kids to give him hugs! 
~It's amazing to me just how smart Jackson is and to watch him interact and communicate with others. Whenever he needs something, he will hand it to you and point, grab your hand and guide you to whatever he wants, etc., and he learned a few new words this month (BAH! = Bye; AAA AAA AAA = the Count from Sesame Street). He has also been quite the "helper" this month -- anytime he sees Brandon or I doing literally anything (licking an envelope, writing something down, putting on makeup, trimming toenails), he gets the most serious look on his face and starts copying our movements. 

~Jackson and Bella are still the best of friends (most of the time, anyway) -- the other day when Bella was licking her paw to groom herself, Jax started to crack up and stare intently at her before licking his hand and rubbing his ear. Always keeping me on my toes, these two..

~As I mentioned earlier, we spent the July 4th weekend at Brandon's mom's farm in Kansas and Jackson had the BEST time with all of Nana's animals! He wasn't too sure what to think of the chickens/ducks/roosters/guineas, but he enjoyed gently petting the baby chicks, cats, and dog (he's never been around any dogs before and was completely smitten with Russell's border collie, Oreo -- she was super mellow and gentle with Jax)!

~My little water baby is losing his baby fat and looking more and more like a little boy :( HOLD ME!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

House Hunters Hindsight

Our episode of House Hunters premiered on Thursday -- what a weird experience to actually see yourself on one of your favorite shows (and to hear the narrator with the cool voice talking about you)! We had such a fun time watching the show at my parent's with family friends and really enjoyed hearing from you during and after the show!

My Costco snack haul
I found a Family Feud app that shows clips of the show.. he was wanting my phone so he could watch.. 
My honorary aunt didn't want her picture taken.. 
As I mentioned last week, Brandon and I hadn't seen the episode before it aired, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Overall, Brandon and I were both really happy with the way the episode turned out, but I do have a few takeaways:

~I have never in my life used the term "digging", so I'm not sure why I felt the need to say it so much on the show ("I'm definitely not digging this," "I'm digging this paint color," etc.).

~Yes; we are Catholic.

~Carpet for Jackson seriously wasn't as vital as it sounded on the show.

~One person on Twitter commented that we had the biggest couch they had ever seen in their life.. that's because it is the largest couch ever made (it's no longer ours, by the way -- we sold it months ago)! 

She followed it up with some spiel about not posting things about people on TV because they made read it, tweet you back, and make you feel like a horrible person.. #truth. My takeaway from this tweet is that I also need to be kinder on social media.. in the past, I have tweeted about celebrity fashion choices, people on reality shows, etc., and now know how it feels. 

~My friends are hilarious:

~Jackson wasn't sure what to think of the show -- at first he was really excited because he heard Brandon's and my voices (he was standing there smiling at the TV) -- but before long, he was fighting me for my phone so he could watch more Family Feud clips. 

~I don't remember Jax ever being so tiny!!! 

~We absolutely love our home -- a few of the rooms are still a work in progress, but I'm hoping to have them finished soon! When I do, I will most definitely be sharing pictures :) 

Thank you to everyone who watched (including Courtney) -- we really appreciate everyone's support and kind words! It was such a fun and unique experience and we feel truly blessed to have been able to participate. Thank you also to my girl Ruthie for helping us get in contact with the show -- she helped us fast track the entire process, and for that we are very grateful! 

I leave you with a few screenshots that were taken by friends:

Monday, July 20, 2015

{this moment}

I found the prompt for this post on one of my favorite blogs (Little Miss Momma) and thought I'd give it a go!

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember
Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Our "House Hunters" Story

The day I thought would never arrive is actually here..

..our episode of House Hunters is finally airing on HGTV!

We filmed our episode back in October and were told it would probably air sometime in April.. so when June rolled around and we still hadn't heard anything from the network or production company, we'd figured they had just decided to scrap it. Obviously, that wasn't the case as it is finally set to air tonight at 10/9c. That being said, I figured now was a great time to actually sit down and document our House Hunters experience (though I wish I had done it sooner -- hopefully I can remember everything)!

As many of you know, we moved to Denver last January after Brandon accepted an amazing job offer with one of the world's largest telecommunication companies -- since we only had a matter of weeks to move from Kansas to Colorado (and because we had a newborn baby), we basically rented the first apartment we toured and paid ridiculous prices for it. It wasn't long after moving into our overpriced two-bed, two-bath third floor apartment that we began to get the home buying itch. After doing our homework, we discovered that we could get a great rate/loan with Brandon's veteran status, and actually pay considerably less for a mortgage payment vs. rent. That was all we needed to hear.

Shortly after applying for a mortgage, we were put in contact with our realtor Kyle Sheldon (who is the best, by the way -- we highly, highly recommend him!) and began scouring north Denver for a small, affordable house. Easier said than done.

As you will see on the show, we FINALLY found the perfect house for our little family (in the perfect price range!) and had our offer accepted by the seller the same day we made it. We really couldn't have asked for a smoother buying process and really feel that this was the house was meant for us. I don't want to give away too many show secrets but I figured I'd give a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at our experience with the show:

~ As many of you know, my college major was broadcast journalism, so I found the production process to be extremely fascinating -- it's amazing what they can do with such a small crew (one cameraman, audio person, director, and production assistant)!

~One of the harder parts of filming was having to leave Jax for hours at a time (as I was still nursing him constantly in October) -- my mom watched him for us the entire time and was such a lifesaver! Thanks, Grammy :)

~The crew took us out to eat every single day and I'm pretty sure we each gained 5 lbs. from all of the delicious food!

~We haven't seen the episode yet, but I have a feeling I know what it's about based on the description my mom sent:

During filming, our director had us talk about several different scenarios over and over (our monster sectional, my need for an office, Jax needing carpet to walk on, etc.) so that the writer would have a variety of story lines to choose from.. I guess they decided to go with the sectional story line? Funny story/spoiler alert: We'd already bought new furniture before even filming because we knew we couldn't take that thing with us! 

~I'm not sure how Brandon and I are going to sound in the episode but I wanted to assure everyone that we really aren't that high strung/picky in real life! The director of each episode really wants you to elaborate on every possible problem you see, so we just went with it.

~If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I'm extremely sarcastic and that I have no real control out of the things that come out of my mouth (or something like that).. I had a few of the moments while filming and I'm interested to see if they make it to air.

~My mom, dad, brother, and his roommate all stopped by for our (completely unstaged) house warming party -- you can see the Wernsman clan at the end of the episode.

~The housing market in Denver is CRAZY and we seriously lucked out finding/buying our house when we did -- the estimated value of it now is nearly $30K more than when we purchased it 9 months ago.

~You can read more about our House Hunters experience/how we decorated our home (which is a work in progress) here.

The infamous sectional (this is the picture we used for our Craigslist ad -- luckily, it sold and we were immediately able to pay off our new furniture!)
Day one of shooting with our awesome realtor, Kyle, and crew!
After you watch the episode, this picture will make more sense. 
Last day of filming (spoiler alert: this is the house we chose!)
My family (after shooting the final "party" scene)! 
Which house did we chose? Find out tonight at 10/9c! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Nights I Live For

It's crazy to think that only a few short years ago, my favorite nights were the ones that involved hard liquor, dancing, and being reminded of the evening only by some random pictures on my phone. #collegelife #neveragain #whyamihashtaggingthis

My days of heavy drinking and partying are (thankfully) long behind me and the nights I live for now involve two boys, a cat, and some sort of snack..

On Friday night, Brandon got the popcorn maker out and whipped up a bowl for the family to eat while we watched a movie in bed.. it was seriously the perfect moment and I couldn't help but snap a picture to remember it.

Thank you, God for giving me this life and these boys of mine! I wouldn't change any of this for the world.

Monday, July 13, 2015

{this moment}

I found the prompt for this post on one of my favorite blogs (Little Miss Momma) and thought I'd give it a go!

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember
Inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Yankee Doodle Annie

Happy Wednesday, errbody! I hope this post finds you all happy and well rested after the long, holiday weekend. We returned home Monday evening from a 5-day trip to Kansas to visit family and friends -- it was a pretty perfect weekend and we couldn't have asked for better company on the 4th!

We hit the road for Brandon's mom's shortly after Brandon got off work on Wednesday evening, which made for a long trip and late night, but worth it because Jax slept most of the way (and we didn't have to worry about traveling at all on Thursday). The first two days of our vacation were spent relaxing, checking out the Miracle farm, playing Yahtzee, thrifting, shopping, and lots of eating. 

Breakfast with Nana!
I wish I would have filmed him squealing whenever he saw the kitty -- too cute!
Jackson loved checking out all of the different birds at Nana and Russell's farm! 
My little city boy enjoying the country life!

On Saturday, Mamma Nancy & Russell hosted a 4th of July BBQ, so we got to spend time with Brandon's sister and her kids, as well as Russell's family (whom we'd never met before). Jackson had a great time playing with all the big kids but wasn't sure what to think of the loud fireworks.. Since daddy was the one lighting them, Jax and I watched from inside the sun room. Shockingly, I was able to get Jax down while people were still at the house, but he woke up shortly after and wanted to play with his cousins -- it was a late night but everyone had a fun time visiting/playing. 
Good old Uncle Brandon/Daddy, filling up water balloons for the kids. 
Jackson wasn't cooperating for pictures..
The Sandmeier/Miracle Clan

On Sunday, we all slept in, ate delicious fried chicken, and gave Benny (our nephew) his birthday gifts before we hit the road to visit friends in Hays. It was so hard to leave everyone since we only get to see them a few times a year -- it's amazing how quickly vacations seem to fly! Jax slept the entire 2 hour trip to Hays and once we arrived, we got checked into our hotel, met friends for dinner, and then all turned in early. We. Were. Exhausted.
Photo by Jax :)
Nana and her grandsons 
Soooo happy to be out of the car! 
Dinner with girlfriends -- just what I needed! 
Monday quickly arrived and it was time to get packed up to head home.. but not before visiting both Brandon's and my old offices to say hi and grab some lunch at Al's Chickenette (which, apparently, was a great decision because Monday was National Fried Chicken Day!). After making several short stops, we were home and all relieved to FINALLY be out of the car! 

As much as I love traveling and visiting family and friends, I have to admit that it's always nice to return home to your own bed and regular routine. Jax's eye-teeth are trying to make their grand entrance, so we spent most of yesterday cuddling and working around the house.. hopefully my little guy feels better soon!!

Thanks for the memories, Kansas! Until next time.. 

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