Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To My Parentals

Last night, we noshed on these sweet treats because today is my parents' 31st wedding anniversary!  It was a last minute surprise that I threw together, but they were surprised. . . indeed!

I am grateful for the example of marriage that my parents are to me.  I'm glad that we could be here to celebrate with them, even if it was a quick and simple celebration.  Sometimes those turn out to be the best!

Happy 31 Years Mom & Dad!!!

Cupcakes are from Halo Cupcake in Rockford, IL

Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm Going to Miss This.

We were supposed to leave today but that didn't happen, so for real (for real!), we are leaving tomorrow morning.  Super mixed emotions about this.  While I know I have a million things to get back to, I will miss my family immensely.  Plus, let's be honest. . . I don't want to get back to our reality!

Plus, I really hate loading up the car and driving!

Here are the things (just a few of the things) that I will miss. . .

 Walks along the green streets of the midwest.  You don't get that kind of joy or beauty in Las Vegas.

Late night Ticket To Ride games with the fam.  So glad we brought this along!

Baby Elise/Aunt Stephanie time!  Next time (probably around Christmas), she will quite possibly be crawling!

My Mom's cooking! Yum.

It was fun to be able to visit for so long!  We were able to accomplish a lot of fun things. . . I'll post more when we get back!

Here's to 30 hours in the car! Cheers! 

**sarcasm intended**

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Feeling Zen

My sister-in-law made it known to me that Anderson Japanese Gardens, here in Rockford, takes donations on the third Thursday of every month - rather than their usual $8.00 admission (adult) fee.  In all of my youth/upbringing, I NEVER made it to Anderson Gardens.  Which is surprising, because it's a field-trip 'hot spot'!

I am beyond appreciative that we were able to go. The gardens are absolutely breathtaking!  The interesting thing is that Japenese gardens have very little color; they go by textures/height/different shades of green foliage and lots of water. Simple. Stunning, nonetheless.

If you are in the Rockford area, Anderson Gardens is a must-see! I can't wait to go sometime during the fall, when the trees are starting to turn.

With my many neighborhood walks here and my desert hikes back home, I've decided that I am a much happier person when I am among nature.  I feel much more balanced!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lake Geneva, WI

One of my most favorite places here in the midwest is just 45 minutes from my parents' home.  Monday afternoon, my dad came home from work; we jumped in the car and headed up to Lake Geneva, WI

It was the perfect quick-trip!  We rented sea doos for an hour, hit some of the shops (I'm a sucker for boutiques. . . as you know!), dined at Popeye's (not to be mistaken for Popeye's chicken. . . sorry, but gross!), and finished the evening with a stroll through the quaint town. 

I could easily imagine my parents moving up there in their retirement, and Steven and I spending summers there with our future children.  A girl can dream. . .can't she?!   

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Good Life.

I found this photo on my dad's phone and had to steal it!  It's from one of their numerous boys-only golf outings over the past month.  It makes me so happy to see that cute husband of mine (white polo - the other good looking chap is my little brother), so content.  It's a rarity that you capture a real smile from Mr. D on camera, so naturally it must be shared! 

Holden family time.  Happy/relaxed husband.  Husband who can have fun with the men in my family - sans moi.  Our time off spent in my homeland. 

I can honestly say, "Life right now, doesn't get better than this!"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Popcorn Parlor

Something about being home brings about a sense of nostalgia.  Last night was no exception.  I made Steven take the quick 2-mile bike ride over to Edgebrook Center and we grabbed some soft serve ice cream from The Popcorn Parlor.  This was my first time at the shop but I'm kind of in love!  I'm determined to go back.  25+ flavors of ice cream and the fact that I'm a sucker for any boutique-type store . . . I was in Heaven!  I kind of felt like I was in the 8th grade again. . .

  I was about to take a picture of Steven and he said, "Don't take a picture of me, I'm wearing a helmet!"  Yes, he wore a helmet (probably the safer option) and then kept it on while we savored our strawberry soft serve.  Not a cool kid!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

STL Adventure

I apologize for being a bad blogger while on vacation.  You would think that with the more time I have, the more inclined I'd feel to be on the ball.  Unfortunately, it's made me really lazy!

The time here has been great!  My mom and I have spent lots of time in the kitchen together; chatting and making up fixings for the fam (I don't know why I just chose Southern verbage).  This is time spent that I will cherish forever.  

Last weekend my brother Shane, brother Christopher, Mr. D, and I drove down to Saint Louis, MO for a Saint Louis Cardinals game.  Only four hours away from my home in IL. . . it was my very first time in St. Louis.  Christopher, on the other hand, is a diehard Cardinals fan; so he's been numerous times.  We got some really great tickets, booked our hotel, and made a quick 2-day trip down south.  Nothing like a good old fashioned baseball game during the summer!
The weather was hot and humid, it made Vegas seem like a piece of cake (we look like a hot mess in most of our pictures).  The weather in the Midwest has since eased up and is incredibly beautiful!  Makes me so happy!
I sold my free replica ring for $20. . .yay!  I guess they go for much higher on Ebay.  I really could care less. . . it was free at the door!

We attempted our first Man vs. Food extravaganza, but because it's supposedly amazing. . . the line was crazy busy for Pappy's Smokehouse and with the weather being the way it was; no thanks!  Next time!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our Fourth - 2012

I love spending the 4th here in my hometown.  I feel so patriotic celebrating in a smaller town.  I have yet to spend our nation's holiday in Vegas, but something tells me that it wouldn't feel the same.  I may be completely wrong. . .

This Fourth. . .

-We (more like, I) decided it was a boat shoe kinda day - So American, ha!

-Once again, my dad outdid himself on the BBQ - his fajitas were FANTASTIC!

-We went down by the Rock River for fireworks and left a disheveled mess (the humidity is deadly right now. . .my hair is proof).

-We caved in, and at 11pm; we found ourselves savoring the Red, White, and Blue Trifle (one of our best traditions, yet!)

-I got to spend another holiday with my family, which is, always terrific!

Tomorrow, we are off to St. Louis for a Cardinal's game, sampling of a Man vs. Food restaurant, and exploring my little brother's favorite city!  I love summer!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Road Trip!

My lack of posting is due to the fact that we have spent the last week traveling and are now in ILLINOIS! Yay! 

One of the benefits of us both working in the education system, is that we get summers off!  Just like the old days.  So we loaded up the car. . .Bear in tow. . .and are now crashing with my family for the month!

We stopped in Utah for a few days to visit with family and friends; many of which we realize, are truly missed! 

Things I'm Looking Forward to This Month. . . 

My Mom's Cooking
All-American Style 4th of July
Visit Family/Time Spent With Family
STL Cardinals Game
Time With Friends
Lake Time
. . .and Much More!

And, luckily, my 'dumb phone' died and I have now been forced to join the club. . .