Happy Birthday, My Love

Today is K’s 33rd birthday.

(I love this pictures of him giving his sister the business.)

Last year, when he turned 32, we had no idea it would be his last one without a child. We were on vacation- in Arizona- and we went on a long train ride through a canyon and had dinner at the MOST delicious place. Arizona was rainy and cold and expensive- but it’s one of my favorite trips ever.

Today is much less fun. K is at work & I’m home with a congested baby. Tonight we have calling hours for a very distant family member. Hopefully I can make K feel special this weekend with some fun activities and one of his favorite dinners.


It seems that at 33 and 29 we’re officially true adults. Ha. We started dating when he was 20. We’ve both changed so much over the past thirteen years and yet… we’re still the same ❤ & he’s still my favorite person on the planet.

 

Happy Birthday, my love. Here’s to many, many more.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Well… I had a different topic planned for today but the pictures for the post are MIA so we’re changing it up.

Since today is my dad’s birthday and we’re remarkably similar, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite traits that I got from him which I hope to pass down to my kid.

I’m not kidding when I say my dad and I are similar. His name is Kenny and he shares that name with his father so K calls my dad KJ or Kenny Jr. (usually just to me). When I act like my dad, K calls me KJJ. Before we knew if this baby was a boy or girl, K gave it the nickname KJJJ. I kid you not, that’s what she’s called in our pregnancy app. Lol

My dad and I think similarly, learn similarly, argue discuss politics with each other similarly. We carry our own burdens and the burdens of others similarly. We mostly have the same humor & sometimes we say the same thing at the same time. We often spill food on our shirts in the same place. Lol.

You get the point. It’s no wonder I adopted these ideals and characteristics from him.

Pets are our family.
When I was born we had a family dog. Since then my parents have welcomed two more dogs (plus Ly when I lived at home), two rabbits, and five cats. Bristol & Enzo are always welcome at their house. Dad’s also rescued a baby owl, squirrel, and rabbit. Additionally, unless the animal is dangerous or threatening our pets, he traps and releases pests because he knows I value that. My dad felt Lylee’s loss so deeply- damn near as badly as K and I.

Girls can do anything.
I have a little brother. I could have easily been dismissed when he was born. Instead, my dad bought us both four wheelers. He gave us both shooting lessons. He took me camping and trucking. He took me fishing and he’d have taken me hunting if I hadn’t turned him down, lol. I’d give him credit for teaching me to drive stick but that was actually my mom 😉

Forming your own opinions is important & changing your mind isn’t a weakness.
Years ago a friend told me about how her dad’s word was law in their house and she wasn’t allowed to disagree or argue about anything. Another person in the conversation nodded her head in agreement and shared similar stories. Even as adults, they were expected to curb their thoughts and opinions. I can’t relate to that. My parents have never told me how to feel about anything. And if you’ve spent a decent amount of time with my dad and I, you’ve probably heard us discuss/argue politics. I know he takes pride in the brain in my head- even when it believes differently than his. And I’m really proud of my dad because I think he’s changed some of his opinions and beliefs because of things we’ve discussed.

Working hard and breaking your back doesn’t entitle you to a damn thing.
I think my dad might be the least entitled person I know. He went to college, graduated, and jumped into the family business as a truck driver. When the family retired the business, my dad continued to drive independently. His industry is dying and his week-to-week looks different but he doesn’t quit and he doesn’t complain about the unknown. Don’t get me wrong, he does complain about other things but I have never heard my dad complain about being owed anything.
*I actually don’t have this characteristic. Hopefully my kid does.

I can credit my love of history and learning to my dad, too. On top of these things, I hope my daughter enjoys watching old westerns with him and riding along in his semi truck just like I did. My dad is one of my favorite people- and I’m sure it has nothing to do with how similar we are 😉

Happy Birthday, Dad!

(C)Ryan Armbrust Sniper Photo LLC

28 Things (because I’m turning 28)

Tomorrow is my birthday. It’s weird to be turning 28 because I feel like I was 18 or 22 or even 25 just last week. It’s weird to say I’m 28. I’m not bothered by it, I’m just confused about how I banked 28 years of life and where the past decade went…

But anyway, here are 28 things I know:

  1. Avocados are delicious. It took a while for me to acquire the taste, but YUM.
  2. You need to be passionate about something, even if it’s not what the cool kids are passionate about.
  3. There are no “cool kids.”
  4. Be friends with people you trust and love and want to succeed. It’s ok to not like or not get along with everyone, but when you find your people hold on to them tightly and lift them up and cherish those relationships.
  5. Horses are still terrifying.
  6. Sometimes it’s about who you know, but it’s always about how you treat them. Always.
  7. Kindness costs nothing but you’ll pay dearly for anger or hatred.
  8. No means no, silence means no, and walking away/resisting means no. And you are allowed to say no whenever the hell you want.
  9. Kids do not equal success. Owning a home does not equal success. Traveling all over does not equal success. YOU get to define your own success. Don’t hand that power over to society.
  10. Facebook sucks. If you have the willpower to quit it, you should. I don’t yet.
  11. Read more. Learn more. Talk with people from different walks of life. Educate yourself about what’s going on around you.
  12. Practice empathy, but don’t internalize all the world’s drama. It will 100% destroy you.
  13. Find role models. And change role models if you need to. Inspirational quotes actually go a long way.
  14. Meditation, prayer, yoga, exercise, gratitude journals… they all work. Get in the habit of doing something that works for you.
  15. Don’t let your fears control you. I’m still working on this one.
  16. Pay attention to who is excited to see you and to see you succeed and to share in your special days. Return the favor and love them completely. (This includes pets.)
  17. If you’ve ever thought about getting a dog, DO IT. And adopt from your local shelter.
  18. Pay attention to what you put in your body and on your body.
  19. But also, eat dessert whenever you gosh darn please.
  20. Cake and pizza are suitable breakfast foods. I don’t like pizza or (most) cake, but I’m giving you the go ahead to eat it for breakfast.
  21. Spend your money responsibly. I don’t mean save it- I mean research where your money goes when you make purchases and know who or what you’re supporting with the swipe of a credit card.
  22. LaCroix is gross. Sorry, but it is. (Hahaha. If you like it that’s ok, too.)
  23. You don’t need to find a life partner, but if you happen to meet “the one” make sure that person fully respects you & encourages you.
  24. I know it’s a popular phrase right now, but “self-care” is a real thing. It’s as easy as taking a bath, sleeping in on the weekends, or pouring yourself a cuppa tea and reading a few chapters.
  25. Go freakin’ vote. And don’t ignore politics. These things are happening in your world and they will eventually effect you. Stay on top of them.
  26. Learn the difference between effect and affect, who and whom, then and than, their they’re and there, etc. I’m still working on that first one.
  27. If you partake in the drink, know what cocktails you love and learn how to mix them correctly.
  28. Be unapologetically yourself. If you love Harry Potter or Disney or superheroes or fantasy or baseball or the beach or whatever. There is NO normal. There really aren’t any rules when it comes to being you. Identify what colors or things or people or places make you happy, and then invest in them wholeheartedly.

And that’s all I’ve got. Off to eat ice cream & donuts because I really don’t like cake that much.

Throwing a Party with +50 Guests

I was terrible about snapping pictures at Kyle’s 30th birthday party, but if you followed along on Snapchat you may have seen a few quick moments from the event. A few weeks ago I threw K a party and invited over 75 people. Roughly 50 to 60 showed up.

Only after I counted all the “yes” RSVPs did I realize that this party was going to be the size of a small wedding reception. (Whoops. ) I’m no stranger to throwing large parties, but it’s still a pretty daunting task. Just in case you were wondering, here’s how I did it and here’s how it went!

I made a Facebook event about 4-5 weeks in advance. While I love paper invites and prefer them 100xs over any kind of e-vite, FB was the way to cut costs and get the word out quickly.

We had the party in the company warehouse. Thank God for K’s employees Jake, Jordan, and K’s dad Jeff*. Together the five of us cleaned, rearranged, and set up the open space on Friday before the party. (It’s our slow-ish season so we were able to take a day and deep clean/set up.)

(* We only hire people with J names obviously, lol.)

This is how the warehouse typically looks. We cleaned and put everything in its place.

I sure wish I had an “after” photo. *facepalm* Anyway, we converted two of the workbenches into a salsa and taco bar and then set up another mobile workbench with the cakes (one decorated vanilla on vanilla and one yellow with chocolate frosting) and drinks (margaritas, beer, water).

We trailer-ed in three picnic tables and two long folding tables from my parents house for dining. We borrowed two sets of cornhole boards from my aunt and uncle, we borrowed a large backyard Jenga set from friends, and we set out Blockus, Twister, and domino men for the kids to play with. (Turns out the 2 to 4 year olds loved the domino men, I ended up playing Blockus at 12:45am, and no one touched Twister.)

We have a 20′ x 20′ tile carpet area that we use in the booth at trade shows so we broke it out for a seating area complete with couches, chairs, a TV and Wii system, and the little kids area. My brother-in-law also brought his Nintendo Switch for the teens/adults to use. And we definitely did.

I’m getting a little bit better about asking for help/delegating. My mother-in-law brought the margaritas and some queso dip. (Thank you!) My grandma and my mom made some cookies. (Thank you!) And K’s aunt, dad, and mom were on call when I needed anything. (Thank you!) The party would not have gone so smoothly without them.

I made a “baby chalkboard” for Kyle, I bought “3-0” balloons, and I hung a happy birthday banner for the event. Other than some table cloths and fabric to cover the warehouse mess, there wasn’t much decorating.

I made 20lbs. of beef, chopped 14 onions & 15 tomatoes, and bought 180 tacos (100 soft, 80 hard), four large bags of cheese, and 10 small bags of shredded lettuce. Also, I got 3 large jars of salsa, some store-bought guac, and 6 bags of tortilla chips. To be honest, we had WAY too much onion and tomato, but I only had 1/4 of the beef left over which impressed me. I could’ve cut the cheese and lettuce inventory in half, but who knew. I provided taco lunches for the warehouse guys in the days following the party.

All that remained of the party on Monday…

Our party started at 4pm and we had a steady flow of people all night. Some even left (and dropped off a kid or spouse) and came back. We invited family and friends and friends of the family, ha. Overall, we had a fantastic time 🙂 Our last guests left around 1:30am. I was so exhausted.

Seeing all our friends and family was fun, although I think I will request a vacation for my 30th birthday 😉 What are some fun things you’ve done for “monumental” birthdays?

THIRTY YEARS OLD

On Sunday my favorite human is turning 30 years old. THIRTY YEARS OLD. I met him when he was 18. That blows my mind.

Once again I was going to share the details of our Texas trip on here today. But then I decided I should write something about Kyle. But I don’t really know what to say…

I often mention K on this blog so there’s not much I haven’t said. (This birthday post is one of my favorites.) Today I’m making him answer some questions in honor of his birthday. Spoiler alert: He dodged most of them.

We’ll start with the hardest question: Peach pie or yellow cake with chocolate frosting?
It depends. Just a generic pie and cake, the yellow cake with chocolate frosting. If it’s your grandma’s peach pie, I’d pick that.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last 30 years?
That’s too deep.
Answer it.
What the hell. (He’s technically not being a smartass… A few weeks ago we realized that we live our lives in a very “what the hell” kind of way. I’ll blog about that some other day. Essential when an opportunity presents itself we say “what the hell” and go for it.)

What age has been your favorite?
My favorite pizza is JNG.
That’s not an acceptable answer.
It IS an acceptable answer. That’s not an acceptable question.

If you didn’t play drums what instrument would you play?
Probably nothing.
You’re so boring.
I didn’t ask you to ask me these…

Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Enzo.
That’s not an answer.
I don’t knooooow. I’m not a casting agent… I guess, with my language, Samuel L. Jackson.

Advice for a 20 year old?
Drop out of school and start a business.
That’s not good advice, dear.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don’t know.
You could at least be nice and say with me.
Well, yeah. Duh.

circa 2010

Annnnnnnd there you have it. *eyeroll*

So happy birthday, Boo. I can’t wait to see what this decade brings. You can accomplish anything ❤︎ I love you.

                                          – A