It's The Holiday Season...

...and many festivities are underway!  I have put together a little mix of pictures of some of the activities I've been up to celebrate lately! :)
Holiday Pops concert with Hannah
Beautiful pies at Thanksgiving
We spent a whole wonderful day with the Jones', it was perfect.
Ryan finished MY craft project, actually, he did the whole thing!
Our neighbors across the street have put up their obnoxious Christmas decorations
Annual Siefkas Christmas party, such a great night!
Emily R and I got fancy with a cheese plate :)
I put up our Christmas Tree!
Brooke's little peanut, Jack, donned a Santa hat and smiled!
The holiday season is the perfect time to catch up with friends.
I have one more week of work before I have two weeks off!  I cannot wait for the insanely busy week of Christmas.  It's always so full of love and joy and family and friends.  It's exhausting, but it's glorious exhaustion.

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?


Cut The Cord

For at least 99 days, I will be Facebook-free!  I just need a break.  I need to nourish my relationships in a real way...via email, phone, and in-person.  In two-days without Facebook, I have already communicated with two friends via email (one overseas), had a nice chat on the phone with a good friend in Wisconsin, and had dinner with a local friend.  It's amazing how much of a habit it was for me to look at Facebook at any "boring" moment in my day.  But instead, those moments are opportunities to do something for myself, read a book, email a friend, etc.

I'm certain I will miss some announcements and event invites, but I'm hoping that my close friends will make sure to remember me when these things come up! :)

Have you ever just needed a break from something and the best way to take that break was to completely cut the cord?  I'm hoping this decision will help my mental health and improve my quality of life.  And though it's only been two days without FB, it's amazing to how important getting notifications and messages and tags was to me.  And that's sad.  It's so superficial, as if "liking" each other's statuses equates to real friendship.  And it has gotten super braggy, and I know I'm guilty of that as well.  I know that it's my own weakness that my interactions on FB can lead to changing my emotions, so my best decision is to just step away.

Some people expressed that they were upset I was leaving, but to those people, I'm only an email or phone call away.  I'll try to update my blog more so you can see pictures.  And let's talk!  Let's bring our friendship into reality and live a little "off the grid."



Weekend Recap: October 24-26

Despite a gloomy drive on Friday, we ended up with some pretty rockin' weather for our annual fall weekend away!  Our weekend extended to two nights this year with my family renting a cabin "up north" the night before we were planning to go up with Ryan's family.  

We drove up to Marquette, Iowa on Friday afternoon with Emily and arrived at our amazing cabin with some daylight to spare!  Mom took some great pics while we still had light, then we moved inside for games and a steak dinner.  We ended the night with a fire and great conversation...it was wonderful.
On Saturday morning, Dad made a great breakfast and then Ryan and I headed out the door to meet his family for our annual outing!  Ryan spent the day fishing and I spent the day shopping with my mother-in-law and Ryan's godmother, Colleen.  We got to spend a little more time with my mom and sister too! :)

Saturday night, Ryan and I grabbed some dinner at Eddie's Irish Pub...even though the food ended up being great, we waited about an hour for it, so we didn't do much else Saturday night besides just relax.
Sunday morning, we ate some breakfast, stopped at Stark's to stock up on liquor (seriously, the best prices), and then grabbed a Bloody Mary with Ryan's momma before heading home.
As always, our weekend was wonderful and I am so grateful for my family and the beautiful country that we live in.  Life is good, we have it good, and I have so many things to be thankful for.  I am one lucky gal.


Weekend Recap: October 10-12

It's Monday...and I'm sick.  :(  I think I wore myself out this weekend!  Check out all of the fun I had:
Friday Highlights
  • Field Trip on my sub day with 7th graders
  • Lindsey came over after school for a catch up session
  • My sis, bro, and I got some chinese for dinner
  • I met Ali for a drink and then a Haunted House
Saturday Highlights
  • Hugging Brooke over and over and over
  • A wonderful turn out for B's baby shower
  • Staying after the shower ended to catch up with B
  • A great night at Aubry's wedding reception
  • LOWLIGHT: Quickly losing $40 at Jumer's, ha!
Sunday Highlights
  • Bears Win!
  • Put my new bedding on my bed
I need to try to relax a bit this week before another crazy weekend!  But as I've said in the past, all of this is worth it.  My friends and family mean the world to me so I want to celebrate with them as much as possible.  Next weekend, I'm looking forward to going to Jess' brother's wedding as her date!  It'll be a crazy time and I can't wait!  Just need to get healthy before then. :) Happy Monday!


Up, Up and Away...

The Quad Cities Hot Air Balloon Fest took place last weekend and my mom and I decided to go check it out.  We got to the fairground before 7:00 in the morning only to find out that the wind wasn't cooperating and they would be taking off from somewhere northeast of Colona.  OK...how the heck do we find that?  We ended up getting in our car, driving towards Colona and just happened to see a trailer with a basket (for the balloon) on it!  "Follow that balloon!"  We weaved around some country roads and ended up at this farm.  Not all of the balloons could take off at this location, but we were up close and personal for 5 of them.  It was loads of fun, totally random, and I'd definitely do it again! :)


July Wedding Fun (Recap)

Right in the middle of the summer, we had an awesome opportunity to reunite with many of our good friends for Kyle and Kerri's wedding.  It was a beautiful weekend, and we all had a good time.  On Friday night, some people came to our house for some drinks and hang-out time.  We took advantage of our sun room and had a great time.
On Saturday, Ashley, Andy, Emily, Nick, and I brought some breakfast to Steve and Amber so we could hang out with them and meet baby Kingsley.  She was so adorable, and it was wonderful to see their cute little family!
Later that afternoon, we headed out to the Rehn wedding.  It was a little hot, but absolutely gorgeous.  We went to the Broken Saddle Saloon before and after the wedding.  We had a great time catching up with friends at the reception and then Ashley and I line danced the night away at Broken Saddle.  It was hilarious, very fun, and we must go back someday! :)
I have two more weddings to look forward to in October and I'm looking forward to more dancing! :)  Happy Thursday!


Follow Your Dreams

I quit my job!  It was a very scary decision to make...and I'm still wondering how things will turn out for our budget, because taking on more debt will NOT be an option!  However, I have been BEYOND happy to start my "Back-To-School" career substitute teaching in two school districts.  I have been in the elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools!  I am soaking it all in and trying to decide where my heart lies for future career choices.

Jobs I am Currently Qualified For:
*5th-12th grade language arts/English teacher
*Reading Interventionist
*Private Preschool Teacher

Jobs I'm Debating Further Education For:
*Elementary Teacher
*Special Education Teacher
*Middle School Teacher w/ Social Studies Endorsement

Ultimate Dream Job Someday:
*Speech Language Pathologist

Unless I get a full-time teaching job with my current license, I will probably continue subbing until I am able to start taking classes towards one of the other endorsements.  With my ultimate goal of someday (many years from now) becoming a Speech Language Pathologist, I'm leaning toward the special education endorsement.  I have been picking up a lot of special ed jobs in the schools, and I am loving it!

More to come I'm sure, but know that I am so crazy happy with my recent career change...it feels so good to follow your heart! :)


KC Trip

Ryan and I went to Kansas City over Labor Day weekend to visit my aunt!  Ryan had never been before and we had a great time!  When we first arrived, Tonja took us to this really famous BBQ place called Oklahoma Joe's (changing it's name soon to Joe's BBQ).  It was attached to a gas station and we had to wait for almost an hour, but it was AWESOME!
We spent the rest of the afternoon/evening exploring a cute little neighborhood and then relaxing at home to gear up for our fun Saturday!

On Saturday morning, we had a great breakfast in preparation for a marathon drinking day.  Then we headed to Boulevard Brewery for a tour and some drinks! :)
Favorite beers this time include the Ginger-Lemon Radler, Hibiscus Gose, and of course, the 80-acre Hoppy Wheat.  We followed up the brewery tour with more beer!  We went to Westport to the oldest building in Kansas City, which house Kelly's Irish Pub!  We watched the Cyclones lose and I drank a really big beer.
Later on, Ryan and I spent a little time together exploring.  We checked out a bomb ice cream shop and then we explored the WWI monument, with great views of the city.
Saturday evening, we enjoyed some local Mexican and a bar called Side Pocket which housed what seemed like 1,000 pool tables, dart boards, shuffle board...really cool place to end our trip in KC.
I took Tonja to Raygun for the first time. :)
All in all, we had an awesome time!  I love visiting family and I love visiting cool cities and I love getting away with my husband...so it was a win, win, win for me!  I hope you all had great Labor Day weekends as well!