Monday, September 15, 2014

Bears, Otters and Winos

I know I'm about a week off on my updates, but last week was pretty rough and my brain didn't feel like doing much of anything. Let's backup to Friday, September 5... I took the day off from work and went to John Ball Park Zoo with my parents, sister and Lil Man. We've had this on our "can't wait to do this with Brody" list for awhile and with summer drawing to a close, it worked out perfectly that we could all go.


A napless Lil Man was pretty touch and go at times, but for the most part, he enjoyed himself. His favorite animals were the otters, bears, penguins and monkeys. I was the most excited for the petting zoo area, but not two shits were given by Brody. He wouldn't even touch the goats... just clung to Aunt Z. Sadness. 


I'm not sure if he actually loved the otters or just the ability to stand on the ledge and bang on the glass. After our third trip to the otter exhibit, I had to drag him away screaming. Sigh...



One of the bears was pretty active and Brody loved watching him up close and personal. Thankfully he already knew how to make monster sounds, so he sat there "rawr-ing" at the bear. Whatever. Close enough.


Overall, it was a great day. The rain held off and it was really nice to have some time together, just the five of us. I think Lil Man's favorite part of the day was the drive back and getting to see all the big trucks. Kid sure does love semis.


On Saturday, Ashley and I drove down to Baroda to celebrate my cousin's bachelorette party... with wine... lots and lots of wine. I've never been wine tasting, so that was an experience in itself. I have like 3 go-to, cheap wines so clearly I'm not one to expand my horizons.



The day can pretty much be summed up by a series of semi-drunk selfies of Ash and I. Whatever. We made it to four wineries (Hickory Creek, The Round Barn, Gravity and Lemon Creek), were escorted around in a wagon and had beautiful weather. Can't complain. For more pics of the rest of the party (rather than just these two idiots), check out Relatively Offbeat.


Sunday was spent detoxing and hanging out with my two favorite boys and fur baby. I hadn't seen Ryan for 3 weeks because of work travel, so there was some much needed R&R time together. We rendezvoused with a friend her family at the Quincy Dog Park to soak in our last bit of sunshine and allow the kids to burn off some energy. 


Since my children clearly don't like to be followers, they both took off in opposite directions from the rest of the group. So Ryan chased after Zora and I sat and played in the dirt with Brody. 


I love watching these two interact with each other. Ryan, having zero experience with children, does a wonderful job with Brody and embraces the "learn as you go" logic head on. 

This makes my heart smile. 



We squeezed in one last splash pad adventure on Tuesday with Grandpa and Grandma Z and Aunt Cindy. There is nothing that makes me smile harder than watching Brody absolutely lose his mind at this place. He is nothing but smiles, giggles and weird noises the entire time we're there. Next summer, if anyone needs a pick-me-up, join us. Guaranteed happiness. 



On a much less happy note, I had to say goodbye to a friend and co-worker this past week. Pete passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday night from a massive heart attack at the young age of 42. Our department has been just four of us for a couple years now, so to lose Pete was very tough... he was a member of my little work family and I will miss him dearly.

Pete... our crazy department meetings and Mexican lunches won't be the same without you. Rest easy, friend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day: Dirt, Dungeons and Dancing

Hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend! I know mine was much needed between tackling my to do list and soaking up the last bit of summer. 

With Ryan still traveling (16 consecutive days and counting...) and Brody at his dad's, my number one goal was to get my landscaping blocks down. I've had a pallet of them sitting in my driveway since Memorial Day. No judging. My parents called me up Saturday morning and offered to come give me a hand. Aren't they wonderful? :)

Mama Z mowed my lawn and cleaned my house while Papa Z and I got all the edgers in place and declared war on quite a few trees. You're welcome grass... the sunshine will see you now. Next phase with landscaping includes removing all the sod/weeds from the sectioned off areas. Adding more plants and rocks will happen in the Spring.



Sunday morning was spent downing a pot of coffee and catching up on freelance and Etsy orders. After I picked up Lil Man, we took Zora for a walk, went for a bike ride, built Lego castles and played in the water table out on the deck. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.




Monday morning during our Meijer run for more milk (and to see the fishes, of course), we stumbled across these cute popsicle molds for $.99. Yes please! So Brody and I whipped together some peach and orange juice popsicles (with some carrot thrown in there... shhhhhh). He enjoyed drinking the leftovers too, even though he can't grasp the concept of not tipping the cup when he's using a straw. 



I'm sure Zora can't wait for Brody to go back to daycare. Lil Man antagonized that poor dog all weekend. Thank God she's a patient girl and just tries to avoid him rather than be aggressive. Brody's new thing is to try and sit on Zora's back... which makes her jump and fling him off. Heart attack every single time. 

Then there was this dance party that happened in my kitchen. In addition to learning new words and working on his manners, our new daycare must also encourage lots of dancing because any sort of music/sound made Lil Man dance this weekend. 



I'm also trying to break Zora of her furniture habit. Sadness, but she no longer understands or accepts boundaries. So the couch cushions have been up all weekend. Brody decided to try to climb over them, so we made them into a little fort. Entertainment for hours many minutes. He loved to crawl through the hole and make his monster noises. What a ham!



After his afternoon nap, we made a quick run to the West Olive Nursery for a couple more blueberry plants. Brody loved cruising around in his wagon and was so excited to see the train that runs alongside US31. We've been working on choo-choo noises in addition to monkeys, cows, fans and monsters.

The three of us spent the remainder of the day playing outside. It was a beautiful evening and Lil Man sure does love swinging and digging in the rocks. I can't wait to upgrade his playset next summer. Plans are to box it in, fill with pea gravel, replace current limestone with sand and wash/stain all the wood. 




The little daredevil also figured out how to climb up the slide. Excellent. Mama loves more grey hair. 



Of course, one last trip through the cave before bedtime.

Hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend as well and your Tuesday isn't too rough. :)


Monday, August 18, 2014

Love and Goulets: Wedding Day

If you follow me on any social media platform, sorry for the explosion of wedding pictures this weekend! Well, no, I'm not sorry but whatever.

This past Saturday was the long awaited Goulet wedding! My baby sister is finally married to the man of her dreams and I couldn't be more excited for the two of them.


The couple was married at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Spring Lake and the reception was held at the Fruitport Golf Course. Ryke's catering and bakery left me needing to lie flat on the floor and recover from my food coma. The incredibly talented Kari Douma Photography has me refreshing her Facebook page every 30 seconds awaiting even just a sneak peak. Kari and Jayne are wonderful people and never disappoint. I simply cannot wait for the photos! 

My little ring bearer looked incredibly handsome in his little tux and bow tie! Even though he refused to wear the sign down the aisle and fought us on every single picture, he was adorable.  


Thank God for Ryan. I put him on Brody duty for the day and he did remarkable. Whether it was walking laps around the church when he started to get cranky or getting him to smile during pictures, I wouldn't have survived Saturday without him. For a guy who doesn't have any experience taking care of children, he stepped up to the plate and did an amazing job. Thanks babe! xo


For my toast, I dug out this pretend "personal ad" that I had created for Ashley 3 years ago after she ended a long-term relationship. Normally public speaking really doesn't rattle me, but I shook like a leaf during both the reading at church and while I was giving my toast at dinner. My toast was well received which made me pretty stoked. Plus Ryan and I caught the garter and bouquet, so... yay! :)

Thank you everyone who attended and supported Ashley and Adam on their special day. The happy couple is currently cruising around Chicago and will take their "real" honeymoon this Winter in St. Lucia.

For more wedding photos, click here!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Life Lately

Hello Internet. Tis finally wedding week. Because I suck at keeping my blog updated lately, thought I'd give you a quick rundown of what everyone's been up to before I start blowing up your news feed with wedding related pictures and posts...


ZORA: My crazy girl seems to finally be back at 100% or damn near close. She had a couple bouts of garbage gut since weaning off of her medications, but I've noticed it's usually after days I leave the sliding door open for her while I'm at work. Stupid likes to wander the yard and eat eeeeevvveerryything. Zora, you are not a cow... knock it off. 

BRODY: My brain cannot handle how much he has grown up in the past couple months. His vocabulary has grown exponentially, his independence is incredible and we're awaiting a free weekend to take the plunge with potty training. Mama Z and I worked very hard to get him comfortable in the water again and now he absolutely loves the pool and splash pad. I've been packing quite a few things away this week (highchair, clothes, etc.) and even though it makes me want to cry that he's growing up so fast, I'm excited for all the new stages in his life too. He's also on a test run at a new daycare this week. Current daycare is on vacation so I took this as an opportunity to see what else is out there and I'm very excited to hopefully switch to this new place. Brody had a wonderful time today hanging out with two new lovely ladies and I was greeted with nothing but smiles at the end of the day. :)

RYAN: Even though he's at 88% travel for the year, we still find time to see each other. I couldn't be happier and am very excited to spend the entire weekend with him before he leaves again for work for the next two and a half weeks. xo

ASHLEY: The bride-to-be is counting down the final days as Miss Zylstra. Her and I have a mani/pedi date tomorrow, then rehearsal on Friday and Saturday's the big day! We're praying for sunshine, a cooperative Lil Man and everything to run smoothly. 

ME: I've been trying to keep my head above water these last few weeks. Work is crazy busy as well as the freelancing, my Etsy sales are booming (in large part to this recent post on Trend Hunter... thanks guys!), divorce nonsense (yeah... that's STILL going on) and then there's all the wedding related shenanigans. I'm so anxious for life to settle down a bit after this weekend. Wait... does that ever happen? 

Have a great night everyone and be on the lookout for all the wedding bliss over the next few days!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bachelorette Party - Masquerade Style

Last Saturday, we celebrated my little sister's bachelorette party -- masquerade style! Festivities began with dinner and games out on my parent's deck. They have such a great space for hosting parties. We were a bit concerned about rain, but the most we had to deal with was wind... I'll take it! 



I had spent months making all the decor myself. I was very thankful for all those years of hoarding craft supplies, paper samples and other whatnots... all of the decorations were made with stuff I had on hand and a $30 trip to the Dollar Store and Hobby Lobby. I'm also super glad Santa bought me a Silhouette machine last Christmas. 




I'm not a party planner by any means... nor do I know how to decorate. With a hodge podge of ideas saved on Pinterest, I opted to go with a black, white, silver and gold color scheme and did my best to create a look that said "elegant" instead of "mardi gras." 


My Silhouette and I made up some photo props. I had some great silver and gold paper samples on hand to cut out glasses, moustaches and lips.



Games included a "How Well do you Know Ashley" trivia game as well as a bar crawl scavenger hunt. Our cousin, Laura, knew Ashley the best. The scavenger hunt fizzled out shortly after arriving at the bar... oh well. 






Yeah, my ass squeezed into that dress. Good God. And then there were Spanx... omg the Spanx. *shudder*






Ashley's bridesmaids... 



After dinner, we loaded up and headed to Grand Rapids. Our first stop was Mojos... and the rest is history.


Overall, I consider the night a success. We had a great turnout, great weather and I successfully kept my sister upright and alive the entire evening. Definitely a win. 

A huge thank you to Mama Z for all her help preparing/serving food, hosting and the clean up once we took off for Grand Rapids. Couldn't have pulled it off without you. 

T-minus 14 more days until Ashley and Adam tie the knot! 

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