Monday, August 3, 2015

Weekend Wonderland

I figured the best way to come back from a 3-month blogging hiatus is to sum up the incredible weekend I just had up in Pentwater meeting Dan's family. Suppose I should back up a tiny bit... Dan and I met about a month ago. We actually had our first date up in Ludington when I was up there camping with my family and he was in town visiting friends for the Fourth of July. He's pretty awesome. ;)

Anyways, so we hit the road after work Friday to spend time with a handful of Dan's family. Enjoyed a delicious dinner and great conversation around the campfire overlooking Pentwater Lake. Already a great way to kick off the weekend.


Saturday, slept in (which I haven't done in FOREVER) and was surprised with an hour long massage at Gayle's Spa. I'm pretty sure I walked outta there wishing I was in a 3-way relationship with Dan and the masseuse. ;) 


An amazing massage was then followed by a little bit of shooting. Two great ways to relieve stress, right? Lol. Dan, his dad and I went back to the spot where we had our first date and did some target and skeet shooting. I actually didn't do as bad as I anticipated... had a ton of fun! 



Spent the rest of the afternoon pontoonin' and swimming in Pentwater Lake. It's been forever since I've been out on a boat, let alone a weekend of zero plans, beautiful weather and awesome people. Did I die and go to heaven?! 


We also are like 99% sure we ran into Kid Rock out on the water. No joke. He waved, we all awkwardly waved back and then watched several other boats chase him down and start cheering. Way cool.


After we were good and pruney from floating around in the water, we headed back to the house for dinner and some quick shopping downtown. We all then went back out onto the boat to enjoy a sunset cruise out on the Big Lake.


We said our goodbyes Sunday morning, but before heading back into town to pick up Lil Man, we drove up to Ludington for brunch with his mom. Good food, great company... just not enough hours in the day. Looking forward to the next weekend getaway to spend more time with Dan's family.


Decided to spend the remainder of Sunday at my parent's house with Dan and Brodster. I'm pretty sure I could watch these two play together all day. (Total mommy porn... single moms, can I get an amen?) But for reals, this makes my heart smile.  



So anyways, sorry for the absence world... it's been a rough last couple months, but I'm back now. I'm happier than I've ever been and life is amazing. Brody and I have been embracing a summer full of new adventures, I'm coming up on my 5-year workiversary at Gentex next month, mom is healing wonderfully from her back surgery, dad's kidney disease is in remission, my sister is kicking ass with school, and then there's this incredible man who places me on this mythological pedestal that I've only ever heard about.

So yeah... life is pretty awesome. xo

Monday, May 11, 2015

Just a Couple Hollanders on an Adventure Pt. II

Last Saturday, Brody and I embarked on another new adventure in our lovely little town of Holland — our first Tulip Time. As I mentioned after our trip to Dutch Village, for someone who was born, raised and currently works/lives in West Michigan, I’m pretty horrible at taking advantage of all the great attractions/events that make this area such a wonderful place. 



After mentioning to my parents and sister what a great time we had at Dutch Village, my mom and Ashely were able to join us as we checked out Kinderplaats at Kollen Park last Saturday. I saw “animals” in the event description and knew that was enough to make Brody’s day. 



Unfortunately, the animals weren’t quite as “accessible” as they were last time, so Brody was slightly less excited. He fed some of them carrot sticks and would pet the ones that came up to the gate. I tell you what though, I need a baby goat in my life. Those things are super cute. I’m sure Zora would love a playmate and they’d probably get a long great… with their shared love of eating grass. 




There was an inflatable bounce house and slide that I’m pretty sure was Brody’s favorite activity of the day. EXCEPT when the guy in charge told him he had to get out after a few minutes so the next wave of kids could get in. Oh boy. :/ We also climbed up into the Coast Guard boat that was there and Brody thought it was the cat’s meow to sit in the captain’s chair. 



With all the rides, games and animals that were scattered throughout the park, my little hooligan wanted to spend 90% of the time on the play equipment. Go figure. I had my first “where’s my child?!” panic attack there. Parents, does anyone else feel that sometimes play equipment isn’t very easy to maneuver through/under/around in order to keep up with your child? Brody was up on the bridges and slides and I was ducking in and out of the equipment in order to stay close to him. I scooted under a slide for a split second and lost sight of him in the crowd. After sprinting around the structure and still not seeing him, I freaked out. Thankfully Aunt Z noticed the panicked look on my face and grabbed Brody and brought him to me. 

Gaaaahhhhh………. deep breath.



On Thursday, Brody attended the Tulip Time parade with his daycare group. Especially after Kinderplaats, I was very aware of what a runner Brody was and how much of a handful he can be out in public. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about him going. Call it being a mom or maybe even a control freak (wait, aren’t those kinda the same?), but not being there to keep tabs on Brody myself just about gave me an ulcer Thursday afternoon. I was so thrilled to hear that he was very cooperative and well-behaved! He sat on the curb the entire parade, waving and telling the passerbys “hi.” Proud mama moment. :)



Well, now that the weather seems to be upswing (in theory), stay tuned for more Brody and Mama adventures as we tackle all that Holland and West Michigan has to offer. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Just a Couple Hollanders on an Adventure

Wow, has it really been two months since I've been on here?! Yikes. Well, to kick things back off, seems only fitting I share with you all the exciting (and super chilly) adventure Brody and I had this morning.

I'm part of this really awesome "moms of Holland" Facebook group that alerted me of the annual Dutch Village Community Day. I've lived in West Michigan my entire life -- Holland for the last 5 years -- and I've never been to Dutch Village. Shameful? Due to the cold weather, I almost skipped over this event today, but crabby pants started our day at 4:30 and my sanity strongly encouraged that we bundle up and get out of the house.

MOM WIN OF THE DAY!!



The biggest win/surprise of the day was Brody going on all three rides. At first when I asked him, it was a definite "hell no." But after watching the other kids go on them, he said he wanted to too. We started out on the chair swing ride with him on my lap. Especially since it was just a chain across the front of the chair, no way was I giving Brody the option to sit in his own seat. He did excellent! Although he's a bit of a daredevil, sometimes he gets scared easily by new experience/moving too fast/going too high.  



Our next ride was the carousel. He picked out his pony and stayed seated the entire time. I had to laugh when he kept chanting "up... down... round 'n round" the whole time. What a goof. 



Our last ride was the ferris wheel. He insisted that we go on it, but to be honest, I was mentally preparing myself for when we would get to the top and I'd have to restrain a hysterical toddler while screaming at the ride operator to get us down. Other parents... you get me, right? 

Brody waited patiently in line and climbed up into the seat with no hesitation. We were the last ones in that group to get on, so the ride started right away. He loved it!! Pointed out all the trucks on US31... said we were in the air like birdies... lots of "weeeee's." I thought for a moment he was going to lose it when we were at a standstill at the very top, but it was more so he got antsy to get down because he saw the goats from the air. 

I'm seriously still in shock. No fear today and super cooperative despite such a cranky morning. 


There were also a plethora of animals. After our trip to the Critter Barn a couple weeks ago, I knew he'd be pretty stoked for those. However, last time he was around a ton of animals, he shied away from the larger animals and really wasn't too keen on petting any of them. Today... right up in the horse's face and wouldn't stop petting the goats (aka doggies, aka sheep.) Of course the bunnies, pigs, cows and chickens all got their fair share of lovin' too. 



I think the highlight of his trip was this huge slide in the middle of the park. You have to climb up through this giant wooden shoe/playhouse thing before you go down the slide. He went right in and must've spent a half hour playing on the slide alone. He would occasionally scan the crowd and make sure he could still see me, but other than that, so independent. It was such a proud/sad moment... what a big boy today. I'm so thankful for these moments and the memories we're making with just the two of us. xo


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Updates from the Zoo

Please excuse my absence as of late, but between running a small business and a small zoo, my plate tis full. I'm powering through the days running on only a couple hours of sleep each night and dangling from the end of my rope. Someone... anyone... please send wine.


Peanut has been living with me for the last week and a half while my parents are on vacation. Peanut is a blind, one-eyed chihuahua with a whole slew of medical issues that require a medley of insulin shots, pills and eye drops every day. And of course, Brody's molars decide to start poking through now... so I spend my evenings with a yipping chihuahua and a hysterical toddler... both who refuse to sleep. Zora and I have sought out refuge in the laundry room the last couple nights. In theory, they can't find us in there... right?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day! Ashley and I went out to dinner on Friday night and she forced me treated me to a haircut. I'm pretty sure she and Mama Z have conspired together to make sure I look like a presentable human being when I go on dates. But my hair doesn't look like a complete hack job anymore, so thanks, Skiss. :)


I had every intention of spending Valentine's Day home alone, snuggling with the puppies and a bottle of wine... but it actually turned out to be a great night. Good food... great company... lots of promise. ;)

Side note: West Michigan friends... mark your calendars on April 18! My sister and I will be selling jewelry and paper goods at the craft fair hosted by Lebanon Lutheran Church in Whitehall. I will be featuring several products from my shop as well as a handful of brand new prints and other goodies. Speaking of the Etsy shop, don't forget that 40% of February's proceeds will be donated to the Animal Placement Bureau to celebrate Zora's 4th birthday. Get your orders in now!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Animal Placement Bureau Fundraiser - Shop Arch Etsy!

In celebration of Zora (formerly Grizzly) and all her crazy siblings turning 4-years-old this month, I would like to host a fundraiser for their first home, the Animal Placement Bureau (Lansing, MI), and donate 40% of February's profits from Arch Etsy!


Arch features personalized paper goods such as poster prints, countdowns, invitations, etc. by West Michigan Graphic Designer Andrea Archambault. Popular listings include themes related to pet lovers, pregnancies, kids and weddings/anniversaries, but all artwork is completely customizable and speciality orders are always welcomed!

Please support the incredible work by the APB! And on February 10, be sure to make your own pup a special treat as we celebrate another year with these furry lunatics! :)



Shop Sections:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chronicles of an Online Dater Vol. II

Well, friends... I'm starting over. Again.

...

Please allow me a second to wallow in my own self-pity and let the loneliness and doubt take over. Just a second to repeatedly ask myself "how did life come to this?" and "where did I go wrong?"

Alright, time's up. Pressing on...

So, clearly, Ryan and I are no longer together. I used to think relationships were determined by whether you loved each other or not. Then life requires you to factor in things like children and jobs and putting down roots and sometimes love isn't enough. It breaks my heart, but at the end of day, it's the cold, hard truth and a very difficult choice had to be made.

I made the decision to try my hand at online dating again. (As opposed to... ????) I spent a lot of time tweaking my old profile, gathering new pics and making sure I was very clear on what I was looking for. In addition to my carefully articulated profile, I'd like to bring a few points to the attention of my single male counterparts:


Dear men of the online dating community,

1. I have posted my acceptable age range in the late 20s/early 30s. You 50- and 60-year-old men sending me winks and messages asking if I'd like to hang out... stop it. You're creepy. Same goes for those of you who live across the country. Are you within my 50 mile radius? No. Move along.

2. I apologize in advance that my photos are a bit misleading. The Andrea you see in those photos... I like to call her "1% of the time Andrea." I rock the messy pony, very little makeup and my beloved sweatpants most of the time because I do not have time and I do not care. Sorry not sorry.

3. I do not hide the fact that I am a mom. I'm pretty sure it's the most obvious thing in my whole profile. So no, I cannot "dump my son somewhere" and meet you for drinks in an hour. Really, guys? Maybe I'll just post this really awesome link in my profile so guys can maybe start to understand what goes through the mind of a single parent. So no, most of the time, I cannot join you for a night out on the town... I'm busy at home watching Disney movies and playing with Legos.

4. Then there are you guys who, under the kid category, have "do not want" checked. You're the reasons I have to put the phrase "my son and I are a package deal" in my profile. Stop contacting me.

5. Please think of your profile as a resume. You are trying to impress people. Please use things like punctuation, correct spelling, capitalization and spell out words. i no u iz lookin 4 a hawty... but no one is impressed with your middle school slang. NO ONE.


Gahhh... are all the non-smoking, educated, ambitious, Christian 20/30-somethings who love dogs and children already taken? I'm beginning to think so. Maybe this time around I should've tried a different site. I hear Petfinder.com has a plethora of loyal, kid-loving, affectionate males...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Arch Etsy: Small Business, Big Goals for 2015

One of my goals for 2015 is to put more time and effort into promoting and stocking my Etsy shop. I first opened my shop three years ago with only a couple of items. It started out as more of a hobby to tinker with in my spare time and to put some extra spending cash in my pocket.

     
This past year, Etsy had turned into a creative outlet, personal challenge and a pursuit of greater financial independence. A huge thank you to my customers and those who have supported my small business endeavors!

My shop currently features paper goods such as posters, countdowns and invitations primarily focused towards pregnancies, babies/children and pet lovers. Some new, completely different projects are in the works and can't wait to get those listed in the shop.

This year, customers can look forward to new products, promo codes, repeat sales incentives and a handful of giveaways. I even finally got around to giving my brand and packaging a teeny facelift as well as launched a Facebook page and Twitter and Instagram accounts. Please give 'em a follow/like and share the love!

Shop Arch! 
Thanks again for all your support!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: A Year in Review - Infographic

Even though this year had a rocky start, I conclude 2014 with a smile on my face and two thumbs way up. Check out what made my year so exhausting and my heart so full...

Happy New Year!
Zora, Brody, Ryan + Andrea


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Fitness/Mommy Toys and Accessories

I've struggled with finding a fitness regiment that worked with my schedule for quite awhile now. I couldn't justify working out during my lunch hour when I was so swamped at work, doing anything but catering to Lil Man's needs after work wasn't an option and by the time I got Brody to bed and the house cleaned up, I just couldn't...

I know "I'm too tired" is a lame excuse, but Brody exhaustion is a whole different level of nope.

So earlier this month I bought a treadmill with the intention of forcing a workout in sometime between getting home from work and Brody's bedtime. Thankfully, with the help of "snowman" (Frozen), I've gotten a run in at least 5 times a week. I also downloaded a new app, Argus, to track my weight, steps, etc. to keep me focused on my goals.

In order to keep track of my steps and have my music handy (to drown out "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman,") I knew I needed an armband for my iPhone. But that's when I remembered pinning a different option on Pinterest one day. Guys, I highly recommend the FlipBelt.


The FlipBelt is a tubular waistband that securely holds my iPhone, chapstick, Kleenex, earbuds (and all my other crap) when I run. So basically a much cooler fanny pack. I was very skeptical at first and half expected the belt to slide down or roll when I moved or I'd have to put up with my phone bouncing around the entire time. I was pleasantly surprised that the FlipBelt is extremely comfortable and nothing moves. At all. Sometimes I have to do that awkward pat-yourself-down-where's-my-phone move (you know what I'm talking about.)


I got in a 25-minute workout and neither of the children moved. ^^^ Supermom.

In addition to being a great workout accessory, I love wearing the FlipBelt around the house so that my phone is always handy, especially when I'm not wearing anything with pockets. Having my phone accessible at all times is a must because I take a couple few handful... ok, shit ton of pictures... all the time. It'll come in handy until I can figure out how to grow that extra set of hands that all moms need.

Plus it prevents my pickpocket of a toddler from stealing my phone AND I can feel my phone vibrate a lot easier when it's pressed against my belly rather than floating around in a hoodie pocket.


You can learn more about FlipBelt here. Machine washable, secure, comfortable, tons of sizes/colors and roughly the same price as the armband solution but much more functional. If you have a fitness buff on your Christmas list or are pursuing a healthier you this New Years, here ya go. You're welcome.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Birthday Weekend: My Last Year as a 20-Something

Last Thursday, I celebrated my 29th birthday. Ah yes, 29. The oldest I'll ever admit to being and the age I will celebrate every year from this point on. Guess that means my mom and I are the same age now, right? 


Thursday began with a birthday lunch at home with Mama Z and Lil Man. I guess he prefers it when people sing "Happy Birthday" to him because singing to mommy only made him angry. Chocolate cupcakes brought back the happiness. 

When I returned back to work after lunch, I was called down to the main lobby for a visitor. There was this cute man waiting for me with a beautiful arrangement of flowers. :) Turns out flowers were only the beginning... I came home to a brand new TV mounted on my wall. Maybe it's because Ryan got tired of watching his sports on my crappy freebie TV from college, but regardless, he spoils me. 


Took Friday off of work to do some Christmas shopping with my mom and sister. We spent the day in Grandville, but met up with my dad, grandparents, brother-in-law and Ryan later that evening for our birthday dinner (and by "our," I mean Ashley and I have the same birthday so it's tradition that we always have a family birthday dinner together.) 



With Brody at his dad's for the rest of the weekend, Ryan and I finally got to spend some time together. His travel schedule for work has been pretty brutal lately with him only home for a day or two every couple weeks. We spent Saturday wrapping up Christmas shopping and seeing The Mockingjay.


Sunday was back to reality. Spent the afternoon over at Mom and Dad's house. Grandma, Grandpa, Ashley and Adam all stopped by to see Lil Man and join us for our "snowman" party. Yes, Frozen is on a 24-hour loop even at Grandma's. 


I'd say 29 started off pretty well. Spent the weekend with and was spoiled by all my favorite people. Can't ask for anything more. Thank you everyone for all the birthday love on Facebook! Here's to another wonderful year... 


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