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Aiden's 9th Birthday!

It's official, folks - I HAVE A NINE YEAR OLD!!!

He's a goof ball, for sure!

Not sure how we went from this... this?

Aiden has always been the happiest boy.  It's hard to bring this guy down but he does have a tender heart.  He LOVES Legos and spicy food.  Aiden is an awesome big brother and he always give 100% when on the ball field - whether that's baseball, football, soccer or the basketball court!  He's very helpful around the house and with Tate.  His best friend, the one person he would spend all of his time with, is his dad.  He likes movies and playing the Wii or on his tablet, but he also likes to play board games with Brennan, such as Twister and Battleship.  Aiden is super active, likes being outside, playing basketball in the driveway or football in the yard.  I feel so lucky to call Aiden my son.  He is quite the chatterbox, rivals even me!  I love this boy so much, he makes my heart happy!


Sunday we had his birthday party with our family.  We had quite the spread of food.  Everything served was requested by Aiden, and a lot of it was spicy!

We had little smokies in BBQ sauce, hot wing, meat sticks, bologna and cheese, jalapeno poppers, Cheetos Puffs, Cheetos Xtra Flaming Hot chips, olives, watermelon, lemonade and water.  There was a ton of food!  And Aiden took only 3 things, ha ha!

Instead of having birthday cake, Aiden asked for Worms in Dirt.  If you don't know what this is, you just crush up Oreos, put some in the bottom of a cup, pour in semi-set pudding (I used vanilla and chocolate), cover with more crushed Oreos and add in a gummy worm or two (or more!).  We used regular gummy worms and sour gummy worms - Aiden likes sour things, too!  They were a big hit!  I love birthday cake but it's been fun this year having pie for Brennan's birthday and now Worms in Dirt for Aiden's.

After we all stuffed ourselves and the kids burned off some more energy playing ball outside we all gathered in the living room to watch Aiden open his gifts.  He received a Lego set and the DVD set of all 3 Sandlot movies (fitting after his fun baseball season!).  My niece and nephew each gave him a gift - Nora gave him a funny game that is a monkey that moves around the floor and you have to throw rings onto his tail, it's quite challenging! And Charley gave Aiden a truck that pulls a trailer with a boat.  Both kids were cleaning out their rooms and wanted to share their goodies with Aiden, so sweet!  He also was given money - he has been saving for a big Lego set, I think he made it with all of this birthday money!  Andy's brother got creative with the money - just look at this!

This morning, Aiden's actual birthday, he requested his favorite breakfast - French Toast!  Coming right up, Buddy!  We let the boys pick out what they want for supper on their birthday's so Aiden has chosen to go to Buffalo Wild Wings - this boy and his hot wings! :)  This afternoon his friend is coming over to hang out for a bit.  My guess is they'll play football in the yard.

I think Aiden is having a wonderful 9th birthday!  Here's to many, many MANY more!

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Weekend Rewind

Happy Monday morning!

Another busy weekend around these parts.  Last night Andy said "It doesn't even seem like we had a weekend."

Saturday morning we all headed to town to meet my folks at the grocery store where they took Brennan home with them for the weekend.  At the end of May I asked the boys what they wanted to do this summer. Brennan's first answer was "stay the night at Papa and Mama's all by myself."  Done! I called up my mom and we picked a weekend.  Of course he had to take his farming clothes and muck boots, they were going to put him to work!  Bren told my mom that he wanted to help Papa work on the farm so he was super pumped to be out there helping them out.  They brought him back home yesterday afternoon when they came for Aiden's birthday party, I could tell they had worn him out!  He was so happy to be home with all of us again but you could just tell he had himself a great time! Who doesn't love getting 100% of the attention from their grandparents all weekend long?

While Bren was gone, the rest of us made yet another trip to Menards for basement remodel supplies. This time we got the heated floor mat that will go under the tile in the bathroom, insulation and a few odds and ends.  We grabbed some treats at the gas station before heading back home.  Once home, we worked in the yard - mowing, trimming, tilling the garden, cutting a few trees out of the bushes, etc.  We got all cleaned up, headed in to town for church, then came home for the evening.  It was a busy day, I slept good that night!

Sunday we cleaned the house for Aiden's party and I worked on the food.  I love having snacks and appetizers for the food instead of a sit down meal, but wow - it's still a lot of work!  I'll dedicate a whole post to Aiden's party on Tuesday, his 9th birthday!  Stay tuned for that.

To end our weekend, after Aiden's party we all headed over to the ballfield for Bren's last game of the season.  He rocked it, again!  He had awesome hits, tagged quite a few kids out and even caught a pop fly!  He was so proud, loved seeing that pride on his face!  He absolutely loves baseball, I think he's bummed it's over for the year!

This little daredevil!  He's going to give me gray hairs! At one point he had both toes stuck in the fence and was completely off the ground!

Since everyone was here for Aiden's party most of them came over to watch Bren's game.  My niece and nephew, caught them in a funny/serious look. :)

After the game we came home, picked up the mess, Andy took the trash and recycling to the curb and then we relaxed for the next 20 minutes until it was time for the boys to head to bed.  They needed a normal bedtime after the busy weekend we had!

Ready for a new week! Going to be a short one - Andy gets Friday off for the 4th of July, hoping to get some insulation hung in the basement since the electricians are coming tomorrow!  Finally moving along again!

How was your weekend?

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Friday Favorites

My list is short this week but these 2 Friday Favorites are keepers!

Ha ha ha!!! This cracked me up, had to share!

This 'recipe' for a shower cleaner has been floating around Facebook for awhile now but I finally thought I'd give it a try.  I am so glad I did!  It kicked soap scum butt!  We all used to use poufs with shower gel but a few months ago Andy and the boys switched back to bar soap.  The soap scum started building up.  My regular store bought cleaner wasn't cutting through it. Then I started using an all-natural product by Ava Anderson.  It worked awesome!  I loved it!  But it's so dang expensive, to have 2 bottles shipped to me was $25!  I couldn't justify that (even though their products are GREAT and AMAZING and super safe for you and your kids).

Just as my bottle was about to run out I saw this recipe and decided to give it a try.  I'm so glad I did!  It's equal parts vinegar and blue Dawn dish soap, so common items I had in the house and nothing (too) dangerous to be breathing in as a pregnant gal or for little boys who like to follow Mommy around like a shadow.  Don't get me wrong, it was a tad strong smelling from the vinegar, but I just ran the exhaust fan the whole time and it wasn't a big deal.  So, you warm up the vinegar than combine the two in a good spray bottle.  Mix it up, it'll be thick, then spray it on your shower.  Let it sit for 60-90 minutes then just rinse it off.  Seriously, just rinse it off!  Now, I'm a tad weird so I did still run my sponge over the shower just to be sure I was getting off the scum.  This made the Dawn suds up more than if I'd just rinsed it but that wasn't a big deal, it still rinsed off easily and went down the drain.  Now my shower is super shiny and clean!  And with minimal scrubbing, not like I had to do with the store bought cleaner.  I hope you give it a try, it worked awesome!

Hope you have an awesome weekend, see you back here Monday for Weekend Rewind!

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What's Up Wednesday

Hey gals!  This link up looked fun so thought I'd join in this month.  You should, too!

                          And this month's bonus question is...What are you doing for the 4th of July?

What we're eating this week...
I'm back to making my weekly menu before my grocery trips on Monday's.  Monday night we had homemade pizza, the first one I've actually enjoyed in years!  Normally I just don't like it but this time? Yum!  (Pregnancy?)  I put hamburger and green olives on my section - holy delicious!  That will be back in our rotation again for sure!  Aside from that, we have hamburgers, minute steak and enchiladas on our menu this week.

What I'm reminiscing about...
Baby Aiden!  I heard a 'Will You Go With Me' by Josh Turner on the radio when coming home from town yesterday, it was new and popular right when Aiden was brought home from the hospital. That song was played over and over again that summer and it always makes me think about those first weeks with our newborn son.  I could feel those same feelings of fear and anxiety, but this time with a nostalgic touch to them.  I wish we could do that all over again, but better.

I can't believe I'm sharing this picture because I look like death warmed over.  That is me with no sleep, and I don't handle it well, ha ha!   Yea, shell shocked and tired - yikes! Andy looks pretty tired, too, lol!  But, Baby Aiden! <3

What I'm loving...
Sterzings Chips.  If you aren't from this area of the country than you have no idea what Sterzings are. They are made in Burlington, Iowa and only shipped in a 100 mile radius from there.  They are just a plain potato chip but oh so yummy!  I haven't had them for years but for some reason all of a sudden I started getting them again (they go great with burgers!).  If I hear the Price is Right theme song I immediately crave Sterzings Chips because we used to eat them for a snack while that was on as a kid.

What we've been up to...
This week it's been swim lessons, ball games and a Baby appointment. :)

What I'm dreading...
Thursday night's baseball game.  Only because it is so intense during tournaments and my blood pressure goes way up while watching them!  But if Aiden has another game like he did last night then I'll be happy regardless of the outcome.  That boy did awesome at bat!  He *finally* wasn't afraid to swing that bat!  Not that he was necessarily afraid before, he just didn't do it often enough.  Not last night - he swung and he swung hard!  He got ahold of that ball and mad did he feel good when he did!  And so did Andy and I!  It was fun to see!  They came away with the win after an intense first three innings and now we're on to a game Thursday night.  Go Yellow!

What I'm working on...
A menu for Aiden's family birthday party that's Sunday afternoon.  We started doing appetizer parties this year which is so much more fun than a meal.  I love LOVE appetizers and dips so this party is so up my alley.  But I struggle with the menu because Andy's family is so picky! (And so is Andy, that's where he gets it, lol!)  So dips are hard because so many have cream cheese or sour cream, which are big no-no's for Andy.  On the other hand, I'm tired of Velveeta cheese hot dips so looking for something different.  I have a ton pinned on Pinterest so I need to go trolling my boards and see what I can find.  One thing I do have on my list? Buffalo wings!  The boy loves spicy food, and LOVES hot wings!

What I'm excited about...
Aiden's birthday next Tuesday.  He's going to be 9.  NINE!!!  My sweet little boy, not so little anymore.  I love celebrating my boys on their birthdays!  I know how great it feels to be extra special for the day, to watch their faces as they are sung to and to see them excited when the presents come in, to let them pick what they have for supper that night - so fun!

What I'm watching/reading...
Just started reading my third Liane Moriarty book, Three Wishes.  Like, JUST started.  But if it's as well written as her other two I've read (What Alice Forgot and The Husband's Secret) then I'm going to love it, too!

What I'm listening to...
Not much.  I'm so over the radio.  Never seems like I can hit a good stretch of music on there anymore.  I need Sirius for my car, ha ha!  When walking I turn on 'Today's Country Hits' on Pandora.  Helps me go a little farther than if I wasn't listening to anything at all.

What I'm wearing...
Maternity clothes! :)

What I'm doing this weekend...
This weekend we will be working on the basement - we are SO close to hanging dry wall!  Sunday I'll be cleaning house and getting things ready for Aiden's party, which starts at 3:30. Then Brennie has his last ball game that night at 6.  So not a terribly busy weekend but we'll be doing something the whole time, no laying around napping. :(

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Next month, July 7th, we have our 20 week anatomy scan Ultrasound AND we will find out the baby's gender!!!!!!!!!  To say I'm excited is an understatement!!!  I seriously CAN. NOT. WAIT!!!  It's funny to be this excited since we never found out before and it never bothered me. But to know we are finding out is a whole different ball game!  Oh man, I'm excited!!!

What else is new...
We have been looking at carpet and paint samples for the basement.  Holy smokes, this is harder than I thought it would be!  We don't want anything that's going to date the basement - some carpets look so 2010's.  We don't want something that's going to be hard to keep clean, so those that are extra 'nappy' or 'shaggy' are out, but we don't want a super low nap because that's not nearly as comfy.  Then there's the color of the carpet and how it'll look with the color of paint we thought we wanted.  Erg, talk about anxiety!  Ha ha!

What I'm doing for the 4th of July...
We haven't made many plans, but we will go to the town where Andy works for the morning because they have their town festival that day.  They have a nice parade so we'll watch that.  Hoping to get a thing of cotton candy while there, yum!  Then we'll hit up a fireworks display that night to top things off.

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Simple Beauty

I've told you before but I'll say it again - I love Iowa!  It is such a beautiful state.  I actually just read yesterday that the word 'iowa' means beautiful!  Supposedly when the 'white men' came they saw our area and said "Iowa! Iowa! Iowa" which translated to "Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!" 

Got off track with the history lesson, sorry!

There are so many beautiful things about our area but one of them I wanted to show you is what I call our Ditch Lillies.  They bloom every June in the ditches here.  They are a variety of daylily that must be native to our area.  I don't know much about them but I don't remember them being in the ditches as a kid, it seems like they just appeared one summer and started filling in areas.

They are all orange.  They mix so well with everything around them, from the corn, to Queen Anne's Lace, to any other wild flower growing with them.  

They are in the ditches of every country road you drive down, gravel and paved.

Some people have dug them out of the ditch and planted them in their yards, next to their grain bins and barns, under their mailboxes, or next to the culverts going under their driveways.

They are simple and pretty and say "Summer in Iowa" to me.  They are very "Iowa (Beautiful)", too!

Another simple and pretty thing that says "Summer in Iowa" to me are the evening skies.  Gosh they are beautiful this time of year!  The setting sun mixed with some clouds mixed with the humidity in the air -it mixes together and makes the most spectacular sunsets!

If this picture doesn't say "Iowa (Beautiful)" I don't know what does!

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Weekend Rewind

Here we are, another week.  The LAST FULL WEEK of June, can you believe it?  Do you know what that means? It means we are half way done with the year 2015.  We are halfway to Christmas!!! Holy smokes, kids, I'm in disbelief!

As shocked as I am I can still recall what happened this past weekend, so here's a recap for you!

Friday late afternoon Andy and Aiden loaded themselves up and headed to Iowa City for their Father/Son Iowa Men's Basketball camp.  I will give you a full recap of that in another post because believe me, it needs it's own post!  Amazing doesn't even cover it!  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Tate, Brennan and I waited a bit then loaded ourselves up to head to town to meet my parents and sister's family at the park for pizza to celebrate Father's Day.  The kids had a great time playing, my nephew even brought some 'digger toys' to play with in the sand box there, which Tate was all over. Give that boy a sandbox and some tool to dig with and he's a happy camper.  Meanwhile, Brennan and Nora Jean ran and played and swang and jumped and climbed all over that play set.  Can you believe I didn't take a single picture of that?  Erg!  We ate our pizza, the adults sat and gabbed, then Bren and NJ wanted to run over to one of the 2 bridges in the park to play.  I so remember wanting to do this every time we were at the park as kids.  Those bridges are magical!  And they aren't anything special, just bridges that cross over 2 ditches in the park.  But the fun you can have on them!  Of course Tate wanted to follow along so my mom took him down.

After we left we headed straight for home and I put the boys to bed right away.  We were all beat from a busy week and they needed to get to bed on time for once this summer.  (Isn't that the nice thing about summer, tho?  Bedtimes seem to go to the wayside, everything's more relaxed.  I just love that!)

Saturday morning we puttered around the house, went for a walk, waited impatiently for texts to come in from Andy with cool pictures of Aiden with the Iowa players.  Tate and Brennan made Andy Father's Day cards then Tate sat at the table and colored in a coloring book.

I made Bren's favorite dish, pasta alfredo, for lunch.  It's one of Tate's, too, I guess, because he snarfed his down as fast as Brennan did!  Tate went down for a nap and Bren and I went outside to check the black raspberries.  We were able to pick three! Our first of the season, and so so delicious!  Then about 2:00 in walked our Hawkeyes!  It was a full hour or more of them just telling us all their stories!  Bren was practically salivating, he wants to go so bad now!

After that it was time for me to get ready to go to a friend's house for Girls Night Out (or in, since we stayed in).  Deana made delicious chicken tacos for us, those were so good!  Then we just sat around snuggling her baby boy, Maxton, and watching junk TV.  Marriage Boot Camp, anyone? :)  A storm rolled through while there and I was able to snap a couple of cool sky pictures from her front porch.  I love the sky after a storm!

Got home, went straight to bed.  5:54 came way too early, when Tate woke up crying.  He never does that, have no idea what was wrong with him (a bad dream?) so up we got.  I wanted to keep him quiet so he wouldn't wake up the boys, or more importantly, Andy, since it was Father's Day.  It wasn't much longer before the boys came plodding out of their room.  Bren was totally wired and excited since they were finally going golfing.  I,on the other hand, sat here like a zombie.  5:54 Tate??  Lets not do that again.  :)

Finally about 7:30 I started making breakfast - bacon, scrambled eggs and toast.  Andy loves my scrambled eggs.  *Side note: the first time I ever made him my eggs was the night of our wedding. We got home and were exhausted but starving after having danced our butts off all night, so I whipped up my new husband some eggs and voila, he was hooked forever!*  While those were cooking we gave Andy his gift - golf balls and tees.  Then at 8:30 the big boys and Andy headed out to the golf course.

Tate and I went for a walk and it was HOT and HUMID already at 8:30.  I was dripping when we got home 30 minutes later.  Luckily he wanted to play tractors, his new passion, so I had a chance to cool off!

Because Tate had woken up so early I decided it'd be a good opportunity for me to lay him down at 10 for a nap so I could grab a shower and get ready to take Andy and the boys out for lunch for Father's Day.  My big plan of hitting up Panchero's. his favorite FAVORITE place to eat, was ruined because he and Aiden had just had a burrito there the day before after their camp so we ended up going to Applebee's.  Andy and I shared an order of boneless wings and a Franwich - Coach McCaffrey's sandwich at our local Applebee's.  It's a philly cheesesteak and so yummy!  It comes with fries and onion rings, plenty for the 2 of us to share!

After lunch we went to Lowe's to look at a few things for the basement project.  Ended up finding a vanity light we liked so got that.  Next up, Walmart - fancy.  :)  Then we came home to watch the US Open and to snooze for a bit.  Because I napped too long (whoops!) I didn't have time to make Andy his homemade pizza for supper before Bren's baseball game, so to make it up to him we went to town and got ice cream after the game!

We got home just in time to get the boys showers and to finish the US Open.  Andy's Father's Day would have been made if Dustin Johnson had won but he came in one stroke behind my guy Justin Spieth.


I do believe Andy had a great Father's Day and weekend!

P.S.  I have a sweet gal named Terra who leaves me comments but is a no reply blogger, which means, Terra, I can't reply to you!  Just didn't want you thinking I was ignoring you! Thanks for all of your comments!

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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you've had a great week!  Here are my favorites from this week.

These guys!  

They finished their season last night with a record of 9 -3!  It has been so much fun watching these boys grow over the course of the last 6 weeks.  Going to miss sitting in the bleachers cheering them on.  Half of them move up to 12U ball next year, and the ones who will still be in 10U have a good chance of being split up with some playing together again and some being on the other team.  I'm just glad they'll all still be classmates and buddies and eventually play together again as they get older.


Chili's Car Side to Go!  More specifically, their chips and salsa to go!  Wednesday we made a quick trip to the big city so I could take a tote full of clothes to a consignment store and for Andy and Aiden to stop at Scheel's and get some new Hawkeye t-shirts for their big basketball camp tonight. (More on that later.)  We were starving but I had supper laid out at home so we quickly ordered up some Chili's chips and salsa, some of the best around, to bring home and snarf down while supper was cooking. SO yummy and I love their car side to go option!

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Evening walks with pretty skies.  The other night I needed to just go for a walk to burn off steam and put me in a better mood.  It had been one of those days.  The sky was so pretty that night (every night), I just had to snap a picture.

We have another busy weekend ahead.  Tonight Andy and Aiden are going to an overnight camp that the Iowa Men's Basketball team and staff put on.  They arrive about 5:00, check into their dorm room then hustle over to the Field House (where the team practices) to start learning and scrimmaging.  I think Andy may have a heart attack from being around so many Hawkeyes!  They play until about 10:00, hit the hay, then meet up next morning a little after 8 at Carver Hawkeye Arena, where they play their games, for a morning of more basketball and fun.  To end the morning they have an autograph session, which I think will be super cool for Aiden!  I cannot wait for them to come home Saturday afternoon with all of their stories!!!

While Andy and Aiden are at camp having fun, Bren, Tate and I are going to the park to meet my folks and sister's family for pizza to celebrate Father's Day.  Yea, it's 2 days early.  Yea, it's pizza at the park. But it'll still be nice to mostly all be together.

Saturday night I'm going over to a friend's house to hang out with the girls for the evening.  Deana is making some yummy chicken tacos that are supposed to be healthy, which means I'm taking something totally NOT healthy for dessert, ha ha!

Sunday is Father's Day!  The boys and I will let Andy sleep in, then take him to the big city for a Panchero's burrito, his favorite!  And for the afternoon Andy and the big boys will go golfing while Tate takes a nap at home (and maybe me, too!).  To finish the night up, Bren's baseball game!

I think I forgot to mention that at last Sunday's game Bren was standing between 3rd base and the pitcher's mound and he was catching ball after ball after ball. Then he'd run over and tag the batter out that was running to home.  He did that at least 8 times, if not more.  It was every single run he did it!  I was cracking up because he got all the players 'out' in the inning.  He loves that game so much, you can totally tell he enjoys it!  And he caught a pop fly, his first in a game!!!  All that practice paid off! And the look on his face!!!!  He wouldn't give us a big smile, just kind of a shit eating grin, which made me laugh, too!  Silly boy!

Have a great weekend and Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there!!!

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Show & Tell Tuesday: My Yard

I missed this by a day - whoops - but wanted to join in on the fun anyway!

We live on a half acre lot in town.  Our house is on a dead end street (or Drive if you want to get fancy).  There are 2 houses on each side of the street.  Our house is the second house on our side. Because of how our house is situated we don't have any houses very close and the other houses' back yards butt up to our lot. So basically we have the street on one side and houses on the other 3 sides that aren't right next to us which makes it feel like we are a little secluded and that we have a ton of space!  If I have to live in town this is the way to do it!

We love having so much yard space.  When looking for this house our #1 requirement was to have a big yard for the boys to play in.  Check!  The people who built our house bought 2 lots, put the house on one and the other is between us and the other house on our side of the street, which is where so much of the yard is.

The big, open yard is perfect for the boys to play baseball, football and golf in.  And whatever other sport they need space for.  Tate loves all of that open space to run in!  Some days I wish there were trees planted there, because they are pretty, but then I think of taking that space away from the boys and know it'll stay wide open until they are grown and out of the house.

This picture is taken from the corner of our lot looking towards the street with our house off to the left.

Looking at the same yard from the opposite angle.  Here you can see the old play set that the previous owners left. To the right is the house and where you see the fence is the corner is where our garden is.

Another view from behind the play set.

This is the back of the house looking towards the play set and garden.  We sit in the screened in deck a lot in the summer, although Tate has been a little rough on the screen. :)  I love sitting back here because it's so peaceful and quiet.  

This shows the fence where I have a long flower bed planted and black raspberry bushes.  I noticed when I was taking this picture that the berries are turning red, which means only a week or so till I'm picking black berries!  Yum!!!

 Last, this is the 'small yard'.  We don't do much in this yard because it's away from the big yard where the boys play, the play set and the screened in deck.  But there it is anyway.  You can also see the side yard where it's all tilled up to be planted this fall.  The house is set only about 10 feet away from the property line on this side so, except for mowing and occasionally weeding, I never go over here.

There it is!  I didn't get too deep into all of my flower beds because I think I've shown you those before.  But maybe next year I'll do a tour of those once the new areas I planted this year spruce up a bit.

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