One year down, a million left to go!

One year ago today, Gary and I were married. It's incredible how time flies by so fast but so slowly at the same time. This past year has been a ride of epic proportions but overall, we've both decided it's been a great year. We finally feel that things are falling in to place, that we're getting to where we've wanted to be since the day we got married. To find jobs that we both love and get excited about but can also have a normal life outside of work; to build up our savings for a down payment and furniture, etc; to find a place to call home that isn't with the in-laws; to get excited about things again; It's all happening. It's not just a dream off in the distance anymore. Our one year of marriage has taught us so much and we are so thankful that we made it through all the truly tough times. Cheers to us both for that!

When Gary and I were at dinner the other night, we got to talking about our favorite moments of the past year. Naturally, we landed on our wedding day. Gary put it best when he said it felt more like an out-of-body experience, like we were watching from the outside in. I felt the same way! The day flew by as I grew more and more tired (thanks to being at the time unknowingly pregnant I'm sure!) but for the most part I remember it is phases.


I do remember feeling like my fingers were going to fall off when we were taking pictures outside but that it was SO WORTH IT;

I remember how much I LOVED taking pictures with all my favorite people;

I remember how much I loved walking around talking to people as we were feeding the fish their lunch;

I remember how good it felt to walk down the isle with my dad;

I remember holding Gary's hands up on the stage and trying not to cry;

I remember how much I loved having so many kids at the wedding;

I remember how much I ABSOLUTELY loved all the little details the photographers captured;

I remember thinking that I reallly wanted to eat both meals AND all the mini cheesecakes;

I remember opening and loving all the awesome presents we got;

I remember having the best time at our dinner at Rubaiyat;

Best of all, I remember how excited I was to start our life together.

I love you, Gary Joseph Wiest Jr. Thank you for sticking by me during this incredible year and I am still excited to be your wife!



I desperately need some new items in my wardrobe.

My adorable grey flats that I bought from Banana Republic when I could barely afford them in 2007 are on their last lap. Seriously, the edges are starting to fray. It's sad, because these adorable grey flats have become my FAVORITE shoe. Yes, they now trump my black converse that are currently laying on the passenger side floor in our car. Never thought that would happen but indeed it did. I wear these flats to work every single day.

I've been searching for the perfect new flat to take it's place but haven't found anything inspiring. Help!

Secondly, my white undershirts need to be thrown away. I use them way too much and it's time to rely on something else. The problem? My VS tank has treated me very well the past 8 or so years but there are multiple holes on the bottom. How classy is that? The Loft tank I have has lost all it's elasticity and has stopped hugging me in all the right places. I feel frumpy when I wear it but have no other choice. It's slightly more classy than the holed VS tank I have. Sigh. I need 2 or 3 or 4 nice new elastic white undershirts. Right now!

Although I have stopped buying clothes to save money, I may need to make an exception.



Locally Grown!

When Gary and I were living in Minneapolis, I kept thinking how nice it would be to come back to Decorah to celebrate our 1YR anniversary. Though we moved back, I still thought it would be a lovely little getaway. Thus, in December or January, I booked a room at the Hotel Winn using the Locally Grown package they were offering through April 2012. Not only was the timing perfect but here is what came with the package:

1. One King Room (with a fridge & jacuzzi!)
2. $40 to use in Alberts
3. 2 free beers from the Tap Room
4. A coupon for a packet of seeds from Seed Savers
5. $15 towards lunch at the Water Street Cafe (aka Oneota Co-op)
6. A free 11x14 matted Story People Print (worth $30 a pop)

All of this for $175 (including tax). Peeeeerfect.

7. Made even more perfect by the accent I purchased along with it...chocolate covered strawberries.

Now that our staycation is over, I keep wishing we could do it over and over again. We had such a good time. Here's a recap of our little weekday getaway :)

The days and weeks leading up to our stay at the Hotel was a bit overwhelming to think about. It's such tight quarters where we are currently and there's ALWAYS someone or some dog around. No privacy.

This. was. privacy. Well, except for the adorable little (&loud) girls that stayed in the room next door. They were cute so it didn't bother us one bit.

We checked in around 3:45p on Thursday March 22 after we both got off work and ran some errands. We picked up some movies at Wal-Mart that we wanted to watch but decided to walk to get our wine later because the weather was so nice. The very moment we decided to go to Fareway though, it started to sprinkle. We made it to Fareway with no problem but you can guess how it was when we needed to walk back to the Hotel. Yes, it was pouring :) It actually was really fun to walk in the rain! It reminded me of our first trip to Chicago and we did the same exact thing. It was fun then, and it was fun now. Probably because we still had time to redo our hair and dry out :)

Our dinner reservation was at 5pm so we headed down to the Tap Room a little early to pick up some beers. Gary decided he didn't like or didn't want the tap beers they had so I got one now and picked up the second later. Surprisingly, I really liked the Mill Stream Amber one (I should know the name but can't remember at the moment!)

We wanted to get a lot of bang for our free bucks so we ordered conservatively in Alberts; spinach artichoke dip, entree caesar salad with chicken, Albert's hoagie; orange juice; We had so much left in our $40 budget that we ordered my FAVORITE bottle of wine, Falesco Sangiovese.

After dinner we attempted to take a bubble bath in the huge jacuzzi. It would have been fine if I hadn't completely overflowed the tub with bubbles. When they give you directions for how much to use, I suggest following it. :)

After the bubble fiasco we hankered down to watch our movies, drink wine, and eat those delicious strawberries.

My goodness were those strawberries good. We decided that the ones with the regular chocolate were better than the white chocolate but you won't find me complaining!

The first movie we watched was the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was incredibly well acted and really interesting but I couldn't help how tired I was. We had been watching for what seemed like 3 hours and it had only been an hour. The movie was 2 hrs and 20 mins at least. Sadly, I didn't even make it through the first movie. I always seem to catch Gary when he's asleep so it repaid the favor :)

After MANY lovely hours of sleep we woke up and finished the movie. I definitely recommend it but be aware that there are some really disturbing scenes that you may not want to watch. No you probably won't watch. Despite that, it was a great movie.

Our next stop after checking out was Agora Arts for our Story People print. There were stacks and stacks for us to go through and despite all the funny ones I found one of Gary's choices won. He's such a sap ;)

Then it was off to the Co-op. I tried a new panini and I've got to say I'm hooked. I got the New Yorker - pepperoni, mozzarella and a fresh tomato paste sauce on sourdough bread. Perfect. Gary got his usual BBQ chicken with swiss and ranch on sourdough bread. To top it off, we spent $14.90 so only owed ZERO dollars! The best part was probably the little baby that sat down next to us with her family. Well, her family sat her down but anyway. We overheard later that she was 3.5 months old. Emma would have been that old at this point too and it was nice to think about her for a moment.

Back at home, we watched the second movie we rented, the Muppets movie. I'm sorry to say but I was not in the least bit intrigued by the movie. I just didn't grow up on the Muppets. Sadly, Gary watched the movie by himself as I sat on pinterest :)

Later on in the day, we decided to continue our staycation with another movie and dinner at Rubaiyat. Gary didn't think I'd like the Hunger Games so we opted instead for 21 Jump Street. G.i.g.g.l.e.s. It was a delightfully funny movie. And the best part of that showing was the "oooo la la's" we got from two little kids as we walked to our car.

We must have been on some sort of drug by the time we got to Rubaiyat because we most definitely scared our waitress. We were either laughing or being really awkward. The poor girl kept her distance the rest of the time! Oh well. We ordered our normal favorites, Isaiah's chicken sandwich and the seafood linguine dish I love so much. I almost peed when the waitress brought out our bread. It was the same bread that they served the night of our wedding. I cannot stress enough how delicious this bread is. I hate bread. Seriously. I don't often indulge in the bread all the restaurants put out but I would eat the whole thing if I could. It was fate.

Though we scared our waitress, this was the perfect way to end our staycation.

Back to the real world.


Spring Cleaning 2012

I so dislike being an adult on days like today. It's sunny, beautifully cool/warm, breezy...all the things I loved as a kid playing outside til dark with Derek or when I wanted to skip class in college. Alas, an adult I'll be.

I declared this week TIME TO SPRING CLEAN. We've got a laundry list of things to do despite having just one room between us to store all our things. Really though, it's a long list.

Today I Spring Cleaned:
...our bed sheets...
...our pillow cases...
...our blankets...
...our floor (via vacuum that I borrowed from the nice lady downstairs)...

It may not seem like a lot but I feel like I've been doing laundry for HOURS.

On tap to be Spring Cleaned:
...organize our groceries...
...take all our recyclables and redeemables to be recycled and redeemed...
...take out trash...
...dry clean my dry cleaning...
...handwash my handwashing...

Other adult-like things we've done this week:
...finished our self-prepared taxes...(scary...)
...sent our MN, IA, & Federal returns...
...filed our dispute on our credit report...
...talked with a realtor about a potential home :)...
...found out we would qualify for a $1,000 grant to put towards a downpayment or closing costs (now we just need to find a home and start the contracts!)...

woah. I feel like an adult and now all I want to do on days like today is sit inside and rest because I'm tired.


Memories I Love - 200th Blog Post!

I have been thinking for awhile how to make this 200th blog post different. That's kinda hard when all my posts are different...Regardless, I've been looking back at all the things in life that I've loved, memories, foods, etc. Thus, that's what this 200th blog post will be about. All the memories I love :)

First off, here's one thing I don't love: laziness. I have practically jumped off the wagon and ran from it in regards to my daily exercises. Not a single push up in February and none so far in March. Same with sit ups, crunches, and squats. Seriously, I NEED MY MOTIVATION BACK. Where did it go??? I need some encouragement, folks. Bring it :)

Okay, like I said, I've been thinking a lot lately. I find myself drifting back to my favorite memories and favorite times in life.

**Growing up in Strawberry Village. After my mean stage :).
I am always reminded how blessed we all were to have grown up in Strawberry Village with the parents we had. Having three sisters wasn't always a blast in a glass but we learned from each other. I know that I became who I am by how I was raised and I tend to think I'm a pretty good person. All my faults are my own and I own them completely. Yes, I'm lazy; yes, I eat too much pasta; yes, I can have a really sharp tongue sometimes; but these are my own. I know that all of these things are not showing my best side, but the fact that I am aware of these faults shows how I was raised to be a good person. I'm not blind to these things and I can (try) to work on them as I get older. Thanks Mom, Dad, Amanda, Bridget, and Leta. You are my favs! My other favorites? My mom's goulash :)

High School.
High School wasn't all that great but my absolute favorite memories about that time is how close Leta and I became. We were NOT close for such a long time and my poor parents can attest to how ridiculous we were. Putting tape down the middle of our bedroom was not our most shining moment :) I think I recall that one of us wasn't able to leave the room based on our divider...(Leta, do you remember that??) Despite all that, we came together at such a critical time in my life. I was happily a floater all throughout high school but sometimes it's nice to have a solid group of friends to hang out with during the school hours. Leta and her friends became that for me. We had soooo much fun riding to school together, getting ready for different concerts together, going to different events together. I love thinking back to those times :).

**College, but more specifically, Sophomore Year.
I had THE best time during my sophomore year at Luther. It seemed that my friends and I had not quite grown up yet and were still in that slightly immature, yet really fun stage of our lives. We drank a whole lot and did a lot of dancing at Scoes. Seriously, I LOVED going to scoes, but I had a routine. Go early, be drunk because I never drank at the bar, dance it up and go home when I started elbowing people out of my way. I'm glad there aren't many pictures though. Gross.

Miller 717 was THE best room on campus, so cozy and tiny. We were a room full of dead animals (my dwarf hamster(s) and fish, Kendra's fish and crabs (more on this in a second). I'm SO glad we never let Kendra buy a bunny that she desperately wanted, probably would have died! Despite the dead animals, we had a blast in that room. My favorite memories? Tubs have little baby dwarf hamsters, the crab that somehow escaped out of Kendra's fish tank and scuttled across the room for god knows how long (and may have done the same in the room next door. We heard some screaming...), all the times Kendra would waltz into the room next door thinking it was ours, tuna raid night (see this post for more details!), and having Andrew and Spencer in the same building.

If I could go back to college, that's the year I want to go back to. We grew up a lot that year so Junior Yr & Senior Yr became more about school and work and finishing than having all that fun. And freshman yr? I'm not quite sure about freshman. We had our campus celebrities that year but man it was weird.

I truly love how Gary and I met. I was a little high schooler crushing on a boy that worked in the caf. I would read in Marty's just hoping he'd be around playing pool so I could spy on him. It took a couple of years before we became anything more than friends. At the time, I had just come out of a very crazy sophomore year and I was on the brink of making some incredibly bad life decisions. Gary was there during all of this and I fell so hard because I knew he was the absolute perfect guy for me. He was everything that I needed and could have ever asked for. He cared for me more than anyone had ever cared for me before. I knew very early on that I loved him and it makes me smile every time I look back to the summer of 2008. It was a very special summer.

I love you too, honey bear :)