a photo journal – summer 19

the summer of 2019 is officially over for me as my girls have started back up with school. this summer had its lows, it’s highs. and everything in between. but looking back at all the pictures that i’ll be sharing in this post, it was the best summer of my life.

so many life changes occurred, so many new adventures, but i smiled more than i ever have before. this summer is one i’m definitely going to miss.

throughout this post i’m going to be sharing lots of photos from this summer and telling you all about the things i did.

that being said, this was my summer of 2019.

i brought in the very beginning of summer by turning 30. i struggled with the idea of turning thirty so much, but it truly has been the best year of my life thus far. being thirty, i see a woman who has grown and changed so significantly. i can see a shift in my confidence, my purpose, my passions. most importantly i see a woman who has learned the importance of patience, kindness, an open heart, and love. i love this chapter of thirty so much.

i got to celebrate my thirtieth at one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people. cubbies, beer, and dancing; truly my best birthday yet.

my girls got to come to my work for “bring your child to work day”. they got to see a day in the life of what i do and enjoyed it so much. i love working for a company that offers so much to their employees and their families.

i got the opportunity to travel to austin for work and made a little getaway out of it. the whole experience was amazing and if you haven’t been to austin, i’d highly recommend it. i can’t wait to go back!

i’ve never been kayak fishing and jumped at the chance to go one day this summer with my dad. we didn’t catch anything, but it surely was relaxing and memories that i’ll have forever with him.

our family reunion took place this summer in missouri. we only get together for it every five years, so it was something we were all really looking forward to. i’m already looking forward to the next one and seeing everyone together again.

we celebrated kaylei turning 11 with our closest friends and family. she enjoyed her ‘art’ party and sure got spoiled.

we spent a weekend up in minneapolis to catch a preseason game of the vikings. if you’ve never been to an nfl game, go! the whole experience was so surreal and something i already want to do again. and to set the record straight…i’m still a bear’s fan.

and lastly, i moved. new town, new adventures. and boy, am i sure excited to write this chapter.

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a photo journal – wahl family reunion

our second wahl family reunion took place this month; we’re trying to keep the tradition of organizing one for every 5 years. this years took place at a koa campground near st. louis, missouri.

the location was perfect; you could rent a site to tent or park your camper at or they also offered little cabins available to rent. we decided on a camping cabin that had the cutest front porch. the best part was mazi girl was also allowed to stay there as well.

the actual reunion took place friday through sunday, but we made a little vacation out of it and drove up a few days early to spend the extra time with family.

one day we made a trip to the st. louis zoo. it was perfect because it had free admission and wasn’t too far of a drive from camp.

i love being able to watch my girls grow up with my cousin’s kids. it reminds me so much of the summer vacations we would go on to see the wahls growing up.

we spent a lot of time visiting with everyone, playing bags and basketball, and just sitting around the fire roasting marshmallows and chatting.

we couldn’t let the weekend go by without grabbing a few photos of our giant family in our matching shirts.

our shirts turned out so great this year…thank you ben for organizing it all!

“we put the WAHL in grizWAHLds”

the campground we stayed at was awesome and offered so many amenities for the kids…wagon rides, a jumping pillow, and a swimming pool were some of our favorites. and we definitely had to take advantage of the snow cone truck on our last day there.

see you all again in 2024, wahls!

if we were having coffee. round four.

life has been a little busy, but you know what? that’s okay. i’ve enjoyed the adventure and creating all these new memories lately.

want to know whats been happening in my life? perfect. pull up a chair and grab whatever you’re drinking; i’ve got some things to share with you.

if we were having coffee, i’d tell you that i haven’t had a lot of coffee in my cup lately. more so tequila. or vodka. i promise you i’m not an alcoholic; i’ve just been enjoying my recent trips away.

i enjoy my job, and lately it has given me a lot of opportunity to travel. it’s been nice to get away from small-town living for while and carry less stresses.

if we were having coffee, i’d tell you that i moved. i had mentioned previously, but the beginning of the year was chaotic with life changes, and even though its been quite the ride, they’re what was needed. including a new place to hang my keys at night. #parkitonmarket

i’ve now got this tiny little house and as much as i worried that it would be too small; it’s perfect. it’s homey and we’re all close. plus, mazi girl seems to agree.

if we were having coffee, i’d tell you about how my girls finished up their soccer season. let’s face it…they hate running. so maybe it wasn’t the best idea to follow in their mother’s footsteps and play. oops.

will they play again next year? probably not. when i asked my youngest if she’d like to sign up for it again next year…her response? “if i can sit on the bench and watch the whole time.” welp, atleast you’re honest mahkena.

if we were having coffee, i would share with you how my littles got to experience “bring your child to work day” at my work. kaylei and mahkena sure enjoyed themselves meeting my coworkers, a guided tour of the building, and learning what I do.

we spent the morning working hard, ate lunch in the park, and made sure to make a pit stop on the way home for some froyo. we get home and kaylei makes the comment, “mom, I want to work where you do when I grow up, but maybe not dress as “fancy”. so not dresses. got it, kid.

a photo journal – wndr museum

i encourage you to seek adventure. fill your life with it and have stories to tell. we live in such a big, beautiful world and most people live and die in the same corner in which they were born and never get to experience any of it. don’t be most people. life is meant for spectacular adventures.

i was in dire need of some time with friends and adventure. so my friends chelsea, brandi, and i decided to take a day trip into the city. to avoid traffic and parking downtown, we took the train in while enjoying drinks and catching up.

we were all hungry and decided to grab some dinner at one of chicago’s staples, lou malnati’s. the three of us hadn’t hung out in quite a while so it was really nice to chat for a while over good food and some margaritas.

i was super excited for our plans after dinner; we had purchased tickets to check out the wndr museum located in the west loop. walking through the doors of the museum, i knew immediately that i had found a new favorite activity…pop-up museums.

if you haven’t heard about the wndr museum and exactly what it is, it is a new pop-up in chicago, and it’s main attraction is Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room.

the wndr museum opened in september 2018 as a temporary art exhibit, but due to its popularity, it has now earned a permanent location. the website describes its theme as a place where science meets art.  

in an effort to maintain its popularity and presence in the city, the museum will close periodically to assemble new exhibits.

wndr is a space where beauty and imagination meet. each of the rooms is filled with illusion and beauty , making your mind wander.

there were lots of opportunities to leave your own mark throughout the museum and contribute to the artwork.

we spent about an hour there, and then headed back to the train station to end our girl’s night. i would recommend everyone to go to the wndr museum; it really was such a neat experience and lots of “instagram-worthy” photo opportunities.

check out the awesome video time out chicago captured of the wndr museum below.

a photo journal – missouri

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this blog post is way overdue, and i mean 6 months overdue…oops. i was going back and forth debating to share it, but it’s memories and something i’ll enjoy looking back at later.

back in september we celebrated my grandma’s 75th birthday by throwing her a party. we have a very LARGE family, and we were so thankful that a lot of the family and her friends were able to come.

because it was just going to be a weekend trip, i rode down to missouri with just my parents and sister.  it was nice to have that time with them since i hadn’t taken a family vacation with just them since i became a mother over 10 years ago.

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my dad is a go-getter in the morning, so were up and at ’em at 5 in the morning and ready for our 8 hour trek.

as a family we’ve drove to missouri MANY times growing up. a large part of our family is from there, so we spent lots of time there. and as many times as we’ve passed through st. louis and commented that we should go up in the arch, we never did. we made the same comments this time, except this time dad convinced us to actually go and made a u-turn.

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anyone that knows me knows that i HATE heights and small spaces; so i was freaking out a bit. the four of us had to squeeze into this tight car that traveled up the arch, where it would eventually let us get out of at the top and look out the tiny windows over the city of st. louis.

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after two quick glances out the windows and a few quick photos, my trembling knees were ready to head back down. i enjoyed the experience, glad i did it, but i have zero intention of doing it again.

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back on the road, and a long nap later we were about there. i was so ready to get out and see grandma.

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grandma was waiting for us inside the hotel and her smile says it all.

we spent our first night there just visiting with family and setting up for the party the following day. i love that we can go months, and even years, without some of us seeing each other and just pick up right where we left off. i love my big, crazy family.

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saturday morning we woke up, got ready, and finished up all last minute preparations for the party. everything turned out so well and grandma especially loved that we decorated in her favorite color.

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a big part of my responsibility for the party was creating a book for grandma, filled with notes from everyone that i collected over the previous few months. some people wrote sweet “i love you’s” and others shared some of their favorite memories with her. giving grandma her gift and seeing her face light up when i told her what it was, was well worth all the work put into creating it.

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before everyone left, we got a few photos of grandma with all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren that were able to make it. that lady is loved by so many!

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if we were having coffee. round 3.

long time no talk! i feel like i haven’t posted in forever, but it really hasn’t been that long. two months, maybe.

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but let’s face it, life got on top of me. the beginning of the year has been chaotic with life changes, and even though its been quite the ride, they’re what was needed.

“making a big life change is pretty scary. but you know what is even scarier? regret.”

 

but hey! i’m back! i have things to say. posts to post.

so let’s get to what this post is about…pull up a chair and grab whatever you’re drinking; i’ve got some more to share with you.

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if we were having coffee, i’d tell you all about how my youngest just turned 7, and i still can’t believe it. there are days where she’s more sour than sweet, but i wouldn’t change a thing.  she’s becoming into her own personality a lot lately and i’m really love her free spirit.  she’s got such a good heart,  is creative, and makes me laugh till i cry often. it’s hard for me to accept that my baby girl isn’t really my baby anymore, but i can’t wait to watch her grow up and become the best version of herself.

if we were having coffee, i’d want to tell you about something that i did that i’ve always been hesitant to, but just took the leap. and i can’t say this  enough…i’m so glad that i did. i booked myself a boudoir photo shoot with Leigh Photography (Rockford, IL).

i’ve had so many people express their opinions about my choice to do so; some were extremely supportive, and some…not so much.  but, if other people’s opinions affected half of the things i chose to do, i would have missed out on so many amazing opportunities and adventures.

Alyssa, owner and photographer of Leigh Photography, said it best…

“Life is short, do the photo shoot. If I had one piece of advice to my potential Boudoir babes, that would be it! I don’t care what age, size, color, height, bra size, or nationality you are. Boudoir is for everyone. Everyone deserves a little ‘feel good’ action! Do the photo shoot!”

if we were having coffee, i’d share with you all about my recent visit to the Wndr Museum in Chicago.  never heard of the wndr museum and curious what it is? it’s the newest experiental museum in the city; a place where art meets science. for all social media users, it’s full of perfect photo ops, including 19 art installations.

my friend and i took the train in and met our friend from wisconsin at the train station.  we made a night out of it by grabbing dinner at one of chicago’s staples, lou malnatis pizzeria, had a few drinks, and then ventured to the museum. if you haven’t checked it out already, i’d highly recommend taking a trip to wndr.

if we were having coffee, i’d rave all about how my girl’s rocked their basketball season this year. and honestly, i’m sad that it’s over. both of my girls played this year, and i LOVED being their biggest fan on the sidelines cheering them on every saturday morning. they both said they’re playing again next year, but until then, i’ll be their cheerleader through soccer season.

if we were having coffee, i’d chat all about how lucky i feel to have the support system that i do. days have certainly been wild lately, and some have been extremely hard. but i truly believe that those who really matter, have been there for me through it all and helped kept my head above water. i’d much rather be with them through any storm, then warm and safe all alone. only surround yourself with people who lift you higher.

30 before 30.

 

i’m a lover of lists and enjoy being able to cross things off of them once they’re complete. it keeps me on track and motivated to get things done.

me turning 30 is scarily just around the corner for me; i’m already dreading it so much.

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i’ll be 30 in less than 8 months and am not sure why i’m just now sharing my 30 before 30 list with all of you. but what time is better than now?

1. create a blog

2. visit another country

3. go on a plane

4. get a tattoo

5. buy a house

6. take a pottery class

7. plant a garden

8. go to a nfl football game

9. get my bachelor’s degree

10. see the ocean

11. visit an art museum

12. watch the sunrise and the sunset in the same place

13. watch a movie at a drive-in

14. swim under the stars

15. take a wine and painting class

16. take a yoga class

17. find an active hobby…cycling or running

18. go on a girl’s trip

19. have a booth at a craft show

20. learn to do a handstand

21. do something that terrifies me

22. dye my hair a different color

23. ride in a side-by-side

24. go on a road trip with no planned destination

25. go on a scavenger hunt

26. journal weekly.

27. let go of a floating lattern

28. do a wine tasting

29. pay for a stranger’s meal

30. kick off my 30’s with an adventure

*those in bold i’ve been able to accomplish