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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first day of school interviews (2019).

just like every august, we’ve done everything we need to do: gathered new school supplies, spiffed up the school wardrobe… however, this year was a little different for my girls as they both started new schools in a new district. this year we ventured to roscoe; a new elementary school and dare i say it…middle school.

i think i was more nervous than they were…but they were so ready, so confident. this momma was proud of them, pulling back their hair, laughing their crazy laughs, and most importantly just being themselves on their first day at their new schools. i am so looking forward to watching more of them and the lessons that they learn – both in school and in life. Roscoe, we’re ready for you!

my girls started sixth and second grade this year. we kicked off the new year with some of our typical “first day of school photos”.

and just like previous years, we made sure to do our first day of school “interviews”.

i asked both of my girls these questions and i thought i’d share with all of you:

Kaylei

  1. name: kaylei
  2. age: 11
  3. grade and teacher: 6th – mr. lovgren
  4. what i want to be when i grow up: recruiter
  5. favorite color: yellow
  6. favorite movie: san andreas
  7. favorite place to be: at starbucks
  8. favorite food: frozen yogurt
  9. favorite subject in school: math
  10. what do you love: my family

Mahkena

  1. name: mahkena
  2. age: 7
  3. grade and teacher: 2nd – mrs. binning
  4. what i want to be when i grow up: a starbucks employee
  5. favorite color: pink
  6. favorite movie: home alone
  7. favorite place to be: at target
  8. favorite food: candy
  9. favorite subject in school: art
  10. what do you love: dogs

“say yes to one more book, one more hug, one more kiss goodnight, tuck them in and snuggle them tight. one day you will tuck them in and they’ll be grown. they will smile and tell you they can do it on their own.”

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!

a photo journal – easter at the campground

growing up with weekends at a campgound wasn’t always fun…summer heat, more than enough bugs, and the lack of your friends being there to hang out with. honestly, growing up i didn’t like that my parents had a seasonal site at a local campground and we spent nearly every. single. weekend there for a majority of my life.

that was until i moved out and had kids of my own. now i enjoy the same campground i grew up at. it’s peaceful; it’s quiet, and my girls get to run around and burn off their never-ending energy.

my parent’s still have a seasonal site at that exact same campground. i love that they still do and i can bring my girls there to do some of the traditions that i always did. like easter, for one.

the past few years, if and when it’s nice out we go there for easter and enjoy a cookout and my girls get to enjoy an easter egg hunt. this year was no different.

us girls were in charge of bringing dessert this year, so we chose to bring our favorite funfetti cupcakes which meant for a morning of baking. and with two girls, LOTS of pink frosting.

it was one of the first nicer days of the year so we were all really excited to get there and enjoy the weather. dad had the grill going, mom was in the camper frying up some potatoes, and the girls were eager to hurry up and eat so they could get on with their easter egg hunt.

after being very spoiled by the easter bunny, the girls and i enjoyed some time at the park before heading home.

children only have one childhood. make it memorable and fill with traditions.

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.