gather ’round, kids. story time!


Okay, people, OKAY!!!! I will tell you the story. Last time we spoke you heard about the rather typical happenings of our lives. Well, I had no idea that something HUGE was going to happen that night. But first: the back story (in his-and-her points of view, no less).

As you probably know, Mike and I have been together for quite a while. At that point it had been three years, five months, and 25 days. But who was counting? Well… me, and I was getting really sick of waiting for him to pop the big Q. I had expected the ring on more than one occasion (Christmas, during vacation, on a few walks…) and was more than ready to say yes. For a few months I had been randomly giving him crap about it, but by that time it was just about hourly. “Mike, when ya gonna do it? Mike, when are you going to commit? Mike, where’s my ring? Mike, pleaseeee.” (I am really persistant when I want something). His response was that I was still trying out and hadn’t made the team yet. HAR-HAR MIKE.

Sooo, I work in the evenings until 7:30, and as a result Mikey has taken over at dinner time. Usually I give him a menu/plan so he doesn’t have to think too much, or if he’s lucky I’ll prepare the meal so he can just heat it. But on that fateful night he decided to surprise me with our favorite sushi. He had it all laid out when I got home, along with a fortune cookie. *Pause* Looking back on it now I should have known something was fishy – pun intended. Sushi is Japanese and fortune cookies are Chinese. Clearly I was not thinking. And when I say “thinking” I mean “expecting a proposal.” *Unpause*  We had a lovely dinner and I (a girl who is rather un-fond of actually eating fortune cookies) just wanted to crack it open to read my fate. Maybe learn a new Chinese phrase. Little did I know…

I had bought the ring (which I had picked out myself) a month prior but had to wait for it to be made. A very long month, I might add of being badgered and bugged every night for me to propose. It had finally arrived and I hadn’t a clue on how to propose but I knew it had to be soon because our relationship depended on it. I decided to order in sushi from Jenna’s favorite place and slip “will you marry me?” into her fortune cookie even though sushi doesn’t normally come with fortune cookies. I luckily bought a whole bag of fortune cookies from the store because I broke about 7 trying to fish out the fortune and replace it with mine. And things went off without a hitch…

I picked up my cookie and waved it at Mike. “This would be a really cute way to propose,” I said while cracking it open. “In fact, I think I’ve seen it done for a baby announcement before… like ‘You’re going to be a grandma’ or ‘It’s a boy’ or something.” I looked down as I stopped yammering. Will you marry me? said the cookie and Mike at the same time. “NO” I gasped in disbelief. Had I just predicted my proposal?! More importantly, DID I REALLY JUST GET PROPOSED TO??!!!?? I seriously thought I was going nuts. Dilerious. Or seeing things. Maybe this wasn’t meant for me and I got some other lucky girl’s fortune. Then, Mike pulled the ring out of his pocket and stared at me. HELL YES I WILL MARRY YOU!!!!!!!!


happy happy joy joy

The rest of the evening was filled with kisses and happy tears and rehashing the story. We called our families to tell them the great news, and we popped a bottle of champagne.

If you had asked me that day I probably would have told you I was ready to curb stomp him because I was getting so. impatient. If you ask me now, I would tell you that it was worth the wait.



now you see it, now you don’t


Okay, really. Who stole May? It seems like just yesterday I was complaining about the blizzard we were having at the beginning of the month, and now we are just a few short days from June. Well, I guess that means I should fill you in on the latest!

This month began with a visit from Abby and Jake. Abby and I got some major shopping done, Jake and Mike took a trip to Cabela’s, we all had some great food, and nobody broke up at IKEA. Other than our guests waking up on a totally deflated air mattress, I would say it was a successful weekend.

Mother’s day followed, and we spent time with my aunt Lisa and uncle Bill. Bill grilled lemon chicken and potatoes, we had honey curry salad, and it was all followed by Lisa’s lemon bars–yum! Since neither Mike’s nor my mom is close, and their girls (my cousins) are both living away from home, it was the perfect way for all of us to celebrate the day.

Abby and I decided we hadn’t seen enough of each other yet, so Minnie and I went down to Waterloo to keep her company while Jake was away on business. I got to see their new house, which is adorable and we had a great girls’ weekend: garage sale-ing, shopping, movie watching, and–of course–baking. I ended that trip a little sooner than I expected because I got a call from my good friend Jana, saying she’d be in town that weekend. Since she’s moved to Idaho with her man and baby, we don’t get to see her much. This was gold. I jumped on the opportunity and headed back to Cedar Rapids for the remainder of the weekend, and I am so happy I did. Ashley, Zip, Jana, and I caught up with each other and ended up staying until 4 in the morning, just like we did in the old days:) I also got to see my buddy Eli again, which is always a treat.

my pup and bub

so. much. happiness.

babies = perfection

babies = perfection

Speaking of treats, long weekends RULE. I know, I know. I only have a part time job. But Mike doesn’t, and I love being able to spend the extra time with him.

Friday night we kept low-key and stayed in, had a few drinks and watched The Hangover (ironic, no?). On Saturday, Mikey had a hankering to go fishing, so Minnie and I tagged along and we all headed to the river. It was a chilly afternoon, but fun nonetheless. We ended up in an area right by the dog park, so Minnie got to burn off a little energy too.

love me some minnie

i love me some minnie

what a catch!!!

what a catch!!!

That night we drove up to Mike’s aunt Lisa and uncle Willy’s place for a bonfire. His other aunt and uncle were there too, along with four cousins and a couple of dogs. Lisa fed us, Willy and the boys shot off some fireworks, and we all played some games. It was an all around great time, minus the rogue firework that almost killed us all. And between the teenage boys and the dogs, I think I have had my share of farts for the next century.

Sunday morning we were able to meet up with three more of Mike’s cousins and his cousin-in-law. They all are out-of-towners here to visit some friends, but were able to carve some time out for Mike and me. We went to Muddy Waters for brunch and ohmygosh you guys… YUM. They had the best food! And the coolest ingredients too. For instance, their french toast is served with lavender honey, and I ordered ginger peach waffles. Who thinks of that stuff? But it was gu-uh-ud! And they served about the largest/strongest coffees I’d ever seen, which was a nice little bonus. Sunday night we headed over to Andrew and Lindsay’s place for his birthday dinner. (Side note: Andrew and Lindsay are the couple we met in Dornbirn this year, and it is such a fun friendship to have. For all of us to get along so well, experience that lifestyle together, and end up living only 15 minutes away is an awesome one in a million chance. Admit it.) Annyway, it’s always a good time with them, so celebrating was a fun end to our Sunday.

Monday morning I headed out to breakfast with a few old friends at another new-to-me restaurant called The Lowry. Catching up with the girls was great, and luckily I hit another home run with my food: the breakfast burrito, hold the cilantro. I will be going back again, you can count on that. On my way home from breakfast, my aunt Lisa called and after we made a date to hang out with our pups, I loaded up my animal and Minnie in the car and we all met Lisa at the dog park. Lisa and I decided to split up from Mike, who was dying to try out a new fishin’ hole, and after that, things got a little hazy. We ended up on a sugar high and baking all day. Two kinds of brownies and homemade granola bars.


yep. this happened.

So other than the month whizzing by and me gaining eighty pounds this weekend, May has been great and pretty eventful. June’s got some big shoes to fill!

recent hap-nens


Time for a little update, no?

One of the projects Mike is working on right now is at St. Thomas Academy, an all-boy’s high school. They hold a fundraiser every year, and this year since Mike is helping with the renovation we, along with the other involved Opus employees and their dates, were invited. It was a really fun event and I was happy to meet some of Mike’s coworkers. There was a cocktail hour to start it all out, and after the booze was a-flowin’ and everybody was feeling generous they began the silent auction. Mike and two of the guys in his office won a guided fishing trip, but of all the thousand things I bid on I didn’t win a single one. No worries though, we participated in the cork draw and won a bottle of wine. Hip hip! The auction was followed by a fancy–and delicious–dinner. (Think asparagus wrapped in carrot slices, salmon AND steak, and shiraz-soaked baby pears). Let me repeat that. Shiraz-soaked baby pears. BABY PEARS, PEOPLE.

pre-baby pears, post-wine winning

pre-baby pears, post-wine winning

So Saturday night at the fundraiser was a blast. Then Sunday rolled around and we were invited by Mike’s aunt Sandy to an event that she was hosting, which included a meal and free entertainment. YES I realize that just sounded like Sandy danced on top of tables, NO that is not what I meant. (Though I have witnessed her shakin’ her thang tabletop before). What I meant was that after the meal portion of the evening was over, we all went to the Wild’s game. Go team!

This past weekend, Mike and I headed south. On Friday we drove to Ames for an alumni event that Mike was invited to. There, we had dinner and listened to a few speeches, and ditched a little early since we still had to drive to Cedar Rapids that night. My cousin Casey was married on Saturday (the main reason we went to Iowa). It was a beautiful and intimate ceremony with only family present. Cocktail hour started the reception off, then dinner, cake, pictures, and a bit of dancing. It was a really good time and was so nice to catch up with the family members who I don’t get to see often. Sunday morning I went out to breakfast with my best high school friends: Ashley, Ali, and Zip (and Kai!) and did some more catching up. We were only missing one–Jana–but she has been just a smidge too busy lately taking care of her beautiful new baby Landon to join us for coffee.

Speaking of babies, we made sure to set aside plenty of time to spend with the cutest little boy on the planet. Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod. He is just the most precious thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. And that HAIR.

that HAIR

if this face doesn’t give you baby fever, well… i just don’t know.

Now we’re back in Minneapolis just doing our day-to-day like normal folk. Yes, folk. Last night, we went to my aunt and uncle’s place for dinner and to watch the Wild play the Blackhawks to kick off the first round of playoffs. Minnesota lost, but… well let’s be honest, I care about it as much as I like the snow that is falling outside right. this. minute.


Why yes, it’s May 1st and still snowing here in Minnesota. We had three or four gorgeous days this week but now it’s back to the white stuff and 30 degree weather. Someone remind me why we moved here. Please.

Hopefully Mother Nature decides to turn it around again, because this weekend we are going to have company. Abby and Jake are coming on Friday (!!!!!!!). Though I’m sure we’ll have a blast and get up to something crazy, rain or shine. IKEA is on the to-do, along with drinking some jumbo margs (for Cinco de Mayo of course) and watching chick flicks. Mike and Jake are going to LOVE IT.

little canada livin’


Mike and I are back in the States.

I know it’s really old news. Like moldy, back-of-the-fridge, expired-last-year kind of old. But last time I wrote on here we had just celebrated Thanksgiving in Dornbirn, so I felt I needed a bit of a bridge to our most recent doings.

Anyway, Mike and I are back in the States. Minnesota to be exact. We’ve been here for about three months now and are really loving it (minus the fact that there is still snow on the ground and in the 7-day forecast).

Mike found a job with the Opus Group, a construction/real estate development company in Minnetonka, as an associate project manager. From what he tells me, he enjoys everything about working there: the people, the work, and (most of all?) the easy commute. I am just beginning a part-time job for our apartment’s property management. I will be doing after hours work in the leasing office: taking phone calls, getting packages, and dealing with residents.

As for what we’ve been doing with our free time? Well, we finally got ourselves a dog. HELL YEAH!!! And Minnie is her name-o. We got her from an animal rescue in Minneapolis, so we don’t know much about her history except that she comes from a shelter in Kentucky. They told us she is about a year old and is an English Pointer mix. She was pretty timid and weak when we first got her, but lately she’s become more lively/spirited (aka she chewed up my slipper and a towel the other day. Oh, she shit on the floor too… ahhh the joys of motherhood). She loves being around people and is starting to warm up to the idea of being friends–gasp!–with other dogs.

our precious little bitch

our precious little bitch

Mike has also been playing in a beer league to keep himself occupied on Wednesday nights. A few of his team members played with him at ISU and a third played in Dornbirn this year. Small world, huh?!  Actually, tonight is the championship game. Maybe Mike will come home a two-time champ…

Fingers crossed!

Update: the dog barfed all over upstairs. If there’s another incident in the next 24 hours she’s going back to the pound.

back on the horse


SO. I’ve decided that I’m going to take a stab at this thing again.

The reason I started writing this blog was to keep our family and friends in the loop while we were in Europe, but as I wrote, it became more than that to me. It became an outlet for all of my crazy thoughts and it gave me something to look forward to doing. The reason I stopped writing was because life got ahead of me and to try to write an update on all of it seemed like a chore.

Well, I don’t want that to happen again! So I’m going to do my best to keep up with the blog, and if I miss a moment or two, I’m sorry. I’ll update you on the big stuff but you’ll have to forgive me if I leave out a story here or there.

I am, after all, a very busy and popular girl.

b-b-b-bird bird bird. bird is the word.


I bet you’re wondering how the feast went last week. Well, I couldn’t be happier about how our big Thanksgiving celebration turned out. To have a house full of friends truly warmed my heart and made the holiday special. And the food? Well, that was just the cherry on top.

I am also proud to announce that I didn’t completely dry out my turkey. What what!! Though I do admit there was a point when I thought the turkey wasn’t going to happen. It was right after I punctured the liver WITH MY FINGER and it spewed everywhere.

Let’s take a quick poll on how well you know me. After the liver exploded, I:
a. shrugged it off and continued cleaning the bird
b. laughed about it and threatened to throw the guts at Mike
c. went into hysteria

The answer is c, of course. C for crying. And cussing. Both of which I did, right after I gagged and dropped the turkey in the sink. I think I felt bad for him. He used to roam around some beautiful barnyard hittin’ on chicks—haha—and now his head was Godknowswhere and his liver was being jabbed by some psycho cook. Buuuuut of course the show had to go on. So I sucked it up and finished cleaning the poor bastard. And in his honor, I did not overcook him.

before “the incident”

After everyone went home, Mike and I sat down and began a new Thanksgiving tradition. Once a day, for the month leading up to T-day, we each wrote down something that we are thankful for and put it in a jar. We split them up and read each other’s out loud. It was a really nice way to end the day and to remind ourselves how blessed we really are.

I hope your Thanksgiving was just as wonderful as ours.

happy t-day bitches!


Today I’m thankful that I slept peacefully all through the night.


You know anxiety and I are pretty much married, right?

We’ve been seeing each other for a really long time now. Anyway, sometimes he (she?) likes to wake me up in the middle of the night just to piss me off. Most of the time it’s not on days that I have nothing to do—no—it’s on the days that I have something important to wake up to.

So since we’re hosting about 25 people for Thanksgiving dinner, of course it happened last night at 3:45. Yes, 3:45. I laid in bed for two and a half hours (in denial) before I accepted that sleep wasn’t going to happen and rolled out of bed.

Because only one other girl from the team is from the States, she and I decided to invite all of the Canucks over to show ‘em how it’s done. Both of us are going to make a turkey, she’s mashing the potatoes, and I’m making a salad and dessert. Everybody has offered to bring a dish too, so it’s safe to say nobody is going to starve today.

Anxiety aside, I’m really excited.

My two wishes for today: 1. My turkey doesn’t suck. 2. I don’t fall asleep in my food.

guess who’s back… back again


A lot of stuff has happened since I have last graced you with my presence. A LOT. And yet………nothing.

Confused? Mike was offered a contract with Linz for this season, but they ended up signing too many guys and didn’t have enough space on the roster to play Mike. Very, very frustrating. (This may or may not be where you would see a lot of cursing/trash talking if I wasn’t so afraid of burning bridges.) That meant that he couldn’t and wouldn’t play unless someone was injured for the whole season or if they released another player. Long story short (you’re welcome), we are now living in Dornbirn where Mike is on a long-term try out. He’s been playing regularly—games too—and has been doing really well. I’ve been rain-dancing daily in hopes that we stay :)

For my sanity and yours, I have compiled a very concentrated list of happenings. For now, we will skip the fluff and really get to the nitty gritty.

It all started on a warm and rainy Wednesday afternoon in 1988. At approximately 1:15 on October 19th, a savior was born.

Wait, wrong story. Here we go:

Summer came and went.
Said goodbye to friends and family; cried a little.
Packed my bags.
Cried a little more.
Got on a plane.
Arrived in Linz.
Moved into a hotel.
Climbed a mountain; almost died.
Watched hockey.
Moved to a tiny apartment: the dorm room.
Suffered in the dorm room.
Threatened to burn down the dorm room.
Bought four plants; killed all but one.
Went to the city gardens.
Went to the zoo; got attacked by an ostrich.
Welcomed Mike’s parents to town.
Watched more hockey.
Went to Steyr.
Moved to a better apartment.
Welcomed Mike’s aunt Sandy to town.
Ate a sardine; cried.
Went to Salzburg.
Went to Zell Am See.
Hiked atop a mountain.
Partied in a castle.
Went to Klagenfurt.
Met the Leblers’ best friends; became family.
Ate a lot of food.
Watched hockey.
Got food poisoning.
Said goodbye to aunt Sandy.
Learned to make strudel.
Got a call from the Bulldogs.
Moved to Dornbirn.
Lived in a Gasthaus.
Watched more hockey.
Said goodbye to Mike’s parents.
Moved into an apartment.
Made new friends.
Turned 24.
Carved pumpkins.
Became an aunt.
Knitted a blanket.
Went to Bolzano; got drunk.
Went to Verona; got lost.
Partied at the Martinimart.
Watched hockey.
Killed the last plant.
Wrote a blog post…

WELL, would you look at that? You’re all caught up! Four months in four minutes.

Happy Thursday to you.