Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekend Recap

What a fabulous weekend we had!  The weather seriously feels like fall & it's such a nice break from that ridiculous heat we had.  It makes me want to go to Boggio's for pumpkins and apple cider already!

Friday was GNO with two of my J's,  Jessica and Jen.  We went to Brandy's and indulged in too many martini's and some yummy appetizers and entree's.  We all have so much going on in our lives right now, it was great to catch up.  We've already planned a triple date for this coming weekend to the new burger & sushi joint B.A.S.H. in Ottawa.  Us girls are such great planners :)  

Saturday was the big day for Matt & Lizzy.  We headed to Chicago around noon, grabbed a drink as soon as we got to the hotel, visited for a bit, then got ready.  We stayed at the Westin on the River.  We stayed at a Westin in Boston too, seriously beautiful hotels for pretty reasonable prices.  It's right across the street from the House of Blues, Bar Louie, & Harry Caray's.  

The wedding ceremony and reception were at Fulton's on the River.  Known for their steaks & located on Chicago's River Walk.  Everything turned out perfect.  Seriously, they are the cutest couple.  One of their readings was the song The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News.  How stinkin' cute is that!  We had a great time catching up with some old high school pals, lots of laughs, & lots of dancing, & fun.  

Picture overload:

Chicago river front

she is just stunning.

so cute!

seriously how cute are these two!?

gorgeous night in the City

favorite <4

Joe, Justin, Landon, & Clayton

this one had wayyy too many old fashioned's 

me and Elizabeth...check out that background!  Beautiful.

our 50th selfie of the night.  

house of blues!

We decided about 10 PM that we were getting pretty tired, but we still wanted to check out the House of Blues for a bit so we stopped there for one drink & then called it a night.  There is so much to do and see in the city, I wish we would've had more time to spend there, but we were tired, & little hung over in the morning & ready to get home to our pug.  As much as Chicago fascinates me, I still love nothing more than my small town surrounded by cornfields, & open road.  Another weekend for the books!  And so many more to go still as we enter into August.  Brantley Gilbert concert this weekend, Mike Milligan & Steam Shovel the following, bike trip to Minnesota for a wedding, then practically Labor Day weekend & September right around the corner!  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five on Friday

One. Fall Clothing
Just purchased my first (of many I’m sure) fall sweaters from Apricot Lane Peoria & it is sooo cute!  They have a bunch of seriously adorable fall attire.  Lots of Aztec prints, colorful cardigans, and super cute wedges in cobalt blue, mocha, & rust.  How much more fall can you get than that??

Two. Florida Georgia Line
Completely OBSESSED with ‘Round Here and every other song on their album.  It’s 10 bucks on iTunes & totally worth it.  Hoping to get tickets to see them in Chi town on Halloween.  They’re really very easy on the eyes too.  I’ve been following them on Facebook for updates & pictures.  Love them.

Three.  Wedding Weekend
I mentioned this in another post earlier in the week, but I need to give another should out to one of my best friends Nate & his fiancé Dawn & my cousin Matt & his fiancé Lizzy.  We’re very sorry we have to miss Nate & Dawn’s wedding, they’re such a great couple & have the most adorable little guy Nolan.  Wish I could see him in his little tuxedo.  I wish them nothing but a life time of happiness!  Matt & Lizzy are getting married downtown Chicago & I’m super pumped to see how this wedding turns out.  I’m sure it will just be stunning!  We are going to have so much fun!  We’ve also got a wedding in August in Minnesota we are planning to make a bike trip out of it & another wedding in October (love fall weddings!).  Wedding bells are chiming in my head.

Four.  Garlic Parmesan Knots
Garlic Parmesan Knots.  I just decided to include the link to the recipe that I like.  She gives exact measurements which I don't use.  Since it's just Joe and I, I usually make two or three at a time as a side rather than the entire package.  Her pictures are awesome too!

Five. Tonight’s GNO at Brandy’s
Cannot wait for 6pm tonight.  Meeting up with a couple of my favorites, Jessica & Jen at Brandy’s for dinner & some major martinis.  Seriously, this place has THE best martini selection around.  Plus they carry August Hill wine, and if you want a bloody Mary, you’re getting half a meal in it, not to mention their food is pretty fabulous as well.  I haven’t seen Jen since the 4th of July fireworks in Hennepin & we haven’t had any girl time in months!  She just recently moved back to town while her and her husband and step daughter house hunt.  She’s living back at home with mom and dad & she’s lovin’ it.  We also love that she is so close to town rather than allll the way in Hennepin!  Taking full advantage of her being back home, starting with dinner and drinks tonight!  

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

back to my blogging roots

Fair warning, this post is a little lengthy & completely lacks pictures...

The whole reason I started this blogging thing mainly (besides boredom being stuck at home), was because I was laid up for 5 weeks after our motorcycle accident, I was spending entirely too much time on Pinterest & I came across Jessica at  Little Baby Garvin.  I had never read a blog before, but I just loved hers, she is so inspiring.  Seriously, this girl is super creative & fun, I mean Christmas in July Christmas Vacation drinking game?!?  Sign me up!  And being on, what I thought would be a completely different journey to getting pregnant, even after just being in an accident, I liked her idea of documenting her pregnancy. 

My thought process at the time was, name the blog something clever that had to do with what I intended my content to be about.  I tried to stick with the whole conception theme, but after having several disappointing months of not being able to write about anything except the struggle, I decided to give it up.  In March I took a break from blogging.  I used my blog as a way to document some other great things that happened, like our anniversary trip, vacations, etc, but I was heartbroken that I wasn't able to document my weekly “bumpdates” or share pictures a of nursery, and I still have not gotten to be able to do that.  I decided after our cruise that I would try to keep at it again.  I don’t care if anyone reads or follows, but how great will this be years down to road to not only have the pictures, but the memories & the feelings written down?

But, trending now (in my world)…babies.  Hands down, so many people are having babies!  Well yeah, we are at that age, where we get married, or not, & we start families.  My news feed is BLOWN UP with baby pictures, most of the blogs I follow… baby on the way, 2nd baby on the way, or pregnant!  It’s just everywhere.  Why do I torture myself reading blogs about people who are pregnant, when I myself am having a tough time getting pregnant?  I’m not sure, I wouldn't consider it torture I guess, more a hope or a fantasy, a glimmer of what could one day be my life. 

So what’s next?  Well, if I’m not pregnant by my annual checkup on September 3rd, I will be referred by my doc to a fertility specialist.  We have already done a few different things to see where a possible problem could be, but everything we've done came back with “good” results, so the next step is to take it up a notch & see the specialist.  My gut feeling?  Unexplained infertility.  The WORST (in my opinion) type because they “just don’t know” what is causing it.  I am an NEED TO KNOW type of person.  I need to get on Google & research my little heart out & know every fact possible, unexplained is just not going to work for me!  But I honestly believe that’s what I’m going to get.  After all of the research that I've done about other types of infertility issues, I just can’t put myself into any other category but unexplained.  Not that I’m a doctor, but, in my unprofessional opinion, that’s what I would say.

So, all of this is leading up to the idea that I start writing more about this road that we are going to be travelling.  I’m hoping that it makes me be honest with myself and everyone else about my true feelings & emotions throughout the process because this is an emotional roller coaster already & I feel  like I've kept my emotions pretty in check most of the time, but definitely not the entire time.  It’s hard to be strong & put on a strong face when deep down, you really are hurting, & trying to deal with something that you’re not familiar with.  I know nothing about pregnancy or infertility, let alone all of the emotions that were going to come along with either of those things.  Maybe someone will read it and be able to relate, or maybe I can look back & reflect on this part of my life in a couple months or even years from now & hope that I've learned something or made some strides. 

I am thankful that I have a husband who is supportive & we always are sure to let each other know that we’re on the same team, I would hope that any marriage is that way.  Of course there will be disagreements & arguments, but there will be lots of laughs and lots of love too.  As tough as this has been, I’m looking forward to where this road will hopefully lead us. 

Note: After recent events this afternoon, I must add that this has been the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with emotionally in my life, and I've dealt with some really heavy emotional stuff in my past. We can't help how we feel, we are humans & we have emotions.  NO ONE IS PERFECT.  I am not only thankful to my amazing husband, but also my amazing friends who have not hesitated to lend a shoulder to cry on or a martini to drink.  I appreciate it probably more than they will ever know. They have been truly amazing & so supportive.  

Also, for the time being (and because I was asked by a co-worker today if I was pregnant shortly after thinking up this post) I'm going to change the name of this blog.  Like I said in the beginning, I thought that I would be like so many others, slip, fall, & end up pregnant in just a few months & that is not the case at all.  Little did I know... 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

my life in quotes

I'm kind of obsessed with quotes.  I try to post them on Instagram (lenaridley) and I constantly pin them to this pin board.  There are tons of great quotes out there, some will speak to you more than others.  Some are more relatable than others.  Some are about life, love, God, happiness, revenge, there are tons of great quotes out there, & after sorting through my pin board of over 250 of my favorites, these are my top seven. 
This first quote speaks volumes to me, I constantly have to remind myself during these fertility struggles that this is just another one of life's challenges, but there is a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, something good will come to us.  This arrow will be my next tattoo & a constant reminder of this quote & what it means to me.

Jack Kerouac is one of my favorite writers, if you haven't read On the Road, I highly suggest it.  Such an awesome read.  He was a pioneer of the Beat Generation, look it up if you don't know what that is, because it's pretty awesome stuff.  This quote can be hard sometimes, we go through things in life that we definitely don't love by any means, but they all turn into experience, that is the important thing.  Experience makes us wiser & stronger.  Most of us have so much to be thankful for that we hardly have reason not to love every minute of our lives.  Take a minute to reflect on the fact that a roof over your head, a job, a cell phone, a car, food on the table, heat, air conditioning, & many of the other things we take for granted, many people don't have.  There is always someone who is worse off than you.

This is so true for me.  I don't care where we are, if I have my husband with me, I can call anything home.  I'm looking forward to building our dream house & making that our forever home, but as long as I'm with him, then I'm home.  Maybe my dog too :)

For me, my past casts a dark shadow on my life.  I'm not going to elaborate, those that know me best know what I'm talking about & the place that I was.  I'm so thankful for my AMAZING family & friends & husband who helped me through truly the worst part of my life.  If it wasn't for them, I would not be where I am today, happy, healthy, & blessed.  It's so important to stay focused on the present & not worry about the things that we cannot change that happened in our past.  Our past shapes us into the people we are today.   

The older I get, the more I continue to learn about relationships with people.  You can "kill em' with kindness" until you're blue in the face, there comes a point when you just have to wash your hands of some relationships.  You will lose friends that you think you were close with.  People will betray you, & you may betray others, you might have your feelings hurt, you might hurt someone's feelings.  Bottom line, people will come and go but there will always be people that you can count on forever, & they're not always your blood, but a family that you've created for yourself throughout your life of the people who matter the most.

So important for ALL of us women to remember this quote.  It's true, always keep your head up, you're a woman and you're strong, just being a woman makes you strong by default.  Heels are a must & standards are not optional, they're REQUIRED & they better be high.

Lastly, a famous quote, from one of my favorite movies, Ferris Bueller.  He hit the nail on the head when he said this.  Every year just seems to fly by faster & faster the older I get.  Sometimes we are so focused on one thing that we forget to just stop and smell the roses.  Seriously, stop sometime when you see some flowers & smell them.  Sit outside for a couple minutes and enjoy the breeze, meditate, take a minute to count your blessings, without the TV on, & the phone in hand.  We have so much to be thankful for & life truly is short, so never forget this quote, and think of Matthew Broderick with a towel on his head when you do just for an extra laugh.
I really hope you've enjoyed my little slice of knowledge... hope you feel enlightened!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

weekend recap

This weekend consisted of lots of cold beer, country music, beautiful night rides on the bike, and some scary movie watchin' this afternoon.  

Friday afternoon I went to my aunts after work to take a dip in the pool and start my Friday off right by drinking my uncles beer while he was out working in the heat.  Joe even came after he got off work.  The heat has been so awful that even the pool water is over 90 degrees.  We decided last minute to head over to Lostant for Lostant Days so we could get a corndog & listen to 303, a local band and some friends of ours who are always a good time.  We were pretty disappointed that hardly anyone turned out to the festivities, but we had some awesome food & quite a few brews & a good time being the only two standing to watch the band. 

beautiful afternoon for a couple beers & the pool

Saturday was the Will Call event for August Hill winery that I wrote about in the Five on Friday post.  We ate a quick lunch at an Irish pub across from the winery (more corndogs!) then headed over to do a tasting and enjoy the pairing.  One of the best things that the winery offers is the August Hill Chill.  You can purchase the kit, and use it with any type of wine, preferably theirs, and they're perfect on a day like Saturday while we sat on the patio trying to prevent boob sweat.  The pairing was guacamole with either their Muscato or their Chardonel (Chardonnay), it was awesome together.  So yummy!

august hill chill!  I had a mix of the Vignoles & the Trapolino

how stinkin cute is their little succulent plant along with the little tasting glass & the little bowl of guac!?

After August Hill we headed to our friends house for a quick cookout then it was back to Lostant Days for Brushfire.  They're a country cover band, working on their own album, and they're amazing.  Not only do they play that current hits, they play Charlie Daniels, Garth Brooks, & even work artists like The Beatles, Metallica, and The Alleman Brothers and more into their songs.  It was a blast.  We celebrated my friend Laura's birthday, & my friend Cheyanne was home from her Jimmy Johns PR travels she's been doing.  It was such a great time.  We sang our hearts out, danced, drank, laughed, hugged, it was great to have us all back together again, it's been awhile since we've all gotten to hang out together.  Even though we didn't stay for more than a couple hours, it was so much fun.  

just a shot of me and my tan lines before we left & my hair got ruined by the bike :(

some of my favorite girls!  happy birthday Laura Lou!

Today I decided I wasn't going to get off the couch.  I did manage to get a shower in, started thinking about going to Target, but then decided I can go tomorrow after work when I'm already in town.  We left Frankie all alone for most of the weekend so he was happy I decided to snuggle with him on the couch.  Jessica and Mike came over around lunch time so the guys could work on a set of Beer Can Darts for some friends so Jessica and I walked to Caseys for a slice of pizza and a fountain soda & some candy, and some peanut butter chocolate covered rice krispy treats.  We always max out on food when we're together.  We decided to watch a scary movie, we picked Splinter.  Totally creepy & worth the watch.  I think we might try Evil Dead tonight after we throw some chops on the grill.  

Another weekend down, & not many more to go before summer is over.  I can't believe how close to August we already are.  I want to shout out a Happy Wedding Week to some of my favorite friends and family members who are getting married this Saturday, Nate & Dawn, I'm so sorry that we will have to miss your special day.  Nate you did such a great job, you guys have a beautiful son & a whole lifetime together now, I will always consider you one of my best friends!  And Matt & Lizzy, we are so excited to come and celebrate your wedding this weekend in Chicago!  We are going to have a BLAST!  SO SO happy for two of my favorite couples to finally be tying the knot!

me and Nate!  Happy wedding week!  (yes I am hella sun burnt in this pic)

.how cute are these two! (stole this from you Lizzy!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Five on Friday

One.  Wine Club Will Call
My best friend Jessica and I joined the August Hill Winery wine club a little over a year ago & we absolutely love it.  My mom is a member & she used to share her wine with me, but then she told me I needed to grow up and spend the $30 bi-monthly cost & get my own.  Guess she got tired of sharing.  If you’re from this area and you haven’t tried August Hill or maybe you have but you’re not a wine club member, you should totally check it out.  Their wine is absolutely amazing.  If you become a club member you get free wine tasting for you and a guest (1 per day), 10% off all merchandise in the store, 20% off wine by the case, & the best part is every other month you get wine!  They always have a fun pairing on Will Call day.  Today starts Will Call weekend & since this heat we’ve been having is finally supposed to break, it will be a great time to sit on the patio, sip some wine, & listen to some tunes.

Two.  The Heat
It’s been about 100 degrees (no joke) this entire week.  It’s too hot to go outside and do anything.  Even the pool isn’t enjoyable.  I haven’t been able to get any of my running clinic homework done this week either, even at 7 or 8 in the evening, it’s still just stagnant, awful heat.  Saturday seems to be marking the cold front (forecast is only 83 degrees!) and I can’t wait. 

Three.  Breakfast Casserole
I’ve been making this recipe for a couple months now, & I can’t help but rave about it, as does my husband.  Every time I make it, he tells me how much he loves it.  I found it on Pinterest so I’m sure many people have seen it or made it, but I have to share it, talk about simple!

Four. Fall
Kind of excited for September to roll around.   I know we have to get through August first, but I’m ready for fall not only because we need a break from this heat, but also because I’m ready for some fall décor.  September is a special month too because it will be our 2 year anniversary On September 24th.  I have a couple of really great gift ideas for Joe that I’m super excited about.  And lastly, Vintage Illinois takes place in September, if you’re a local, you should definitely check out this awesome event.  29 Illinois wineries will be there this year, it’s out at Matthiesson the 21stand 22nd, & it’s such a blast.  This year Jessica and I will be volunteering one day so we can taste for free!  August Hill Winery sponsors this event!

Five. Michelob Ultra Summer Flavors
Totally obsessed with the light, refreshing, flavorful tastes of Michelob Ultras, Lime Cactus, Pomegranate Raspberry, and Dragon Fruit Peach!  A great summer drink, I love drinking beer, but usually they’re so heavy, I can’t drink more than a couple without feeling totally bloated.  These are perfect for sippin on while sitting by the pool or camping.  And they’re only 95 calories!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

weekend recap

Our original plan was to travel to the Indiana Dunes on Saturday morning, camp for the night, then my sister in law Jodie & her family were going to meet us to spend the day splashing around in Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, those plans changed when Joe found out he had to work Saturday (first Saturday in like 2 months!). So we revamped our plans & I’m kind of glad we did! First off, we heard Saturday morning that a six year old boy had to be rescued from being buried under 11 feet of sand for over two hours! Where were his parents?! I guess he was in an area that had been cordoned off too. He is so lucky to be alive, how scary that must’ve been for that little boy. Glad that he is ok.

After we heard that news, & that part of the park was closed, & with Joe having to work, we decided to just head to Jodie & Jon’s house in Lafayette instead. We didn’t end up leaving til around 4:30 in the evening, but it worked out well. It was a beautiful evening for a ride. We took 24, a 2 lane highway that runs through a ton of unique little towns. We didn’t end up getting to their house until 10 since Indiana is an hour ahead it put us there a little later than we wanted, but nonetheless, we had a couple beers, the kids were ball of energy so we watched them as they acrobated across the living room. We have such a blast watching them, I am in awe at how much they seem to grow each time I see them.

Sunday we made a whole mix of things for breakfast including cold pizza & pancakes. We decided to go a small water park only a couple minutes away from their house. It was a beautiful day & it wasn’t too packed. The guys entertained the kids for a while & Jodie and I hit the lazy river in a tandem intertube & soaked up the rays & chit chatted. Her and I tried to teach Jocelyn how to breathe through her nose under water. Kind of entertaining to say the least. Kids amaze me, especially Jocelyn, she is so fearless!

wallaby exhibit was awesome, they were SO close 

prairie dog exhibit... no prairie dogs, maybe too hot

funny monkey

the kids when we told them to "smile"

After the water park we went back to the house & cooked out shishkabobs and pasta salad, visited for a bit longer then decided about 5 we needed to start heading home. It was a hot ride home, but enjoyable. We were glad to be home & see Frankie.

Lots of fun memories made. We are so lucky to have them be so close now. It’s been years since I’ve been able to see my best friend for two weekends in a row! Probably since 2008 when Jon was in North Korea for a year and Jodie and kids lived here. They were just babies then. Now they’re riding bikes with no training wheels & learning to swim. It’s crazy how fast the time is just flying. I need to start thinking about Christmas presents!

playin in the pool a couple weeks ago

All in all, even though plans changed, they changed for the better & we had such a great weekend. Very blessed to have such amazing family and friends. It was quiet, relaxing, drama-free, tension-free, & commitment-free. We are always so busy and have so much going on every weekend, there are just some things that we have to say no to between weddings, birthdays, parties, concerts, it’s no wonder this year is going by so fast. It’s impossible to do it all. We will be celebrating our two year anniversary in just a couple short months. Can’t wait to see what the rest of this summer has in  store for us!  Adios!  I'll leave you with a couple more of my favorite pics.

best matron of honor you could sak for

coldest photoshoot of our lives to date

love this pic, would love to get an entire Ridley family pic like this!

Keegan wedding!  So glad they got to come home for this.

classy ladies

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