Sunday, May 29, 2011

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • all of the US military, past and present (including my father), for their service.
  • I'm leaving for Florida TODAY!
  • homemade blue cheese dressing.
  • having fun with our first non-parental weekend guest, Luke from St. Louis.
  • bunches of daisies in old mason jars around the house.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men.
Julius Charles Hare

Happy 32nd birthday (oh my goodness, my husband is 32!) to the most funny, gracious, kind and hardworking man I've had the pleasure to not only know but to marry and spend my life with each day.

Happy birthday, my darling Nick!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thank you, St. Louis.
Mark McGwire

With the rain pouring down here in the Quad Cities, I'm tending to lean toward reminiscing. So, here are some things I really miss about summer The Lou':
  • My huge pink peony bush in the front yard heavy with blooms. It brought me weeks of girly-flower happiness throughout my house and on my desk at work.
  • Grant's Farm Clydesdales.
  • The Soulard Farmers Market: Amish-raised beef, homemade ham and cheese sandwiches on flaky croissants, pots of sweet basil for $1, banjo music filtering through the air.
  • Lunch on the deck at The Boathouse watching the ducks and the paddle boats.
  • Concerts in Station Plaza in Kirkwood on balmy summer nights with tailgating chairs and dinner on our lap. If you're close, don't miss 'em.
  • Heading down the Busch Stadium on any random weeknight to buy scalped tickets on South Broadway and catching a Cardinals game from where ever we got the best deal.
  • Getting all hot and sweaty watching fabulous Broadway musicals outdoors at The MUNY.
  • Outdoor festivals in the parking lot of Schlafly Tap Room.
  • Nino the Clown, the Flying Pages and a corn dog at Circus Flora.

As with everywhere in the Midwest, the city comes alive in the summer. I'm looking forward to making new memories and favorite things here too. But, gosh darn it, I will always love St. Louis summers!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • picking out a few segments of ribbon by the yard in cute patterns, colors and textures.
  • being surrounded by pansies and pearls hearing stories from Tri Delta alumnae about college life in WWII.
  • solo Sunday matinees.
  • long walks with Winnie listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts.

Friday, May 20, 2011

And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.
James Russell Lowe

Reasons why I know I will love June 2011:
  • I'm heading to Florida for the first time in over a year to visit my mom and make a weekend trip to see Melissa and meet with some clients.
  • Continuing the Florida love, here is what I'm really looking forward to while I'm there: breakfast on the kitchen couch with my mom + dogs, seeing Casey's son, Eli, toddle across the room, snacks and a sunset at Point of Rocks, chatting with my godmother, Sue, on her patio on Siesta Key, a Publix sub, purchasing my (eighth?!) pair of my favorite black heeled sandals and some 97% spandex (it makes all the difference) tees at Miromar Outlets, dipping my toes in the water and collecting shells on Bonita Beach with lunch at Doc's and/or The Fish House to follow.
  • Ashley's son, Logan, is due June 25!
  • Hosting a baby shower for my sister-in-law. Much to my monogramming dismay, they don't know the gender, but it will be a cute celebration anyway!
  • Heading down to St. Louis to stay with my dear friend, Sarah. The trip not only means time to catch up with her but also the Soulard Farmers Market, Ted Drewes and Trader Joe's (with a cooler to truck my things home, I have no shame).
  • Having our "only/first" Quad City friends join us for Couples Twilight Golf at Nick's club. The theme is "Margaritaville" which, in my book, means I will get to unabashedly wear my Brooks Brothers pink whale pattern pants and a lei with my golf shoes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

But I prefer to think of Iowa as I saw it through the eyes of a ten-year old boy... filled with the wonders of Iowa's streams and woods, of the mystery of growing crops... days should be filled with adventure and great undertakings, with participation in good and comforting things.
Herbert Hoover

This past weekend we took advantage of Nick's last day off for the next eight or so weeks and headed to visit his parents for a quick overnight trip. We were able to catch up with some of his high school friends (+ wives + kids) for dinner, then spent the night at his parent's house and enjoyed breakfast with them the next morning.

On our way back home we had the whole day so we stopped into West Branch, Iowa. As the birthplace to our 31st President Herbert Hoover in 1874, there is a beautiful historic site and a cute downtown. We had lunch at a local pizza place and then walked through the historic site which was the Midwestern farm community where he was raised. The former president, along with his wife, are buried up on a hill at the site. Under beautiful oaks, overlooking the prairie I'd agree that it would be a lovely place to spend eternity.

Downtown West Branch.

Main street.

Heading up the hill to their memorial.

Graves of President and Mrs. Hoover.

With my favorite prairie dog.

Hoover Presidential Library

Nick walking ahead with Winnie on the site.

The town meeting place (aka the Quaker church).

Two-room birth home of Hoover.

Out back!

Historic homes along the road. Plus a horse/Beagle hitching post.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • letting my legs finally see the light of day in a pair of shorts.
  • good finds at the delightful Downtown Davenport Freight House farmer's market.
  • freshly potted ferns on the front porch.
  • having my first local Tri Delta alum event to look forward to next weekend.
  • watching the always inspiring Stephanie Nielson piece on 20/20 friday night (click here to watch if you missed it).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My strongest trials now are past, my triumph has begun.
Emmylou Harris

My dear Uncle Kevin died today. He was my father's youngest brother. The man that stepped up and walked me down the aisle at my wedding in memory of my father. He was so sick so I'm finding peace today in knowing he is in no more pain, free of suffering and worry about his illness and what was to come.

Uncle Kevin and Nick at our wedding.

Walking me down the aisle because my father wasn't there to do it.

Uncle Kevin and his wife, Sandy, at our wedding - married 25+ years.

My mom said today, which is so true, that he and my dad are already getting in lots of trouble together in heaven. Laughing so hard like they always used to do. Southern accents raring their heads just like the old days and reminiscing about their happiest times.

"Where the hell you been, brother!"

My father and my Uncle Kevin in the 1980s.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • my wonderful mother!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A handwritten note is like dining by candlelight instead of flicking on the
lights, like making a gift instead of ordering a product,
like taking a walk instead of driving.

Margaret Shepherd

One thing that I really love to do is send cards. In the day of Facebook wall posts, Twitter direct messages and email I think we can all agree that a solid piece of mail, stamped and carefully addressed, from a friend or family member is so appreciated.

I spent 45 minutes in Hallmark yesterday picking out cards for some upcoming birthdays, anniversaries and, of course, Mother's Day. My grandmother used to send so many cards each month. She used to write them all out at the beginning of the month, carefully write the date that it needed to be sent in small print where the stamp goes and file them on her desk. Once the date approached, she'd cover her reminder date with the stamp and send it off.

When she died, my mother said that many people told her that some years the only birthday wish they received was a card from my grandmother. For a few dollars or often just a cute 99 cent card, I love sending cards out whenever I am able.

Beyond greeting cards, I love having stationary on hand especially for thank you notes. I suppose it's ingrained in my head from my mother, "You can't play with that toy until you send a thank you note!" Having cute, personalized notes on hand makes me want to take the time to say thanks in a handwritten note.

I purchase most of my stationary from Shutterfly (including Christmas cards) because they always have a great special going and it allows me to have custom stationary without the fancy paper store prices. I also love their darling invitations and unique photo gifts.

[Plus, if you're a blogger, you can have the chance to get 50 free cards from Shutterfly!]

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • actually seeing the sunshine pour through my windows for more than an hour.
  • freshly laundered and folded white towels.
  • smart and fun women in the Junior League of the Quad Cities.
  • the experience of waking up at 3 a.m. to watch the royal wedding on the phone with my mom - loved, loved, loved it all!
  • helping Nick in his golf shop with the merchandising - who knew I had a talent for dressing mannequins?

Rabbit, rabbit!
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