Putting the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional’…

Large family or small family? Crazy family or sane family? Awe hell, who cares?

Almost 25 years ago I was born into a nice Catholic family. If you’re not Catholic, this means birth control was something that only sinners used. So according to those rules, our family grew faster than most rabbit families. This left me among 14 aunts and uncles, 35 first cousins and still counting. I’ve become quite accustomed to tripping over children running in between my legs and amounts of food only ever seen in a military mess hall. These things are what I will remember years from now. This weekend was packed full of catching up, breaking the dance floor and lots of laughter. 

But one of my most grateful moments these past few days (besides all of the wedding festivities) was after the ceremony and party. It was the day when most of the guests headed home and after all the garbage was picked up. I sat in a swinging chair only listening to the waves crash to the shore of Ham Lake. I must have closed my eyes for a brief moment because when I opened them my grandfather was sitting right next to me pushing the swing with his feet, almost to make sure that I would never stop swinging. We sat there for about another hour as I listened to stories of him growing up on our family dairy farm (the same place I grew up). He spoke of his parents and siblings. He lit up when telling me about his machine classes in high school. And sounded proud when he turned down a machining job in Milwaukee to help out and eventually buy the farm from his parents. He became so passionate telling me the stories that made him the man, the grandfather, that he is to me today. He turns 80 years-old in a month. With that many years gone by I can’t wait to hear many more stories that will carry through the coming generations. 

Take time to listen to your elder’s life adventures. I guarantee that you’ll be surprised and cherish every word. Maybe even learn a thing or two. Besides, you only get one family. Take advantage of the love, beauty and fun of your clan. 

Happy beginning of the week! As always make every day count!


Wedding bells ringing…

As I lay my dress out for the morning, paint the top coat of polish on my finger nails and perfect my maid of honor speech in the mirror, I am 100% ready for tomorrow. 

No matter how many mountains I climb or beaches I lay on soaking in the sunshine, nothing compares to experiencing life with your other half. I can’t exclaim my excitement loud enough for two of my favorite people who are getting hitched tomorrow. Both sides of the duo have amazing hearts and I’m incredibly grateful to be standing next to them on the day that they pronounce their love for each other. 

With all of the mushy business out of the way now, I cannot wait for my ‘big day.’ Let me paint you a picture-A white sand beach. My man. Five or six guests, tops. The ocean crashing waves in the distance. No stress. No drama. No debt. Just us. THEN a huge party after to drink, dance, and be merry.

But in the mean time, I am going to be the best freakin MOH there ever was for two of my best friends. The venue is set, the guests will arrive and we will have ourselves a bangin’ time kicken’ it with the Kriegels! 

Summer is here!…

Celebrating this Father’s Day weekend in Minnesota was hot hot hot! I fell in love with Minneapolis all over again. I started by driving a few balls out on the golf green. Then, we made our way over to the Bloomington farmers market for a delicious scone. We spent the majority of the time though melting in the sun by the Stone Arch Bridge for an annual festival. Hundreds of vendors lined up to sell art, food and goods. Just waking around sipping lemonade and talking to fellow entrepreneurs made me appreciate the beauty and warmth (quite literally) of this medium-sized U.S. city. I’ve come to realize that those size cities suit me well because there are always activities going on, but it’s not overwhelming big like New York City or L.A. (even though I like to visit those bigger cities). 

I’m thankful that I got to spend this holiday with Nick’s family, but I did think a lot of my dad and his influence on me too. I only got this far because my dad led me on a path. Some days I thought it was the wrong path, but I angrily persisted. Even though my dad was a man of few words, he always knew what to say to comfort me or guide me. Now, I am exactly where I want to be, credit to my one and only father. 

Cheers to all of the dads out there and the beginning of a sunshiny summer. ☀️

Like or comment below on your favorite summer activity! Maybe I’ll try it and feature you in my next post!

What’s next?…

I’m baaack! Regardless of the green and gold running through my veins, Minnesota has a special place in my heart. Driving around the cities, many places felt familiar and comfortable.

Since crossing the St. Croix River, one of my favorite questions has been ‘How didn’t you and Nick kill each other being around each other 24 hrs/day?’ Simple answer: Because we are friends first. Of course we had our disagreements and necessary silent moments, but it was not any more than any other couple living ‘a normal life.’ I would even say that the best part of this trip was getting to spend it with someone I call one of my favorite people. I think one of the most cherished parts of a successful relationship is relying on each other as friends before anything. And to experience new things every day is just a bonus. I am so blessed to have found that in Nick. 

So what’s next for the travel duo? I am happy to announce that we haven’t any idea. Besides bopping around Wisconsin and Minnesota to visit family and friends, we are open to ideas. I’m ecstatic to begin what seems to be shaping up as a perfect summer in the Midwest. 

Like or comment below! I would love to hear from you!

Girls just wanna have fun…

Riding solo. One man wolf pack. Loner. This was the furthest description of my weekend. I ditched Nick for a few days to be with my girls!

About 8 months ago, I was honored when one of my favorite couples asked me to be the maid of honor for their wedding. Even though I already had a closet full of bridesmaid dresses (I’m well on my way to be the next star for a sequel of 27 dresses…), this request was different. I knew the that motions of showers, parties and vows were similar to the millions of weddings that happened each year, but these two people were nothing short of extraordinary. A real life fairytale, if you may. But one of the best parts and my favorite quality of this couple is that they don’t focus on the so called ‘fairytale.’ Instead, they live and love each other in the deepest way possible everyday. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their disagreements like every couple, but they prove to each other that their love conquers all. I feel so blessed to have these two individuals in my life and as such a role model for the beauty of commitment, hard work and happiness. 

#kickinitwiththekriegels #gofalcons

As I joined thousands of young men and women around the country this weekend just trying to enjoy being young and free, my heart goes out to those affected in Orlando and around the U.S. 

Lime Jello…

There’s something to be said about coming back to a place after being gone for a period of time. Sure, it still looks the same with the same buildings and same people, but something feels strikingly unfamiliar. You almost feel out of place. Wondering if you’ll ever fit back into that jello mold you were poured into and it hardened around you.

As for my experience, this particular place was my home town. And I would say the jello flavor was lime. This only because lime isn’t a bold green, but it’s still bright and obnoxious. (Open interpretation-use your imagination) Poking through into my young adult years, I quickly began to feel that I had more to offer than what my booming metropolis of 8,000 (population) had available. I had the thirst for growth and knowledge about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. People and places foreign to that mundane lime jello fascinated me to every extent. Once I got a taste of culture, art and religion I realized that I didn’t even care for the lime flavor.

Antigo, WI will always be where I spent my morning hours learning Math in school and where I developed my first boy crush. However, I became familiar and comfortable with who I truly am in Tokyo, Japan when I became stranded on a train. Even more so, when I studied in Europe and most recently, when I decided to pick up everything and travel the United States. My light shined. I was no more a stranger in the dark. So now when I go back, I am no longer the pony-tailed brunette dressed in a hoodie and jeans (although I do style that look from time to time). Instead, you’ll notice me dancing/singing in the parking lot of Fleet Farm or talking to a stranger in the check out line of the grocery store. I’ve given up trying to be something I’m not or fit into an expectation of what I should be. Expectations are crap. Trust me though when I say this was not an easy task and I still even work at it. If I have one piece of advice this week it’s DON’T FIT THE MOLD. Do something unexpected and I promise that you will grow substantially. What do you have to lose?

Love to all of my loyal jello-loving readers! Happy Friday!

Nick was behind the tractor again! IMG_3301 (1)

New kittens with the cousins!IMG_3307


Colors of the Wind…

Whether you have changed through years by education, military involvement, or traveling the world, I hope you ride it out. This changing or as I prefer to say it, growing is necessary as a person to become an essential part of our functioning planet. The world is always moving and changing. Therefore, so must it’s subjects. I can speak for myself when I say that I am not a physicist who can figure out logistics of energy, matter, motion and force, but I do know a few personally. I am not trained to fight in battles that our country stands in, but I do support every military man and woman. So even though I do not hold the title of a physicist or a soldier I will never stop learning or fighting to understand and continue to make our world a better place. I have many more countries and places on my ever growing list of wanderlust, and you have my word that I will never cease to move forward. For me, traveling is hope. Each unfamiliar place I explore and every person I meet with an untold story is what keeps this world turning.  Enjoy your week! If you can, take a minute to feel your heart beat or listen to your breathing to remember the reason you’re here. 

Wisconsin has welcomed me back so nicely. I am enjoying the country breeze and wide sunsets. 

Like and/or comment below on what has helped you grow into the person that you are today?

It’s Always Sunny in Madison…

Nick learned how to drive a tractor! (He rocked at it!)IMG_6243

First strawberries of the season!IMG_6246

My GORGEOUS cousin and I petting a bunny at Culvers. (awesome idea, interesting location for a petting zoo)IMG_6241

I returned to my place of employment during the summer months of my college years. Even though I had grown up on a dairy farm and was very familiar with hard work, I had no idea the impact Bures Berry Patch would have on me. I learned to work every day with integrity and perception. I believe these are skills you only acquire with age and interest. Gratefully, I had an understanding and very patient boss to lead me along that journey. I welcomed these new skills as they brought me joy and purpose as I worked each day.

As I was working back on the farm the past couple of days, I felt right back at home. I will never be able to thank the Bures Berry Patch and mostly importantly my Uncle Ed enough for the wonderful lessons that I now use every day. I can’t wait until the next time I’m in the patch, but until then I will focus on the few early berries that were ripe and juicy enough sitting happily in my belly.

We are continuing to visit family and friends in the Midwest!

Please like or comment below! Wishing every one a sunny and beautiful weekend!