Saturday, October 4, 2014

Smmer 2014 Recap

I can't believe that I've only posted 5 times within the last year- I am way slacking! I'm blaming it on the busy life that we live! I did write in mid-July, but a few things have happened since then:

The summer flew by and I feel like I didn't get to fully enjoy it- we did no camping, didn't go kayaking or tubing, and worked a ton around the house. Hopefully next summer things will call down. 

I might have forgotten to post that we celebrated Grace's 2nd birthday in June. She's such a cute little girl and we love her! In August we celebrated Alex's 2nd birthday. He wouldn't sit still very long, not even to open his gifts! He's a stinker and a handful! In September we celebrated Caden's first birthday. I feel like a terrible aunt, because I forgot my camera!!! Amanda asked me to by his godmother, so I participated in his baptism and then the family go together for lunch, cake, and presents. Caden is a mama's boy right now and as cute as a button! 

On August 20th, 2014, Joel and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary! Five year!!! Already? Were does the time go? How can it seem like just yesterday and forever ago all at the same time? I love being married to my best friend and sharing my life with him. I miss him more than anything when we're apart, and we've spent some time apart this summer. (I mentioned my Maryland and Glen Arbor trips in my previous post). I traveled to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ for a week in August and it just happened to be the week of our anniversary. I felt so horrible spending our special day apart, but Joel did what he could to make it special anyways. While in New Jersey, I decided to take an evening trip (I was in a Food Science Short Course all day for the week) into Manhattan, NY. On Tuesday evening I attended the Manhattan Temple- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was such a unique and beautiful temple! It really blended in with the other city buildings; I didn't see it until I was standing right in front of it. I took a bus from my hotel to the city and then took the subway uptown to the temple. It was quite an adventure- but going back was a late night. I didn't get to bed until after midnight. So Wednesday morning when I got a knock on the door at 7:00 am, I was very tired. I stumbled to the door, opened it and saw a breakfast tray, and told the hotel staff that I didn't order anything and went to shut the door. She said, "Don't you have a special day?" I looked again and there was a flower and a card that said "Happy Anniversary- Love Joel". I was sooooo surprised! Joel sent me breakfast in bed for our anniversary. I didn't expect it in the least and it made me smile. When I got home that Friday, Joel and I went out to a movie to celebrate and then I bought him a life size Iron Man cardboard cut-out for the game room (when it's finished). 

In September Joel traveled to Connecticut for a design thing with Nestle Waters. He was gone for a week and I missed him, but at least we got to talk on the phone at least once a day. He was home for a week and then he was off to Vevey, Switzerland. It's so hard when he travels internationally, because we don't have international texting or calling. We rely on an app, called Voxer, to communicate because it goes off of wifi. This trip my phone was on the fritz a lot and with the time difference, I didn't get to talk to Joel very much. That was hard on me. I missed the sound of his voice and it made me pretty mopey. I am so glad when he comes home! This trip he brought my home some new key chains for my collection: one from London and one from Switzerland. That boy is sooo thoughtful. I showed him my old collection of key chains from when I traveled a lot in high school, and now he's helping me start a new collection! He brought me on from CT, too! It's the little things he does that shows how much he loves me. He also brought home the best chocolate in the world- Cailler Swiss chocolate! It just melts in your mouth!

Today is October 4th! I was able to participate in the Colorburst Tour again this year (I missed last year because my car battery died the morning of). It was cold, windy, rainy, and even hailed. But I still rode to enjoy the colors. I completed the shortest ride- 17 miles- in about an hour and 20 minutes. Not the best time, but considering the conditions, I am happy with that!

Those were some big events that took place this summer. Besides the normal hum drum of friends & coworkers taking other jobs and relocating, trying to fulfill my callings to the best of my abilities, working at a place I love and loving what I'm doing, and keeping up with family! Yes, callings, as in- I have 3 callings at church with now: YW President, Webelos Den Leader, and Branch Chorister. It keeps me busy with planning activities, preparing lessons, and practicing music!

Grace's 2nd Birthday

Alex's 2nd Birthday- Elmo themed

Caden eating cake at Alex's party (Didn't get any from his own party)

I saw the Statue of Liberty in person- from a distance

Manhattan Temple

Night time view once the sidewalk cleared

Happy Anniversary!

Joel is the sweetest!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mid-July 2014

Where has the time gone???? It's already mid July! We've been in our new home for nearly 5 months now. At the end of June we emptied out our storage unit, so we're officially moved in! We are still unpacking and organizing, but making progress! Joel and I have been kept pretty busy between work, family & church. He has been called as the 2nd counselor in the Fremont branch presidency and I have been called as the Young women's President. It has been a blast! We love the branch and living in the middle of the woods. Below are some updated pictures of our house in the summer. It's lovely surrounded in green!

This summer has been fun so far! In June, Amanda, Alex, Caden, Alyssa, Grace, and I drove from Grand Rapids, MI to Baltimore, MD for our step-sister, Neena's, wedding. It was a crazy trip with 3 kids under the age of 2, but I'm glad we went. It was nice to spend time with our family that we don't see very often, some being in California & Maryland (previously Hawaii). I love my sisters, nephews, and niece very much and I'm grateful for the time spent with them.

Two weeks later I went to Glen Arbor, MI with Amanda, Luke, Alex, and Caden for a family vacation. Luke's family gets together every year up there and Amanda asked me to go to help out with the boys. We spent some time at the beach, hiked on a nature bluff trail overlooking Lake Michigan, and walked around the shops in Glen Arbor.

For Independence Day this year, Joel and I stayed home to participate in a community event in Hesperia: the Family Fun Festival. They had an art fair, remote control car races, rubber duck races, carnival food, tractor pulls, horse pulls, and others that we didn't get to attend. After walking around for 2.5-3 hours, we went into Fremont for dinner and movie. Then we went back to Hesperia to watch the firework show. For being a small town, they did a great job! It was fun to just spend the entire day with my love.

This weekend (July 11th and 12th) was a wedding weekend for us! I attended the wedding reception of a long time family friend on Friday night and it was a lovely event! Simple & classy in decoration, fantastic & tons of food, and so much love! The Wilson family are such wonderful people and the 4 sisters are amazing. The oldest sister gave a beautiful speech and the other two sisters each sang a song for the bride & groom. On Saturday, Joel and I attended our friend and co-worker's wedding. It was an outdoor wedding, and although it was a rainy/overcast day, it was a beautiful one! This wedding was also simple & elegant, under a tent in the woods. We had great bbq style food and cake. Joel and I even danced tonight!

 Our home in summer

Our creek

Maryland trip

 Maryland trip

Glen Arbor

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our new home!

Here are some pictures of our new home! We love it! We have 20 acres in the woods with a creek! The house is much bigger than our old house, plus we have a large 3 stall garage!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jan- February 2014

In January we were still trying to find out what is wrong with Joel's heart. He was hooked up to a Holter monitor for 48 hours and it recorded his palpitations. His doctor had him try a couple of different medications. They haven't been working so this Friday (Feb. 28th) he will be having an EEG Stress test for more information, then seeing a cardiologist in April. We also did some more packing in preparation to move, went through inspections, and played the waiting game.

On February 6th, we closed on our house in GR. We signed all the paperwork and got a nice check! Then we had to continue to wait to close on our new house in Hesperia. Our mortgage company insisted that we have a survey done before we closed because we have 20 acres. With the snow & sub-zero temperatures, the survey company couldn't get out right away, so it really slowed things down. We finally were able to close on Feb. 14th, 2014. So this year, I got roses, lunch, and a new house for Valentine's day. We couldn't be happier! We got possession of our new home on Thursday, Feb. 20th. We went to see the new house, made a list, went to GR to get needed items & some cleaning supplies, ate dinner, and came back to Hesperia. That night we pulled an all-nighter to vacuum, clean carpets, load wood stove, and change all of the locks. Then Friday at 9:00 am, the movers came to get all of the big things & some other boxes. They hauled just over 10,000 lbs of items for us and it was such a blessing. I can't imagine having to move all of that ourselves. We had Two Men (But really, we had 3) and a truck. When we got to the new house, the truck got stuck in our drive way and the poor guys had to carry items all the way down the driveway & into the house. Finally, a wrecker came and pulled them out. They were able to move the truck closer to finish the job. They finally wrapped up around 7:30pm or so. Then later that evening, my wonderful father-in-law came over with our new tractor & snow blower. He had been traveling since 8:00 am to pick it up, near Ann Arbor, and then drive across the state to bring it to us in terrible weather. Saturday morning we went back to GR, picked up 2 Uhaul trailers, met up with my parents, & Joel's mom and sisters. Between the 8 of us, we loaded 2 trailers & took 2 trips between the houses. Again, we were blessed to have such wonderful family to help us out! On Sunday we took another load from GR to Hesperia and Joel's mom & sisters left. On Monday we took the trailers back, got the last bit of stuff out of the house and said our goodbyes to the old house. Then Joel's dad headed back home. Then on Monday evening we saw our first deer in the backyard. We had 11 total (probably all doe) walk by. It was amazing! We are slowly getting unpacked and settled in to the new house. We just LOVE it here! Pictures below of the move. Pictures of the house to come later, after everything is settled & a few rooms painted.


We sold our house after being on the market less than a month!


Goodbye, GR!


Stuck truck


Unstuck after nearly 2 hours


In front of our new home!

Wooded, winter, wonderland!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ending 2013- Bringing in 2014

2013 has come to an end. It has definitely had it's ups and downs Some things that occurred in 2013:

Had more success with Kara's Kakes
Started working at Nestle Nutrition as an Associate Food Technician (And LOVE it!)
We camped in the U.P.  several times between May and October (Memorial Day was sunny & in the 80's, Labor Day was rainy and cold, Snow in October)
I graduated in the top 5% of my class!
Joel launched 2 cross bows for Velocity Archery.
Joel and I both traveled for work- Joel even went to Switzerland!
My nephew, Caden, was born Sept. 22nd.
We put an offer in on a house closer to work (In Hesperia) and it was accepted!
We had an offer on our house!
Ended the year with Joel having health issues.

Things to look forward to in 2014:

Resolving Joel's health issues
Moving to Hesperia
Trying to regrow my business in a new area
Going back to school for my Bachelors degree.
Spending time with Family!

Here's to 2014!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

*Sigh* Another fall has come & gone

I am really falling behind in posting. I guess that just goes to show how busy we are. So, here's a quick update:

Labor Day weekend we went to the U.P. to camp. We made plans to Visit my aunt & uncle who live about 2.25 hours further into the U.P. then our cabin on Monday. All weekend it was cloudy and rainy. Monday morning rolled around, we stopped for breakfast in Newberry, and then finished the drive to Manistique. It down-poured so hard, we couldn't see where we were driving. Needless to say, we weren't going to be water skiing, swimming, and boating like we thought. We did go on a pontoon ride around the lake, four-wheeled around national forest, and have a nice visit with family! On the drive back home, Joel stopped at Castle Rock in St. Ignace. I've wanted to stop for the past couple of years, and we finally did! It was a total tourist trap, but we enjoyed it!

On September 22nd, my nephew Caden Luke Steffes was born! He is such a little cutie! He's bigger than Alex was, and so far he's looking like his dad. Alex didn't understand having the new baby at first (He was only 13 months old) and was rough with him. The two are just the best little nephews! Joel had a fantastic trip to Switzerland, but he left the day before Caden was born, so he didn't get to meet him right away. Joel did, however, bring home some wonderful gifts for me! Swiss chocolate, Rembrandt tulips from the Netherlands (actually picked the bulbs up on a layover), a Nestle tote bag, and more chocolate!

My work trips were very tiring, but still fun! We went out for nice dinners and I had a blast at the culinary training! We cooked some great dishes! I learned a ton! It was nice to visit one of our co-manufacturers and see how food is produced on a large scale.

October was packed with Joel traveling for work and hunting. The morning of the Colorburst tour, my car wouldn't start due to a dead battery. I had to have it towed and a new battery put in. I was very upset about missing my ride, but maybe next year. We took another trip to the U.P in the end of October. It was rainy again, with a snow flurries a couple of times. We kept a fire going in the cabin all weekend and watched a lot of movies. We always love the time we spend up there!

November brought a new step in our lives. At the end of October, Joel's contract was renewed with Nestle. We decided to start looking for houses closer to work. We found one in Hesperia that has 20 acres, a creek that runs through the back yard, is surrounded by the Manistee National forest, and a fantastic kitchen. We put in an offer, they countered, and now we are waiting if they accept our final offer.

Today is December 3rd! How crazy is that! 2 weeks and I turn 24 & Joel 29. Then Christmas is right around the corner! Tonight we also had a crazy experience with a squirrel getting stuck in our basement. We tried chasing him out and he kept jumping right at me to go in the opposite direction! My poor little heart was racing! Too much excitement for one night!

Culinary training

Castle Rock, St. Ignace. Great View!

Aunt Kara with Caden, Sept. 22nd, 2013

Brotherly love! Too cute!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

It's mid-September?!?!? Holy Cow!!!!

Oh my! The summer has gotten away from me! I haven't written in 2+ months! Where have I been? Well, in July we visited family to celebrate Joel's youngest sister's, Jessica, birthday. His uncle Buddy also came up from Florida and I met him for the first time. I know we stayed busy, but I can't honestly remember all what we did in July. In August we celebrated my nephew Alex's 1st birthday! I even made cupcakes for the party. It was so fun watching him destroying the big cupcake that Amanda made for him! Joel and I also celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. We decided to take Tuesday, the 20th, off from work and spent the whole day at Michigan's Adventure. We had a blast! We went on the bigger roller coaster and rides from 11-1, got a snack in the car before heading into the water park around 1:30, and spent a good amount of time there. We went on almost all of the rides- even the Funnel of Fear (which was the longest wait of the day- maybe 45 minutes). Then we dried off, got into dry clothes, and went to the all you can eat grill for dinner at 4:30. We took our time and enjoyed some good food. Then we went back on the amusement rides and left just before the park closed at 8:00. We went home and were pooped! We had walked back and  forth from the two sides of the park at least 4 times and climbed a lot of stairs. What a work out! But it was so much fun just spending the day with my best friend & love of my life. These past 4 years have been amazing! We still haven't been on our bikes much, which is disappointing- Joel isn't even going to do the tour of the White Pine Trail this year.      :(      I will still ride the Colorburst Tour in October.

I still love my job!!!! I have been doing well and have been praised for it. I don't need the praise, but I'm glad to hear that everyone is pleased with me & impressed by my work. I had my mid year review and got great comments. My previous manager, new manager, and I also talked about some things they would like to see me finish yet this year. Yay for a challenge! One of them was to visit a co-manufacturer to see how some of our products are made, another is to attend culinary training to broaden my knowledge of cooking, a third is to help  run a pilot plant trial. Well, this past week I spent Tuesday afternoon- Friday night traveling for work. I went to our main co-man. for the toddler meals in Ohio. I flew out Tuesday night and spent Wednesday-Friday helping run trials to test some new technology. I carpooled back with 2 women coworkers on Friday and didn't get home until 12:45am! (technically Saturday) It was really cool! I did a lot of the prep work in the kitchen, but it was great to be a part of this new learning with product developers, thermal process experts, engineers, and even people from other Nestle divisions! Monday at noon, I will be leaving again for work. I will be attending culinary training at out PTC in Solon, OH. They have chefs on staff there, because that's where they do frozen meals like Stouffers and Lean Cuisine, among others. I won't be back until Friday evening, but I'll be carpooling with coworkers both ways so it should be interesting. The next day, the 21th, Joel leaves for Switzerland and will be gone until the 28th. Man oh Man, what a busy month September has been and how busy it will continue to be!

The birthday boy!                                       Grace loved the swing!

Insert evil laughter here-------

Alex, Aunt Kara, and Grace

August 20th, 2013- 4th wedding anniversary at Michigan's Adventure!