Happy Birthday, Buddy!

It's Drake's Birthday!!
Our four-legged kiddo turned 6 today.
Happy Birthday, Drake!!


Chiefs v. Chargers

Last weekend we headed down to San Diego with hopes the Chiefs just might  be able to play well and bring home a victory.

Not so much luck on the victory. But, we did have a good time tailgating, and enjoyed watching the Chiefs in a different stadium. Being biased, I do have to say Chiefs have some of the best tailgating - EVER - and I haven't found a stadium that I love like Arrowhead.

Perhaps the next time we see the Chiefs they'll be able to pull off a win.


Excited Grandparents

It's a safe bet that Scott and my parents are pretty excited about Baby Macke.

For my parents Baby Macke is the first grand baby. And, holy smokes, are Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Michael super  excited!

My mom planned a dinner for  a couple of her close friends to make the announcement they were going to be grandparents. This was no ordinary dinner. Let the pictures below explain what I mean...

Looks like a bright and festively decorated table. Right? Ah ah ah, not so fast. Let's take a little closer look...

Here are a couple of table settings. Notice the baby plate and the primary multi-colored silver ware. Now, check out the napkin rings. See a pacifier? How about a teething ring? The name place cards, those are in the shape of diapers. And, little parting gifts (spot the pink cup, lower left corner) filled with Baby Ruths, Sugar Babies, frosted animal crackers, and blue and pink M&Ms. 
Take a look up at the first set of photos... Those are BIBS hanging from the backs of the chairs!

Here's the menu Mom put together...
The menu is so flippin' creative and cute. It cracks me up!

The table arrangement. Pink flowers, blue vase, and completed with an eight week ultra sound and Baby on Board sticker.

Dessert just isn't right, at a dinner like this, unless it's a carrot cake - baked with carrot baby food - and adorned with a stork and ultrasound.

My only wish for this dinner... That Scott and I could have been present. 

Oh... And, did I mention, Mom had the dinner on Labor Day? Haha! She had all the bases covered.

Can you about imagine what things are going to be like when Baby Macke actually  arrives?! :)


New Home!! - Update #5

Last, but certainly not least, the re-vamping of the bedrooms.

Guest Bedroom.
Remember this disaster?! The bamboo/tree bark wallpaper that was everywhere. The pictures make me cringe. And, I'm SO thankful the room no longer looks like this.

MUCH BETTER! No more bamboo/tree bark, and more inviting for guests.

The Master Bedroom.
Agh! The Native American Art Deco wallpaper and fabric plastered to the walls. Was this even in style in the '80s?!

A place I'm comfortable to rest my head. 

The extra room, which will obviously become the baby's room looks the same. Neutral color walls, and relatively empty (with exception to a few random boxes and items we're not sure where to place). When we find out if we're having a boy or a girl that room will change. When those changes are made I'll get before and after pictures up.

And, there you have it. The updates of our new home. We have PLENTY of extra room now, and are even more excited to have visitors and guests (hint, hint)!


New Home!! - Update #4

You know you've officially grown out of "kid" status and into the "adult" realm when a washer and dryer are your favorite birthday gifts. Two days after my birthday we installed a brand, spanking new washer and dryer, and it is GLORIOUS! No more trips to the communal laundry room. Time to celebrate! Bring on the loads of laundry!!

The Laundry Room.
For being a laundry room in a garage, this room isn't too terrible. But, just picture the upper left corner of the room filled with a mountain of garbage - wallpaper that's been stripped off 8 million square feet of walls, two old toilets, an old kitchen light fixture, about a billion boxes from moving, and other random items. That's what this room looked like for almost a solid week.

Heaven. Seriously. After a hauling truck came and made all of our garbage disappear, the washer and dryer sit there in all their glory. 

We didn't do much any work on the exterior of our place. But, our patio furniture sure does look mighty fine on the back patio, if I do say so myself.
Not much going on here.

Time to kick back and relax.

Saving some of the best for last. Stick around!


New Home!! - Update #3

Let's face it, the bathroom is a room of necessity. We wake up, and most likely, go straight to the bathroom. We need to clean up, we head to the bathroom. We don't feel well, we're holed up in the bathroom.

If I'm spending that much time in a bathroom, the place better provide me with the feelings of comfort. I want to be soothed, not scared.

The Bathrooms.
The main bathroom, or guest bathroom. Chuck full of wallpaper. 
You know you've been waiting for another glimpse of the Native American Art Deco. Feast your eyes upon that dizzying pattern. 

Beat it ivy print wall paper. Welcome, fresh coat of a much more subtle color.
Eventually, we plan to replace the light fixture. But, none the less, it's an improvement!
Native American Art Deco - GONE!!! A much warmer tone covers the walls. Again, we plan to replace the light fixtures... All in due time. And, hey buddy! Drake wanted to get in on the photo action as well. :)

Naturally, since I managed to forget to snap a pic of the scariest bathroom to ever exist (you know, the one with metallic silver wall paper and the pattern of red and green flowers), I also forgot to get a pic of the updated bathroom.

I'll do my best to describe the improvement: Imagine a bathroom void of wallpaper, the walls have been given a fresh coat of a not-quite-white color, which opens the room up and makes it feel cleaner and brighter. A towel stand is perched on the sink, a black and white hand towel draped over it. The black, square shaped soap dispenser adds a nice contrast to the light walls and floor. A red candle burns brightly on the counter, and a tall arrangement of twigs and berries accompanies the candle on the counter. See? Much better!

There are more improvements on the way!


New Home!! - Update #2

Ah, the living room. A place where we commence for pretty much everything. When we want to unwind and catch up on our favorite shows we head to the comfy couch. More often than not we eat most of our dinners on the comfy couch (even though we have a very capable kitchen table). The living room is, by far, our most used, and probably most loved, room in our home.

Had we not made any changes to the living room in the new house, odds are very great it would not have been a favorite room.

The Living Room.
Yep, there it is. The powder blue carpet, the pink tint slathered on the trim, and those window treatments that clearly never made it out of 1983.

We added a pretty neutral paint color to the walls. The trim is now a crisp white (adios pink paint!), and we've updated the curtains. Due to money restraints, the floor to ceiling mirrors are sticking around, but at least they don't jump out and bite you, like before. There is just a little work left in the living room (I'd like to paint a frame around the big calla lily picture, and add blinds to the window), but it has quickly become our most lived in room.

Hang tight. There are more before and after photos to come.


New Home!! - Update #1

Let me begin by thanking my mom for ALL her help during our move, and then all her help getting us settled in and making our new house feel like a real  home! Without all her time and effort we'd still be knee high in boxes, and there's no doubt in my mind we wouldn't have curtains or pictures hanging in their respective places.

With that being said, here is the first installment of our updated home.

The Kitchen and Dining Room.
Remember the "before?"...
If you recall, not only were the walls covered in hideous wallpaper, the ceilings were as well. Just check it out - floor to ceiling treachery. YIKES! Then there is the doily-as-window-treatment. Never a  good idea.

With a lot of help from our contractor, we had the wallpaper removed, and the walls painted in a creamy/yellow color. The ceilings are no longer blasted with wallpaper, rather, a nice coat of white semi-glass graces the surface.
We also removed the old, obnoxious light fixture in the breakfast nook. It has been replaced with a smaller, more updated fixture.

After (#2)...
As you can see, we still have just a little work left in the dining room. We don't have a dining room set, and are contemplating if/when to get one... There's just so much more room in this new place! We kept with the creamy/yellow color, and promptly removed the doilies from the doors and window. 

The kitchen and dining room feel so much more open and fresh. It's been amazing to prepare meals with actual counter and cupboard space! 

Stayed tuned! More updates coming soon.


Baby Jackets

In a lot of ways, I'm like my mom: we have similar tastes in fashion, home decor, and food (with exception to the fact she eats red meat and pork - I refuse). And, I'll occasionally be caught watching HGTV - a permanent fixture on my parents television set.

There is one talent Mom does that simply leaves me in awe. Sewing.  I had to share her talent. Once you see what she can do, you may put in a request for one of these, too.

Let's be honest, middle school Family and Consumer Science class didn't prepare me for a play-by-play on sewing. But, I'll give this my best shot. Upper left: the pattern and fabric picked out and ready to go.
Upper right: the pattern set out on the fabric, ready for cutting.
Lower left: the front of the jacket has fabric cut, zipper is in place.
Lower right: the back of the jacket has fabric cut.
I have to give Mom props - she does an outstanding job lining up the fabric so when it all comes together it flows without interruption to the fabric, and each logo is in just the right spot.
I had a couple of friends who were HUGE John Deere fans, so it only seemed appropriate to do a jacket with John Deere. I'm not partial to one brand of tractor over another, but I have to admit, the pink jacket is so stinkin' cute! 
I LOVE when schools have fleece available in pink! Little girls look absolutely adorable in the pink fleece. And, let's be honest, the "Born A Wildcat" is simply fitting.
The argyle is so cute in a "grown up" way.
More pink, and argyle. I can't get enough of it!! 
And, the two little jackets together is just too much.
Of course I saved the best for last. Nothing beats that cardinal and gold. :)

It's apparent I've kept Mom very busy with baby jackets. Can't wait for her to sew one (or a few) up for us!


Happy Birthday Little Sister!

Though we're not sisters by blood we are sisters at heart.

To my my crazy, I hope your day is filled with happiness and joy. May all your dreams come true this year.

Love you Sister!



Wow, I've been waiting soooo (im)patiently to blog about this!! Hardest secret to keep, EVER.

August 2, 2011, Scott and I found out the most wonderful thing... Come Spring it won't be just the two of us... There will be three Mackes!

I've officially hit the monumental first trimester! On, or around March 30 we will be welcoming the newest member to our family.
8 Week Ultrasound, just a little peanut -  We should have a bigger picture of Baby Macke this coming Monday.
 Week 8, right after we were able to spot the baby's heart beat, Scott sent me these beautiful flowers. 
We're not far enough along to know if it's a boy or a girl, but we'll know in a few more weeks!
There will be, obviously, be so much more for me to blog about now!!


Packing Up

As much as I despise packing - keep in mind, this is my fifth  move in two years - I'm listening to some crazy man outside, on the street or sidewalk (not totally sure), screaming about the need to repent sins and the end of the world. And, our next door neighbor is talking yelling into her phone, to the point I can't hear the click-clicking of my keyboard. Just more affirmation of how much I/we are ready to get into our new place.

We're moving out this weekend, but I figured I'd get a good start packing up all the stuff we won't need for the next few days. Our place is already looking so empty and bare. Naturally, I'm leaving the heavy items for the small army of guys coming to help on Saturday... Isn't it amazing what the bribe of pizza and beer can do?

Update on the new place: I haven't thought to snap "in progress" photos, but rest assured, the place is looking more and more livable. There are just a few rooms left to paint. You can breathe easy, the place no longer feels like your a claustrophobic-trapped-in-a-Christmas-present. Stay tuned, I might remember to bring a camera with me tomorrow to snap a few photos.

Have any memorable moving stories? If so, feel free to share!!


What It's All About

I was struggling with what I wanted to post about today. It's just another Monday, not really worthy of many words. But, then I came across this, from a friends blog, I couldn't not share; it made my Monday worthy of a few more words.

Directly from Becky's blog:

I borrowed this from The Lysser, who borrowed it from someone else. Definitely worth the repost.

And That's What It's All About
I stole this opinion column from the Minneapolis' StarTribune. I've flown with the author; he looks like Minnesota. He also made me tear up with this:

The radio crackled in my headset as we passed over a tranquil Lake Calhoun. Downtown Minneapolis drifted outside the cockpit window. The landing gear was down.

Everything was as it should be. Outside, the skies were clear and the air was refreshingly less humid than it had been the previous month. I briefly looked down at the passing homes and schools of south Minneapolis.

School was back in session, and bright-yellow buses were busy transporting children, as they would on any other Tuesday morning. But this wasn't any other Tuesday morning. This was Sept. 11, 2001.

As I was completing what would be another uneventful flight, there were four other airplanes whose final destiny would be anything but normal.

That day has forever changed our lives, whether because of enhanced screening at the airport or, heaven forbid, the loss of a friend or family member in the attacks on domestic soil. We all have stories about what we were doing on 9/11.

Most, like mine, aren't anything to write home about, but everyone remembers where they were when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center's North Tower, and what happened afterward is something to write about.

It's what we did after 9/11 that changed America and its people.

Maybe you watched the television with disbelief. Maybe you cried for the loss of fellow Americans. Maybe you called your parents and told them you loved them. Maybe you held your children extra long before they went to bed that night. Maybe you thanked a police officer or firefighter. Maybe you bought a traveling soldier dinner before your flight home.

But what did you do two years afterward? What did you do eight years after 9/11? I don't think people will ever forget that dreadful day, but it has definitely slipped into the back of our memory bank.

For someone like me, an airline pilot who is constantly dealing with airport security and working with federal air marshals, I am reminded of our post-9/11 world on a regular basis.

But for the insurance salesman driving around Kansas or the schoolteacher struggling with a lack of funds, telling your kids you love them one more time before they go to bed or thanking the police officer for what he does after he just wrote you a citation may not be the first thing on your mind.

This past week, just seven days short of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, I was sitting in Terminal B at Newark's Liberty Airport, waiting for my flight home. I noticed a group of TSA officers wearing honor guard regalia.

With them was a U.S. Army master sergeant. I learned that the master sergeant was escorting a fallen soldier on a final flight home. I didn't ask for the soldier's name, or even if the soldier was male or female. I honestly didn't know what to say.

After the airplane arrived, the honor guard and master sergeant went outside. I stood at the window, along with many other passengers, watching in silence as the honor guard stood at attention while the fallen soldier was loaded on to the airplane.

Through the tears in my eyes, I looked out at the New York City skyline, and it all hit me. Ten years ago, when I was flying over that school, where kids were playing outside -- maybe, just maybe, one of those kids was this soldier who gave everything for our country.

So, when you see a soldier at your regular lunch spot, tell the manager that you'll take care of his or her bill. Call your parents and tell them you love them.

Thank police officers for all that they do. And when you come home from work today, hold your kids for a few extra seconds. As a matter of fact, that was the first thing I did when I got home from that trip. I forgot about the bills, forgot about the oil change the car needed. I held my little daughter in my arms for as long as she'd let me.

After today, we each have one day less. Make the most of it.

* * *

Paul Holte, of Rosemount, is a Boeing 757/767 first officer for a major airline.



Iowa State v. Iowa. One of the biggest, if not the  biggest football game, played during the season. There is a lot on the line, most importantly bragging rights for a year, and the location of the Cy-Hawk trophy. And, this is just another one of those times I wish we were back home to enjoy the game, live.

Watching the game yesterday wasn't possible for us. We had a lot going on. Luckily, I had some great Cyclone friends/fans who were constantly updating me with the score. How awesome for the Cyclones BEAT Iowa in triple  overtime!

It's a GREAT day/week/month/year to be a Cyclone - WAY TO GO STATE!



Happy Birthday, Twinkie :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Twinkie :)!!

To the lady with whom I share a passion for shoes, shopping, sushi and saki...
Have an AMAZING DAY!!!
Not too much longer till Vegas!


The New Pad Needs TLC

Yikes. Yikes. Yikes! The place we're moving into was in need of some serious TLC. Right now we're working on getting the place into shape. But, for now, let me take you on a little tour... In some pictures you'll feel like your stuck in 1984. Other pictures will leave you feeling like you're stuck inside a Christmas present (you'll see what I mean, just keep scrolling).

The ONE room I totally forgot to snap photos of was the downstairs half bath. That thing was a total nightmare. Imagine yourself completely trapped inside a Christmas present wrapped by your crazy aunt (you know the one, she's stuck somewhere between 1979 and 1988). This room had floor to ceiling silver metallic silver wallpaper with red and green vine/flower accents. Ugh, I wish I had a picture...
The kitchen/dining area. Take note of ALL the wallpaper. Floor to ceiling - literally, ceiling. The light fixture has to go. It hangs so low I think my CHIN bumps the top of it. The flooring isn't something we're fond of, but since we're renting we're going to have to live with the blue hue. Yikes.
The living room. Notice the mirrors. Woah. Again, because we're renting those will stay. We don't necessarily want to re-do all the walls - especially for something we don't own. The little wet bar is KIND of cool...
It's clear the previous owners LOVED the color blue. Don't get me wrong, it's at the top of my favorite list.. But, this is just a bit much. That light fixture is outta here, too.
The guest bathroom - MORE wallpaper. Seriously people?!
Oh dear, the guest room. It's wallpaper-ish. Almost looked/felt like a combo of wallpaper made of bark and bamboo covered the walls. The "installed" headboard and mirror will have to stay. Too much to rip out and replace the flooring and walls behind it. Check out the top photo. See the lamp? The owners built the headboard AROUND the lamp. The only way to get that puppy out is by cutting the cord. Ridiculous.
Well hello Native American Art Deco... See ya later! The top photo... That isn't wallpaper on that wall. It's fabric! What?!? Although I'm not a fan of those mirrored closet doors, they're staying. *sigh*
Annnnnd, the master bath. MORE WALLPAPER. What is this?! It's like a bad dream. It's all coming off!
Our back patio isn't huge, but it will nicely fit our grill and patio set. Should make for some nice evenings of grilling and sitting around the fire pit. The photo on the right is the laundry room that takes up half the garage. The previous owner decided to build a room in the garage, leaving only one parking spot. We're PRAYING the landlord will tear down the walls so we can actually park two of our vehicles.
Saving grace. The pool is about 10 steps from our front door. 

When the place is in better shape, and painted with colors that don't make you cringe, I'll be sure to get a post with some pictures up. For the time being I'll just leave you to gaze at the beauty of what was "interior design" not too long ago (people seriously thought wallpapering the ceilings was a good idea?!).

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Serious cheesy-ness, check. Super chicken-y, check. Totally noodle-y, check. Mouth watering awesomeness, check!
A little forewarning, this dish does require some time - it's not whipped up quickly, but it's TOTALLY worth it! And, if you're like us, you will appreciate the left-overs for the duration of the week. :)

What you'll need:
4 - chicken breast
1 - 12 oz package thin spaghetti
2 - Tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 - cup chopped celery
1/2 - cup chopped onion
1 - 28 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 - cup milk
1 1/2 cups Velveeta (2%)
salt and pepper to taste
mushrooms chopped (optional)
grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large pot, boil water, add chicken breast. Boil until breast are cooked through.
Save water chicken was boiled in.
Allow chicken to cool; shred chicken.
Using same water as chicken, prepare spaghetti as directed on package.
In a large pan melt butter; saute celery and onion.
In large pan, add shredded chicken, cream of chicken soup, milk, Velveeta, salt and pepper.
Drain spaghetti and add to chicken and cheese mixture.
Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish.
Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Serves 8-10 people.

Because this dish serves so MUCH I try to make it on a Sunday or Monday. That way, lunches and dinners are covered for a few days throughout the week.


Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

This is the time of year I miss the midwest most. As I read Facebook status updates about the cool, crisp weather it makes me wish I were back home. It's September! It's fall! Football is back in action! I want to pull out my cozy ISU sweatshirts and live in them until Spring.

No such luck here. Today it reached 92 degrees by 10:00 a.m. Yikes. Sweatshirts? No thank you!

Buuuut, I was able to down a delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte. They're back!! Ahhh, the smell of pumpkin and spices... A little sip of heaven right there. 


A Scrumptious Salty Snack

A few days ago I was perusing the isle of Trader Joe's, looking for something to satisfy a craving I had for something salty. I strolled passed the bag of edamame, back my cart up, gave a second of thought, and snagged not one but two bags. 

From start to finish it took me about 10 minutes to make these tasty treats. 
And, confession time... I didn't have just a bowl full of the beans... I may have eaten WAY more :) 

Looking for a healthy, delicious snack that is very budget friendly? Check these bad boys out!!


Kauai vs Hawaii

The past few weeks months have been pretty crazy for us. And, we've been chatting about a vacation that we agreed is much needed.

Due to Tropical Storm Otto putting a severe damper on our Honeymoon we set aside a "re-do" Honeymoon fund. Looks like it's time to start some planning!

Since Hawaii is only a five hour flight from us we figured what better time to head to the islands. Now, our dilemma is which island we want to visit. Kauai or Hawaii (aka The Big Island). We want to go to a place/island neither of us has been to, and it's down to those two.

Here are a few fun facts about each island. Perhaps these will help us decide where to go.

Home to the wettest spot on earth, Mt. Waialeale receives 397 inches of rain annually.
Waimea Canyon is located here, and known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific."
At over six million years old, Kauai is the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands.
No building is to be built taller than a palm tree.
More than 60 Hollywood movies have been filmed on this island (including Jurassic Park).

Hawaii (The Big Island)
Hawaii is the largest of all the Hawaiian islands.
Home to Kilauea volcano, one of the largest and most active volcanoes in the world.
Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its base at the ocean floor.
Lake Waiau is the third highest lakes in the United States, and is one of the world's highest alpine lakes.
The Big Island is the world wide leader in harvesting macadamia nuts (YUM!) and orchids.

Yeah, those lists didn't help narrow or choice down...