Thursday, December 10, 2015


It took them forever, but they're friends sometimes! 
It has been quite some time since I have sat down to write a post for the blog. I have been completely swamped with work and school and have had no time to do anything I find fun. If I do make time to do something fun, I end up paying for it later with 20 tons of homework to catch up on. Sigh. . .

BUT this semester is almost over! My first day of total freedom will be Friday, December 18th! Ben and I are going up to the Twin Cities for a Christmas party and some holiday time with part of his family. I will finally be able to enjoy a weekend that does not include a complete day being consumed with class work! I haven't had a break like that since summer.

I suppose this is good practice for law school. Although, I won't have a full-time job if I'm going to law school, so I'm hoping that will make a difference.

So for now, I will go and gloriously plow through one more week of classwork. When finished, I'm going to veg and watch Christmas movies every night while eating candy kisses and enjoying snuggle time with my husband and fur babies.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Freaking out.

My current mantra. . . 

You know that feeling when you look at your life and realized you are trying to do way too much at one time? Well that is me right now. 

I have a loaded schedule of 3 online courses through Iowa, 2 that I am finishing up from the summer, I am trying to prepare for the LSAT on October 3rd, I am working on preparing all of my crap to apply for law school, and I am working full time. I envy those who either do not have to work and are going to school full time, OR who are working on getting ready to apply to law school while working but without other classes. I know I'm being a big baby right now because there are people with a lot more on their plate than me, but I don't care. It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.

Today, I feel like I am drowning because I can't turn my brain off. I keep thinking about everything I have to get done in the next 2 months and I feel helpless. I'm trying to switch my thinking to just one day at a time - max one week. I can do one week. 

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Law School - Apply Today!

Some of the various law schools I am interested in applying to open their applications today!!!!

Who is ridiculously giddy and has butterflies in their tummy?! This girl.

Unfortunately, I won't take my LSAT until October 3rd, so official submissions cannot be made until then. BUT I am being proactive and collecting my letters of recommendation, drafting my personal statement and other various addenda I plan to file, and I will fill in what information I do have in the applications so they are ready for me to click SUBMIT once I receive that LSAT score! 

All that being what it is, Ben and I are mulling over the decision to wait one year before I start law school. We plan to have all debt (aside from student loans, car payment and mortgage) paid off by the end of January, so at that point we can begin saving more each month. If I waited a year to start law school, we would be in a better place financially once I did start.  This is just an idea flitting around. We will see what happens and what we decide together. 

Wish me luck!

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful. CleverGirl.

You know when you are out running errands wearing your yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt, no make up, and have total bedhead and see a perfectly put together woman and you suddenly think, "Wow. I wish I could be her!"  Well I do!!!!  I have always been amazed by those women that seem so outwardly put together! They have perfect hair, makeup, and an amazing outfit to boot.  I have always wanted to be like those women! They look amazing, exude confidence, and appear to take pride in their physical appearance.

I had a realization a couple/few weeks ago. The only way I will ever be like those women is to take action instead of wishing for a miracle. So, I have begun to take action!

I have never worn much makeup. Foundation, blush, and mascara were my usual day-to-day staples and if there was a special occasion I would slap on some eye shadow. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that routine, but I want to learn how to do more! I have been watching beauty YouTubers and learning new tricks. I have picked up some new beauty products and the experimenting has been quite fun.

Ben's lovely finger poking my overexposed face. But new makeup! Yay!
Before you go all judgy on me, I would like to clarify that I am not a completely self-involved dumb woman. I am a woman who wants to have confidence and take pride in my appearance. I am not materialistic or think that I need every product known to man slathered on my face. I want to look good for myself! And my husband. I want him to take pride in having a lovely wife! I also am smart, have a good career and will be applying to law school in a month. Brains are beauty, too!

Anyway. . . So far in my process I have found a few products that I do not know how I lived without! 

1. The Bobbi Brown Corrector from Sephora is TO DIE FOR! I know that some people use regular concealer for under eye dark circles, but this stuff is far superior. It is very dense and creamy and covers those circles and lines and brightens the eyes. Go try it. Seriously.

2. The Urban Decay Naked 1 eye shadow palette is also to die for. Very subtle colors that you can mix and match to do an everyday look or some beautiful night looks. It comes with a brush that I love and there are a million online tutorials for different shadow variations.

3. The Urban Decay Perversion Mascara is the best I have ever used. It doesn't get clumps or create spider lashes with multiple layers. It also stays on your lashes and doesn't give you raccoon eyes by midday. I will never go back to my drugstore mascara AGAIN.

4. I have also learned that your makeup brushes MATTER. If you use the $10 pack of brushes from Target, you aren't going to get the nice, blended and natural look that you will from the more expensive brushes. Splurge, get the better brushes, and care for them so they will last a long time and it will so be worth the money!

5. I am also a huge fan of the Urban Decay All-Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray [not pictured]. This is a light face mist that sets in your makeup and is perfect for long days at a wedding or other event. Pretty much all of the Urban Decay products I have tried I have loved. I also have the eye shadow primer which is fantastic and keeps your eye shadow flawless all day.

 I will leave you with a quote I thought was appropriate from House Bunny with the discussion of eye shadow, mascara. . . makeup. 

"The eyes are the nipples of the face." -Shelley

:) hehe.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Preparing to Apply to Law School

As you know, I am in the process of preparing to apply to law school.  On September 1st I can officially begin submitting applications! Yikes! Unfortunately, I was unable to take the June LSAT due to an amazing vacation in Hawaii, so I cannot take it until October 3rd, therefore must wait until I receive my score to submit my complete application. What you likely do not know, is that you have to use a special program to compile all the various components of your application and submit it to the schools electronically. (Note: this program costs $$, as does the LSAT, and your application to the school. Woof.) In that program, you can search for schools in a few different ways. One way, which I have found to be both a blessing and a curse, is by inputting your GPA and LSAT score. I am obviously guesstimating on the LSAT score (and am in no way trying to flatter myself with this number - generally sticking to the average for the time being) and am bumping my GPA up just a notch and seeing that I can at least get in SOMEWHERE potentially. That's exciting! To an extent. . . 

I am not ashamed to say that I have a terrible GPA. [LIES - I am ashamed.] Currently, I believe it is at a 2.72 or something. I have a couple of F's that I am going to do the second grade option at the University of Iowa and that should bump it up just a bit. My goal is a 3.0 when I walk the stage. Or at least close to it. That being what it is, I absolutely MUST do well on my LSAT in order to have an inkling of a chance to be admitted to Iowa's law school. According to that wonderful program mentioned above, when I enter my GPA at a 2.92 with an LSAT score of 155, I have 0% chance of being admitted. I don't care. I'm still going to apply. 

If you have talked to me at all, you would have picked up on the fact that I was leaning towards the University of Memphis. For their in-state tuition, it is approximately $18k/year. To receive this fantabulous in-state tuition rate, you just have to buy a house.  After finding out that tidbit of information, I scoured and found out that real estate in Memphis is even more affordable than Cedar Rapids! With further research, I realized why. . . Memphis has the 2nd highest crime rate in the U.S. Proof that nothing can be all sunshine and rainbows.  So back to the drawing board!

*This weekend I had a conversation with my brother-in-law, Keith, and he made an excellent point. Wherever I choose to go is going to change my life. It will effect the friends I have, where I will live, where I might live and practice after school, etc. His point - don't base you decision strictly on cost of tuition. There are so many other things to consider! I hadn't really considered this aspect in my selection process. He is absolutely right. This means absolutely no Texas. Sorry y'all. . . *

Iowa College of Law would be ideal. We wouldn't have to move, therefore would know that we had a steady paycheck and benefits coming from Ben. We wouldn't have to sell our house, search for new housing, and acquaint ourselves with a new city. All of those things sound exciting, but the stress of getting ready to lay down my life for 3 years to law school is intense and I worry about feeling overwhelmed. (Although it makes me giddy to think about moving somewhere new!) Plus, if I were to go to Iowa, I would be a true Hawkeye through-and-through! Not to mention Iowa is the 22nd top law school in the country, so I'd have a fairly competitive resume. And all of the attorneys I have worked for have gone there and they are very well respected in their various fields. I want to be that!

I fully expect rejection from Iowa, but am going to do everything I can to weasel my way into their school! I will also be applying to schools in Minneapolis, Denver, Omaha, Tennessee and Kentucky. Maybe Virginia. Maybe Georgia or the Carolina's. Maybe Virginia. TBD.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Sweet [Fur] Babies

Quite unfortunately, I have not had a ton a time to work with my new camera due to my overload of homework. Ben and I are signed up for a photography class on August 17th, which hopefully will mean I am bit less bombarded and can play! Here are just a few shots I took of the babes. I just want to smoosh my face with their faces!!!!!

He is like a perfect stuffed animal!

Look! I figured out manual focus!

My majestic prince. <3
Who needs human babies when you can have soft, fluffy, fur babies?! 

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All Work and No Play

There are men and women out there who are parents (married or single), work full time, and go to school full time. How in the name of Sam Hill do they do they do that!? I work full time and have no other obligations besides my husband and dogs and struggle to fit everything in!

My life right now.
The past month has been an up hill race to get things done for my classes.  I procrastinated in my spring semester classes due to (1) laziness; and (2) a promotion at work that was a stressful process. Therefore, I spent two weeks doing everything in those classes to have them finished by July 15th. Now I am just working on my summer classes.  I signed up for 3 - two independent studies and one regular online course. With Hawaii and finishing up my spring classes, I have gotten essentially nothing done on my summer independent studies. Thankfully, you have two semesters to complete independent studies, but I have a minimum amount of work that has to be completed by August 1st. It ends up being about half of the coursework, and so it is yet another scramble to get everything completed. 

My new favorite response to being asked to do something fun is, "No, I have homework." I can tell that Ben has been disappointed by this response on more than one occasion when he has to go hang out with our friends solo. I look forward to when August 2nd arrives and I can be more social again. I tell him it is a good glimpse into what law school will be like. Although, with law school I will not be working full time and won't allow myself to fall behind in my coursework like this, so I hopefully will be able to say "yes" more often than never. 

Ben has been truly amazing the last month. I have neglected my normal duties in our joint partnership to keep our home livable and stocked with life's necessities and Ben has taken care of nearly everything! This has been such a blessing to me and has helped to alleviate some of my stress.

This stressful time has served as a chance to learn something about my husband. Ben encourages me to work on school work and there are times I refuse. It is frustrating for him because he feels that I am resisting his attempts to help me succeed. I was thinking about it last night and I have come to the conclusion that Ben and I do not learn in the same way. (Well, duh.). Ben is able to focus. Like intensely focus. On anything. It is really quite amazing to me that he is able to do that. I cannot do that. Unless I am reading Harry Potter. If it doesn't have to do with Harry Potter, I have the attention span of a gold fish. After a couple few hours of studying my brain is exhausted and needs a break. Once I take a break, I am ready to go again. SO - when I say, "No, Ben. I'm going to watch an episode of Justified and THEN study," it is really just allowing my brain time to refresh. 

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Photography: New to the Scene

I have always loved photography. When I was younger, I dreamed of growing up and having my own studio (for a few minutes - then it was back to wanting to be a princess or a mother). Since Ben and I were married, I have made it a habit to bogart Ben's fancy pants camera and make him use the point and shoot or his phone when we are out and about. This is unfair for many reasons - number one [to me] being that Ben is much better at working the camera and would likely get a much better shot than the semi-blurred, crappy version I get. Sorry, dear.

Knowing that I am a total hog and don't like to share [not JUST referencing the camera here. . . ;)], I have been keeping my eye out for my own fancy camera. This past weekend I spotted a heck of a deal on one of those Facebook buy/sell/trade groups and after discussion with Ben, purchased my own camera, lenses, bag, etc. It is a Canon Rebel T5i, and it is beautiful! 

Crappy photo - but you get the picture. 
I didn't get a whole lot of time to play with and experience my camera because I have too much homework to do, but I did sign up for a beginner's class on July 20th and found some great tutorials here. I like their videos so much, I went ahead and bought the first intro to your camera downloads and am excited to watch those and try out my new gear!

This is a purchase for me to increase my enjoyment of the photos I take and to have a fun hobby. I have no future plans to have my own photography business, but I do want to learn and feel proud of the photos I take. Here is to learning new things!

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Live in the Now

It has been a month since my last post due to the fact that we were getting ready to go on vacation, went on vacation, got back from vacation, and had to adjust to life back from vacation and get caught up on work, school, and everything.

Our time in Hawaii was amazing. We visited both Kauai and Oahu. The bulk of our trip was spent in Kauai and I am very grateful for that. Kauai is more laid back and a lot less congested than Oahu. It provided a more relaxing environment and enabled us to leave our worries and stress back home for a couple of weeks. I'm not going to do a full on post of how our trip went and include a ton of pictures at this time, but here are a few of my favorites that either Ben or I were able to capture:

Beautiful peacock at Smith's

Final sunset on Shipwreck Beach

Waves crashing at Brennecke's Beach

Hiking at the last lookout of Waimea Canyon

The Napali Coast

My private beach!

Date night!

Sunset at Shipwreck Beach
I'll do a more in-depth Hawaii post later this week (I hope).

The real purpose of this post is to share something that was said in one of my online lectures. The class is all about self improvement, and one of the very first lectures really made me think. The professor was discussing living in the now. Instead of focusing on what you want in the future (i.e. I want to be active in my community in the future. I want to live in this city in the future. I want to go to grad school in the future.) and planning for what you will do in that future, work on it now. Do it now. If you want to be more active in your community "in the future," get off the couch on your weekend and go do it. Etc. 

If you have talked to me or read the blog lately, you will know that it is my desire to further my education once I earn my bachelor's degree.  Instead of focusing on "When I get into X school, I will do Y", I should really focus and put my efforts fully into the coursework I am working on now. 

The same goes with Ben and me currently living in Cedar Rapids. Instead of focusing on when we can vacate and go live somewhere that seems more exciting, I should put my energy into making the most of our time here. We are close to both of our families, we have great friends, we have our lovely home. . . there is a lot to enjoy now. 

With all of that said, I am going to go enjoy time with my husband and fur babies for the remainder of my Sunday. 

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted!

(If interested, click to make large enough to read.)
Anyone who has the pleasure to speak with me on a regular basis is fully aware that in less than a week I will be in Hawaii! This has been a trip 3 years in the making, so needless to say I am pretty pumped. My sister-in-law suggested that we all go to Hawaii for my in-law's 40th wedding anniversary. A big thank you to her for that AMAZING idea!  

As you can image, a trip that includes 10 adults and 2 kids has a potential for chaos and stress. All parties involved have worked really well together in the planning and we enlisted the help of a Googledoc to organize ourselves. That has been such a wonderful thing - we are all able to contribute to this spreadsheet even though we are in 3 different states.

My purpose for this post is mostly to document our trip plans thus far. We have many adventures planned that include kayaking, snorkeling, zip lining, sky diving, etc. (Some with family, some just Ben and me.) 

The countdown has commenced!
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

One Step at a Time

It takes a lot for me at times to not allow my fear of failure to cripple me. The fact that I also struggle with feeling unintelligent and less than others is a struggle as well.

In spite of these fears, I want to go to law school. I have been blessed to have many wonderful people in my life who are incredibly supportive of this decision. They offer encouragement and support on a regular basis and listen to me rant and rave about how I'm going to apply to University of Hawaii. :) (as unrealistic a dream as it may be. . . )

Then there are the people who are not encouraging, but are destructive. I think that some people underestimate me and put me into a box and expect me to stay there.  I'm fairly girly - not stupid. It does not make me an idiot or less capable than anyone else.

Unfortunately, it is the haters whose opinions stick the most. My goal: to prove them wrong.

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Mother's Day Surprise!

My brother and I were blessed with an amazing mother. Seriously. When I think about how she spent 8 hours a day at work to come home and run me to my practices for piano, dance, show choir, jazz  band, volleyball, girl scouts, etc., it exhausts me. I honestly do not know how she had the energy to do it. Not to mention she cooked all of the meals (including different variations of some dishes because I don't like taco seasoning, or meat loaf, etc.), cleaned the entire house every week, managed the finances, did the grocery shopping, etc. I have always appreciated my mother, but as I have matured and have my own 8-5 p.m. job, I am amazed by her. 

In honor of her amazingness, Shane and I decided to get her a very special Mother's Day gift and to make her a feast fit for a queen - which turned out to be brats/hot dogs, pasta salad, baked beans and deviled eggs. :)  Before we sat down to eat, we gave her her gift:

Can't wait to take her out!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Never ending struggle.

You know that thing called metabolism? Well mine sucks. It has since I was like 12 years old. So it is seriously a never ending struggle to remain at a weight I am comfortable with and unfortunately, I am not perfect. I fall off the wagon and gain weight and hate it. I inherited the Watznauer genes and am doomed to deal with this the rest of my life. Since I have been dealing with it for so long, though, I joke that when I'm 40+ and my metabolism dips even lower, I'll already know how to control my weight because I've been doing it for SO long.

In January I made the decision to join Farrell's because I was absolutely not happy with my weight and appearance and wanted to get fit and healthy again. It was also a motivating factor (but not the main factor) that we are going to Hawaii in June and I didn't want to feel like a beached whale while lounging in a two piece swim suit. It is now May and while the scale has not moved substantially, I have lost inches and can actually fit into clothes that I haven't been able to squeeze into in almost a year and a half. That feels fantastic!

I am still a ways away from where I want to be. I am about 3-4 dress sizes (depending on the day) away from where I want to be, but I am working hard to get there!

Another motivating factor in all of this was finding out that I am fructose intolerant.  I had to change my eating habits if I didn't want to feel like junk anymore. That means cutting out sweets (which I struggle with a lot - and pay for a lot when I give into cravings), processed foods, fast food, etc. I also have dairy sensitivities (common among those who are fructose intolerant) and so regular trips to DQ are a no-no. These eliminations from my diet have had an impact on my size as well. I am still trying to figure out what I can and cannot eat since it is different for everyone, but I'm proud of my progress.

To document my progress, here are a couple photos from late August of 2014:

And here is a photo from April 27, 2015:

Look at how much thinner my face is?! Part of the body slimness in that photo is due to the fact that that mirror is AWESOME. A $10 Wal-Mart purchase that always makes you look thin. :) BUT most of that is due to my hard work. I purchased that dress in November of 2014 thinking that when I lost weight I could wear it. It was too cute to pass up at the 2nd hand store! I couldn't come close to buttoning it when I purchased it. Basically from the T-cross up was open and the arms were so tight that if I flexed (or pretended to flex [non-existent muscles]), it would rip Hulk style.

Honesty I struggle to see any difference and don't feel as though I have made progress, but that dress proves that I am strides ahead of where I was previously. I plan to continue in Farrell's as a fit member and also have the 21 Day Fit Extreme that I follow sporadically. I am determined to get to where I am comfortable and feel good in my own skin!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Stuff to work on

There are things in my life that I need to improve upon. 

First off, I am awesome at procrastination. I have had two semesters to complete an independent study and with 2 weeks until everything is due, I am scrambling to get it all completed.  That is 7 assignments and 2 exams. Why do I do this to myself?!

I would also like to improve upon managing finances. I think that Ben and I have gotten a lot better, but we still struggle to put money into savings and keep it there. We do not have any credit cards besides essentials (i.e. needed a fridge for our new house and financed it.). We are working on paying off these essential store credit cards and becoming "debt free". In my mind, mortgages, cars, and student loans do not count. Those are going to be a part of our lives no matter what. At least car loans take a heck of a lot less time to pay off than the other two.

These are simply two things that are punching me in the face right now, so I thought I would share. 

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Sunday, April 12, 2015


Our beautiful wreath. . . that I made. :)

As the title of this particular post points out, I have not written a post in FOREVER.  Why? Because I'm friggin' busy, that's why. Although that is not really a great excuse because my sister-in-law is able to maintain her family blog regularly and she has 2 kids. But I digress. . . 

Ben & me at a friend's wedding.

Much has happened since my last post. . . like 9 months ago.  Ben has continued to do well at school and build the music program at Prairie. He has begun to take on singing gigs at weddings, which is really exciting! He first sang at our bff Marc's wedding in October of 2014 and has since been asked to play in about 3 or 4 others. I will be joining him in one coming up in the next year and a half or so. :):):) Ben has also begun to do a bit of research on where he may want to apply for Ph.D. programs and what it is that he really wants to do. If you want to know more, ask him. 

I was promoted at work at the beginning of this year from legal secretary to legal assistant which has been an excellent thing. The legal assistant position uses my skills and talents a lot more effectively and challenges me on a daily basis. I have to do a lot more legal research and analysis which is great prep work for law school! I continue to work on completing my bachelors and plan to graduate in Spring of 2016. I am SO EXCITED to be able to walk across that stage and get my diploma and be an OFFICIAL Hawkeye! :) It has been a huge uphill battle for me to get my bachelors, and it is going to be like gold to me! I am going to sign up for the LSAT in October and begin applying to law schools in the fall. Fingers crossed all goes well.

Precious prince. <3

Ben and I recently added a new puppy to our household. Grover loathed him at first, but I think that has changed into just "dislike". Growth. 
Here is our Odin:

Odin is 3 months and 2 days old as of today. We often call him "Odie" for short. He is doing well with potty training and has begun to sleep through the night.  

See - growth. 

As anyone who talks to me on a regular basis knows, Ben and I are traveling to Hawaii at the beginning of June for a 13 day vacation! We are going with Ben's parents, siblings, significant others, and nieces to celebrate Bill and Glenda's 40th wedding anniversary (which is today - April 12). That is such an amazing accomplishment and I am blessed to be able to celebrate with them.

Bill and Glenda on their wedding day. (Photo stolen from Jamie).

Ben and I commonly reflect on our time spent in Dubai and most of what we miss (besides the AMAZING people) is the food and experiences. This Friday I declared that we needed a date night and so we decided to try an Indian restaurant not far from our house. It was stinking delicious and the aroma of that place made me long for more days in Dubai!

Doesn't that photograph just make your mouth water?! We ordered samosas (which were promptly downed and therefore did not make the picture), naan, chicken biriyani, and butter chicken to share.  It was all delicious! We will be returning to Taste of India more regularly.

Other things we have done this year: 

We saw Phantom of the Opera, We Will Rock You, and Book of Mormon (BofM with Ma & Clif) at the Des Moines Civic Center. We will be attending Lion King in May

We saw Mannheim Steamroller at the US Cellular Center with Ben's parents.

We traveled to Lanesboro, MN where we camped, rode bikes, ate delicious pie, and went to see a play at the local theater. We did this as an anniversary trip.

We purchased 2 kayaks and are PUMPED to get to use them soon!

We've continued working on our house and are having carpet put in later this week. We've painted, decorated the guest bedroom, done yard work. . . 

We went to Spring Green in the fall last year and saw Much Ado About Nothing at the American Players Theater. We made our usual stop in Galena to pick up fine cheeses, meats, and wine for our picnic before the play. 

We traveled to Nebraska, Minnesota, and south to visit friends and family. (We are still working on getting out to Colorado to visit family. We never get to see Ben's brother Jon and his fiance, Bri. AND I've never actually met Ben's extended family.)

I found out I am fructose intolerant with a dairy sensitivity, so we have been eating a lot better than we used to in order to accommodate that.

. . . . . . . . . . . . 

We already have a busy summer ahead of us and are looking forward to what summer has to offer!

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