Friday, May 29, 2015

Salina Shenanigans (Warning: Picture Heavy Post)


It's Annie!

Remember me?

I used to write on here and all..

I'm sorry I haven't been around much this week -- getting back into the groove of things after vacation SUCKS. I'm not sure why it's so hard (I kept up on my work while we were away) but it always throws me through a loop and makes my anxiety soar even higher than normal. Anyway, enough about that and more about our vacation!

A few weeks ago, Brandon's dad called to tell us that he and Brandon's step-mom were planning a somewhat impromptu Memorial Day vacation to Kansas to visit the family and asked if we'd be able to make the trip. We only had 5 days to get everything together (make sure Brandon could take off work, book a hotel, find someone to watch Bella, etc.) but we were bound and determined to go.

The day before we left, Jackson and I both came down with allergy like symptoms and by Wednesday (the day we left), we were full blown snot buckets. Fortunately, Jax's cleared up for the most part when we got to KS (AND he slept the entire 4 1/2 car ride!) but mine kept getting worse and worse. By Thursday morning, I was a tired, congested mess who just wanted to lay in bed and mope about being sick while on vacation. Brandon's dad suggested visiting the walk-in clinic before it closed and I'm SO glad I did because it turns out I had a sinus infection, so I was able to get on a Z-Pak right away (the next morning I woke up coughing which wasn't a surprise because my sinus infections ALWAYS turn into bronchitis).

(I just realized that I added a ton of parenthesis into that last paragraph)

Despite being sick for the first couple of days, we had a wonderful time visiting with family, going out for meals, relaxing, and watching Jax really take off walking!
Our hotel room had two queen beds so Jax and I sprawled out on one and Brandon took the other (we normally don't do this at home, I promise!).
Making friends at the walk-in clinic
These two LOVED each other (Sara kept wanting to hold her "baby" cousin)!
Benny was so sweet with Jackson too -- Jax thought the world of his big cousin!
I was glad that I was called into the exam room when I was because a man came in who had seen every single work of Matthew Perry and wanted to talk about it.. Poor Brandon had to sit there and listen to him for 20 minutes while I visited with the doctor.

Typical cousins (fighting and taking each others toys one minute, hugging and best friends the next!)..
Sara and Jax with Great Grandpa (who made the 16 hour trip from Bismarck).
This was Jax's first real pool experience and he LOVED it -- I can't wait to get him into swimming lessons this summer :)
4 Generations (Brandon's grandpa, dad, sister, and her kids)
Grandpa with his great grands!
4 Generations of good Sandmeier men (As I said earlier, Brandon's grandpa drove in from North Dakota, his dad from Tennessee, and we came in from Denver -- we're all spread out, so it's a treat whenever we can get together).
Jackson's Great Great Uncle Dan and Aunt Paulette came all the way from Pierre to see everyone!
So much for hitting the road at 9:30am (this picture was taken at about 9:15)!
The ride home didn't go quite as smoothly as our trip out (it was during the day so Jax was awake most of the time, so we had to make several park stops), so needless to say we were all very relieved when we pulled up to the house after a long day of traveling. We had such a fun time seeing everyone -- I truly believe that I have the best in-laws ever and feel so blessed that we were all able to get together on such short notice.

We'll see you all again next Memorial Day weekend (but hopefully sooner)! :D

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

{this moment}

I found the prompt for this post on one of my favorite blogs (Little Miss Momma) and thought I'd give it a go!

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember
Inspired by SouleMama

Monday, May 25, 2015

Veteran Wall

**Before I even begin, I need to address/apologize for the terrible quality of these photos -- this wall is located in an awkward hallway next to our front door with zero natural light (that and I'm not a photographer to begin with).

With today being Memorial Day, I wanted to take a moment to thank all our service men, women, and their families for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis. I love this country and cherish our freedoms -- freedoms that we wouldn't have without our service members hard work, sacrifice, and dedication. If you see a veteran today (or a family of a fallen vet), please buy them a coffee, give them a hug, or simply say "thank you."

As many of you know, Brandon is an army veteran (in fact, we first met when he was on his two week leave from Afghanistan -- more about that here) and I've always wanted to do something in our home to honor him and the rest of our veteran family members. I had been wanting to do some sort of a tribute wall for awhile now but never had the space for it until we bought our home. Once we moved in, I knew right where it would go..

To give you a little visual, when you walk through the front door, there are the living room and stairs directly in front of you, and then a little hallway to the left -- when we got settled in and began to decorate, I knew that that was our veterans wall.

Here's my favorite wall in our entire house:
(Top L to R: My Great Grandpa Edward; Grandpa Paul; Brandon)
(Bottom L to R: Brandon's Grandpa Donald and my Grandpa Julius)
I just love the way this wall turned out -- it's so simple, yet adds so much to our home! I'm so proud of our family and can't wait to teach Jackson more about them (he LOVES this wall! He's always wanting me to pick him up so he can point to each picture while I tell him who everyone is).

Friday, May 22, 2015

Jackson's 17 Month Update

"He was no more (he was no more) than a baby... all alone on the edge of seventeen.." months!

Side note: I will probably be singing that to Jax the entire next month.

Anyway, my baby is now 17 months old.. which means he's almost 18 months.. which will mean he's closer to 2 than he is 1 D: I hate how quickly the time goes by but sure love my little goober boy and his adorable personality!

Here's what we've been up to this last month:

Weight: 19 lbs 9.5 oz.

Length: 31 inches

Nicknames: Jax, Bubs, Tinks, Goober, Baby, Jacksie

Wearing: Some 12 month clothes but mostly 18 (18 month shirts fit pretty well but the pants are still way too long); Size 3 diapers

Sleep: About the same as before.. this kid just isn't a good sleeper (which I take the blame for because we should have started sleep training right away)! He'll normally sleep 3-4 hour stretches before waking up and coming into bed with us. Last week was rough because of teething so he really didn't sleep but things are looking up.. I hope! 

Jax likes: Bella, giving hugs and kisses, "big" kids, figuring things out for himself, doing whatever he sees mommy or daddy doing, dancing, singing, hearing his voice/watching videos of himself, pushing things around, typing on his computer (my old laptop that barely works anymore), when we have company, showing off, reading to mommy/being read to by mommy, climbing things, going down slides, playing at the park, his new "big boy" car seat, looking at pictures of family members, coloring

Jax dislikes: Being told "no" or to "be careful," being removed from dangerous situations, teething, strangers getting too close, getting things on his hands (marker, food, etc.), when he's playing in the bathtub and accidentally turns the shower on, 

Food: Honey Greek yogurt, Belvita biscuits, chicken nuggets, breads of any kind, peanut butter, crackers of any kind, fruit/veggie pouches, green beans, 

Teeth: 10 teeth!! He had his first ever dentist appointment on Thursday (which he wasn't too happy about) and she was shocked to see that ALL of his remaining teeth (minus to 2-year molars, of course) are coming in at once! Poor, poor baby.. now we know why he isn't sleeping well.

Happenings: 2nd Rockies game; Music classes at library; visits to Grammy & Grandpas; WALKING!!; Cinco de Mayo festival in LoDo; MOPS; second trip to WOW! Children's Museum; hosting Mother's Day Brunch; Great Grandpa's rosary and funeral :(; playing with cousins; first trip to the zoo; and KS trip/visiting family!

~We have a walker! He still doesn't do it all the time (boy oh boy is this kid stubborn -- he only walks when he wants) but I'm just glad to know that he can. Brandon and I had been working and working on it with him and then when my parents were visiting a few weeks ago, Jax stood right up out of the blue to walk over to my mom.. little stinker! Brandon and I had tried getting him to walk one morning last week and he wouldn't do it but as soon as we took him to the park and he saw all the kids, up he went! Hopefully it'll be more of a norm by his 18 month update..

~I'm not sure where he picked it up, but Jax has started fake laughing and it is hilarious! Whenever he hears one of us (or somebody on the TV) laugh, he does his fake little chuckle and then looks around the room proudly. Also, this picture has nothing to do with it but it cracks me up every time I see it. 

~It amazes me how quickly Jax is able to pick things up now -- he will seriously see us do something one time and then goes to mimic it! One day, Brandon walked into the room and randomly pointed at Jax and now Jax points at Brandon whenever he sees him (hilarious!). He also saw Brandon trimming the cat's nails one time and wanted to do it (umm, no), always wants to "help" me in the kitchen, etc. 

~This little stinker ACTUALLY stayed in the daycare room at MOPS for the entire 2 hours last week -- I couldn't believe it! I peeked in a few times and he didn't look very happy (looking around, glaring at everyone, fussing when he wasn't sitting on a babysitter's lap) but they didn't have to bring him into the room with me for once! #progress YAY JAX!

~We've had a ROUGH week of teething -- his molars are making their first appearance (only two have popped through though..) and we've been battling high fevers. sleepless nights, and abnormal fussiness/clinginess. It's tough to be a toddler! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Five Stages of Getting a New Job

A few weeks ago, I got a new job.

Finding a job I could do at home with Jax (in addition to my marketing) is something I prayed about, searched high and low, and constantly scoured for on Craigslist.

I finally found it.

I'm currently writing daily entertainment articles for a national site and couldn't be happier -- my bosses/co-workers are awesome, the work itself is a blast, I get to keep working while staying home with my little tyke, AND I'm learning a ton about my home state! It's a win/win/win/win.

Anyway, from the time I was offered the job to the time I started writing/setting up posts, I experienced 5 all too familiar feelings. I've worked several different industries in my 25 years (retail, hospitality, journalism, and food to name a few) and have felt these varying emotions every single time -- and this time around, it finally occurred to me what was happening.

You know how there's the 5 stages of grief? Well there's also the 5 stages of getting a new job. Don't believe me? Read on..

Ladies and gentlemen: I present to you the Annie Sandmeier Model (or the 5 Stages of Getting a New Job).

1.) Shock - One of the first reactions is shock, wherein the applicant cannot believe they were the (supposed) most qualified candidate out of all the (assumed) people who applied.

2.) Excitement - When the applicant recognizes that they did indeed get the job and that shock cannot continue, it becomes excited, possibly a little cocky. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: "Eff yeah! I got the freaking job!"; "Hey *insert significant other's name here*, I got the job so you need to take me out and give me a back rub to celebrate!"; "I need to go out and spend all the money on new work clothes (which, in my case would be yoga pants and pajamas, since I work from home)!" 

3.) Pure, Unadulterated Panic - The third phase involves recipient realizing that the cockiness may have been a bit premature. Usually, the job recipient is given a swift kick in the ego and begins to negotiate with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle: "Hi God; it's Annie again.. I'm sorry I got so ahead of myself with this new job.. Again.. I pray that this first week goes smoothly and that I can quickly learn everything I need to do.. If it does, I promise to limit my Netflix binging. Amen."

4.) Self Doubt - "I can't do this job! Why did I think I could handle this?!" "Why did I apply for a writing job.. I can't even write!" 

5.) Acceptance - "Okay, okay.. so maybe I CAN do this." "You got this, girl! Just remember to breathe." In this last stage, individuals embrace the new job, figure out their new schedule, and overall just get their shi stuff together. 

I think that the hardest part for me was getting used to the writing, deadlines, etc., but once I found a good balance and made myself a little schedule, I realized that everything would be just fine! I try to do most of my work either very early in the morning (before Jackson is awake) or wait to do it after dinner (when Brandon is home and can watch him for a bit). I'm loving my new job and feel extremely blessed to be doing what I'm doing from home! 

Just another afternoon at the office.
If you're interested in following my posts, the address is (or you can just click on the "OIYS" tab at the top of this page). 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Our Love Nest

Remember that time Brandon and I bought our first home (7 months ago)?

You forgot because I never talk about it, didn't you?

I've been waiting and waiting for our episode of House Hunters to air to show off our home but it still hasn't aired.. and we have no clue when it will *side note: I check HGTV's website daily to see the upcoming episodes -- no sign of ours just yet!* Anyway, I decided enough is enough and wanted to start sharing a few of the rooms in our home.

Today I will be showing off Brandon's and my bedroom decor (the room where the magic happens *wink* sorry if you're reading this, 16-year-old Jackson!). Enjoy!

Would you believe that this little nugget threw the biggest tantrum of his (almost) 17 month life because I wouldn't let him play with our $600 camera? Though he probably would have done a better job at taking pictures with my wonky lighting set up.. #toddlers

Mr.& Mrs. Bunting//2 Berry Creative
Soda Pop Art//Lolly Jane Blog
Always Kiss Me Goodnight Decal//Hobby Lobby
Live Laugh Love Frames//Alco (now closed)

Monday, May 18, 2015

{this moment}

I found the prompt for this post on one of my favorite blogs (Little Miss Momma) and thought I'd give it a go!

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember
Inspired by SouleMama

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ups & Downs

This last week has been one roller coaster of emotions.. I'm not even sure how to put it into words but feel as though I need to (this blog = my therapy).

As I mentioned on Tuesday, my grandpa passed away last Thursday -- he had been sick and suffering for awhile so his passing was definitely a blessing (which was a comfort to his family). When I saw him for the first time at the rosary on Monday, I was surprised by how well I kept it together.. Maybe it was because he looked so peaceful? Maybe it was because I still had a toddler to chase around? Maybe it was the comfort of having our entire extended family together? A combination of the three? Who knows.

After the rosary, everyone headed to my Uncle Paul & Aunt Kathy's for dinner -- it was a full house (my dad has 7 living brothers and they were all there with their families) and I was too busy visiting and keeping an eye on Jax to dwell on the fact that neither my Grandpa nor Grandma were physically there. Upon our arrival at the hotel, Brandon made a quick Sonic run for everyone, mom & I gave Jax his bath, and then we all turned in early (which allowed for little time to dwell).

During the funeral, Jackson "sang", read, and prayed (cutest thing ever), and then crawled from headstone to headstone to smell all the artificial flowers during the burial. Again, I was too busy watching him and making sure he was staying out of trouble to fully grasp what was happening.. which made the drive home really, really hard. After we finished lunch, said our goodbyes, and started the trip home, it finally hit me.

Grandpa was gone.

I had a good, long cry on the way home from the funeral and have had a few breakdowns when I'm alone but am comforted by the fact that grandpa is no longer suffering and has been reunited with the love of his life (my grandma). Please continue to pray for my family (especially my dad and his brothers) during this difficult time -- to say that grandpa will be missed is an understatement. 

As the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi states: Where there is sadness, there is joy -- so here's a look back at some of the happier times from this past week.

I was so glad that my parents came down for Mother's Day weekend -- they didn't think they'd be able to because of my grandpa but decided to come after he'd passed and all the arrangements had been made (both my grandpa and grandma would have thrown a fit if they hadn't come because of them). I think Jackson may take over my parent's engineering company once my dad retires!
Mom, Dad, Brandon, Aunt Millie (my grandpa's sister), and I went through pictures on Saturday night for the funeral -- it was extremely nostalgic but everyone really seemed to enjoy the time together laughing and reminiscing.
Brandon had to work on Mother's Day (his scheduled just switched -- he now works Sun-Wed but has Thurs, Fri, & Sat off!) so my mom helped me host Mother's Day brunch! We made a delicious casserole, my pecan sticky buns, a fruit bowl, and served several little appetizers. It was great hosting family and friends -- I hope it's a tradition we can continue for years to come!
My Aunt Nancy brought me these gorgeous peonies for Mother's Day -- they now reside on my nightstand and I can't help but smile every time I see them.
We had a Sonic down the street from our hotel and ate there 3 separate times in an 18 hour period.
This week reminded me again of how blessed I am to be married to Brandon -- he worked 8 straight hours on my grandpa's memorial video and it couldn't have been more perfect (he was also the resident military expert who helped my uncles adorn my grandpa's WWII uniform).
Jackson thought that Leah (my cousin's adorable little girl) was pretty fun & hilarious! I'm so glad they got to play together -- their great grandparents would have gotten a pretty big kick out of them!
Yesterday Brandon and Jackson took me to the zoo for a late Mother's Day outing -- Jax wasn't sure what to think about everything but enjoyed walking around and watching all the kids.
I hope that everyone has a fun and relaxing weekend! I'll be back next week with some fun posts (for real this time)! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Goodbye Grandpa

Today is a day that I hoped and pray would never come.

I know that's silly -- death is part of life. It's going to happen to all of us at one point or another. However, that doesn't make it any easier.

Today we lay my grandpa, Julius Wernsman, to rest. He'd been fighting a hard battle the last couple of years and God decided it was time to give him eternal rest.

There is no doubt in my mind that my grandpa is in heaven (with my grandma) right now. My grandpa was the sweetest (albeit orneriest -- more on that in a sec), hardest working, and most faithful man you could ever know. He flew planes over Germany during WWII, managed a sprawling farm for decades, raised 9 amazing boys, loved his wife of 65 years unconditionally, took care of my Uncle Mark after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease, and cherished his Catholic faith. 

Everyone who knew my grandpa loved and respected him -- he was funny, generous, humble, and extremely intelligent. I will never forget his distinct laugh, stories, and love of Louis L'amour (you could always find him reading in his chair). Up until he turned 90, my grandpa even walked close to 3 miles a day -- that man put this 25-year-old granddaughter to shame in terms of endurance! 

I have several favorite memories of my grandpa but have to share this one that fully conveys his orneriness. I don't think I've ever talked about it before but when Brandon and I first started dating, we had our fair share of family hardships (a few days before Brandon and I met, my grandma suffered a stroke; when Brandon returned home from Afghanistan, my dad fell off a roof and was in the hospital for several weeks; a few months later, my grandma was backed into by a car, fell, hit her head, and passed away a few days later due in part to the blood thinners she was on from her stroke; and then a month after that, Brandon's uncle was killed in the line of duty). Brandon was first introduced to my extended family when we were in the hospital after my grandma's accident -- she had been unconscious since falling and the doctors said it was only a matter of time. 

Several family members were gathered in my grandma's room visiting, praying, and reminiscing when Brandon and I somehow got on the topic of Pepsi vs. Coca Cola, which lead to us betting over whether or not we could tell the difference between the two. So off to the hospital vending machines my brother, Brandon, and I went! We poured samples of the two into several cups so that everyone in the room could have a chance to participate -- it was a great way to lighten the mood for a few minutes and made everyone laugh. 

When it was Brandon's turn to guess, he stepped out into the hallway so he couldn't see what was being poured into which cup -- being the hilarious person that I am, I decided to pour Pepsi into both cups just to see if he'd notice. A few people saw me do this and laughed to themselves, and I noticed my grandpa look on without smiling or saying anything. When Brandon got the okay he came back into the room, took sips out of each cup, contemplated, and started to give me his answer when I hear a voice say, "What did you do? Pour the same thing into both cups?" 

It was my grandpa! He was calling me out in front of everyone! 


He just looked at me, cocked his head, raised his eyebrows, and shrugged. 

"Brother's in arms have to stick together!" Brandon exclaimed, receiving a nod and a chuckle from my grandpa. 

That's the grandpa I will always remember -- funny and ornery! Another memory I have from that day is my grandpa (with tears in his eyes) praying over my grandma; it was such a powerful, emotional, and beautiful moment that I will never forget. That same day was their 65th wedding anniversary -- a day we had planned to celebrate with a big party. 
This picture just reminded me of another story -- Jax cried through most of his baptism so I kept moving and bouncing him which lead to my grandpa whispering (he had a hard time hearing so his whispers were actually shouts) "What's she doing up there? Churning butter?" 
My grandpa is one of the greatest men I have ever known and I feel so blessed to have not just known him, but to have called him grandpa. Rest in peace, Grandpa -- you have worked hard your entire life and now God has granted unto you Eternal Rest. Thank you for the example that you set for your sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, friends, and community. You will live on in our hearts, thoughts, stories, and prayers forever. 

I love you, Grandpa. 

Goodbye for now. 
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