Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Baby

Kayla asked me if I'd attempt taking a few pictures of Little Kasey for her to send out with Halloween cards to her family. I didn't promise her anything good (you've seen my past attempts, and I haven't taken any photos for a w.h.i.l.e.), but I told her I'd love to give it a shot.

We spent a couple hours sticking mostly-naked 3 1/2 month old Kasey in a hollowed out pumpkin. At first she was confused and cooperative, but by the end she wasn't real impressed. But we did get a few good shots... here they are!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

High School Reunion: Africa

After a nearly three-year absence, my high school friend Mary made a return visit to the United States. She has been in the Peace Corps for about 2 1/2 years. She has been in the African country of Zambia for the majority of her time there, taking frequent adventures (or misadventures) to different areas of the continent. Now she's working in a national park, and she's lucky enough to see African wildlife on a daily basis. She told me how she sees hippos, lions, and elephants in their natural habitat, and I sat in awe. In my daily Midwest adventures, my imagination just can't turn those cats into lions, those horses in zebras, and those deer into antelope. I just can't do it. But how amazing that she is! I look forward to having Mary back in this country to stay, but in the mean time I wish her the best on the rest of her Peace Corps adventure. If you're interested in hearing some of her stories, you can find her here.

Here Mary, Rachael, and I are celebrating Mary's birthday in our hometown.
So glad we could celebrate with her!
(check out that cowboy hat... welcome home!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Miss Engaged

Have you missed me?
I haven't posted for a very long time, but it's not because I don't love you all. It's because I've been busy planning my life! Ok, not really, but I've been making some big life changes. In the next week or two, I'll work on catching you up on those fun new adventures. And then I'll try to keep you more informed along the way.

My biggest, newest, most exciting news?


That's right, Mike and I are engaged! SO exciting, right?!

I'm sure you're just dying to know the details, aren't you? Here's the story.

I was going to pick up work one Friday evening, but Mike told me some friends were in town, so maybe we'd do dinner and hang out with them. Ok, sounds more fun than work! So as Friday was approaching, he declared date night. He had been working a lot, and we both had Friday night off, so sounded great to me.

After working 8 hours, running 3 miles, and speedily getting ready for date night, I made it to Mike's house. We hopped in the car and headed downtown. I asked him where we were going for dinner. He didn't really care, but kinda wanted a salad. Like a salad bar. Weird, but whatever. So I suggested Spaghetti Works, since it was the only place I could think of downtown that had a salad bar. So Spaghetti Works it was.

After we had a drink, some pasta, and (of course) the salad bar, it was still only 7pm. We were going to meeting a couple friends for a drink at 8pm, so what were we going to do for an hour? I suggested just going home because I was tired (I'm so exciting), but Mike vetoed that one. So why not walk around for an hour to burn some cal's and re-energize. We were about a block from the riverfront (where I love walking), so we ventured that direction. A while into the walk, I wanted to sit down on some rocks because my feet were kinda tired. I'm such a whiner. Again, vetoed. So we kept walking. On the other side of the bend was another group of rocks, so I asked again to sit down. Nope. But five feet later, he told me we could sit. Weird, but whatever.

We were sitting on the rocks for a while, and I thought it would be fun to try sipping rocks. I hadn't done it for years, and the little rocks were flat. Perfect. I was quite unsuccessful, but it was fun anyway. About 10 minutes til 8pm, I realized we should start walking to Barry-O's, where we were meeting a couple friends. So I threw one more rock and grabbed my purse. Mike grabbed me for one more hug before concluding date night, and he didn't let go. He told me that he loved me very much, that I looked beautiful, and that even thought I couldn't skip rocks that he still thought I was pretty great. Uh... thanks.

Then he got on one knee, pulled out a very sparkly ring and asked if I would marry him.

The next part of the surprise was that he had arranged for one of our friends to document the whole thing with his zoom-lens camera. Joe emerged from the trees, popped a bottle of champagne, and snapped a few more shots.

After some celebrating and me asking millions of questions, we had to get to Barry-O's to meet our friends. They'd surely wonder where we were, since no one knew this was going to happen. On the way to Upstream (plans had changed, we were having a drink there instead), I insisted I should call my mom before I told anyone else. We got to Upstream, so I didn't have time to call anyone else right that minute. So we went in and looked for our friends, but couldn't find them. While searching, I saw someone who looked an awful lot like my dad. Wait, was it my dad? Why would he be in Omaha? And then I saw a friend who I wasn't planning to meet there. Wait, was this another part of the surprise? It was! Mike had arranged for my friends and family to be at the Upstream to celebrate. For the next few hours, I giggled with friends, showed off the rock, and shared many hugs. It was the perfect conclusion to the perfect night.

Luckiest girl in the world.