January 26, 2017

anniversary number four...

i have to admit...this one kind of snuck up on me.  with all the birthday hoopla immediately following christmas i've been at bit lost in the calendar.  a whole week seemed to disappear without my realizing it and when missy asked about our anniversary plans on tuesday i muttered something about figuring it out next week.  to which she replied, "it's in two days".  whoopsie!

thankfully our fried chicken tradition takes some of the pressure out of the planning process.  we started the night at gus's world famous fried chicken and then hung out at the up-down with all the youngins.  donald was like a kid in a candy story reliving his arcade days.  his favorites were ms. pac-man, x-men and taking turns on crazy taxi; i basically stuck to skee ball and serving drinks to the patrons on tapper.  we wrapped up the night with fudge stuffed peanut butter cookies at tannin, because that's what donald's dreams are made of.  

January 9, 2017

the thirty forty...

the morning of the big day dawned bright and clear, and a balmy 5 degrees. we had plans to meet at the leslie's in the afternoon to head out on our little 'road trip'. when we arrived the first surprise was that we weren't just leaving as us, we were leaving in character. erica and i had written a screenplay titled 'threat level gold' and donald and grant were the stars. we sat down for a table read but soon decided that in order to really get into the roles we needed to take it out on location. the first scene unfolded in their living room, but as the caper evolved the men were sent to a mysterious address.

we loaded up the car and headed off, ending up at the independence train station. after hauling our bags inside we read through the next scene, which, in a surprise twist, had us getting back in the car to travel to a new address. this path ended at the airport, but given the whole train station confusion no one really knew what to believe. after solving a series of clues provided by a supporting character, a confirmation code was revealed. grant typed it into a nearby kiosk and bingo bango...we were on our way to warm and sunny los angeles! we also slipped in a couple of train tickets for the hogwarts express since we wanted to be sure to pay harry a visit.

the only surprise we kept all the way to california was our tour of the warner brothers studio, which ended up being one of our favorite stops. aside from riding through the backlot and checking out some sound stages, we saw all the batmobiles, a ton of original harry potter props and my personal favorite...sat on the central perk couch.

we spent our in between time checking out the hollywood sign, seeing a movie and strolling past some stars on the walk of fame.  we also paid visits to some of our favorite burger joints, namely in-n-out and shake shack. one of my best moments was unintentionally stumbling across gene kelly's star just outside of shake shack. he's my favorite.

on our last full day it was finally time to stroll through hogsmead and visit the hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. it really is a magical place. we drank butterbeer and dined at the three broomsticks; checked out the wands at ollivanders and bought some candy at honeydukes. it was the perfect way to end our magical birthday adventure.

January 3, 2017

big smooth's big 40...

a few years ago while hanging out with grant and erica we discovered that donald and grant not only have birthdays three days apart, but they are specifically ten years and three days apart, meaning they will always be celebrating milestone birthdays together. erica and i decided that such a memorable occasion required an equally memorable trip, so about seven month ago we got down to business. i was happily planning this one and only birthday surprise when it occurred to me that in order to keep this a surprise i was going to have to get him a present on his actual birthday too...one thing led to another and suddenly i was on the hunt for forty, yes i said 40, gifts.

my husband loves things. they bring him great joy. receiving gifts is definitely one of his top love languages. it's also definitely not mine. but as i said, one thing lead to another and it just made sense that this was the perfect idea for his special day.

so on december 27th the songs started to play. five times a day a different silly birthday song meant another birthday gift! there were games and star wars trinkets, gift cards and silly cereals, and a game of thrones umbrella thrown in for good measure. he caught on pretty quickly and it was great to have so much birthday fun to look forward to each day.

but little did he know this was also a rouse to distract him from the bonus gift that was coming the following weekend. he knew we had a little something planned with the leslie's but i did my best to keep his expectations at rock bottom. [something along the lines of a weekend in branson] while i am normally an olympic level sleeper, i was tossing and turning every night with nervous excitement, and then the day finally came...

June 28, 2016

this house...

i love it. i really do. i love that it is full of dyer family memories and i love how much donald loves it. but older homes are not for the faint of heart! 

we have a laundry list of decorating ideas and updates we'd like to do to the house, and honestly a lot of time the thing that slows us down is the decision making process. [which is a nice way of saying i take forever to make up my mind about things...like sometimes it is literally almost forever] but there's also the pesky fact that none of the trees on our property have been growing money lately. 

despite these facts we have still managed to get ourselves a whole lot of new house in the past six months or so. it started awhile back when we decided the next big project we would save for would be new windows. this would be our most significant home improvement to date, and i was really excited about the idea of having windows that would open and close without making me want to punch them. so we started to save.

then last june there was the storm that knocked over one of our trees in the backyard and onto the electric and communication lines. this was followed by a delightful five months of donald making a weekly phone call to google [because they seemed the most likely to help] to ask for them to get their lines taken care of so we could take care of our tree.

by the time fall rolled around we had our window money saved and were ready to go. we placed the order, paid our deposit and sat back to wait for them to show up. then about a week later we noticed a large crack in the foundation of our garage that had likely been there for years, but was now acting as an additional window since you could see through the wall into the backyard. assuming this was not ideal, we made some calls and discovered our house was sort of falling down on one side and needed to be piered. but the tricky part was that we couldn't install new windows into a crooked house, so the piers had to be in before the windows. 

this chain of events initiated what i like to call 'the week we spring cleaned our bank accounts', because in a span of six days we had six piers put under the house, eighteen windows put in the house and, since google had finally come along to take care of the lines, we also had the tree guy come and cut down the rest of our fallen tree.

then just a few months later our main sewer line, which we knew was probably coming to the end of its lifespan, started letting us know it was time for some attention. not wanting to be overshadowed by the shiny new windows, the sewer line succeeded in breaking the previous and short lived record for the most significant home improvement to date. we're hopeful that this new record will stand for some time...perhaps forever.

June 8, 2016

a record setting reunion...

we set an attendance record this summer with our largest crowd yet at the meinhardt reunion. it was great to have so many of us in the same place at the same time, and by the sheer power of our numbers we managed to claim the resort pool as our own for the afternoon. this was also the year of the rum bucket, as dave and lynn granted the requests of a few second generation cousins to bring back the rum buckets of yore. we enjoyed some special meinhardt themed treats, the mini golf tournament and a few hilarious games of headbands. i think we make a pretty great family.

June 6, 2016

an open apology...

i would like to convey my deepest and most sincere apologies to my faithful blog reader, and favorite uncle, michael harry meinhardt. at our recent family reunion i incorrectly stated that he had participated in the miniature golf tournament at the previous reunion. i was mistaken. upon further review of the photographic evidence it became clear that the golfing foursome i had remembered playing with was merely a threesome. the only explanation i can offer is that i was simply remembering things the way i wish they had been, as opposed to the way they were.

i humbly offer this public apology in hopes that he will not hold it against me and make no effort to collect the agreed upon wager of one thousand dollars. i also hope that he will one day consider reentering the sport of miniature golf and will at that time agree to play on my team.

May 22, 2016

the grand vegas vacation...

we mixed this trip up with a little vegas glitz and some grand outdoor adventures. just after donald finished his semester we flew out to visit david. we got in on wednesday evening and david had reservations waiting for us at his swanky new restaurant beauty & essex, which was so new it wasn't even open to the public yet. [and we ate there a whole week and a half before madonna, so we are obviously very important] it was a special preview night and we got to try all kinds of fancy foods...plus it was really fun to see one of david's venues and hang out with him all night.

the next day we made a highly anticipated stop at in-n-out and set out on a road trip to see some of america's natural treasures. our first night we stayed near the grand canyon in the cutest little koa cabin...which would have been idyllic if it weren't for the fact that donald and the altitude were not exactly getting along. we had a bit of a rough night, but in the morning decided that we didn't want to get this close to the grand canyon and not actually see it, so we powered on. it was basically a clark griswold inspired stop, but now we can say we were there!

by the next morning donald was feeling much better so we were back to our regularly scheduled itinerary, and next up was a visit to lower antelope canyon. it is basically a crack in the ground that you climb down into and then there is a long, underground canyon with wavy walls to walk through. because it is located on navajo land you have to go through with a guide and donald's favorite part was learning the names of the different rock formations like 'the chief' and 'lady in the wind'. from there we took a short drive over to horseshoe bend. it's a little funny because you basically drive up to a well worn path, walk over a desert hill and there it is. no park rangers, no buildings and no railing. it was somewhat distracting to watch all the tourists hopping around on what is essentially the edge of a thousand foot cliff, but the view is pretty spectacular. we also managed to hit three different states on our drive back to vegas, which we determined was definitely a record setting day for donald.

the next few days were spent back in fabulous las vegas. when we weren't spending time with david, which was our most favorite activity, we were wandering around the strip and eating yummy food. i spent time at the pool which was glorious, as being at the pool so often is, and donald enjoyed some down time in the sports book. on our last night david scored us some tickets to a really fun show at the venetian and i got hit a bonus on the planet moolah slot machine that lasted fifteen straight minutes. so that obviously ended up being my favorite vegas night.