Family, love letter

Love Letter: Dear Sawyer June

Sawyer June Ego
7.13.17 at 2:09 p.m.
6 lbs 10 oz

Dear Sawyer June,

We’ve been waiting for you for a long time. No, not just these last 9 months, but 23-ish years to be exact. That’s how long its been since there has been a new baby in this part of the family, so Janci and I have been waiting all of that time to have an Ego cousin. And to be honest, Janci was long overdue to give up the “baby of the family” title.

Don’t get me wrong, having our grandparents all to ourselves while growing up down the street from them was actually pretty great. As far as grandparents go, our Grammy and Grampy are one of a kind and now it’s your turn to get spoiled by them. And trust me, they are pretty great at that too.

This family you were born into is kind of crazy. It’s been said that we should have our own sitcom. We are a bit loud and a bit sarcastic, so you’ll need some thick skin to survive. But our love for one another is just as big so it balances out at the end of the day.

Your daddy was like a big brother to me, instead of an uncle. He let me annoyingly tag along and my Barbies to co-exist with his Legos. He taught me to geek out over movies and to have a sense of adventure. I’m pretty sure you will have seen Star Wars no less than 100 times by the time you are 5. I hope that someday you will let my own kids tag along without too much fuss. And your mama, well she has been the perfect balance to all our chaos and I was so happy when she became a part of our family.

You are already so loved little girl and the fact that I don’t get to hold you for another 3 weeks is making me more homesick than I ever have been before.

You’ll learn quickly that family is the most important thing we have and we are so glad that you joined ours.

Love, Mandy

Family, love letter

Love Letter: Ellie

To our beautiful “lead-butt”, attention craving, fetch loving sweetheart and the best dog-cousin a girl could have.

Ellie girl, I would argue with anyone that you were the sweetest, most gentle and loyal dog that I ever met and am likely to ever meet.

You were a true “family” dog because for so much of your life it was hard to say exactly whose dog you actually were. And that’s OK. You had more than enough love in you to share with everyone.

Thanks for the cuddles and making us laugh because of your need to be impossibly close to someone at all times. I am glad that you aren’t suffering anymore, but your boy Jack and the rest of us are going to miss you a whole lot.


Ellie on the left and Jack on the right.

Family, Oregon

Oregon in July | Part 4 | Wedding Day

Hey! We are to my final post about my trip home and the wedding.

On the wedding day I did not pull out my nice camera because I was either busy, or just enjoying the day. Josh and Sonia also hired a great professional photographer, and while I manage to take a good picture every now and then, I have no problem getting out of the way of the professionals and letting them do their thing.

View Part 1 about “Home and Wedding Prep” HERE
View Part 2 about our “Girl’s Day at the Salon” HERE
View Part 3 about the “Wedding Rehearsal” HERE

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The day started out early, but gorgeous.

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frog in flower

That is a little frog there hanging out in the daisy. We found him when we first woke up and let him chill out until we finally needed the flowers back.

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I woke up about 5:30 to start getting myself ready because I did hair for Sonia, all three of the bridesmaids and both of the flower girls. Sonia has really long hair, but it is both very fine and thin, so she decided to use extensions. This was my first time working with extensions, but after a little trial and error, I got the hang of it. It was amazing how much of a difference it made and how well her real hair blended with them.

Note to other newbies… fake hair does not curl normally. You have to cool down each piece for it to hold its shape.

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Taylor had fine, wispy bangs, and we wanted both of the girls’ hair to match so I did one of the tiniest (and probably most difficult) little french braids I’ve ever done, which meant that I needed her to hold REALLY still. Taylor’s favorite candy are tootsie rolls, so we told her that if she held really still and never took her eyes off of it, that she could have it.

PEOPLE, SHE NEVER MOVED.
It was hysterical. Even when I scooped her up to better position her for the hot curling iron, she still never took her eyes off it.

I just wish I could apply that level of concentration to anything at 25.

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We let the little girls pack their own flower pails and Taylor was convinced that we couldn’t leave any petals unused.

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Sisters.

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Excited to have a new aunt/sister.

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I posted this picture of Josh and I to Instagram with this overly cheesy caption:

“You may technically be my uncle, but growing up as your sidekick with you as my big brother you influenced everything from my taste in movies to my humor and so much about how I approach life. I am so happy that you found Sonia and that she’s so much cooler than you.”

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Aside for a short rain during dinner, it was such a beautiful day, and such a fun wedding. I am so happy that Sonia is a part of our family now and that I was able to be home for so long to help celebrate.

And before I go I have to share a few of the professional photos that were on Facebook. To my North Dakota friends, definitely check out Erin at Soulshine Photography. She did an amazing job! I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures!!

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Photo by Soulshine Photography
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Photo by Soulshine Photography
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Photo by Soulshine Photography
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Photo by Soulshine Photography

Cheers!

Family, Oregon

Oregon in July | Part 3 | Wedding Rehearsal

Friends, I am SO EXCITED to share this post with you.

I was a little disappointed at how shaky my hands must have been that day, because there are a quite a few pictures that could have been much clearer. But as you can see I had a LOT of trouble trying to narrow down what I was going to share.

But I just love weddings, our cabin and so many of these people so much, and it really was such a beautiful evening and so much fun.

I mentioned in my first post about this trip that I got a new phone and so I wasn’t connected to my work email anymore. With the exception of a few Snapchats and quick social media shares, I shut out a lot of the outside world. And I am so glad I did, because I was able to soak in these memories.

View Part 1 about “Home and Wedding Prep” HERE
View Part 2 about “Girl’s Day at the Salon” HERE

i do sign with namemark

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Brandt was Josh’s high school cross country coach and mentor, and now they have become friends and fellow coaches.

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dancing with namemark

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Their idea, not mine 🙂

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Josh's hand with namemark

short ribs with namemark

Nothing beats my Daddy’s cooking.

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josh with namemark

Taylor with namemark

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The cook (Dad) finally got a moment to relax.

Grampy with namemark

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Sonia’s Uncle Johannes came in from Germany to walk her down the isle.

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The guy (Josh’s friend Bryce) who was going to be officiating was not going to arrive until the actual wedding day, so my Grampy stepped in for the rehearsal. He might have had a bit too much fun with it.

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Josh and his groomsmen.

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Josh and Jay with namemark

My uncles Josh and Jay, and two of my favorite guys.

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The bridesmaids and flower girls.

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The Ego Men… can you tell they are related?

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Sonia’s family are so much fun!

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He is so weird. The rest of us are sort of wondering why she said yes 🙂

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Brian is Josh’s best friend from high school and his older sister Amy became friends with Sonia because they work together. And those are Amy’s little girls, Taylor and Elaina.

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After the rehearsal my Mom and Grammy were back to prep. Owning a flower shop comes in handy sometimes…

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My Mama doing her thing.

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Sonia and her Mom.

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flag and light with namemark

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marshmellow with namemark

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Thanks for taking a look! I will be back soon with a final post about the wedding day. And for those of you wondering… yes, I will be posting a Facebook album with pictures from all of my trip posts soon.

Cheers!

Family, Oregon

Oregon in July | Part 2 | Girl’s Day at the Salon

Ok, so I lied.

Originally I was going to break my trip home and the wedding down into 3 blog posts, but looking ahead I have WAY too many pictures to share from the rehearsal, so I decided to make our girl’s afternoon at the salon its own post.

In reality, I could have just named the post “Taylor and Elaina” because the two little flower girls were where my lens was focused on for most of the afternoon. They are just so cute!

Anyway, the day before the wedding most of the girls in the family and bridal party headed into town (Baker City) to get pedicures and manicures. Sonia’s best friend and maid of honor, Jess, also put together a little bridal shower.

View Part 1 about “Home and Wedding Prep” HERE

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cupcake with namemark

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Sonia the bride.

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My Grammy and Mom.

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If only life was still that simple. These little girls were so much fun.

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Jess and Sonia.

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Strawberries with namemark

I will be back tomorrow with a huge post about the rehearsal.

Cheers!

Family, Oregon

Oregon in July | Part 1 | Home & Wedding Prep

At the beginning of July, I went home to Oregon for a much anticipated vacation and family wedding. I mentioned in my last post that May through July was busy beyond reason in so many ways, and though this trip also added to the chaos, it was a great mental break and just the dose of home that I needed. On the day I rolled into town, I headed to U.S. Cellular for an upgrade on my phone, which meant my work email was no longer connected until I could hand it over to the IT guy at work. I was so thankful that my boss was perfectly fine with me completely checking out for a full week.

I have WAY TOO MANY pictures from my phone, Snapchat and my nice camera to share, so I am going to break the trip down into three blog posts. ENJOY!

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Seriously, though, one of everything from the Taco Truck is on menu for my “last meal.”

Both of my sister’s cats unexpectedly had kittens. It is well known that I am not a fan of cats, but they are adorable when they are little.

That would be my Mom you hear in the background. We were way too entertained by the kittens.

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Aside from the wedding, the highlight of my trip was that I finally met Wesley Ray! Baby Wes belongs to my best friend from high school, Richole, and he was just a day over 4 months when I met him. He is such a sweet, easy-tempered baby and has such beautiful, curious eyes like his mama. I was overjoyed to see how happy he makes my best friend and unfortunately its things like this that makes living so far away hard. I almost want to cry just thinking that he will be 9 months old before I see him again.

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The pictures in this post are a tad bit out of order, but it makes sense to group them together the way I did. I landed in Oregon on Saturday, July 2 and we headed up to the cabin the next day for a little wedding prep before heading back to Hermiston so my parents could work and I could visit with Richole and Baby Wes.

Regardless, I was perfectly happy to spend as much time up at “The Diggins” as I could since I only usually get to go about once a year.

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When Josh (my uncle who is more like a brother) and Sonia finally decided that they were going to get married up at the cabin I was so excited. I kept joking that I was going to be vicariously living through them because while I would love to get married there someday myself, I could never narrow down a guest list that small. #italktoomuch #invitationsforeveryone

There were many little projects to do for setup and decorations so my Grammy and Grampy put everyone to work. Notice though, how Josh and Sonia are nowhere to be seen in any of these pictures… #ahem.

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Grampy, Uncle Joe and Dad.

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Archway for the ceremony.

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Grammy staining benches.

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Up at the cabin we have named all of the buildings. The garage-turned large kitchen is labeled the “Cook Shack.” The shop that is converted into extra sleeping rooms and a playroom/common area is called the “Bunk House.” The shed is the “Jail House.” You get the picture. So when we put up the archway, my Uncle Joe joked that we should call it the “Gallows.” At some point, my Dad disappears and returns with some rope and starts making nooses and prepping some wood for my Grammy to use to make a sign. If you are wondering how my Dad knows how to make a legit noose, you are NOT alone. Let’s just say there’s a story about an intense game of ‘cowboys and indians’ from my Dad’s childhood. #wildwildwest

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daddys hands with namemark

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grammy painting with namemark

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Oh, did I mention that I celebrated my favorite holiday, while also at my favorite place? Because I did, and minus the fact that we did not do fireworks, it was great. #Merica

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Since it was a holiday weekend, we were able to catch the flea market in Sumpter, the nearby little gold mining town. There is a LOT of junk at things like this, but there are also many treasures to find, especially if you are into the whole shabby chic/rustic/vintage decor trend.

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In particular, we were in search for some old bottles for wedding table decorations.

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Sumpter, OR

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I just moved at the beginning of the summer and purged many things before I did, so I have been really focusing on not buying too many new things or decorations. However, I made an exception when I found this gem. It is hard to read in the picture, but the little tag says “Bourbon” and it pumps the perfect amount for a shot. It will go perfectly on my cabinet where I keep all of different drinking glasses, accessories and you know… the actual booze.

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I had a fun afternoon browsing with just my Grammy and my Mom. There are so many qualities that I know I get from them, including our sassy attitudes. #igotitfrommymama

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I am convinced we should leave the light up year-round.

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That is it for today! My next two posts will cover the rest of the prep and the rehearsal, and then of course the wedding day. Excited to share!

Cheers!

Family, Washington D.C.

Brought to You by the Letter “M”

This blogpost was brought to you by the letter “M.”
Mom. Memorial. Moving. Monsoon…

Ok, that last one is a tad bit of an exaggeration but I’m all about dramatic effects in these parts. Moving along in my blogging catch this week (which I started yesterday), as soon as I returned back to DC from my Kansas work/fun trip, my Mom had already arrived to visit and help me move into my new apartment.

I feel like I’ve been talking about moving FOREVER. When I first moved to DC, I had to do everything online, find and commit to a place site-unseen, and move all within about two weeks. My roommate and I always knew that this gig was going to last through the one lease so I knew months ahead of time when I’d be moving.

The biggest difference when apartment searching in a city like DC, versus say, a Midwest college town like Manhattan, is that apartment managements usually only know when a space is coming available 30 to 60 days, which means you can’t look at or consider them until then. Also, the prices fluctuate on a scale based on demand, time of year, etc., so that price you saw online two weeks ago isn’t valid now.
Long story short, apartment hunting here is way more complicated and tedious than it really ought to be.

I actually got the keys to my new place in early May, but waited until the end to move because of my trip to Kansas and all the other life things (did I mention I’ve been busy?)

Now here’s where my Mom comes in. Somewhat last minute she decided to fly across the country to hang for a whole week and help me wherever I need it.
After she left I wrote on Facebook, “You all can argue with me another time, but this week there is no doubt that my mom wins the “Best Mom Award.” She came to DC to help me move to a new apartment during what has been a REALLY busy season of life and work for me. I really don’t know what I’d do without her.”

It was so nice to have someone help with all the loose ends, offer a second opinion on decisions and oh yeah… CLEAN MY OLD APARTMENT FOR ME because I had to go back to work.

Now my new apartment has this weird rule about no moving in on weekends and holidays, which gave Mom and I an excuse to be tourists for part of her visit.

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Union Station.
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U.S. Capitol.

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If you didn’t know my family has owned a flower shop for 27 (28?) years. It was actually pretty funny because somehow in the past year of living here, I had failed to mention to Mom about the U.S. Botanical Garden. Friends, my mom is not very good at remembering to take pictures or even actually taking them (her words, not mine)…. and she took pictures of almost every flower we saw in there.

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The tropics room was a bit humid. I actually wanted to go back outside into the DC humidity.

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On the National Mall.

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At the new apartment… oops.

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So we knew our tourist/fun time was going to be limited and since she was in town over Memorial Day we decided that we REALLY wanted to go to the DC Memorial Day concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. It is a great event aired on PBS hosted by Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna (aka Captain Dan and Agent Rossi LOL). The weather that morning first said it was supposed to be a light rain before the concert and then clear up. So we didn’t taken umbrellas and headed into the district to get there at 5pm for a good spot for the 8pm concert and that’s where it went downhill. We get off the Metro and it is POURING. So because we have time, we decide to go back a Metro stop to where I think there are shops where we can buy umbrellas (and use the restrooms because HELLO priorities). Except the shops aren’t actually open and neither are the restrooms, so we head out in the rain following Google Maps to the nearest CVS… except it gets confused and takes us in the opposite direction. FYI, by now it was pouring even harder. At point, I actually realize I am near a hotel I recognize that has a restroom AND gift store where we paid way too much money for ridiculous ponchos and umbrellas.

Finally we made the trek back toward the Capitol and still sat for almost two hours in the pouring rain, where we played “I Spy,” for at least one hour. I think its important to note here how much my mom and I both hate the rain and hate being that cold. But at that point we were committed.

And it was worth it. The concert was awesome, and the rain eventually did let up.

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Monday was mostly spent doing apartment things, but we did walk to Arlington National Cemetery.

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And then Wednesday was officially moving day. I just want to throw a quick shout out. If you are moving in the NOVA/DC area, I HIGHLY recommend the My Truck Buddy moving company. Moving in a city is just a different kind of beast, and these guys made my move so much less stressful and so fast! It was worth every penny, and really, their prices were pretty reasonable. Though I seriously would have paid them just to move my couch that I’m a bit attached to and apparently unable to fit into any DC apartment. That’s a story for another time…

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Hi, my name is Amanda, I’m 25, and have no shame in admitting that I totally still need my mom. I loved being able to finally show her my life here in DC and am so, so, so, so, so thankful for her help that week!

Friends, if your mama is anywhere near as awesome as mine, give her a big ol’ hug, because she deserves it.

On a side note, I am so in love with my new apartment and can’t wait to eventually show it off to you!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a “So There’s That” post to wrap up my blogging catch up.

Cheers!