Agriculture, Oregon, Photography

Feeding Cows with Dad

There are fewer things that I love more than being home with my family in Oregon doing everyday things, and there are even fewer things that I love more than seeing my family happy.

My parents have always dreamed of having property and cows, and of a farmhouse that they could call their forever home.

Once they found what they wanted there were a few frustrating years before it all came together, so when it finally happened it was that much sweeter.

It was a bit overwhelming at first when I came home. I was walking into a completely different place than where I grew up, but with every room and little detail that they showed me, it became more and more clear to me. This home is perfect for them.

I might take pictures someday of the house, maybe even on this trip.

But I knew even before I came home, that the first thing my camera lens would focus on were my dad and those beloved cows.

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In case you are wondering, these “Oreo” cows are the breed “Bue Lingo.”

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I am only slightly upset that my family finally got cows AFTER I left home…

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This barn cat came with the property. My dad has renamed it “Talks a Lot.” It follows him EVERYWHERE, and well, never stops talking.

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This is what a very happy, new farmer looks like.

Cheers!

So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 18

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my glam #postgradlife. See past posts HERE}

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This post should really be titled “What has been going on in Amanda’s life for the last two months to keep her from blogging even once?” But obviously that would have been a bit long and obnoxious.

Well as you will see below, I’ve been pretty busy! Every week day has been full at work and my weekends even more full. I’ve actually been slowly adding to this post for a few weeks now, and final found a moment to send it off.

I also returned last week from a quick work trip to GUAM! So as soon as I can get to the pictures on my nice camera I will be blogging about that (hopefully this week)!

Anyway, back to not-so-regularly scheduled programming…

1. NEEDTOBREATHE and Mat Kearney

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I crossed two old favorites off my list of live concerts to see with my friends Sarah and Elissa. I have been a fan of Mat Kearney since he debuted about 10 years ago when I was in high school. And NEEDTOBREATHE I discovered early in college. The Monday night concert was out at Wolf Trap Park and was a great venue!

The fact that Mat is originally from Oregon and includes it in a lot of his songs definitely makes me an even bigger fan.

I LOVE when artists cover other classic songs and artists, and blend it in with their own songs.

I was a bit disappointed that we did not get a full rendition of my favorite NEEDTOBREATHE song but the acoustic snippet was still great.

2. Labor Day Weekend

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After some back and forth of who was going to visit who where… Nicole made the trek up from Raleigh for a weekend in DC. I am sure I have said this before on the blog, but Nicole is a fellow kid from Eastern Oregon who studied Ag Communications at K-State, and now lives on the East Coast. Yeah, we have a lot in common…

Our weekend was filled with attending the K-State watch party, wandering through Eastern Market and Capitol Hill Bookstore, a few museums and typical DC sightseeing. I’m pretty sure she would agree that the highlight was going to the Newseum! I will never understand why I waited so long to go! There were many moments where Nicole and I both had to pause to collect ourselves, we were really nerding out.

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If you are in DC or a visiting book nerd, a stop at Capitol Hill Bookstore is a must for your list. This video does not do it justice.

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This story probably deserved its own blog post, but I think too much time has passed for that so I’m sharing it here.

So to get into my condo building you need a separate key from the one I use on my apartment (it is a really old building.) Because I was wearing jeans that evening I decided to not carry a purse or clutch, and just put everything in my pockets, except for my keys which I gave to Nicole to put in her clutch. Except I was trying to be efficient and just gave her my apartment key instead of my whole key ring…

Fast forward to us getting home at 3 a.m., a bit tipsy and realizing that we were locked out of the building, and to top it off the buzzer that is supposed to allow me to open the door remotely from my cell phone was not working. Right about when I am thinking that I am going to have to get us a hotel room, this guy walks up and listens to me go on and on about how I promise I live here and am not some crazy person trying to break in. He lets us in and then I continue to badger him to let me know which apartment number he is in so that I can bring him a bottle of wine. He tried turning me down (and not tell the drunk crazy girl where he lived) but if you know me you know I am persistent.

I did indeed make good on my promise to leave him some wine outside his door (and promptly left very quickly) and just so happened to have this wine on hand with the perfect name.

3. Costco

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My family have been Costco members through our business since I was little and it was about time that I got my own card, you know, to spend all of that extra money that I have…

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4. Virginia Tech Game

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In September, I visited Blacksburg again to spend the weekend with one of my favorite Kansans, Chelsea, who is going to grad school there. I am a sucker for a college gameday and tailgate no matter who is playing… even if they do have some strange traditions.

5. West Virginia vs. K-State Road Trip

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Speaking of college football… I started out October the right way by road tripping with my fellow DC K-State alum to our game versus West Virginia. The end of the game was a tad bit embarrassing but it was a great day overall, and for the most part the WVU were very welcoming. Now if I could only get that John Denver song out of my head…

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Also, I just love how small the world is! Katie was a part of our group because she was visiting her BF who is at Georgetown Law and also happens to be the sister-in-law to one of my best friends from college, Blaine.

6. Eric Stonestreet K-State Video

And speaking of K-State Football…

So cheesy and so, so wonderful.
And the fact that it is narrated by everyone’s favorite K-State alum makes it 10 times better.
Just do not make me admit how many times I’ve watched it.

7. Gilmore Girls Revival

Have I mentioned lately HOW EXCITED I AM!?!

8. Chasing Bubbles

Looking for a bit of motivation or a break from binge watching on Netflix? I HIGHLY recommend checking out this documentary, “Chasing Bubbles.” It is about really seeing life as a journey and a story about how one guy sailed around the world to discover that. Of course its about a lot more than that, but you should just really watch it to find out.

For me it was also interesting because the younger brother of the guy the film is about is one of my friends through my AFA leadership network. I honestly do not know Joe all that well, but it was interesting to learn about the family he comes from and a bit of what makes him who he is. Overall, this documentary really touched me and it is a story that deserves to be shared.

9. My Puppies

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I miss these two all the time, and certainly could not pass up giving them some love on Instagram on #NationalDogDay

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10. My Dad and His “Kitty-Kitty”

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Over the past two months my parents have been in the process of moving houses, and while living with my grandparents for a few weeks the pets had to stay at various other places.  My Dad has a rather strange affection for one of the cats and so this SnapChat from my sister is just too funny NOT to document.

11.Coffee Things

Coffee has been the real MVP lately.

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12. Forever Country

The Country Music Association is turning 50 this year and recently released this medley of songs with a long list of country music all-stars.

I have yet to watch it without tearing up.

13. National Taco Day

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My sister posted this collage on #NationalTacoDay.
We may or may not have a taco obsession in our family.

14. Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.

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The scaffolding is FINALLY all removed, and the Capitol sure does look gorgeous!

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On the Key Bridge overlooking the Potomac River

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I recommend “Bilbo Baggins” restaurant. It’s quirky and cute.

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Excited for this K-State friend to be in DC for the next full year!

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Volunteering at a community garden with my church.

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Got dinner and did some site seeing with my cousin Dave who was in town for work.

15. My Life in Memes

Memes that are speaking to me right now… both thought provoking and just plain funny.

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Substitute a Dirty Chai Latte for the PSL and this is all me.

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Pretty sure my parents thought this on the daily for the first 10 years of my life.

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16. Update on My Favorite Kiddos

Because this has become the best part of my “So There’s That” posts.

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Wesley Ray – somewhere between 6 and 7 months old.

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Robin Michele – somewhere between 5 and 6 months old.
I just LOVE the picture above of Robin with her Mama.

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Family, Oregon, Photography

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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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, Photography

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

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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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Their idea, not mine 🙂

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Josh's hand with namemark

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Nothing beats my Daddy’s cooking.

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

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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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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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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, Photography

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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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, Photography

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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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!

Career/Professional, Family, Friendship, Oregon

Catching Up in 2016…

So it has officially been a month since I last blogged.

Oops. I’ve been doing so well over the past year, but I was bound to have a dry spell again, and it definitely won’t be the last time. To be fair, 2016 has already been a whirlwind, and when I wasn’t busy, I really wasn’t motivated. So today will really just be about catching up a bit and sharing what I have been up to so far this year.

Extra points for those who aren’t related to me and didn’t just close the web browser.

Homeward Bound Again

In the almost 8 years since having left Oregon, I usually always go a few months in between my trips home. This time though, work sent me back just two short weeks after I had been home for Christmas.

This is also where I should note that over those past 8 years of a LOT of air travel, I have a pretty good track record. Only once have I had to spend the night in an airport. I have had to run to make a connection maybe 2 or 3 times and again there has only been one time that I had to get a hotel because of a missed connection due to delays. But my flight to Portland on this trip? I missed completely because I slept in. Let me tell you, the feeling of dread when you wake up and see daylight through the window when you should have been at the airport before sunrise, is not something I want to feel again. I was able to catch another direct flight later in the afternoon, but I am still pretty embarrassed.

My trip to Portland was to participate in a PNW Wheat Marketing Tour with the Idaho Wheat Commission, to experience the wheat supply chain from start to finish. I really value anytime that I get to spend quality time with our farmers and I especially enjoyed seeing a city that I grew up near through a new set of lenses. I won’t go into to much detail, but I did write a short article about my experience, “Pacific Northwest Grain Industry Tour Reveals Source of Quality, Reliability” that you can read here.  My favorite part was hands down, was the opportunity to ride on a tugboat that was pushing a barge up the river.  I didn’t know it was possible to nerd out that much over a tugboat, but friends, IT WAS SO COOL. Even though I grew up watching tugboats and barges on the nearby Columbia River, transportation in agriculture is one of the sectors that I know the least about. Life on the tugboat is a unique line of work and I now have a much better appreciation for that part of the supply chain.

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The Wheat Marketing Center is one of a kind. This is a great place for tours and learning about wheat foods. They are doing a lot of really could research!
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Out on the tugboat! It was SO cold!

I was in Portland Sunday through Wednesday, when my sister drove in to pick me up and take me back home to Eastern Oregon. As always I packed as much as I possibly could into my time at home. On Thursday I went to my old high school to speak with two groups of students. My audience ranged from freshmen to seniors so instead of just focusing on same old college and career prep that they are going to endlessly hear from someone else, I chatted with them on the importance of your “own personal brand” and the role it plays — whether you have an online presence or not — in both college and the start of your career. I shared with them about some of my personal experiences, how I’ve handled both success and failure and a few real life tips. The one student that I personally knew assured me that it was a really good presentation, and I definitely wasn’t lame. .. to be honest, I was just really pumped that I was able to tie in both a Harry Potter and Doctor Who meme into my key messages. #adulting.

I spent some time with my family, watching the high school boys basketball game that my Grampy coaches, and on Saturday my whole family went to our local annual variety show, which was complete with a cast iron-cooked dinner. This is the first year that I have been able to go, and it certainly reminded me why I love my small hometown. The highlight of my weekend though, was being able to attend my best friend’s baby shower. Richole and Dustin are due mid-March, and when they heard that I would be back home again, Richole’s mother-in-law agreed to move the shower date just so I could be there. I have a few friends with babies now, but Richole is the first of my best gals, and that meant the world to me that I could be there to help celebrate.

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Love this girl so much, and I am so excited to see her become a mama.

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Winter Storm Jonas

A few days after I got back from Oregon, the East Coast was hit by Winter Storm Jonas. Now I’ve grown up with snow in the mountains and there were blizzards in Kansas, but this storm and experience was UNREAL. My college friend Jancey had been in town that week for a conference and was planning on staying through the weekend for a fun tourist weekend with me. Instead, she ending up snowed in with me and couldn’t get a flight out for another 2 days. The snowfall lasted for about 36 hours straight and accumulated an average 17 to 26 inches throughout the area. My office was closed for two full days and there were many more half days and delayed starts. When I first moved hear people tried to explain that the city pretty much shuts completely down. Of course, until I experienced it first hand I couldn’t quite grasp what that meant. Grocery stores were empty, and I had a carton of eggs stolen out of my cart the day before storm! A reporter I know back in Kansas even referenced it in a article she wrote #thingsyoucantmakeup. Jancey and I watched A LOT of movies, ventured out a few times when visibility finally cleared up and participated in an epic snowball fight outside of the Clarendon Metro Station. Oh and I had a leak in my kitchen ceiling. I might have some good stories, but its definitely an experience I am not looking forward to having again anytime soon. I really wish WordPress would get its act together and make it easier to attach videos without first putting them on YouTube, because there are a few on my Instagram and Facebook that capture quick looks at our long, crazy weekend.

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Josh Abbott Band

In college I built my budget around being able to go to concerts of all sizes and genres.  But Aggieville, the bar district in Manhattan, KS, is where I fell in love with red dirt/Texas country music. Since moving to DC I hadn’t sought any of the music scenes yet, so when a friend told me she heard JAB would be in the area, there was no way that I was going to miss it. The venue, 9:30 Club, was great, and apparently one of the more popular small venues in the area. A K-State friend who is a student at Georgetown Law tagged along, and while it was great to hear some of their new music, I was really excited to hear most of my old favorites that made me fall in love with the genre and really, Kansas, in the first place.

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Josh Abbott Band at 9:30 Club

Board Meetings

A lot of my busy schedule recently was due to the winter board meeting at work. While our summer and fall meetings are always at other locations, the winter one is here in DC. Between the holidays, travel and the winter storm, by the time I reached the week of the board meeting, it felt like I hadn’t had a “normal” since about mid-December. But even though this meeting had a different pace because the staff doesn’t travel, I really enjoy board meetings. I love the collaboration and hearing about what the different parts of our organization are working on and accomplishment. And of course I really value the opportunity to interact with our farmers and state staff. Outside of the DC office there are so many quality people who contribute to our mission, and getting to know those people personally adds so much more purpose to my career. I was especially excited though, because we recently brought on one of my good friends as a freelancer for the communications team and she was able to make it up to DC for the meetings. Nicole and I both call Northeast Oregon home and vaguely knew each other through FFA, and then ended up becoming friends as ag comm majors at K-State. It’s always nice when the world feels a bit smaller and I am so excited that our paths have continued to cross back and forth.

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Nicole and I were able to make a little bit of time for some tourist fun.

Thanks for catching up with me. Next week I will be back to a regular blogging schedule. I am pretty excited that end of winter is in sight! So far my spring calendar includes National Ag Day events, a girls weekend NYC trip with my best friend Megan, a quick work trip to Kansas, searching for a new apartment to move into at the end of May and HOPEFULLY a quick trip to Georgia to watch my sister play in the NAIA Women’s Golf Championship!

Always something to look forward to.!

Cheers.