Miss America!

Miss America

First: No, Miss America is NOT Miss USA, aka Trump’s pageant. Just getting that out of the way! 🙂

Second: Yes, I did have to google that cause I know NOTHING about the pageant world.

…correction, I KNEW nothing…until now!!

How I get to have a friend like Carolyn, I don’t know. But she was selected to be a preliminary judge for Miss America this year. That means she spends all week in Atlantic City judging. Then the celebrities come in on Sat night and do the judging for the show. But after having seen how this works, the prelim judges really do all the work and the celebrities get all the glory! Story of life!

Carolyn asked me to be her “plus one”…and I looked at Brian, who obviously knew this meant he would be on his own for a few days wrangling kids, but even then still said, “You have to!” So while he was working hard doing his normal job, plus getting 3 kids around to soccer practices, sometimes overlapping practices at different fields, and the likes, I was flying to Atlantic City, FIRST CLASS!

I told Brian I’m never flying coach again. Leg room for days, free drinks (I ordered a vodka soda cause everyone else was…yes, I’m a follower) and not just peanuts, mixed roasted nuts!

Miss America

But that’s not even it! Lunch! All on real plates and silverware!

Miss America

And cookies afterwards. It really was all it’s hyped to be.

I detoured through Baltimore to see my college roommate Missy! She’s one of my favorite people in this world, and 24 hours with her was good for my soul. But obviously not for my camera cause we didn’t take ONE picture. Boo. 🙁

A little Miss American info for you: There are 3 evenings of Preliminary Competition. These are also held in Boardwalk Hall (where Sunday night’s competition is held). Each night, 1/3 of the girls do talent, 1/3 question and 1/3 bathing suit and evening gown. The prelim judges are giving them ratings and narrowing it down to 14. Along the way, girls are winning scholarships. They are ultimately competing for $50,000 in scholarships if they win. We were so impressed with the girls. They are between 17 and 24 and I was no where as put together and articulate at that age.

Here’s the judges seating.

Miss America

Miss America

We met Miss Teen America Thursday night. She was a doll!

Miss America

This dress was so Elsa!

Miss America

Miss America

Carolyn’s college friend Lindsay came in to join us! I have heard about her for 15 years, so meeting her was well over due! She’s adorable and fun and I love her!

Lindsay and I are twinkies! This was up on the stage after the prelims on Friday.

Miss America

Saturday, the prelims were done, and there’s a “Shoe Parade”- the girls all make a pair of elaborate shoes representing their state and ride in cars with their legs up showing off these shoes.

Here’s Miss America 2017 starting off the parade. Her name is Savy! How cute this that?

Miss America

Here she is again. So about 2 seconds before the camera takes the picture, it hit both Lindsay and I that we are taking a picture with MISS AMERICA. So you feel awkward cause you know this maybe wasn’t the best idea cause you are gonna look dowdy no matter what! 🙂

Miss America

We watched the parade from that balcony. Yes, like royalty. Yes, it was awesome!

Miss America

So, Miss Baltimore had cherry blossoms…

Miss Illinois went with Cubs…

Miss Texas. Well, she didn’t win any points from me, so it’s a good thing the prelims were over. And also I had zero say, so there’s that too! 🙂

We called ourselves Carolyn’s “entourage”

Miss America

This is up on our royalty balcony. It was like a party up there while we watched a parade, so definitely one of my favorite parts!

Miss America

We explored Atlantic City just a little. It has a great beach!

Miss America

And the best statue idea ever!!

Miss America

Our meals were crazy yummy! And I’m not just saying that cause I didn’t make them!

Miss America

We also had room service all week (which prior to this I had only done once before when Carolyn sent it to us in Chicago so the kids could experience it! Yes, she is the best all around!). We all missed room service the most when we got home!

My guilty pleasure is The Bachelor. (I haven’t watched in a while, but let’s just say if you want to talk Bachelor, I can hold my own!) And I LOVE Chris Harrison. He makes me laugh and he’s so good on his feet. My one goal in life (aka, on this trip) was to get a picture with him. I missed my first chance cause Lindsay and I had left back stage decided to go watch the press conference from the press seats! Ugh! (yes, he did make a comment about his seat being right in front of the roses!)

Miss America

 But we caught him back stage after his red carpet on Sunday!!

Miss America

Miss America

So yes, Sunday! We got our hair and makeup done and hit the cocktail pre-party. Also we “borrowed” the crown in the centerpiece…

Miss America

Red carpet lighting is amazing!

  Miss America  Miss America         Miss America

The Sunday show was fascinating cause it was live. I’ve only been to live football games 🙂 so experiencing this was really amazing. The detail and logistics that go into planning and executing was overwhelming. The camera man would film, then he would bust it over to the shadows for 15 seconds so he was out of the next shot, then run again back to a  spot to film again. Watching all that behind the scenes was my favorite!

Then I got to come home to this:

    Miss America

And I couldn’t resist drawing this on the kids napkins on Tuesday! 🙂

Miss America


Just some random-ness!

This was THE BEST!

July 2017

Kids made masks at Beach Art Museum craft class. Beckham was a gargoyle!

July 2017

All I wanted was a cute picture of her in her cute helmet…

July 2017

We’ve implemented “House Elves”…everyone has 2 nights a week that they are my dinner helper. And there’s a uniform (yep, real pillowcase!)!

 House elf

Kids notes from Brian’s sermon on Mary and Martha


July 2017

Sadie Piper’s:

July 2017


July 2017

Went to the grocery store this summer, but Berkley was  clearly low in her love tank (aka “touch”) and hung on me the whole time

July 2017

Berkley made me a penguin bookmark! It’s my fav!

  July 2017

This just made us laugh!

Aug 2017

Snack time in the cemetery!

Aug 2017

Taught kids how to play “Kick the Can”…and then schooled them!

Aug 2017

Girls made trophies out of paper. We won best parents!

Aug 2017

Found a fun playground in a small town!

Don’t even remember taking this, but there are so few of just the two of us!

On Post MPC lunch at the Curry's

$1.50 scoop days at Baskin Robbins makes not having Blue Bell just a little easier!

Aug 2017

Katy Trail 2017

This is year, who knows, 10o maybe, of this annual trip with Tony and Shari!

My fav pic

This year we went 3 for 4 in flat tires. Also the first ones for both Shari and me both. We have great husbands who know how to change them, so while we wait we take cute pics of them.

Turns out my tire had some cool goo in it that it didn’t need to be changed, just added air. But we realized that too late. “S0meone” was mocking Brian…”Someone” rhymes with Bony! 🙂

I’m pretty sure Tony was changing a flat tire and Shari and Brian are playing wiffle ball (with a stick as a bat) and I’m taking pics. Sorry Tony!

Yep, that was it.

Shari and I’s cute bridge pic:

Brian’s less cute bridge pic:

Our bed and breakfast

The bed and breakfast Shari and I wanted to stay at!

We just go for the pics of us jumping. We’ve gotten pretty good…meaning we take 5 pics every time instead of 30 to get a good one!


Here’s us discussing the shot. And how I wanted to be on the ground and not way up on these stairs.


I sucked it up, but it wasn’t my best shot! (I hate heights!)

We found this incredible “Boat Henge” that makes no sense but is crazy cool anyways.

Brian is always so patient and helpful in taking our jumping pictures, so I feel bad throwing him under the bus and posting these…but not bad enough not to! 🙂
(Love you Brian Bian)

“OK Brian, jump like you are flying out of the boat”

“Yeah, you are gonna have to get a little higher than that”

“Yes, it IS harder than it looks”


“Nope, more height. Put your heart into it.”

And then we got it…but it was blurry! Sorry babe!

And we DID it! It was storming the whole last day, but we limped to the finish line!

And then we went shopping at the Gap Outlets on the way home. The second reason Shari and I go…


Summer Vacation: Indianapolis and Detroit

We stick our heads in any funny pics we see!

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And yes, Berkley is in her pajamas. And yes, they are fleece footies. And yes, it’s July. She would live in them all day everyday year round if I let her.

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Also, we ride statues.

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We spent an afternoon in Indianapolis just passing though. I can’t remember why the kids were upset at Brian for some silly reason, but they were all walking with me and I was pumped!

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Yelp has been our friend on this trip. We found a crepe place for lunch!

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Also found a unique ice cream shop

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They freeze your ice cream in front of you!

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Then we saw a sign on the highway advertising the world’s largest rocking chair. We are so in for this!

It didn’t disappoint:

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Buuuut then we realized this was a whole TOWN of “World’s Largest”

Wooden Shoes:

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Wind chime:

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Mailbox (with working flag!)

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Bird cage:

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Not world’s largest, but still cool! It’s made from an old gas tank

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Also a night in Detroit cause the ASTROS were there!

Vacation 2017 - Caught a Carlos Beltran foul ball

Vacation 2017 - Detroit

We actually blended in here cause the Tigers are the same colors!

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Summer Vacation 2017- Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls wasn’t as impressive as we thought it was gonna be:

Vacation 2017 - Thought falls would be bigger

Kidding, it was awesome!

Niagara Falls

I love these people

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Her stinking head fit in the bars. Made me anxious.

Niagara Falls

His wife is one lucky girl…

Niagara Falls

Berkley is so weird.

Niagara Falls

In this one Boo is licking my arm…why??

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

We watched from the top, then went down and did the boat tour, cause I think it’s a law you have to go on the boat ride at Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls

Brian laughed at me and took my pic. Less for the memory and more to mock my hoodie tied so tight, but good golly it was misty!

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However, it IS true that he looks cooler than me without his on…

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Niagara Falls

I realized recently that Brian spends a lot of time like this: helping all of us climb off stuff!

Niagara Falls Niagara Falls

Annnd I think that’s all the pictures they have in them for the day! To be fair, it was well after dinner time and we ran out of snacks…:)

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Dance, dance, dance!

Sadie Piper had her dance recital in May. She adores dancing at Bates Dance Studios!

Red lipstick is hard to rock, but she sure does it!

A few pics from dress rehearsal

    SP dance 2017       SP dance 2017 SP dance 2017 SP dance 2017       SP dance 2017  SP dance 2017 SP dance 2017

It was a 60s songs mash up, really great dance!

    SP dance 2017  SP dance 2017

After the show her and Daiz found the empty stage and made up a dance on the spot…

Hide the yogurt!

Every Friday Dillons (it’s Dillons here, but it’s really Kroger!) has a “Free Friday” deal. You have to download the coupon on Friday, but then you have 2 weeks to redeem whatever it is they were offering. It’s sometimes a new product someone just launched, sometimes a classic and sometimes something really gross. Either way, when I bring something new or unexpected home from the grocery store, the kids all ask “was this Free Friday?” and 99% of the time, yes, yes it was.

Sometimes we love it (Oreo candy bar last week). Sometimes we hate it (bacon flavored Ritz).

But nothing has ever compared to this week’s:

Brian and I busted it out Monday when I got home from the store, but then I was literally back at the store Tuesday buying more, cause we wanted the kids to try it. Brian’s first words were “this is creme brûlée like.”

Beckham and I REALLY want to like yogurt. We just don’t. But when I tried this I knew he needed to try it too. When he did, he ate it all and then hid the blueberry one in the fridge so he could have it later! It doesn’t have that tart yogurt taste at all.

Brian researched these, shocker, I know, and learned that they are individually made in the little jar, not a huge vat then poured into containers. They put all the ingredients (there are like 3!) in each jar and it yogurt-ups in there (for lack of the technically term of milk becoming yogurt).

Bonus: they come in these great little glass jars! The sticker comes right off (take it off before you wash it) and now we have a lot of cute little jars. I’m anticipating having more of these than I know what to do with, but for now, I’m still on the “keep for snacks/small foods” stage.

So Beckham hid the blueberry one when he left for school in the fridge so he could try it when he got home!


Sailing away

Brian found this super fun sailing camp and it was a highlight of our summer for sure!

Sailing Summer 2017

Sailing 2017

It’s on Tuttle Creek Lake, the cost is $5 (PER FAMILY!) and now our kids are all expert sailors!

Sailing Summer 2017

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They don’t just hop in boats, they put them to work! They have to assemble them each time! The kids all know all the parts of a sailboat and how to put it together.

  Sailing 2017

Sailing 2017

Sailing 2017

And how to tie it off at the dock.

Sailing Summer 2017

Day one they threw them in the water, capsized them and taught them how to right the boat. Brilliant if you ask me, no one was scared at all of tipping the rest of the week!

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 Summer 2017 - 10

Actually, Berkley should have been! Her few pounds definitely didn’t get that boat back up again! She just doesn’t have the weight!

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Day two they towed their boat behind a safety boat so they could learn how to steer.
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Then the rest of the week is sailing on their own!

Sailing 2017

Sailing 2017

Sailing Summer 2017

She may have been stuck with no wind, but it made for a very peaceful picture! 🙂

Sailing Summer 2017

Sailing 2017

Sailing Summer 2017

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 Sailing 2017

Brian took a few rides in the safety boat. Until they kicked him off! 🙂

  Sailing 2017

On the last day, parents got to sail too! And after that we were even more impressed with our little sailors…it takes skill and knowledge…neither of which I had. But the instructors talked me though it and I made it

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