Monday, September 20, 2010

In Awe

As I was driving to work one day last week, I noticed an astonishing amount of butterflies. It seemed like every time my car stopped or slowed a beautiful butterfly would dash across my front windshield. After the first 2 or 3 I started noticing them more and more, and a sense of calm came over me. I'm not sure if this is butterfly mating season or if the change in weather brings them out this time of year, but it was such an serene feeling. It may have been God's way of saying "Stop and smell the roses." And since God knows that I'm only fond of pink roses and I don't truly care for any other color of them, he used butterflies for me instead.

Ryan and I had a discussion the other night about how fast time goes. His favorite response when he hears people say "This year went by fast" is always..."as opposed to last year?" This is true, my wonderful husband, there are 365 days in
every year. But as life fills up with work, get-togethers, dinners, errands, parties and trips, there should always be time to stop and enjoy the little things. I like to think of those little things as God's sticky notes. Remember Me? Don't forget to enjoy life...and everything in it.

"For the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
-Deuteronomy 31:6

This was from last Wednesday, as a storm was just passing through.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's Fall Ya'll

Ok, so its not fall....not until next Wednesday to be technical. But it definitely feels like it these days! Ever since we moved into our house, I have been soooo excited to decorate for the seasons. Decorating the apartment was fun, but there are so many more options here at the house and a lot more room for all of the cute pumpkins and scarecrows. However, I can see now why people say they accumulate a lot more while living in a house. I know that we'll add on more decoration in the coming years, so I didn't get too crazy purchasing the entire Target and Garden Ridge aisles (however badly I wanted to). And since I have an urge to purge when it comes to not having a lot of "stuff" around, we stuck to basic things that we'll be able to use in different ways from year to year.

Take a peek at some of our autumn adornment.

Our front door scarecrow says welcome!


Dining Room Table

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dinner with the Ruhlmans

This past Tuesday, Ryan and I were invited over to Mike and Amy Ruhlman's for dinner. Amy and Ryan work together at Gallup in Omaha, and I have had the wonderful opportunity to get to know some of Ryan's co-workers through various Gallup get-togethers- Christmas parties, fundraisers, galas, etc. But some of my favorite get-togethers are those that we get to spend with their families.

Amy and Mike have an adorable son, Brayden. (hopefully that's the correct spelling) He is so much fun!!! Brayden is just over a 1 year old and he was toddling all over the place. From one toy to another and from mom to dad, back to dad and back once again to mom. :) After settling down to our delicious meal of grilled chicken/steak, broccoli salad and twice baked potatoes, Ryan and I were stuffed. Dessert was an assortment of yummy ice cream treats that I devoured with my own two hands while Mike and Ryan tried to eat their Klondike bar with their spoons. I definitely know my way around ice cream.

It was so nice to see Mike, Amy and Brayden and get to experience what life is like with a little one. Amy made a very good point, "Do all your living now, because your life will change once you have kids." Amy, I think we'll definitely be taking your advice...however Brayden was quite the flirt, I might want one of my own....someday.

Amy, Mike and Brayden,
Thank you so much for a fantastic evening!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thanks for Reading Ty

Ryan and I were pondering the other day how many people actually read this blog? I know that I mostly write for my entertainment and to chronicle the little things that we do in our day to day and week to week activities, but we've heard through many of you that you enjoy reading our blog. So there must be more than just 1 or 2 (me and ryan) reading it right?

Well...I figured there must be a way to check those kind of stats and by golly there was a whole stats tab at the top of blogger! I was elated when I saw it and was even more surprised at the results. We have more readers than I thought! In the month of August, there were 408 page views! WOWZA! I had no idea that you all enjoy our craziness so much....hehe.

Anyway...I digress, the handy-dandy stats tab also shows demographically where your viewers are from. Our map indicated that most of our readers were from the U.S. (which we expected)...but there are a few from Canada and also readers from Africa! :) Or maybe I should say reader singular. I knew exactly who that person was so I just wanted to send a little shout-out to our favorite temporary Malian- my brother Tyson. Thanks for reading Ty!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Here's the page image of our map...see that tiny green mark in Africa? That's where my brother is at the moment.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Balsamic Chicken Salad- Austad Style

We made an awesome Balsamic Chicken Salad last week that we couldn't help but share!

1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
extra virgin olive oil- to taste
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
1 red pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
4 cups baby spinach (we used a mixed green salad instead)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (we definitely used more than this :)

mix mayo and dressing
add chicken, peppers and onions- mix
spoon onto spinach covered plate
top with cheese


Ryan tested and approved!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Surprise...its Date Night!

Ryan got the opportunity to surprise me with a date night a few weekends ago. All he told me was the time we needed to be there and how I should dress. I was along for the ride!

We popped a bottle of champagne we had saved for a special occasion and that evening seemed like the perfect opportunity. We had gotten ready early so we had some fun taking silly pictures. And around 6:30 Saturday we headed out for an evening of fun. First was dinner at Loft 610. Ryan ordered an eclectic seafood platter and I got the roast with cabbage and Parmesan garlic fries. The food was AMAZING...and we would definitely suggest it to anyone in the Omaha area- or Plano (just in case your name is stephanie haddix and you happen to live in that area). And we were also blown away by a selection of one of their Cabernet Sauvignon wines. It really was one of the best wines we had tasted and we were already planning our next trip back to Loft 610.

After dinner, we took a walk around the Midtown Crossing area to let our food settle before the next phase of our date- a movie at the Marcus Theatre's Cinedine. Since
we had already had our dinner I opted to have dessert- the creme brule'. It was neither good nor just didn't have a chance to compare to our meal beforehand. Date night turned out to be a success, now its my turn to plan the next one!

Pink Champagne for a fancy evening

taking fun pictures

dinner- yum!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


When I first moved to Omaha after my graduation at UNL, I moved into an apartment with Ryan's sister, Sara. I didn't know a lot of people in Omaha....or even the city very well. So Sara suggested we join a ladies golf league that spring/summer at Pacific Springs golf course. At this point in my golf career I had mastered playing mini golf for the last 17 years, but had no idea how to actually tee off and lay up and all of that other golf stuff. So this was supposed to be a learning experience and I was up for it.

The first night Sara and I played we were teamed up with another twosome of very nice ladies in their fifties. They rocked, and I'm pretty sure I ended up using my foot wedge a little too much that evening. The next week we played yet again with another twosome of 50-60 something women who must've practiced with Tiger Woods. Two weeks in, and I wasn't learning too much after picking up my ball and getting utterly frustrated that we were paired up with all of these ladies who could kick my butt. Finally after a few weeks, Sara and I were paired up with Kristen and Debbie.

As we pulled up to the first tee box, I assumed to see another group of 50 something women who were scratch golfers. Much to my surprise, there were Kristen and Debbie! They were definitely under 30 and were there for fun rather than to kick my butt. They both made some awesome shots, but they made jokes and laughed and hit their drives into the water just like me! I was relieved. I could finally learn how to golf and not get frustrated that I wasn't perfect.

I decided that one summer of a golf league was enough for me and Sara, Kristen, Debbie and I started playing golf together in the summers when we wanted to. And sometimes we didn't play golf at all...and went out for margaritas instead. :)

So...that begun girls night. And after finding out that all 4 of us at the same obsession with So You Think You Can Dance, we started having girls nights that included Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy as well. It has been great getting to know Kristen and Debbie, and we've even added Kristin (with an I) into the group as well.

Looking forward to the next season of So You Think You Can Dance!

At Golf League- where it all began
Amberly, Sara
Debbie, Kristen

Margaritas at La Mesa- yes please!

Kristin joins the dance fun!

a wonderful girls night

Monday, September 13, 2010

Austad Family Variety Hour

Before Ryan and I were married, I found out he was a very musical person. After a few of our dates he would get out his guitar and woo me with his musical skills, playing not only 1 song but skipping from artist to artist. A little John Mayer here, Eric Clapton, and then bang an original Acoustic Dissonance song. (a band Ryan and his good friend Nik created).

I was enthralled with his talent and was so excited to see it flourish as our relationship grew. A few months after we had been dating, I took my first trip to Sioux Falls, SD to meet the rest of the Austad family. What I didn't know then is that I was about to meet the Von Traps. The Austads sing ALL the time and break out into random song no matter what is happening. I distinctly remember Ryan and Sara (ryan's older sister) breaking out in a melody of "Jingle Bells" and "Mary did you know" at dinner that evening. When you are around the Austad family, you are bound to hear a round and the makings of a melodic verse, even if there is no harmony to begin with.

Now, I notice Ryan sings a lot...and often. While he is in the shower, making dinner, vacuuming, or just hanging out watching TV. He even got me singing a few of our own Austad originals. You'll have to ask for a request next time you see us.

Here are a few pictures from the last visit from Sara and Mike. The musicality was magical. Mike and I usually sit and watch. :)

Sara and Ryan- Musical Masterminds

Mike is enjoying the performance :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gatorade Scrimmage

Before the first home football game, Ralston High School always holds a Gatorade scrimmage. I vaguely remember the same thing happening at my home town school...but I think it was called a soap scrimmage. So I guess boys these days are less smelly and a little more thirsty. :)

On any account, it was a preview of the year to come for the Ralston spirit squads. After watching the cheerleaders stretch and the dancers add bows to their hair the game was soon to begin...or was it? Apparently Gatorade scrimmages aren't really on the same schedule as regular games, and the 7:00 start for the Varsity team turned into 7:15...then 7:30...then at last 7:45. Thankfully the rest of the games have started on time, you know how very type A I am and how much that really bothered me.

So here are a few pictures of the squads smiling faces for your enjoyment.

Varsity Cheer with Coach Sierk

JV Squad with Coaches Meredith & Amberly

Varsity Dance Squad
Doing 8 Count Dances