Thursday, September 29, 2011


We interrupt these wonderful California posts for a little announcement.


No...Twins aren't on the way, but both of our sisters are pregnant and are due only about a month a part from each other! Isn't that exciting? The best part is, this is the first grand baby for each side of our families!!! Which means these kiddos are going to be spoiled rotten- did you hear that Brie & Jason and Sara & Mike? Get excited for lots of candy, lots of toys and lots of fun! We love you guys so much are so happy for you both- can't wait to meet your new bundles of joy!

My sister Brie is due March 4Th, 2012:

This isn't her baby- this is Zoe, her friend Maggie's baby. But you can just imagine how she will look with a baby on her hip! Brie and Jason- you will be such great, fun-loving, and nurturing parents!

Ryan's sister Sara is due April 14Th, 2012:

Again, not her baby. This is her nephew, Abe. Sara and Mike are going to be such a fun, easy-going, kick-butt parents. the face here. :)

And now I'm off to the store to buy lots and lots of sugar and toys!

San Francisco Trip - Part 2 (The Wedding)

Part 2- Woo!

The main reason Ryan and I took a trip to California this summer was for our friend Holly Koopmans, now Procter's wedding. We know Holly from college; she and Ryan studied in Italy together during their MBA program. And after graduating, they both took positions with the same company, Gallup, one of them in Omaha and one in San Francisco.

Holly and Dave's wedding took place at the end of July on a "couldn't be more perfect" summer day. After our little trip into the city to check out Pier 39, the troop freshened up before the ceremony. There was a little confusion with the shuttles that were to pick us up at the hotel and take us to the house where the wedding was taking place. Apparently, the driver didn't really know the name(s) of the bride and groom, and she was a bit off on her timing. After hanging out outside of the hotel 15 minutes after the wedding was supposed to start, the shuttle arrived. Thankfully, Holly knew this and waited to seat everyone before our shuttle arrived. I hate being late, but thankfully we weren't the only ones.

The Austads are ready to head to the wedding!

In the shuttle- on our way with Marissa and Dan.

The ceremony was gorgeous. A beautiful backdrop of California in the background, yellow and green tissue poms in the trees and handmade twirly pinwheels as the aisle runner. The most beautiful part was definitely the bride. Holly looked stunning!!! Her gown was gorgeous, and she had flowers in her hair- a perfect summer bride. Dave is a sweetheart and let the tears flow as he said his vows to Holly. It was a touching and beautiful ceremony.

Aren't those poms adorable?

Brother and Dad walking Holly down the aisle.

Husband and Wife!

The icing on the cake with this wedding, was the fact that the reception was right behind us! Nobody had to drive over or make a bar stop before getting to the reception. It was beyond amazing! The fruit filled centerpiece tables overlooked a glimmering candle filled pool, and the head table was adorned with more of those cheery tissue poms. It was so whimsical!

The Reception Area

The "I'm in Love" Centerpieces

Hanging out at dinner

What a perfect night for a wedding

After the toasts were given and the dinner was had, it was time to dance! Dan and Ryan had such a great time- Marissa and I took as many pictures of them dancing as possible- they were livin' it up! We had more than our share of fun at Holly and Dave's wedding- and didn't want it to end!

Mr. & Mrs. cutting the cake

These 2 had a heck of a good time!

Told you- yes they switched shoes at one point in the evening.

Congratulations Dave and Holly Procter- we couldn't be more happy for you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

San Francisco Trip - Part 1 (The Pier)

If you are friends with us on Facebook, its no surprise that this post(s) was going to be coming sooner or later. We took a trip to California this summer with our friends Dan and Marissa. And after the over 300+ pictures that Marissa and I took, I grabbed some of my favorites to share here. Along with the story of our trip too- of course!

So...this is Part 1 of the San Francisco/California Trip posts. --The Pier.

Ryan and I arrived in San Fran before Dan and Marissa, so we grabbed the rental car and decided to enjoy a little IN N OUT burger. It was kind of funny, because we realized that the closest IN N OUT was actually one we've been to before-it was fun to reminisce the last time we were there- we weren't even engaged or married yet- let alone owner of 2 different houses and a puppy! :) Amazing what can happen in 4 years huh?

Delicious IN N OUT

After In N' Out, we realized we had a little more time, so we jetted over to the hotel and hung out for a little bit, while we waited for our friends to arrive. After we picked up Dan and Marissa it was past 1:00 AM (4:00 AM- Marissa's east coast time!) So it was time for BED! We all headed back to the hotel and got some much needed rest.

The next morning, we decided to head down to the City by the Bay for the morning to check out a few sites. We weren't able to enjoy all day in the city, since we did have a wedding to go to and all :)

Our first stop was Pier 39. It was great to see all of the people hustlin' and bustlin', lots of tourists (like us) and lots of locals just hanging out for the day. We stopped and watched a show, enjoyed some fried seafood, and took a look at the seals bathing in the sun. It was such a great time- I would go back to Pier 39 and camp out all day if I could. Lots of good people watching.

Me and Ry on Pier 39

Dan likes sailboats....a lot

Ryan, Amberly, Marissa and Dan

A beautiful shot of the Golden Gate from Pier 39

Alcatraz and a sailboat too :)

Just hanging out. It looks like I'm giant next to all of the people in front of me. I was standing on a ledge looking out and over- I'm really not that giant, I promise.

Seals :)

Austad Siblings Weekend

Once or twice a year Ryan's siblings try and get together for a siblings weekend. Since we all live in different places now, its a little harder to get together and see each other as often as we'd like. So in the middle of July, Ryan planned an Austad Siblings Weekend for him and his sisters. Thankfully, I was able to tag along too. :) Next year, Mike will definitely have to be there!

We had such a great time! The siblings arrived on a Friday night, and we grilled and played games. It was so fun to have another puppy in the house for Lola to play with, and they got along great! And as any siblings will do, they reverted to having fun, telling jokes and stories, and overall just getting back into the sibling groove. I love seeing Ryan with all of his sisters- that's one of my favorite things about him. I'm so glad he grew up with girls :)

Melissa, Abbie, Ryan and Sara

sibling love

The next day, we had plans to go to ValleyFair Amusement and Water Park. Since its only a short drive from our house now (opposed to the 6+ hour drive from Omaha) we took full advantage of the whole day. We rode all of the roller coasters, did some interesting swing rides, and then rounded out the day with water slides, wave pool, and some sunbathing. Abbie and I were the amusement park ride queens- I absolutely love the feeling and thrill of the rides, sometimes I just hate the build up of actually getting on them. But once its over, we were the ones saying- "let's do it again!" And thanks to getting there early, we were able to go on almost every ride without too long of a wait!

Melissa, Abbie, Sara and Ryan- waiting for the park and rides to open. It was a bit overcast that morning, so we had to wait until it passed for the rides to start up.

The Giant Swing. I loved this one :)

In motion- thanks for taking pics Sara!

A Water Ride!

Saturday night, we were all pretty tired, so we decided to go and see a movie at a nice air-conditioned theater (p.s. it was July and super warm that day). The last Harry Potter movie had come out, so it was perfect timing for this muggle. Yes- I just said that- now wipe that awesome grin off your face- expelliarmus!

We knew that the weekend would go fast, and as soon as Sunday came the girls were getting packed up and ready to go. We decided to all go for a walk around the lake and see if the dogs would take a swim. Lola was game, but Manny was a bit hesitant- it was pretty cute watching him confused and worried about Lola and this whole swimming thing.

It was great having the girls here! This weekend, we're hosting Ryan's Mom, Abbie and Melissa for the Chanhassen Dinner Theater performance of Hairspray! I'm sure we'll have lots to share from this coming weekend as well! Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Buds- Manny and Lola

When Sara, Melissa and Abbie came to visit this summer, Mr. Manny was along for the ride. Manny is Sara's dog... an adorable, furry, wrinkly, English bulldog.

Here's what Manny and Lola's weekend consisted of...

Both puppies were quite obedient when a treat was in reach.

And a bone was a lovely prize for keeping them quiet.

A ride in the truck was quite exciting.

But swimming was a little tough.

They were tuckered out by the end of the weekend.

But had a great time together and are the best of buds...and cousins. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Organization Bonanza

I admit it, I'm totally Type A and organization really revs my engine. Did I just say that? I sound like a 1950's sitcom. But really, I love organizing. I think its a love like no other, some people like to cook, others like to work with their hands, and some like to watch sports and analyze stats, my love is organizing.

I'm sure you remember this post from back in the day where I talk about organizing our apartment's linen closet. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my organizing abilities.

I have bins in our kitchen pantry,

and clear organized totes in our master bathroom.

And I have a handy dandy wrapping command center in one of the basement closets, where I corral wrapping paper, bows, boxes and such.

And thanks to I have even more organization ideas ahead. Ryan...get excited! :)

Husker Dog

When we moved to Minnesota, I didn't think Husker gamedays would be any different than they were while we lived in Nebraska. Ryan and I would still watch the games, make some appetizers, don our Nebraska red, and hang our Husker N on our front door. What I do miss the most is the buzz that surrounds Husker game day in "the good life."

On any given Saturday in Nebraska, you could make a quick run at halftime of the game to grab some more chips...or who am I kidding, another 12 pack of beer and most of the checkout staff would be asking about the score or a certain play. You would walk through the red husker shirt clad aisles and hear the fight song over the intercom, red chips and salsa would be displayed prominently at the entrance along with Husker garden flags and Husker helmet shaped cookies. And as you left the store, someone would tell you "Go Big Red" because they saw your Husker alumni license plate cover.

To some it may seem like a cult of sorts, but to me it just feels like home. To bring a little more of that Husker home feeling to Minnesota, I've added a small husker N vinyl sticker in the back window of my Elantra, and a Husker windsock flys proudly on our deck. To top it all off, we got Lola a husker collar and leash-because she should know her roots...even if she was born in Minnesota. :)

And yes, she has a Herbie Husker toy as well :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dad's Visit to the Cities

As I mentioned in the kitchen remodeling post, my dad came up to visit and help out with some projects around the house. The original reason he came was to help with some of our backyard landscaping. You've heard that we have a small jungle on one side of the house, well we're hoping that that weed jungle will die off this winter so we can start fresh and new with some true landscaping next spring.

My dad offered up his services free of charge (or in exchange for dinner and a Twins game) and pruned the bushes and hedges, and did a fantastic job cutting down branches from our mangled trees. We had big plans to move the hostas we have growing in the backyard to the side yard. And started raining. So we moved inside to work on the kitchen project.

But projects aren't the only thing we did while my dad was here. We had to make a visit to Matt's Bar. One of the places that claims to have the true Juicy Lucy burger.

It was delish!

And of course we went to a Twins Game- and enjoyed the crazy heat on the Budweiser Deck.

It was so nice to have a family visit! I always look forward to having visitors, so if you're ever in town, please let us know! We'd love to have you!