Sugar and Sass, Champagne and Class… That’s What 40 Is Made Of

VALERIE

Age: 480 Months

Height: 61 3/4″

Weight: Fabulous

 

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Every girl, everywhere, listen up.

Take a page from the book of Valerie and celebrate age with enthusiasm, youthfulness and excitement.

Like fine wine, we get BETTER with age.

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By 40 we’ve been through a lot, learned a lot, mourned losses, and celebrated wins.  We’ve redefined boundaries, established meaningful relationships, and evolved into our best selves.

 

And we are wise enough to know that we will continue to evolve and redefine who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe in.

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We take life seriously…

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But we know how to let loose, make fun of ourselves, be eccentric, and LIVE our life for us.  And only us.

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We get ONE life, and darling… 40 is another chapter in our book.  A chapter WE get to write ourselves.

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Valerie, my friend.   I am not sure in what chapter we became acquainted, but I am ever so thankful we did.  Your spontaneity, humor, EXTRA AF attitude is everything.

EVERYTHING

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May you never lose your light, your sparkle or your youthfulness.

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Forty

(well, near 40 since you started celebrating exactly 35 days early)

looks SO good on you.

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Cheers to your teens, twenties and thirties.

Forties? 

Watch it… She’s coming for ya.

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CHEERS!

 

Life Lately – A Glimpse Back to August and September 2017

Summer 2017 flew by like all summers do.  But for those who liken summer to just the months of June, July and August are selling themselves short.   Why stop at August?  Because school starts up again?   Hellooooo… who lives for the week when there is always a weekend?   September is always an extended summer month for this girl and it’s been slammed full of awesome. Plus, let’s just note the horrid temps we’ve been having lately.   Mid-90’s at the end of September?

 WHAT WAS THAT?!

Let’s take a step back in time.

{August}

The first part of the month was Jessica’s annual girls trip to the Ozarks with a few newbies along for the ride but minus a few previous attendees who were unable to make it.  The Ozarks trip looked quite different than years prior (recap of previous years here and here), however, you can guarantee fun was had, drinks were ingested, a few belongings were lost at the bottom of the lake and a hangover or two may have happened.

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Thanks again, Jeff and Donna for opening up your home to us.

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August 11-12th

Clint officiated a wedding in Red Oak, IA the second weekend of August so we headed down on the bikes Friday the 11th to help with rehearsal.

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Added bonus: one of the best meals we have had in a long time courtesy of the Red Coach Inn Lounge.   Had NO IDEA their food was so legit.  I take back my Red Roach sentiments.  *shoulder shrug

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The wedding on Saturday was absolutely gorgeous and everything went off without a hitch!

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And I, of course, loved every second I got to hang with Sara’s cute little fam.

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The entire month of August provided a lot of two-wheel time.   The number of sunsets captured was pretty spectacular.  This particular night we were just leaving The Twisted Tail after dinner and headed straight into the sunset.   I can’t get enough!

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Mid-August we had the opportunity to take my in-laws to dinner and we picked out the Driftwood Inn and Blair, NE.   The views during our pre-dinner drinks and appetizers were enough to make me want to go back for another evening cocktail anytime!   If you head that way, be sure to check their hours and give yourself plenty of time.  The seating is limited, the days and hours are limited and the wait time to get in is long, but clearly, worth it.  The place was packed!

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HOLD THE PHONE!

Did you know Clint has an award-winning truck?  At some point in August, we popped over to a car show with this man-manipulated beast I lovingly call Mater.   Listen, it’s apparently a thing because it was quite the conversation starter.  All I know is it’s a former dump truck (I think) that he put a box on.   It won best unfinished.

To me, it wins the title of “just another one of Clint’s unfinished projects”.

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And then around came my 37th birthday weekend.   Plans?  What plans?   Friends, let me tell you, August hit me like a ton of bricks!  I was out of the office traveling every day for over two weeks and facilitated 17 orientations where I was front facing students, parents, and administrators.  That’s a LOT of people and questions… and repeated answers.

So, I started to make plans, I didn’t like them, I changed them, I didn’t commit to anything, then I committed, people were busy, and then I uncommitted from it all because dang it… I just didn’t want plans.   None.  So, that’s what I did.  Whatever the hell I wanted on a schedule that didn’t matter if I was late or early too.

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And it was glorious.  

I got a solid long run in at my fave Zorinsky Lake and then we put some more miles in on the bikes.   Two-wheeled therapy, beers, dinner, and a nightcap to watch the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight at Tyree’s.   It was absolutely perfect and what I needed.

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And let’s not forget about this ooey gooey bowl of sweetness!  She makes every day a great day! ❤

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And then Tuesday the 29th hit and all of a sudden I’m 37.   THIRTY-SEVEN!   And super proud of it.   If you are one of those who keeps aging backwards… yo.   Stop it.  Own it!   Look at all the cool things you’ve experienced in your life to this point.  The things you’ve learned.   The mountains you’ve moved.   I proudly state my age.  Who gives a shit anyway?   Life friggin ROCKS!

The day started with getting absolutely SPOILED by my INSANIANCS and a 6 pack of beer from Jordan L.

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{Ok for real.  The number of people who actually thought I drank that bad boy at 5:30am after posting it on FB was a little ridic.   5:30am is a bit early don’t ya think?}

I mean clearly, I waited until the more respectable hour of 10:30am to crack it open.  #duh

 

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Thanks to Kelly for the extra steps in making my morning start off just right.  Look at that load of goodness.

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And the day of happiness continued with fresh out of the oven muffins from Bridgette, lunch with my mama, Dave and Gabe, goodies from some very special co-workers, flowers from the hubs, a hand-delivered cookie from Jess, love from the cat and sushi dinner to close out the night.

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37.  

You fine.

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{September}

I am still continuing working on my photo taking skills and fortunately for me had two more incredible test subjects.  Check out a few sneaks below!

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Pirtlefest Preps started happening on September 2nd and lasted through September 16th.   The weekends preps consisted of truck repairs, hole digging, pole barn cleaning, cabin sweep, human fooseball construction while also consuming a fair amount of food and booze.

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Friday, September 8th was Clarinda’s homecoming and my beautiful cousin was part of the Homecoming Court.  I made a last minute decision early that morning to take a 1/2 day off work and make my way to Clarinda to see her in action.  Fortunately for me, I caught a gorgeous sunrise on that two-wheeled beauty.

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And speaking of gorgeous!  Megan- red is your color!

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No trip to Clarinda would ever be complete without a stop to see Kayla and fortunately for us, Nicole stopped by and joined in on the fun as well!

An afternoon of beers and besties?  YES, PLEASE, ALWAYS!

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I timed my departure to coincide with the sunset.  The backroads of Iowa never disappoint, so there I sat, by myself, no traffic, the only sounds coming from the low grumble of my bike and the chirps of bugs, watching the sunset ever so softly until it disappeared.

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You all know how I feel about finding time to reset and self-reflect.   For me, the best time to do that is on the bike at sunset with nothing but miles ahead, miles behind and the only sounds heard are from the bike and my own thoughts.

Be comfortable being by yourself.  Get comfortable having hard conversations with yourself.   That’s where true growth begins.

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Saturday the 9th was the annual Scroggs memorial run out of Clarinda, so instead of heading to the farm to continue helping with the Pirtlefest shenanigans, I took off on the bike BACK to Clarinda to enjoy an afternoon of riding.

The weather was perfect, the miles long and the company a treat.

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Sunday, September 10th marked 6 years of marriage.

Killing it!

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Monday, September 11th marked my first day back as a playing member of the Nebraska Wind Symphony.   It had been 6 years since I had touched my clarinet and 11 years since I played repertoire that challenged me. I was a member of NWS from 2004-2006 while still living in Clarinda but left the group during a transition period in my life and then actually left music altogether in 2011 when I stepped away from teaching.  Joining the music world again had definitely been on my heart for the last year. In fact, my Christmas present to my Gr’pa Goecker last year was a written promise to see what I could do about becoming a playing NWS member again… and Monday the 11th I fulfilled that promise. He’s delighted as he’s certainly been the one to consistently bring up how he wishes I still played.  It’s been GREAT to be back… but I’ll admit the Monday evening 7:15-9:15pm rehearsals are an adjustment for my 4am Tuesday alarm clock.   Ouch!!

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Mid-September brought some changes at work.  The details are unnecessary, but the love I feel for my colleagues and the future of my position is promising.  Thanks to many special people for helping lead into that transition and through the changes yet to come.

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And with that, I’ll leave you be.   We’ve got Pirtlefest and an Arkansas trip to round out September, but those adventures certainly deserve their own post.

… Oh, the stories and photos to share!  🙂

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

Cheers to 36!

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August 29th marked the beginning of year 36!   Bring it on, baby!

The weekend of August 27th was my first weekend home with my husband since July 16th!   Between training’s, certifications, work and travel, we hadn’t had a full weekend together and spending my birthday weekend with him was JUST what I wanted.

We spent Saturday morning at Walkup Wood Products in Waterloo where I watched him assist customers while I swept the shop and did a few other small business related items for him.

…like recording his business voice message for him.

Did you know a woman’s voice on a business line lends to more sales?

And blah blah blah whatever else he said as I rolled my eyes, laughed and recorded the damn thing.  😉

 

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His primary product is bulk mulch, rough sawn lumber and firewood; however, he has some other items for sale at the shop too, such as this gorgeous table.

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You can find out more about Walkup Wood Products (and Walkup Tree) by clicking here.

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Afterwards, we had lunch at The Fire Barn in Waterloo where we ate some bomb ass burgers before spending the afternoon doing things around our home that had been slightly neglected.

Then it was time for a FUN Saturday night out with my Goecker fambam at the STYX concert.  While I wouldn’t necessarily say I am a “fan”, I can always appreciate true musicians doing their thing.

But mostly I can appreciate watching my Aunts Marla and Jeanne rock out like they were back in High School again.

Pure joy!

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Cousin Megan, Aunt Jeanne, Cousin Katie, Aunt Marla

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Clint, Uncle Craig, Cousin Dan

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I am not embarrassed ONE BIT to admit that on Sunday we accomplished watching the Hunger Games series.  Most days I would consider a day on the couch as a complete waste of time, but this weekend, it was just the ticket.

Most were surprised I didn’t plan a day on the bikes or a night out with friends as I typically do, but after months of crazy schedules, I chose a laid back route.   From flowers at work (my traditional Harley flowers he has sent for 10 years running) to multiple Eileen’s Cookies…

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to a Sushi Dinner date with the hubs (and a non photo documented lunch date with my mama on Tuesday)…

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to my AM INSANITY class surprising me by wearing ALL black and a bandana to look like me…

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I can HAPPILY say that year 36 is off to a perfect start.

 Cheers!

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Gabriel is 24!

And now I am going to post some incredibly embarrassing photos of us growing up.   Cuz that’s what sisters do.  And, hey, I am throwing myself under the bus too!

HAPPY 24th GABE!

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Could he be ANY CUTER?!

We were IA State fans for a semester, until I transferred to NWMSU.

Regardless, I’ve never seen a cuter Cyclone.

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Gabe during his “preppy” days, of which were short lived.

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Thank goodness, because his style now is spot on.

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To my “baby” brother, it’s been fun watching you grow from the adorable rugrat who wouldn’t leave my friends and I alone…

to a teen trying to find his way…

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to the young man who is putting it all together in true Gabe fashion.

Your own way.

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Love you.

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Cheers to Year 24!

High Five to Year 35!

I love Birthday’s.  And, no, I am ABSOLUTELY NOT that girl who says I am 29 and holding.  Gross.   Embrace age.   Life just gets better year after year.  I have straight up loved my life in my thirties.

Bring on 35!

The Hubs wins again with flowers delivered on Monday for my “Birthday Week”.   His mama taught him right, I’d say.  What a sweetheart.

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My Thursday AM Insanity class surprised me with balloons and a card, thanks to Alice’s sneaky ways. 🙂  And we had a packed house (24) so we had crazy energy circulating that room on Thursday.  I’ll take that as a birthday present for SURE!

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Friday I took a half day off and indulged in a spa appointment with my fave girl Becky at Victor Victoria, followed by Sushi with Tyree and Tracy and then a lash appointment at Living Beautifully.

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Friday night we enjoyed dinner with Clint’s brother J and wife Shelby.  Always a treat with those two.  We only live about 15 miles apart, but yet we tend to only see each other when we all travel to Clarinda for parties and holidays.  #lifehappens

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Can’t tell they’re related at all…

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Saturday morning started with a Starbucks and a card from my witty husband before we made our way to good ol’ town of Clarinda.   We have had so much going on the month of August that I just wanted to get away.  So, we did!

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10:30 hair appointment with the amazing Kayla followed by a mini BBQ at my mom’s house with Gabe, mom, Gr’ma and Clint.  It was a perfect lunch date.

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Bottom right hand corner is Ms. Chloey, my “niece”.  😉 She tracked me down later that evening to give me the coolest gift I’ve ever received.   How CUTE is she?

Saturday afternoon we attended the funeral for the father of one of my classmates.  It was the most beautifully done ceremony out on their family farm.  Very touching.

We ended the late afternoon at my Aunt and Uncle’s house for a few beers and conversation before we ended the evening at J Bruner’s restaurant.   They opened the new location a few months ago and I am SO impressed with how beautiful it is.   Nice work Emily and Joe!

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We ended the evening with a road-trip back to Emerson to drop off Troy and Sara (entertainment from the backseat, yo) before Clint and I finally rolled into home around 2:30am.  Sunday I basically slept, watched TV and ventured out only ONCE for new shoes.   Surprisingly the only stop I made in the mall was the shoe store.   I clearly was on a mission to get in, get out and get back in my pj’s. HA

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The PERFECT ending to a weekend that was spent exactly how I had hoped to.

Cheers!