* #TrueStory: MN to IA/NE back to MN in 36 hours

Hi friends, it's been a while, huh!? Well... before catching up with life I have to hit pause and share a fun adventure that I took last weekend. I hopped into a car named "Harlow" and trusted one of my blogger buddies Kristin to drive all the way to Council Bluffs, IA/Omaha, NE with two other great blogger friends- Dawn & Carolyn.

You might be asking, or shouting, HUH, Why!?!?! .... well let's just say this- we [as in us bloggers] all have our favorite far away bloggers, that live in another state! #itsafact. AND if ever given the chance to meet them, you would, RIGHT!? That is exactly the case with "Katie Mango" one of my favorite far away blogger friends! She's the type of blogger that I tell other bloggers about. Saying something along the lines of, "do you read Katie Mango? No, well you NEED to start!" "Katie Mango" has great style, a fun job, an adorable family, she's BEAUTIFUL and has great values! So, you know you want to... get on over there and get to know Katie over @ Yellow Mango Life

I know that Kristin, Dawn & Carolyn will also share their stories from this weekend at some point- so be sure to pop on over to their blogs. I know I'm looking forward to reliving these 36ish hours with them!

My take on this CRAZY and ridiculously fun Sunday/Monday roadtrip- already has me laughing out loud. Words will never express the amount of fun that we had. So I have been thinking about the best way to go about this and I have decided to go with a timeline of sorts to share my story.

 Let's begin... as I mentioned we headed South to IA on a Sunday, so Aaron, Avrie and I had my cousin's wedding on Saturday (more on that another time) but I will share one little detail which allows for me to start my timeline at 11:45pm on Saturday night.

SAT 6.28 @ 11:45pm: Andrea has too much to drink, it really wasn't A LOT but I guess her body was telling her something, like "STOP you have a very important BLATE in the morning!"

Sun 6.29 @ 2:30am: Andrea wakes up in the car, in the garage. (ok, i'm done talking in third person) oh AND Aaron has photo proof of this that I will NOT be sharing.

4:30am: My alarm goes off. I cry. I then hit snooze...

5:20am: I force myself out of bed

5:35am: I talk myself into a cure... a good ol' fashion round of BARF!

5:45am: MUCH better... but now I am running late for this very important blate!

6:00am - 6:50am: I am on the road to Farmington w/ zero traffic

7:00am - 7:05am: Hanging my head & being shamed by the group

We loaded up the car and after a stop by Starbucks we were on our way!

7:30am - 1:05pm: Time passed by quicker than one might think with a couple of pit stops, me falling asleep in the car (which resulted in a couple of unflattering photos- Dawn is SO nice to me!) mixed CDs to which Kristin & Carolyn were belting out BSB, all of us chowing down on Doritos (who knew nacho cheese Doritios would settle my stomach!?) I was proud of myself for not feeling carsick at all. 

We made it to Council Bluffs with about an hour to spare, so what does any girl do when she has the slightest bit of extra time... a Target run- OF COURSE!

1:05pm - 1:15pm: We stepped out of the car and into some sticky, sunny & humid weather. At this point I should mention that we were all STARVING but also SUPER indecisive...

Our plans were to meet [FINALLY] meet Katie Mango at her Yoga event. It was suppose to be outdoors, but early morning weather moved the event inside at another venue. We decided that we probably didn't want full stomachs before yoga, so we hopped back into the car and make our way to our destination. We had heard that there would be some free swag, so we didn't want to miss out on that.

1:30pm: We found ourselves circling the convention center's parking lot, to which we had a Katie Mango sighting... she DOES exist. 

This is where we could either face our random nerves & excitement & go in OR just turn that little Harlow around and head back to MN.

1:35pm - 1:45pm: Yoga Tailgating & selfies. That Kristin, she's the best.

Carolyn and I stood back saying NO WAY, NO HOW! 
Look close and you can see us being LAME in the reflection of Kristin's sunglasses.
We watched with judgy faces- but soon half gave in... HA!

1:47pm: We enter the building!
1:48pm: We see Katie Mango again!
1:49pm: We huddle together for a game plan...
1:50pm: Katie Mango disappears
1:51pm: Katie Mango is back in eye shot...
1:52pm: Kristin, energetically jumps up and down waving!!!
1:53pm: Katie Mango does not see Kristin
1:54pm: I DIE LAUGHING!!!

...seriously, I can't stop laughing as I write that BAHHH HAHAHA!!!

1:55pm: Kristin & I lock arms and march on over to Katie Mango.  
 this time she sees us! ;)

1:56pm: We meet, we hug, we laugh... we talk about how dorky we all are!

**it should be noted that Dawn & Carolyn are pretending they DO NOT know us at this point!

2:15pm - 4:00pm: All four of us successfully complete an awesome session of yoga. We thank the instructor afterwards, winning NOTHING as far as door prizes but spend time taking some pretty priceless photos! AND loving our free headbands, I guess I was sought out as the cooler one of the group and managed to get TWO headbands, one being pink, and loved by EVERYONE!

at this point, really the whole night, Katie HAD to have been like "who are these girls....???"

4:30pm-ish: We headed on over to the Horseshoe casino for lunch. We loved being escorted thru the casino and right to the cafe- we must have looked hungry. God knows our yoga attire, early morning wake up/all day car ride hair & makeup didn't scream "we are here to win millions!"

4:45pm-ish: We absolutely STUFFED our faces with lunch wraps and fries! YUM.

5:30pm-ish: We headed over to the casino Harrah's [that's HAIR-A'S and not HARRR-A'S] to check into our room.

We found our way up to the 5th floor and plopped our things into room 501. While letting phones charge we relaxed, unpacked, made cocktails (NOT for me... still not feeling the whole idea of alcohol... i was scolded for this unthinkable refusal...) we then arranged the order of getting ready for the night. After a while, Katie came up to our room looking as gorgeous as ever!

After a cheers to the evening & beautifying ourselves we headed up to the 12th floor for drinks. We found ourselves at Jack Binion's Steakhouse, where we had a great view, tall glasses of water (for me), a couple of drinks (i DID eventually give in!) and a couple delicious apps that Katie had ordered and we each stole a few bites.

While finishing up drinks/apps & a photo session- we were lucky to head up to the rooftop [not a public space, think VIP baby!] You can only imagine the photo opportunities that endlessly popped into each of our little blogger brains- most of which were beautifully executed.

9:00pm: Katie had us all pile into her Jeep and took us over the bridge and into downtown Omaha, NE. Let me just say... what a fun little downtown Omaha has!!! There were SO many fun places, it was hard to know exactly where we wanted to go! Luckily, Katie is a great host and knew all the right places.

The first stop being... a parking lot... we had a weeny truck spotting!!! Not something you just pass up. Again... the photo possibilities were ENDLESS! Here is where you are going to want to check in with Kristin, this little stop made her night!

Our second stop was to Sake Bombers Lounge. We enjoyed lemondrops & a variety of sushi, it was all REALLY super good! Being that it was Sunday- the bar wanted to close down so we didn't end up staying here for drinks. We were all bummed by the slackers server & buzz kill but end up with full bellies, none the less. All we do is eat- just another reason I get along SO great with these girls!

After Sake's, we walked to a hole in the wall Irish pub, it may have smelled like potatoes, had a scary dungeon, a rowdy 21st birthday and bad dancers- but pretty much the perfect spot to people watch and chat the rest of our evening away.

ok, back to my timeline...

Monday 6.30 @ 12:30am: We all hit "The Mommy Wall" we were tired, we simply exhausted ourselves with all of the fun & excitement that the days events brought to us. We had an absolute blast, and as much as we didn't want it to end, we figured Katie didn't need to be out THIS late with us on a Sunday night. She was more than happy too- which makes her pretty much the coolest!

1:00am: Back in room 501 the four of us recalled some of the fun[niest] moments of the day & took one last ridiculous group picture for the day.

... bed time!! ...

The next morning, 9:30am: Sleeping in felt GREAT!! In record time, we all managed to get up, get ready & pack in just over an hour and be out of our hotel before checkout. No one was dragging, no one was hungover, we all felt rested & rejuvenated. Which was perfect, because we had another big day of EATING & a long drive back home!

11:10am: We met Katie for lunch at Blatt Beer & Table. Oh my gosh... let me just say this. BEST. FOOD. EVER! We had soft pretzel bites, homemade potato chips, burgers & mac & cheese. All of it was so good, my mouth is waters just thinking about it! I'd go back JUST for the German Mustard dipping sauce!

Our time in Omaha, NE was nearing the end. After we finished up lunch we said our goodbyes [until hopefully another time] and Katie was off to work! It was SO fun meeting her, she was SO NICE & went above and beyond in showing us such a great time! We are hoping that we have her talked into coming up to MN sometime! We're pretty sure MN isn't as cool- but we'd do our best to make it a blast!

After a walk around the block and a weather check-in w/ Aaron and the radar we were headed back to MN. Aaron mentioned that we might run into trouble with a storm, so told us to keep an eye on the radar as we drive out of NE/IA.

12:30pm - 7:30pm: SUCH A BLUR... we stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks, gas & Caribou. We were driving in rain the entire drive in Iowa- at one point we hit some one lane traffic in Adair & Casey Iowa where some pretty heavy rain & damaging winds had moved through. THANK GOD we missed the worst of THAT and only had to deal with facing some threatening looking clouds that sent all four of us into a MAJOR panic attack. I called Aaron [my weatherman] to help calm all of us down. It seemed that we were just behind the storm and would only be hitting rain. He was right so we did make it out of Iowa nice and safe. WHEW. Kristin & Harlow ROCKED that rain!

[i know this photo already appears in the beginning of this post, 
but it's too funny too see again if you made it through this post! ;)]

We knew were home SAFE when we managed to survive the MN welcome sign selfie aka mosquito attack! After our last rest stop potty break we all became a little antsy in the car. We were so close to being done in the car we almost couldn't stand it. We each couldn't WAIT to get home to our little ones & frankly I think our humor is enough to wear anyone out! HAHAHAHA. 

For the last leg of our trip & before we bid our farewells; we distracted ourselves with #ThePinkHeadband this is just a little something that became highly coveted and will remain so as long as we are friends. You WILL be seeing her again, and again... but the question being, WHEN!?

Kristin, THANK YOU to you & Harlow for safe & fun travels. I knew you were fun but never knew just HOW fun... you & your goofball ways crack me up! Keep that T.W. of yours in check! Dawn, What can I say, BBB... you are so mean to me but I can't imagine living without you! Me & my dead sleepiness were way too tired to care about those LOVELY photos... but I'll get you back my little pretty, THREE times! Carolyn, Let's NEVER do yoga again, k!? Oh and let's NEVER give into YOGA tailgating peer pressure either... AND please wear something WAY 'cooler' the next time we go out, something along the lines of a pink headband, maybe!? & Katie, There aren't enough Thank You's and I hope you know how much I (we) truly appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to hang out with us dweebs for couple of days! You sure did find your way into our hearts by keeping us well fed! And remember.. NO ONE EVER.... puts Katie in corner, except us MN blogger crazies!!

:: all photos were taken and shared amongst the 4 of us ::
check out #MNmeetsMango for the #instamadness 



real real quick... I wanted to fill you all in on something we are going to call #FreidFriday...

you all know, love and HAVE a friend like Freid in your life. That friend is always up for ANYTHING, will help out ANYTIME he can. He will show up to a freezing cold 30 degree Halloween Party in a tiny blue speedo. He usually drinks too much and then make no sense at all. He will book a week at a condo in Florida with you and your family & entertain you & BURN TO A COMPLETE CRISP! He will talk to anyone about anything oh yeah AND he knows EVERYONE!!

Well, that sums up our friend Freid... but because there is SO much more to him we will let #FreidFriday do all the talking! 

I participated week 1 [and this was my photo submitted]

--we all forgot about it week 2--

but we are all back at it for week 3!!! [Aaron's photo that he submitted this week]
Freid front row- as if you couldn't tell... :D

Search the hashtag and prepare to be entertained OH and if you happen to have any Freid photos floating around, POST THEM, because chances are... you KNOW HIM TOO!!

[and here is MY photo for this week!] TGIF my friends... T.G.I.F.!


* Our idea of a 'Home Away From Home'

This weekend we will be traveling North for BIRTHDAY WEEKEND! My favorite Birthday celebration at the lake being my 30th (seen here). While keeping that in mind, I wanted to quickly talk about the concept of what Aaron, Avrie and I might consider our "Home Away from Home"... THE LAKE!!

[the lake at sunset] 

We have been VERY lucky to have been apart of MANY summer weekends spent in Hayward at the Paine cabin on Lac Courte Oreilles. And also the newly purchased (just last year) Evenson cabin on Cross Lake. Again very very lucky to spend weekends upon weekends away from home, but feeling right at home- all of the time. 

Aaron grew up hanging out on one of a bajillion "Bass Lakes" in MN where he perfected both his tan and his wakeboarding skills. I on the other hand, I steer WAY clear of large bodies of water. I like to be on them, but in a boat keeping dry and catching a tan- nothing more!

Aaron has managed to help me see the lake light and, I too, REALLY love the lake life. We wish to someday have our own lake place to enjoy the sunny & rainy weekend of late Spring, Summer & early Fall. Being at lake, relaxing, settling in for just a few days, eating cabin food, sitting around the fire, cruising the lake, playing out on the lawn, drinks in hand and SPF on our skin... come on summer!! At this point, I don't even care about Spring, I just want to feel that sun & heat!

My inspiration for posting came from DogVacay.com. This is an online site helping dog owners find a dog sitter/host/loving home while you are away. DogVacay's staff believes that our pets are our family and deserve the best care available. The company was founded by a husband & wife team and today DogVacay. com has grown into a community that stretches across the country. DogVacay links thousands of dog owners with safe and loving sitters. 

Now, don't get me wrong, you would surely bring your fur child with you ANYWHERE you go but let's face it- sometimes you just can't do that. You need SOMEONE/ANYONE trustworthy & responsible to please please pleaseeeee take care of your dog while you are gone!? Am I right?

DogVacay.com seems easy enough in that you enter your location (I am in Forest Lake) and a list of sources in your area will pop up. It's easy to book and the affordable rates are payable online. DogVacay.com offers you that peace of mind while you travel, and with daily photo updates you don't have to wonder and or worry so much about how puppy is doing or how they are feeling! Knowing that they are in good hands AND having fun allows you to enjoy your time away.

  [avrie checking out our new puppy!!! COMING SOON!]

 We are much too familiar with this and have had to deal with finding someone to watch Tiki on the weekends that we weren't able to bring her along. AND.... seeing that we will SOON be adding a puppy to our home (YUP... you read that right, we are getting a PUPPY!!! more on that another time, real soon) but anyway, we will be needing to find trusted doggy sitters, from time to time, as well.

If DogVacay.com interests you as much as it does me, I encourage you to check them out on online and also via facebook & Instagram @dogvacay... if anything, you'll have cute pictures of doggies popping up in your daily feed!

Time for you to share with me, what do YOU consider your "Home Away From Home"?


* what Aaron said...

Recently, two of my fav bloggers posted SUPER fun questions that their husbands answers. We are all VERY familiar with how much our husbands think that blogging is just crazy. But the terms "that's blog-able" and "you should blog about it" come from mostly Aaron. So I just take that as him telling me to "make sure you document this b/c i never will and this way we won't ever forget it" Right!?

Well anyway, Katie & Dawn both had their better half answer the following questions. And while I know Adam personally {Dawn's hubby} in real life- I thought this was HILARIOUS and had fun picturing him answer each of these. I don't know Katie's hubby but based on his answers, I am thinking that him and Aaron would be quite the pair.

Now, how the heck did I get Aaron to answer these for me... it was WAY easier than I figured it would be. But probably because I made it pretty simple for him, during our weekend road trip I asked him to "answer a few questions for something on my blog" [insert eye roll via hubby] I continue by saying "just tell me the firs thing that comes to your mind, i'll do all the writing" That worked, and really well! He cooperated, and this is what he came up with!  [*note: i was typing out his exact words]

Me: What is the name of my blog?

Aaron: "keeping up with the sonneks blogspot dot com... or something like that"

Me: What do I typically write about?
Aaron: "avrie. what we do is what you write about, like 6 months later or the next day."

What's a popular fashion item for women right now?
Aaron: "lulu lemon. the only reason i said that is b/c buxton was talking about it the other day"

What's the best place to shop for women?
Aaron: "victoria secret... haha, i dont know. target."
(DUH target!)

What do you know about Pinterest?
Aaron: "actually i know quite a bit... well... [pause] i know its were you get ideas for ME to do them"

What do you and I like to do together?
Aaron: "ummm.... i dont know, everything but NOT softball. haha. i dont know, go places & just do things period"

Am I good at staying on a budget?
Aaron: "yeah, pretty good"

What do women keep in their purse?
Aaron: "everything."
What do I do when I'm home alone?
Aaron: "when does that happen?!? ...umm blog and watch tv"

And what do you do when you're home alone?
Aaron: "WHEN DOES THAT HAPPEN!! haha i am seriosulyu never home along, but if i am i would be working on something outside
(i am adding something here... he is home alone WAY more than me!! silly!)
What is your favorite thing about me?
Aaron: "i hate these things. pause... umm... your sense of humor but ONLY when youre in a good mood, meaning when you're not "hangry" hungry/angry"
(this made me laugh REALLY hard!)

What is your least favorite thing about me?
Aaron: "you have stuff all over the house. drives me nuts. every flat surface is covered in junk."
(guilty, i have A LOT of organized messes) 
What's my favorite accessory?
Aaron: "whats an accessory?? seriously... like something you wear? the fitbit b/c your obsessed"
(guilty again- tap tap.)

What's an acceptable amount to spend on a makeup item?
Aaron: "$1"
(ok i DO NOT buy makeup at a garage sale!?)

What are my hobbies?
Aaron: "blogging. bungee jumping haha. sewing if you had a sewing machine. garage sale-ing. sunning yourself near water but not in it."

What jewelry do I wear everyday?
Aaron: "rings, earrings, glasses, fitbit, toe ring"
What's my favorite TV show?
Aaron: "parenthood. but you dont really watch shows"
(i am only caught up to what is on netflix, i haven't seen ANYTHING that is currently on TV- UGH)

Really, how excited were you when you found out our child was a GIRL on delivery day?
Aaron: "the whole day was exciting. gender didnt matter at all that day"

What is your favorite thing about being a dad?
Aaron: "when i come home and shes so excited to see me."

How many more kids would you like to have?
Aaron: "1.5"

Anything else you'd like to share?
Aaron: "i hate these things."


...and there you have it. my deep thinking man of many many words! ;)


* Weekend recap: a Road Trip & Mother's Day

Friday morning GG was here to hang out with Avrie, while I spent a couple of chilly hours roaming the Woodbury Garage Sales. This was a first for me and going into it, I felt it was going to be overwhelming- but it wasn't too bad. I went day two which decreased the good deals. BUT I did find one really great sale with a TON of cute and great condition 4T/5T a few with tags, even.

[i wont bore you with pictures of everything, 
but this was my FAV 4th of july tops & dresses]

I returned back home about 1pm to pack up and hit the road for quick overnight roadtrip to Galva, IL population 2,559. Why Galva, IL... it's home to where our newest Schlomka truck was completed. Three months ago Larry and Grandpa Schlomka drove to Galva and back with our new 2015 Kenworth. Between then and now a tank was built, painted and assembled on to the truck.

After a couple months of checking in on progress being made, via a live shop webcam- the truck was finally done!

It was decided that Larry, Aaron, Avrie, Grandpa and I would all pile into Aaron new pickup that seats 5 and hit the road. We left town around 3:30pm making a couple of pit stops, but only in the usual spots that Gpa knows best for dinner & ice cream. We stopped overnight in DeWitt, IA [population 5,285] just after 10pm. We settled in, Avrie jumped on the bed for about 20 minutes and after being cooped up in the truck for the last 6 hours she was NOT ready to just lay down and go to sleep. We caught the end of the Wild game and turned the tv off a little after midnight- Avrie was still chatting away...

[avrie and great-grandpa schlomka 'papa hank']

After a short night of sleep, Saturday morning, we were all up at 6am to get back on the road. We were about an hour and a half away from Galva. On the way we had to stop by "church" for breakfast, aka Sherry's Cafe. This cute little spot was the best stop we made for a tasty breakfast. After breakfast we pulled into the parking lot of LMT and there she was, BIG, BLUE and PURDY!!!

While the guys walked, talked, inspected, toured and paid- Avrie and I played amongst the dandelions and sunshine.

We took a few pictures, Avrie cooperated and took a few pictures in the cab and on the back bumper. It was only appropriate- seeing that I have pictures of me her same age on the back of a new pump truck!

[left photo: me 1985 / right photo: avrie 2014]

[beep! beep!]

[blue is TOTALLY gpa's color]

It was around 11-11:30am when we pulled out of Galva. Aaron and Larry took turns driving the new rig back home. The drive home was LONG- I was SUPER tired, OVER being in the pickup and just ready to get home. Avrie did AWESOME the entire trip. We stopped only a couple of times for a quick lunch and a few pit stops. After dropping gpa off at home- a little visit with gma/GG and a stop at the shop, Aaron, Avrie and I were home around 9pm. UFFDA!

[in the shop, taking truck inventory]

After Avrie was in bed, after a bath and some wind down time, I hopped in the shower and then plopped down onto the couch and proceeded to crash about 6 seconds later. I woke up at 4am on the couch with a towel still on my head and I hadn't even combed my wet hair.

Sunday, it was Mother's Day! Rightfully so, we all slept in and once Avrie was up, Aaron brought her in to wake me up, giving me the biggest hug and telling me "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!" After talking about a "plan" for the day we decided to just get back into the car and drive up highway 8 to see what we could find. We were headed for Taylor's Falls, to climb the rocks and see the flowing water [waterfalls in Avrie's eyes].

[she is the jump in my step,
the giggle in my laugh,
& the beat of my heart!]

We about stopped at a few different places, going into a brunchy type place that was packed. We decided that the food didn't seem worth the wait so. We were back on the road and ended up just parking along main street in Taylor's Falls. Without having to roam too far we stopped into The Border Bar for burger baskets. There were about 4 tables and zero service, but the burgers hit the spot! It was perfect for a quick lunch.

[spending the day with my two favs- is all that i need!]

After we ate we walked the steps down to the water. It's high speed flow did well in sky rocketing my anxiety, but at the same time it was quite the sight! As we took it all in, we snapped a few pics and climbed the rocks. Avrie had a blast hopping from rock to rock and exploring.

["look at THIS momma!"]

It was about 3pm when we headed back towards home. We stopped by Cub to pick up a couple of big, fat, juicy steaks to grill later on. We also stopped by Cherry Berry for some fro yo! My combo of choice being Tropical Blend w/ Gummy Bears- YUM!

Once home we hung out playing outside, we built a fire, took a long walk and then Aaron charcoal grilled THE BEST steak, baked potatoes, asparagus & mushrooms. I also made a salad and we had dessert with Grandma & Grandpa Ertle. I asked them to stop by on there way home from dinner with Mick & Co. I had to at least see MY mom, the fabulous woman who gave me life and set an example of what it means to be a Mom!

[flashback: My Mom, holding baby AV, 2011]

After a long, busy weekend of driving and a full day of walking [i hit 13,000 steps on sunday ;)] you can only guess how tired we all were again on Sunday night! I feel asleep AGAIN on the couch! haha It was the perfect end to the weekend, and the best way to spend my day being Avrie's mommy!