Thursday, April 11, 2019

All things hair!

I get asked by so many people, where do I get my hair done and what products I use! so I'm throwing together a short little blog post so I can direct people more easily.

First of all, for local peeps, I got to Jeffry Richard Salon off wealthy street downtown Grand Rapids. I go to Abby for cuts and TJ for cut and color in between my cuts with Abby. It's a down right amazing experience from the moment you walk into the salon. It's an Aveda salon and I can't get enough of that Aveda smell. I love their natural products and so does my family.

Speaking of natural products. I want to direct you to Maple Holistics to check out their new Silk18 Shampoo I had the opportunity to try it out first hand and let me tell you, I love it. I wash my hair once every 5 days or so using Living Proof dry shampoo in between washes, and this shampoo leaves my hair feeling incredibly clean, silky, and smooth. I love the scent and I love the all natural products.

I had  a recent scare where I had an allergic reaction to a texture spray I quickly snagged from Walgreens to use after working out. It cost me a pretty penny to go to the emergency room for steroids, not to mention oral steroids, oral antihistamines, and more medications than ever to calm it down. I learned my lesson from thinking I could just grab any old thing from the shelf and use it. Trust me, keep it natural with your products!!

I also use a leave in treatment after I shampoo by Aveda called Dry Remedy. With all the color and heat I use on my hair, this is something I can't live without.

Send me a message if you have any questions. I use a small amount of hair spray and serum for hold and smooth but if you need those linked as well, let me know!!

Oh! I can't forget. this little hair headband I use for washing my face etc is so cute and off Amazon!! it's only 18$ and it is perfect for what I was looking for. It's soft and has nice Velcro in the front and then in the back you can even pull your hair through a loop, like a pony tail, if you really need your hair away from your neck when you're doing your nightly routine!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Harry Potter World

** Photos are in no particular order. I am so over blogger and uploading photos. I just want to blog the trip!! **

Honestly, Florida was the unexpected best trip with the kids. I had no idea it was going to be THAT good. I knew it'd be fun and jam packed with entertainment but I would do that trip over and over again.

Our whole goal in the beginning was to see our good friends Rachel and Tony that moved from our neighborhood and that we miss so very much. They moved the year prior and we had monthly dinners with them that were my favorite night of the month. They are the easiest and greatest friends ! So while we were planning this trip to see them, we decided we would hit up Harry Potter World at Universal. Jason is able to get four days for the price of one with the military but boy is that still ridiculously expensive. but seeing harry potter world was worth every penny.

We booked our little dinky condo with air bnb. it was our first air bnb experience. and this little place was just 89$ a night but located right on a waterpark. The place had a large pool, two big water slides, a splash pad, an extra large hot tub and a small hot tub. And they also had daily pool activites (glitter tattoos, sno cones, karaoke etc). There was a small arcade for late night quarter spending sprees too. we were within 20 minutes of Universal so it worked out great!

Our first day at Universal was cold and rainy. We were somewhat prepared for the colder weather and at first the kids were not super excited about it, and sure enough, as the day went on, we noticed that there was no wait for rides as there was practically no one there that day. We ran around hitting every ride possible. and we took our time walking through Harry Potter World. It was so incredible. We got the kids wands that activate tons of things within the park. There is also this massive dragon that blows fire every 20 minutes. The town shakes and he grumbles as he gets ready, and its highly anticipated by everyone.

The rides for Harry Potter World are so so good. We went on them many times as we could and then each day we went back to Universal, we just hit up our favorites. And let me tell you about that butter beer. I mean I had one!! I personally loved the cold and also the frozen. We even bought the stuff to make it the moment we got home from our trip. (still has yet to be made!!)

We also had a chance to spend the day at Jason's Aunt and Uncle's new beach home. We couldn't have hand picked a better day to spend at the beach. The kids collected shells endlessly. They were able to chase the waves, play in the sand and also in their pool/hot tub. We walked the beach, and drank champagne as the most gorgeous sunset set upon us. It was a piece of heaven! the kids were so sad to leave and couldn't stop asking when we were going to visit them next.

In front of Aunt Cindi and Uncle Conrads new place
 always dying for a  silly face pic
 Austin loved collecting shells the most. He made sure to hunt for the curly q's. He brought home a large bag of them in hopes to put them in a jar in his room. Sadly no sharks' teeth this visit, but all the more reason to go back.
 They have the most beautiful view out their back porch/patio area
 None of us could bring ourselves to pack up and go. It was a magical day.
 More butter beer please !!
 The fire breathing dragon
 a blurry pic waiting for harry potter ride. This one is located on the Universal side, and you ride in a cart going through the bank and avoid Lord Voldemort.
 Olivanders where we got our wands. It was jam packed and even then the employee said 'nah this is a slow day'

 She just loves to pose
 I am the worst person to hold a selfie stick. I just can't figure it out!!
 A much better photo taken in front of the castle!
 We ate at the Simpson world in Krusty Burger. This cold rainy day was the only day we ate at the park. All the other days we only spent half a day to do our favorite things and head back to the pool.
 We loved the Hogwarts express. They play a movie on the window,  in the little car you ride in, and its different going in either direction from Universal to Islands of Adventure and vice versa. Honestly it's a ride in and of itself. the movie depicts the scenery going from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley. Its such a cool experience.
 I could have drank that all day everyday. don't tell me how many calories it is.
 The weather improved day by day while we were there.

Like I said, I would re-do this trip time and time again. I would happily pick up a third job just to do this every few years if able. We'll see if our family vacation to the grand canyon later this year goes as well. Its not Harry Potter world!! But i'm glad that the family vacations have started. You won't find us taking long road trips but who knows what we can fit within the few hours we are willing to drive. I wouldn't mind driving to Niagra falls since I think it's shorter than our trip to the U.P.
We made good memories.. even if its hard to watch everyone leave for Spring Break and yet we are still home. I'd much rather go earlier in the year and for a much cheaper price!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Pursuit of Champions

As I write this blog, Austin is going to the last wrestling practice of the season. I have to say that I have been almost in tears multiple times thinking about this. Austin has participated in wrestling for the last three years, kindergarten, first and second grade. The first year was a lot of fun just watching him play around. Last year was even better as he competed in a lot of team tournaments and team events and had a really strong half Nelson which is what gave him a lot of wins. But then this year we decided to put him in a wrestling club, Pursuit of Champions with a strong commitment. He had two practices a week with this club and then went to once a week with the Byron Center team. He also had to weigh in on Friday nights typically 30 minutes away. And he competed in 8 MYWAY tournaments (all individual) on Sundays.   It was on these Friday nights that we ended up having family dinner after, which made for a nice weekly tradition.  Out of the 8 MYWAY tournaments Austin was able to achieve four second-place medals and three first-place metals.

 I remember the first, first place medal, Jason was at National Guard and I just didn’t think I would be able to take Austin without him. His coach was there and he was very clearly listening to his coach that day. I remember the feeling when he won and thought to myself I don’t care if he quits after today, we have made it to where we wanted. He had achieved the highest peak and I was on cloud nine and I could tell so was Austin. That day other dads and coaches were watching him, telling me how aggressive and strong he was. I never really saw Austin as 'aggressive'. Its hard to instill the grit factor in a young kid. But that day, he had it. 

The season continued to push Austin to work hard in fact, going into it he has always been a very poor sport when it comes to losing. There was a specific Sunday where Austin wasn’t feeling good and he was not on top of his game and despite after winning the first match he lost every match after that and would not speak or talk to anyone including his coach or us and continued to treat us poorly the rest of the day. We had a very big lesson to learn that day and it was a horrible Sunday filled with lots of tears, and poor behavior, but in the end it was worth it.  Austin was able to talk through his loss, recognizing that the next time he were to lose, he would change his actions and words. In between that time and his last tournament we went to Florida as a family and had one of the best vacations I’ve had thus far with the kids  After a full solid week off from wrestling and practices Austin went into his last two practices before his final tournament. Going into this last tournament I was trying to fill Austin’s head with lots of positivity and trying to get him ready to do his very best. That day it was very clear Austin was going to be on top of his game and we just kept telling him no matter what we love him and that he had done so well that season. Every time he got second place it seems like it was because of this one kid that seemed just slightly better than Austin., Going into this match I could tell Austin had it in him to beat this kid this day. And he did it. The very first match he pinned, then the next bout was against this 'better kid' and Austin actually won by major and it was amazing. Such a good feeling to not let the idea of someone or something scare you from overcoming.  The final match was still a tough one, but in the end, Austin took home 1st place. It felt awesome to have Jason there, since Jason was gone the other two times Austin took first because he was at national guard. 

I have found myself becoming emotional, as Austin spoke of being done with wrestling. Not just this season, but calling it quits. He found the new club to be challenging emotionally and physically. The last thing you want is to burn your kid out on something you think they love. 

I have come to love wrestling and all that it stands for. I knew nothing about this sport before Austin started. It is by far the most stressful sport to watch in my opinion. Watching your child have to go out, prove their strength and ability, completely alone. I found myself getting nervous the night before and becoming a wreck the day of the tournament. I didn't let Austin see or feel my nervous energy, but I couldn't imagine how  he felt.

So far he says that he's going to wrestle the team tournaments next year, but anytime we ask him about the club, he becomes tearful. Despite having learned more in just a few short months with this club, and pushing himself, he clearly didn't enjoy the extra challenge.

I came to love the coaches, the families, and watching the other kids. That last tournament of Austin's season, the club entered as a team to win one of the largest trophies I've seen. In this tournament, they take the top 10 scores from the team that day. Austin had the 2nd highest scoring points for his team and his club won the tournament with the most points.

I hope Austin continues wrestling at whatever level he enjoys, but I'm thankful for the time we had these years. I couldn't be more proud of him. Here are just a few pics from this season.

Here is Austin with Coach Dave after his last big win!

Here he is taking down someone who always beat him, now it was his turn to take him down. the coach of this other kid says to me " he's (Austin) been practicin' huh?"
half is still strong! 

This year's pursuit team …. (mean muggin')
I could always spot him with the bright yellow shoes!
first place gets to take home the bracket !

wearing the Byron center singlet
Austin has never been a big kid, in fact always on the smaller size  but boy does he use his strength! he wrestled all season at the 52 pound weight class, in Novice.
Hopefully this won't be the end but glad he gave it his all while was in it!

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