Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dang we're attractive!

August 20th was a super depressing day for my mom, because it's the last time that all 7 of her children will be at home at the same time until possibly Thanksgiving, but for sure Christmas.  That's a long time to someone like my mom whose life has revolved around her children for the last 25 years.  She always gets all emotional and stuff at this time of year when her kids are heading off to school, and now that Taylor's leaving the nest, that just leaves Laura and Rachel to entertain her.  At least Rachel possesses more athletic ability than all other 6 of her children combined so that she can go to her freshman volleyball games.  And I mean, Laura's getting kind of a mouth on her, so Mom has to work on keeping her in line.

Vanderstappens now occupy almost all the corners of Wisconsin, with me living in Green Bay, Marty leaving for his last semester at UW-River Falls, Adrianna going into her junior year at UW-Platteville, and now Taylor starting her freshman year in Lacrosse at a small private school called Viterbo.

So, on August 20th, knowing that it was the last day that her driveway would be a used car lot for a while, my mom arranged family picture day.  It was actually arranged a few months ago, but my mom pretty much pounded it into our heads that even if we were dying of the mumps (Just kidding, you don't die of the mumps.  I lived through them, remember?) we had better get our butts home and pull it together to get a good picture, because this picture is going to be hung on the wall, dammit.

We all made it home by picture time, scheduled at 9AM in the gardens at St. Benedict's church.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had kind of an attitude and didn't care that this picture was going to hang on the wall of my mother's home.  

We're driving along to St. Ben's, and the sky is getting darker and darker.  Adrianna, Laura, and I were driving with Mom, and she was trying to fight back tears because UGH why would it be fricking hurricane weather on this day??  Why not tomorrow?  Why not YESTERDAY???  Adrianna and I, on the other hand, were fighting back tears because the sky looked like God was going to shove his foot through the clouds and punt us.  Laura stayed really cool, calm, and collected through the whole ordeal.

So anyways, we decided to take a detour and go to breakfast instead.  Right after Mom made the phone call, a tsunami went through that included hail, which included my mom swearing because she didn't want the hail to ruin her Mercedes.  

Holy eff.
The only problem with getting breakfast was that we had to walk outside in the rain.  And the dress code was white shirts and dark jeans.  AND of COURSE we all did our hair nicely, which is ruined with one drop of rain to the head.  Sigh.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot that we were ALL WEARING THE SAME THING so we looked like a family on vacation that didn't want to lose anybody.  

At least Mom wasn't a complete lunatic and chose white shirts and dark jeans instead of THIS psycho mom:

After getting up every 10 minutes to look outside and see if it was clearing up, Mom called Jill our photographer and said, "The weather is ready, and so are we!!" or something like that.  Mother Nature would not ruin this picture!!

When we got to the church, we took some really nice pics.  I mean, I must say that we all clean up pretty nicely, and Jill even said that we were a "bunch of great smilers", but that's because my mom used to beat us if we looked like idiots in pictures that she took of us.  

People say we look alike.  I don't see it...
If you think that Laura's about to burst into tears in that pic, it's because she was.  She doesn't really like when someone tells her what to do?  So when Jill said (in the sweetest voice EVER), "Laura, sweetie, why don't you climb back by Mark and Taylor?  Can you do that sweetheart?", you would have thought that Jill said, "LAURA!  GET YOUR ASS BACK THERE OR I WILL CUT YOU."  But she didn't.  Laura never quite grasped the nice picture smile.  Hey.  At least she's looking at the camera.

We are a product of these people.  Good genes.
My grandpa came too, because Mom wanted nice pictures with him.  He didn't have to wear a white shirt, because he was the man of the hour.

Notice the blue.
My grandpa is a really funny guy that's going to turn 70 in September (I hope I age that well!!).  Looking at the nice pictures that he took, you would never guess that he tells dirty jokes and drives 90 mph in a 55, even when he has his precious grandchildren in the car.

This picture makes me smile.  Really big smile.
Picture day was going great.  Everyone was cooperating, and it really helped that Jill is so nice and knows our family.  Knowing that Jill knows our family, you would THINK that she knows that we are NOT FUN PEOPLE.  We like to take nice, pretty pictures.  So when she told us to do something "fun" we all just stared at her.  Because we don't know how to do that.

I guess that I should say that Jenna and I don't know how to do fun.  Taylor, Rachel, and Adrianna look awesome in this pic.  I seriously don't know how they pulled it off.  And neither does Jenna.  Laura looks like she's being tortured, but that's what she usually looks like when she's having fun.  

When Jill told all of us girls to sit down so that Marty could lay across our laps, havoc wreaked.  Then Jill said (in her "stern" voice, but even when she's stern she is just so sweet) "Oh you girls.  This is FUN.  Just sit down."  And Marty crawled on top of us.  We were all rolling our eyes and saying OW MARTY YOUR ELBOW JUST WENT INTO MY THIGH, but when Jill started counting, we got one of the best pictures of the day.

Don't we pretend that we love each other well??
Jill decided to stop taking pictures at the church when we were all squinty and looked like idiots because the sun was blinding us.  We caravan-ed to a new location called Fox Farms, which I've been wondering about since I was a little kid.  It's on County B for those of you that know the area, and it has a really long driveway with the two gray barns side by side.  Jill knows the owner, and she had their permission to take pics there.

We were all walking around while Jill looked for a good spot, and then this crazy lunatic of a woman came outside (but she left her dentures inside) and said that she was going to call the police because she rents that property!  And she mows the lawn!  So get off the lawn!  And then Jill turned all sassy and "Hey I have permission to be here!" and the Vanderstappen kids turned all scared and wussy and wanted to leave.  So we left.  But not before I got a picture of Jill confronting lunatic lady and my grandpa standing watch in case he had to pull out his switchblade (actually, I'm not sure if he carries a switchblade, but I would totally not be surprised if he did).

Dang blackberry, not getting a clear shot.  Red hat = lunatic.
As we drove out, I was driving my grandpa's sweet Jeep, and he rolled down his window to yell something at the lady.  I was afraid that we were going to get shot, but he just said, "Thanks for being so nice!  Have a nice day!"  And then told me to drive on the grass.  I didn't. 

We took a few more pictures at our house in the back so that you can't tell we live on a farm, but it actually looks like we live in a beautiful woodsy area where there is a pond that has a dock that we jump off of and go swimming.

Jenna's 8 months pregnant.
Dad was getting kind of restless, and kind of stopped cooperating after a while.

He IS getting good at posing though.
It was starting to get kind of humid out, and we were all hot and our hair was getting pretty frizzy, so we decided to call it a day.  But first, my mom MADE us take this picture, and I'm glad that it turned out well, because NONE of us wanted to do it.  And YES, we voiced our opinion, but then when Jill told us we had to do it, we did, because my mom taught us to be polite.   

That baby is the most loved baby in the whole world,
and we haven't even seen him/her yet.
We haven't seen all of the pics yet, but the ones that you see are a few that Jill already has online.  Let me know if you want her contact info, because then she can make your family look good too!

I will say though, we laughed a lot on August 20th, and I already can't wait until we're all home at the same time for the holidays.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Well hello!  That is the only way I know to begin this post, because it's been quite some time since I've posted.  About 29 times or something like that I was getting ready to write, but then I would get distracted by something and do something else.  Like the tv or my phone or Facebook.  A lot's happened in the last few weeks!  So much, that I don't know where to begin.  So I'll just share a few snapshots of exciting things that happened.  Ok, some things aren't that exciting, but whatever.  I'm going to go back kind of a ways.  Like a month.  Because a lot's happened.

July 18: Peter's car broke down.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

July 20: Peter cut his foot open on a zebra mussel when he jumped in the Fox River because he was going to die of heat exhaustion.  He was announcing for a ski show.  A little girl came up to me and said, "Peter cut his foot.  It's bleeding a lot.  He said is hurts."  First, I whispered wuss under my breath.  Then I saw someone go down to the dock with a First Aid kit.  Then Peter could hardly walk to the car.  Then he was really shaky and fidgety on the ride home.  Then we went to Walgreens.  And his debit card got denied.  I got annoyed and swiped my card.  Little did we know that this was the beginning of me being his sugar mama.

July 22: Peter called me.  You need to come to the gas station.  My card got denied again.  I swiped my card.  His debit card number got stolen.  In Florida.  He was missing hundreds of dollars.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

July 22-24: State Water Ski Competition.  We stayed in a hotel.  Peter still didn't have a debit card.  Swipey swipe swipe my card.  Peter's foot was also cut.  And sore.  So he was a little crabby.  That was fun.

Look at that intense announcer's face.

Look at how cool he thinks he is.

That wasn't supposed to happen.
But it was really funny when his boat capsized.
July 30: Travis and I bought our plane tickets to NYC.  YAY!!!  September 14-18!  EXCITING!  I CAN'T STOP SMILING!!

July 31: I got pulled over.  But only got a warning.  I only started to cry when he told me that I was getting a warning.  Tears of joy.  Then I called Peter, but I called him at the WRONG time, because I was like, sobbing, and I think he thought I was going to get in a car crash.  But I didn't.  I seriously have no idea what my problem was.

August 1: Went to the Brewer's game with my fam.  
It was so effing hot and humid.  That's why I'm glistening.
Look at Jenna's baby!  Only a few more weeks to go!
But we were late to the Brewer's game.  Because someone decided to buy a car.  So we sat at the dealership for 2 hours and mostly waited, but Peter signed a few papers.  Then we realized that he couldn't take his new car home that day, because he needed to sign more papers, and someone was losing patience (OK, it was me.) because someone wanted to see her family at the Brewer's game.

August 5: Still no debit card for Peter.  So I was still swipey swipe swiping my card away.  But that's what you do for the love of your life.  And you don't complain about it either.  You just make sure to keep receipts for hotels and ask very nicely for checks.

August 6: I got to wear a real live Super Bowl ring.  
And then Peter got jealous when I showed him my picture of the Super Bowl ring, so he hunted down the priest that had it and tore the ring off of his finger so that HE could be cool like ME and have a picture with the Super Bowl ring.

Oh, I almost forgot.  We were at our friends' Craig and Katie's wedding on that day.  
Don't they look fabulous?  I cried because they were so beautiful.
That's why Peter looks so snazzy in that vest.  He was a groomsman.  And he cleans up very nicely.  So that made me happy.

August 8: Peter got his new car!

And then he took me for a ride in it, and then I thought he was proposing to me, but it was really just a small square box full of candy.  So that was embarrassing.  

August 11: Peter switched banks.  And got a new debit card in TWO DAYS.  I was really happy.  But mostly because his new debit card is pretty and blue instead of a Green Bay Packers debit card.

August 12: Peter was mad because he had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning.  But he had to wake up early because he was on tv.  Check it out.

August 14: Wedding #4 of the year.  Headed down to Madison to watch my dear friends Katelynn and Jordan get married.  They were some of my first friends when I went to college.  Jordan used to be really mean.
This is Jordan giving me a wet willy.  Freshman year.
Katelynn was always nice to me.  She said that I was her favorite freshman.
This was taken after Jordan white-washed us.  You know,
shoved our faces in the snow?
I have this video of Jordan hitting Katelynn and I with those things that are filled with air and you bang them together at sporting events.  But I couldn't find it.  I'll find it sometime though.

Then, years later when Jordan stopped being mean, they fell in love, and then they got married and it was wonderful.
Yeah.  I cried at this wedding too.  Lots of crying lately.
August 17: I found out that I'm going to Bogota, Colombia for a conference for work.  So that's exciting.

And that brings us all up to date.  I'll try and remember to write more about my life.  I have good intentions, and then I do other things like eat an ice cream, or chew on bubble gum, or text somebody.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On this date, in 2010

Cripes.  A year goes by fast, doesn't it?  Like, REALLY fast.  Because one year ago today, I was on a plane from Quito, Ecuador to Miami, Florida.  Then I had a heart attack in Miami because I had to pay $3.50 for a bottle of water.  Then I had another heart attack when I found out that I had to run around the airport - literally, around the OUTSIDE of the airport (construction sucks) - to get to my gate, and it was really hot and humid, and when I left Quito it was cold and I was wearing a sweatshirt.  Then I had ANOTHER heart attack when I found out that I had to go through security again and all of the lines were 5 hours long and holy mother I was going to miss my connecting flight.  So close, yet so far from home.  

I'm telling you, it's a miracle that I made it home alive.  

Kind of a bittersweet thing, thinking about being home for a year.  On the one hand, I love America, so that's good.  On the other hand, as Jenna put it, "You've been boring for a year."  Thanks.  

You know, I'm a whole new person now that I've lived in a different country.  It's CHANGED me.  

Ummm, actually no, it hasn't.  I'm the exact same, I think.  My stories are just a little more outrageous to tell, and I seem to appreciate the niceties a lot more.  Niceties like not being chased by stray dogs all the time.  Niceties like having a car to drive instead of taking a bus that I have to fall jump off of.  Niceties like not having to "teach" 60 wild 8th graders on a daily basis.  Niceties like not having people touch my hair all the time, because blonde hair in America is not an odd thing.  Niceties like knowing that people will show up on time for a meeting or a date, and if they are running late, they will let you know so you're not standing around like an idiot for an hour.  Niceties like texting, and calling someone on the phone instead of emailing and having to set up a Skype date.  I've used Skype ONCE in the last year.  What a love/hate relationship I have with that invention.

I'll be honest though.  There are things that I do miss about Ecuador.  Like being able to hop on an airplane and take a weekend getaway... every weekend.  Like laughing with my friends about how ridiculous we looked being so tall all the time.  Like speaking Spanish all the time.  Like trying new things and being pushed out of my comfort zone.  Like eating all-you-can-eat sushi for $13.  Like making new friends from all over the world.  

Anyways, in the last year not very much has happened, but a few kind of big things happened.

August 2010: I didn't do anything with myself.  I laid in the sun, and I visited Peter, and I spent a lot of time with my grandma, and I ate a lot of ice cream.  

September 2010: I started having a panic attack because it would probably be beneficial for me to start maybe looking more seriously for a full time job.  I mean, I can't live with my parents forever.  I also started having a panic attack because I was running short on funds, so I started working for my dad on a regular basis.

October 2010: Working for my dad wasn't enough, so I started nannying for twin 6 year old boys in a house that had a lot of mice that ran around in the kitchen and living room while I sat on the couch with my shoes next to me and called Peter to tell him that I was scared (to which he replied, "Well Sar, I don't know what you want me to do.  I mean, I'm in De Pere...").  October was the first of three months where I was tired all the time and I really started feeling bad for farmers and realizing I didn't want to be one.  I was getting about 4 hours of sleep a night with minimal napping during the day.  Because I was tired, I was kind of crabby.  Oops.

November 2010: I finally started getting some replies for jobs that I had applied for.  We grieved for my grandma that passed away, and we thanked God when our farm didn't have damage in the tornado that struck just 3 miles away, demolishing another farm.  I cried when I was in a house with no basement during the tornado because I was hiding in a broom closet that I saw the mice go in a out of.  The tornado touched down only a mile from where I was.  Divine intervention.

December 2010: I interviewed for a position in northeastern Wisconsin, hoping that I would get an offer because I had found the perfect job in the location that I wanted to be.  I screamed when I got off the phone after an offer.  Christmas, apartment hunting, and moving were all in a one week whirlwind.  I cried when Mom and Dad drove out of the parking lot of my new apartment.

January 3, 2011: I started my career, and then I started blogging about my adult life, so you know the rest...

Overall, it's been a good year.  But time can slow down, just a little.  People are right when they say it just keeps going by faster.