Dear Nephew: Music for you

Hi little guy,

Wednesday was an exciting day for us, your momma came to our house for Grandpa Hulke's birthday! It's probably the last time we'll see your mom before you get here. Your arrival date is fast approaching, honey. Laura was telling all of us how she and dad are preparing for you. They got a crib and all kinds of other furniture the other weekend. Your momma is being very patient waiting for you. It is sad that I don't get to see her for four or so weeks, but the good thing is hopefully you'll be here by then!

I was browsing the Internet the other day and saw this good gift idea for you. Your momma mentioned something like this when she was opening her gifts at the shower. I thought it was such a good idea, and I know that your 'Uncle' Chad would probably buy you this:

I can just imagine when you are trying to fall asleep and you are fussy, your mom will put these albums in and they'll be so soothing to you, you'll fall fast asleep. Doesn't that sound lovely, babe? Maybe your mom will play some music for you even before you get here!

Well, little guy, I will probably only write you a few more letters not using your given name:)
I can't wait to see you, love...


Recycling Again

As I've done before, I'm recycling a note that's been going around Facebook.

Here it is below~

(Here's some quotes from some of my favorite movies. Try to guess which one's they are!
No cheating:) Go to IMDB.com if you want to make a quote note yourself...)

1. For my best friend has won the best woman. I didn't buy you a gift. But this is on loan until you two find your song...

2. Sand is overrated. It's just tiny, little rocks.

3. Rick 'em, rack 'em, rock 'em, rake. Stick that sword into that snake!

4. Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don't think there's ever been a gladiator to match you. As for this young man, he insists you are Hector reborn. Or was it Hercules? Why doesn't the hero reveal himself and tell us all your real name? You do have a name.

5. Ladies and gentlemen, stop that girl, that girl running up the aisle. Stop her! That's the girl whose voice you heard and loved tonight. She's the real star of the picture.

6. Here goes: I sped. I followed too closely. I ran a stop sign. I almost hit a Chevy. I sped some more. I failed to yield at a crosswalk. I changed lanes at the intersection. I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and *speeding*!

7. I once had to judge a tighty-whitey contest for Lambda Kappa Pi. Trust me, I can handle anything.

8. *Po-tay-toes!* Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew... Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish.

9. So you're my Uncle Joey. Better get used to these bars, kid.

10. Is that what your little note says? It must be hard living your life off a couple of scraps of paper. You mix your laundry list with your grocery list you'll end up eating your underwear for breakfast.

11. Well, hello, beautiful. You must be Harvey's squeeze, hm? And you *are* beautiful.

12. Of course you can! Everything in this room is eatable, even *I'm* eatable! But that is called "cannibalism," my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies.

13. I'll be honest with you, I love his music, I do, I'm a Michael Bolton fan. For my money, I don't know if it gets any better than when he sings "When a Man Loves a Woman".

14. Well let me think...”Lizzie" for every day, "My Pearl" for Sundays, and...”Goddess Divine"... but only on *very* special occasions.

15. It's not a tumor!

16. Don't you realize what's happening? Oh man, this is beyond coincidence, this is beyond imagination! I only have a mother, and you only have a father... You've never seen your Mom, and I've never seen my Dad. You have one old picture of your Mom, I have one old picture of my Dad but at least yours is probably a whole picture.

17. Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.

18. Oh my God, Karen, you can't just ask people why they're white.

19. When she first mentioned what's about to happen, I said, "Over my dead body." And she said, "No, Daniel, over mine... ”

20. I don't have to do anything. I've been in captivity for three months. There are two things I want to do. One, I want an American cheeseburger, and the other...

Spring has sprung.

This is what one of my teachers wrote on her assignment sheet for us. (Yes, we in the ECE program know we are cutesy-cutesy.)

That statement makes me think of this print by art+light.

Has all the things I love about this time of year. Plus, I love how Spring and Easter are the biggest parts:)

via bluemossgirls

Makes Me Laugh Monday: Jim.

With all the yucky weather and homework invading my Monday, I want to curl up in bed and watch this movie

How could I not with lines like these:

"Weight, 105. Yeah, in your bra!"

"Wow! That was a nice image...[makes typing noise]*Deleted*!"

(So many more, especially at the end credits.)

What's making you laugh today?


Music Purchase: The Harzards of Love

Last night while driving me home, Chad asked, "Have you gotten the new Decemberists album?" I replied with a "No honey, thanks for reminding me." (You get the point.)
Chad is definitely my reminder to get albums from iTunes and for that I am grateful since I still probably wouldn't have gotten it.
Today I am at work and my copy of the Decemberists "The Hazards of Love" is whirling away in the small cd player next to me. I'm also on this website looking at every single lyric. They will be in Milwaukee at the end of May, but unfortunately, we will be gone. Hopefully, they will decide to add some dates to the tour so we can see them.

If you've never heard the Decemberists, I seriously suggest it. "The Crane Wife" is their most recent album (besides THOL) and it's also one of my favorites. It's definitely a different type of music than what's on the radio. Their current album "The Hazards of Love" is considered rock-opera and all the songs are meant to be listened to in one sitting.

Seriously. They are so cool.


Photograph Envy

On first glance, the following pictures look professional. Oh no. They were all taken by my cousin, Michelle. She is stationed in England for the US Air Force and when she's not translating Arabic, she gets to travel Europe. I think she really likes where she is and I am so in love with the photos that she takes on her travels. Michelle, if you are reading this post, sorry if you're upset that I stole them all off your Facebook profile. I couldn't help myself-I love these photos (not and much as I love you!)

Sit back and be amazed:





Makes me kind of want to move even more than I already do.
Happy Friday! Take some inspiring pictures like these.

Jumbled thoughts

I can't write a new post every time a thought pops into my head. This is just some things that have been going on.
Disclaimer: This post is unorganized and has no concise order...enjoy!

*My longtime girlfriend, Jenny, got engaged on St. Patrick's Day to her boyfriend, Luke. She is so lovely and I am overjoyed that she is so happy. She came to visit not too long ago and we got to talk about boys and weddings. She told me and Danielle all about her plans. Can't wait to see Jenny soon and talk more!

*That got me thinking about how many people in my class have gotten engaged or married in the past couple years. I'm not just talking about ILC people, I'm talking about college too. I think in my program there are 11 girls engaged. That's out of a possible 50 give or take a couple. On top of that, I know 7 (or so) girls from high school that recently got engaged. This is just a matter of fact statistic, I don't want you to think that I'm whining about how it hasn't happened to me yet. I know that for me it will be sooner then I think and I'll be more elated then I am already. I'm just saying, there's an engaged couple born every week around here.

*On Thursday, I was pleasantly caught off guard at my center when my cooperating teacher told me that she was taking the day to do planning and that I'd be in charge along with an older student teacher. This might sound like not the biggest deal but it was so wonderful because I got a glimpse of what I'll be doing every day in about three years. The added bonus was that the other student teacher didn't really know our schedule or routine so I took over that part. It really reassured me that a) they trust me enough to handle a group of 10 preschoolers basically all by myself and b) that this is the field that God desires for me.

*Chad (and I) love making food. He's so much better at it than I am, and got so excited when it was nice earlier this week and he realized that it was grill season. He loves grilling. Like it's a deep part of his soul. We made burgers topped with avocado, Swiss cheese, and tomato. So yummy! Now, we have to find a way to eat half an avocado-any ideas?

*I just read this article. Seriously. This is actually news.

See. I told you this would be a mess.


Simple Weekend: Parties and Squires (Part 2)

The last weekend was almost a week ago, but forgive me I was waiting for some pictures from Sara. On Saturday we celebrated Jane's not-so-surprise party. Steve tried so hard to keep the secret, but Jane is one of those ladies who figure everything out. We all had such a good time talking and spending time with family. Chad's dad's side of the family doesn't get together too often so it was so nice to catch up with some of his cousins.
Here are some pictures of our evening:

The sign that Sara put together.

Chad and I waiting for the birthday lady to arrive.

Chad, Jane, and Sara-they are so swell.

Steve, Jane, Sara, and Pat. Don't you just love Jane's goofy hat?!

Then on Sunday, we worked out and had Hannah's birthday celebration without her. Just some misunderstanding regarding when we were having her birthday dinner:). Since it was so nice we decided to go outside and play catch in front of the house. It was lovely to hear the water from the melted snow rushing down the gutter. I loved that sound! After that we went to Hannah's last game as a Squire. They lost, but definitely made the game exciting-as exciting as a grade school basketball game can be. We then drove over to Chad's parents' house to celebrate even more birthday.

It was a weekend very full of birthdays and parties and basketball games. Most importantly, it was a weekend where I was surrounded by my lovely family...

What it's like tonight

Due to the fact that March Madness is on the TV right now and that I'm catching up on the blog, this is what Chad and my night is like:

{lovely image via elegant and budget friendly}

love you. ~A

Dear Nephew- Party all for you (and momma)

Hi sweet Babe,

I'm so sorry that it's been so long since I've talked to you. I've been so busy with school, but today is Thursday and my week is winding down and I can finally talk to you about the party that I threw for you and Mommy on Saturday.

By the way, Nephew, I've gotta say I can't wait to be able to say your name when you get here (it stinks that I don't even know what you're going to be called-your mom and dad are so good about keeping your name a secret).

Anyway, I loved being able to spend time with your parents on Friday and Saturday. You are growing so much and you move around a lot. You made momma uncomfortable when you got up underneath her ribs-you should try to avoid that area of your little bubble. I don't think momma really cares, she just gets a yucky feeling. Her back hurts so bad sometimes from carrying you in her belly, and your dad rubs her sore spot. Nephew, your mom's body is getting ready for you-she's starting to get something called Braxton-Hicks contractions (who would want to have contractions named after them?). You have to grow so much before we get to see you...you have to gain half a pound a week! Not too much longer, though.

On Saturday, your aunt Hannah, your grandma Sandy, and I all went over to get the room decorated for your big party. Your grandma worked so hard to get everything ready-she made all the food and prepared everything. Your aunt Hannah was so particular with the jobs I gave her...she arranged all the decorations very nicely. I wanted to make a clothesline displaying all your clothes, but nothing I did seemed to work. I tried tape, clothespins, but I was getting irritated so I had to just let it go.

We had such a great party for you, Babe, here are some pictures for you to look at:

(See what I mean about aunt Hannah making everything neat for you?)

(She also made a 'B' out of the punch cups for 'baby' and 'boy'.)

(This was one of the games we played, Nephew. I had everything laid out and then all the ladies would guess how much everything cost.)

(There I am getting everything arranged before the party.)

(Did you like the raspberry serbet punch I made? Your momma thought it was really tasty.)

(There's aunt Hannah arranging the crayons.)

(See Nephew? I really wanted to hang all these clothes up on a line but nothing worked. It's hard hanging a line on hard concrete. Look at how cute these clothes are, love. I can't wait to see you in the fisherman's hat.)

(See all the yummy food your grandma Sandy made? I hope you thought it was tasty-especially the veggie pizza.)

(Look! There's your second cousin Samuel crawling around. He and your other second cousin Leah made an appearance at the party. It made your momma so happy to be around babies.)

(There's me and your momma getting ready to open some presents. People were so happy to give you things to wear. You got so many cute items to play with, love!)

(Since your momma loves to read books, I thought it would be nice to give her books that she can read to you. I wrote on the invitation that people should bring a book to donate to your expanding library. You got some of the best books, Nephew. Here's your momma opening a book from Aunt Vanessa and Uncle Nathan.)

(Nephew, look! Here's all the girls in the Hulke family. We loved seeing your momma and daddy and getting a chance to celebrate you a little bit...)

Nephew, I just wanted to tell you that I love you and I really liked throwing a party for you. You are already so blessed to be in such a loving family. All your momma's aunts and your momma's Grandma Hulke stayed and helped us clean up. They are so loving!

I can't believe the next time I see your momma, you might be here!


Aunt Amanda


Simple Weekend: Parties and Squires (Part 1)

This past weekend was so filled I have to start on Thursday! Let's do a little rundown~

Thursday was filled with work and then going to Dooley's Pub for the second time in a week. Jane, Chad's mom, wanted to have her birthday celebration there just like my mom did (even though neither of them knew that the other had their birthday dinner there). We got there and had a lovely meal (same table as Sunday, different dinners).

{The lovely Hestekin family-Chad, Jane, Sara, and Steve}

Friday started with setting up our church fellowship hall for Laura's baby shower. I was very happy to be able to talk to my best friend in the entire world, Rachel. She is so wonderful and I haven't talked to her in over three months. It was so nice to catch up and tell her all about what's been going on.
Then we finished a few minor details of party planning and went to ILC to watch Hannah's basketball game. Laura and Eli arrived for Hannah's game then after we ate pizza and watched more basketball:)

{My cousin's son Samuel; he's getting so big!}


I'll break down the rest of the weekend when I get more pictures...

Music Purchase: She and Him

Last week I realized that I hadn't purchased music to go on my iPod recently. I also realized that I have over 3GB left to fill. So I went on iTunes and bought She and Him:Volume One. This beautiful album features the lovely Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.

Have I ever mentioned my girl crush on Zooey? Ever since I saw her in Elf, I've thought she was amazing. And, added bonus, she's engaged to Ben Gibbard {the lead singer of Death Cab For Cutie}. I think I'll name my first daughter Zooey.

She and Him's Myspace page.

Makes Me Laugh Monday: Shamwow

Chad introduced me to this great infomercial a couple months ago and it is fabulous. Check it out below {courtesy of YouTube}:

And, as a bonus, I'm throwing in the Slap-Chop:



For those of you not on Facebook and for those of you who never check it, I thought I'd post the 25 random things note that I wrote today.

Here it is:
25 random things you may (or may not) want to know-

1. I almost always have to rip the little notecard tabs out of magazines before I start reading. I don't like the page before the tab going up when I read it.

2. My sister, Laura, is going to have her first child, a boy, in April (hopefully). He'll be my first nephew-make that first anything!

3. I used to live in Mankato, MN. I lived there for 13 years and am so excited to go back in May and see my childhood house!

4. I've only been to Country Jam once-to see Bon Jovi. I probably will never go again unless they have someone like John Mayer or Coldplay (highly unlikely).

5. Three people in my immediate family have birthdays in March. Chad's mom's birthday is also in March. I eat a lot of cake in March. Then I have 3 (almost 4) birthdays in April (Chad, Kyle, Eli). We consume a lot of cake in these two months.

6. I've traveled all around the country with my family (and also with Tour Choir for four years) and have been to many states. The states I have not been to include: California, Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Delaware.

7. I used to hate potato salad...I'd never eat it. Then, one day Jane made me try her potato salad. Now I have a deep love affair with it-but only her's.

8. I love the Brewers. I used to hate watching baseball. I think it's because in the summer, my dad used to work for MAYBA and would also ump and my mom and I would go to all the games. Not too exciting for a 7-year-old. Now, I am going to (at least) one Brewer games this summer.

9. My siblings and I all have middle names that start with "E". Kyle Elton, Laura Eileen, Amanda Ellen, Hannah Evelyn.

10. I love having pictures in frames. I think it dresses a room up. That is always a fail-proof gift for me.

11. I really like eating locally and shopping locally. Eau Claire has an abundance of local foods and shopping. It's hard to just shop locally when I see that Old Navy is having a sale on T-shirts. I don't think I can get by on 100% locally, I'm just trying to find a good balance.

12. My mom is a huge supporter of being friendly to the environment. She uses a steel water bottle. She and my dad walk everywhere besides church (since it's on the other side of town). She uses unbleached paper napkins. Our recycling bin always has something in it. She bought a front loader washer. Yeah, the list goes on and on.

13. I am studying to be a kindergarten teacher. I love it. I honestly think this is the profession that God wants me to be in. I will hopefully graduate in 3 years. I have one more year at the Tech, then getting married, then going to Stout and graduating with an teaching degree. That's the big plan.

14. I wish we had a community college in Eau Claire. Then I could learn all sorts of cool things like salsa dancing, making my own soap and shampoo, cooking organically, quilting, and developing my own pictures-among many other interests.

15. I don't really like shopping. I'll rephrase that: I don't like shopping aimlessly. I have to have a purpose and a list. I'm not one of those women you'll find in the mall just browsing. I go in, find what I want, and that's it. The only exception to that rule is this Thanksgiving when I went with Jane and Sara to the After-Thanksgiving sales. That was fun because those ladies are fabulous. I learned so much that day: only pay with cash (credit cards take too long), don't wear a jacket (too bulky), work out a plan of attack. I'll definitely follow the Hestekin rules of shopping when we go this year.

16. I really don't know how to cook. I can do simple things like boil water and add noodles, make pancakes (the add water kind), and brown meat. That's pretty much it so far. We both really like foods with very few ingredients in them. We're always looking for organic foods Chad is an excellent cook and he enjoys it. I think he'll be the main cook at our house.

17. I've never been to an airport or been on an airplane. Well, I went to take a tour of an airport in 7th grade, but I've never been to an airport to actually do airport related things.

18. My favorite concerts I've been to (so far) are a tie between Coldplay and Death Cab For Cutie. Chad and I are going to see Keane this May. I do have to give Honorable Mention of Concert Awesomeness to Bon Iver's in Eau Claire. That show was amazing-so heartfelt and intimate.

19. My favorite football team is the Colts. I heart them. Ever since about 9 seasons ago, I sat down and watched a game-that's all it took. Every player is near and dear to my heart. What stinks about being a Colts fan in WI? Not being able to watch hardly any of the games.
At my house we've worked out a system: If more than two people are fans of one game we watch that game on our bigger TV. (Almost always, Chad gets to watch the Packers on the big TV. For two reasons: A-The Colts and Vikings (my parents' fave) aren't on or B: We love him. The other game has to be watched on the little 12" TV that we have above our big TV. (That's usually the one that has the Vikings game). I'm usually stuck "watching" my game on the laptop (even though I can't actually see the action). To sum things up, during football season, between the hours of 12-3 we have 2 TV's and at least 3 laptops all absorbing football. Does that make sense?

20. I'm uber-sensitive and emotional when I watch movies. Like, really bad. I get so into the story and I cry like a baby. Whenever we're at the movie theater, Chad always knows when I'm crying. He's pretty used to it by now.

21. I've had the same pair of Adidas shoes since I was 13. I bought them for basketball and have loved them ever since. I'm wearing them right now.

22. I have a love affair with scarves. I just bought a beautiful green one from Target two days ago. I think women (and men if you want to) need to embrace the scarf more.

23. I've never had a whole drink of alcohol. I've had a couple sips of beer (that I've hated) of Chad's beers that he's tried but never one of my own. I just have not allowed alcohol to be a part of my life. I don't support underage drinking and that's what I am-underage. I'll be 21 in 4 and a half months, so then it'll be nice to have a glass of wine with dinner. It'll also be nice to not have to drop Chad off at a bar so that he can hang out with his friends and then I just go home.

24. I hate ham. The smell. The taste. The essence. The existence of it. I think the hatred comes from having to eat it every time I'd visit my grandparents. We'd have it every Sunday and my mom and grandma would make me eat at least one slice of it before I'd get dessert (of course I wanted dessert). Then one day when I was older I just said enough and refused to eat it. I hated it so much when I was a kid, when we'd have it at my grandma's, I'd purposefully eat downstairs with all the other cousins and then go into her laundry room and throw the whole slice in the garbage. Sorry, grandma, I don't know if you knew that! All those slices of ham you found in your garbage on Monday morning when you did the laundry came from me. I just really hate it.

25. I've never been truly camping-with a tent, and all that. I've had bonfires and cooked stuff on fires, but I've never been outside all night and slept on the ground. Maybe I'll have to do that this summer. I did, after all, get my first fishing license this year-my brother-in-law, Eli, was so shocked and proud of me.


Dear Nephew-Your Stuff

Today, your Grandma Hulke and I went to Target to buy things for the shower that I'm throwing for your mommy. Let me tell you, I don't really like shopping; especially when I don't get to take anything home with me. I know that sounds selfish...it is. I was driving in the car with your grandma and I said "Mom, I'm going to be cranky today. It's going to be a long day and it's going to be hard to find everything Laura wants on her registry. I'm going to be annoyed with all the money I have to spend." We get to the store and I spent about an hour and a half surrounded by aisles I19-I27 looking at baby stuff. There were things that your mom had on her registry that weren't stocked in the store and that made me angry. I got out of the store and I was frustrated with how much I had spent.

Then your grandma and I decided to go to the mall so that I could get you an outfit from Old Navy since I still had some money left on a gift card. I go in and I was frustrated with the people since they had rearranged the store and I didn't know where to find the baby section. I then saw what I needed and immediately my attitude changed.

See, little one, I had gone into this day thinking about myself and how it was a waste of money and time for me. I should have been thinking about you. The baby section at the store made me grin and think about you-not just the stuff I was giving you. You are going to be wearing the onesies I got for you from Old Navy (pictured below). Your little sweet chubby body will actually going to be in these clothes that are sitting in my bedroom right now. All the things that your grandma and I picked out for you today-those will all be yours. I can't believe how selfish I was today, I didn't think about you and how in a little over a month I'll be seeing you and holding you. I was going through racks of clothes at Old Navy and I spotted these adorable swim trucks and I thought about how you could wear them when your daddy takes you fishing. I thought about how you and your mommy and daddy will go out on daddy's boat and it'll be your little family together. I thought about how mom will put sunscreen on your nose and cheeks and dad will talk to you about fishing (you'll probably be sleeping though, since you'll only be a couple months old).

So, little guy, I'm sorry. I didn't remember that I was giving this all to you when I was shopping (it took me a little while). I was in party planning mode. I know your mom is reading this right now and I don't want to give away the gifts I got you (I got you some really fun things nephew). You'll just have to wait until you're big and here...

I love you sweet one,
Aunt Amanda

(You'll look very handsome in this.)

Mom day

Yesterday was my mom's ____th birthday. (I don't know if she wants all the world to know how old she is...but the cake gives it away, so sorry Mom.)

Here are some pictures of the day:

The birthday girl wanted to go here.

Chad, me, and dad. I think the guys look good in this picture-I look a little out of place.

The happy birthday lady.


These two...

M with her lemon cake...delish. So, can you figure out how old she is? It's not 4,531 years.

Makes Me Laugh Monday

This movie had a quote I laughed over:

Margaret: You know why men are so lousy when it comes to taking care of babies?
Dennis: They have better things to do.
Margaret: Like what? Play golf and drink beer?
Dennis: No, like hunting, having wars, driving cars, cleaning fish. Do you know how to do that?
Joey: Me?
Dennis: Margaret.
Joey: Oh, okay.
Margaret: If you didn't have women, you wouldn't have babies, which means you wouldn't have people.
Joey: And if you didn't have men, who'd drive the ladies to the hospital?

Movie poster found here.


33 Days, 22 hours

Until Brewers opening day.

If you knew me 2+ years ago, you'd know that I wasn't the biggest baseball fan...at all. Now, I can't get enough.

I can't wait for:

Ryan Braun.
Listening to Bob Uecker. And his jokes.
Discussing the game with Chad.
Watching Prince Fielder hit home-runs.
Reading the Brewer's blog on jsonline.
Wearing my Brewers shirts next to my guy with his Brewers shirt.
Going to games, hopefully in Miller Park.
Craig Counsell's batting stance.
Hot Dogs. and beer (at the August 5th games on).
Yovani Gallardo being amazing.

And so much more.

{Miller Park Bliss two years ago.}


Makes Me Laugh Monday: Is that Shaun White?

Since Monday is pretty stressful and dreaded by all, I thought I'd put up some pictures from the Great Snowboarding Adventure.

These pictures are pretty spectacular:

Chad started the snowboarding day, very successfully...he made it down the hill every time.

My charming fella

I started out really well

and even made it halfway down the (extremely steep) hill

that's where the falls happened

and again

and one last time...pretty much sums up the whole outing for me

I don't know why I'm standing like this...those boots are at an angle, so you have to bend your knees so that it doesn't dig into your calves.

Chad and I had a lot of laughs doing this adventure. Hopefully next time I'll actually make it down the whole hill.


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