Thirty Something…

This has been the year that I have literally gotten to celebrate turning thirty one all month long!  Although I don’t really like to think of it as thirty one.  I think I will just tell people that I am thirty something when they ask how old I am.  Or twenty five.  One of the two…

I discovered that getting to celebrate all month long is the fun thing about birthdays and living far away.  The only fun thing about birthdays and living far away. I even got to make a trip home to Nebraska for some of the festivities.


The fun actually started at the end of September when Jamie came to visit and took me out for a birthday lunch and gave me an early birthday gift…


Then Trent planned a night out the Friday before my birthday.  We went to St. Louis with Will and Taylor and ate at PW Pizza followed by a lovely princess cake that Trent picked out himself.  All I know is that Ariel aside, that cake had lots of frosting and tasted good!


My fall flowers from Trent…


And my fun new shirt from Sara.  I didn’t get a collective picture of all the fun birthday surprises I got this year because it was so spread out over the month.

On October 21 I finally got to head to Nebraska for my first time since July.


And I got a selfie stick…thanks mom!  Among other lovely surprises.  :)


On Thursday morning Jamie, Audrey and I headed to the zoo.


Audrey was tough to keep up with because all she wanted to do was run, run, run…



On Friday night I got to get together with these girls.  It was fun catching up, if only for a little bit…


Most of my time was consumed by this little pip.  I even got to babysit her (with a little assistance from Paco) on Saturday while Jamie and Brian went to the Nebraska football game.


Go big red!  Although the Huskers didn’t fare so well.  Thankfully Greenville came out on top that weekend!



Country roads, take me home to the place I belong…


This little girl has big shoes to fill!


Where’s Audrey?




This became Audrey’s favorite game while I was visiting.  She would position herself behind the table and yell, “May May!”  until I would come over and play peek-a-boo with her under and over the table.  Silly girl…


This is her ornery smile…

All in all, it was a great month!  Thirty something won’t be so bad.  It was fun celebrating from beginning to end.  Until thirty two…


{The Launes}



An Apple a Day…

Apple season is officially in full swing.  I love this time of year and fresh apples for baking.  My apples this fall just happened to come from my Grandma’s apple tree in Nebraska.  Jamie and mom came out to visit just in time to deliver me some hand picked apples. 

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I have made apple crisp a handful of times(of course I didn’t get any pictures of it).  It is my go to dessert this time of year!  Just the other day one of Trent’s players was asking when we were going to have him over for dinner and apple crisp.  :) I also experimented with freezing the apples after I cut and peeled them and it worked surprisingly well.  I am also obsessed with pairing my apple crisp with a quart of Dairy Queen vanilla ice cream.  There is not better treat than warm apple crisp and vanilla ice cream.

Another seasonal favorite is applesauce in the crockpot.  Basically, I will take any excuse to use my crockpot. 

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Until next apple season…

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{The Launes}




Nothing like a little reminiscing to tug at the old heart strings…

After twelve energetic, mischievous and loving years, this sweet dog has gone to the spirit in the sky.   Rip was Trent’s first dog that he got from the Humane Society sophomore year of college.  Trent picked Rip (formerly known as Ribs) because he was calmly laying in the kennel at the humane society giving Trent “the look.”  That was the last time Rip was ever the calmest dog around.  However, it would not be the last time he gave “the look.” Over the course of the last eleven years Rip has always been there (except when he would run away…more on that later).

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Even though he lived with my mom most of the time after we got married, he still got to come to the apartment for sleepovers.  And of course I was the one that insisted he sleep on the bed…


His mischievousness landed him in the cone of shame a time or two.

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This guy took a trip or two around the block.  Even with an underground fence (that was very hit or miss lately) he went for a few joy runs.  One of the most recent joy runs was literally into the neighbor’s house after he managed to open the door and the furthest was when my mom had to pick him up over eight miles from home.  Oh the energy he had!


His favorite place to sit was always your lap…


Seriously…could you resist that face?


The only thing that would make this picture better is if Rip was wearing a Santa hat…


That tongue…lickin’ his chops!


A boy and his pup…




Audrey loved the pup pup!

In a digital media class I took while working on my Master’s, Rip even starred in his own documentary made by yours truly!   I cut out the actual interviews to share on here, but this really captures his true personality!


(You’ll have to click on the link if you want to see this little masterpiece because it wouldn’t let me upload it…)

I could tell you a hundred stories about Rip.  Stealing a piece chicken off of a neighbor’s grill when Trent lived in Staplehurst.  Riding in Trent’s old truck.  Running away. Sleepovers.  The list goes on and on…

Pets really become part of the family.  He was crazy.  He was fun.  He was oh so lovable!  Rest in peace sweet Rip…

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened…Anatole France


{The Launes}


#4: Read 15 New Books…

One thing I seem to forget and then discover all over again is that I love to read!  When life gets busy I don’t make the time to read, but I definitely had my share of down time last summer to dive into a few good books.  Between flying to Africa, driving to Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska and Arkansas and a nice reading spot on my front patio I have successfully read 15 new books beginning in January of 2014 and ending in October of 2014.  I started a little slow, picked up momentum over the summer months and finally finished a little over a year after I started.   This post has been awhile in the making.  I reached my goal almost a year ago, but obviously took a little longer to get it on the blog.  It has been a post in the making for quite some time as I added a book here and there as I completed them.


These are the books that I actually own that made the list.  On a side note, I discovered this really cool place when I moved to Greenville called the public library.  Seriously, they can order out almost any book I could ever imagine wanting to read from another library in the Illinois system.  The library’s actual selection is subpar, but the ability to order out has been amazing!

So, without further ado, here is the list…

1. Realer than Real by Ryan Wilkins

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I think I read this book during middle school track season.  Me and the 8th grade girls had some good conversations.  I enjoyed the book much more than the movie.

3. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Again, I enjoyed the book much more than the movie.  Insurgent sat on my bookshelf for many months.  I finally read it and was convinced I wouldn’t read the final book in the series.  Until I finished it.  400 pages of eh and the last few had me eagerly turning the pages and wanting to pick up Allegiant. 

4. Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicky Myron

I absolutely loved this book!  Of course, it was about a cat so what’s not to love?  Even better, I got this hard covered gem at the used book store for one dollar.  Mint condition!  I read it on the plane during our Africa trip last summer and found myself laughing out loud at the stories only a cat lover would understand and then tearing up at the end of the book.  Spoiler alert…the cat lives a very long life, but all good things must end.  If you are a cat person I would definitely recommend it!


The library where Dewey roamed was in Spencer, Iowa, which just happened to be on the way to Okoboji  last summer.  Trent graciously allowed me to stop and see the shelves where Dewey once roamed.

5. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

I literally spent the first part of this book thinking MWF meant Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  Sadly, I was mistaken.  Suddenly it dawned on me:  Married, White, Female seeking Best Friend Forever.  My BFF Sara hooked me up with this book when she saw my 30 Before 30.  It is about a young 20 something who moved to a new city with absolutely no friends of her own.  She spent the next year going on one new friend date a week on a search for her new BFF.  Inspiring to say the least, given my current situation.  I am now accepting applications. :)  Oh, and I’m starting a book club and this just happens to be the first book I picked!

6. A Long Way Gone – Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

This book was another one that I came across at the used book store for one dollar.  It was a story about a boy soldier during the war in Sierra Leone.  I had heard many things about the war, but reading his story and all of the terrible things that happened gave me a new understanding and new respect for the county and the people.

7. Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

8. Palisades Park by Allen Brennert

A long, but easy read.  Next to memoirs, historical fiction is one of my favorite genres.

9. True (Sort of…) by Katherine Hannigan

10. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

This book came recommended by my friend, Sara.  I was looking for something new and different, but love memoirs.  This book was just what the doctor ordered.  As were her next three memoirs.  Jen Lancaster is my new favorite author.

11. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

The story took place in Omaha.  It had me at Omaha.

12. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

This book had me wanting to try it all!  I kept telling myself baby steps.  So far I’ve taken no steps.  Maybe one day soon. 

13. Taking Flight by Michaela DePrince

Such an amazing story about an orphan from Sierra Leone who was adopted by a family in the United States.  She followed her dream to become a ballerina.

14. Wonder by R. J. Pilacio

15. Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster

Or as Sue Heck (and Megan Laune) would say, Bright Lights, Big Ay-ess-ess.  Jen Lancaster is the only author that made the list twice, and she didn’t disappoint.  Her bouts of verbal diarrhea (her words not mine) had me laughing out loud.   And telling anyone who would listen about what had me laughing out loud.

And a little bonus!  I finished up number 16 (and then some).  Seriously, this post has been almost a year in the making.

16. Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

A Christmas gift from Jamie, it was a great read.  It jumped back and forth between two characters and their story.

Looking back at the list it is hard for me to believe that it has been more than a year since I read some of the books.  There is not a book on the list that I wouldn’t not recommend.  Some were better than others.  Some were wrote for the young adult audience (or the young at heart) and some were definitely for a more mature audience.   If I were really cool I would go out and buy myself and “I Like Big Books” bumper sticker.

Now, my list of want to read books is growing and growing.  I am soaking in every last possible minute of this nice outdoor reading weather before the cold sets in.  For whatever reason when I am inside I sit down on the couch and the next thing I know I have knocked out two (or ten) seasons of Friends, Parenthood, Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, Parks and Rec.  You name it.  I’ve watched it.  I’m hoping that I can keep reading and that my brain doesn’t turn into mush over the winter months. 

Fingers crossed for good time spent reading in the coming months…

{The Launes}



Double Company…

This past weekend we had double company at our house.  Both were super short trips, but they were also super fun.  Trent’s parents and our nephew got into town Saturday morning in time for Trent’s football game and Kirsten’s volleyball games.  Then, after they left Sunday morning my mom and Jamie came into town Sunday night. 


Of course we made a trip to Dairy Queen…chocolate with sprinkles, yes please!


It was a super quick trip, but of course we found time for a sister run!


And it was a beautiful day so we enjoyed a picnic at the park!


It was only their second trip to Greenville…


Having company is lots of fun.  Except when they leave.  That is just sad.   But on the bright side, Jamie is c0ming back for another visit this weekend!  Thank you Southwest $44 flights back in June!!  On the list…running, Friends on Netflix, taco soup and cinnamon rolls and of course, coffee. 

Now, the countdown is on…one day until the Big Brother 17 finale, four days until Jamie comes and 12 days until the big 3-1.

Until then…

{The Launes}


Greenville’s Bicentennial….

200 years ago a little town in southern Illinois called Greenville came to be.  This year Greenville is celebrating its bicentennial.  Labor Day weekend was the main event so I made sure to take part in as much fun as possible!  Despite the 95 degree heat, I managed to take in the attractions up on the square, a parade, concert and fireworks. 

It amazes me that just a little farther east of Nebraska, how much longer the area has been established.  Greenville became a dot on the map more than 50 years before my hometown of Ashland.  Nebraska’s oldest town, Bellevue was settled in the 1830’s, but not incorporated until 1855. {Thank you Wikipedia for the facts}  There is so much history here that was interesting to hear and read about this weekend. 

A little history of Greenville…basically Greenville started after many early settlers moved east when an epidemic of milk sickness struck in the neighboring county.  Greenville College was founded in 1855 as Almira College, a Baptist college for women.  In 1892 it became Greenville College.

Now for the fun part of the bicentennial celebration…


Enjoying the bicentennial parade…


The Budweiser Clydesdales even made a stop in Greenville for the big parade.  Interesting fact…Bond County (where Greenville is located) was a dry county until just a few years ago (or so I’m told…Wikipedia neither confirmed nor denied that information and I couldn’t find an exact date).  It seemed a little ironic that Budweiser was a major sponsor of the entire event!


On Saturday afternoon Marissa and I checked out the attractions uptown on the square.  The lemonade shake-ups were full of sugary wonderfulness and we even got a chance to be our nutty selves and take a picture in front of the NUTmobile…if only Mr. Peanut himself would have been there!


Sunday night concluded with a concert by the Little River Band and fireworks.  And ice cream.  Of course there was ice cream!

  Fall is in full swing in this household.  Greenville had their first football game and we’ve been having players over for dinner.    We have a full house this weekend with two set of visitors and I can’t wait!!  Now, if I could just get my fall decorations out!

Until then…

{The Launes}


Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer…

Summer has officially come to an end in the Laune household.  Trent started back with two-a-days a week ago.   He’s exhausted and forty two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy later and I am officially bored out of my mind.  But summer was, as always, good to us.  We were lazy and a little crazy.  We did plenty of traveling with a little local fun thrown in there too.


3rd of July minor league baseball game followed by fireworks…


We had a low key 4th of July with fireworks in a teeny tiny nearby village of about 400 people.  Best. Firework. Show. Ever.


Later on in July we took a little trip to Nebraska to see some of my favorite people…


…and to play in a sand volleyball tournament.



We were able to hit up one Cardinal’s game this summer.  It was ridiculously hot, but we still had fun!


And we celebrated our last weekend of summer with a trip to the St. Louis Zoo.  It was fun to check it out.  It’s a lot different than the Henry Doorly Zoo, but it was still a fun afternoon in the city!


Did you know that World Elephant Day was August 12?  We just barely missed it, but these elephants were out and about entertaining zoo visitors in anticipation of their special day!


After the zoo we made a stop at Fitz’s for some floats.  This s’mores float was a little too much, but oh so good…and messy.  Very messy.


And just like that, our lazy, hazy crazy days of summer are over…but thank you Jesus for beautiful sunsets on beautiful evenings right in the middle of America.  Thank you for the summer days that will linger on into the fall.  We are now ready to take on football season in this household.


{The Launes}