Baby Love…

March 2nd marked 62 days until Baby Pieper’s expected arrival.  What better way to celebrate a cold, cold Sunday in March than with a baby shower?  Party planning and entertaining are not my forte, nor anywhere in my comfort zone, but with a little help from Pinterest and some friends, the shower went off without a hitch and Jamie and baby got some pretty nice stuff to start this new chapter with!  Friends, family and moms-to-be (like 7 of them) traveled from near and far to join in on the fun.


Hearts for guests to share advice and encouragement for the mom to be.  It has since been turned into a book…


Onsies doubled as decorations….


Lots yummy food items…


Presents galore!  That is one loved baby already…


Momma number 2 and momma number 1….


Sisterly love…

May is looking to be a big month!  New baby, end of the school year, moving and preparing for another trip to Africa…can’t wait(for most of them)!

{The Launes}



I have lots of good ideas that start with Pinterest and end with lost time and sometimes a trip to Hobby Lobby.  I came across a sofa table awhile back that I just had to have.  It was beautiful and I dreamed of having it in my own home.

Sharing it with Trent, he thought it would be easy enough to make.  So, a trip to Home Depot and we were all set.  It was the perfect couples project. :)

First off…the inspiration…

Sofa Table


Unfortunately, the original post I found did not give any type of specific measurements for the masterpiece, so Trent improvised and came up with his own plan based on what we could see in the picture.

And now, our journey of creating a sofa table over a year’s time period…


Trent seriously couldn’t be more excited about helping me with any do it yourself project that requires a router or saw….but he is a trouper and willing to help me with all my crazy crafty ideas.

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After about a year we finally stained the table…

And the finished product…


I still have a few ideas to spruce up the d├ęcor on the table, but otherwise I am in love with it!

I am already looking forward to my next Do It Yourself  furniture project and searching Pinterest for ideas…

Until then…

{The Launes}


Meet Me in St. Louis…

This past weekend I flew into St. Louis (as I have many times over the past 6 months) ready for a weekend in Greenville.  It would be my first weekend in the new digs…new digs that I have to admit, I was not overly excited about.  However, I had mostly accepted it and was looking forward to a weekend with Trent after a long week that included a Valentine’s Day party at school.  I was ready for some R & R.

Trent picked me up from the airport and turned the opposite way than we normally do when we leave the airport.  My radar immediately went off, but I decided to go with it and be spontaneous for once.  Maybe he had picked out a new restaurant for us to try.  After a little drive Trent announced that we were going to be staying in St. Louis for the weekend so I could cross something off of my 30 Before 30 list.   I was very excited to find out that on Saturday we would be visiting the Arch!

On a side note, I would not have guessed that trying to eat dinner at 9:30 on Valentine’s Day would be that tricky, but it was.  After finding out it would be a 45 minute wait at Olive Garden and Applebee's, we settled on a lovely Italian meal at Fazoli’s (no complaints on my end) where I presented an e-mail coupon for a free slice of cheesecake on February 14th…bonus!

So, after a lazy Saturday morning at the hotel that included a run at the hotel gym and some cable TV, we headed downtown St. Louis for the main event of the weekend.


Number 5 on my 30 Before 30 list can be checked off!  One down…29 to go!



The view of downtown St. Louis…


Me and the man behind the plan at the Arch…

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So fun to see it up close…

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After visiting the arch we headed to my favorite restaurant in St. Louis, PW Pizza where I devoured the cheesiest calzone in America that guarantees a bellyache.  It was definitely a fun weekend getaway!  Lots of eating unhealthy food and exploring new things.  Looking forward to crossing some more items off my list!

{The Launes}


30 Before 30…

It dawned on me at the beginning of January that this year I would be turning 30.  30 seems so old to me.  To be honest, I don’t feel a day over 22.  I don’t think I could possible be turning the big 3-0!  When someone asks my age I really have to think about it.  I decided to make the transition a little easier I would create my 30 before 30 list.  There are a lot of things I would like to accomplish in the next 8 months.  I started creating my list and working on it the beginning of January, but everything on it must be accomplished between January 1st, 2014 and October 4th 2014.

So, here goes my list…in no particular order.

1) Visit a new state

2) Visit Africa again

3) Run 500 miles

4) Read 15 new books

5) Go to the top of the Arch in St. Louis

6) Swim in the ocean

7) Hike a mountain

8) Start to read the Bible in a year…be caught up to October 4th on the one year plan

9) Get a massage

10) Go camping

11) Take photos of nature

12) Run a new half marathon

13) Express gratitude more often and write it down

14) Send more snail mail

15) Explore St. Louis

16) Try 5 new restaurants

17) Go to a Cardinals game

18) Visit the Missouri Botanical Garden

19) Blog more…I have been seriously lacking in this area!

20) Attend a live music event

21) Take a trip to visit someone I know

22) Go fishing

23) Get a facial

24) Finish our wedding scrapbook

25) Complete a new 30 day challenge each month February-September (fitness, photography, whatever!)

26) Get a hair cut

27) Learn to make chicken enchiladas and 4 other new recipes

28) Complete a random act of kindness

29) Build a piece of furniture (with Trent’s assistance)

30) Golf a new golf course

I have a lot to accomplish in the next eight months!  I am working on making a dent towards running 500 miles and reading 15 books.  Of course there will be blog updates along the way to knock out #19.  Hoping this list keeps me motivated and excited about the big 3-0.  This will be an interesting year with the big move, but it did add a few opportunities to the list.

In the meantime, I am going to snuggle up on this snowy night with a cup of hot chocolate and watch a movie.  Snow days are the best…even when you are a grown up!

Until next time…

{The Launes}



I Like Big Books…

I like big books….I saw this on a bumper sticker last weekend.  It made me smile.  In my head (and out loud) I finished it with, “and I cannot lie, you other brothers can’t deny...”  I then proceeded to try and finish the song by changing the lyrics to fit “big books.”  Trent really appreciated it :)

The truth is, I have been obsessed with reading lately.  There have been years that I can tell you exactly how many books I have read by counting on one hand.  Most summers I make a summer reading list only to miserably fail at my goal.  It is so much easier to piddle my time away on useless, technology that does not challenge my brain.  I am a product of this modern technological era, but slowly, I am trying change that one book at a time.

I am not quite sure of how many books I have read since August, but somehow, it seems that each book has been better than the last.  I have been reading a variety if genres from memoirs, to non fiction, fiction and tween.

My current book is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  I bought it awhile back when I was putting in a book order for my students.  Its targeted audience is middle school, but I have heard it is a great book.  It takes place in a high school and celebrates nonconformity in a usually conforming environment.  I had to laugh out loud when I was reading it on the plane back to Omaha yesterday.  I was 81 pages into the book when I realized that the main character telling the story was a boy.  It made a lot of things make more sense.  For example, why the character’s name was Leo.  And why Leo collects porcupine neckties.  I don’t think it was a secret or even anything that was to be discovered later in the book.  I just missed something.  Big time.  For 81 pages.  I guess it teaches me a lesson in monitoring my own understanding.  I will have to share that with my first graders this week.  Even grown ups have to monitor their understanding when they are reading.  And sometimes they make mistakes!

Anyway, I am loving reading right now.  I read the most when I am traveling, but I have been finding lots of other time to read as well.  It is an escape from my ever crazy life.

Now, it is time to get ready to take on my Tuesday.  It is jeans day to celebrate the high school football team making it to the quarter finals of the state playoffs.  It is also going to be cold.  Single digit wind chills cold!  My goal is to not turn on the heat until December.  We will see how that goes after a chilly night tonight.  I will be back soon with an update on the last month and then some. 

{The Launes}


My Weekends…

Time is flying by and at a standstill all at the same time.  September is halfway over.  I have made the trip to Greenville six times since the beginning of August.  Most weeks start with a countdown for the weekend or when I get to see Trent again.  I have to really try hard not to focus on it and live in the moment or my weeks go slow.

This weekend will be the first time since school started that I won’t make the trip to Greenville.  My cousin is getting married and as much as I hate to miss Trent’s game, I am also looking forward to a weekend without traveling and a Sunday nap while watching NFL football.  Those are my favorite kind of naps!

I have discovered that I like flying to visit Trent much better than driving.  I am getting use to the 7.5 hour drive, but I also like relaxing and reading while I am in flight or hanging out and reading on my layovers.  With traveling and down time I have read four books in the last month.  I am more obsessed with reading than I have ever been and am knocking out books from my summer reading list left and right! 

Traveling, by plane or car comes along with its fair share of problems.  A couple of weeks ago I got stuck over night in Chicago because of weather delays and missed flights.  Thank goodness for Jamie and Brian and their Marriot rewards.  It was a nice refresher to shower and sleep (even if only a few hours) before I got back to the airport early the next morning.

Last weekend’s travel snafu was a flat tire.  I am very thankful that it happened fifteen minutes into the trip, that I did not blow the tire and that there was an auto shop across the highway from where I stopped to examine my tire.  Praise the Lord.  Sure enough there was a rusty old bolt in my tire.  After a twenty five minute delay I was back on my way and arrived safe and sound about 11:30.

Monica and Tyler also came down this weekend to visit Kirsten and check out the Panthers in action. (They are now 2-0 on the season!)  It was fun to hang out with them.  The five of us went bowling Saturday night and ate breakfast together Sunday morning.  I think Trent and Kirsten were both very happy that they came.



I have very happily spent the last two evening at home.  Sometimes I feel like I am always running around.  It has been nice to catch up on some cleaning and relaxing!  Tomorrow night is the annual Big Brother Finale party at Jamie’s.  Valentino’s Pizza and Fro Yo, here I come!

{The Launes}



9.11 is a day that sticks in every American’s mind who was alive in 2001.  There are countless Facebook posts recounting where people were when the first and second planes crashed into the World Trade Centers.  This past summer, by chance, I was able to visit the 9-11 memorial.  It was my first time in New York City and a very cool experience.  It was a chilly, rainy day and the mood was quite somber.  As I looked at the names around the memorial I tried to picture them.  Did they work in the World Trade Center?  Were they a firefighter?  Were they on the airplane?  It is an incredible memorial and wonderful tribute.


With each passing year, the memories remain very vivid to me.  As a teacher, I think it is important to commemorate the day, but it has become more difficult as my six and seven year old first graders were not even alive when this happened.  Part of me wants to protect them from all the scary things in the world, but at the same time, if we do not share it, then before too long it is just going to be another page in a history book.  I was excited to share some of my pictures from this summer with them today.  While they may not understand what happened on that day in 2001, I do want them to know about it.  I want them to be proud to be an American, thankful to live in this country and for the freedoms that they have.  Hopefully, with each passing year they will continue to learn about this and make our country a better place.



A new beginning…Looking up at the new One World Trade Center on a rainy New York Day.

I still love this State Farm commercial from the 10 year anniversary…

God Bless America…

{The Launes}