A Year Ago

A year ago today South Dakota was only this idea.
We were starting to plan this new, exciting adventure, but really, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
This time last year we were visiting South Dakota for the very first time.
The tag on the map was finally coming true, the coffee on the right were moments we were actually sharing together with very special friends here in South Dakota.
This time last year, we were saying our goodbyes.
This time of the year things feels so bittersweet now.
I love where we are, how far we've come...but man, it's moments like these I just really miss everyone.
This time last year we were cutting down trees, visiting Zoo lights, Christmas parties.
Spending moments with our family, our friends.
Looking back on those pictures bring back so many wonderful moments.
And now here we are a year from then, 
We're singing Christmas carols, watching Eisley grow up and win over all the sweet people at the nursing home.
We're putting up Christmas lights that are so bright they literally light up our whole house.
We're planning our trip back home...because the thing I've realized within this year is that home isn't some physical setting. It's people. It's moments. It's life shared together.
And that makes me excited because I've realized no matter where I go there will always be home.


Halloween Fun!

Last night D & I experienced our first Trunk or Treat, and it was so much fun!
If you've never been before, most churches host them as a way to be a part of the holiday fun, to get involved in their community, and provide some additional candy and entertainment for families.
Individuals bring their cars to park in the parking lots and decorate their trunk with some sort of theme and pass out candy to the kids who stop by.
{I think I heard there were about 1,000 kids who stopped by and 40-some cars there for the event}
There were Walking Tacos to eat, hot cider/hot chocolate to drink, and lots of fun indoor activities.
It was such a blast!
If any of you really know me, you know how much I love Halloween.
There's just something about the season that gets me so excited.
And I love seeing all the creative costumes!
The cutest costume I saw was a little girl in a wagon dressed as a mouse trapped in a mouse trap.

This year D & I went as Backpackers.
{we may have had everything needed down in our basement already- haha}
We set up our camping chairs, put sleeping bags in the back, and put our tent up on top of our car.
We then wore matching plaid and put our backpacks on.

Dave decided instead of candy we would pass out Snack Packs.
They went like hot cakes & we ended up having to switch to candy for the rest of the evening.

Our friends Aaron & Lauren went as Farm Animals & their theme was "Farm Fresh Breakfast"
Too Funny!

My friend Amber & her family turned their trunk into a Mcdonalds drive thru.
I'm pretty sure it was my favorite- such a fun idea!

There was also a photo booth set up inside & of course we took advantage of it!

I wish Halloween was longer.


Florida Edition: My Best Friend's Wedding

Obviously I'm way behind on post...like a year's worth (haha)
Here's a little recap of Raynell's wedding this summer:

D & I have been trying to cut back on our spending & have been doing Dave Ramsey in the Hopewell household.
So instead of eating out and hotel stays pre-flight (we were flying out of Minneapolis),
We car camped and ate some mac-n-cheese at one of our favorite parks in the area.
So fun!

When we finally made it to Florida,
We let the festivities begin!

Our first stop was Ray's bachelorette party,
We took a local wine tour:

Ate some fabulous seafood waterside:

And of course, KARAOKE!

(Obviously a fabulous night)

The next night was rehearsal:

And then Wedding Day!

Isn't she beautiful?!

Best Bridesmaids Ever.
(I seriously love these ladies)

And a chance to reconnect with some of my very favorite friends from high school,
(It's been way too long- I miss you all)

Seriously, SUCH a fun wedding & I was so honored to be a part of Ray's special day.


I love you both so incredibly much & am so happy for you both!

I feel so honored to share life with you after all these years & getting a chance to be a part of this exciting adventure alongside you.



Chicago Love - Half Marathon Edition

This September I got a chance to meet up with my dear, dear girlfriends from college to run the Chicago Half Marathon.
{Whitney, you were SO missed!}
It was a short but sweet treat & I always feel so revitalized any time I get to spend with these wonderful ladies.
We toured around briefly around the Navy Pier, The Bean, & Soldier Park.
What a fun time & such a beautiful weekend!

We were up bright & early for race day...and were going a little half crazy at this point.

Before the race I was able to meet up with Rachel for a quick hug that wasn't nearly long enough: OH I MISS HER {move to SD already!}.
Meanwhile, the girls taped up Richelle.

Halfway through the race, Dave jumped in and finished the race with me.
Not only did he help me break under 2:00:00 {1:58:00} but we had such a great time running together. I just love that boy.

I even got a chance to run with Mar near the end- this was her very first half marathon and she did SO awesome! {So proud of you!}

I miss you ladies!
Thank you so much for spending such a good weekend with me.
I miss you all so much & can't wait for our next adventure!

Oh and of course D & I stopped for bagels at the end.
Because, duh.


Ragnar: Great River

This post is long overdue, but I've decided better late then never.

In August we decided to participate in a Ragnar Relay {Great River}.
To give a little background on a Ragnar Relay,
It's basically a relay run made up of 12 people who run a collective 200 mile race over a two day period. The team of 12 is then split into two groups of six and each team rides around in a van to get to each exchange. Each participant takes 3 different assigned legs of the course and the race itself runs all day and all night. Each runner would have anywhere from 11-20 miles {collectively} that they would run that would be split up doing an average of 3-10 miles for each leg.
[there were some "ultra" teams that were only made up of about 2-6 people. These individuals just would add on miles based on their team size- CRAZY.]
The race we ran started in Winona, Minnesota, through Wisconsin, and then all the way into Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Based on what legs/van a participant signs up for determines the time of day they will run. 
Since Dave & I were in van 2, we had the heat of the day, middle of the nights, and late afternoon runs. It was super tough, but SO much fun.
Honestly, my favorite portion of the run was running at 3 AM through the middle of Minnesota. I have to probably thank the adrenaline for that one, but it was still pretty cool.

Of course I did yoga throughout the run, starting the morning of the race day.
Let me tell you, it made a HUGE difference during my race.

This was us still near the beginning.
Van 1 was finishing up their first portion of the race and Van 2 was getting ready to start.
It was awesome getting chances to meet up together throughout the race. Next year we want to figure out how to meet up more frequently. Maybe two teams of 12 to have partners to run with?!

After each leg of the race we completed, we marked off on our van.
Other vans would also mark their "kills" (people they passed).
I think our van was just more focused on the "finishing" aspect. 

And of course, no race is authentic without carb-loading. 

I PR'd on my 3 AM run.
Best I've done in a REALLY long time.
I was pretty syked.

What a great team we had!
Some were regular runners,
Some were newbies,
Some started training...not at all.
But overall, it was SUCH an awesome time.
I think my favorite part of this race is that we all ran as a community and every Ragnarian who ran Great River was part of this awesome community.
We slept in cars, in schools, on football fields.
We went days without showering, without sleeping, without saninty.
Food never tasted so good.
At the end, we were SO tired.

But in the end we got free pizza, and someone that makes all right with the world.

I can't wait to run you again next year!
Thanks friends for such awesome memories.