Friday, December 21, 2007

Hunter Samuel Broad - I'm an aunt again!

Introducing Hunter Samuel Broad. He was born Tuesday night, December 18 around 11:05 pm; weighed in at 7 pounds and was about 21 1/2 inches long. And of course he's absolutely perfect.

Jonas and Shaina are his proud, and really tired, parents (my BIL and SIL). His big sister Elle (7) has given him the seal of approval - she said he was really cute, so they could go ahead and keep him. Big brother Caleb (also 7 but not pictured below) was just glad there's another boy in the family!

Since J and I don't plan to have children of our own, this is as close and I'm going to get. My boss was teasing me Tuesday afternoon about how excited and antsy I was - and he's right I was going nuts. I've been so excited all summer and fall and I'm just really pleased that he's finally here and I can get to know him. I have two nephews and two nieces - but this time I kind of get to get in on the "ground floor" so to speak. I don't get to see my brother's children very often; and while I see Caleb and Elle all the time and love them both to death, I didn't really get to know them until they were toddlers. So I have every intention of smothering this boy with love and attention.

In other exciting news, my little sister is pregnant and due in August - so I have another niece or nephew on the way...

In considerably less exciting news - we came home from St Thomas to a hot mess. J went downstairs to do some laundry the weekend after we got home and when he stepped off the stairs he heard "squish". The carpet was wet. Apparently the sewer backed up and flooded the basement while we were gone. Sigh. I didn't even go down, I didn't want to see it I didn't want to smell it I didn't want to even think about it. However - I must brag on my insurance company - they've taken care of absolutely everything. J called them and they were at the house the next day. We thought they were just going to look around and assess the damage, but they showed up with an entire disaster recovery crew and ripped up the carpet and baseboards and sprayed chemicals and set up huge exaust fans all that morning. So when I got home that night I was amazed and very pleased. Even as we speak a group of workers is moving everything out of the basement and into a POD that was delivered to our driveway last week. Then the new carpet will go down, they'll repaint all the walls, and the new bathroom vanity will be installed. Then they'll unload everything from the POD and we'll have a fresh new basement!
J and I are headed to Mom and Dad's for Christmas, we'll spend a nice long four day weekend eating and exchanging gifts and playing outside. I know we'll have a wonderful Christmas and I you all do as well. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Buck

Well, there it is - Jeremy got his buck last weekend. It's a eight-point buck and it was pretty freaking big! This last week was muzzle loader season.

Jeremy Jam was with us and he was in a stand to the west of me, with J in a stand to the east of me. The weather was nasty and freezing raining on us. Didn't see a single deer all morning and was just about ready to give it up for the day when this great big thing comes sprinting through the field in front of me. He ran the 1/2 mile or so through the field to pause in front of Jeremy Jam's stand (but was obscured by a tree so he couldn't get a shot off), then ran by me and paused (but I couldn't get my stupid glove covered thumb between the hammer and the scope to pull the hammer back - I was so frustrated) for just a couple of seconds and ran over to J. .. where he stopped running and started walking into the woods.

Our radios weren't working so I couldn't warn him that it was on the way. I just stood there watching and listening - praying he'd get a shot at it. Finally I heard J shoot. I was so excited for him, but knew I shouldn't get down and run over there in case it wasn't dead yet - I didn't want to spook it. But after just a few minutes (that felt like an hour), I saw J's blaze orange vest moving through the woods. So I climbed down and ran over - he'd dropped it immediately. It was almost as exciting as if I'd taken him myself. Almost.

For those of you keeping score (not that I am...): Jeremy - 3; Heather - 0. This weekend is the bonus doe weekend. I'm going to try again - wish me luck.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from the Virgin Islands!

Happy Thanksgiving from St Thomas! J and I are over here on vacation with my parents. Just took the pictures above a couple of hours ago. We flew in Monday afternoon and it’s been wonderful. This is the 3rd time J and I have been here, the first time for Mom and Dad. We’ve been snorkeling, spent the day on St. John, did some shopping, of course we’ve eaten some great food (had some grilled salmon at Off The Hook that was to die for). We still plan to do a lot more shopping, tour the island, maybe make it to Coral World, maybe some fishing, etc. Rumor has it that it snowed back home last night… it’s much nicer here. The high is in the mid-80s every day and the low is 75 every night.

We had Thanksgiving dinner delivered to Mom and Dad’s room tonight and ate dinner out on their veranda – see above. Nicest place I’ve ever had Thanksgiving dinner, that’s for sure!

The weekend before we headed to St Thomas, Mom and I were in Louisville to see Paula Deen Live. It was nice to spend the weekend with Mom, we don’t get the opportunity often these days. We stayed at the Hotel, which is beautiful, and spent enough time at the lobby bar to befriend the bartenders before we left. Of course no trip to the Brown Hotel is complete without having their signature “hot brown” – and we did. Yummy. It’s roasted turkey set on toasted bread and covered with some sort of creamy cheese sauce with tomatoes and bacon on top.

We also toured Maker’s Mark distillery. I was shocked to learn that all of the Maker’s Mark in the world is made in that one little distillery. Here’s a pic of Mom getting ready to dip her own bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon into the wax:

Of course- that was also the opening weekend of rifle season. Seems like everybody got a deer while I was gone that weekend. J’s Grandpa Sam, Jeremy Jam, Jonas, Jeremy, all of my cousins – everyone but me. I went out last Saturday morning, didn’t see anything, and then drove back into St Charles to host my sister-in-law’s baby shower (she’s due in just FOUR WEEKS – I can’t wait), planning to head back out after the shower for the remainder of the weekend to finally get my deer. But no – instead I got a flat tire. Argh! So that pretty much killed the rest of my weekend, so I still don’t have a deer. But it’s muzzle loader season through Dec 2, so I still have hope…

Speaking of flat tires – we got a flat on our rental jeep over in St. John yesterday. The roads over there are as twisty and hilly as you can imagine (you’re winding your way through the mountains, after all) and barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass one another, and there’s no such thing as a shoulder. J was driving and there was really no place to pull over, but he found a spot with about a foot of shoulder and that’s where he and Dad changed the tire. My heroes. Got the spare on and realized that it had a plug on the sidewall – not a good thing. But we made it back in one piece.

I’ll probably post later with more pics and more stories. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Halloween, New Orleans, 2007

J and I met a couple of friends, Sid and Elise, in New Orleans for Halloween this year. Had a great time, of course - but don't we always? As you can see from the picture above we dressed up as a wet t-shirt winner, Greek god, pinup girl and jailbird. We got in on Halloween morning and stayed through tht weekend. The weather was perfect- high of 80 every day and the lows were only in the mid-sixties.

Of course we had lunch at Acme Oyster House right off the bat - it's our favorite restaurant in New Orleans. We're so pathetic - we ordered the exact same thing we do every time we're there - I got a fried oyster po boy and he got a catfish po boy. Just as good as we'd remembered. Had dinner at Arnaud's Jazz Bistro Thursday night. Seriously, the very best fried oysters I've EVER had in my life. We took a steamboat ride down the river, drank a LOT of cajun bloody marys and browsed through antique stores and art galleries. We stayed in a cute little boutique hotel just off Bourbon, the Prince Conti Hotel - our room was very nice but since it was right on Conti Street, it was pretty loud.

This was our first trip back since Katrina. Since the French Quarter wasn't under water it looks exactly the same. Everything in that area looks exactly the same actually - but it sounds totally different. It took me a minute to figure out what was wrong, but I finally did. It's the sound of the French Quarter that's wrong now. It used to be that when you walked down Bourbon you heard live music coming out of nearly every door - it was zydeco and blues and jazz and it was all live. This time we heard DJs spinning music, mostly 80s music. There was some live music, but nowhere near enough. The musicians aren't back, and that's the soul of the city, at least as far as I'm concerned. When we took the steamboat ride it took us past the lower ninth and it looked pretty bad.

That being said - we still had a good time, and we'll be back.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Jeremy's HUGE buck...

So yeah - we didn't even know it was a buck until we turned it over and saw his... buckhood. I mentioned in my last post that it's bow season. So J and I have been in the woods almost every weekend since the season opened - as a matter of fact, we're headed up to my parents' place again this afternoon.. Last Saturday he shot what we thought was a doe - he didn't even have buttons showing, just bumps on his skull that would have eventually turned into buttons (that's what he's pointing at in the pic above)! But a young doe or young buck is the best tasting meat, so we're pleased. Of course now he's going to spend the rest of the winter being picky and looking for a nice big buck with a monster rack. I, on the other hand, am still just waiting to shoot something! I've shot twice - hit the deer I was shooting at the first time and gave her a nasty little paper cut on her back, I think I totally missed the second time.

As some of you already know, I spent most of this year pursuing my C.P.M. (Certified Purchasing Manager) certification. Getting your C.P.M. is something like an accountant getting their CPA or, to a lesser extent, like a lawyer passing the bar. The C.P.M. designation is globally the most recognized designation for supply management professionals. This means more money, better jobs, more recognition, etc. In order to qualify one has to pass Modules 1 through 4 of the C.P.M. Exam (which are very difficult), and have either five years of full-time professional (non-clerical, non-support) supply management experience or three years of full-time professional supply management experience and a four-year degree. Once you're certified you have to be recertified every five years (which is a huge pain!) - until you have 18 years of full-time professional supply management experience, and then you receive your lifetime certification.

I started early last spring, took night classes and review classes and studied my butt off and passed all four modules on the first try, sent in my application and am finally officially certified! I have just over eight years of experience, so I'll only have to recertify once before I'll have my lifetime certification. I am incredibly relieved to have this under my belt. It took a lot of time and money - but in the long run I know it'll be worth it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Self-Neukomm Wedding

At long last, Mike and Mary Beth are married. They were married on September 22 and it was just beautiful. And as you can see from the pics - they're pretty happy! They went to Hawaii for their honeymoon and just got back last week.

The reception was one hell of a party - everyone had a great time. And if they didn't - it was their own fault. BB&B was there in full force (of course). We have pics of all nine of us all dressed up in the same place (a very rare thing, trust me) - once I can get one of those pics, I'll be sure to post it.

MB asked me to be her matron of honor (argh - "matron" makes me sound so old), so I gave a toast at the wedding. This won't mean much to those of you who don't know MB and I - but I'll post it anyway.

There are thousands, no millions, of people out there who truly mean it when they say, “I hate to say I told you so”. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Heather Broad – and I am not one of those people.

I am absolutely thrilled, ecstatic, over-the-moon with joy and honored to be standing here at your wedding and be able to say, “I told you so”, and “I told you so”.

I met Mike a little over eight years ago and he has been one of my favorite people ever since. Mike unwittingly introduced me to my husband, Jeremy, exactly eight years ago Sunday. And Mary Beth is my nearest and dearest friend. She is the friend I turn to first. Whenever I need her, she’s there – whether it’s to take a roadtrip to Memphis at the last minute just because I need a little B.B. King; or because I’m falling apart and need somebody there to help hold me together.

So when my two favorite people were finally single at the same time, I knew they needed to be together. So I took it upon myself to shove that fact down their throats. I did some very crafty maneuvering behind-the-scenes to get them together. I dropped subtle hints such as “If you don’t go out with Mike and fall in love and get married and have babies with him you’re a total moron,” and “So anyway, I’m just saying – If I were a single man I’d totally fall in love with Mary Beth and live happily ever after because otherwise I’d have to be a complete idiot. But you can do whatever you want... if you want to be an idiot.” And you know up until this very moment right now – I don’t think either of them had any idea what I was up to…

In closing…for along time, Mary Beth thought she was Carrie from Sex In The City – but she’s not, she’s much more like Charlotte. She wanted all the romance, the handsome husband, the happy family, the white picket fence and the whole nine yards. She just didn’t know it until Mike - her knight in shining armor - showed up, roses in hand.

So a toast to Mike and Mary Beth – to love, laughter and happily ever after. Cheers!

So... I think this pretty much wraps up my wedding career. All of our siblings and most of our close friends are married now (or not interested in getting married anyway) - so it'll probably be a while before we're involved in anymore weddings. At least until the second marriages start!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Long time no blog...

It’s been a really long time since I updated. Sorry – it’s just been such a busy summer. And every year just seems to go by more quickly than the last one. Sigh. So here’s an update on the last six months…

I have a new nephew! My little brother, Chad, and his wife, Angela, had a little boy on April 27. His name is Carson Nicholas, and he is as cute as he could be. He’s had some medical problems, but hopefully all will be okay.

I have a new brother-in-law! My little sister, Nicole, got married at the end of May. Her husband’s name is Jeremy (at least it’s easy to remember)! Their wedding was an outdoor wedding in the rose garden of a park near where they live. It was beautiful and they totally lucked out with the weather. It rained all morning, cleared up for the wedding and started raining shortly after the indoor reception started! The reception was a lot of fun. I got to see some of Chad’s friends that I hadn’t seen in over a decade. They’re all married and have kids now – how OLD am I??? Geesh.

I’ve had some medical issues this year – hopefully all over with now. I had a basal cell carcinoma near my right eye that had to be removed through Mohs surgery. Second time I’ve had to do this. But unfortunately since it was at the inside corner of my eye, it didn’t heal well. It was leaving a webbed appearance at the inside corner of my eye. So they went back in and took some donor skins off my eyelids (doesn’t that sound gross?) and did a skin graft. So I ended up getting a free eyelid lift out of the deal – which is pretty cool – but it’s still webbing a little. I’m tired of messing with it so I’m just going to let it heal completely and if I’m still not happy with it, I’ll go see a plastic surgeon about it. But the eyelid lift is pretty dramatic I think (see before and after below). Of course the second pic is with no makeup on...
In June we celebrated the Jeremy and Mike’s first anniversary as owners of Azar Automotive. Mary Beth had a big BBQ at their place in honor of the big event. It was a lot of fun. Tons of people were there, it’s so nice to know that so many people love and support Jeremy and Mike and wanted to make sure they were there to show it.

BB&B had our weekend at the Lake in July. We seem to have a REALLY hard time getting all nine of us together at once. Shaina wasn’t able to join us this time, but here’s a pic of the eight of us getting ready to go out and get our drink on.

As always, we had a great time. Lots of stories from the weekend, but not a single one that’s fit for public consumption!

The last month in particular has been chock-full of wedding events for Mike and Mary Beth’s upcoming nuptials. We rented a private party box for a Cards game for their Bachelor and Bachelorette parties. Had a blast! The Cards won, which was the beginning of the sudden surge they’ve made here at the end of the season… Most of us had rented rooms downtown for the night, so after the game we headed to Broadway On Beale. Hee hee – here’s a pic of Jeremy and Katie dancing.
Threw the obligatory couples shower. It was nice and they received some wonderful gifts. BB&B had a surprise “bridal shower” for Mary Beth at Clayton On The Park. We rented a suite and gave her the kind of gifts you can’t give her at a coed wedding shower… Had an amazing dinner at Finale and then headed up to the Rooftop Veranda, where the guys met us and we spent the rest of the night laughing and drinking.

And that brings us to last weekend. Took my Hunter Safety course as mandated by the Missouri Department of Conservation (in order to hunt legally) – it was from 9-4 both Saturday and Sunday. Jeremy Jam and I took it together. I was really not looking forward to it and thought it would be a huge waste of time. However, we lucked out and got some great instructors – they kept it moving and we both felt like we learned a lot and got quite a bit out of it. That being said, I’m REALLY glad it’s over! So this weekend is the start of bow season and I’m going to be out there hunting for the first time. Jeremy’s very psyched up about the season opening, so he’s going on his own Saturday and then going with me on Sunday… I’ll keep you all updated on my progress.

I promise to start blogging again regularly.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It’s “Tony” to me, but it’s “Mr. LaRussa” to you!

I surprised J this year with a trip for his Valentine’s Day/Birthday gift. I took him to Cardinals’ Spring Training down in Jupiter, Florida. We just got back Sunday night. The trip was wonderful. We both had a great time – and it was awfully nice to get away from the cold and the snow and hang out on the beach for a while!

We got down there Wednesday afternoon and after checking into our hotel in West Palm Beach headed out for some seafood. The concierge suggested Spoto's Oysters , so that’s where we ate. It was delicious! Lobster and crab and shrimp, oh my! We sat outside and enjoyed the ocean breeze – we were just a half block off the water. A couple of friends had recently moved to the area, so they met us for drinks after dinner.

Thursday was a free day for us so we slept late. Drove down Palm Beach Island – the Gold Coast in Florida – and gawked at the miles and miles of multi-million dollar estates. Starting with Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago, of course, and working our way south – the amount of money represented by all of those estates packed together like that is hard to comprehend. We ate lunch on the beach and found a place to drop a line in. Shockingly enough, I pretty quickly lost interest in fishing, but Jeremy kept at it – still didn’t catch anything.

The good stuff started on Friday. We had tickets to Friday afternoon’s game vs the Mets. Our seats were just six rows off the first base line, so we were very close to the players. Many stopped to sign autographs. Jeremy got some great pictures. Lou Brock was there – which was a real thrill for both of us! We had another delicious dinner by the beach at Shore Restaurant and Beach Bar (we had the guide-book recommended Kobe Beef Sliders with Truffle Parmesan Fries appetizer – to DIE for) in Delray – which I love, by the way. Atlantic Street, which runs through Delray and ends at the ocean is such a neat area – it reminded us both of a toned down Duval Street (Key West).

Saturday was the highlight of the trip, though. We had tickets to Saturday’s game as well and we made sure to get there early. So we were there in plenty of time to watch batting practice, have a couple of beers, get some food, watch the game, etc. Bob Gibson was there, but of course wasn’t interested in the fans – didn’t sign any autographs or come over to talk or anything – but it was still a thrill to see him so close.

The best part of the whole day, though, was the ticket-only BBQ after the game. I bought our trip through the Cardinals’ organization and you can buy a ticket to this BBQ after the game (they do it four times a year) that will be attended by some of the players. I was afraid it would be a little cheesy and nobody would actually show up but I was wrong. Tony LaRussa, Chris Duncan, Adam Wainwright, Brad Thompson and another pitching hopeful (whose name I forgot) were all there. So we got to meet them all, get their autographs, chat with them, etc. Meeting and talking to Tony LaRussa made the entire trip totally worth it. I called him “Mr. LaRussa” and he corrected me – “It’s Tony. Please.” So… Tony and I are on a first name basis. We’re thisclose. We’re buds. Jeremy took his book Three Nights in August with him, just in case such an opportunity would arise and asked him to sign it. See below.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Boobs, Booze and Bullshit's Favorite Things

It only took me a month, but here they are as promised (in no particular order):
Lash Stylist Comb Mascara by Maybelline - Can I tell you how much I love this mascara? It's got this "v-styling comb" rather than a brush and it works so well. It comes in both washable and waterproof formulas - just the normal old colors though. But it doesn't clump and it separates your lashes and makes them look long and beautiful. Threw away my old standby Maybelline Great Lash in the pink and green tube that I'd been using for YEARS as soon as I tried this.
Nivea Body Lotion - For dry skin. And yes, we all immediately put it on when we opened this gift. I've been putting it on every night since I got it. In the winter, having the heat on inside all the time, your skin gets so freaking dry and scaly - so this is sitting on my nightstand.

Basket w/ notepads and Champagne flutes - This basket is now on my nightstand holding all of my reading material (a bunch of magazines - I subscribe to way too many, and books). And of course the flutes were put to good use right away!

Slipper socks and moisturing foot/body cream - My socks are pink with little skid-proof hearts on the soles of the socks. So cute. We all put these on for bed Saturday night.

Mary Kay Signature Mascara - Ever since Jill gave us all Mary Kay makeovers last summer when we were at the lake most of us have developed a Mary Kay addiction...

Singer Smart Scissors and handmade glass wine charms (they're all little hearts - so CUTE) - These scissors really work - and they're just as seen on TV. Yep, they are. Most of us immediately cut up the box they came in just to play with them. At least those of us that could figure out how to work them (those that couldn't... you know who you are...)
"Love Spell" body splash by Victoria's Secret - This was spritzed all over the place as soon as we all opened this gift. Michelle's house probably still smells like "Love Spell". Yummy.

Charles Shaw Chardonnay - The original "Two Buck Chuck". That's right, two dollars. And it's good stuff. Love this stuff. Go to Trader Joe's and buy your own. Right now. Buy a whole case! And don't tell anyone how cheap it was - they'll never know.

Boursin Cheese (Garlis and Fine Herbs) - Or "crack" as it's called in our house. It lasted a solid 20 minutes after I got home with it.

Blistex Cherry Lip Infusion - I love this stuff! Instant new addiction...
Oreos - Okay, seriously. Who doesn't love Oreos?
Xlhileration! Retro Oxford tennis shoes - Eight of the nine of us wore these out on Saturday and we've decided we'll be wearing them for an upcoming special event... you'll see...
Bookmark and BB&B photo and frame - Okay, I'm not about to post the picture we received. Shayla put together pictures of all of us and put it in an 8x10 frame. It's hilarious and awesome and I'm still not about to post it!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

BB&B January 2007

Last weekend we had our 3rd Bi-annual BB&B weekend gathering in Wentzville. This time it was “BB&B’s Favorite Things”. We all came up with a “favorite thing” that cost $10 or less and bought one for everyone. We individually gift –wrapped them to exchange with one another. Michelle was nice enough to play hostess and organize the weekend for us. Friday night we did the usual – everyone shows up and we get drunk and eat ourselves silly.

Saturday morning, we waited for the latecomers and finally exchanged our gifts. It was like Christmas morning – only better! We have some very clever girls and received some very clever gifts. We got everything from wine and cheese to favorite mascaras, lip gloss, lotion, slipper socks, oreos, sneakers, notepads, pictures, bookmarks – all kinds of great stuff. I’ll post later on in the month with all the specifics of the exchange. That way you guys can all benefit from my brilliant friends, too.

After the exchange, we headed to Main Street in St Charles where RT Weiler’s was sponsoring an ice-carving contest. The ice sculptures were gorgeous and it was very cool to see them being created – but it was freaking COLD out. So we hit the bar and started drinking again. Then we hit another bar and played a little pool. Then it was off to the skating rink. That’s right – we went roller skating. It’s been a good 20 years (probably more) since I was on roller skates, and I remember it being so much easier! It didn’t take me long to figure out my limits – three laps and my legs were like jelly. Every single time I came out of the last curve on my third lap, I’d start to lose my balance and almost wipe out – so I’d ride the bench for a while and go again. It was a riot – watching all the kids there (who probably couldn’t believe there were so many old ladies there) and their interactions with one another. We quickly figured out who the “cool” girls were, etc. I’m proud to say that I did not wipe out – although there were several close calls. However, we weren’t all so lucky, not to mention any names. KatieShainaShayla.

We desperately wanted to prank somebody and get ‘em good. But it turns out our chosen target wasn’t away from his house, so we didn’t get to put our plan into action. But we had a plan. And it was a good plan. However… it’s not forgotten…

And then of course, it was back to Michelle’s for more drinking and more games and more singing. We suck but we don’t care. I have a lovely video clip of Sheri singing “I Will Survive” along with her own choreography. I might have to post it later... Bwahahahaha!

As usual it was a great time – we really enjoy our time together and already have the next several gatherings already planned. Just like out at the lake, we didn’t want to go, didn’t want the weekend to end. So Shaina blocked us all in and ran out of gas Sunday morning! (I can’t say a word though – I ran out of gas on Hwy 270 Monday night like an idiot.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mom Gets a New Knee... and Dad Semi-Retires! (Armageddon must be comming.)

As many of you know, Mom went in for a total knee replacement just under two weeks ago. Her surgery was on Jan 18 around noon - and they had her up and walking the next morning (using a walker, of course). We took her home just two days later. She's doing incredibly well. She's getting around with her walker with ease, she's doing well keeping on top of the pain. I was just up there on Sunday and she looks great.

As always happens though - it couldn't possibly go smoothly. She's been putting this surgery off for years and finally agreed to have it done. Recovery from a total knee replacement is a pretty big deal and you need a lot of help - so Dad has to take care of her and help her get around and feed her and all of that good stuff. Sure enough - the week before her surgery something goes wrong. An ice storm came through and killed the power. Which means Dad spent three or four days running up and down the stairs keeping the woodstove burning and going up and down the hill chopping ice for the cows (there's an electric heat element that keeps their water from freezing in the winter).

After all of that activity, his leg got so swollen that he could barely walk or bend his knee. We were concerned there for a little while that it was DVT (deep vein thrombosis - a blood clot), but it wasn't - it was a ruptured Bakers cyst. The cyst probably developed in a wrestling match he had with a cow last year - but we won't get into that... Anyway, he got sent home to keep his leg up and ice on it and Mom's surgery went forward. By the time she got home, he was able to be mobile again and assume his nurse-maid duties.

But in the meantime - he retired from the cattle business! He's been talking about it for a few years, but I never thought I'd see the day. He sold all of his cattle and rented off the pasture rights to Busch Farms for one year to a neighboring farmer. And he doesn't miss it - he says it's nice to sit in his recliner and look at the thermometer reading 12 degrees, and see someone else out feeding the cows.

So now she's got a new knee and he's semi-retired. They've decided that they're going to start spending a month or two of their winters in a warmer climate and enjoy themselves more. I'm amazed. Like I said - Armageddon must be upon us.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Amazing News!

Friday afternoon, one of my coworkers walked up behind me at my desk and said, "Go to right now, you're not going to believe this!" As I did I heard gasps and various people around me expressing shock and disbelief as they found out themselves. It was amazing and wonderful news...

On Monday afternoon a young boy, Ben Ownsby, was abducted from a small town near St. Louis. An Amber Alert was put out and all week this week we've been bombarded with pictures of Ben and the information that a white Nissan truck with dents, rust and a camper shell was seen speeding away by a fellow student. Whenever a child goes missing it's absolutely heartbreaking. Ben's parents and sister were were on the news and the Today Show asking for help from the public.

And then yesterday afternoon the most amazing thing happened. They found Ben in an apartment in Kirkwood (suburban St. Louis). But even more amazing than that they also found Shawn Hornbeck in that same apartment! Shawn has been missing since October of 2002. His parents have been very active in a foundation for missing children they created in Shawn's name and have been on the news on the anniversary of Shawn's abduction every year reminding the public that Shawn is still out there somewhere. And he was!

I was glued to the news all afternoon yesterday as the story unfolded and have been crying my way through breakfast this morning watching the grateful and happy families thanking the police, FBI and public in press conferences.

I won't type out the whole story here, it's all over the news so you've all seen it - and if you haven't, here's a link:

Needless to say, I think everybody in the area is elated. As I walking to my car yesterday from work, everyone around me was on their phone talking about it. We went out to dinner and it was the topic of everybody's conversation. Miracles do happen.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My Party Shuffle

Someone emailed me and asked that I publish the Party Shuffle on my iPod. For those of you that don't know, Party Shuffle just randomly chooses 15 songs from your iPod and lines them up to play. So here it is:

I Can't Tell You Why (Live) by The Eagles (Hell Freezes Over)

Drinking Champagne by George Strait (Ten Strait Hits)

Paper Moon by Natalie Cole (Unforgettable With Love)

Fat Man by Jethro Tull (M.R. - The Best of Jethro Tull)

The Way You Look Tonight by Billie Holiday (Sixteen Most Reqeusted Songs)

O, Bury Me Not (Introduction: A Cowboy's Prayer) by Johnny Cash (American Recordings)

Sin by Stone Temple Pilots (Core)

The Night Is Young and You're So Beautiful by Dean Martin (Everybody Loves Somebody)

Lady I Can't Explain by Jimmy Buffet (Volcano)

Waiting In Vain by Bob Marley & The Wailers (Legend)

That Bug Bit Me by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Let's Face It)

Saturday Night Daddy (King Anthology of Risque Blues)

Put Your Records On by Corrine Bailey Rae (Corinne Bailey Rae)

The DJ's Out To Lunch by The Dempseys (Radio Friendly Hits for Your DJ to Play)

Oh Yeah Yai by Terrance Simien & The Mallet Playboys (The Big Easy Soundtrack)

So there you have it - my party shuffle. I'll try to remember to post the party shuffle every few months. And feel free to email me yours. I love looking at other people's iPod lists - I always find something that I'd like to have!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

We're Famous!!!!

A beautiful pictorial about our wedding was just posted at My wedding planner is one of the editors at the website and asked to interview me as a featured wedding forever ago. After several months went by, I figured they'd decided not to use us and I had completely forgotten about it! I believe it was just posted yesterday. The link to the pictorial itself is So feel free to go check it out. They definately picked some of my favorite pictures, it's very nice and I'm terribly flattered that they've chosen to highlight our wedding.

Hunting Is Easy

Hunting is so easy. I really don’t know why hunters make such a big deal out of it and spend so much time on it. Seems incredibly simple to me. Let me explain…

Jeremy is a hunter, specifically a deer hunter. He’s all into it. He washes with No Scent soap and wears camo and gets up at 4:30 in the morning to go sit in the cold, all by himself without talking or moving, to watch the sunrise and the squirrels chatter. And then he comes in and warms up and goes out again for sunset. Apparently deer are nocturnal animals, so the best time to hunt is sunrise and sunset. Whatever.

Last weekend we went up to my parents’ place. Jonas and Shaina (BIL and SIL) went with us, so Jeremy and Jonas could bow hunt. They went Saturday morning, Saturday evening and again Sunday evening. Didn’t come home with any deer. So Sunday afternoon we drove down to the river (near where they hunt) to do some target shooting. We spent about an hour and a half shooting – and we had plenty of different guns down there, so it was very noisy. Everything from a little .22 handgun to a .44 Magnum (which is LOUD, people).

We finish shooting and Mom and Dad hop in their truck to leave. Jeremy wants to check the sites on his bow before we leave, so he has his bow out and is shooting at his practice target. We’re all chatting and suddenly one of us realizes there’s a SPIKE BUCK STANDING RIGHT BY US!!! Seriously, there was a nice big buck standing about 15-20 yards away just staring at us.

So I say, “Holy sh*t, there’s one right there!” You know, just to make sure everyone else saw it too and knew that they should be excited. So everybody looks. The deer is still standing there, still staring at us. Jeremy had his bow drawn, ready to shoot again at the target – so he swung toward the deer. The deer is still standing there, still staring at us. I think Jonas, Shaina and I all said something along the line of “SHOOT IT!” And the deer is still standing there, still staring at us. But there was some brush between himself and the deer, so he stepped toward it to clear his line of sight. And it took off. Now I can tell you, I think he’s going to regret that decision for the rest of his life.

However, that being said… hunting is easy. You don’t have to wear camo, you don’t have to be quiet. You don’t have to get up at 4:30 in the morning – this was 1:30 in the afternoon! You don’t have to wash with No Scent – I had on Ralph Lauren’s Hot perfume (you guys out there might wanna try that instead). You don’t have to be patient or even go looking for them – they’ll come to you! It’s so easy.

I’d already decided that I was going to try my hand at hunting next year. I thought I was going to have to wear ugly camo and get up early. Turns out you don’t have to do any of that. As a matter of fact I’ve been hunting for years and didn’t even know it!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Good Riddance 2006 and Welcome to 2007!

Good Riddance 2006 and Welcome to 2007!
We had a very low key New Years Eve, went over to Jam and Michelle’s house and just hung out for the evening. We were home and in bed by 2 a.m. Oh, how the years have changed us!

Jeremy and I were please to see 2006 end. It was a very rough year for us, marked with a lot of pain and sorrow. We both lost several people that we loved and miss dearly.

Jeremy’s aunt, Laurie Schroeder, passed away at the beginning of February – less that two months after cancer was found in her liver. Laurie had battled cancer twice before and survived, this time it just couldn’t be done. Laurie was in her early fifties and was just hitting her stride. Losing her was devastating for Jeremy’s whole family, but especially for his grandparents. Without having children of my own, I can’t imagine what they must feel – but I know that nobody should ever have to go to their own child’s funeral.

Shortly after Laurie’s death, Grandma Busch’s health took a sudden and serious turn for the worst. It wasn’t long before we knew that she would die soon, so she went home to die with her family around her. It was both a heartbreaking and amazingly uplifting experience to spend those last weeks with her. Her mind was fine, and she was ready to let go – we all had the opportunity to spend time with her and with one another at Grandma’s house. Jeremy and I went up there after work every chance we got and every weekend as well. We’d all been taking turns sitting with Grandma in the last few days when she slipped into a coma and wasn’t responsive anymore. Dad and I spent her last night with her. We sat up, just the two of us, talking about life and death, Grandma and Grandpa Busch, Dad’s childhood, living without regrets, etc. Just hours of talking about the things you should talk about, but don’t. Dad, Jeremy and I decided to go home the next morning to catch some sleep. It’s only a ten minute drive home, but as soon as we walked in the door, Mom called to tell us to come back. Grandma was gone before we got back. I honestly think she waited until Dad was gone to let go. She was 93 years old and lived a very long and very full life. Her funeral was huge, she was loved and respected by the entire community. She was an amazing and strong woman and I miss her every day.

In July, our friend Andy Polcyn passed away quite suddenly. I posted about Andy and his life and the impact he had on all of those around him. (Please see my post from July 28, 2006 -

In the fall, one of my mother-in-law’s closest and oldest friends passed away. Cindy had also battled breast cancer before and survived, but wasn’t able to do so this time. Cindy and her husband had been stationed in Germany for a while when Cathy and Jay (my in-laws) were stationed there shortly after being married. Cindy and Cathy became close and fast friends and their children later formed similar friendships. Cindy was there for Cathy through some very difficult times. Jeremy used to spend summers in Iowa with Cindy and her family. Their son, Jeff, used to in turn come to St. Louis and stay with Jeremy’s family. Cindy’s passing was very hard on both Jeremy and Cathy.

And just last month, we suffered another loss. Laurie’s husband, Fred, passed away. Fred had been an absolutely devoted husband to Laurie and he was devastated when she died. His last year was a very difficult one and many of us honestly believe he died of a broken heart. In his eulogy, we were told that he even said on the way to the hospital that it would be okay if he died – because then he could be with Laurie. Their son, Adam, is now left to piece things together and go on without them. But he has the staunch support of a very strong Broad family. And I can’t stress enough what a smart and sweet guy he is.

In the midst of all that, Jeremy had an appendectomy, and I’ve been dealing with some sort of joint problem that has eluded diagnosis so far. (They can put a man on the moon, but a stupid sore toe, and it’s x-rays and MRIs and prescriptions and blood tests and grumble, grumble, grumble, grrrrrr.)

However - there were also some wonderful things that happened in 2006! As I mentioned in one of my very first posts, Jeremy became a small business owner and is now his own boss. Along with a friend, he bought Azar Automotive and it’s going amazingly well. It’s not easy and it’s a lot of hard work and long hours – but they’re making a success of it and I’ve never been so proud of anyone in my life.

I switched jobs and am now working at Express Scripts, Inc. The change in my stress-level and personal sense of satisfaction is astounding. I knew I was stressed out and unhappy – but I don’t think I realized how bad it really was until I made a change. I am happy and healthier and more content all day, every day. It’s not an exaggeration for me to say that my absolute worst day here is still 100% better than my best day at my previous job. Plus the increase in salary is certainly nothing to sneeze at!

Jonas (my brother-in-law) and Shaina got married this year. It was a long time in coming, but the wedding was absolutely gorgeous and so much fun! They got married at Busch Farms (my parents’ place) last fall. It was an outdoor wedding and the weather was amazing. The leaves were at the height of their color and the whole place looked amazing. There were flowers and lights everywhere, the bride was gorgeous (of course!), the cake was delicious, the toasts were touching and funny, and the drinks were flowing! It was a welcome bright spot in the year and something I’d really looked forward to all year. I think everyone had a wonderful time. I’ll post some pictures from the wedding as soon as I get some…

And then, as I mentioned in my last post – we ended the year on a very bright note with a wonderful holiday season. We had two great Channukah celebrations and a lavish Christmas as well. In spite of the rough year we had, we know we are very blessed with the friends and family that love and support us and are very grateful for all that we have.

This year is looking bright and there is a lot to for us to be optimistic about. We are slowly but surely making progress on the house and by the time we sell it I may even like it! Azar Automotive will undoubtedly continue to grow and succeed. Mom is having knee replacement surgery soon – which means after her recovery, she’s going to feel better and fitter than she’s felt in years. There will be some fun vacations in there, even if I have to kidnap my husband and force him to go!
Happy New Year to everyone – it’s going to be wonderful 2007!

What a Merry Christmas!

(I wrote this a week ago and forgot to post it – so I’m posting it now, but it was written on 12/26/06.)

Jeremy helping put up the Christmas tree at Mom and Dad's house...

What a wonderful Christmas! I’ve had many a merry Christmas and received great gifts and given great gifts in the past, but this year was one for the record-books. Quite possibly the best Christmas we've ever had! It was so nice to have a full 3 day weekend to spend at Mom and Dad's, there was no rushing around and it was just perfect. Jeremy went bow hunting early every morning and at sundown every day - got a shot off at a huge 12 point buck, but either missed it or just wounded it. So that really lit the fire under him to get a buck before bow season ends. The food was killer - we had lobster (live lobster that we boiled ourselves) and fried catfish for Christmas Eve lunch and then turducken for Christmas Eve dinner (if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it – yummy)!

The presents this year were just ridiculous - and wonderful. To me, the best kind of present is the one that takes time and thought and effort. Not something you asked for – something you didn’t even know you wanted until you got it! Mom went over and above this year for all three of us - but the best one was Dad's present. She got him a Polaris Ranger EFI. Jeremy did the research and some friends picked it up, and other friends took it to our neighbor's place on their flatbed trailer and hid it at our neighbor's place. So before we opened gifts Christmas morning, Jeremy and I snuck out to get it and parked it just outside the garage. After the rest of the gifts were opened we took Dad outside - and he was completely beside himself. Couldn't stop smiling and laughing and was so surprised that so many people were in on it and he had no idea. It's really neat to see Dad so excited and pleased about something - that NEVER happens. He took it for a spin - it goes up to 40 mph - and loved it! She really got him good this year, so that was easily the best part of the weekend.

Mom got Jeremy a professional digital camera (not just the point and shoot kind) and some accessories and Dad got him all kinds of hunting stuff. Jeremy gave me the Crate and Barrell sideboard I wanted for the kitchen - I was very surprised and pleased about that! He also gave me a bow to practice with, he and all the Broad's are pretty stoked about my getting into hunting... Mom gave me this amazing laptop computer-compatible embroidery/sewing machine I'd expressed interest in months ago as well as a nice bluetooth headset. And then plenty of little things, stocking stuffers, etc - we go so overboard with Christmas it's stupid. Mom also gave us $$ for a new oven/hood/whatever we end up doing about that situation - so that was wonderful as well.

We spent a lot of time with the extended family yesterday afternoon, which was awesome. Jeremy got into a contest with all of my cousins - trying to shoot a potato with an arrow at 20 feet. Dorks. It's so cool to see how well he fits into my family (better than I do most times) and how they accept him and the level of comfort after all of these years.

Sigh - I'm still on a high from such an amazing holiday season. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Channukah as well.
This is Jeremy with one of his biggest fans, Chloe. Chloe is the daughter of good friends of the family and is madly in love with Jeremy. Although recently, he's been replaced by her new love - our nephew, Caleb. He'd been working on the puzzle in front of his for two days - about an hour after this picture was taken, to Jeremy's dismay - Chloe totally demolished the puzzle!