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Kladder Update: NeoCon, Outdoor Concerts & My Birthday

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I saw a meme this week that said: “Running on coffee & Jesus” and it made me smile because at least through the month of June it pretty much defines my life. Between a busy work schedule, travel including a family vacation, birthday festivities and the regular summer fun... our lives are full! 

The air is buzzing with excitement over here at the Steelcase office as we continue announcing new partnerships (and acquisitions) and of course the ever important (and time consuming) Neocon. In the last week I've been back and forth to our Chicago Showroom in the Merchandise Mart for a handful of video work including 10 Facebook Live episodes! Last year during NeoCon I was still on maternity leave so it was fun to get back into the game with the team this year. Live productions are outside of our usual scope of work, however, as we continue developing our digital communication strategy I wouldn't be surprised if our work in this area continues to grow. And I think I can speak for most everyone on our video and social media teams when I say that we wouldn't mind one bit if this sort of work escalates because we had a blast running through the crowds and battling WiFi connections these last few days.

Before leaving for Chicago last weekend I was able to celebrate my 31st birthday with family and friends. Our Saturday kicked off with lunch with my parents and the kids. My parents gave me (and Jeff) a super solid birthday gift and took the kids over night for us so that we could celebrate with friends at the golf course. Girlfriend and golf-mate Amber planned a Trio Birthday Par-Tee for me and two others in our group out at Watermark complete with decor, prizes and dinner afterwards. Amber sells tea for a living and it's save to say that if she ever quits her day job, she'd be just fine planning parties for a living. Our team did not win, but Amber awarded me a medal anyway! 

Earlier that week we also celebrated my birthday with Jeff's parents over dinner (and GIANT homemade coconut cake by Mari - my favorite) and a very special wine tasting with family friends Dan and Kathleen Matson. We enjoyed 3 hours of red wine, snacks and great conversation. Jeff and I both enjoy wine and we are continuously learning from our parents and the Matsons. And so, the hobby continues to sneak up on us. 

And this month we kicked off our Fredrick Meijer Gardens summer concert series with our Rosewood neighbors for The Decemberists. There is something pretty awesome about these concerts in the outdoor amphitheater there but we got a total kick out of goofing about planning our own mock outdoor concert series... We should all bring our short lawn chairs to Wilcox Park and just pick an obscure Pandora station that's still common enough for one person in the group to know exactly two songs. And then we sell each other plastic cups of red or white wine for $9 each. Think about it, we wouldn't have to wait in any lines to park or go to the bathroom or to get a beer. We wouldn't have to scramble/battle strangers for a spot on the lawn and we could even have pizza delivered from Harmony! All that to say, COMING SOON: Rosewood Outdoor Playlists in the Park. But seriously, we do love concerts at FMGs and the expansion sure does look nice. 

The rest of June will be spent traveling! I'm heading to Boston for a quick trip for work followed by our ever anticipated family trip to Disney World! We are very much looking forward to a week away for some fun in the, what's predicted to be, super hot sun. I promise to pack our SPF and take lots of photos.

Stay cool and appreciate all your friends and family with pools and lake frontage! See you in July! 

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Kladder Update: Memorial Day Weekend, Summer Has Begun!

 Natalie & her buddy Maxine DeWitte. 

Natalie & her buddy Maxine DeWitte. 

Memorial Day Weekend was one for the record books! Here in Grand Rapids temperatures reached a high of 94 degrees breaking the all time high of 92 set back in 1977. And if you weren't near a pool or lake this weekend we sure hope you had access to air conditioning and ice cream instead! 

For us, each year Memorial Day Weekend officially kicks of the start of summer with family and friends at the Lake Bella Vista in Rockford.  It was the first time the entire Kladder family had all been in the same place since Christmas and we certainly made the most of our time together cooking out, tubing on the lake and playing on the beach. My favorite part of the weekend is the after dinner pontoon boat rides around the lake. At this point, the whole crew still fits on one boat. I figure we still have a few more years of this till the girls grow out of it both literally and figuratively. We joke about how it won't be long before they'll be taking the boat for rides around the lake solo leaving us in the dust. 

We forgot what it was like to have a 1-year-old at the lake during summertime. Thomas reminded us that babies are weird about sand and grass while he opted to spend most of his time in the shade on the blanket with toys. Natalie played so hard she asked to take naps and I think both our kids had a weeks worth of sugar in one single afternoon. But hey... it's summer!

Two weekends ago we partied hard with neighbors for a 40th birthday bash. Rosewood took our celebration duties seriously starting at 7pm at City Built Brewing for tacos followed by a 4 hour brew tour around the city. The bus ended at Billy's in Eastown which made for an extremely convenient walk home. A very happy birthday to Stefano and big thank you to his wife Kari for being a fantastic party planner. 

Earlier that week the Watermark Women's Association hosted our first summer golf outing: Golf is in Full Bloom! It was a partnered 18 hole scramble and my partner Jamie and I didn't even come close to winning. However, if there had been an award for the best team sunburn... that would have been a different story - I'm still peeling on my right arm. It was one of those perfect summer afternoons and I completely forgot to put on sunblock. That night (after I rubbed aloe over my sun kissed skin) I promptly put 2 bottles of SPF 30 in my bag. Won't be making that mistake again.

I'm still pretty jazzed about golf and improving my game. Jeff continues to be my biggest source of motivation in both his affiliation and talent for the game. I'll never be as good and him (no seriously, I won't, because he gets WAY more practice than I do) but at some point in our lives perhaps he'll be proud to play on a couples league together. 

 Wednesday Night Womens League at Watermark C.C. 

Wednesday Night Womens League at Watermark C.C. 

And a quick shout out to some of my best mom friends who I get go through parenting with. Sharing summer mornings with you and your kids over coffee and delicious donuts is exactly how I pictured parenting to be. I will continue to savor watching our kids play together and become best friends themselves. This season of life is so full in every sense of the word and I'm glad you're a part of it. 

Heading into June we've got a lot ahead of us including Neocon in Chicago (the biggest week of the year for my office), a family trip to Florida, my birthday and a few more golf tournaments including a day spectating at the LPGA again this year - I promise to pack my sunblock! 

POSTSCRIPT - Stuff we're into lately... 

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Kladder Update: Tulip Time, Mothers Day & Rosewood Happy Hours

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We're thrilled about the arrival of Spring in Grand Rapids and doing our best to celebrate accordingly.  Beginning now through the end of summer our calendar is packed with one fun thing after another and you won't find us complaining about it. 

This month kicked off both mine and Jeff's golf leagues. It's been great getting outside and back on the course again. A few weeks ago I got my very first birdie and the second week of league my team won first place - things are off to a good start. This week we both (separately) golf in our first tournaments of the season - wish us luck. 

On Sunday we celebrated Mothers Day with Jeff's parents and our friends the Matsons at Reds at Thousand Oaks for brunch. They've got a great set up in their event space that accommodates large groups and families. They even had a kids buffet complete with smiley fries and fish sticks which made my life easier. The dessert buffet was a different story. 

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My parents were out of town last weekend and so we celebrated Mothers Day early with my Mom the weekend prior. She made the trip up to Grand Rapids for the day and we had an action packed morning complete with a long walk to the festivities at Fulton Street Farmers Market opening day, lunch at Fruition (new spot in Eastown) and shopped at the newly reopened Rebel Reclaimed. Natalie got her face painted with a princess crown. I sent the pic to my Grandma and she asked me if Nat had a bandaid on her forehead. Close enough. 

In Rosewood Avenue news: tis the season for neighborhood happy hours! As soon as the weather warmed up we were reminded of how wonderful our 'hood' is to be a part of. The sidewalks flooded with activity and Friday night happy hours weren't too far behind. A few weeks ago we hosted on our porch before everyone retreated to their own homes for dinner and kids bedtimes. It's easy summer nights like these that we live for. 

We also made the trip out to Holland for the annual Tulip Time Festival again this year. Along with our friends the DeWittes we stopped and smelled all the flowers, walked Main Street and took a few rides at the carnival with the kids. Tulip Time is just about as kid friendly as events get and certainly has the Natalie seal of approval - she loved the carnival rides. After the festival we grabbed dinner with the kids at Tripleroot Brewing on our way home in downtown Zeeland. 

And last weekend I spent the evening out with girlfriends at the newly opened Jolly Pumpkin on the Westside of downtown. The Grand Rapids location is the newest of it's now 7 midwest locations. The GR location is considered a pub where they sell their beer and ciders (as well as a select few local spirits) and serve food like wood fire grilled pizzas. It's a 'seat-yourself' set up and there are no servers. Instead you order via the two different counters: one for drinks and another for food. Overall it was good and I'd return with friends for a casual drink and bite to eat. 

As we put the pedal to the metal on summer I'll be reminding myself to relax and enjoy the sunshine. We hope your next few months (and bellies) are full of grilled burgers, gin & tonics and lazy afternoons at the lake.

POSTSCRIPT - Stuff we're into lately...

  • The Dailey Method - Located in Eastown, it's convent in both location and schedule. Their one year anniversary party is Saturday June 23rd. Mark your calendars! There will likely be deals if you're interested. 
  • Rebel Reclaimed - Their brand new shop, less than a mile from their old location, is fantastic! More space and more items to shop for! Check them out. 
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