Two Oh Fifteen

I totally missed the months where the reminiscing posts are made, but I still want to take the time to look back on the crazy year of 2015. It was a year I will never ever forget…

January + February

These months were so work-centric. Tons of overtime and I know I’ve shared so much of Etsy based stuff so I’m just rushing past this… if you don’t mind 🙂

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March

The month started off with a bang, just mere months after celebrating the BIG 1,000th Etsy sale, I made my 2,000th sale! And after that very stressful 2014 year of working a “getting busier by the month” Etsy shop while maintaining a full time job, I finally decided to put notice in at my job to be able to fully focus solely on my shop. Even though I still worked both for another few strenuous months, there was finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Your New Friend Sam Bubble Mailers

April

Following a weekend trip to Salt Lake City for BBQ, my best friend Amie and I with her little 4 month old, Hudson, in tow, we traveled to go see the missing piece to our set: our bestie Joyce in New York.

New York Amie Joyce Sam 2015

May

In May, Andy and I traveled up the state of California to the coast of Oregon where Rooftop BBQ took calls in every category at the Coos Bay BBQ Competition and won Grand Champion! We then drove from Oregon to Colorado (yes, we are crazy) to compete in Loveland, spending a few days at my aunt’s in the mountains where we got some rest and work done before the competition and the drive home.

Rooftop Barbeque Grand Champion Oregon 2015

Watercolor Envelope Addressing from Sam Allen Creates

June

Toward the end of June, one of my best friends from high school, Brittany (who you’ve seen around here quite a bit!), gave birth to her sweet baby girl. While I don’t get to see them very often and not even close to enough, I was so happy to take her newborn photos and get some extra cuddles in with the lil’ princess. More photos here.

Jeannette Newborn Photography Dana Point 811

July

In July, Etsy was at it’s peak. My full time job had finally and officially ended. I started working on my sign designs that as I know now, would end up being sold in Hobby Lobby (!!!!). One of my best friend’s wedding was coming up in less than 30 days so there was lots of painting, work to do and celebrations to have… and then we left for a road trip to Montana for my family reunion in which we flew back early for the wedding itself! Whoo!

Sam and Lindsey Newport Cruise

Sam Loves Buffalo Selfie

August

My beautiful friend Lindsey’s wedding was sandwiched right between our TWO Montana trips of last year. It was such a beautiful day and the wedding was a blast! I was so honored to get to stand up with her as she married the man of her dreams!

Lindsey Fogleminh Wedding - Melissa McClure

A week later, Andy and I drove right back up north to compete in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. In Wyoming, Andy won his second Grand Championship of the year and I can’t believe I got to be there by his side. I’m so incredibly proud of his talents and love when he gets recognized for his amazingness.

Rooftop Barbeque Worland Wyoming Fair BBQ Competition

September

This was our month to relax and recoup before the BIG trip to come.

Owen at the Beach, September 2015

October

At the start of October, we were already in the midst of our cross country trip that would be taking us to Missouri, Tennessee and finally to Florida before the long journey home.

In Missouri, Andy and Joe competed for Rooftop BBQ at the (Invitational and Open) American Royal World Series of BBQ in Kansas City. They not only got some high trophies, including a first in brisket, but they also were awarded their first ever PERFECT score!

Rooftop BBQ American Royal

From there, we spent a couple weeks crashing at my cousin’s house (more on our time in Missouri here) before heading on to Tennessee where Rooftop competed at the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational in Lynchburg—winning another top ten call for their brisket (it’s really that good, seriously).

Before making the final trip east to Florida, we spent a few days around Nashville including a cave tour! I’m 5 weeks pregnant here… even though we wouldn’t find out for another couple weeks!

Cumberland Caves

November

The start of November 2015 is where we found ourselves in the midst of a brand new adventure. The morning of November 2, hours before we planned to tourist around Walt Disney World… we found ourselves excitedly staring at a positive pregnancy test. After so many years, it seemed like a lost dream. I’ll be posting more about it (soon), so for now I just wanted to share our first official family photo at the Happiest Place on Earth.

P.S. The photographer who took this for us was the first official person to find out about the pregnancy! Ah!

Allen Baby Announcement Walt Disney World

December

The last month of 2015 is a total blur as I spent the majority of the month in the throws of morning sickness… but we did manage to have a quick photo session with my friend Courtney and make an announcement about our little one to come!

Allen Pregnancy Announcement Christmas Joy

So all in all, 2015 was a pretty spectacular year!

xoxo

Greetings From Missouri

Sam Allen Creates Missouri Fall Leaf Lettering

Hi y’all! Just wanted to post a quick update about our trip! We are just about to head out to Tennessee for the second BBQ competition of the trip, but before we do that I had to share about the Missouri leg.

After driving for 3 days, we made it to the American Royal BBQ competition in Kansas City where the team competed in two back to back competitions. They knew it was a tough competition and only hoped to get “a call,” to be placed in the top 15 in any category, where they’d be announced and receive a ribbon.

American Royal 2015

The first day was the Invitational where they placed 2nd in ribs out of 165 top teams in the nation. The next day was the Open where they competed against 615 teams, including all of the 165 teams from the day before. The day before’s awards only made the team more nervous knowing that a top call was totally possible. With no calls in the first 3 categories, and after really bad brisket scores the day before, we thought it was time to go home. When the announcer got to the top 4 in brisket, he let everyone know that everyone in the top 4 had perfect scores, a 180. The very next name he called… Rooftop BBQ! And then just moments later, the top 10 overall were announced and Rooftop placed 8th! Out of 615 teams and without knowing their scores in chicken, ribs, or pork, it was a complete shock!

American Royal Rooftop BBQ Awards

I don’t know what I’m more proud of… they really did so amazing! The perfect score is really neat though as that means they made their personal best as well.


Sam Allen Creates Strouds Kansas City

After a day or so to cooperate, with an amazingly country fried dinner at Stroud’s… we moved on to stay at my cousin’s house in Springfield, Missouri. It’s been quite an interesting challenge to have my office supplies all put away in tubs all the time, but I’m getting used to it. Makes me wanna downsize the office at home now 🙂

Your New Friend Sam Etsy Lettering Shop on the Road

A cart full of office supplies… my craft studio on the go.

These past couple weeks have been wonderful! Staying put and spending time in the wonderful autumn weather. It was the perfect mix of work, relaxation and fun!

But to really sum up this part of the trip, it was all about FOOTBALL! My cousin’s son, who was our adorable ringbearer at our wedding, plays the center for his high school football team… it was so amazing to get to watch him play in two games while we were here. PLUS Andy cooked for the linemen on the team as well during both weeks… 10 racks of ribs one week and they almost polished off a whole brisket the next week. And then this past weekend, Jake spent some time teaching me how to play football! Pointers on how to catch and throw with a fancy spin. And he even snapped the ball to me like he does in the game. I’m going to go pro now thanks to him.

Sidenote: ESPN just posted about an amazing trick play the team did at their game this past Friday that we were lucky enough to attend. View it here, seriously they’re so good. And of course, shout out to my cousin who snapped the ball as the center of the offense line. See video here.

We also got to spend both our birthdays here with some yummy food and and a couple matinee movies.

So here we go, all packed up and ready to head to Tennessee for the Jack Daniels World Championship. Go Rooftop!

Rooftop BBQ Trailer in Missouri

Taking the Show on the Road, A Very Long and Winding Road

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Hi ya’ll… I’ll be able to get away with saying y’all so much more when we get back from this insane trip of ours!

I can’t believe it’s already here. I knew the month in between the road trips would fly by, but it went even faster. Lightning speed and even faster some days.

But in less than a week, we’ll be taking to the road again. I briefly mentioned it last month, but in case you missed it or need a refresher… we will be road tripping across the southern states stopping at BBQ competitions in Missouri, Tennessee and Florida throughout the month of October and into November. I keep using the word “crazy” to describe this trip and it really can’t be described by less because I feel quite crazy to be doing this. The craziest part, for me anyway, is keeping my entire shop running while on the road. I’ve kept it open on past trips with just a few exceptions, but this time it will be totally different. Instead of coming home and furiously catching up like a madwoman, I am going to attempt to do it all* from our various home away from homes. It’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure.

Rooftop Road Trip map

I’m so happy that my husband has these opportunities to compete at such prestigious events and that I can actually tag along with him!! Looking back over this past year, this rollercoaster of a year, it seems like it was all a big set up for this one big giant trip! Either way, it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be different, and of course, it’s definitely going to be crazy.

*I can’t do it all by myself though, my dear friend Jamie will be stepping in again to run the “home office” and I love her so very much for it!!


 

Follow our trip:

Instagram: @samallencreates and @greenmountaingrills

And Andy will be Periscoping for work as well at @gmgrills

My Husband: Pitmaster Extraordinaire 

Rooftop Barbeque Billings Montana Fair BBQ Competition

To say my husband is quiet may be an understatement to some. But if one has a chance to see him at a BBQ competition, you will have the rare glimpse into who he really is. For you see, BBQ competitions are his happy place. While mine may be Disneyland, he truly comes alive when surrounded by his BBQ smokers and by his fellow competitors.

Rooftop Barbeque Billings Montana Fair BBQ Competition Green Mountain Grills

Billings, Montana Fair

People ask me often why I put up with all the crazy that comes with being married to a BBQ competitor. But if you’ve had the chance to see him smile after getting calls and trophies at awards or see him share food that he’s just prepared, you’ll see why. My rather absent minded husband is transformed into a person who has the greatest attention to detail and who takes the greatest care in creating the plates to turn in to the judges. At BBQ competitions, my husband comes alive. And to see someone come alive, to see them in the light they need to be in, it makes it all worth it. The long car rides and the lack of plumbing and the BBQ grime and grease that gets EVERYwhere… It’s all worth it.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Grand Champions at the Worland Fair in Wyoming this past weekend, August 15

Grand Champions at the Worland Fair in Wyoming this past weekend, August 15

Another Year of Babies, Brides, and BBQ (November & December)

Good morning 2014! And with the close of 2013, here is my last Babies, Brides, and BBQ post! It’s been a fun 2 years documenting all my new little loves that have been born, following the love of brides to be’s, and of course the craziness that is this BBQ world we have found ourselves deep within. Hope you’re enjoying this first day of this brand new year!

Babies!

My little baby section is just growing and growing and growing!!

Jameson

In celebration of this little guy turning 2 yesterday, we went out for some frozen yogurt just like we did 2 years ago the night before Courtney went into labor. This little guy has the sweetest voice, and is so incredibly smart from knowing his letters to his shapes, even including the crescent moon. 🙂 Thank you Mama Coco and Little Jmo for a night out of blueberry topped fro-yo and the showing off all your new 2 year old tricks!

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Owen

Well this darling boy now says “Andy” and “Sam” among many more words in his ever widening vocabulary. And he still has us wrapped around his slightly less chubby fingers as well… and surprisngly Andy is even more wrapped than I am! They are just the cutest little pals! Andy and I have been cracking up over Owen’s new “cheeeeese” face! So I just thought I’d share it with you all here! It’s too funny how distorted kids faces get when they say “cheese!”

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Grayson

Oh this little boy… I do not get to see this little little guy often enough but I happily watch him daily through his mama’s eyes, whether its through Instagram or her blog. Thankfully I got to spend a few precious moments with him in these last couple months at Girls Night and seeing the Mission Inn lights.

P.S. You can tell more in the right side photo that I am definitely forcing him to pose for a picture with his Auntie Sammi… but I don’t even care. 🙂

grayson-18 months

Parker

I can not even tell you how happy I am that this family bought Disneyland passes in November. It only took one night of constantly bugging Shane to convince them that it was definitely the right decision! 🙂 I see quite a few more visits in the near future too. This is one tired Parker after their very full day at the Happiest Place on Earth.

parker 7 months

Chara

Next week I’m posting more of the adorable Rice family, but for today let me introduce to you all, Miss Chara. She’s an adorable little munchkin who was fighting a cold that day with her sweet smiles. I can’t wait to share more photos next week, it was such a perfect day for Christmas photos.

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Amelia

Disneyland is “one of my favorite things” without a doubt, but going with sweet little babes and kiddos multiples that joy by infinity. Since Amelia’s mama is my Disneyland buddy, I was just that much more excited to finally go with her… here’s a photo from our first ride together: It’s A Small World. I was just a *little* excited. 🙂

But of course since Miss Mia was a little entranced by the wonders of It’s A Small World, you must check out her 6 month photos I posted last week. She is just all smiles and giggles.

amelia 5 months

Molly

Little Miss Molly is just one of the happiest little babes I’ve ever met… but of course my photos today are of sleeping Molly. I must apologize on her behalf, because her smile just lights up her whole face… and I must encourage you to check out her beyond adorable 3 months photos her Auntie Jess took a few weeks ago. Go look, you know you want to. 🙂

amelia-2 months

Brides

Amie

Well this Bride had her wedding last month… After almost a full year of planning, crafting, and celebrating the day came and went! If you want to see more gorgeous photos of this beautiful bride and the amazingness that was that day, click here for the full wedding post.

Harvard Photography

BBQ

I have been such a slacker when it comes to all these recent BBQ competitions… in fact, I only made it to this past weekend’s competition and only for awards, and only on the first day. Bad BBQ wife right here… 🙁

But even without me there, the boys have been doing amazing!

Last month they were invited to compete at the World Food Championship where they were placed among the top 10 in BBQ which allowed them to go forward in the semi finals. So keep and eye and ear out for the A&E special on the WFC, which will have one entire episode devoted to the BBQ portion of the event. Andy wrote more about his time there, here.

Aaaaand, they took part in a commercial for a major American corporation that we are hoping will air during the Super Bowl… I’m not totally sure on all the legalities of that so I will post more when I can. 🙂

And one last note, in case you are reading this solely because you found this post because of the BBQ section, and you want to learn more about the art of barbequing, you can email pro@greenmountaingrills.com and my hubby will come to your aid, offering as much help as you may need!

With all their success this past year, I am really excited to see what’s to come in this new year!

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Follow past and upcoming Babies, Brides and BBQ here!

Another Year of Babies, Brides, and BBQ (September & October)

I can’t believe this crazy year is coming to a close! With this update, a brand new friend was born (Baby Molly, another girl thankfully!!) and with the next update I will be posting about the Pankratz wedding day, with a photo of my best friend in that glorious wedding dress of hers! I can’t believe the big day is almost here, like literally its just 3 days away! And then its Thanksgiving and then Christmas and New Years and hello 2014!

Babies!

My little baby section is just growing and growing and growing!!

Owen (and Eli)

I seriously can’t say it enough, I love having this adorable family as nearby neighbors! Getting the chance to see these boys growing up on the week to week basis is such a huge blessing for both Andy and myself. They even stopped by on the morning of my birthday with a card, cupcake and a balloon. Along with Owen giving me a hand picked flower and Eli giving me a drawing he made. My heart is full, that’s for sure.

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Okay I just have to share one more photo of Owen, and his whole family all dressed up in their Halloween costumes, from this past weekend… how stinking cute are they?! When Jamie first sent us a photo of Owen’s Halloween costume, we all “ooo’d” and “awww’d” over how cute he was going to be, and he did not disappoint. 🙂

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Parker

I rarely get to see this little rolly polly, Parker… but I was so excited to spend the afternoon with him and his family a couple weeks ago. And got to snap this photo of him in honor of his 6 month birthday. Can’t believe he’s already half way to 1, doesn’t seem like he was born that long! Time flies!!

parker-6months

Amelia

I am quite thankful Rachel has made it a point for me to see Amelia every few weeks, she will drive out just to sit with me as I work at home, catching me up on life. I love it… and then just this past week (the day after I posted her 3 month photos) she came by and we made up a “bed in the woods” photo shoot, just for fun. Here’s just a sneak peek, but oh. my. goodness…. I love so many of them. I can’t wait to post more in a few weeks!

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Molly

Molly is here!!! She has made her sweet precious arrival into this world, blessing her mommy and daddy beyond belief!! I got to be there with friends and family waiting… and waiting for her Tuesday night, but just after we left for the night, Trisha delivered at 2:55 a.m., Wednesday, September 18.

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I have gotten to have a few cuddle sessions with the little miss… but this photo is from that first day, at just about 8 hours old. 🙂

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Brides

Amie

I can definitely say that the months of September and October were full of nonstop wedding activities (hence the shortage on the quantity of baby photos above) from crafting days, to engagement photo sessions and of course, the bachelorette party! There were so many fun events to choose from but I have to share a favorite from their engagement session with me…. because its just so sweet. This day marked a turning point in the wedding planning as from that day forward, with just over a month to go, its been full time wedding crafting/scheming around this house. I left their place after our session with a long list of duties… and I must say I am kinda sad its almost here. It’s just been so much fun! It really has! But in just a few days (!!!) time, my best friend will be the Mrs. to her Mr. and that is just going to be the first page in a whole new chapter of our lives and that I must say is something I am most looking forward to!

P.S. The rest of their engagement session will be posted next week… and I must say it was extremely hard to narrow down which photos to post!

Matt and Amie's bike Engagement Pictures in Orange Circle_0402

Caitlin

For Cait’s wedding, I “coordinated” the wedding ceremony, which was a first for me—and we definitely we were just winging it! It was funny how many people asked if that was my new job and when finding out that was my first attempt at it, they then asked if I would do it again. And I totally would, even if it was just for friends and for the sake of seeing this moment… the moment before the miss became the Mrs., the moment where the bride takes that last deep breath holding onto her daddy’s arm, before she says “I do.”

She was just gorgeous and the wedding itself was beautiful!  You can see a photo I snapped during the ceremony here…

Cait's Wedding

BBQ

The boys have been doing so SO GOOD at their competitions. It’s pretty amazing to witness their triumphs at each and every comp. Over Labor Day weekend, they placed 4th among some of the top teams in the nation—over most of the guys on the BBQ Pitmaster shows. Everyone thought they were going to win 1st and the $10,000 prize for Grand Champion, but with a bad score in brisket, it brought them down to 4th place. Either way, just knowing that they have that ability, is pretty neat! Read more about that comp here.

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And then just one month later, at the Dana Point BBQ competition, out of a California record breaking 101 teams, they placed 4th again! So proud of our boys!

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And last, but not least, Andy’s episode of Supermarket Superstars aired on September 12 on Lifetime! He swears he spoke up quite a bit, but all of his lines were cut! But I still got to see my hubby on TV so it was still exciting!! He’s in the red jersey, #12 in this clip of their focus group.

rooftop-bbq-andy-allen-supermarket superstars focus group

Follow past and upcoming Babies, Brides and BBQ here!

Another Year of Babies, Brides, and BBQ (July & August)

I really thought life couldn’t be crazier than it was last year, but this year has seriously been insane! I am so blessed with the work that I have been doing and get to do, but I am ever so thankful for these babies and being the matron of honor to my best friend bride to be, Amie! Oh and I guess I am thankful for BBQ too. 😉

Babies!

My little baby section is just growing and growing and growing!!

Jameson

Oh how I missed this sweet boy… having not seen him since his first birthday (!!!), he had all sorts of new tricks to show me including knowing how to say Sam. So so sweet!

20 months jameson

Owen

Oh little Owen, this kid just cracks me up! And every time I watch this video I want to laugh and cry at the same time. That laugh is just hysterically contagious!

And then just last week, I was looking after the boys for just a short amount of time and when I set Owen down, he just stood up and starting walking. I was in shock to see him walking around so much without holding on to anything! So proud of their little guy! (for some reason the walking video is only showing up sometimes 🙁 so I’ll just post a cute photo of the two of us to make up for it 🙂 )

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Grayson

I saw little G off and on over the months but each time was just too short of a time… I did manage to snag a few photos of him at our girls dinner a few weeks ago. His mama sure has him trained to pose for the camera… I would say these photos go…

“What do you think you are doing?”
“Oh, a camera! Here let me pose for you like my mommy taught me to”
“Would you like to see my belly button, I know just where it is!”

Or something like that…

And that “What are you doing?” totally reminds me of a face his mom gives me all the time too. 🙂 jk jk

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Evelyn

I know I just shared photos of this little blue eyed babe last week so I don’t have much more to say, but here is another photo of this gorgeous little lady and those giant blue eyes of hers!

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Amelia

I love that Rachel has moved back closer to me! It’s been a joy to watch Amelia grow over these last couple months with visits every couple of weeks. But after having gone about a month with no visit, seeing her for her 3 month photos was quite a shock to the little chunk she has become! Her mother had quite a few affectionate nicknames ranging from her little pot sticker to Buddha belly. 🙂

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Jedidiah

Our newest family member, Jedidiah made his entrance into this world on June 30… (funnily enough Miss Amelia, Jedi, and the next baby Gage were all due within 3 days of each other but all made their appearances over a month’s time). Anyway, we got to meet Jedi just last week while him and his family were down visiting the many beaches of southern California.

He truly is a sweet sweet baby, all smiles. 🙂

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Gage

This little guy… he is such a fighter! He was born with “transposition of the great arteries” and has had quite a few surgeries thus far in his short little life including open heart surgery! I finally got to meet him just two weeks ago and of course fell in love right away! You can see so many more photos of him and learn his story here… and as our pastor’s son, you can hear their testimony here from Pastor Josh’s first Sunday back at church last month.

gage-7weeks

Molly

The day after we returned from our trip, we celebrated Miss Molly’s soon to be arrival with a baby shower for her mama. Jess did such a great job on the shower! You can see her post here, and mine here. It’s hard to believe that in my next post in two months, she will be here!! 🙂

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Brides

Amie

I spent the majority of the month of July getting ready for Amie’s bridal shower… which turned out to be exactly what I hoped it to be… it was a [hot] beautiful day showering Amie with love and presents. And since our bestie and my fellow bridesmaid was in from New York we ran as many wedding “errands” as possible in the days after the shower. From picking up our bridesmaid dresses and shoes to assembling the wedding invitations. And of course, Amie’s wedding dress fitting. Can not wait for you to see her in that gorgeous white dress! Pretty much the most beautiful dress I’ve ever did see!

This photo is just the first of many from her bridal shower. It was the first time all 6 bridesmaids were together with our bride, and a very happy moment! I promise to be posting a TON more photos in the coming weeks!

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Kathleen

Welp, Kathleen is now a Mrs! We celebrated at the Riverside Art Museum during the last weekend of July and then spent the night dancing on the rooftop! Okay… we didn’t dance because we had to catch our flight to Maine, but you get the point! She had the most fabulous details that I just adored, especially her cake table! I hope to share their photographer’s photos along with the invitations I helped her design soon! And of course, in mid-July we celebrated with a good old bachelorette party which you can read more about here.

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Caitlin

This gorgeous girl is getting married in just a few short weeks! And her bachelorette party is just next week! It was a short engagement but it still went by so much faster than I imagined! I am so excited for Jarred and Caitlin’s wedding, it is going to be such a good time!

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BBQ

I actually haven’t even been to a BBQ competition since the team competed in Temecula in June. That’s just crazy to think, but it’s been nice 🙂 haha

Anyway, the boys competed have just competed in 3 of their 4 back to back comps… starting in Huntington Beach on August 17 (same day as Amie’s shower!), then they took the 10 hour drive up to Wendover, Nevada and then this past weekend they competed in Mesquite, Nevada (their 4th time competing there—and they did an amazing job!!). I’ll wait to share Mesquite until next time but if you’d like to know more on their past two competitions, click here for Huntington Beach or here for Wendover.

Remember way back, when I mentioned Andy filmed a spot for a television show as a member of a focus group? Well his episode of Supermarket Superstars airs just next week on September 12, at 10:30 p.m. on Lifetime! After finally getting to watch a few episodes, we know his part will be super short, if they even show him at all, but I am definitely looking forward to my husband’s television premiere!

Follow past and upcoming Babies, Brides and BBQ here!

Another Year of Babies, Brides, and BBQ (May & June)

I really thought life couldn’t be crazier than it was last year, but this year has seriously been insane! I am so blessed with the work that I have been doing and get to do, but I am ever so thankful for these babies and being the matron of honor to my best friend bride to be, Amie! Oh and I guess I am thankful for BBQ too. 😉

Babies!

My little baby section is just growing and growing and growing!!

Owen

This is the Chunk as we all affectionately call Owen. He has just been growing and growing, and getting so tall! I love having them as our neighbors, seeing him each week has just been the biggest blessing for Andy and me. And having him “wow us” with walking into our arms on the last day of June, couldn’t get better than that! 🙂

This first photo is from our BBQ pool party we had in May, look at that chunk. Adorable! And then next photo is at Owen’s big brother Eli’s 5th birthday party this past weekend. I love how this photo sums up his personality and the way we think of Owen, belly out and guns blaring all with a smile on his face. 🙂

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Grayson

I can’t believe this little guy turned 1 last month!! It feels like just yesterday that he was born… he has the sweetest little personality, with so much curiosity and sparkle in his eyes. Oh and his little grin… he’s gonna be a heartbreaker! See more from his party in this post from 2 weeks ago.

The second photo is also from Eli’s birthday party, Grayson just loved the water! He’s just such a happy kid!

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Evelyn

Oh this pretty little miss was definitely worth the wait! She was born last October to my dear cousin Katie. And since their little family lives in Colorado, we had yet to meet this happy little lady. I think we all scrambled to get as much cuddle time in as possible during our one afternoon together and I am looking forward to so much more of Evie in Maine later this month even though there I will have to share with twenty other people! I’ll be just as happy snapping as many photos of this pretty little one anyway!

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Parker

At the beginning of May, we took some newborn photos of Parker, and even some with his big brother Hudson. He’s just so darling, and so alert!  See more here.

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Amelia

This blog was busy these past few months showing you another set of Rachel’s maternity photos and the baby shower. While she wasn’t expected to make her arrival until next month, Miss Amelia made her debut a few weeks early on June 8! I am excited to show more photos from her one week photo shoot with her Auntie Sammi.

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Molly

Miss Molly has been growing away, and her mama just glows with excitement for her arrival. We just finished up her baby shower invitations for the shower this August. Oh my, I just can’t wait to see all the girly fun gifts she will open! Here’s a photo of the little mama and the birthday boy, Grayson, last month.

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Brides

Amie

Wedding planning has been in a small lull… but the bridal shower planning is full steam ahead! My office is bursting at the seams full of branches and glassware for the upcoming cherry blossom festival themed shower! I asked Amie not to peek while she was here last night—the wedding invitation process has officially begun as well! Oh, and the birthday girl celebrated her big 27th birthday—she now shares her birthday with Rachel’s Amelia! And the two birthday buddies even got to have a cuddle session on their now shared birthday!

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Kathleen

How gorgeous was this lady at her shower! I just can’t wait to show you the photos from the festivities—but the rest will have to wait until next week! Oh, and her bachelorette party and wedding are just weeks away! I am so so so excited!!!! 🙂 I’ll give you a sneak peek at the wedding invitations we designed together too!

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BBQ

BBQ somewhat slowed down, only 2 BBQ competitions in 2 months… not too shabby… plus a couple catering jobs. The husband just won’t stop! The TV show he filmed a small part for starts this month too! He’s part of a focus group on a food related show coming out on Lifetime, but his episode probably won’t air until September… I’ll keep you posted.

Long Beach

Last year Long Beach was the craziest BBQ competition, in regards to vending, that we had ever been a part of. Double lines, 50 people deep, nonstop until we sold out of food. This year we came prepared to vend vend vend—we sold the same amount of food as the big guys who have been on national BBQ shows and were able to keep our line down. We were mighty proud of ourselves by the end of the day and then the boys were still able to compete at their finest by winning a second in pork and a 10th in chicken out of 55 teams. Read Rooftop’s blog on the event here.

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Pechanga

Pechanga was a great event! We only planned to sell our leftover food so we didn’t feel the usual rush and stress. We even had a 3 hour break before awards! Then during awards the boys were called in 3 of the 4 categories, taking home 8th in chicken, 9th in pork, and a FIRST in brisket. I don’t know if I have ever seen Andy happier than getting that first place call! See Rooftop’s post here.

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Follow past and upcoming Babies, Brides and BBQ here!

Another Year of Babies, Brides, and BBQ (March & April)

I really thought life couldn’t be crazier than it was last year, but this year has seriously been insane! I am so blessed with the work that I have been doing and get to do, but I am ever so thankful for these babies and being the matron of honor to my best friend bride to be, Amie! Oh and I guess I am thankful for BBQ too. 😉

Babies!

So so many babies! From the ones turning 1 and the newborns and the ones still getting ready for their arrivals!

Owen

This last month we celebrated little Chunk’s first birthday. He has changed so much these last two months, losing so much of the chub and is looking more and more like a little man. And of course, celebrating his first birthday just made me think all the more of the day he blessed Jamie and Joey one year ago!

P.S. He even got his first haircut last week! So looking forward to seeing him in person!

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Grayson

After not seeing Grayson much this first part of the year, I got to make up for it so much in April alone! We got to go and visit our friends in Redlands right before Kyrene had little Parker. And then of course he was on hand to strut his cute little stuff at his best friend Owen’s first birthday. Plus he was on hand at Lynzie’s wedding last month! Next up, his first birthday this May! Eeek!

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Parker

Our newest babe is now 2 weeks old! Little Parker made his debut just weeks ago (which you can read more about here) and he’s already stolen our hearts… seeing his big brother with him was just the cutest thing ever… that look of curiosity in Hudson’s eyes was just adorable. And he was so gentle with him! We even got to grab a few photos of him propped up on their living room table! For a spontaneous photo shoot, I thought they came out pretty good! Plus I even got a photo with the 3 day old!

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Amelia

Miss Amelia is planning her debut for this coming July. You all know her mommy quite well by now as she has been featured here quite a few times as a model and my Disneyland buddy.

Her baby shower is just weeks away, and I love how her invitations have come out! I gave you a little sneak peek into those last month!

And you also got a glimpse at this glowing mother to be’s first maternity portraits a few weeks ago but here’s one you haven’t seen yet!

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Molly

Well this was the baby I hinted to in my last post… our wonderful bestie Trisha is having a baby girl this coming September and we could not be happier for her!! I am so looking forward to these coming months of seeing little Trisha’s belly growing, planning the baby shower, and then of course the anticipation of holding little miss Molly!

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Brides

Amie

I think what I love most about the wedding planning stage is how much time I get to spend with the bride. Seriously, I think I have seen Amie more these past 4 months than I have seen here these past 4 years!

These last two months we have found our bridesmaid dresses, created a wedding website (pankratzwedding.com), designed and sent out Save the Dates (will show those next time :)), and then gone to the L.A. shopping district to pick out linenes and other items. Of course that’s just what I have been involved in, Amie has just been busy busy busy getting ready for her wedding. And I can. not. wait!

I don’t think there’s going to be too much to show in my next post come June but the next post in August will include her Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival bridal shower! Uh yeah, I like complicated and lengthy shower themes. 🙂

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Lynzie

Bonus bride here! In case you missed Lynzie’s gorgeous wedding… check out her photos from J. Rose Photography here or my few formals here.

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BBQ

March and April were very busy months for Rooftop, I wasn’t able to make it to a couple of them though… but good news is, Rooftop BBQ brought home 2 more Reserve Grand Championships (2nd place overall)!! Andy’s goal for the year is to win their first Grand Championship, so here’s to another step closer to making it to that!

Santa Anita

Santa Anita was a crazy busy competition at the race track… busy for our boys to keep up vending to the crowds. I love this competition though, its held within the infield of the track so the horse races go around all around us—literally! Plus its on grass (aaaahhhhh say my feet!) and that time of year is generally a little cooler. I rarely get photos of me at a BBQ event so I thought I’d show this one of me turning in all the hundreds of tasting tickets—for every two of those was a BBQ sample leaving Rooftop to happy waiting mouths. 🙂

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Sam’s Club Series

I missed both of the Sam’s Club events! So so sad about that, especially since the first was in Salt Lake City, Utah where the guys got to stay with Andy’s aunt (remember how beautiful it is there!?). And even more amazingly, they won their second Reserve Grand Championship! Which led to them competing in Vegas just last week. You can read more about Salt Lake right here on the Rooftop Blog.

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Stagecoach

Just last night I posted a few Instagram shots from our “weekend” at Stagecoach, what a weekend it was… the guys divided into two teams and then cooked 3 total competitions (chili on Friday, and then two chicken entries, two rib entries, two brisket, and one pork) each! The last two years we served up 500 tastings a day, but this year between our two teams we served up 600 samples and only served our leftover meat from the competition entries.

It was really a great weekend, plus at night we got to see some of the bands—another awesome change this year was being within the main Stagecoach area so we could actually see the stage from our booth! The last night, we all just brought our chairs just outside the pit area and watched the concerts right from there.

I just have to show this photo though, its a rare occasion to have a group photo! This is my BBQ family. 🙂 Andy wouldn’t be where he is today without the help and support of all these people. Go Rooftop!

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Oh and of course, I have to tell you how awesome the guys did in competing!! They collectively won nine top 10 calls in addition to winning Reserve Grand Champion on Saturday!

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And lastly, here’s a video of our weekend at Stagecoach, a little bit of work and a little bit of fun adds up to a pretty great weekend!

Follow past and upcoming Babies, Brides and BBQ here!

Photo A Day, April—Week 4

Last Thursday’s photo prompt was Life is… and my answer was life is Stagecoach. Because this past week truly was all about Stagecoach (except the first two photos :)).

From Friday thru late late Sunday, I was at Stagecoach with some of my best friends and my parents. While it is a TON of work, especially for our guys on the BBQ competition team, it is a lot of fun too! I mean it’s all about country music, so what’s not to love?

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23/time, 24/I saw this person today, 25/life is…., 26/childhood, 27/earth, 28/my Sunday, 29/I wore this [to]day, 30/glasses

I follow Fat Mum Slim’s blog for the Photo A Day prompts, join us for the month of May!

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