Tuesday, December 23, 2014

#3

I sort of slipped this in at the end of my previous post, but decided later that it might be worth a post of its own. ;)


Baby #3 is due on Elliot's birthday, May 15th.

Poor Elliot. As if being the middle child won't be challenging enough, he may have to share his birthday with another little one. Extra prayers for that boy...

We are all getting a little more excited by the day. It is still feeling a bit surreal, though!

The Merriest Christmas



Happy, happy holidays, and merry Christmas to you. I feel like this is already the merriest Christmas I've had in years. Maybe the merriest ever? I actually feel bad typing that because my family---my sweet, enduring, patient family---has seen me at my worst and grouchiest lately, but I really do feel this has been a wonderful season.



Andrew and I decided to not exchange gifts this year because we will be taking a trip the weekend after Christmas. The kids will each receive a couple of things... nothing fancy. I stuck to this idea: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. I actually didn't even get the kids books because they each received one from one of my uncles. 




We didn't plan anything for Christmas Day that will involve driving, leaving the house, or even getting out of our pajamas. I'm pretty excited to spend the day having coffee, cookies, and snuggling up with my babies. And cooking a big fish. Mmmmm. 


Like I mentioned earlier, we will be leaving for a couple of weeks, so I wish you all the merriest Christmas! We will be back with photos and stories from our road trip to Banff. I am so excited to spend New Years in the mountains! It's also our 5 year (engagement) anniversary on New Years Day. Who could have guessed where we would be 5 years later---two kids, & a third on the way. We have been blessed so abundantly.


Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2015: the year

I am a very goal oriented person. I thrive on deadlines. Like most people, I may procrastinate from time to time, but I really love the process of checking things off of a list. This probably explains why I love New Years. The feeling of leaving one year and entering the next is soooo good. It's like an automatic fresh start! To quote Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." I love that.

I was thinking of things I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year. Not necessarily even goals, but things I would like to do. I decided to narrow the mental list down to just 30 things---some just fun activities, and others, personal goals. Here is what I have come up with:

1. Exercise more
2. Plant a tree
3. Volunteer somewhere new
4. Invite a stranger to dinner
5. Send snail mail
6. Paint a self portrait
7. Study another language
8. Give generously
9. Knit a sweater
10. Go on a picnic
11. Write a short story
12. Read (at least) one book per month
13. Make donuts 
14. Save money
15. Take a road trip
16. Go camping 
17. Visit a new state
18. Don't buy any new clothes (for the entire year)
19. Maintain the current in one-out one policy for everything in the home
20. Host a dinner party
21. Have a lemonade stand with the kids
22. Build a snow fort
23. Memorize scripture
24. Grow more produce
25. Bring a neighbor cookies
26. Take a community ed class
27. Swim in a lake
28. Conquer an old fear
29. Forgive people
30. Read the bible every day


Seems doable, right? Guess we will have to find out. Yay, 2015! And p.s. 2014, you haven't been so bad.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

when things don't go as planned

I can admit, our decision to move halfway across the state was a bit rushed. It really felt like the timing was right! Andrew's job had relocated, we had found the perfect new home, and had a lot of interest in our current home, meaning it would be easy to sell. But things didn't work out that way.

I've been sort of contemplating how to even phrase it all... the series of events that led to this moment. There's not a lot to say. The timing wasn't right. God had something else in store---something very unexpected, and very challenging.

We took my 19 year old sister in and began to work with her, not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into. Now she has left, and is, hopefully, going to truly begin her life, free of the past.

The story is long. Emotional. Painful. And still a little too fresh to dig into. We are praying for her, and trusting that all of this---all of the changes, dreams put on hold ... all of the sacrifices---were for her benefit. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.


More soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Minnesota State Fair

Yesterday night, I took Eve to the Minnesota State fair. I have brought her to the fair three, maybe four times before? But this was definitely the first year she enjoyed it. She's finally old enough to participate in things! She wanted to go on pretty much every ride in the midway, but has, like, 20 more inches to grow before that's going to happen. She also wanted to eat pretty much everything there, and it was fun having her decide what she wanted to spend her money on. We bought this giant ice cream after being at the fair all of ten minutes. Priorities! Sprinkles! My friend Heather accompanied us to the fair, and while we were walking around I realized we actually met at the fair 5 years ago. So we had a little friendiversary moment.

A few more photos after the jump.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

our independence day


Elliot woke up early (like, really early) and I decided to just stay up with him. Of course, he is already back to sleep and I'm alone now but... blog post!


Yesterday we went to my grandparent's house in Stillwater, MN for the evening. Their house is my absolute favorite place in the world. My grandparents are in their mid eighties, and aren't sure how much longer they will be able to stay in the house, so I am over there as often as I can be, just absorbing as much of the place as I can. I never really thought I would have children of my own running in that back yard. It's a great feeling.




We all had dinner, sat out on the deck and just talked all night... nothing fancy. The kids ran around, my dad set off a lot of fireworks (he is kind of the biggest kid out there), and Eve was loving it. She held a sparkler at one point, but that was about it. Eve is a very delicate creature. Doesn't like to be sticky, doesn't like to wear anything that isn't a "ballerina dress", ... we butt heads. A lot. But man, I love that kid. She lights up a room.






Being at my grandparent's place made me feel really excited to move to the country. I actually kind of wish we could move into their house. Having moved around so much growing up, I don't really have a place I consider 'home', so I guess coming back to this place during the summers & whatnot is sort of the closest feeling to home I know. My grandpa built his house with his own two hands---people just don't do that anymore. He is pretty incredible. Who knows, maybe that is a possibility? It's definitely worth praying about.

Hope you all had a happy 4th of July!

xo

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

life lately

just a few photos of our summer, so far.












Our summer days have been filled with ruffly swimsuits, evenings at the playground, bunnies in the backyard, and other things. So far, so good.

P.S. Those buns are brioche, and the recipe is from the fauxmartha. They are TO DIE FOR.

Monday, June 30, 2014

grateful heart

Hey all.

I'm starting off this week linking up with Ember Grey's grateful heart Monday.

There is so much to be grateful for, but this week I am especially grateful for this past weekend! We were able to get away for a couple of days as a family and it was soooooo nice. It definitely wasn't the perfect vacation, but we were able to walk away from it with only a few tears shed (mostly mine... okay, some from Eve, too) so I'd say it was a success.




We went camping in southern MN. When we got there, the woman working in the state park office was super kind, and immediately upgraded us to a better site because there were a lot of cancellations. I was kind of wondering why people were leaving...? I thought it had to do with the flooding that has been causing a lot of problems in the area, but it turns out it was because of the awful mosquitoes! No joke, within, like, 20 minutes of getting out of the car, my kids' faces looked like they had the chicken pox. :( It was so bad. I am a camper, and have camped in pretty extreme conditions, but this was by far the most difficult situation I've ever been in on a camping trip. What can you do when your defenseless kids are being eaten alive!?

We stuck it out one night... then left early and went to a hotel. Ha! It all worked out though. The kids were troopers. And to be clear, I didn't cry because of the mosquitoes. We picked a campground that's near a lot of amazing hiking trails, but unfortunately a lot of the trails were super muddy or underwater entirely. I cried because I fell and slid down a ridiculously muddy hill WHILE HOLDING EVE because God forbid she step in the mud (she is a little princess), and it was just a totally awful, slightly embarrassing event. She was screaming at the top of her lungs, I was screaming, Andrew and Elliot were like a quarter of a mile away, totally fine, ... sigh. Camping adventures. Somehow, Eve only ended up with a tiny blob of mud on her foot. I was literally covered in mud, head to toe. Oh well.



It's good to be home, and we will try again next year.

Happy Monday!

Ember Grey

Thursday, June 19, 2014

taking stock

This play on currently-type blog posts has been circulating around the internet---however, it was Dani Hampton's blog that inspired me to take the plunge. I like the idea of filling one of these out every month or so, to look back on how everything was going/what I was feeling at the time!



Making:
 Lots of gluten free recipes. Eve has told me a couple of times lately that her tummy hurts. You never know with toddlers, but I thought we would give gluten free a shot, or at the very least, less gluten. There are several gluten allergies in my family, so it wouldn't be a surprise if she has one. We have been kickin' it with quinoa!
Cooking:
 Quinoa. Roasted vegetables. Veggie omelets for Andrew every Friday morning. 
Drinking:
 Water. However, as of this week I have officially weaned Elliot so BRING ON THE WHITE WINE!
Reading:
 I am reading The Fault in Our Stars because my kid sister told me to. It's been good so far, but only making me want to read more books. I need summer book recommendations! 
Wanting:
 it to be next weekend already because I booked us a little family camping trip!
Looking:
 at Elliot, chomping away on some green puffs. 
Playing:
 peekaboo with him. He is in my closet. 
Wasting:
 nothing, really! We have been getting rid of things, as always, trying to simplify, but we have either given things to friends or to Goodwill. 
Sewing:
 nothing right now... nothing for, like, a year. Ha!
Wishing: for the right person or family to buy our house. 
Enjoying:
 Summer weather!
Waiting:
 for the girls to wake up from their naps so I can keep packing up the storage room upstairs. 
Liking:
 my long hair, but I feel like I should cut it? It has been growing ridiculously fast. 
Wondering:
 if we can really pull this move off. 
Loving: 
fresh herbs from the garden. I absolutely love going out back and snipping a bunch of whatever I need. It's the best. 
Hoping:
 that Andrew has a successful week at work. 
Marveling:
 at my beautiful kids, and how fast they are growing up. My hormones have been a little crazy with weaning, but I am such a sap. I could just stare at my babies and cry all day. 
Needing:
 more than 5 hours of sleep... 
Smelling:
 lemon essential oil. mmm.
Wearing:
 plain t shirts and colorful shorts. Every day. 
Following:
 along with the world cup!
Noticing:
 the sunsets every night. God is such an amazing artist. 
Feeling:
 so emotional. It happens when your hormones are shifting, I guess. I'm looking forward to feeling like my old self again. 
Opening:
 the mail... everyone gets pretty excited about the mail around here. 

Feeling: excited for the future!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

perfect chocolate chip cookies



My all time favorite dessert is chocolate chip cookies. I think perfectly made chocolate chip cookies are one of the best things on earth, actually. I probably make these more than I should, but we always have company at our house, neighbors to thank, friends who need a little treat, and there are always hungry kids around, so the cookies don't last long.

I think most bakers have a chocolate cookie recipe they refer to, and this is mine. There are definitely more complicated, overnight-chilled, more-ingredient recipes I use, but this is my standard. It's a go-to for me, and I think it's perfect.



Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
flaky sea salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix softened butter with brown sugar. Add white sugar, and mix these until fully combined. Add eggs one at a time, and incorporate until fully combined. Add vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients, folding it in until just combined. Don't over mix! Add the entire bag of chocolate chips because YOLO.

Bake by rounded tablespoon-ful at 375 degrees for exactly 10 minutes. (This is how long I leave them in my oven. You may need to adjust a little depending on how hot your oven gets. Trial and error!) The cookies might look a little underdone. Sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt.

Let them cool, and they will be perfectly soft, gooey, and chocolatey. This recipe should yield around 4 dozen cookies. I make them a little bit small, so I can eat more of them obviously!



Today I split the dough in half before adding the chocolate chips. One half I made the usual way, and to the other half of the dough I added 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and about 1 cup of white chocolate chips. YUM. The possibilities are endless with cookies. That must be why I love them so much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

out in the garden


I took this photo before weeding the area today. Lots... of... clover...











My garden this year is a bit small. I don't have as many things growing as I normally do---I knew since we are moving, a lot of what I typically plant would be ready around the time we are planning to move, and therefore useless! But what is growing is thriving.



Today I snipped some cilantro to use with the leftover BBQ pork quesadillas I made for lunch. Yum! I love having a garden, and planning meals around what is the freshest out there.



And I have a super cute little garden helper.


all photos taken with my iphone. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

back again

What day is it today? Is it really only Monday?

Okay. I inadvertently took a three week long blogging absence. Totally wasn't planned, and I actually have, like, three posts that I started writing? I just couldn't make it happen. It has been a little crazy around here.

We officially have our house on the market. (!!!) This is bittersweet. I love this house, and I love Minneapolis, but it's time. We have already been in talks with the lovely owners of our farm house about when we will begin moving out there, etc, so it's time to get this ball rolling. It is so crazy! We would have never bought this place if we knew we would be turning around and selling it a year and a half later. It's a little bit nuts, honestly. But this house has been a dream, and, I mean, my baby was born in it! The memories here are all good ones, and it will be just as much fun to move into our next house & start creating new memories.

Speaking of moving, another move happened last week... My youngest sister moved in with us. My parents are moving back to Japan this fall, and Madeline decided to stay here in the states. When my parents initially told us that they were moving, I, of course, offered to take Madeline if need be. She is 18, and technically an adult, but doesn't really have any college aspirations, and hasn't really had much experience yet as far as working. I know it will be a little while before she is comfortable with getting a job, apartment, etc. So, yeah, naturally, we offered her a room here. I guess I didn't know she would accept? I mean, Japan! But she is here, and I'm looking forward to getting to know my baby sister a little bit this summer. We are 8 years apart and haven't lived under the same roof for about 10 years now, so a lot has changed. Also, HELLO BUILT IN BABYSITTER. Yes.


Anyway, the babies are asleep, and I am about to put my feet up with a book. I just wanted to squeeze out a little post here while I had a minute. It feels good to be back!

xo


Monday, May 19, 2014

grateful heart



It's Monday, which means I am linking up with Ember Grey to share something I am grateful for.

Over the weekend we celebrated Elliot's first birthday (he turned one on May 15th) with my family & some extended relatives. While I always love seeing family, it was an extra special party because my grandparents were able to come! They hadn't seen our house since we moved in. They are in their mid eighties and aren't getting around very much these days, so it was truly an honor to have them over. I had relationships with 5 of 8 great grandparents growing up, and it's such a blessing to see my kids interact with my grandparents, too. I have thought Elliot resembles my grandpa Fox for a long time now, and this is only being confirmed as he grows up and comes into his features.



My grandparents are so full of wisdom. They have traveled the entire world, and they have done so many amazing, selfless things. They inspire me, and have been such a source of comfort throughout my life. Picking raspberries from my grandmother's garden is one of my earliest memories, and that alone created in me a love for gardening, which is a huge part of who I am now.

I know, I'm a little sappy! But I know this was the only time my grandparents will ever be in my house, and it won't be long now until they move out of their own home, their home my grandpa built with his bare hands, and into a retirement home. It's been a thrill to introduce my babies to them, and to receive their blessings over our little family.

We love you!


Ember Grey

Thanks, always, to Ember Grey for hosting the link up!


Monday, May 12, 2014

madeline's prom




Over the weekend, I had a chance to take some pictures of my littlest sister, Madeline, her boyfriend, and another couple of her friends before they went to prom. These guys had places in mind where they wanted to take photos, so my other sister Lauren and I followed them around St. Paul, taking orders. ;) We had a lot of fun exploring the city, and these girls looked so beautiful! Lauren and I never went to our proms so we were kind of living vicariously through Madeline and her friends. Just a little.