Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie

I know Christmas was already a few weeks ago, but I am finally sitting down and sorting through our photos from our time in Pennsylvania. It felt so good and comfortable to be back home, and we really enjoyed our time with Steve's parents, brothers, nieces, and my parents as well. 

Of course we like our new life in Indiana, but every time I saw our old house, I just about burst into tears. We left behind so much in our big move.

It takes us about 9 hours (including stops) to get to PA. Here we were at a rest stop, and August was taking his turn at the wheel. :)

We made it to Grandma and Grandpa's house, and the older kids played Monopoly until their attention spans faded.

We exchanged gifts with Steve's side on Christmas Eve Eve.

The Legos came out of their boxes quickly! I can't believe how good the kids all are at building.

Uncle Phil and Aunt Dana got August a xylophone, and he wasted no time showing us how it's done.

Our sweet third baby does a great job at going-with-the-flow when it comes to nap time. Knock on wood, he still easily falls asleep in the car.

While we were in PA, it seemed like August learned to do a lot of new things all at once. Here he is showing us "SO BIG!"

On Christmas Eve, we ate our traditional ham and rice pudding dinner with my mom and Don, and we opened presents with them.

The Christmas Eve service at church is always so special. We sing"Silent Night" with everyone holding candles, all in a huge circle around the sanctuary. It always is a little nerve-wracking to give three-year-olds candles, haha.

The boys on Christmas morning at MorMor and Papa Don's house, opening up Cars' "Miss Fritter" and "Rusty and Dusty" from Santa. They were super happy!

Christmas Day is also Uncle Phil's birthday, so here the kids are singing to him and helping blow out the candles on his birthday brownies.

Grandpa and Grandma Zimm with their seven grandchildren. :)

August was trying to play with N's beautiful curly hair, and when she moved away from him, he took two steps toward her!

He waited a long time for his first Christmas! Our Christmas tree was still up when he was born last year.

Three bros.

Phil and Dana stayed in a hotel, so we went with them to check out the pool. Nolan had fun going down a water slide for the first time!

Ivy was happy to spend some time with us. We miss her very much, but she is doing well in her new home with my in-laws.

My mom found us matching mother-daughter jammies. Maybe this can be a new tradition? :)

It was such a wonderful Christmas, and we were thankful to spend an entire week with our family and friends. We celebrated August's first birthday with a little party while we were there, and I'll get those photos up next!


Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year and a fresh start in 2018! 

These were my "Best Nine" of 2017 on Instagram. This was definitely the year of August, and I will treasure all the memories that we made with him this year. He turns one on Saturday, and I can't even believe it. I will miss all his baby-ness!

I did not do well at blogging this year, and I struggle at finding the time to keep up with it. Documenting our photos and writing down important things to remember are still very important to me, so I will keep it going as long as I can. Thank you for faithfully coming back to our little spot on the internet.

Now I'm off to watch The Crown, drink some hot tea (it's 0 degrees tonight!), and write down some resolutions.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I'm not really sure where the time has gone, but here we are! We are enjoying these days with family, and our hearts are very happy. Every year gets a little bit better as we watch our boys' eyes light up with excitement for Christmas and all that comes with it.

Here's a little photo recap from our December thus far:

I found these vintage stockings at Goodwill last year after Christmas for something like 40 cents a piece. Being only a few days from my due date, I was excited to find the Baby's First Christmas for the following year!

After two years of cutting down our own big blue spruces, it felt like somewhat of a letdown to put up our small artificial tree this year. But August is an equal-opportunity-Christmas-tree lover, so we are okay :)

Our annual matching jammies Christmas photo. This is the first time all three of them wore matching outfits. Be still my heart!

Whenever I see those dimples, I have to try and get a picture. They make me so happy.

Lowe's may have stopped doing the kids' workshops, but we found Home Depot! The boys made little wooden gingerbread houses, and it was a lot of fun.

I didn't get any other photos of it, but we went to Back to Bethlehem, and they had a live nativity (a live entire Bethlehem), including baby calves and sheep and donkeys--and even a camel!

Baby August turned 11 months old! I'm in denial about his fast-approaching birthday. As far as milestones, we've seen him stand without holding on a few times, he started clapping last month (and now it's our favorite party trick), he points to show us things, and he seems to understand a lot of words. He still doesn't sleep through the night, not even close. His favorite foods are milk, yogurt, bananas, and fresh bread.

I can't stop taking napping photos. He looks so peaceful.

Cousin love :) 

I'm really working on finding quiet moments in my otherwise very-loud life.

We went to Christmas at the Zoo last week! We went at dusk, so we didn't see the lights in their full effect, but it was still really pretty!

My favorite animal to visit - the bears! Can you spot him?

It was cool to see real reindeer! The line to visit Santa was two hours long, so we were a little disappointed, but we did say "hey" to Mrs. Clause!

I quoted this on my Instagram, and I keep coming back to it this season:

"My desire for beautiful, sparkly Christmas moments was edging out my ability to live well in my own actual life, and I recognized this feeling as one I'd grappled with all my life. I could either wrestle my life and my kids and my house and our Christmas into something fantastic, something perfect, or I could plunk myself down right in the middle of the mess and realize that the mess is actually my life, the only one I'll ever get, the one I'm in danger of missing completely, waiting around for fantastic." Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect.

Our little rental house looks merry with a few decorations here and there. It's strange to think this will probably be our only Christmas in this house. My sentimental self is already getting attached to it.

We bought an A-frame gingerbread kit from Trader Joe's. Nolan and Ephraim really loved putting it together and decorating it with candy!

This month, we've borrowed a lot of Christmas books and movies from the library. We have a really great local library, and we try to get there once a week.

We learned about Santa Lucia and Saint Nicholas and the history of the Christmas tree in our Barbara Cooney written/illustrated books.

I've always wanted to make homemade marshmallows, and it turned out to be a pretty easy experiment. I used Ina Garten's vanilla marshmallow recipe. They were an amazing texture, and tasted really rich.

I hope you all have the MERRIEST Christmas Eve and Christmas day! 

May you remember that tiny baby in the manger who grew up to be our Jesus, our Savior, the light of the world.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Thanksgiving in Minnesota

 My dad's side of the family always gets together for Thanksgiving in Minneapolis. The last time that Steve and I went was in 2012, when Nolan was just one-year-old. We really wanted to go again, but it took us a long time to decide if we could make it happen (based on the weather, finances, a 9 hour drive with three kids). We saw that no snow or rain was on the forecast, and Thanksgiving day was going to be a balmy 40 degrees, so we decided to go for it! And we ended up having an amazing trip!

On Wednesday, we drove as far as Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and the boys did really well in the car! Thursday morning, we headed in to Minneapolis to my Aunt Karen's house. No one on this side of the family had met August yet, so he had 32 special people to be introduced to! Here he is with Aunt Meg.

 His Great-Grandma LaVerne and Great-Grandpa Don were very happy to hold him. :)

<3 <3 <3

Grandma trying on the Mr Potato Head glasses :)

There was an unplanned blue plaid theme going on.

My cousins and me with our grandparents. 

Serious game-playing happened in the basement all day Thursday and Friday. 

August & Uncle Paul. August used to smile at everyone he saw, but now he gives this tough look while he's checking out a new person.  :)

Over a year ago, I found the graves of my grandma's parents. I didn't realize that my grandpa's parents were buried in the same cemetery, so this time, we went back and found them.

My great-grandpa Harold's gravestone was covered in overgrown grass and wet leaves, so Steve was resourceful and cleaned it up with baby wipes, water, and a dry diaper :)  Right next to it, my great-grandma Ragne's stone was perfectly clean. Harold was Danish, and Ragne was Norwegian, and both passed before I was born. The boys did a crayon-rubbing of the stones, which they thought was pretty cool.

On Friday, we went back to my Aunt Karen's house for our lefse-making Norwegian tradition.

Lefse is like a potato tortilla, and our favorite way of eating it is with butter and brown sugar. Mmm!

On Friday afternoon, several of us went to see the new US Bank Stadium where the Vikings play. It was larger than life!

Our whole family chipped in to buy a brick in memory of my dad. The bricks are the floor of this outdoor Viking ship.

Uncle John showed Nolan where to find my dad's brick.

Katie's two boys stayed in Nebraska with their dad, so she had a lot of attention to give Nolan and Ephraim. They totally fell in love with her!

The baby at the bow of the ship. It says, "Honor your legacy. Defend the north."

We ate dinner downtown at the Old Spaghetti Factory. After waiting an hour for seats, we waited two and a half more hours for food. We kept ourselves entertained with telling all of our engagement stories, and it ended up being a lot of fun! :)

We spent two nights with my cousin Lindsay and her family. The boys really liked playing with her kids!

Two days was not long enough to spend in Minneapolis, but we had to head home on Saturday. On the plus side though, we were able to stop and see my other grandpa on the way!

We had dinner at Culver's and really enjoyed our time with Grandpa and Gayle!

We had such a great trip, and I honestly wish we could do it all over again! I think the boys will carry memories of this weekend for a long, long time!



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