Wednesday, November 14, 2018

My kind of town

A couple of weeks ago, we drove up to Chicago for a gathering with my dad's side of the family. It had been over two years since we were in Chicago, and Nolan and Ephraim didn't remember much, so we started off by showing them the house I grew up in, the hospital I was born, my elementary school, my college, etc. . . which are all within the same square mile or so.

My house from when I was born until I started high school.

A block away from my house, the very best hot dogs in the world are served at Wolfy's.

I should also add they have the best fries and chocolate shakes in the world, too!

After lunch, we went for a walk around my alma mater. Since it was a Saturday, the campus was really quiet, and the leaves were really showing off!

Ten years ago, I was a senior, taking my last college classes, living with my four roommates, student teaching, and dreaming about a diamond ring. It's pretty awesome to see how things have panned out since then. :)

Next, we visited the cemetery where my dad and sister are buried. And we followed that with driving past the Home Alone house.

Seeing it made me excited for watching Christmas movies!

We met up with the rest of my family for dinner. Aunt Meg and Uncle Brian spoiled us with Lou Malnati's pizza, fresh salad, bruschetta, and a yummy apple cake.

When we got to the hotel, August was wiped out from his first Chicago adventure. :)

Our biggest reason for going to Chicago was that my grandma's ashes were going to be buried in the columbarium at my aunt and uncle's church that Sunday. The pastor gave a short blessing before we placed the box in the earth.

We each took a turn covering up the box of ashes.

Grandma passed away in March, but Thanksgiving marks a year since I last saw her. I miss her very much.

After church, my grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered for lunch at Corner Bakery.

It's always a fun time with these guys!

August took a little while to warm up to Wally, but then he really enjoyed playing with a dog at his own height :)

A red Dala big enough to ride on!

I was so proud of my grandpa for taking the train from Minneapolis for the weekend.  It had been a long time since he (and Grandma) had gone on a trip that big.

My Aunt Evie and cousin Sarah bought me some pretty macarons and told me not to share them with anyone... I didn't. :)

I got this recipe for this white chocolate Halloween bark from Astleigh. It was really good, and the boys loved the googly eyes.

So, we really didn't have a plan for Halloween. At the last minute, I took the boys to JoAnn Fabrics, bought two yards of green flannel and spent the afternoon sewing kilts! My three William Wallaces were the cutest. And they were so into shouting, "Freedom!" all night long. ;)

Some background: when Steve and I were summer camp counselors, the staff and campers played a big game called "Braveheart" every week (imagine a giant capture-the-flag game with red face paint for the English and blue face paint for the Scottish, and everyone running around looking for hidden medallions and pulling people's flags). We're starting the boys early.

Taking stock of their candy! Apparently this neighborhood gets no trick-or-treaters, so the few houses that we went to were very generous to us!

August found a little hiding spot under the dining room table.

On the weekend, we went to the November Home Depot kids' workshop and made army helicopters.

August got an apron, and he was so excited about it!

I've been baking some recipes from the Magnolia Table cookbook, and these lemon bars (though not that pretty) were amazing!

Happy to go home with stickers and a lollipop from Trader Joe's.

Our niece turned 4, and we celebrated with dinner and cake at Chick-Fil-A.

Wild and crazy times in the play place.

One chilly night last week, I made this baked potato soup. It really hit the spot!

After 20 days of a broken furnace, the home warranty company finally replaced it! It was a challenging couple of weeks trying to keep our house warm with space heaters while waiting on an answer from the company. We've lived in our house for three months, and we've had to replace both the hot water heater and the furnace. We are crossing our fingers that nothing else breaks!

 Last week, we took the boys with us to vote, and they were happy to go home with "I voted" stickers. It was fun to share more about the process with them.

I'm getting really excited for Thanksgiving next week, seeing family, and sharing good food together. It's always one of my favorite holidays.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October recap

Looking back on all of these photos from October, we had a really great month! Sure, there was the onset of cold weather, a case of croup, and a (still) broken furnace. . . but there was also a trip to the zoo, an afternoon at the apple orchard, and a visit to Chicago (I'll save that last one for my next post). I'll definitely miss October as we inch closer to winter!

Here's a recap of what we've been up to!

August checking out the pumpkins on a Trader Joe's run.

We'll miss our evening walks now that the sun is going down so early!

Nolan and Ephraim played their last soccer games of the season! 

It seemed like they started really early for fall soccer (first week of August), but it was really nice that they ended the season before the real cold hit.

Cousins facing off in "Don't Break the Ice". :)  We had a really nice visit from Steve's parents and  brothers.

7 cousins - ages 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 14!

We were ready for some October baseball, but the Cubs were out of the post-season after their first game. Can't wait til next season!

We made strawberry buckle muffins, and they were delicious! I posted the recipe here.

It was somewhere around 70 degrees when we made our way to the apple orchard. When we only do a tradition once a year, sometimes the boys remember the experience and sometimes they don't. I think Nolan may have remembered apple-picking from last-year, but for the other two, it was a brand new thing! :)

We tasted a few apples in the orchard, and they were so incredibly delicious!

We came home with plenty of "blushing goldens". They're our favorite.

The older two boys had mild colds at the end of September, and when August caught the bug, he  developed a cough without other symptoms. After a couple of rough nights, we were concerned about his breathing, so we took him to the doctor. She immediately knew it was croup and prescribed him a steroid. Soon, he was as good as new, praise God!

One sunny, but chilly day, we met up with the girl cousins at the park. It was a really fun morning!

We had chosen our living room to be white, but something about it looked really dull, and the yellowish wood walls were showing through quite a bit. We went to Lowe's and picked out a gray paint, and we were immediately happy with the change!

It looks nice to have more of a contrast with the ceiling. When the sun is shining, the gray looks a lot lighter than in this photo.

Lil Batman on a Target trip :)

Steve and I got to go downtown on a Saturday night for a gala at the library. Ephraim really wanted a photo with me before we left :)

The library looks like an old, beautiful museum!

We got to meet John Green (the author of "The Fault in Our Stars" and other really popular books)!

Sometimes I find these two cuddling while watching TV.

We went to the zoo for one last time before winter. We saw the dolphin show again, which was awesome, and checked on a few of our favorite animals.

Later on in the week, we read a news article that one of the lions had been killed (by his mate) on the same day that we were there! So sad!

We picked up a Giordano's pizza on the way home, and it was amazing!

I taught their Sunday School class, and it was just the three of them, which was sweet. :)

August's favorite spot at the end of church each week.

The boys have watched lots of Muppet movies lately, so Ephraim drew all of these cute characters.

We've been reading "The Boxcar Children" books at night, which has been so fun, and a blast from the past for me!

Getting some yardwork done! August was trying to help trim the bushes with a flyswatter. :)

Thanks for checking in on us. Hope your November is off to a great start!



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