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!


Thursday, November 30, 2017

November favorites

Today's the last day of November, and I'm getting out Christmas boxes from the garage and dusting off my Amy Grant cds! I think the boys are going to be so excited to see our little rental house get spruced up with reds and greens and twinkle lights!

I just put away the fall things yesterday. I find myself missing the mantel and fireplace at our old house more and more! It was so much fun to decorate, and it was one of the only spots in the house that none of the kids could reach :)

I haven't mentioned Mads + Grace Co yet on the blog, but I love this little Etsy shop! The teething bead necklaces are so gorgeous and minimalistic, and they're basically August's favorite things too. If you want 15% off of a purchase, use the code RACHELMGC!

August's 10 month photo. Keeping up with him is no easy task, but every minute with him is such a joy. He's eating all kinds of textures of finger foods now (shredded cheese, chunks of bread, banana slices), and the doctor told me to plump him up with whole milk yogurt and butter and caloric things. He crawls and cruises all around the house, and he laughs so hard when we try to chase him on our knees. He is willing to be passed around and loved on by family and friends and even new people, but he is always happy to be back with Mommy. :)

One of my favorite parts of our homeschool is mixing nature with art.

I've been buying the chocolate "live g-free" baking mix from Aldi, even though I'm not gluten free. The cookies are so good! I freeze them, and then I pull them out one at a time as middle-of-the-night-nursing-the-baby treats.

Starting him young!

My three sweethearts.

The leaves are just about gone, and it's getting dark so early. I'm trying to embrace it, but it's tough! This Indiana sunset was very beautiful the other night.

For the past couple of years, I've wanted to make my own bread, but I've found it's really something you have to make a routine or a habit of. I think I"m finally getting the hang of it! I found a great oatmeal bread recipe, and it's made with molasses (just like my Grandma used to make) . . . so delicious!

Another photo of August snuggling with Scouty during naptime :)

This one is our artist. He is constantly coloring, and I find papers and markers and crayons all over the dining room floor every day. I love the marker stripe on his cheek!

Three-year-old cousins sharing a pizza.

His smile and his excitement about life are contagious.

Next up . . . photos from our Thanksgiving trip to Minneapolis!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Kutless album giveaway ALPHA | OMEGA


When I was offered a chance to review the new Kutless album, "Alpha / Omega," my first instinct was to say no, because I considered them in the heavy rock category--like Skillet--which isn't my favorite. But I looked up their new hit song off of the CD, "King of My Heart," and I instantly recognized it from the radio. . .  a beautiful new worship song. . . one that Steve has played in church, and one that I've heard Ephraim singing to himself before. :)

You might recognize it, too:

"Let the King of my heart
Be the mountain where I run
The fountain I drink from
Oh, He is my song. . . "

On the album, Kutless does its own covers of "Your Great Name" (which I typically hear Natalie Grant sing on the radio), Your Love Awakens Me (Phil Wickham), and Great Are You Lord (All Sons and Daughters). I LOVE that song. All ten tracks are very gospel-centric, speaking of the intense love that Jesus has for all of us, and I really like their voices!

They redo their 2005 hit, "Strong Tower" to honor this being their 10th studio album.

All in all, ALPHA | OMEGA is a great album to add to the collection, to listen to in the car, to enjoy on a Sunday morning when you're getting ready for church, or really any time.

For purchase options, click here.

And enter the Raffecopter below for a chance to win a copy!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Catching Up

Things have really slowed down here with the colder weather. It takes a lot of effort to get myself and the three boys fed, bundled, and out the door, so I am learning to be content with staying home more. In Pennsylvania, we had more space in our house, so Stephen had a little office to work from home, but here, he goes to campus every day to plan and grade in the quiet. The boys (and I) are so excited to see him when he comes home!

The trees in our neighborhood turned the prettiest colors. We don't have a tree in our yard, which is sad to me, but on the plus side, we don't have to rake? :)

On the last 60 degree day, we went apple-picking again. There weren't too many apples left at eye level, so we had to reach up high!

This orchard might be my favorite thing about Indiana so far.

August is into EVERYTHING... pulling on cords, investigating the outlets, taking the magnets off of the fridge, clearing the papers off of the coffee table. Picking up after these three boys keeps me busy!

He love to self-feed with puffs, yogurt melts, shredded cheese, and bites of homemade bread.

A few weeks ago, we took a road trip back to Pennsylvania to visit our family and friends. I was really happy to see Ivy! She is doing well with my in-laws. Their dog, Cuddles, (you can see her head in the photo) is 10, and she and Ivy have become best friends. I don't think Ivy is having as many seizures as she was when she was with us, and it really is a calmer environment for her.

Petting his doggie. :)

I have a photo of baby Ephraim in this spot, too. Our church family had a potluck that day so we could have a chance talk to everyone. We got to see some of the new construction on the building, and it's going to be amazing!

August & Grandpa

It's not a trip home without our favorite donuts!

Playing outside at Mormor and Papa Don's house.

 The weekend trip seemed too short, but we'll be back soon enough for Christmas :)

Back at home, we went to a couple of Trunk or Treats for Halloween. The kids got their faces painted as cats and dogs (and Ephraim as a giraffe, haha.)

My sister-in-law's sister has a pet pig, and she is adorable! Nolan got to hold her for a while, and Ephraim fed her some Cheerios. 

Uncle Phil got in the photo booth with August.

We really didn't have any plans for Halloween, so our costumes were completely last-minute (seriously, an hour before). We dressed the older two boys as soccer players, and the baby as a puppy. 

They had so much fun playing games and collecting candy! Nolan went home, laid out all his candy, and made a list of it all. Ephraim kept asking for candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until it was all gone. 

It was a great end to October!


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