Sunday, October 8, 2017

Nolan's Birthday Weekend

Okay, I'm making it my goal to be a little more current on this blog. I can't believe it's already been a month since Nolan's big 6th birthday! Because we just moved and we don't know many people yet, I knew that this party wasn't going to be a huge one, but I still wanted it to be extra special for Nolan. And it ended up being so much fun. We invited Steve's brother Phil and his family, my cousin Zac and his family, and then my mom and Don (who traveled from Pennsylvania for their first visit).

 I asked Nolan at the beginning of the summer what he wanted his party theme to be, and he chose Lightning McQueen. And even though I've never done a character party before, I thought it would be really memorable for him, especially since Cars 3 just came out this summer.

My favorite part of the food decor was this tower of tires a la Luigi's! 

Steve and I made a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream and decorated it with some of the boys' Lightning McQueen cars. (We have an embarassing amount of Lightning McQueens.)

Our fam of five.

I think Don got some more photos of the guests on his camera, but I didn't get much.

Our sweet little baby cousin (born in July!)

Ready for cake and presents! He acquired many more Legos, and Nolan and Ephraim are obsessed with them. (And I'm a nervous wreck trying to keep the Legos away from the baby!)

Since his birthday, he has started looking SO tall and thin and old!

While Mormor and Papa Don were here, they treated us to a trip to the Children's Museum in Indy. It is such a cool museum, and I would recommend it to anyone with kids our kids' ages.

The preschool area had sand and water and balls... they could have stayed in this section of the museum all day.

And Steve found an exhibit he liked. :)

The museum has a really awesome dinosaur section. Here the boys are holding up a cast of a dinosaur skull.

And then they got to touch a real T-Rex leg fossil.

August thought Mormor's phone was fun. :)

And he liked the bright Chihuly glass display.

Nolan collected the red pieces and lined them up, while Ephraim collected the yellow pieces.

The boys put together a Chinese Terra Cotta Warrior.

And we wrapped up the night with a Chicago favorite (GIORDANO'S!)

Things have been going well otherwise. We're getting to know the area, finding some great parks, looking for a church home, and spending time with family when we can. 

August's 8-month photo. I just took his 9-month one (how, already?!), and I'll post it soon!

Hope your Monday is off to a great start!


Friday, October 6, 2017

Jeremy Camp "The Answer" Album Giveaway

I've known of Jeremy Camp since the start of his music career, with his first hits like "Walk by Faith" and "Take You Back" in the early 2000s. But it wasn't until 2011 that I first heard his story and connected to it. Nolan was a year old, and he really liked Jeremy Camp's song "Overcome". We watched the video frequently on YouTube and I did a little research on Jeremy Camp's story. He grew up in Lafayette, Indiana (yay Indiana!) and after high school, he started a career in leading worship. He married his first wife, Melissa, in October 2000, knowing that she had ovarian cancer, and she passed away on February 5, 2001 when she was 21-years-old. The date struck me because my sister, Hannah, passed away from cancer that same week on February 11, 2001, at age 17. Jeremy has gone on to share Melissa's story and her amazing faith in Jesus at all of his concerts. He is married again (for fourteen years) and has two daughters and a son.
This new CD (which comes out today!) very much follows suit with his older albums. There are songs that are so full of the joy that comes from knowing Jesus, and there are songs that are encouraging and positive for when the road seems too dark to continue. His deep and STRONG voice carry the whole album, and it's definitely one you should check out!

Jeremy Camp's first hit off of The Answer album is "Word of Life". It's August's and my new dance song.

In this video, Jeremy explains the background behind the song:

I also really like this new hit, "Never Stopped Loving", a slower song about how Jesus has never turned his back on us, and he'll never stop pursuing us.

To purchase "The Answer" CD, click here for Amazon and here for iTunes.

If you're interested in winning a copy of this new album, enter the Rafflecopter below!

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.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Matthew West "All In" Album Giveaway

I haven't done an album giveaway in quite a while, so I'm excited for today! I heard Matthew West's name a lot this summer after he played at our county fair in August. Though I wasn't able to go (mom duty), some of my best friends and my mom attended, and they really enjoyed it!

Well, today's the release date of Matthew West's new album, "All In"!

I've heard the song, "Broken Things" many times on the radio this month. You've probably heard it too. The message is that God uses the broken and the imperfect for his kingdom, which is such good news for all of us.

Matthew’s heart behind the album:
Matthew wrote his new album All In with the goal of encouraging himself and others to get up off the sidelines of their faith and really live it out – to go all in in your time with God, all in with your family, all in with your community, and all in battling your fears that may hold you back from becoming who God made you to be.

To buy "All In" on iTunes, go here.

And for the full album on Amazon, click here.

Here's the lyric video for the title track, "All In". This song is all about JUMPING IN, surrendering with reckless abandon to the journey that God has planned for us. The song is about really living out the faith that we profess.

Personally, I've really been enjoying this album. Matthew West's songs are melodic and lively. It's great family music to have on in the background of our day-to-day. Remember his song, "Hello my name is child of the one true King?" One time, I heard Ephraim singing it, and I didn't even know that he knew that song! 

Many of his songs are stories (a la country music), so there is a lot of content and purpose behind his words.

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win this brand new album!

And have a great weekend!

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, September 21, 2017

Endings and beginnings

This Indian summer that we've been having has been really lovely. It feels like one last "hurrah" before the cooler 60s hit and the leaves fall. Some of these photos are the very last ones that I took at our old house in Pennsylvania, and some are from the beginning of our time here in Indiana. After being here a month, part of me thinks, "Well, that was a nice vacation. Let's go home!" and part of me is very excited about the friendships and memories that will be made here.

Almost all of the big moves that I have made in my life have taken place at the end of the summer. Moving to Nebraska the day before my freshman year of high school, moving back to Chicago to start college, moving three times with Steve during grad school, and now moving to Indiana. These have been some of the best summers of my life. Because we were moving, people were more intentional about spending time with us, and they were more honest about how much we meant to them. I'm so grateful for the love that we were shown this summer!

An ice cream run to our favorite spot. Under $5 for four generous cones!

Two sugar-obsessed little boys!

Since we moved, August sleeps in his own room. But I still miss the closeness of having his crib right next to my bedside!

Give me all the Queen Anne's Lace. :)

Up with the sun, building forts in their bedroom.

Macaron practice... with raspberry buttercream filling this time. Now, the question is: will an electric oven cook them as well as the gas oven did?

This was baby August's 7 month photo!

I love this age right before they start crawling because they are so cute and they're learning so much, but they can't get into much trouble yet!

My garden was just about to hit its prime when we left. We had hundreds of tomatoes about to ripen, and raspberries just starting to turn red. I've been sad about my garden many times, but I know that the house's new residents really enjoyed the harvest. :)

August's last farmhouse sink bath.

The sink = another thing I cry about. 

Kidding. . . sort of.

Steve finished putting up the shelves in the pantry. They were really nice!

Pennsylvania is very lush and green, with ample trees. Indiana is browner with endless cornfields and a big blue sky. Both are good, but definitely different.

  Ivy, always looking for snacks in the kitchen.

We went to our street's first annual block party. It was really fun to get together with neighbors and share dinner with them. I got to run the cotton candy machine, which was very popular, and the boys tried the sugary treat for the first time. :)

We met up with friends for lunch in Punxsy. That sideways cap!

We found some cute painted rocks.

6 boys between my friend Briana and me!


My friends threw me a going-away party. It was the best! This was our "Last Supper" style photo.

So, I get really sad when I say this, but we left our Ivy in Pennsylvania. Although I know we made the right decision for her, I miss our big girl so much! Steve and I had her for eight years, since our first year of marriage. Ivy has grand mal seizures brought on by stress, and we didn't think she would survive a big move. She now lives with Steve's parents, across the street from our old house, and I am sure she is happy to be away from the craziness of three little boys. I really miss her though!

On August 15th, we loaded up the U-Haul and hit the road! Steve drove the truck, and I drove the car with the three boys. It was a big day, but everything went off without a hitch.

Phil and Dana and our nieces were waiting for us at our new house with pizza and flowers. We are very grateful to be living near them! The boys love their cousins SO much.

Smiling in his sleep :)

My favorite room in our new place! We are in a rental for the time being, so we can't make any updates to the house. But it's only about 15 years-old, and it's bright and pretty. We went from a house with two floors (plus attic and basement) to a ranch. It's kind of fun to have everything on one level!

We found a real-life (red) Luigi in the Aldi parking lot.

I was growing corn back at home, but we didn't get to eat it yet, so I was happy to be given some delicious Indiana corn!

First day of school (at home) for the boys!

Ephraim is doing three-year-old preschool. . . also known as, wanting to do everything Nolan does.

And Nolan is in kindergarten! His curriculum is actually more first-grade level, since he's already six and reading, but officially, we'll call it kindergarten.

We love veggies in our house!

Out exploring on a beautiful night.

After we'd been here two weeks, Ephraim asks me, "What day is today?"

I say, "Thursday."

Ephraim: "And what day do we go back to our yellow house?"

Me: "Honey, we aren't going to go back. We live here now."

Ephraim: "The yellow house said, 'See you later alligator!'"

Moving is kind of a crazy and confusing concept for a three-year-old!

On the last day of August, I turned thirty! The boys and I did some schoolwork, watched Thomas, shopped the clearance aisle at Target, baked a chocolate cheesecake, and ended the day eating a pizza at the park with Daddy. It was wonderful.

My mom sent me a sweet package with 30 things in it! She also came out to visit the following week, so I'll have to share about that soon.

Everything else is going well. Steve really likes his new job! He teaches two composition classes and two literature classes at the university.

Hope you liked this recap of our last few weeks! Tomorrow, I'll be doing a music giveaway, so be sure to check that out. :)


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