Friday, November 30, 2018


As usual, fall came and left in the blink of an eye! We don't have any big trees in our yard, so we drove over to the park to jump in some leaves :)

Reading is my favorite thing to do with them, and they love it too (despite August's face here)!

Mini Bob Vila. :)

The happiest little guy to find trains at the library!

My mom and Don came to visit right before Thanksgiving, and we got to meet Kate DiCamillo at the library. (She's the author of "The Tale of Despereaux" and "Because of Winn-Dixie", etc.)

The boys all trying to squish on Mormor's lap.

 After a few attempts at the perfect pie crust, I made this French Silk pie - a Thanksgiving staple for me :)

We left for Minnesota on Tuesday night, and stopped at a hotel for the night in Illinois. Wednesday, we drove through Wisconsin and stopped at a cheese store . . . #wheninrome


Also very Wisconsin to me - road trip sundaes at Culver's!

Thanksgiving Day in Minneapolis with these cuties! 

My Aunt Karen and Uncle Roger heated up their 4-car garage, and they were able to seat all 42 of us inside! It was wonderful! The next day, Steve helped Uncle Roger install a giant TV on the wall for future gatherings! :)

My cousin Chloe and me.

Ephraim matched with Aunt Meg and Nathan.

Delaney (17 mos) and August (22 mos) pushing babies in their strollers.

We stayed with my Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Dan and had the most amazing breakfasts! The day after Thanksgiving, Aunt Yvonne made napkins into Christmas trees and hid fancy chocolates in the cute gnomes. The boys loved that!

My great-grandparents had this house built in 1938, and my Grandma spent much of her childhood here. It's beautiful, and I wish we had kept it in the family somehow.

It's family tradition to make lefse on Black Friday and serve it with extra butter and brown sugar!


 The boys with my stepsister's daughter Kaylynn!


 Triking around the garage with Aunt Evie :)


I loved getting to spend time with these pretty cousins of mine.


Ephraim playing an intense game with the guys!


A snowstorm blew through Illinois on Sunday, so we had to leave early on Saturday to get home before the snow. I wasn't ready to leave, but I'm thankful we had such a nice time and got to see so much family!!


We had a slow week, resting from our trip. Also, Ephraim has the world's biggest eyes! 

August will be 2 in a little over a month (how?!), but he's definitely still my baby!

The boys have been making their Christmas wishlists - so far they've asked for walkie talkies, Incredibles 2, and slippers, of all things! 

November was such a great month, but I'm even more excited for the Christmas season and all of the JOY it brings.


Monday, November 26, 2018


We are so excited to be expecting baby #4 in May!!

I will be 17 weeks on Saturday, and this pregnancy is flying by. Now that I'm in my second trimester, I feel really good - not any different from my first three pregnancies, in case you want to speculate about gender. ;) We'll be finding that out in January!

I'm so grateful to be experiencing this all for a fourth time. God is so good.


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.



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