Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Je suis vivante. For reals.

As I'm sure you've not noticed, this little space of mine has been virtually untouched as of late. Lots going on, lots going on. 

We traveled up to the middle of nowhere in Dakota Territory for another Marsceau wedding. Last one for a while. At least I think so. lol That's 5 weddings in 3 years so yeah. We're all weddinged out. 

Peter turned one and had a stupendously awesome birthday party, if I do say so myself. 30 people were there, and he got amazing presents. He is now a little terror and needs to be closely supervised 24/7 because he loves shredding Kleenex, opening and emptying wipes containers, melting Junior Mints in his sweaty palms, and dumping coffee on the white carpet. 

Chris started work on the addition to our house. It is actually HAPPENING!!!!! I cannot believe it. We moved into my family's house until it's finished, so we've been here just over 2 months, I think. There are challenges with having two sets of stairs and living in one bedroom, but it's been great having babysitters and people to talk to all the time.

I am now teaching 7 students, with a couple more starting after Christmas. It is a blessing to be able to continue that here while our house is being renovated. :) 

I have been sick for the past 2 weeks. Like, I can't even stand up sometimes sick. I don't know why I got it twice, but I'm battling a fever, body aches, dizziness, and major coughing. (Thanks, bronchitis.) I have felt so guilty not helping out around the house or even with Peter. I have missed 2 Christmas parties and couldn't even sing in our church's cantata. Today I was supposed to have a whole day of fun Christmas shopping with Chris, but I had to stay home. It's looking like I'm going to be doing all my shopping online this year. 

I don't think I'm doing Christmas cards this year, guys. I had all these proactive plans to hop on Shutterfly with my hundreds of dollars' worth of coupons and order gorgeous cards for everyone and actually have that whole project done early, and now I'm basically going to Target and looking at their meager card collection with total disinterest and thinking, "There's always next year." I'm sorry. Not doing Christmas cards is like the most unfestive, Grinch-like thing and I'm guilty this time. Thank you so much if you sent us your family card. It's embarrassing, actually, how excited I get when I see a Christmas card in the mail!

I don't think I'll be blogging again before the new year. Who knows. All the pictures I want to post are either on Instagram (where I am most active) or on the computer at home, so hopefully I'll get a chance to catch up later. I wish you all the best Christmas ever, and a joyful and PEACEful new year. :) 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Peter // 10 Months

This little big guy is 10 months old! He loves crawling everywhere and chewing on everything. This week he ate a corner off one of my books, plus half a playing card. :( He dances to music, or any rhythm at all really. (I've caught him swaying to the sound of the clothes dryer.) He knows how to throw a ball, and he's just starting to say "dada," although usually it's whispered. He does NOT like getting his nails trimmed, or being alone even for a second! He loves being outside and watching bugs fly around. He's excited to go to Florida tomorrow!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Peter // 9 Months

I really can't believe my little guy is already 9 months old. But alas, it is so, and I have a first birthday Pinterest board already created so it must be true.

This was a big month for Peter! As if crawling and sprouting two teeth weren't enough, he now spends more time standing than sitting, he learned to clap and wave, he's experimenting with talking, and he rocks back and forth to music. His favorite game ever is peek-a-boo, and just last night he learned to "hide" in his pack-n-play when Chris says, "Where's Peter?" and then JUMP up and smile so Chris will say, "THERE he is!!!!" :) SO fun. 

We got family pictures Saturday night by the lovely Jessica Shae, but while we wait for those, here are a couple of the good ol' iPhone-in-the-front-yard kind. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

recipes worth sharing

So I have a secret. Or rather, I had a secret. Because a couple weeks ago I finally got brave enough to voice it through the din of a hundred kids eating lunch and people trying to run a garage sale. 

"I wanna be a food photographer." 

And out of all the people in the kitchen at that moment, one person responded. She is younger than me. She is an aspiring photographer. She said, "It's too hard." 

And with that, the tiny puff of wind in my one sail quietly flitted away. So. I guess it's too much to hope for to not only make a recipe, have it turn out, and then take breathtakingly gorgeous pictures of the results. I must content myself with sharing links and OTHER people's beautiful pictures. And you know what, after seeing this picture,
I think my laziness would prevent me from ever getting that artsy.


If you're like me, you shuddered when you saw "Kraft" at the top of the page. But it's only a recipe. I made it with organic chicken, tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella, and broccoli. You can always do whatever you want. ;) This yummy dinner was very easy and tasted like a dish from Olive Garden. That's always the goal. 

The old favorite, but in the Crockpot, so you barely have to do anything. Woohoo! 

I recently got two pounds of blueberries from a friend running a co-op, and I had the usual blueberry panic. What on earth am I to do with them? I rarely bake and I couldn't eat them fast enough just by themselves. So as usual, Pinterest saved the day and I tried the first random recipe I came across. This coffee cake is super good. I'm blogging right now to distract myself from eating it all gone.

This recipe. Oh my goodness, it's good. It has actually nearly replaced my childhood favorite meatloaf recipe I got from my mom. (Who got it from Taste of Home, but yeah.) I love the addition of potatoes and carrots, because your whole meal is basically taken care of in one pot. This is a very big fave.

{enter sarcastic closing remarks here}

Friday, July 17, 2015

Peter // 8 Months

This has been such a big month for Peter! This month he started officially crawling, AND he has two tiny teeth coming in on the bottom. He is now eating a bunch of solid food: bananas, pears, sweet potatoes, mango, and peaches. He will not touch avocado, and I don't blame him. :P He's outgrown all his 6-month stuff, and some of the 9-month stuff. So he's wearing 9-12 months size and I'm scrambling to find stuff to keep him cool and happy. 

As you can see from the picture above, he just graduated from his (way too small) bath chair to his inflatable ducky tub! This thing is awesome and Peter loves it! Bath time is now splash time as well. :) This month he started his first mimicking thing: he'll start slapping the table if we do. :P (Yeah, I know. So productive and educational.) The magic of Sinead O'Connor's "Only You" no longer works when he's inconsolable. :( Now he likes Birdy's "All You Never Say." Whatever. If it makes him stop crying.

We just booked our anniversary trip to Sanibel Island, FL - where we honeymooned - and we're bringing Peter with us! It'll be his second time in Florida, and we are super excited to be able to show him the very unit we rented three years ago. So much fun ahead!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

more Peter pics

Two of our friends captured these pictures on their nice cameras. I'm always thankful for higher resolution pics of my little guy! ;P

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Laura's Shower

A few weeks ago, my best friend Meghan and I had the honor of hosting our best friend Laura's wedding shower. It was my first time putting something that big together, so I definitely learned a lot about list-making and organization, but it was SO fun to work with Meghan and pull it off. Pardon the phone quality (or lack of). I was just glad I remembered to get a couple pics before it was all over.

Thank God for Pinterest. 'S all I'm gonna say. 

I also learned a lot about burlap. A lot. For instance, did you know that burlap stinks??? Or that it makes you itchy? Or that it shreds and keeps on shredding if you let it? And that it's barely ironable? 

She got a LOT more than that, I promise. 

Best friends for 20+ years! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Brookfield Zoo

For Peter's Christmas present, my mom gave us an Unlimited Family Membership to the Brookfield Zoo. Yesterday was the first day we got out there, and we were so glad the weather was perfect! It was Peter's first zoo trip, and even though he fell asleep half-way through, I think it was still a pretty momentous occasion. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sibling Photoshoot

For Father's Day, my dad requested we kids give him a big canvas of a pic of all of us. This prompted us to schedule a photoshoot with one of our friends so we could choose from some actually nice photos. Here are several of my faves! A big thank-you to Faith Linell Photography!

My thoughts at this moment: "Oh my word oh my word oh my word my hand is in an ant pile!!!"

Char couldn't stay serious to save her life.

What's a professional photoshoot without a dead gosling?

Peter and dinner

Instagram unfortunately has kind of taken the place of my blog. It's just so easy to post straight from my phone without having to come up with, you know, a whole blog post. But I want to try to share everything here as well so at least those of you that faithfully read this can stay up-to-date. ;)

Here is a picture of Peter that I took last night. I was feeding him pears and had looked down to get another spoonful, and out of the corner of my eye I see his face break into the biggest grin I've seen in a while. He makes me laugh with his random and unabashed joy. :)

And another, because that face.

And this is the dinner I made last night, pre-cooking. ;) I have been making a lot of new recipes lately so I feel a cooking post coming soon, but I loved that all the color in my crockpot got captured on my phone. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Peter // 6 & 7 Months

Poor little Peter. He has been on many major trips since his birth 7 months ago! He has been such a trooper with all the traveling. I am very thankful for a nice car seat, toys to distract, music to calm, and family to help. :P The top picture was taken on Peter's 6-month birthday, as we were on our way to South Dakota. Bottom picture is the only semi-decent one I got on his 7-month birthday on the 16th of this month. 

He is now able to sit up unassisted, with only occasional fall-overs. :) We've started some solid foods, and he LOVES it! So far we've done bananas and sweet potatoes, and they are major hits. Soon we will start something new! He is just beginning to figure out the whole crawling thing. Chris and I have caught him getting up on all fours for a few moments before collapsing again. :) I'll put him down on one end of the bed, and when I come back, he's scooted/rolled himself all the way to the far corner. The days of hanging out on the bed are swiftly passing. :( He weighs 19 lbs. 5 oz., and is 27 3/4" long. We still haven't seen a real tooth yet, but I thought the drool was bad a month ago......OOOOOH boy! Poor kid is drenched at the end of the day. He's in Size 4 diapers, and I was happy to find that Aldi diapers work just as well as any others, and are way better a price! Peter still loves his trips to the doctor, We figured out that my little guy was blessed with the same thorn in the flesh that I was - ingrown toenails. They sound like no big deal, but let me tell you, they are a constant annoyance and can get very, very painful. We can't do much about Peter's right now, but as he gets older we will be looking into some sort of operation so he doesn't have to live with that. 

Well, adios for now. Sure do miss blogging. I've actually had things to do lately which is good, but I get full of words and need to put them somewhere. :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

my best friend

"Because of you I can slowly but surely feel myself becoming the me I have always dreamed of being."                Tyler Knott Gregson

Recently the entire world of social media celebrated National Best Friend Day, complete with hashtags and warm fuzzies. I posted this picture on Facebook but wanted to share it here as well. 

This is my best friend, Christopher. We have a blast together. He makes me laugh and he laughs at me. ;) He patiently watches me grow in my cooking skills. He's always supportive. He plays piano with me and is almost as well-versed in Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera as I am! He can quote "Jabberwocky" from memory. He works very hard for our family. He loves Italian food and takes me to lots of restaurants even though he knows I order the same thing every time. He holds my hand when we pray. He lets me vent. He dances with me in the kitchen. :) He truly communicates and listens. I love him with all my heart and am so thankful for his friendship in our marriage! 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Faith - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
    Come drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I shall believe the Hand which never fails
    From seeming evil worketh good for me;
And though I weep because those sails are battered,
    Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered,
                                 I trust in thee.

I will not doubt, though all my prayers return
    Unanswered from the still, white Realm above;
I shall believe it is an all-wise Love
    Which has refused those things for which I yearn;
And though at times I cannot keep from grieving,
    Yet the pure ardour of my fixed believing
                                  Undimmed shall burn.

I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain,
    And troubles swarm like bees about a hive;
I shall believe the heights for which I strive
    Are only reached by anguish and by pain;
And though I groan and tremble with my crosses,
    I yet shall see, through my severest losses,
                                 The greater gain.

I will not doubt; well anchored in the faith,
    Like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale,
So strong its courage that it will not fail
    To breast the mighty unknown sea of Death.
Oh, may I cry when body parts with spirit,
    I do not doubt, so listening worlds may hear it,
                                 With my last breath.             

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Five Books You (probably) Couldn't Pay Me to Read

You all know I'm a reader. My original intent of this blog was to write and post reviews of books I've read. I've done that, what, thrice now? :P As much as I love reading, and libraries, and dusty antique book stores, and shelves and shelves of books spilling everywhere, there are some books that will just never find their way into my library or my heart, regardless of how treasured or classic they are. 

Foxe's Book of Martyrs - John Foxe
It matters not how inspirational and exemplary the stories are. If torture is involved, I can't hack it. 

Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
Why yes, I'd love to spend 800 pages reading about a madman that's obsessed with killing a whale. It's metaphoric, you say? Even worse. 

Lord of the Rings/Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
Don't get your knickers in a knot. I know this is the baby of the modern-day, ESV-loving Christian, but really I don't want to be associated with Tolkien, thanks. From what I've heard, he played with mysticism and helped confuse Bible translations, so yeah. And for that reason as well...

The Screwtape Letters - C. S. Lewis
I have issues with Lewis anyway, but then to read letters from the devil or his assistant or whatever it is seems downright weird. It might help to be reminded of the not-so-subtle demonic activity that surrounds us all the time, but I skimmed through the book and found numerous references that I don't need brought up in my current thoughts anyway. 

The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
I watched an ancient movie once, and it was enough. I suppose I should've read it for school, but I chose other things instead. Just can't get myself to want to read it. 

 I'm sure there are more, but here are five. Wbu? Do you have any books you'll just never read? 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

what I want for my birthday {edited}

Because it's coming up in a few weeks and I will be teaching and running a garage sale so yeah.

Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman. It just came out and I'm excited to read it!

The Sarah, Plain and Tall DVD collection. These movies are so poetic and lovely. I want them in my home. :)

 Tsuro of the Seas. A game that looks cool and I'd love to try with my in-laws.

The Hundred-Foot Journey. Quite possibly the loveliest movie I saw all year. I want to own it so I can watch it whenever I want.

Paula Deen cookware set in aqua. It's time to upgrade my poor little pots and pans and get something a bit more durable that won't break the bank. These I LOVE. ***edit: my sweet dad ordered these for me and had them shipped in super early! I'm SOOOO excited to start cooking up a storm in my new, gorgeous pots and pans! Thanks, Dad!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Les Misérables

Les Mis. Why all the fuss? Well, for me, I fell in love with it slowly. In pieces. And very skeptically. 

My first exposure to it was in a church library. I was semi-responsible for processing books, checking them back in and shelving them, and sometimes making the very difficult decision of whether or not a book was clean enough to remain on the shelves. (Big mistake. Give only one person that authority or let all the books stay. But moving on.) I glanced at the back cover, saw the word prostitution or something similar, and immediately proceeded in having a small heart attack. I made a few appeals and then threw the book away. 

Fast forward a few years and a woman named Susan Boyle makes internet history by singing a beautiful rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream." I loved the song, but knew it was from Les Mis which I still hadn't really looked into so I was like whatever. 

A few years after that, I learned a friend of mine loved the book and highly recommended it. Well, you know how much I HATE books and reading. I had it in my hands the next day. 

The book is 1,500 pages long or something. The unabridged version has many French passages that I could mostly translate but still had to look up on occasion. There are long chapters that get dry, then drier than dry. I was reading a LONG time, but it was shortly into my married life and it was nice to keep my brain occupied during long, lonely days. 

When I finished it, I bawled every single tear out of my eyes. The story of redemption is made only more beautiful by the complex and interwoven characters - their passions, their sorrows, their joys. I immediately emailed my friend and told her how much I loved it. 

But I knew there was a musical some guys came up with based on the book. I knew I already loved "I Dreamed a Dream" and "Bring Him Home." I wasn't surprised to discover MANY new favorites after listening to the musical on CD. I enjoyed two different DVDs of live performances and dreamed of watching a live production whenever it came through Chicago.

Well, last night a friend treated me to an absolutely amazing performance of Les Misérables at the beautiful Paramount Theater.

We both refrained from singing along even though we have almost all of it memorized, and thoroughly enjoyed fangirling during the intermission. And of course we got matching mugs after the show! 

Thank you, Mrs. H., for the wonderful night out, and for recommending Les Mis to me in the first place. ;) 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I'm back on Instagram, y'all. It's where I unashamedly stalk several folks, as well as post a million pictures of my favorite people ever (my family) and other random things. If you have an account and feel like following along, send me a friend request here!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Peter // 5 Months

So I kind of failed to get a nice pic of Peter today. :( He really lost it this afternoon and I was in no mood to try to make him smile after all that. But he turned 5 months today. 

He weighs about 17.5 pounds. He's in Size 3 diapers. He completely outgrew his bassinet, so tonight we set up his pack-n-play and he'll sleep in that till we figure out how to magically create more space. He can almost sit up unassisted, and has learned to talk in a super high, ventriloquist voice that makes us laugh. He has gone back to waking up 1-2 times a night, so I'm dying. :P He's gotten a lot more fussy with his gums being more sensitive. We laugh because the ONLY thing that works to calm him down every single time he's super mad is to play a certain song. The second I play it on my phone he goes completely silent and listens until it's finished. :) Yay for music and technology! 

So thankful for my little boy. Can't wait to get outside more and enjoy the warmer weather!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter // 2015

I hope you had a wonderful Easter last Sunday! Our little family had just gotten back from the FL Keys, so we were thankful to have a short and sweet lunch with my family and then get long naps! I was distraught over forgetting to get Peter his first Easter basket, but I guess there's always next year. ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Peter // 4 Months

I'm a little late, but my Peter boy turned 4 months on the 16th. He is rolling over now and I think he has to be close to teething, as the drool amount has increased rather much. :P He can now grab toys and hang on to them, and loves putting ANYTHING in his mouth. (Oh great.) He's hanging out at 15 lbs., so I'm extra excited to get to use my collectible Kinderpacks now! He's getting ready to go on his third big out-of-state trip in a few weeks, and now that the weather's been nicer we've been able to do a few stroller outings. He's back to sleeping through the night, too, much to our delight! He is still such a perfect, happy, good little baby and I'm so blessed to take care of him. <3