Friday, June 1, 2012

So much done, now lets relax!

We’ve been busy.

Where to even start? We’ve got house projects in the works…

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a garden planted and growing (I hope I’m not jinxing myself and it all dies tomorrow)…

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20120513_117Leah made sure the soil was good quality!

celebrated Leah’s first birthday,

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20120511_17it must have been good – two hands! …..wonder which one she preferred – dirt or cake?

and then we traveled to New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

freedom tower in NYC checking out the progress on the Freedom Tower

20120518_265chance encounter with Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s!

20120518_273one of the best sandwiches EVER at the Carnegie Deli (a must go in you’re in NYC)

20120519_400had a blast at our friend’s beautiful wedding and reception in Jersey

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20120520_473hung out with my brother and his beautiful wife in Bellefonte, PA where we ate delicious cupcakes (I had two – they were good!)

20120520_477and watched mother ducks with their broods of ducklings

Then of course we decided to take a group shot in the park and as Tyler set up the camera I realized that after gorging myself in New York (see above), eating like royalty at the wedding and then just having consumed two (rather enormous, but delicious) cupcakes my belly was looking like a little Kolden #3 might be starting to grow…

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…alas that is NOT the case (did I have you going there?) and I realized then that some crunches would be in my near future!

Unfortunately, I didn’t think to suck in my gut and turn to face the camera for the actual group shot so you get to see me in my full glory again!

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To much information? Probably, but I like to keep it real!

So after our glorious trip without the girls (did you notice?) we flew home,

hugged and kissed our girls that we missed so much, threw them in the car and drove all the way to Illinois. Where is our sanity?

I don’t have any photos to share from our trip to Illinois, mostly because it was CRAZY! We were there almost a week with 150+ other FOCUS missionaries and their growing families, living in college dorms, eating college cafeteria food and having a really good time catching up with old friends from across the country.

 

I take that back… I found this picture from L’Angelus’ Facebook page (awesome performers btw) of our all FOCUS Staff Block Party in the park. Can you see me and little Leah in the bottom right? She’s reaching for a beer can – never a dull moment!

So, now we’re home and glad to have a bit of a lull on the horizon as we hopefully finish our patio table this weekend and then can actually sit out on our deck (maybe with a drink?) and enjoy watching our garden grow and grass go to seed – again!

Oh, and remind myself not to wear my new favorite coral cardigan so much… because it’s in almost every picture!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Downton Abbey

I’m sure many of you have heard about the British miniseries Downton Abbey. A story of an aristocratic family and their household servants set in North Yorkshire in the early 20th century.

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I first came across it while in the final weeks of my pregnancy with Leah.  I was big and sick and was passing my days away watching British movies (my favorite) on Netflix. While Marie was napping of course…

Anyways, I devoured Season One of Downton Abbey in (if I remember correctly) about three days. Embarrassing I know, but I kid you not, its the best of British period drama mixed with a side of soap opera as you follow the individual stories of all the characters. I couldn’t eat it up fast enough!

When I discovered that there was a Season Two I couldn’t wait! The plots thicken and the cast of characters has grown. It airs on PBS on Sunday nights, but if you need to catch up you can watch the previous episodes of Season Two here.

Also, as I was looking around online for a photo to post I found out there is going to be a Season Three! September can’t come fast enough…

Sunday, February 5, 2012

10 Things You Never Knew…

…about the author of this blog:

My friend Cynthia challenged me to share a bit about myself, so here it goes!

  1. I've gone and neglected my blog... again. Oh, wait... you already knew that! I've been meaning to get some posts up, mainly about the girls and our new place but (excuses, excuses) I really haven't been taking pictures; which in my mind are essential to a good blog/blog post. And even if I was good at taking photos our photo editing software has gone all crazy on us. That's what I say to my husband anyway to try to encourage him to fix it because I have absolutely no computer/techie skills.

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  1. This is a recent one for me... I LOVE coupons. Seriously. Since we've moved into our new house I got an invitation to try out this website that tracks grocery and drug store deals and then matches the deals up with the recent coupons you get in the Sunday paper. I had heard about people getting things for super cheap or even free by using coupons before and had even tried it by getting the paper a few times and clipping the coupons but it is a ton of work to search out the deals and then match the coupons. This website makes it so easy, and easy is what I need when I have two little ones to run after. Just this week I went to the grocery store and saved almost $53 on my total which was 41%!

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I'm hoping this helps take the burden off of our tight grocery budget... which bring me to:

  1. I really enjoy cooking, but until lately I've been in a bit of a rut. Every time I would come across a recipe that looked delicious I would scan the ingredient list and know that there was no way I could squeeze all the special/expensive ingredients into my weekly budget without having to cut out some of our essentials. I'm hoping as I continue to build our 'stockpile' of cheap groceries my cooking repertoire will be able to grow as well!

  1. I'm using a new shampoo and it is AMAZING!!! Actually it's not really a shampoo it's a 'cleansing conditioner' but it replaces the shampoo + conditioner routine completely. For Christmas my mother-in-law gave me a bottle of Wen (thanks Deb!) Have you seen the infomercials? I'd seen them before and was intrigued but never enough to lay over the $$ for the product. Now, I'm totally sold. I was running out of my bottle that I got for Christmas and just decided to go back to my normal shampoo + conditioner routine (because my husband’s frugal ways are rubbing off on me) and I could instantly tell that my hair wasn't as soft, shiny or as full as when I was using my Wen cleansing conditioner. I would highly recommend it to anyone, but be warned... once you try it you'll never want to go back!

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  1. If I could grow in one virtue it would be discipline. Sometimes I feel like a chicken running around with it's head cut off. I decide I'm going to do something (clean up toys, laundry, wash the dishes, etc.) and it's so easy for me to get distracted or sidetracked with something else. Like the other day, I was cleaning off the pile of papers from the kitchen table, that seems to be never ending, and I got engrossed in reading an article in the newspaper that caught my eye. Five to ten minutes later I am trying to remember what I came to the table to do. Oh yeah... clean. Ugh!

  1. Tyler and I are making plans (BIG plans) for a garden this spring and summer. Our house came with a little section of the backyard already tilled up and waiting for us (almost 350 sq. ft.). I'm really excited about it, but will admit that I'm also a bit nervous. I've been known to have a black thumb and really don't want to mess the whole thing up. Also, I feel that I may be in denial of actually how much work it's going to require. Hopefully, Marie will be my handy little helper and not trample the plants as we weed and water!

  1. Our house is in complete upheaval at the moment because we are painting. Our living room is nonfunctional and all the girls toys are shoved into our spare bedroom/office making it our new hangout until the job gets done. When we moved in we knew exactly where all of the previous owners artwork hung because the walls had faded all around it – not pretty. So I knew we would be painting sooner rather than later. I finally decided on a color and Tyler was anxious to get the ball moving. So last weekend, when the weather was beautiful, we did all the prep work (spackling, sanding, taping the trim...) which took much longer than we anticipated and we didn't get as much actual painting done as we had thought we would. So, come this weekend, we are determined to finish it up. It's just too bad that we will have to open the windows now that it's snowed and is 25 degrees outside. Brrr!

  1. I just got a brand spankin' new washer and dryer and I am in LOVE! When we bought our house in October we decided to tough it out for a little while (at the laundromat) so we could wait until Black Friday to get a good deal on a new washer and dryer. And boy did we get a good deal! Unfortunately, so did many thousands of others across the country which meant that our (who am I kidding - my) beloved washer and dryer were on back order – from Japan! So we would patiently and sometimes not so patiently call Lowe's every few weeks to ask when they thought the next shipment was coming and every time we called the date kept getting pushed back further and further. The last time I called they told me the middle of February. I could barely stand it! Every week I would pack up all our dirty laundry, the two girls and head to the laundromat all the while saying little prayers that it would be the last time I would have to go... now my wait is over! Lowe's called us last weekend to tell us that the shipment had come in and asked when they could deliver them. I told them if they could be here in 30 minutes I was ready and waiting! They didn't come in 30 minutes but I did get them the next day and it was a VERY happy day indeed!

  1. I am not a morning person, but I would really like to be. Over the last few weeks I've made it a goal to get up early (before the girls) and have some much needed quiet time. Time to drink my tea in peace. Time to start my day with prayers of thanks rather than prayers of 'Lord, just get me through this moment.” Time to get myself in order before I get swept up in the whirlwind of dirty diapers, breakfast and two year old pandemonium. The few mornings that I have actually accomplished my goal have been wonderful, even if the few moments when my alarm goes off seem like pure torture. It's a sad truth that my will is so weak that I will allow the thought of facing the cold morning air to ruin my whole day. I will be better at this, I'm making this promise to myself. Where's discipline when you need it!?

  1. I have gray hair. Okay, probably most of the people I know already know about this about me because I actually have so much it's hard to miss. But what a lot of my friends don't know is that I started getting my gray hair just after I accidentally skied into a tree while on vacation with my family in the eighth grade. It's not certain that it caused my graying to start... but it's my own personal prediction. I've heard that head trauma can cause hair to go gray. Also, I've never colored my hair (because I'm proud of my 'natural' highlights) but I'm wondering as my graying continues how long I'll be able to hold out. I don't want to look 65 when I'm actually only 35!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Moving, Christmas and Visitors

We’ve moved! 

It’s been a crazy few months of packing boxes, unpacking boxes, trying to get settled and preparing for Advent and visitors.

I had good intentions of taking pictures of our apartment in upheaval from moving, but just didn’t get to it… and unpacking everything was pretty quick and painless (thank goodness!).

We’re slowing getting our Advent and Christmas d├ęcor out and enjoying the season!

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Waiting for Jesus…

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My dad came to visit and brought us a huge wreath for our door.  I love it!

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Enjoying a snowy (but sunny!) day.

For those who are curious to see some pictures of our new house – this is part of our deck and backyard.

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And our uber white kitchen, which is a welcome change from our very narrow and very dark kitchen in our previous apartment!

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We’ve also been busy in the last week or so getting our extra bedrooms ready for our visitors (CFR’s from New York City) who are staying with us for a week.  They are in the Denver area helping FOCUS put on a retreat and visiting some of our Colorado campuses.

Tyler got this shot of them this morning just before they headed up to Fort Collins for the day.  I hope they don’t come back with frostbite on their toes!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Not So Fast!

We won’t be able to call our ‘Little Leah’ little for too much longer!

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She’s growing like crazy (sometimes I think more out than up) and now she’s started stretching her legs to stand.

Tomorrow she’ll be running… I just know it.  Sigh.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

So Many Updates…

I’ve had my longest stretch without blogging (almost three months) and well, there’s a lot to fill you in on!

I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.

We’ve had pretty busy summer.  Tyler led a three week mission trip to Russia for FOCUS and the girls and I headed back home to North Dakota. 20110721_574

Sorry, no pictures from ND, Tyler took the camera to Russia…

We all met up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania for my brother’s wedding.  Sadly, this is the only photo we got of my brother and his bride together.  I guess this is what happens when you have to corral two children under the age of two… pictures take a back seat.

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We travelled home and had a few relaxing weeks enjoying the beautiful Colorado weather. 

Tyler discovered a lake not far from Denver, so we headed out to spend a day at ‘the beach’.  Tyler loved it as it brought back memories of his summers growing up in Minnesota at the lake.

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Marie wasn’t too keen on the water…

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The end of August brought us to back up to Minnesota, North Dakota and Canada for some time with family.

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We even squeezed in Leah’s baptism!

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In Canada we were able to see my family, which was a special treat. 

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All the great grandkids together – what a cute bunch!

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Tyler got to help my family with the harvesting…

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And you may have been wondering, “Did you drive all that way with two little kids?”

Yes we did, all 3,500+ miles!

Except for when Marie decided she wanted to drive…

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And now that we’re back home again, we’ve been able to work on our most exciting update of all.

With our fingers crossed, we wait as all the final details fall into place so we can move into our first house (in one month!).

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I’ll keep you posted!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sleepy Smiles, Beer and the Farmer’s Market

Sort of random title but it’s what’s going on around here…

Leah just warms my heart every time she falls asleep in my lap and then breaks out her little smile.  She must have some great dreams - maybe about milk and cuddles?

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Recently, Marie discovered our recycle bin in the closet and has since decided that it’s one of her favorite places to explore.  I’m constantly telling her to get out and stay out (there are sharp cans in there) but she seems to have developed a serious case of selective hearing – to my constant frustration.   So we’ll probably be finding a new storage solution soon.

This morning she dug up a treasure and Tyler decided to snap her picture.

Beer or milk – which will it be?

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Every Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the summer there is a farmer’s market not far from where we live.  I decided to go check it out this morning with the girls and see what was available.

The selection is much smaller on Wednesday mornings but so is the crowd so it was fun to just stroll through and not worry about pushing a stroller and being in the way of others.

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There was fresh produce, organic soaps, pretty pottery,  and lots of vendors selling specialty foods.  It smelled so good my mouth was watering the whole time! 

Thank goodness they give out free samples or I would have been seriously tempted to lay over some big bucks for just a taste of all the different foods!

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I was also tempted to come home with a one of these sweet little flower bouquets, but it wasn’t meant to be.

I really wanted to plant some flowers this spring/summer for our balcony, but with us being gone on trips I didn’t want to invest in flowers that would end up being neglected and die.  Maybe next year…

Hope you all are having a great start to your summer!