Tuesday, January 28, 2014

31 winters.

This has been the coldest Minnesota January on record. The COLDEST on record. I have lived here in the midwest through 31 winters. And let me tell you, I am SICK of it. Every year, winter rolls around and I think to myself, How am I going to survive this one? But every year I do survive. Somehow I survive! But I do think I get grumpier each winter, and I think it sticks to me longer each year. Not good! The temperatures have been so dangerous and school has been closed multiple times. Even the U of MN has cancelled class, and that NEVER happens. Of the three years I was a student there, I don't ever remember class being cancelled because of cold winter temps. And I will never forget walking to class in temps with a -30 below wind chill!
So it's brutal out there. And it's brutal on all of us who live here. If you don't live here during winter, be grateful. If you do live here, be safe, smart, and stay warm. Personally, I feel like insurance companies should cover a yearly one-week vacation away from the cold for all Minnesotans! It should be doctors orders! :) Wishful thinking, I guess.
Have a warm, cozy rest of your week!  

Monday, January 13, 2014

celebrating sarah.

On Saturday, my cousin Jen and I hosted a baby shower for our cousin Sarah in St. Cloud. Sarah and her husband, Josh, have been married for seven years and had been trying for a baby for most of their marriage. It's been a long road for them, but after a successful IVF process, Sarah is due next month! She is having a girl.
I am so happy for Sarah and Josh. They are so deserving of a baby of their own. Sarah has been in love with children for as long as I can remember and has always wanted to be a mom. She is a teacher and coaches Just For Kix in the Melrose area. So she is around kids all the time! I know she will be a stellar mother and our entire family is praying that they will be able to have more children in the future!
Sarah, Jen, and I.
Ethnie with great grandma. :)

The shower went really well. I didn't take any other pictures, but I wish I had. I made a cute banner and other details that would have been fun to show you all. There was a lot of burlap, lace and pink. :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

10 years.

I'm sure many of you read the previous post my husband wrote behind my back, er, um, right next to me without my knowing. It was a sweet surprise and honestly, all I really wanted to hear from Matt. His words mean so much to me and I am so grateful for him! Now, it's my turn. :)

dear matt,

We did it!! We have made our first major milestone in our marriage. It feels like it hasn't been ten years, but at the same time I guess it does...? Regardless, it feels good! Our family has gone from 2 to 4 in ten years. We are now ten years older (gulp!). We have celebrated many happy times together. We have endured trials together. Nevertheless, we have survived together in love. And we have survived together in our faith. I've been reflecting on the past ten years and I wanted to remind you of 10 good memories:
1. Our wedding day. When it all started! It was 13 degrees and sunny. (That's 28 degrees warmer than it is today. We're in a record-breaking deep freeze.) An amazing day. Enough said!
2. Our first Christmas tree. The tiny one-foot mini one that's meant for a cubicle. Our apartment was tiny. We didn't have much.
3. The night I told you I was pregnant. I was so scared and in the middle of writing my senior thesis. Kind of a big distraction while trying to graduate college. But we were excited.
4. The way you took care of me while I was sick during my first pregnancy. I was SICK. I was down. I was crabby. I was negative. But you were so sweet and understanding. You were patient with me. You waited on me. You helped me to get through that dark time in my life.
5. The birth of our daughter. You were my cheerleader.
6. The day we found out our second baby was a boy. You stood up with both arms in the air and yelled a deep "YUSSS!". I think the nurse jumped and I started laughing. You were so happy to have a boy.
7. The birth of our son. You were my cheerleader, again. And it went much smoother than the first time.
8. Watching you receive your MBA. You look good in a cap and gown! And I was happy to have my husband back.
9. Laughing our heads off watching 30 Rock reruns. This will probably continue for years to come.
10. Watching you play with our kids. It's just the best. And you are a great father.     
I am so grateful to have you in my life. I hope we only continue to grow closer together so we have decades more to celebrate. Our marriage has blessed us greatly as individuals and as a family. I hope our children always have us to look at as their biggest and best example. I love you.

cheers to us! michelle
ten years later. :)

We went on a date to La Grolla in St. Paul. It's an awesome Italian restaurant near the Cathedral.
I got ravioli with crab.
Matt got the lasagna. Best in town!
When we left, we were FULL.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hijacking the blog- 10 year anniversary!

Hi everyone (especially Michelle)! Happy 10 year Anniversary! That being said, I thought that I would hijack your blog and write down some thoughts.

Years ago, while I was in college, I came across a list of '21 Tips For Success' by a Dr. Brown (can't remember his first name). The #1 item on this list was to "marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your success or failure in life."

Now, I know that the metrics that people use for measuring success are wide and varied- career, home size/location, clothes, cars, etc....and all of that is just fine and dandy. However, my family is what I treasure most, and that is one metric in which I feel I have accomplished something...a great majority of which can be attributed to Michelle.

Through the years, there has been a common theme of comments made by friends: how did you end up with such a beautiful and lovely wife? Perhaps I was just following the advice of others when they counseled me to "marry up" (which of course implies that my spouse "married down", which I can live with :)). Well, as much as I try to adequately answer this question to my chop-busting friends, the answer is more simple than complex: we simply just fell in love.

10 years ago, I married the love of my life. I've tried to live up to the man that she had hoped for- and there is still a lot of work to do- but I love you more than I did when we were first married because I've seen you as a mother; I've seen how you've responded and grown through adversity with grace and perseverance; I've seen your faith; I've seen you offer forgiveness where others would not; I've even seen you grow from burning our first meal together (waffles) into making fantastic gourmet meals that even impress your chef brother. :)

Life has certainly not been easy for us over the years, but I believe that we've grown and our marriage has been made stronger. I love how we can laugh together about stupid things, inside jokes, and movie quotes that have become part of our dialogue.

Michelle, to me you are wonderful, and I bow down in humble prayer every day to thank my Father in heaven that you are my wife. I think that you are fantastically awesome, and you make me a better man. Here's to many, many more years together.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Michelle....(I hope this turns out right)....
 State Fair. A yearly tradition (minus the kids).
 New mom (and a pretty lovely one at that)
 Ramsey County Fair (circa 2007)
 State Fair Sweet Martha's cookies. A must have.
 Visiting with Grandpa Marv.
 Those eyes.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ethnie turns 8.

My darling Ethnie,
I honestly can't believe you are eight years old. I am having a difficult time wrapping my head around it all! You are so tall. You are in second grade. You can practically take care of yourself. I could go on and on! You are growing up and it has been so fun helping you along as you grow. I feel so blessed having a girl like you in my life! I am so lucky to be your mom.
You are such a great girl. You are positive, kind, creative, and have an amazing imagination. You are also a great big sister to Emmett. He loves you more than you know. You also love your Heavenly Father and always want to make good decisions.
This is going to be a big year for you! You are now able to be baptized. I know you have been excited for this for quite some time. You talk about it often and have seen many of your friends become baptized. It's going to be your turn soon! :) You will be able to make this decision all by yourself.
You are so special and are so loved. Always remember that!
You will always be my little bundle.

happy birthday, my darling. love, mom.

 Whenever there is a birthday in the family, Meg (grandma) cooks them the meal of their choice. Ethnie wanted spaghetti and meatballs. So good!
workin' her magic.
excited to eat.
my beauty.
new markers. she draws all day.
Ethnie loves ice cream cake, like me.
papa and grandma

reading to Emmett.

birthday morning!
I made this with a new app I'm liking.

doll clothes from nana.
gifts from us.
Emmett insisted on helping.

Later in the afternoon, Ethnie had three neighbors over for a movie, pizza and leftover cake. We decided not to do a big party because it was SO COLD OUTSIDE. Eye roll.
happy birthday........!
so happy.
with friends, Ren, Ella and Olivia.
art stuff! :)
it all ended with a dance party in the living room. "What Does the Fox Say?" was the #1 request.

Ethnie also got some money for her birthday. She used it to by more stuff for her new doll and matching slippers for herself. Thanks grandpa Tom and grandma Nancy! 
It was a great birthday!

I wish you all a Happy New Year!