Christmas at Home

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Jordan and I stayed in Nashville for Christmas. Our Christmas traditions have been evolving over the years, but this was the first year with just the two of us. While not exactly ideal, we found a way to make the day special. 🙂

After arriving home from work, we made a simple brunch while White Christmas played in the background. It’s my favorite classic Christmas movie and I couldn’t conclude the holiday season without watching it.

We were able to FaceTime with our families throughout the day, which made the distance seem not so vast. Jordan’s family always watches Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back on Christmas afternoon at his grandparent’s house, so to keep with tradition we did the same!

All in all it was a great day spent with my love.

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2014 / / A Year in Review

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As this dusty road now settles and I see what lay before, every tear that held a broken dream is now shattered on the floor. And now bursting forth in splendor are the blossoms of second tries because dreams that bear the mark of love are dreams that never die. 

Sometimes life can feel so unkind. Sorrow won’t define me so just reminds my soul. “Moving Forward,” Colony House.

Thanksgiving night, while curled up in bed with Jordan at my in-laws house, Jordan and I continued discussing our thankful list for 2014. Words began spilling out of my mouth that kind of surprised me.

“Yeah, I think that 2014 has been the best year of our marriage.”

2014 still didn’t bring us a baby.

2014 included spending money on a lot of doctors visits.

2014 included stress, tears, and worry.

But despite all of that, 2014 included joy, adventures, growth, and a lot of love.

I’m coming to realize that every year is full of ups and downs; some years lean more towards one end of that spectrum than others. How we choose to respond to our trials is totally up to us (I’m still working on this one).

2013 was extremely difficult for me, but a lot of that had to do with my expectations. I expected to get pregnant quickly. The blinders that I wore during that disappointment, limited my ability to find any joy. I don’t want to live through another year like that. 2014 was much better… I am expecting great things in 2015 even if it isn’t anything I plan for because my life is more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined.

Peace be with us as we enter this new year, while still facing our mountains.

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/ / Linking with Emily & Lisa.

Merry Christmas

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Wishing all of you a merry and bright Christmas from our family to yours! And wherever you may find yourself on life’s journey, I hope we all can find comfort and hope in the birth Christ.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Luke 2: 8-11

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Thanksgiving in Photos

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^ Our snowy drive.

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^ My parents have Thanksgiving prep down to an exact science, but some dishes are better made the day of consumption. 🙂

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^ Luke’s first Thanksgiving! He roamed wherever he could find the space.

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^ My nieces are at the age where they enjoy helping. They were tasked with setting the table.

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^ The original place card I created when I was younger.

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^ Thanksgiving Day Family Photo!

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^ The one and only round of Bananagrams that I won. Jordan’s sisters are winning machines.

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My Home

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It’s moving day! It’s still hard to believe we’re at this point, despite the year long preparation, but there is no denying it.

“This is like really happening now, babe.” Words Jordan has been telling me almost daily. 😉

The truck is loaded with our belongings (thanks to our dear family/friends) and currently, we’re on the road with coffee and snacks. Jordan is driving the truck, bless him, while I’m in our car. I’ve never driven alone for this long before, but I have several podcasts saved to keep me entertained.

I’m going to miss this house of mine, the house my parents moved into 20 years ago. The house that became my home. Thanks for all the love and memories.

…until we meet again.

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Weekend Links / / Our Last

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^ The pre-family-picture pictures are always the best. I love that Jenna is standing all stoic waiting for the rest of us to follow suit.

This was a good, but also bittersweet week. It began with visiting Jordan’s grandparents. Over the past nine years I’ve been embraced as their own grandchild and it feels really special. They live about two hours away, so we took a mini road trip with his youngest sisters. On Sunday, Jordan and I celebrated our birthday with our families. It’s quirky sharing a birthday, but we’ve grown to love it. For dinner, my dad made his famous Cincinnati Chili, but we each chose our own cake; you can’t share everything!

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My mom baked my favorite cinnamon chocolate cake, which complimented my mother-in-law’s homemade ice cream cake! In between packing and moving preparations, we had dinner dates with family and friends. This is our last weekend as Illinois residents, but I still haven’t fully grasped what that all means. People continually ask me how it feels, but honestly it’ll take a couple of months for this new reality to actually seem real. My last day of work is on Monday and we leave on Tuesday. Most of our belongings are packed away, but I’m sure I’ve missed something.

Please pardon me as I become extremely frantic over packing details.

These articles/blog post/interviews served as great inspiration and perfect procrastination material.

1 | When I grow up. It’s daunting to determine what we will do when we grow up. I appreciated Rebecca’s honest words about her journey through different education decisions, careers, and life choices. Maybe our life path isn’t what we set out to accomplish, but life is created in those unexpected moments.

2 | Fresh Air interviews Joan Rivers. A compilation of three interviews Terry Gross has had with Joan over the years.

3 | On turning 30. For her 30th birthday, Sarah shares 30 things she still has yet to learn. The older I get the more I realize I always have more to learn.

4 | The secret to 80 years of marriage.

5 | Chelsea’s list of 10 lies every girl tells herself had me cracking up. Particularly the one about not regretting chopping your hair off. I’ve definitely been there and done that!

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Take Two to the Zoo

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while, then it’s no surprise how much Jordan and I love the Lincoln Park Zoo (here, here, & here). The zoo offers a little oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Besides the plethora of animals to observe, the Lincoln Park Zoo has a great (FREE) green space and if I lived closer, you would find me walking the path regularly. Earlier this month, on my nieces’ last day of their visit, we spent the morning here. We told the girls about the zoo a few days before and they became really excited for our little journey. For being six and four, they are quite the seasoned travelers. We knew they would enjoy looking forward to an adventure.

The drive went quickly as we listened to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack and discussed which Disney Princess was our favorite (Holly: Ariel, Laura: Snow White, Jordan: Belle). You know, all the important things in life.

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I love being an aunt. It’s all the fun and games with no real responsibility. haha.  These girls are at a fun stage where we can have deep conversations and I see them processing new information. Over the weekend, we watched Babe and it was awesome to hear them discuss and explain why they thought the characters were acting a certain way. I remember a lot from the ages of 4-7 and I hope these girls remember that we love them and think they are fun, precious, and so valued.

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^ I think they had a good time 🙂

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^ She’s starting first grade?! What?!

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^ My mom grew up on a dairy farm and she loved showing the girls the farm animals and explaining how Papa would have to milk his cows everyday; rain, blizzard, or shine!

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^ Laura came up with that pose on her own.

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New Mexico-ing

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There is something comforting and peaceful about West Texas. Flat pastures that allow you to see for miles and a dry wind that whips the heat around you. I can see why people risked their lives traveling in covered wagons to the great western expanse. On this trip, I found out that Jordan’s relatives traveled from the east in a covered wagon to settle in Texas and New Mexico. It made me thankful I was traveling in an air conditioned car!

We spent half of our week in New Mexico and the other half in Texas (more on that later). Clovis, NM (where we stayed) is a big small town; well, it has a Walmart, at least three Sonics and one really good local coffee shop. The last time Jordan and I visited we stayed with his aunt and uncle, who used to go cruising down Clovis’ Main Street as teenagers. Main Street is now filled with mostly antique and craft stores. Clovis is a few miles from Texico, which doesn’t have much besides a western store selling boots and saddles. My mother-in-law was raised in Texico.

Our evenings were spent with the family, catching up and playing round after round of Gin Rummy, Spades, and 42 (a domino game). Jordan is ready to start a 42 league.

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^ Main Street.

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^ A selection from Leslie’s Candy Co. A little shop in the outskirts of Clovis. I’m still enjoying their saltwater taffy!

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Pieces of Childhood

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My mom asked me months ago to start going through my bedroom and basement playroom. Even though my room at my parent’s house transitioned into a nursery a couple years ago, most of my toys and special mementos have stayed put. I am a rock star in my nieces eyes, what with all of the American Girl doll accessories I own.

It’s really easy for me to become sidetracked whenever I spend time downsizing and organizing. I, like my mom, associate people and memories with objects. Maybe it’s simply my personality, but I also think it has to do with the fact that I didn’t live near family growing up. So the Madeleine doll my grandmother sent me kind of stood to represent her.

It still isn’t practical to keep everything, so to help ease the pain, I have to do it in steps. I might pick a few favorites and revisit them later, potentially narrowing it down even more.

I began with my trophies. And even though they are cheap and throwing them out doesn’t mean I’m throwing out the memories, I had to save a couple.

/ / Did you have to empty out your childhood bedroom or has it remained untouched?

The Newest Member

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The boy-girl ratio in my family has slowly been tipping towards girls ever since my three nieces came along. I kid to my brothers that all those rounds of playing Pretty Pretty Princess with me, while at the time seemed annoying, was actually parenting preparation!

We thought girls were going to reign supreme in this next generation, but then came little Luke William. On Saturday Jon (brother), Anne Marie (sister-in-law), Jordan and myself drove to St.Louis for the day to visit Luke, his parents and big sister! We had such a fun (sadly short) visit all vying with each other for turns to hold the newest member of our family.

And now I will spam you with baby pictures 🙂

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^ toddlers can’t get enough of Jordan. they seriously flock to him.

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^luke happily slept/ate the whole afternoon!

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