Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Life Lately... and Thankfulness!

Good morning! I'm going to attempt a little combination post of what's been happening with us lately in addition to a few words of thankfulness in there with Thanksgiving being tomorrow and all.

Earlier in November, my sister flew in to visit for a few days and (as I suspected), we had a smashing time. The girls loved having Auntie Robbo around to read stories, dote on them, and  make elaborate play-doh cupcakes. They also enjoyed riding her down the playground slide like a toboggan.

 Fortunately, I fed Robbyn lots of coffee and pastries to keep her going strong in Auntie Mode.

Joe was very nice to keep shooing us out of the house and we managed several fun outings. We shopped in Stillwater one day and met Michael and McKenzie  at The Wedge & Wheel and shared an out-of-control cheeseboard. It was a fantastic time (Until Rosie decided that bread and cheese isn't a proper lunch and got real mad. Fortunately, that was toward the end of the meal.)

Things got even more sisterly as we also had dinner out at The Craftsman and brought along my birthday-having sister-in-law. It was a delightful evening, we ate all the things , talked about all the things, and even shared three desserts at the end!

I'm so glad Robbyn was able to swing in and visit. I'm always a little more inspired and energized after we've spent some time together. First of all, she's a babe so I always feel motivated to, you know, change out of my sweat pants and put on some make up. Plus, I love rehashing our childhood, especially since having two girls of my own really gives me flashbacks all the time. And I love how she just gets me excited about life, everything from our next big steps, to thinking up new ideas for our small side businesses,  to trying new recipes, to planning trips, etc. I really really have the best siblings.

 Even better, she was able to accompany me to my first ultrasound with this third babe and that was extremely special. I can't tell you how much I love having a new little one to stare at on our refrigerator!

Rosie recently went through a tough week where there were lots of tantrums. And crying over everything. And then I was crying of course, because I felt frustrated and also helpless. I even brought her into the doctor because I was concerned that maybe I was missing an ear infection, painful teething, or something else causing her discomfort. They said she was fine... just two years old. Awesome.

Fortunately, some one-one-one time seems to have remedied things and she's back to being energetic and cheery for the most part.

I've found that my greatest cure in life and my secret to maintain sanity on the treadmill that is parenthood is time to myself in anyway, shape, or form. I do not feel guilty about it in the least. Be it a ladies night out or reading my library book with coffee in the morning before the kids up, it's my way to feel ME! I will say, being able to wake up before the girls do is probably the things that sets me up most for success on any given day. Sometimes I whisper to my coffee like a crazy person "I WILL do better today!" Kidding. (No, I'm not.)

All of that self-care and de-stressing is quite important because the holidays are seriously upon us!

Last weekend Cece and I had a fun date together grabbing some Starbucks (hot chocolate for her) and shopping for new Christmas decorations. We had a lovely time together and I can't believe how grown-up she is getting. I already know I am no where near ready to have a big-kid, but ready or not, it's happening. I feel like raising girls in our current world is a mighty challenge, but one that I need to tackle head-on. Because I feel at the end of the day nothing in the world is more important to me than raising strong girls in this world who know that they are so very loved.

Speak of the girls, we recently bunked them up in an early effort to make space for the new baby. We got them new beds and rearranged their room. And now, it's pretty much my most favorite space in the house. Someday I'll get around to posting more pics of our whole house as I've been wanting to give a little bloggy tour of our new place... but I keep wanting to take photos of the rooms when they are actually clean and that keeps not happening.

And if we're going to be real here, their room usually looks more like some variation of this. ^^^
Which is still awesome.

Here's a recent pic of the two boo-boos together. I found matching Christmas PJs last week and couldn't resist already giving them to the girls. I'm still awed at how big they've gotten... and at the fact that I'm still a mom. It's been almost six years and I still feel like I can't always process that this is real life. Some days I feel like I'm a teenager and still waiting for the adult to show up!

So that's a few of the things happening lately.

Sometimes it's easy to feel overwhelmed. There was a good chunk of time this month where Rosie was having her epic tantrums, housework and projects needed doing everywhere I looked, I hadn't been caught up on editing photos in months, and it was hard to be on any kind of media without getting all of the post-election news and problems with the country and the world. It feels a little hard to be going into Thanksgiving and the holidays with everyone so divided. Sometimes it feels like a lot.

But. I am thankful for so much. This has been a big year for us (and a pretty wild year for the world).

How much more could I ask for? Joe and I come from two wonderful families and have two lovely healthy girls and one more baby on the way. We're living in a neighborhood and house that is so fantastic that I can't believe it's ours after almost six months. And even though I dabble in photography, I'm massively thankful that our life has worked out where our home and kids are my first job. I haven't quite figured out how to express gratitude without sounding braggy, but I just want to make it clear that I don't take what I have for granted for a moment.

Lastly, I just wanted to express my thankfulness and love for my husband who has made my dream life possible through his hard work everyday. And what's more, I love how he still comes home tired as hell and still helps me around the house and still has energy and smiles and silliness and stories and tuck-ins for the girls when I feel like I am running on empty. So, Joe, if you actually get to reading this... thank you for all you do! It's not easy, and we're both often exhausted, but there's not anyone else I want to be this exhausted with.

This is a photo of us from Thanksgiving 2006. Look how rested and relaxed we probably were ten years ago, haha.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! May your hearts be full and your pants be stretchy!

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Family Pictures 2016... and news!


Holiday greetings from our family! We took our Christmas card photos weeks ago (back in October) in an extremely successful 10 minutes session by Joe's cousin Ashley (THANK YOU, ASHLEY!!!) I've been dying to share photos, not just because I love sharing pictures, but so I can finally announce that BABY #3 is on the way!!! Cece is very excited, Rosie is still grasping the concept, Joe is pumped to have another minion, and I'm thrilled/nervous/excited to have another babe around here!

Baby is due in May, I've been feeling pretty decent (just hungry, sleepy, and emotional, but that's really no different than how things normally are... I just can't fit into clothes with buttons or zippers. Meh. Not a tragedy.)

What do you think? Boy or girl this time? If it's a girl, Cece has had the name "Lily Bloom Flower" picked out for months. (Apparently, she wishes that's what we named her.) We just had our first ultrasound and we know it's not twins, but we do know that the baby is looking ever-so-cute so far. We're feeling very lucky around here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Will try to keep up the blogging as our journey with baby #3 continues.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Halloween 2016

Hi, friends! Last Monday was Halloween and our first time trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood. And O M Goodness. What fun the girls had and what an impressive candy haul they brought home! (Thanks, girls!) Cece wanted a mermaid costume this year and Rosie was excited to be Elena of Avalor. The girls let me put long sleeve shirts under their costumes without any fuss which I considered a major win. (I remember being devastated to wear a turtleneck under my princess Jasmine costume one year. I just really wanted to freeze and my mom wouldn't let me. Sigh.)

A few more photos from my phone below:

I can't remember if I've ever mentioned this, but I truly hate carving pumpkins. Like, everything about the process. Fortunately, the girls were happy to just paint their pumpkins this year. Again, thanks girls!!

We started out trick-or-treating by cruising around the neighborhood in our fly new ride. However, the girls ditched the car when they realized it was way faster to run from house to house.

To say our neighborhood was filled with trick-or-treaters is a serious understatement. I had never seen so many kids and parents out celebrating Halloween. It really was a blast and we had a great time with some of Cece's friends from school. I think we stayed out for about an hour and a half and then came home to warm up with hot chocolate, bath time, and the Vikings game ; )

Cece and Rosie also got to hand out candy for a little while after they came home and I think they enjoyed that almost as much as trick-or-treating itself!

Cece has already been asking how many days until next Halloween. I don't blame you girl, this was a great one!

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween Candy Houses

Happy almost-Halloween! Cece recently had a four-day weekend and we kept busy for most of it. However, on Monday we relaxed around the house and I managed to facilitate a small Halloween project for the girls.

During the Christmas season, making gingerbread houses is one of our favorite things to do. I figured we could start honing our skills and put a Halloween spin on the candy house idea. Really, all this meant was that I bought some candy corn and dark chocolate frosting. And I then quickly assembled simple structures from graham crackers that we already had in the pantry. (Joe called my construction skills too simple and "Ted Mosby-like" but I don't care. The girls turned them into masterpieces!)

I tried to monitor the candy-eating and frosting-licking, but as you can see, Rosie is totally guilty of sweet consumption (and so stinkin' adorable!). Cece could work on a project like this literally for hours. She was so sweet and thankful that I set this up for them!

I also love how Rosie's house's door is a nod to Olaf the snowman.

As you can see, the girls had a lot of fun and these masterpieces are now centerpieces on our dining room table. (Of course, the smell of frosting was making me crave cupcakes... so I might have baked a whole batch of cupcakes today... whoops.)

Anyways, thanks for checking out our cute candy houses!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

ALL the things!

Well, hi! It's been nearly two months since my last post. (As you can see, the above photo is from late summer when Target still thought kids carts were a good idea.)

 We've been staying busy with all things fall and adjusting to Cece's life in kindergarten. I've been taking lots of family pictures and even shot two weddings in the past couple months. Therefore, any time I can manage to get on the computer,  I try to get as much editing done as possible and blogging gets put on the backburner.

However. I've decided to take a little time and just jot down a few things that have happened over the past couple months. (And then finally I can check off "update blog" as it's been on my to-do list for about seven weeks ; )

This lovely lake shot is from early September when I flew out to Boston for Labor Day weekend to shoot a wedding in at Camp Lenox in Massachusetts. It was a fun and beautiful weekend to celebrate such Katrina and Aaron, who are a wonderful couple and I'm honored that they asked me to help document their day. 

I managed a teeny tiny bit of sight seeing before my getting on my return flight. I was able to check out Boston Common and even spotted Cheers! Next time I'm out that way, there's about 30 other things I'd love to check out. So, I've made a list for next time because there needs to be a next time!

Also in early September, we made our second trip out to the MN Renaissance Festival. Despite Rosie's pouting face in this picture, our whole family had a blast with the Olsons eating festival food, finding fairies, supervising pony rides, testing out enchanted scrunchies,

Are we magical mamas or what??? My mom says that I can't wear my wench costume all the time. Phooey. I say this is the ultimate ladies night attire.  Til next year, Ren fest!

Now that Cece is living that kindergarten life, I am under new management... the management of Rosie Posie. It's been intense. I've been instructed to make her tacos everyday and also give horsie rides on demand.

Just kidding (a little). Actually, although we miss Cece during the day (as proven by Rosie sleeping on the floor next to Cece's bed at night), I have been enjoying my time with her a whole lot. Not to mention there's no sibling fighting for about 8 hours every day. And Rosie usually takes a nap  which gives me time to do things like shower, make dinner, and edit the occasional batch of photos while there's daylight and I'm not totally sleepy. And Rosie is also probably the funniest person I know, so really, it's been a good situation.

Joe and I even managed a trip to Vertical Endeavors with Rosie one morning while he was off. She's still a ways away from ringing the bell at the top, but she'll get there. Climb on, Rosie Posie!

And we haven't been exactly amazing at trying out new restaurants since we've moved, but we did recently eat at  Sapporo in Hudson. The kids were a little antsy, but all was good once we ordered dessert, of course. Yay for (family) date night!

I've been very fortunate to chaperone a couple field trips for Cece. In September we went to Afton Apple Orchard and picked all the good apples with proper apple picking technique (which we later used to bake apple crisp!). I also accompanied her to the The Phipps Center for the Arts to see the play Mother Goosed. I sure love plays and since I don't think Hamilton is in my near future, this was the next best thing. Not to mention there was great weather that day and we got to have a picnic lunch. That chaperone life is good.

Joe and I also managed to get out for a date night recently. It was to attend Cady and Luke's wedding in Stillwater. Actually I was shooting the wedding. And I made Joe be my assistant (He was an amazing assistant! He carried my things, carried the bride's dress, assisted with my lighting needs. and grabbed me appetizers so I could keep up my energy and strength!)


In October, we also celebrated several cousins' birthdays (Elise, Vincent, and Dominic) and we got to do so at the Science Museum! All of the kids had a blast (and so did the adults). The girls especially loved when they got to make mini volcanoes.

So it seems like everyone and their grandma on social media has managed to do multiple fall outings this year from farms to pumpkin patches to grape stomps. Feeling the peer pressure, I took the girls to Axdahl's where we attempted a corn maze (Cece tripped and got muddy and was not happy about it), visited a tiny petting zoo, and got some teeny pumpkins and caramel apples. Boom. Fall y'all.

Just last week, I managed an awesome day-o-fun with Rosie Posie. After accompanying Cece to school for breakfast and the Scholastic Book fair, Rosie asked that we go to Teddy Bear Park. So we spent the morning in Stillwater. After Teddy Bear Park, we walked around, found Humpty Dumpty and the minions, did some window shopping (ok, I bought her a Pegasus), and we had lunch at Leo's (which is an awesome 50's diner and I had the most amazing seasonal salad) . Honestly, one of my favorite days.

We've had many warm October days that were perfect for still playing outside, visiting playgrounds, and even chalking on our sidewalk. Although I've been cooking and baking all of my fall favorites (snickerdoodles!), it really hasn't been oven weather yet. Not complaining over here. Warm October days are the very best kind of days.

I'm going to end the blog post with this picture because it makes me smile every time I look at it! Recently, Rosie has been very specific about who assists her. So, she did NOT want me to put on her socks the other morning, but was totally fine with Cece doing it. Two-year-olds... I tell you.

I'm hoping your fall is going great! If you made it to the end of this, thanks for reading about all the things.


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