Look at the time!
Wow. I'm sorry to have left the blog scene for almost two months now! You would have thought I fell off the face of the earth! Not really, but it seems writing for the blog has slipped my mind somehow. I apologize for the delay, and I'll try not to make a habit of it. I have plenty to update everyone with and happy to do so. Let's do this!!
Birthday Trip to Wisconsin!
Naturally I was counting down the days 'til our fall trip to Wisconsin. It had been 9 months since we were there last. We actually don't usually visit in the fall, but I made an exception for the fact that one of my best friends was getting married. And what a beautiful bride she was! I have to say Ingrid and Justin are a really great match, and Justin is one lucky guy to have Ingrid as a wife! We had a super refreshing visit. From all the details of their big day to seeing all the familiar faces at the wedding, it was a fantastic time. It was an honor to stand in the wedding as a bridesmaid. Those girls were so sassy and fun, and the groomsmen had plenty of jokes the whole time. By the way, a funny thing, Ryan had to piece together his outfit for the wedding by borrowing my brother's suit coat -- my brother is known for wanting everything fitted, which Ryan can appreciate. And then he rummaged through my dad's tie collection and found a knitted tie, which has come back in style these days. So he was looking pretty handsome I must say!
For the majority of our visit the weather was gorgeous; warm the first day and perfectly mild the rest. My desire for the four seasons hasn't died off; I love the cooler weather!! It was a full house the first day when all the kids got to spend Labor Day together and have quality time that not only brings joy to my heart but especially my parents who care to see us all together. While Ryan and my dad had some 'manly bonding' time one day, my mom and I got to spend a little time in Wauwatosa at the coolest place, Le Reve Patisserie & Cafe. It had such a humble yet elegant menu, and desserts and pastries that you could not help but want to order one of everything. On our way back to the car we stopped in Soaps and Scents, and my mom bought me THE BEST CANDLE EVER! I never really was a candle burning kinda person, until I started working at the church and enjoyed the scents in my office. This candle is the bomb, it is called Meditation Room by Lafco. I'm telling you, if you like fresh scents, this is like smelling a garden in your home.
Ryan and I managed to have a little date night in downtown Milwaukee. We started with coffee, took a stroll around the Historic Third Ward, and even stopped into Anthropologie and scored this super cute apron! Afterwards we ate dinner at a steakhouse called Moe's. It was per my brother and brother-in-law's recommendation for the best steak. We both ordered an 8oz filet, and as Ryan cut into it he was greatly anticipating the pay off of the rave reviews we heard. And boy did it live up to the hype! Oh man, I can officially say that was the best steak I've ever had. So good, and great atmosphere too. What a perfect night with my awesome husband!
One of the best parts of the trip was the quality time I got to spend every morning with my nephew Will. As my sister Anna and her husband were staying with my parents, it didn't matter how early Will decided to start stirring and making noises, his cute little smiley face was worth waking up early for. That kid is adorable, for real. And he is walking full on now -- getting into more things, and I'm sure he is showing Anna and Chris his even more adventurous and curious side.
I will never get sick of the beautiful land that my parents have. It's a humble 2.5 acres on a hill that has grown to be a utopia with grape vines, large vegetable garden, and flowers and landscape that make you never want to leave! Let's not forget Holy Hill, which is even more picturesque and we have made it a tradition to visit every time we come. It's a few minutes away. Check out this video I found recently of an amazing aerial view of it!! Click here.
My dad has a lot more time on his hands with being 'semi-retired'. But he doesn't hesitate to fill that time by reading, researching, experimenting, and trying out new things he otherwise wouldn't have time for. Something he has always made a priority of, full-time to now the retirement pace, is his devotional time with God. I was walking outside when I noticed his arsenal of books laying on the patio table. He is a wise man, who prays for all of us kids all the time. I know his example of keeping God close to your heart, mind, and decisions has really spoken volumes to me growing up.
My good-byes this time were given a bit more easily as I knew we would be back for Christmas. And it's now 58 days 'til we are there, and we hoping there is snow this time!
Best Birthday SURPRISE -- ever!
I am always ecstatic about my birthday when it comes around, and if there is one thing that I love even more, it's surprises! Ryan had told me we were gonna go out, but I had no idea where or what we were doing. It was the day before my 25th birthday and we were sitting around the house, because Ryan explicitly said 'We can't leave 'til 6:30'. My stomach was growling and it wasn't til the last 15 minutes did I get antsy and ask 'Can we just leave nooowww??' Those few short minutes passed and we hopped in the car. From the direction we were going I had an inkling of where it could be that he was taking me. We pulled into the Hammond Research Center, which I had fawned over the scenery the last time we were there. Nothing but gardens everywhere! We started to walk around and observe all the gorgeous flowers in bloom. I was thinking.. alright is this just a stroll, or does he have something up his sleeve? We approached a gazebo which I remembered from last time... I was thinking .. I betcha he has something set up there. When we got closer, the gazebo was empty. I wasn't disappointed but I thought well, this is still beautiful and I'm so glad to be here with him. We kept making our way through the maze of flowers, and Ryan says 'Hey, what's that?' and pointed in a direction up ahead. I was confused, I wasn't sure what he was pointing at, until we got closer and TA-DAH! It was the cutest little picnic for two! I was so pleasantly surprised, and come to find out our friends had helped prepare the meal and set it up for Ryan all sneaky like to help him pull off the surprise! Thanks Jason and Sarah! And a big thanks to my husband who truly knows me and pulled out all the stops just for me on my birthday. Love you!!!!
Seasons of change
In the end of August we heard some news that caused a large transition that happened rather quickly at the church. We moved out of the building that we were renting and moved back into our old building. It happened in about a week and half because that was all the time allotted after we found out the building had been leased. And our first Sunday back in our original building was not only my birthday but we flew out to WI as planned that very night. Crazy times! Although God has guided The Harbor through it, and we are continuing to move forward. If you wanna hear the full story. I had the opportunity to pen the whole experience on our church's blog. Check out part 1 and part 2 of the story.
To Tortuga WE GO!
So, the weather is slightly living up to this season we call 'fall', but it's in the low 80's some days. A couple cool fronts here and there, but I won't complain -- it's bound to feel like fall sooner or later. We took the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while the weekend had some mild temperature. And our hiking buddies were none other than our good friends -- The Grangers! We took about 1.5 hour drive to Tunica Hills (or Tortuga as Ryan calls it) in Mississippi. With the lack of rain the waterfalls were more like trickling fountains, but the hike was pretty enjoyable. We encountered a handful of banana spiders. I will spare you the trouble and refrain from posting a picture for your peace of mind. Our lunch spot was near a ledge that overlooked the beautiful forest. We took the 'primitive' trail -- in which we found out we were not gonna make it all the way through before dark. Alas, we turned around a quarter of the way through, but rightfully so, I was exhausted (shhh, don't tell Ryan I said that)! It was a fun trip, with a lot of laughs, and naturally a few inside jokes formed along the way. Good times.
Everyone's growing up!!
Everytime I check social media, I see my little nephews in Arizona not so little anymore. That is one of the cutest families ever. My brother Jonah and sister-in-law, Deborah are blessed with three little boys, Owen, Everett, and Amos. Aren't they adorable! I can't wait to see them again sometime, we miss them so so much!
Plus our nephew Cole is all grown up now going to school, and his sister Ellie too! These kids are opposites though! It's funny to see their personalities grow, and especially Ellie, she is quite the sassy one. And Cole is a bucket of laughs and handful of smiles. Lance and Kristina, you make cute kids!! And Jack is cute too :P
Anniversaries all around
October will go down in the books as a momentous month. October 18th marked my sister and brother-in-law's 6 year wedding anniversary, which was also the day Ryan and I met. What a day that was! And in the end of October last year, we had moved into our home in Ponchatoula. We have made our adjustments by now to make it into a cozy place for us. Still always something being tweaked and worked on, but all just improvements. Also it was around this time that I started working at the church, and Ryan went to go work a temporary 3-week job in Indiana for an oil company. When he returned he started working right alongside me. That was kinda a rough time of transition while he was away, but it was an investment for our finances that was very helpful to us. It's crazy how this past year has really made me grateful for what we've accomplished and how we've grown. I really am excited for what is ahead with our jobs at the church. We love the people we serve and it's an honor to have an amazing Pastor and lead team supporting us as we work alongside them.
Adventures on the water
Recently, we had a retreat with our lead team from church, and it was out on the Tickfaw River at a camp. Throughout our time there we took the little paddleboat out to venture into the swamp. The last day of the retreat we managed to get the Grangers to come with us to the beauty of the bayou. Well, when we pushed off the dock, let's just say we weren't making record breaking speeds. We needed to find a way to redistribute our weight because the four us some how weighted the boat down to where we could have probably taken on water at any moment. Have I ever mentioned that falling in swamp water is like my biggest fear?? No worries, we didn't have any spills, but it sure was fun to make our way slowly but surely through the small passages of water just off the river. We had our own little mini adventure -- it was great!
We have our own little body of water right outside our yard -- it's a pond that is a little bit bigger than a football field. Seeded with fish, we only just recently have discovered the wildlife underneath the water. Ryan has found a little hobby in going out and casting his rod into the water. And something that I have been BEGGING Ryan to do for a good two months is to patch the fiberglass canoe that was lent to us by a good friend. We took it out yesterday and had a great time on the water while the clouds shaded us from the sun. No bites on the line though, maybe I'm bad luck. Oh well, it was a great morning ride in the canoe.
Til next time...
Thanks for sticking it out 'til the end. I had plenty to say and plenty of photos to show for it. Hope you are having a wonderful fall so far! 'Til next time!
I am a homegrown Yankee and newlywed wife to an enthusiastic and energetic Southern man, Ryan. We love to share our life adventures, our advice, recipes, and aim to help others be the best version of themselves in the process.