Wednesday, January 27, 2016


- We have been listening to classical music every afternoon. It keeps me calm during the most not-very-calm hours of the day. And drinking a warm drink every afternoon to warm my bones and hands from our cold house. 

- I have made the same butternut squash soup about a million times it is just that good. I like it way better than Doug does, but he is not really a soup for a meal person. 

- We have been taking advantage of any sunny warmish days we have and playing outside. I have to fight the boys over and over and over to actually stay outside and play. But I am generally up for the fight. 

- Doug and I watched season 12 of Top Chef together, and as usual, they did not pick who I thought should win. And we generally end each night with an episode of Seinfeld. 

- Jack has been battling double ear infections for a while, but I think we have medicine working this time. His talking has taken off in the past few days! I think maybe he has just not been hearing well for a while. 

- So much of this stage in life is our simple routine. Especially during the weeks. School, grocery shopping, show watching in the afternoon, making dinner, running out to tackle Dad once he gets home, eating dinner together, running and wrestling in the front room after the dishes are cleaned up, reading books, sometimes a bath, and bed. The house quiet and calm and dark by 7:30. It is a sweet routine that I don't mind one bit.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Family Pictures:

We needed photos for our Christmas card this year and so did the Odom's, so naturally we met in Karen's back yard and took each other's pictures! Maybe Jon and Doug and the little boys showed up in coordinating outfits and we all had a good laugh about that.  The children did well and it was the perfect temperature. They even somewhat cooperated and let us take a few bonus pictures of us all together. Life with these sweet people is so much wonderful.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Christmas Day:

all photos by Grace Braaksma 

Nick and Grace made the journey down from Fargo to spend their first married Christmas with us all! We enjoyed our week together greatly.

We woke up to Emily already here and making the coffee. Henry slept until 7:30, the longest he has slept in a while! We read the Christmas story, opened stockings, and opened our gifts. Simple simple simple was the key this year. The boys were so sweet and thankful for their gifts.

After presents, we ate cranberry orange cinnamon rolls and kept refilling our mugs with coffee.  It was a perfectly slow morning sitting around the table and talking and watching the boys play. Later on in the day a fort was built and we started working on lunch.

I made a pot roast (that sadly did not get nearly tender enough), mashed potatoes, kale salad, and dinner rolls. We were too tired and too stuffed to even think about making a dessert for lunch.

That evening the Clark's came over and we had dessert with them. Grandma's chocolate cherry cake and a chocolate pecan pie. We swamped a few more gifts, passed some babies around, and watched Uncle Nick wrestle all the children.

We ended the night playing games and eating more dessert and drinking hot tea in attempts at staying warm in our drafty house.

It was the perfectly simple Christmas day.

Christmas Tree Hunt:

We went back and forth on if we wanted to get a tree this year. With not a whole lot of extra room in the budget it was hard to justify spending that money on a tree that would literally die. But then my parents sent us some Christmas money and we decided to use part of that gift to buy our tree and hot chocolate. 

We drove to Lowes and let the boys run in and out of the aisles full of trees. We found the perfect one for us and dragged it to the front of the store. Doug is a champion and strapped the tree to the van and off we went. 

Decorating the tree is still rather stressful as both boys are so fully involved and aware with what is going on. Thankfully I think we only broke two ornaments in the process so I count that as a success. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Celebrating the Season:

We had just the very best Christmas season. One that was perfectly full of celebrations with dear ones. We had our annual friendsgiving out at the Ranch. We laughed so hard and ate really good food, like we normally do. The girls sat at one end of the table and the boys were at the other. We have learned this is the best seating arrangement for optimal conversations. After dinner we played games and laughed even more. Doug and I drove home late that night with full hearts and bellies.

Northwestern had a client appreciation night and we took the boys downtown for some ice skating, crafts, cookies, and a Santa sighting. Downtown was pretty magical with all the twinkling lights.

We had Doug's work Christmas party at his boss's house. Doug ate some clams! I avoided them and ate the other safer appetizers. We basically stayed in the same room and talked with Blake and Jess. We left with some of the best sugar cookies ever as favors and sore feet from my too tight heels.

I had a ladies dinner with the ladies on  Doug's side of the family. Karen made quiche and soup and we went around the table and talked about things we accomplished this past year that we are proud of. It is always a good time to actually talk since no children are allowed. And I always love hearing what other's have accomplished. It is also so good to think back on the things that I have done that I am proud of.

Henry and Jack loved celebrating Christmas at school. They both came home with the sweetest crafts and Henry had his first ever Christmas program. He was so big standing up on the stage. He was a little "too cool for school" and hardly sang any of the songs. But he sure did look cute up there with his little sheep hat.

The Odom's came over one night to watch the Bill Murphy Christmas Special. We inhaled an entire soft pretzel ring with cheese and drank egg nog. We each took a section of our huge couch and watched the special. It was perfectly calming and relaxing. Jack did not want to miss out on the fun and cried until I came to get him. He joined our corner of the couch for a while.

We attended the Christmas Eve service at church. We were frantically running out the door and got there late. We struggled to find seats for us all. But once we were all there and sitting we were so pleased to had made it happen. I cried through the last few songs while watching Henry hold his lit candle so high with the rest of the sanctuary. It was a very powerful and peaceful moment. Jack wiggled around so he got the boot to the lobby with Dad for a lot of the service. Overall though, it was such a special night. The perfect end to our holiday celebrations!

Thanksgiving 2015:

We spent the day eating lunch at Karen's house with the family. We had a great time together. It is just such a treat having Greg and Beth closer now and Grandma and Grandpa Johnson came. I brought a broccoli and cauliflower casserole and an apple pie. We did not stay long because we had to get the little boys to bed.

The afternoon ended with me getting unnecessarily upset about Henry's open mouth in our family photo. It really upset me for no reason. On the drive home I was rather convicted about my response. These little ones make our days so much better and brighter and to get upset about them being little is just plain silly.

Celebrating the Boys:

We had so much fun celebrating the boys birthdays this year. They each woke up to birthday balloons and streamers on their actual birthdays. Doug took Henry to the doughnut shop for his annual doughnut with Dad. Poor Jack had to settle for a Quick Trip doughnut because all doughnut shops were closed on Thanksgiving. He did not seem to mind to much.

We invited several friends over for cinnamon rolls and a simple party. We had so much fun playing with our friends and the adults enjoyed being able to talk around the table with coffee and sugary treats. It was a fun and low-key party with some of our very favorites.

That afternoon we went to Brad and Jeanette's and celebrated with the family. All the boys were present and it was only mildly chaotic with so many children running around. We had cupcakes and enjoyed celebrating all together.

These little ones are so easy to celebrate. What a huge blessing to be able to celebrate with so many dear friends and family members!