A whole lotta love

365 Project: Days 80-81 On Saturday, February 18th, all the kids and my father-in-law, Royce, came over for lasagna and root beer floats for Jon’s final birthday celebration (a week late). Birthdays are a good reason to make time on the calendar to get everyone together, so we don’t care if it’s on the actual day–or even a month late. It’s just nice to have all our kids home and together. Almost everyone grabbed a chair and crowded around the card table to do this puzzle while we waited for Anders to get here. It’s amazing how much bonding takes place doing a jigsaw puzzle. Seriously, you should try it. Puzzles have become a permanent fixture in this room at our house. *** Allison sat in the opposite corner, devouring The Hunger Games on her Kindle, while everyone else puzzled. She’s not much of a puzzle gal anyway, so this gave her a reason to lose herself in a book for a bit. (She LOVES this Star Wars t-shirt Nathan gave her. I guess this is more proof that Jon was successful in having the girls grow up to be well-rounded and not too girly. :))  *** After dinner and root beer floats, I got my laptop out so Hannah could show Grandpa how to add a contact in his email. 🙂 *** Back row: Amy, Hans, Allison, Nathan, Anders, Jon, Royce | Front row: Hannah, Me Anders has been out of the hospital for a week in this photo, and we continue to lift him up to the Lord and plead the blood of Jesus over his whole being… spirit, soul, and body. We are so thankful that God continues to heal his body, and we know the He has a bright and wonderful future and good things planned for Anders. (If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, you can read about it here.)  After a rousing game of Citadels and Jon opening his presents, everyone had to get going. It’s so unfortunate that the kids have lives outside of us… and that they have to leave home to live them. 😉  I love my family so, so much… and am so thankful for every time we get to be together. God is...

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The girls’ sleepover

365 Project: Days 78-79 The current play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and there are nearly 30 people in the cast and crew for this production… 20 of them being girls. 🙂 My 16-year old daughter, Hannah, is the Stage Manager for CB Productions, and she asked me a few weeks ago if we could have the “girls’ sleepover” at our house, which is tradition for every play. It helps them bond and all that jazz, and it’s a very good thing. I didn’t have to think too hard about it. Of course I said yes! I love these kids, and who doesn’t love a girls’ sleepover!? *** Well, I guess Jon doesn’t. He actually got a hotel room in the town next to us. Here’s his overnight bag. Oh, forgive me… I guess a more manly thing to call it is a duffle bag. He’s a man who needs his sleep, and he knew he wouldn’t get it here. That’s for sure. Haha! *** I love how people always squeeze into this room just outside our kitchen. It must just have the right amount of cram-appeal. (I stood on the counter to take this pic.) Aren’t they beautiful girls? *** …and funny and dramatic too. *** Not everyone was able to come, so there are 5 people missing. Boohoo… we missed them. Lots of food, girl bonding, piano-playing, singing, laughing, and chatting. *** For some reason, whenever I have lots of teenagers over, I always have to take a shoe pic. Won’t this be fun to look at when the styles have changed so much, 20 years down the road? *** They were surprisingly alert the next morning, after not getting hardly any sleep. I think some of them went to bed at  5:30 a.m. I slept with headphones on in my bedroom because I didn’t tell them they had to be quiet. I made some egg dishes and cut up lots of fruit for breakfast, which the girls heartily devoured. After a little digestion took place, they decided to go for a walk to the park, along the Mississippi River. *** They linked arms and set off for the park. Most of them didn’t even wear jackets, but I think when they got to the river, they may have regretted that. I tried to tell them, but some things they just have to find out on their own. 🙂 They had fun. *** While they were gone, I went downstairs to assess the state of things.  *** I love everything about this mess. No, really… I do!  *** I got all the angles, just for fun. This represents so much of everything good there is about good friendships. *** I told the girls I was so excited to have them over and that I was looking forward to it all week. Hannah said, “Yep, that’s my mom!” 🙂 *** And then the inevitable happened. The sleepover drew to a close, and they all had to leave for rehearsal again. But before they loaded up in their vehicles and headed out… *** I had them assemble on the steps for one more pic. By this time, two more people had left, so now there’s seven people missing. I love everything about being a momma, and days like these two are some of the most fun I get to have with my teenagers… and I love that I have the opportunity to help create a place where good memories are made with their friends....

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Jon’s department…what a crew

365 Project: Day 77 I left my desk at 2 p.m. and ran upstairs as fast as I could, getting to the conference room just in time for the happy birthday song. Three days after Jon turned 51, his department had a party for him, and they invited me to come (…hence the existence of this photo). Back row: Heather Mascarenas, Steve Mize, Steve Dumire, Mark Baker, Jeff Litfin, and Jon & I Front row: Fred Barrett, Rich Rahn, Paul Wiele, and Martha Hultgren   Heather and Martha plan a little party whenever one of the guys has a birthday, and they bring some type of dessert and everything! Isn’t that sweet? I loved having the opportunity to connect with everyone again, and I was so happy to be invited. I don’t see most of them as often as I’d like to since I work on a different floor, and we’re just in different areas of the building, but anyway… We laughed, sang, talked, laughed some more, and had a big time for that 45 minutes or so, and then it was back to work for all of them—and back to work for me too. Jon is so blessed to work so closely with every one of these people. I’m blessed when he is blessed, and… have I mentioned that I really LOVE them all so much? The IT crew at LWCC and cfaith are the best. And they are super duper fun, which is, in my opinion, imperative in any workplace...

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Muffins… & my Garmin!

365 Project: Day 75-76 On this particular day, Hannah asked me if I would make her some homemade pumpkin muffins. After a full week of being at the hospital with Anders (and other things coming up), I hadn’t made anything homemade in a week… not even dinner. :/ It was a tough week on all of us. So, on my lunch break, I was happy to oblige and make a batch. Day 75 Hey, doesn’t the bible say ‘you have not because you ask not’? Yes, it does… in James 4:2. Is there anything that you have want or need of in your life–big or small? Here’s your reminder to just ask. Ask God of course, but we know that God works and brings blessing to us through people, so if you need to ask a person, ASK them. People can’t read our minds. Hannah wouldn’t have gotten any muffins unless she asked me. I’m glad she did. *     *     *     *     *     *  Jon and I have never made a big deal about Valentine’s Day, and when I tell him don’t buy me flowers… jewelry… OR chocolate on Valentine’s Day, he KNOWS that I actually mean it. I have never put the kind of pressure on him that society seems to put on men on February 14th. He has pretty much the same views as I do anyway, so… it works for us. I’m not a scrooge about it, I just think there’s too much superfluous hullabaloo surrounding that day. Also, “gifts” are probably last on my love language list, so I guess as long as I love–and feel loved–in other ways throughout the year, the pressure is off. 🙂 So, you could imagine my surprise when I came home from work and Jon handed me this gift.   Day 76 He really surprised me with this. I have wanted this Garmin Forerunner sport watch (with GPS and heart rate monitor) for my running and marathon training, but was prepared to wait and save as long as I needed to, knowing how expensive it is. Jon is such an incredible supporter of the things I do, whether it’s running, writing, or whatever. I am so blessed. This watch is an amazing piece of equipment! It gives data for every run–things that I never even knew were possible. You connect it to your computer and upload your activity to the Garmin website, and it shows you every detail of your run, and then you can compile all your data and even run reports. I am very excited. Knowing what my pace, distance, and heart rate is at any given time while I’m out on the road will be so helpful in challenging myself and meeting my goals. Happy “LOVE” Day to my husband and thank you for always believing in me and helping me be the BEST me I can be. I love...

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Of books, races & birthdays

365 Project: Days 72-74 My book club book this month was The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls. We all pretty much loved it. The dysfunction in the family was startling at times, which lent itself to great conversation when we met to talk about it. There was such resilience with the kids. It drew me in, and I felt like I was one of them–and so much a part of the story as I was reading it. It was a memoir that read like fiction to me. I would highly recommend this book. It was engaging from the get-go, written very well, and an easy read. There was some language, but because of the story and the dysfunction, I felt like it was contextual, and didn’t take anything away from the story. We had such a great time… great food (and chocolate), great friends, great books, great conversation, and lots of laughter. Some of the best things in life right there, that’s for sure! I love my book club. And my friends. And chocolate.  Day 72 Mental note: Unless you want to look like a doofus, don’t wear reflective gear in a picture with a flash. (And poor Savannah, I couldn’t fix her eyes well enough, so I left them alone. We can glow together, I guess. :))  Next up: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which I read once already… and then The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. *     *     *     *     *     *  I ran a Valentine’s Day 5K at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis on the Saturday just before Valentine’s Day. It was a “fun run”, so it wasn’t even chip-timed. And oh my goodness, it was SO cold! I got a coffee mug and a cute pink t-shirt, so that made it funner. I also got to let everyone know whether I was “single”, “taken”, or “it’s complicated” with a sign on my back. I didn’t really want to participate in that, but I did. 🙂 …and in case you wondered, I made the right choice, being that I’m married and all. (see below)  Day 73 After my races, Jon and I have gotten in the fun habit of going to a new place for breakfast or lunch somewhere in the cities before we come home. This time we went to The Zumbro. At a new place, I always ask what their specialties are, or what some of their most ordered menu items are. Here’s my first-ever eggs benedict, after our waitress recommended it. Yummalicious! Day 73 Here’s Jon eating his eggs and such, not thrilled that I always take so many pictures of him since I started my 365 Project. I told him the only way I’ll take less is if we spend less time together. We both know that’s not going to happen, so he plays my silly game and musters up a smile as quickly as possible, mostly so I’ll put the camera down and eat my food. Day 73 We’ll be going back there. With my camera. We loved everything about it. The food, the service, the atmosphere… it’s a winner.  *     *     *     *     *     *  For the last couple years, we’ve been celebrating birthdays at home, since it gets so expensive to eat out with all four of the kids and their significant others. Sunday, February 12th was Jon’s 51st birthday, and with Anders just getting out of the hospital and Hans and Amy being out of town, we decided last minute to eat lunch out since everyone wouldn’t be able to be together until the following week. Jon wanted to go to Anchor Fish & Chips in northeast Minneapolis, a place we tried for the first time a couple months ago. It was fish & chips all the way around, except Hannah, who had their burger for the second time. Good stuff. This has become one of our FAVORITE restaurants.  Day 74 It was a good day. I think it was for Jon too. Very low-key and relaxing, just how he likes it. I made him his favorite cake… yellow cake with homemade chocolate frosting, and I got him exactly what he asked for, which was a specific camera bag that he prioritized as ‘highest’ on his Amazon wishlist. 🙂  Hannah got him a book he asked for about Minnesota’s historic bridges, with some great photography in it. Note to self: If ordering gifts by mail, make sure Jon isn’t home when they arrive on the doorstep. He joked all weekend before opening...

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