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Monday, December 10, 2012

This weekend I...

This weekend I...celebrated a friend’s birthday. We went out for burgers and drinks (the birthday girl is expecting, so the drinks were more for everyone else). I think we might have scared our significant others a bit with all the high school stories we were telling. I forget sometimes just how much mischief we used to get into together—oh how times have changed!
This weekend I...went to Shop with Cops with Sean. I hadn’t originally planned on going with him (I mean, the kids don’t come to shop with cops’ wives) but they encouraged family to come. So when another of Sean’s buddies was bringing his wife, I decided it’d be fine if I went along, too. It turned out to be a very cool experience. We had 2 young boys for our first trip, and 4 sisters (ages 6-13) for our second. It was fun to see them so excited about finding something special for their family—and being able to pick out a gift for themselves, too.
This weekend I…made these for our annual Christmas party. My mom used to make these when I was little and they were my favorite. I quickly remembered why when I tried them again.  SO. GOOD. If you’re looking for a delicious brownie recipe, seriously give these a shot.

This weekend I…had a great time celebrating the holidays with friends. As usual, we had an abundance of delicious food, and no shortage of great conversation either. And who doesn’t love getting to see this little one?
This weekend I…took full advantage of the snowstorm by using it as my excuse to be L-A-Z-Y. I seriously only left the house once on Sunday, and it was a 10-minute trip to the grocery store 2 blocks away. To make the day even better, Sean did all the snow removal (by choice), he got the night off work, I tried out a delicious new recipe (more on that later), and Sean’s mom, brother, and uncle came over for dinner.

All in all, a pretty good weekend (minus a couple bumps in the road, and the fact that like all weekends—it ended).

What did you do this weekend? Link up with Syndal here!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hello weekend!

When I “wasn’t feeling it” on Monday I should’ve taken it as a sign to stay in bed all week. It’s turned out to be quite the pain-in-the ass week. But…there’s a silver lining. It’s Friday and that means we get to put it all behind us!
 
I’m looking forward to some fun plans this weekend. Tonight we’re meeting some friends to celebrate one of their birthdays. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be joining Sean and his department for their annual Shop with Cops program. I’ll be sneaking out to grab a couple small gifts for him (emphasis on the small since he can’t decide what he wants and he’s so hard to buy for!). Then I’m meeting a friend for some lunch and shopping (her fiancĂ© and Sean work together and she had the great idea to buy some Christmas gifts for the family of a Minnesota police officer who was recently killed in the line of duty). Somewhere in there I need to whip up some delicious treats because Saturday night we have our annual Christmas party with friends. It’s sure to be a great time! I think by Sunday we’ll be wiped out and ready for a restful day at home before Sean heads back to work that night. I can already feel the weekend flying by!

Can you believe Christmas is just more than 2 weeks away? I’m determined to put this crappy week behind me, get in the holiday spirit, and enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Comfort words

Sometimes when things get especially taxing, I seek out some words of comfort or inspiration. And other times, they stumble upon me instead. A quote coincidentally included in someone's email signature. An innocent "pin" by an acquaintance that seems to be speaking directly to me. Even an advertisement on the TV or radio.

It can come from anywhere, yet it's the most powerful gift when it appears - out of nowhere - and just in time.

A few very fitting ones these days (all found via Pinterest, even though some of them first came to me in other ways):

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Case of the Mondays

We had a really nice weekend—a together weekend—and for that I’m grateful. We deep-cleaned our cars (had my seats shampooed and everything!), ate out, watched some old school movies (can you believe I’d never seen Tommy Boy in its entirety?), did some shopping, attended a bachelor party (Sean) and did some late-night cleaning again (me), and spent Sunday eating good food with good friends while watching some sort-of good football (the end result was good, and that’s all that matters!).

But the truth is, even after all of that, I’m just not feeling it today. I slept horribly—which is becoming quite the routine on nights when Sean is working. Sean is stressed about some work stuff and therefore I’m stressed for him, too. I have a crazy day at work ahead of me. I haven’t been feeling that great. And it’s Monday. Only the beginning of a long week on the horizon.

So me and my case of the Mondays will be enjoying a pity party elsewhere today. I’ll come back—with a more positive attitude—soon!  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My new favorite accessory

Ever since Sean was officially sworn into the police department, I’ve been thinking about wanting to wear something meaningful in honor of him. I’m just a bit obnoxiously proud of how hard he works and what it takes for him and others to serve the community day in and day out. Of course, I’m also constantly praying for their safety and protection, too. Lord knows I’m not cut out to be so brave. About the biggest risk I face at work is getting a paper cut.  

So I’ve been casually on the hunt for something special to keep close to me, and a few weeks ago, I found it. I was reading Kelle Hampton’s blog (a fave!) and she mentioned one of her sponsors—The Shine Project. I had heard about this before but never really looked into it, and for whatever reason, something that day compelled me to explore.

Not only was I inspired by the mission of their organization (for both The Shine Project and Threads, their cause-driven business that provides opportunities for at-risk youth), but I loved so many of the fun things they had to offer. I was instantly drawn to their personalized bangle. It seemed like the perfect opportunity. I decided on the phrase “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” from Matthew 5:9. It’s a favorite of mine but also something that’s commonly used for things relating to law enforcement and military. In fact, it’s inscribed on the Minnesota Peace Officer’s Memorial, too.

So imagine my excitement when the package arrived yesterday. I ripped open the envelope, carefully untied the mini drawstring bag, and immediately put it on my wrist—where it will likely stay nearly 100% of the time. You guys, I’m telling you, it’s adorable and meaningful and just what I had in mind. I’m already brainstorming new (and personalized, of course) ones I can have created for gifts for friends and family.


So there’s no other point to this other than I wanted to share this fun new find. I’m in no way affiliated with The Shine Project or Threads (they have no clue who I am, let alone that I’m writing this). I simply wanted to share my excitement with all of you! Check them out!

Monday, November 26, 2012

This Weekend I...

This weekend was especially nice because it was three whole days longer than usual. I filled my days with equal parts fun, relaxation, and productivity (you know, just enough to not feel like a total bum).

This weekend I enjoyed a wonderful "Friendsgiving" with Sean and his friends. Back when they were in high school, they started a tradition of having a pre-Thanksgiving meal the day before Thanksgiving. It's grown over the years to include all the significant others and new friends - and the food has come a long way, too. Gone are the days of rotisserie chicken and store-bought mashed potatoes. We've got quite a few great cooks in the group now, which makes for an undeniably delicious spread. This year we had roasted turkey, sweet and regular mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, fresh baked pies, and so much more. And what do I have to show for it? Just a single photo of the fellas who started it all (minus a couple). Photo fail on my part!

This weekend I enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Sean's family was out of town, so we spent a quiet morning at home and then had dinner with my family. Even the dogs got in on the action. It was a nice, relaxing holiday - our first one as husband and wife!
This weekend I discovered this while doing some (very quick) black Friday shopping with Sean. We decided that - when we have kids someday - we might just have to spoil them with this so they can be like daddy (it's one of those hot wheels things that kids can ride around it). Let's hope they still make these when that someday comes around!
This weekend I cleaned the house in the middle of the night. I love night cleaning! Sean was at work and I couldn't fall asleep, so I turned on some Christmas music and got the chaos of our house back into order. I finally found a spot for this - above the kitchen sink window - and just love it!
This weekend I baked! I went to a cookie exchange with some friends on Sunday and made one of my favorite holiday cookies - Melting Moments. I even made them gluten free and you can't tell the difference at all. Seeing as how the last thing I need is more indulgent temptations in the house, Sean and I will be taking several of the treats to work (after sampling them all, of course). So much fun!
Delicious! I shared the recipe here last year.
Baby C enjoying the tree at the cookie exchange
This weekend I started getting the house ready for the Christmas season. After coming home from the cookie exchange I was feeling festive, so I pulled out all of the decorations and got to work. There is something so peaceful about sitting back and basking in the soft glow of the Christmas tree. It's the next best thing to a warm fire, I think, and since we don't have a fireplace, the tree wins. Bliss!

What did you do this weekend?


Monday, November 19, 2012

This weekend I...

A little weekend round-up to kick of this Monday. I’m especially excited that I’m only working 2 days this week before a wonderful holiday break—including days where my husband and I will both be off work. #ThanksgivingMiracle.

So anyway, back to the weekend.

This weekend I gave the gym a little undivided attention. Saturday workouts are my favorite because, unlike during the week, I don’t feel like I’m rushing through everything to get to work in time. I was so in need of a butt-kicking, particular in the weight training department. I’m still sore today, so I think that’s a good sign I should trade some of the cardio time for the weights a little more often. I was reading this article last week about how important weight training is. I’ll admit it, just like the article says, I’ve always thought cardio was key and have a hard time (i.e. feel guilty) cutting back on that. But I know weight training is beneficial, too. Part of my problem is feeling like I just don’t have a good routine with the weights. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing! Any good tips for strength training?!?
This weekend I enjoyed the beautiful fall weather and went for a walk with 3 of my best friends. It’s funny how quickly time goes by—and how far you get—before you realize it when you’re chatting away with good friends. I’m sad that winter is coming and these (outdoor) walks will be fewer and farther between for a few months.

This weekend I found this couch. Sean’s mom got us these adorable chairs for our living room and this couch matches that color scheme perfectly! I tried (unsuccessfully) to convince Sean that perhaps this could be our Christmas present to each other. Hey, it’s on sale (see that 50% off tag?!)! His response? “I believe I’m sitting on a couch right now, aren’t I?” Like lots of men, he’s of the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” mentality. I admire that in him most of the time…except when it means shutting down one of my brilliant ideas.
This weekend I met this little lady. Isn’t she a beauty? Our friends welcomed her to the world on Friday and I’m just so excited for them. When I came home from visiting them at the hospital, my hands and sweater smelled like baby. If it were hygienically and socially acceptable, I’d never wash them. Love babies!
This weekend I snuggled with the pup…a lot. Sean worked all weekend which meant Oliver and I had plenty of quality time together. I did my fair share of productive things, but I also indulged in some quality couch potatoing. It was heavenly. Sunday night he rediscovered a toy that is at least 2 years old but practically brand new and he decided the three of us should watch the AMA’s together. Perfect end to the weekend.

What did you do this weekend? Link up with Syndal!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday's Letters - 11.16.12


Dear Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for an awful lot this year (in fact, that might be another post all in its own). But I want you to know, I’m also thankful that you mean I’ll only have 2 days of work next week, I get to spend 4 days in a row with my husband before he goes back to work (which hasn’t happened in I don’t know how long), I’ll be spending quality time with friends and family, and I will be stuffing my face with delicious food. So thank YOU!

Dear baby boat, I’m so excited that you’ll be joining us today. Your mommy and daddy have been waiting patiently for your arrival, and so have all of us friends, too. We can’t wait to meet you, little girl!

Speaking of babies…Dear baby fever, can you please cool down? I’ll have plenty of little ones all around me to tide me over until we’re ready for our own! Right? (Excuse me while I go write that sentence 100 times over to convince myself it’s the truth, haha.)

Dear mother nature, thank you for the balmy November weather. I’m really looking forward to lots of sunny, 50-degree days in the next week, so please follow through!

Dear pinterest, I’ve become mildly obsessed with you again lately. Thank you for providing me endless entertainment all those times I need a nice, creative break from the million other things going through my brain.

Dear Christmas shopping, you’re really going to stress me out this year. I’ve only purchased two things and the “idea” column of my list has way too much white space. Why must some people be so hard to buy for?

Dear Friday, thanks for being you.


Want to join in? Link up with Ashley!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lately

Hey, remember me?

I've been on a bit of a hiatus, but quite honestly the break has been much needed. I've been missing it around here more and more lately, though, and I really think I'm ready to jump back in. And why not start with a fresh new look too?

So let's try and catch up just a bit. Here are a few scenes from life lately (lately being a relative term, of course, seeing as how I've been gone for so long).

Enjoying the lovely fall weather. Even the rain days were more enjoyable with the backdrop of golden colors like these (of course, those trees are pretty much bare now).
Our annual apple orchard/pumpkin patch trip. We had beautiful weather,
a great turnout (14+ people), and as usual, a lot of fun!
We got the photos back from the wedding I was part of in September. Adorable!
This is just one of my many favorites!
Speaking of weddings...we've been attending lots of them. These are some photos from the latest one that a bunch of us traveled to Chicago for (unfortunately Sean was working and couldn't join us). It was the last one of the year of weddings (we had 10 this year, including ours!), and what a year it was!
I've been working on a project at work that included an event we hosted featuring
Bill Nye the Science Guy. Does anyone else remember how exciting it was to spend a science class watching his videos when we were younger??
Breakfast dates with the husband. His new work schedule is interesting, to say the least. While we're trying to adjust, we're finding new ways to spend quality time together, especially spontaneous breakfast dates as he's getting off work and I'm just starting my day. (This is one of our favorite breakfast spots. Just blocks from our house, quaint and quiet, and absolutely delicious!)
So there's just a few of the things I've been up to lately. Now, I'm looking forward to getting back in the swing of things!

Friday, October 5, 2012

While I've been gone

Last night was one of the greatest nights of my life, and it might  help to explain part of the reason I've been a bit absent from here in recent weeks and months.

Last night, I got to see my husband's lifelong dream come true:
He was sworn in as one of 22 new police officers!

For the past 4 months (just before our wedding), they've been working harder than I've ever seen anyone work as part of the police academy. It's been a long, stressful process - not just for the recruits but for their families and friends, too. But every second of it was worth it to watch them earn their badge last night.

So between the limited information I could (and can) share, and the bit of a crazy path our lives have been on these last few months, I've had a hard time keeping up with blogging. Quite honestly, sometimes our lives were just so boring there wasn't much worth writing about (let alone reading about).

So there you have it. I couldn't be more proud of him and the rest of his class. They've been like family to him - to both of us - and we're honored to join this community with all of them.

I'll leave you with just a few more photos from last night.

Sean with his mom and youngest brother
Sean and Baby C (our best friends' baby, who turns 1 today!)

Sean and his best friend since kindergarten (who came straight from work). I love this photo because it shows each of them growing up to be what they've always wanted to be - a doctor and a police officer!
I absolutely adore these two. This is one of Sean's friends who became a cop for this department last year
(he was in our wedding, too) along with his fiance.
And this is what we came home to at the end of the night (sorry, had to block out our last name). One of my aunts decorated our front door with blue lights, balloons, and this sign. So sweet of her!
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Summer fest 2012

A couple years ago, a friend of ours invited us and several of our friends up to his family's cabin for a fun weekend away. It instantly became a tradition. Earlier this year, we added a winter weekend to the list (best idea ever!), too. After last summer's trip, my camera somehow destroyed nearly all of the photos, and I was so disappointed! This year, I was sure to capture as much as I could.

While it's past labor day and in most peoples' minds full fally now, this year's weekend got pushed out to this past weekend. We were hoping for warm weather anyway, but Saturday was actually rather crisp and cloudy. We made our mandatory boat trip to a local bar and restaurant for lunch anyway, but after freezing our butts off, we decided against spending the day on the water like we usually do. It was actually kind of nice to have lots of time to relax.

Everyone gathered Friday evening and we spent most of the night playing games around the cabin. We're a rather competitive group, so the night was full of shouting, pillow throwing, and of course plenty of laughs.
Pretty sky on our drive up!
Friday night games!
The game of the weekend - Catch Phrase!
Saturday morning a few of us went into town for some coffee and breakfast. We spent most of the morning around the cabin (a few people went for a run; I was not one of them), and eventually packed up and headed to a late lunch. We finally got back to the cabin and regained feeling in our extremeties. Sean and I went into town for a bit while some others took naps or watched college football. We played a few more games, made dinner, and headed out to the bars for a bit. Most people stayed out till closing; my friend Claire and I were (happily) home and in bed by 11:30.
Saturday morning coffee
Chilly boat ride
This pretty much sums up how cold we were
Sunday morning we relaxed around the cabin while the boys' excitement for the football kickoff grew exponentially. They claimed spots around the TV, their laptops and iPads with fantasy football info perched in their laps, and stayed there all morning. We ordered lunch from Zorbaz, a popular lake restaurant in several Minnesota cities, and chowed down while watching the football game. I took a few quick photos of baby C outside, we captured our annual group photo, and then Sean and I hit the road at half time (he was anxious to get home for his team's game, the Packers).
Lunch!
This year's crew

 

Baby C's impromptu photo shoot
All in all it was a wonderful weekend away. The fresh northern lake air, good friends, abundant laughter, and two blissfully carefree days. Just what the doctor ordered!