Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Holiday Trip of 2013

I don't know why we keep convincing ourselves 3 week trips are a great idea, but we just can't resist! Maybe it's dreary, cold Wisconsin, maybe it's Carl's intense and slave-to-education semesters, or perhaps we just miss our families so much. I'm pretty sure it's the last one. While Carl and I are no strangers to living away from family, it doesn't mean we are not close to them. We love visiting (especially if nieces and nephews are there!) and catching up. Part of me wants to jump ship and move back to the West coast ASAP, yet I continue to long for adventure, explore new places, and really just soak up the time we have living as a young family with few commitments.

Our trip began the day after Carl's semester ended. Not the best idea I've ever had, but in my defense, we were originally going to California only. Then my mother-in-law had to have the brilliant idea of sharing some of her airline miles with us so that we could also fly to Oregon. Gosh, parents and their love for their children grandchildren. As Carl loves to say, "do bears crap in the woods?" Yes. We are definitely going to Oregon! It was so worth the extra two and half weeks of travel.

While in California, we enjoyed my mom feeding us her amazing home cooked foods with a special sprinkle of Alice Magic. We also got to see my sister and her husband quite a few times! I especially enjoyed being treated to a day in SF, eating at all sorts of local foodie joints and watching the kiddos play at the little park. I love the city. Ideally my family and I will live downtown somewhere for a year someday. That's how much I love it. After a year, I'll get tired of the crowded dirty place and say adios! Hahaha...

Carl even lucked out one day and spent the whole day at Lake Tahoe, snowboarding his heart out with our brother-in-law (sister's husband. Andrew. Drew.)- he was pretty proud that he still "had it" after 5+ years without snowboarding.

Onto the favorite part of posts- pictures:
having fun with Uncle Johnson
 of course they had to take turns

that mouth! reminds me of my dad :)
a closer look. I miss his longer hair!
feasting on our early christmas dinner
bff, steph <3 td="">
cousin Sonia + her main squeeze
the party crew!
taco tongues!
Lovely visit as always, looking forward to visiting again in March!

holding her new puppy from YeeYee and Uncle Drew :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Porter Allen

We were so incredibly lucky to have been in Oregon at the same time my newest nephew was born. One of the hardest parts of being alone in the middle of the country is missing out on seeing my nieces and nephews (family, we love you, but come on, BABIES!!). I have nephew I haven't met yet and a niece I only held when she was six weeks old. There is a hole in my heart waiting to be filled up with you guys, Noah and Ellie!! So to be able to snuggle a brand new nephew was like a dream! My sister in law was a champion in her long labor and the outcome was an adorable little boy, Porter:

We got to visit in the evening the day he was born:

Then again a day or two later:

And again the day before we left!

Catie and the nephew

It was so wonderful!!! Also, photographing without much natural light was a new photography challenge to me. It seems like no matter how high my ISO is and how steady my hand is, I can't capture a crisp photo. Thank goodness for photo editing, otherwise everyone would look jaundiced.

Friday, January 17, 2014

back it up back it up back it up

behold, a great feast.
Am I allowed to start with Thanksgiving to get caught up? Surely the blogging police won't arrest me for this late entry. We spent the holiday here in Wisconsin again, but this year, we decided to be exclusive to our own breed and not socialize. Carl was busy with school earlier in the week and I never set any plans in stone with other families, so this was the simplest (and frankly, most relaxing) plan. So for the sake of memory keepsaking, here's how our Thanksgiving went down:

I started preparing all our food for our little family in the morning:

- seasoned stuffing
- sweet potato casserole
- green beans, mother-in-law style (yum. hearty. simple. green beans steamed and then a little milk and butter heated on high to produce a delicious creamy "sauce")
- baguette
- cranberry jelly made from fresh cranberries
- king crab legs. KING CRAB LEGS. such a good idea to skip turkey for crab.
- mini pumpkin pies (I made these the day before)

Thanksgiving week was the first week in months since I had bought butter. and I used almost 3/4 pounds!

I finished cooking early, so we had dinner at 1 pm.. So delicious.

We were trying to decide what we should do for the rest of the day and spontaneously decided to go watch Frozen instead of waiting the next day. Why not? It was a good movie. and we all loved it! Well, Vivienne got bored halfway through, but still enjoyed it overall.
their favorite part - pie.
We came back and had dinner again around 5 or 6 pm. Still so delicious.


all alone, no love. jk. just working on pie.
The kids went to bed around 7:30, Carl and I had 2nd trimester food babies in our bellies and laid on the couch pondering on our day. And then we finished the rest of the king crab at 9:30 pm. And it was still so delicious.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Good to be home

this wasn't our Christmas card, but it should've been. If you didn't get a Christmas card, it's because we didn't mail any out. whoops.

Over the last 3 weeks, we have been in California and Oregon visiting family for the holidays. It was a well-deserved break, especially for Carl. We spent a week in the Bay first to see the Lockwood side and then journeyed north to the Willamette Valley and spent two weeks with the Leder side. They were wonderful visits, though we are all exhausted- the children never really switched from Midwest time (note: this means we were up by six every day and due to visiting, the kiddos didn't go to bed until eight or later usually. EXHAUSTED). It's good to be home, but we miss our family like crazy!!

Our return home wasn't ideal. It started out the night before when I happened to check our flight 6:20 am flight status and noted it had been canceled. Curses! So, at 11:30 pm, I rescheduled Carl's and my flight, but then Southwest ran out of room on the flight and Ezra didn't have a seat. After 1+ hours on hold with customer service, we were all on the same flight leaving at 10:50 am. Then our second leg of  the flight was delayed for an hour. Why??? Meanwhile, Vivienne was freaking out with a throaty warrior cry for a majority of our travels.We finally got to Milwaukee at 8 pm and my sweet friend Nicole was there to pick us up. Our car was at their house, so when we got to their house, I thought I could see the light at the end of the tunnel! Except then our car was not working correctly and we didn't end up getting home until after 11 pm. Without the car. Despite having a hectic travel day yesterday, I am so grateful that our travels were safe and that we had the Robbin's friendship AND warm house to wait in while the men tinkered with the vehicle.

I'm also very grateful for Carlo's amazing mechanical talents and skills! He has always done all the repairs on our vehicles! We are thankful for the Boyles lending him a hand today as well! Wisconsin may be brrrrrr-freakin-cold the next few weeks, but we sure are surrounded by awesome friends :)

Here's to 2014 being an amazing year!