Soaking in God’s kindness

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Today I am thankful for

  • friends and family who sacrifice time and money to celebrate our little boy’s first birthday
  • a sunny weekend in Seattle with views of snow covered mountain peaks
  • shopping with Leah and drinking good coffee
  • family who sacrifices the cleanliness of their home and a sense of order in life to host us while we house hunt
  • Brooks’ sweet little singing voice and his love of dogs
  • family in Denver and Knoxville who loves us so well from afar
  • hope of  long days to come…
  • video chatting

Promise to post more pictures soon!

"mom, you are going to let me do what?!"

“mom and dad, you want me to do what?!”

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Back in the Northwest

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Do I look like a Northwest kid, or what?

Our route to Seattle didn’t quite go as planned. As our departure approached we realized 1. The National Parks were still closed  2. There was a massive snow storm in South Dakota and 3. (perhaps most significant) Our child is on the move and screams when he has to go in his car seat. BAM! Bought a plane ticket.

Tim made the drive from Chicago to Seattle in 3 days. He saw some boring stretches of our country and some epically beautiful stretches of our country. He said his heart beat fast as he came up over the pass in the Cascades and made the last leg down in to Seattle.

Since we had some time off before we started back to work we took some mini vacations. Our friends were gracious enough to let us use their condo in Wenatchee, Washington, a cool little town on the dry side of the Cascades that sits on the Columbia River and grows a whole lot of apples.

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View of the Columbia River on a crisp morning

Hiking with dad

Hiking with dad

We stopped and did a 1.5 mile hike, and good news folks, Brooks loves to hike. How do I know? He sang the entire ride in the backpack and couldn’t get enough of playing in the dirt. We also stopped off in the touristy Bavarian town of Leavenworth for a picnic, ice cream, and a touristy photo op we just couldn’t resist.

We got to spend Halloween in Seattle with friends and an adorable little dinosaur that is really talented at the xylophone!

Finally, last but not least, we got to spend the weekend at a friend’s beach house outside of Ocean Shores, WA. This place is truly great and where we got engaged 4 1/2 years ago. Brooks loved digging in the sand and was so mad that we wouldn’t sit him down in the water. I think we will be getting him a sandbox next summer!

We were at the cabin with some amazing friends and Tim conveniently turned 30 while we were there! We celebrated with Manhattans and chocolate crepes… and sitting around by a fire while we watched an amazing wind store blow the Pacific Ocean to shore with aggression!

We ended our time off of work celebrating Tim with a nice dinner out in Ballard with Leah and Rick and dessert and drinks to follow.

Before my plethora of pictures, here is a link to a blog a friend wrote about us leaving Chicago. He is a talented writer and car person if you have time to read it… well, we think you should. It made us smile!

Loving dirt, rocks, and bare feet

Loving dirt, rocks, and bare feet

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Who wants this as our Christmas card?

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Copalis Beach. My guys.

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Happy 30th Birthday Dad!!

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Chicago Love Letter

We came to Chicago in the Spring of 2011. Not knowing much and not planning to stick around more than a year…

We found our home through an apartment finding agency — the guy thought we were crazy because we fell in love with our apartment and all of its teeny, tiny charm: the upgraded kitchen; the “efficient” bathroom the size of an airplane bathroom; the “big” closets; the steep city stairs that led us through two-tone sea foam green hallways with 80′s carpet. We moved in on Cubs opening day in April and managed to get our stuff upstairs between opening pitch and the close of the 9th inning. Welcome to the Windy City!

We explored the city. We fell in love with the art museum that made us want to know more about art and dive in to an impressionist painting. We loved the ricotta and honey dish in Little Italy. We went to the restaurants that were difficult to get in to because we could save enough money to enjoy the rich tastes, romantic candlelight, and $15 cocktails. We also split the vegetarian bowl at Penny’s and got the Turkey Turkey at Panes more times than I care to admit. We celebrated the small things and rode our bikes through the city streets in our “dress up clothes” avoiding the potholes and intoxicated by the smells of summer (and a little wine).

We hosted. We loved to show off this great city we lived in. An annual pass up John Hancock, summer festivals, free concerts at the park, and city tours down the Chicago River. We welcomed friends to our small guest room…

And then our guest room became home to our son (and a lot of whales!). We welcomed Brooks Joseph in this beautiful city. The sun rose on a crisp morning in January and we looked out of our hospital window over a frozen Lake Michigan with our first born son in our arms. We told him about life in a city and pointed out firetrucks, skyscrapers, and sirens when he was too young to learn but we didn’t care. We look forward to the day we tell him about his unique first year of life, living on the cusp of Wrigleyville and Boystown.

We met the most amazing people. There are some things in life that only make sense in light of a loving God that has got your back. I feel this way about our friendships here in Chicago. We are blessed with deep, rich, friendships – some that stemmed from continually showing up and some that stemmed from chance meetings in alumni bars over football and an IPA. God has been good to us and we have friends for life that sprung up and grew in Chicago soil.

Two and half years have come and gone – by far some of the best of our lives! God is opening doors that lead us out of this great city and we are walking through those doors. We are leaving with a love in our hearts for the people and experiences we leave behind and will carry with us for always. I understand why God loves cities so much – because people live in cities, beauty lives in cities, passion lives in cities, joy and sorrow live in cities. Urban life is invigorating and I feel like I know God’s heart better by spending two and half years in a city like Chicago.

We leave Chicago, sad to go, but anticipating what God has for us in the days yet to come.

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A Head Nod to Summer

Here is a quick rundown of our activities and festivities of this summer in Chicago and around the midwest. I tried to be selective, I promise:

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For our friend Andrew’s 30th birthday we headed over to Michigan for some campfire games, volleyball, and overall good time with friends. Of course Brooks needed his own camping chair!

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The ladies and babies at the barn karaoke. Whoopsie, Brooks is sitting in his own spit up.

We took a baby message class on Fridays and got some good naked time in.

We took a baby message class and B got some good time with his BFF Gabe

We bought a kayak! This is her maiden voyage on Lake Michigan

We bought a kayak! This is her maiden voyage on Lake Michigan

Aunt Momo came to hang out with us!

Aunt Momo came to hang out with us!

Picking out books at the library

Picking out books at the library

All smiles on the bus with Ben and Lisa (visiting from Seattle)

cheering mom on in the Lake Geneva triathlon

cheering mom on in the Lake Geneva triathlon

a cold morning over Lake Geneva

a cold morning over Lake Geneva, Wisonsin

muggin' it

muggin’ it with Van Gogh at the Art Institute

Mom came to visit! Brooks took her to her first game at Wrigley

May came to visit! Brooks took her to her first game at Wrigley

Apple Cider Century... which ended up being about a 5 mile jaunt around Southern Michigan

Apple Cider Century… which ended up being about a 5 mile jaunt around Southern Michigan

But we had a good time anyway

But we had a good time anyway

"and the normal day of walking to Starbucks in my mix-matched clothes"

A typical day of walking to Starbucks in my mix-matched clothes

Cheering on the Huskies when they came to Chicago to play U of Illinois

Cheering on the Huskies when they came to Chicago to play University of Illinois at Soldier Field

And a happy bath picture to round out the summer festivities

And a happy bath picture to round out the summer festivities

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We are Moving!

The time has come for us to move West. We are going to hop on I-90 and take it all the way to the end… we are moving back to Seattle!

Tim has a job opportunity through the same company he works for now starting in early November. To be honest, at first we weren’t necessarily up for a move because we really love life here in Chicago; We love our jobs, the city, and our wonderful friends. But as doors were opening we just kept moving forward and praying God would redirect us if he wanted to… so far that hasn’t happened and we keep getting more and more excited about life back in the Northwest.

Tim describes it as leaving a party right at the peak of all the fun.

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picture from years ago at Greenlake

So, this week we will celebrate 4 years of marriage and it makes me nostalgic about where we have been. We have moved from Seattle to Knoxville to Chicago and now back to Seattle. 4 years, 3 different homes, 2 different careers, and 1 added family member later. We are feeling so blessed.

I’m thinking we will stick around Seattle for a while now!

I will try to be better about updating the blog in the coming weeks. We plan to make the drive with some stops along the way to begin Brooks’ education of National Parks. Thanks for all of your love and support of us in life!

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photo by Ben Dodds

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Summer city-livin’

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About once a month I freak out. “How can we have a baby who can __________ (fill in the blank with whatever new thing Brooks can do) and live in this 500 square foot apartment!” No washer/dryer. No dishwasher. No microwave.

And then the days come and go and of course we make it work. I have seen the movie Babies, I know you can raise a child in under an array of circumstances. There aren’t even any goats eating out of Brooks’ bath tub and we have access to clean water and disposable diapers so why am I making a fuss?

And then there is the other side of this urban baby raising: The side where we walk to the market and are surrounded by moms from the neighborhood as kids play on tambourines and maracas:

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The side of city living where we walk through the zoo, just to see the gorillas, because it’s free, so why not; the side of city living where I constantly meet other moms on the sidewalks and play parks, because, well, all of our apartments are just a little too small; the side of city living where I don’t have to drive a car as there is nowhere we could want to go that the our legs or the train can’t take us (well, except maybe Target, I wish I had a car for Target). The side of city living where we can join a throng of tourists to take in amazing sites, sounds, and art:

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WEAKsauce attempt at a family photo

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Sometimes, I just need to adjust my expectations about what life looks like with a baby and embrace moments like THIS and THIS when Brooks gets to shake his groove thing.

So please, remind me of this next month when I freak out, because B is about to be on the move. And I. am. scared.

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Summer in Chicago

Oh. My. Word. 6 Month olds are Amazing. Brooks cracks me up. I set out to capture in photo just who he is at 6 months and it was a challenge as I would steady him with one hand, grab my camera with the other, and turn around to find his pudgy little fingers reaching forward, fresh spit up rolling down his chin (yup, still a spitter), and a devious smirk on his lips. Little Butterbean. I no longer have to prop him up for photos though as he is sitting up on his own which somehow makes him look WAY too old.

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Nailed it mom! Looking like a little grown up right?

In other big news (relative to Brooks anyway), we have started on solids! For some reason I put this off as long as I could even though Brooks has been reaching for our food for some time now. Brooks loves the sight of his booster seat. Most days I pull it out of the closet late afternoon, put it on the floor, and strap him in; meanwhile he is smiling and flailing in anticipation for the act of eating. I mention the “act” because I’m not exactly sure how much he eats, but boy does the boy enjoy the process of his parents undivided attention while he smears food everywhere.

We have done rice cereal, avocados, and sweet potatoes so far. I let him get the avocado ALL over himself one night and he promptly broke out in a rash with puffy eyes. Thankfully, we had his 6 month check up the next day and the doctor informed me it was just from getting food oils all over his little (well 35th percentile) body! Whoopsie. Aren’t avocados supposed to be good for skin?

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(*I don’t usually let him feed himself)

Now that summer is sticking around (it took a while this year here in Chicago), we are faced with covering Brooks who inherited his mom’s blue eyes and his dad’s blindingly white fair skin.

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The first weekend in July, we headed up Milwaukee for an overnight trip. We had a free night in a hotel that was expiring so we threw some things in the car and made the 1.5 hour drive north. We spent Saturday at Atwater Beach with some friends. You could walk right by the park and not notice the steep drop off that leads down to a nice little patch of beach surrounded by trees. I had envisioned getting to put the kiddos (Brooks and GF, Adah) in the water, but it was too cold! However, that didn’t stop us from putting their feet in the water which led to earth-shattering screams by both. We found it so funny, we did it a second time to catch it on video.

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with Ted, Bethany, Hana, Andrew, and Adah at the market that looks suspiciously like the Seattle market

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Milwaukee, eat cheese, drink beer, and wash it down with custard. So was our weekend… and then Sunday, back to Chicago with promises to put healthier food in our bodies.

Per usual, I have more pictures than you probably want to look at, but I am going to throw them on anyway:

a typical walk along the Lakeshore path

a typical walk along the Lakeshore path

We have so many toys and yet one of the BEST games we have is taking all the utensils out

We have so many toys and yet one of the BEST games we have is taking all the utensils out of their home, one in each fist

eating sand at the park

eating sand at the park

eating sand at the beach

eating sand at the beach

we are thankful the restaurant below our apartment is out of business currently... we enjoy the patio!

we are thankful the restaurant below our apartment is out of business currently… we enjoy the patio!

empanadas and my boys (shout out to 5411 Empanadas, a new favorite)

empanadas and my boys (shout out to 5411 Empanadas, a new favorite)

Until next time!

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