We Love Our Daddy!

Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies! I am fully aware that not all daddies are biological or legal daddies, but when they pour their hearts out to the little ones in their lives, they are very much a real father. I’ve seen so many amazing examples of this, so happy father’s day to you, too!

Pete worked over night in the ER after working in the medical tent during the marathon yesterday, so for father’s day, he’s being gifted a ginormous nap. He deserves it! When he wakes, we’ll head outside for a picnic or a bike ride or some other fun in-the-sun activity. This morning, Ella and I put together a short video of all our favorite pictures of Daddy and her Papas to tell them how much we love them. Because we really do!

Happy Father’s Day!!


Must Be Summer!


running errands in mama’s heels

Summer! We’re loving it! Ella has been out of school for three weeks and we are on full summer mode. The only thing missing is summer heat, though I’m okay taking that part in moderation. It usually takes a while for Duluth to warm up, so in the next couple weeks we’ll probably start seeing it climb to the 80s. I know, I know. All of you anywhere south of us are probably thinking 80 sounds cool. But that’s life on Lake Superior! We usually get two hot weeks, but those don’t come around until August. Until then, we shall soak in our ‘pseudo-summer.’


dancing after dinner with daddy


The biggest adjustment since Ella graduated from kindergarten has been getting used to the schedule. She does best when she has something structured outside the house each day, so I registered her for something each week in the mornings. Last week was theatre camp and this week is nature camp. I had this grand idea that I would drop her off each morning at nine, run errands with Sam, he would nap a bit while I wrote or cleaned up the house, and then we would eat and leave to get Ella. Lovely, right? Well, somehow in my planning I forgot that Sam has therapies three mornings a week and I lead a moms’ Bible study on Tuesday mornings. That leaves one morning a week when we aren’t going from drop off to therapy to errands to pick up. Four weeks following nature camp will be tennis, which is only 45 minutes in the morning, so we might have a little more down time, but then we still have therapies and, still, we have just one car. I tried to plan well but clearly left a few details out of the calculations. Oops! At least we’re having fun!


a sleepy boy at Trader Joe’s


With all the running in the mornings, my afternoons have been filled with errands and Kenya prep and meetings while the kids are at home with our dear Ms Donna. I would be struggling with this schedule if we didn’t have her with the kids four afternoons a week. I really need the time to get the big tasks done. Unfortunately, that leaves me with very little, if any, time to write. I’m so relieved to have a quick hour today to squeeze in some writing time. I’ve realized that my writing is how I focus my thoughts and my heart, whether it’s blogging here or journaling or writing long, hand-written notes to friends. When I don’t get any alone time to write, I start to feel jumbled and anxious. I’m taking a deep breath right now, sipping an iced chai, and getting my thoughts in order. I have really, really needed this.


pictures with Sara


Next week is Ella and Sam’s birthday party! I wrote not too long ago about their upcoming pirate and mermaid party. I’ve been working on projects here and there to have it put together in time. It turned out that we have to have it on a Tuesday afternoon. I was a little worried about scheduling it for that time, but parents seem to be happy to have something to do with the kids on a summer afternoon. The grandparents even get to join us! And we did make that pinata I mentioned. Ella was interested at first, but once she realized that paper mache is pretty messy, she no longer wanted to participate. Not at all what I was expecting. So I did a good part of it. We have to put on the finishing touches, and then I’ll post a photo. As for the rest of the party, I’m working to primarily use materials I already have, but there were a few little things I decided to purchase. I know we’re not buying extra stuff right now, but they are having a combined party, which saves a lot of money, and sweet Sam hardly had a party last year. We just met a few friends at a playground and had cookies and juice boxes. Am I making excuses for spending? Yes. Yes, I am. I love hosting parties! I spent some money, and that’s just the way of it. The party is going to be adorable!


making of the pinata


My hour at the coffee shop is nearly over, so I must wrap up. Pete needs the car in 15 minutes. I hope you are all enjoying your summer! I’d love to hear what your favorite part has been so far or what the weather is like where you are. It must be warmer than Duluth, right? ;)



Birthday Parties & Presents

It’s been a good while since I’ve written about our simplification journey, and I’ve got a quick 30 minutes before getting Ella and Sam ready for the day, so why not dive in right now? Let’s see if I can get my head through a couple ideas before Ella comes knocking at the door.

Remember in January when we started our six months of simplification? We’re still going strong! We’re a little more than four and a half months in and it has been so, so good for me. Really, I feel I’m the one who needed the most change through this time, which is why I’m sure God had to speak it directly to me and not to Pete first. As much as I would like to say I would have jumped right in if Pete would have brought up the idea, the honest truth is that I would have needed a whole lot more convincing. See? God knows me. The guidelines we set up at the beginning, the ones we felt God was helping us write, have been changing my heart and my mind. Like I’ve said in previous posts during this journey, though…it’s still hard. Here are a couple of the tough places for me right now.


1. Planning the kids’ birthday party.

I knew going into these six months that Ella and Sam would both have birthdays and that we would need to host a couple of birthday parties. I adore planning parties. Part of my theatrical self comes out when I can create a welcoming, festive party space, and the hostess in me me loves putting together a menu and games that fit the theme. And the mama in me is so happy to watch the kids play with their friends, celebrating another exciting year. Sam just had his birthday and Ella’s is in one month, so party planning is back on the agenda. Only this time, I’m trying to keep the cost down as much as possible. My darling Ella came up with the perfect idea just after Christmas. She decided she wants to have what she calls a ‘twin’ birthday party, meaning she and Sam will have a combined party. Perfect! Only one party to plan and they can celebrate together! Her theme choice? Pirates and mermaids. Again, perfect since we live on the lake. So I’m now planning the snack menu and decorations. Thank goodness Pinterest has so many free options! Ella and I will get to spend some of her free time once school ends next week to make homemade decorations, which I’m pretty sure will include a pinata. She has requested it multiple times and, well, I loved making paper mache globes and what not in elementary school. Time to pull out those flour and water skills again! The hardest part of our party planning so far? Finding a date that works. Is it odd to have a mid-week late-afternoon birthday party? Because I’m pretty sure if we want this party to happen in the next two months, that’s exactly when we’ll have to do it. That’s allowed in summer, right?!


2. Gifts for friends.

I’ve realized how much I love to buy gifts for friends. Never have I enjoyed buying presents out of obligation, like “Shoot! I have to get something for Becky because she’s having another birthday!” (Though it’s never actually a surprise, since it does seem to happen at the same time every year.) When I’m out and I see something that would perfectly fit a friend’s personality or current place in life, I want to buy it for them. Maybe it’s my love language for my friends. I know the feeling of getting a gift just because, and I want friends to feel that joy, too. Instead of buying things at the store, though, I’ve been trying to use everything in my box of gifts. I’ve been collecting little things for a couple years, keeping them in a plastic container in my closet. Now I actually get to give them to friends. But it’s still really hard to keep myself from buying perfect little presents when I see them at the store!  Confession: I did recently see something I knew my mom would like, and it was her birthday, so I bought it. She is always drinking water and reuses plastic water bottles over and over, so when I saw a cute pink bottle at the grocery store, I put it in my basket. I knew I was going ‘against the rules,’ but she’s my mom, you guys. I have so much – so much – love and respect for my mom, so when I saw that $10 bottle on the shelf, I went with it. Because, seriously, you guys, she’s my mom and she deserves it.

So yeah, those are two tough places at the moment. Trust me, there are more, but there are a whole lot of really good things, too. I’ll share those soon. In the meantime, have a great weekend!



Video: A Year of Sam on His Birthday!

Happy 3rd birthday to our amazing Samuel! We can’t even express how much we adore you, sweet boy!



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