Category Archives: family

Visit to Iowa

John, Max, and I made a trip down to Iowa this weekend to visit sister Jen and her husband Jerod and their new (old) house! It was a quick but very relaxing and enjoyable time. They sure spoiled us rotten with all homemade meals and a beautiful home. I love the old charm of their house and neighborhood. Although our house is new and will probably not have as many problems spring up over the years, there’s just something so unique and cozy about old houses that I’ll always love. Max spent most of the weekend in their basement or outside so that he wouldn’t tumble about and ruin their beautiful original hardwood floors and many breakable pieces throughout the house, but he actually probably got more walks and exercise than he usually does at home! We probably won’t bring him there again though until he’s a little older and calmer and has learned not to jump and sprint when he’s excited. Someday, I hope!

So now we’re back home, which actually really feels like “home” for the first time, I’d say. I have the next three nights off (including tonight), so I hope to use it wisely to get some things done around the house. Like paint the second and final coat in our big living room and then maybe, just maybe, paint our kitchen GREEN! I’m excited to have some color in our kitchen, but I am a little nervous with the color we got, that it might be a bit too bold. It’s called ‘green energy’… so we’ll just wait and see. I’ll try and post pictures this week after I get the rooms all done. We’ll probably be painting our cabinets white/cream eventually (I know many of you don’t want me to but we just really like it a lot better than brown!), so the picture won’t be of the finished look. We are also hoping to update the hardware on the cabinets eventually. So many little projects which can easily feel overwhelming, but we’re trying to just take it slow and enjoy it!

Speaking of enjoying things that usually stress me out, after spending time with Jen and Jerod and seeing how much they enjoy and try to cook fresh meals at home, I am truly inspired and encouraged to do more of the same. I’ve already got a couple of my very underused cookbooks sitting on the kitchen table for me to look through tonight and plan a couple meals for these next few days. I’ll admit, with all the convenient meals (which aren’t fresh but are usually still much healthier than fast-food) that I find at places like Trader Joes, it’s sometimes hard to get my lazy self to cook up homemade meals. Also, with only two people to cook for it sometimes seems pointless. And let’s face it, I struggle with laziness (don’t we all? please say you do too!). But I’m challenging myself to cook meals from scratch more frequently so that I can eventually cook without feeling clueless and stressed when I do cook. I want it to become second nature to make things like omelets and stir-fries. Plus, I hear it’s also better for you to cook at home with fresh ingredients?? :)

Well, I better get to work with all these goals I have for myself! Hope you all had a good weekend!

(As a side note, I should be getting a new computer soon! Then I can blog more often AND post pictures! My laptop won’t even upload pictures anymore, it just freezes up. Looking forward to being able to again!)


Bittersweet

As most of you know, our little puppy Lucy passed away a couple weeks ago. She developed (they think) aspiration pneumonia from having some impairment of her larynx and within a day of her becoming sick she died. :( We were very very devastated and still miss her terribly. Looking at any pictures of her just about always brings tears to my eyes. She was only with us for three short weeks but we had already bonded and grown attached to her. Saying goodbye to her while she was in my arms was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. Sounds crazy since she’s only a dog, but it’s true. Thinking about how great of a dog she was already becoming and what could have been, it was heart wrenching to let her go so soon and so suddenly. I know that God had reasons for everything happening as it did and that I have grown and matured some from the experience.

For the last three weeks we’ve been keeping busy with unpacking our things in our house (oh yeah, we did move into our house at the end of June too, by the way!), visiting with family and friends, and just trying to regain some normalcy after we lost Lucy. After looking at many dogs at different shelters and rescues, we did eventually get another dog tonight! It’s just as exciting as it was with Lucy but also there’s definitely a part of us both that aches for our lost puppy and that hopes that this time it’ll turn out differently. God gives and takes away, and I know that he deserves glory and praise no matter what happens. But we are hoping that we can be blessed with more time to enjoy this new puppy even more than the last. He is a 7 month old german shorthaired pointer that was a stray. He’s been living at a foster home for the last couple months, getting the love and care he deserves! He’s a beautiful chocolate brown with a white spot on his chest, already about 50 lbs, and he loves to run around and play with his squeeky cloth toys! He also loves to point… at birds especially! It’s pretty amusing actually, and he would really make a great hunting dog, but he’ll more likely become a great running partner to my husband! His name was Trooper but we decided to rename him Max… we hope he grows to like it!

Anyway, I will try and post some pictures of our new puppy Max and also some great pictures that my sister took of our Lucy before she died. Amazing how much pets become so beloved by their owners… and we have only begun!


Next Step… a house?

As John and I come up to the end of our rental lease here in St. Paul, we’ve been pretty set on the idea that we’ll find an apartment in Hudson for a couple years tops while we save up for our first home. I’ve been pretty stubborn about this idea and haven’t even considered the idea of going ahead and looking at buying a house instead.

Well, this has changed these past couple days. John and I drove around Hudson the other day, before we visited a church there that we’ve heard some good things about from members of our current church, and we drove by a seemingly bland and small little house. Needless to say, I had already been looking around the internet real estate listings (ok, I’ve been doing that for months now, but not too often) and had already seen how darn cute the inside of this house is. The price seems okay, but then again, what do I (or John) know about housing prices? We just keep hearing “Now is the time to buy!” and have been trying to block it out of our minds.

I don’t know when exactly the shift happened, but I’ve been praying about this whole moving-to-Hudson-to-who-knows-where situation for awhile now and one after the other we have been unable to find an apartment place that’ll work for us in the area. We really don’t want to move any farther away from the cities (Hudson is about 15-20 min east of St. Paul) because that is where pretty much all our family and friends live, plus I do still have to go to work in St. Paul three times a week. But then again, we don’t want to move anywhere closer to the cities and away from John’s school in Menomonie, WI (an hour east of St. Paul) since we don’t know just how many times he’ll need to be driving there a week each semester. We’ve been blessed that he only has to drive twice a week for now, but we know that this most likely won’t be the case every semester. And we’re talking at least 2 1/2 to 3 more years of this.

Then we considered possibly renting a townhouse for awhile so that we at least have a little more space but still aren’t buying anything out of our budget… but then again, this seems a little contradictory because those townhouses cost quite a lot to rent and that’s a lot of money that could be going toward a mortgage. Doesn’t sound too wise… so we nixed that idea.

So… I’m sure you catch my drift… we are now looking into the possibility of buying our first house. There are many perks to buying in this market and also being that it’ll be our first house. We hope and are earnestly praying it’ll be in Hudson for many reasons. We really like the downtown area and it’s nearness to the river. We already know some people who live there. Like I said earlier, it’s still close enough to the cities that visiting family or friends does not necessarily need to be an overnight ordeal. John loves the closeness to the St. Croix River and the endless outdoor possibilities that this brings, while I love that it is a smaller town just outside the city (like what I grew up with, basically) and that we’ve already found a possible permanent church home for us. Also, I know some people who grew up in Hudson and I think they turned out awesomely. Not that this is a direct reflection on the town itself, but it sure does help! Can I also add that our car insurance premium would drop significantly by not living in the city!? Those little pluses do add up!

The next challenge we face, though, is trying hard not to lose sight of the fact that God will bring about a house for us if he intends us to buy and that no matter what, HE will take care of us. I mentioned a particular house earlier in this post and I’ll admit for both John and I, we are already struggling not to get too excited and attached to this one. It’s pretty small, but it has been updated extensively inside and it is only a couple blocks from the river front. BUT- we don’t need the latest and prettiest home with all the updated appliances (though I’ll admit, this would be nice!). We don’t need the three car garage or central AC or a fireplace or whatever… (which that house does not have, by the way) the list goes on. We know that if we are searching for joy in STUFF, in the perfect house, that we will only be left dry and hungry for something else to fulfill us. No house will ever compare to what He has prepared for us in heaven!

We are just striving to do what we know will bring glory to HIM, hoping that a decision to buy a home versus continuing to rent will be a better investment of the money He’s entrusted to us. And, that it would also help our family to grow both physically (yes, we’re talking kids here!) and spiritually in a way that brings more glory to Him. It’s definitely an exciting time!


Trip South

We had a good but busy Thanksgiving weekend. I worked Thanksgiving day, which wasn’t all that bad, and afterwards I got to see John’s mom and brother and learn how to make homemade pies! We made pumpkin and apple pies from scratch. Boy is it a lot of work, but definitely worth it! John’s mom is quite the pro at pie crusts, I must say.

On Friday we left for a 4 hour drive down to the middle of Iowa to see my sister and new brother-in-law, along with my parents, brother, and his two kids. I loved seeing where Jen and Jerod (sis and BIL) live and stay for a day and a half. A really cute town and beautiful campus that they both work at! It snowed yesterday afternoon and looked very Christmas like… and did I mention that the food was really good too? Good job Jen on hosting your first big family gathering! You did a marvelous job, despite all the stress in the kitchen hours before!

Now we’re back to the cold buzzling city of St. Paul and back to work. Switching back to nights tomorrow night and it looks like it’s going to be a tough week. I don’t mind the working at night part but it’s the trying to plan my days/evenings in a way that doesn’t cause me to neglect sleep part that is so frustrating. Since I technically have all day and evening free, I sometimes have to schedule things throughout the day which can really mess with your sleep schedule, or lack thereof. After this week it should get a little better, I hope.

Speaking of my job, as I said in my last post, I’ve been looking elsewhere incase I lose my job at United. Within 30 minutes of writing the last blog post, I got a call for an interview at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Crazy huh? It’ll be on one of their ICU units, which would definitely be a challenging position, in addition to getting used to a new hospital and all new coworkers. One of my coworkers at United actually told me that she was working with a nursing student who works at Regions on that unit and she said it was a great place to work and that the manager is super nice and will hire me right away… which I found funny since this girl doesn’t even know me!

The interview is on Tuesday at 11am… so please say a prayer for me if you can! I’m not sure if this is where God would want me to be, but I know that we do need a steady income and this is all that’s come my way so far. The tricky part would be if I get a job offer and still don’t know about the status of my current job… but we’ll “cross that bridge when we get there” (in the words of my mom).  God never said things would be predicatable and easy, but that he would guide my path in a way that grows me and challenges me to depend more on him and find my ultimate joy and satisfaction in HIM ALONE. And since he is the only stable thing in the universe, I suppose it’s good that he’s forcing me to depend on him! :)


Firsts

Some firsts that I’ve experienced in the last couple days:

-bought my first pair of dark denim jeans! I love them!

-had my first eye exam since I was a kid (I believe), and what do you know, I found out I don’t, in fact, have the perfect vision I always thought I had. Lately I’ve noticed I’ve been squinting more, so when I went with my husband today for his eye exam, I asked if they had room in the doc’s schedule if he could take a look at my eyes and they had room for me. During the exam I was amazed that when the optometrist changed his little machine around, I could see better suddenly! I’ve never ever experienced that, so it was pretty cool. So, I got a prescription (apparently a pretty simple one… I’m a little far-sided and have a slight astigmatism). John and I both picked out out a pair (with a little tension when I really did not like the ones John wanted for himself)… and we should have them within a week! It’s very weird to think that I’ll be wearing glasses… I’ve been the only one in my family (besides my dad) who hasn’t had glasses for a long time. I’m kinda excited though! I really liked the ones I picked out. Pictures to come sometime soon!

-had my first experience shopping at Trader Joe’s today. In case you haven’t heard  of it, it’s basically a privately owned grocery store, yet there are lots of locations around the country, and they don’t have big name brand stuff but have mostly their own packaged foods which (I think) are all-natural. They also seemed to have a lot of organic foods. I’ve heard so many positive things about it from friends so we tried it out. Doesn’t have the variety or selection I’d like, but it’s nice that they have your basic essentials (plus some) and at reasonable prices, most often cheaper than Target or Cub! 

-and the last one, I’ll be making fish tacos for the first time tonight, and, Lord willing, eating fish tacos for the first time tonight as well! Apparently they’re really yummy? My mom obviously never thought so when I was growing up… never even heard of them until I left college. 

My life’s been pretty exciting, huh? ;) 

Another first that’s coming up… we’re having my sister and my new brother-in-law stay at our place on Saturday night after our cousin’s wedding. First time we’ve ever had a couple stay over with us, and first time we’ll really get to hang out with Jen and Jerod since they’ve been married! Last time we hung out they were busy moving stuff, so it should be fun this weekend. :)


Waffles and spiral staircases

Husband and I took a mini-trip to downtown N-field tonight to try out the new waffle/coffee house. It was cute! Kinda bland and too contemporary in my taste for coffee houses, but oh well, it’s a nice change from the ordinary. We tried out a waffle called The Andrews Sisters (shout out to my sister [Jen] and my maiden name!); it had sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese sprinkled on it- pretty good. I sure was craving the chocolate waffles though… maybe next time. ——–On another note, my husband has possibly found our future apartment in the cities that we plan to move to in a month or two. I sure hope they call us back and offer us the place! Please pray that God wills that to happen, because we sure want it to! :) Of course, he is sovereign and already has it planned, but I pray that this place is part of his plan for us. (It has a spiral staircase in it!!)  


History buff-to-be?

Lately I’ve been blessed with some extra time on my hands now that the semester is over. It’s always a difficult time when I’m not busy though because of all the temptations to waste time and fill it with needless entertainment. But today I picked up one of my $5 summer deal books from Desiringgod.org, A God Entranced Vision of All Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards and I can’t put it down! It’s so interesting and rich with lessons from early Reformed Christians of the 18th century. I used to hate, let me emphasize the word hate, reading history, but I feel I am actually gaining something very valuable from this book. The chapter about Jonathan’s wife, Sarah, was especially good…. she was an amazing wife and mother (11 children…). Maybe this will lead me into reading more historical Christian biographies. Any suggestions?