Thursday, October 8, 2015

4 Weeks until Walt Disney World

AHHHHH Disney is coming! I cannot contain my excitement any longer - four days from today we will begin our journey to WDW. We will travel to Minneapolis on the 5th and catch a ridiculously early flight on the 6th so that we can be to WDW by noon or so.

My travel companions are: Marc {YES, my husband actually gets to come along, he has only ever done WDW in a one day trip for school back when he was in high school}, Lucy {trip #2 for her to WDW}, my parents {they haven't been to WDW since I was in high school}, Suzi {fellow Disney fanatic}.

We have the memory maker reserved so there will be photo overload when we return.

The other exciting thing is that the Food and Wine Festival will be happening while we are there and we are running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.

This will be an AMAZING trip.

November 5

  • Drive to Minneapolis and stay at a park 'n fly
November 6
  • Fly to Orlando on an early morning flight
  • Check into Saratoga Springs Tree Houses
  • get our Wine and Dine Half Marathon packets
  • Dining Plan: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for Lucy, my parents, and me
  • Marc & Suzi get to attend the St. Jude's benefit dinner as they had to/got to register as St. Jude charity runners when the Wine and Dine filled RIDICULOUSLY fast this year. 
  • Fast Passes:The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot, & Soarin
November 7
  • Dining Plans: Chef Mickey's {Disney's Contemporary Resort}
  • Fast Passes: Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, It's a Small World, & Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Wine and Dine Half Marathon
November 8 

  • Dining Plans: Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano {Hollywood Studios}
  • Fast Passes: Disney Junior Live on Stage, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, & Toy STory Midway Mania
November 9
  • Dining Plans: Be Our Guest {Magic Kingdom} & O'hana {Polynesian Resort}
  • Fast Passes: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan's Flight, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
November 10

  • Lucy's first haircut at Harmony Barber Shop
    • Lucy desperately needs a haircut but I have been holding out so that we can have her first haircut on Main street USA
  • Dining Plans: Teppan Edo {Epcot}
  • Fast Passes: Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot, Soarin, & Spaceship Earth
  • Very Merry Magical Christmas Party
November 11
  • Dining Plans:Turf Club Bar and Grill {Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa}
  • Fast Passes: Kilimanjaro Safaris, Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost, & Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
November 12
  • Dining Plans: Garden Grill {Epcot}
  • Fast Passes: Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater, Space Mountain, & the Haunted Mansion
November 13
  • Dining Plans: Coral Reef Restaurant {Epcot}
  • Fast Passes: Kilimanjaro Safaris, Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost, Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, & Kilimanjaro Safaris
November 14
  • Fly home

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Find Your Parks

In exciting news I was selected in the top 250 photos for the National Parks Find Your Parks, Centennial Project contest!!! I am STOKED.

However, now I need everyone to vote to get us up in the top.

If you have a few moments and wouldn't mind voting - please go on and vote:

You can vote once a day until October 15.

Thanks in advance.

Friday, October 2, 2015

15 Months

And just like that - overnight it feels like - my baby is gone and this sweet {most of the time} toddler has stolen away my baby. 15 months old. I can hardly believe it myself.

She is running EVERYWHERE. She still wearing anywhere from 6 month to 12 month clothes depending on what it is. I am hoping and praying that soon she will move up a size so that we don't have to acquire more in these small sizes, we have some great clothes in the next size. HOWEVER, unfortunately I tried to put some 12-18 month pants on her the other day {we lack fall/winter clothes in the 6-12 month size} and before she even got to the hallway they were down and around her ankles. I may need to head down to St. Cloud to check out the Once Upon a Child store there.

If she wants to eat, she will eat nearly anything that we put in front of here, just the other night we had splurged on a piece of salmon to grill up and I think Lucy ate 3/4 as much salmon as I did. I am not certain where she is putting it. Her favorite foods include: pringles, pretzel rods, raisins, string cheese, apple sauce, black beans, and chicken.

Lucy loves to go to daycare and hang out with her friends there, her favorite is still a 2 year old girl named Meredith or the daycare lady's 5th grade son, Sawyer.

Lucy would be outside every moment of the day if possible. Even better is if Dakota is running next to her. She loves at night when we go for a walk and we let her hold Dakota's leash. Dakota is RIDICULOUSLY patient with Lucy. It really is love both ways.

Lucy also LOVES hanging out with her friends. She is a little social butterfly. She has figured out how to wave, although it often is a bit delayed and is long after the person has turned around. It's the thought that counts right?!

I am loving this toddler stage, she is a little independent spirit. She has opinions of her own {despite the fact that it drives me nuts at times} I am loving that she cares and is very interactive. I love that she takes the time to examine the newly poured tar on the road and is fascinated by the grass the blows in the ditches or the leaves as they fall from the trees.

Much love for my sweet 15 month old!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sprightly Beanie Crochet Pattern

This time of year screams to me to crochet. During the summer months I crochet some but not NEARLY to the extent that I like to crochet during the fall and the winter months. There is something awesome about being curled up on the couch after the toddler is asleep, the dog curled up next to me, the husband engrossed in his book, a warm quilt over my lap, and yarn moving through my fingers.

A couple weeks ago I got to pattern test for Melody's Making and her Sprightly Beanie Crochet pattern. SUCH A FUN PATTERN. It works from the bottom up, which early on in my crochet days I despised. Something about it drove me nuts. HOWEVER, now I LOVE working from the bottom up, it is a bit of a change of pace and it is fun to see how it all comes together.

While I adore making hats for my sweet Lucy girl - she really only needs so many hats before it is excessive (she maybe on the verge now) and so I have been making hats for friends and their kids. There is something absolutely delightful about a set of hats, same pattern, similar colors, and in multiples. It seems many friends have three kids and so sets of three have been fun.

These are off to a woman whose blog I follow. Her words speak hope and grace to my soul to say the least. We've never actually met face to face. She has a boy and a girl currently with a sweet little one set to arrive in a few months. I love that all three of these hats have the same pattern, look completely different in terms of colors, and all have a matching light grey stripe. I am addicted to making sibling hats. So fun.

What have you been doing in your free time?
What are your favorite fall/winter activities?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Chaos

I feel like this fall we have entered a stage in which my life is dictated by to-do lists and serious attempts to just soak up life as I can. Marc and I are to the point that every Sunday night we sit down with our calendars and determine what is happening all week, who is picking up Lucy from where and who is dropping her off when, what are we eating for dinner and lunch (and do we have the food in the fridge or did we miss something while grocery shopping), how he's getting his workouts in (this Ironman training is seriously a second part time job and I fear it will move to a full time job by next summer), we determine one night that we have deemed as family night, and we make a list of things that NEED to get done during the week. Life is so good but so crazy all at the same time. This week I am gone every night of the week. Next week I am gone for three days for our fall theological retreat, the following week I get to go to Colorado for work. All of this stuff is good, however, it is taking some serious intentionality in terms of how I spend my time.
I want to spend time with my fabulous husband, with our daughter who overnight is no longer a baby but rather a toddler, with our sweet puppy who still likes to snuggle up next to me, crocheting, running, and other such fun things.

I am trying to strike balance between my family, a full time job, and life in general. I feel like this season of life is just nuts. Some weeks the balance is easy to strike - other weeks chaos rains supreme. I am learning to live in the chaos. Learning to deal with the floors that desperately need scrubbed in exchange for an extra bit of sleep or time with my family. I am learning the tricks of how to throw a wet towel into the laundry that has already been dried to get the wrinkles out of the dress pants I need to wear to work. Freezer meals remain my best friend, they allow me to come home from work, have dinner ready, eat with my family and not have to have piles upon piles of dishes to deal with at the end of the night.

I am giving thanks for:
  • getting our bed made most mornings
  • reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar 12,001 times a day "reeed it"
  • the sweet morning snuggles of a sleepy toddler
  • a game of bananagrams with my husband
  • a super fun crochet-a-long - I am already looking forward to the next
  • a brief glimpse of sweatshirt and hoodie weather 

How's life in your neck of the woods?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Baptismal Anniversary

Happy Baptismal Birthday Lucy.

I continue to celebrate and rejoice at her baptism and the ways in which God is moving through her and for those who continue to build her up in the faith.

I can't believe it has been a year since this sweet baby was baptized.

Below is the photobook I made from her baptism. She loves looking through the pictures and seeing people she loves and adores already. It has been a great tool to talk to her about her baptism - even though she is just over a year old - I full embrace that you can't start telling them about their baptism and passing on the faith too early. We have been flipping through her baptism book lately - while she doesn't quite understand what it is all about yet, she is recognizing people in the pictures and she recognizes the church.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Melody's Mystery Create A Long

I LOVE to crochet.
I cannot deny that. Traditionally I crochet: hats, blankets, booties, wash cloths, and miscellaneous amigurumi. I some how stumbled upon Melody's Mystery Create-A-Long. I am not sure exactly how it all fell together, however, I have to admit there was a piece of me that was highly skeptical about how this would really go or how she would keep any sense of a mystery to what we were creating or how fun would it really be. However, I decided to go for it. I signed up, there was a slight registration fee, I think it was $2.99 or something along that line - I figured at minimum I would get a fun new pattern that I could do at some point. I wasn't certain that I would actually keep up with it clue by clue or if it would hold my attention, I get bored easily.
HOWEVER, I LOOOOOVED this crochet create-a-long. I waited with serious anticipation every time a clue was released.

Clue 1: FUN FLOWER - I seriously cannot wait to use this flower again on a hat.

Clue 2:

Clue 3:

Clue 4:

Clue 5: I realized when clue 5 was released and my clue 5 side turned out spread out across the entire side of the square that I had messed up on clue 4, so I unstitched the clue 4 side and corrected it

Clue 6: After clue 6 I was convinced we are making a dress or some sort of a romper.

Clue 7: The skirt did not actually call for the stripes to be added to it - I was bored using the same color and added the stripes in on my own.

Clue 8: Cute little fringe added to the bottom, the neck strap, and the headband were all a part of this last clue. There is a headband option however I added a tiny flower to an alligator clip. 

This was the first dress I have ever crocheted. I was skeptical as I was creating the skirt portion of the dress how it would look and what I thought about a crocheted dress, but I really like it and it turned out fun. The sad part is Luc will probably have to wear it with tights and a long sleeve shirt as we now head into the winter cold.

The best part of this whole thing was the way that this group of crocheters (& knitters - there was a similar knit version of the create a long) became a community. With each release of the pattern the private facebook group worked to get the next clue completed. When someone was struggling the group stepped up and tried to walk the original poster through how to get through the current set of stitches. As each clue was finished pictures were posted and everyone rejoiced as we figured out slowly but surely what we were creating. I think nearly every single color combination was used and in every size. There were variations on the skirt pattern and colors. There were people who whom the pattern was a breeze and others who struggled with each step. Out of it all the support for one another was apparent. The love for the yarn, hook, and project at hand was apparent, but the love for one another, the love of the stranger and helping one another out was the prevailing atmosphere of the group.

This group of yarn addicts gave me hope for the world. Gave me hope that there still is love for the neighbor and the desire to see good in the world and in one another. Stitch by stitch this group of mostly women gave me a breath of fresh air.

There is good in the world and sometimes it shows up in the places where we least expect it.

Where have you seen hope in the world? Where have you found goodness shining?