Archive | March, 2014

We Made It!

27 Mar

Last Thursday and Friday, we loaded all of our possessions into a 26-foot U-Haul moving truck. Our awesome friends and family helped us. Nothing had to be left behind! Travis and I slept on cots for Thursday and Friday night, my dad on an air mattress, and Travis’ parents got a hotel room. Oh, and Emma slept in her pack & play.

MovingtoMN 002 (Large) MovingtoMN 004 (Large) MovingtoMN 005 (Large) MovingtoMN 018 (Large)

MovingtoMN 022 (Large) MovingtoMN 025 (Large) MovingtoMN 026 (Large) MovingtoMN 027 (Large) Early Saturday morning, Emma, Grandma Beth and I flew to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Emma did really well on the flight. She played with toys and the in-flight magazines until she crashed.

1966916_721446454552346_1619279792_nAfter we landed, Emma and I drove my dad’s car (that he had left at the airport) to Rochester while Beth headed up to Nevis in her car.

Meanwhile, Travis, Grandpa Al and Grandpa David drove the moving van, pickup truck and SUV (with our 2 dogs) to Minnesota. My dad split off in Omaha – he kept going NE to Rochester while Travis and his dad headed north to Sioux Falls. My dad arrived in Rochester just a little before 11 pm. The dogs were very ready to get out!

Emma and I stayed in Rochester until Tuesday morning. We had a great time hanging out with Grandma Sheri, playing with fun toys (books and magazines count, right?)…

998461_723575161006142_640768047_n…and shopping for Emma’s Easter dress. We looked at every dress in every store in the Apache Mall before deciding on this one. (Apparently, I’m very picky?) Emma will look so cute in it! I also had to buy this one and this one because I’m obsessed with neon coral and stripes.

On Tuesday, Emma and I headed up to Nevis (a 5-hour drive). Emma slept the first 2 hours, then we stopped for lunch. I took the dogs and Emma on a very short walk and then got back on the road, but Emma was not having it. So we went shopping at the Shopko in St. Cloud and I bought Emma’s birthday present and a cute swimsuit top for me, among other things. She still wasn’t the happiest about being in her carseat after our shopping trip, but she fell asleep after 10-15 minutes, and woke up when we were only about 10 minutes from the house. Whew!

The minute I walked in the door, I was organizing and unpacking. There’s something in me that can. not. stand. things being out of place and messy. By the end of Wednesday, everything was pretty much in its place. So today we went to the library in Park Rapids!

10155088_723504804346511_2129091930_nNow I’m on to planning Emma’s birthday party. We’re just doing a small brunch up here in Nevis, with some cute, simple decorations. Well, that’s all for now!


Our Top 15 Colorado Memories, Part 3

22 Mar

If you missed them, check out Part 1 and Part 2.


Continuing on with my top 15 Colorado memories (in no particular order)…

11. Climbing Grays and Torreys

These were the only 14ers I climbed in Colorado, and it’s easy to do both in one day because they’re connected by a saddle. We camped out at the base of the mountain with our friends, Michael and Amy Leon. Unfortunately, it rained that night, and the seams on Michael and Amy’s tent were no longer waterproof. We ended up getting out our extra rainfly in the middle of the night to put on their tent.

DSC03402Early the next morning, we hit the trail. My back has never hurt so bad as it did on that hike – and I wasn’t even carrying a pack! I learned time and time again that being in good running shape does not equate to being in good hiking shape – that’s its own beast. But we made it to the top of both peaks and on the top of the 2nd mountain (Torreys?), the clouds cleared enough that we could see the amazing view.

DSC03424 DSC0340412. Camping with the Normans

Mark and Sarah were the first friends of ours from back home to come out and visit us in Colorado. We, of course, took them camping and hiking. There was still a decent amount of snow up where we were hiking, and on the way down the mountain, we slid down the snow on our shoes/butts – if you’ve never tried it, do! It’s really fun. We also gorged ourselves on Beau Jo’s pizza in Idaho Springs – something we did fairly often when coming home from the mountains.

DSC02427 DSC0242313. Christmas with the Brehenys in Estes Park

For Christmas 2012, Travis and I stayed in Denver instead of going to Minnesota. Our friends Paul and Carrie graciously invited us to join them at a condo in Estes Park with their 2 kids. It was so much fun and a nice change from spending the holiday by ourselves.

blendsgiving 021 (Large)14. Camping at Lutheran Valley Ranch

For Memorial Day 2011, our friend Randy let us camp on his property down at LVR near Colorado Springs. We did a couple of really nice hikes while we were there and the dogs unfortunately got quilled by a porcupine. They survived though.

memorial-weekend-2011-033-large1 memorial-weekend-2011-023-large115. Hiking Bear Peak and South Boulder Peak

Bear Peak is really close to Boulder. It got pretty steep near the top but it was so worth it for the view! The worst part of the hike was actually the way back…it was downhill the…whole…way.     Distance: 7.6 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 2,461 feet

We hiked South Boulder Peak (separated from Bear Peak by a saddle) on July 4, 2008. It was a gorgeous day for a hike and a lot of the trail was in the shade. But this was by far one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done–not the longest or the highest elevation but the most straight up (1,800 ft elevation gain in about 1.1 miles, to be exact). I didn’t think I would make it – I started getting dizzy and nauseated. But I made it to the peak, which I was able to enjoy for about 30 seconds before all the bugs at the top forced to me to leave.      Distance: 7 miles roundtrip    Elevation Gain: 2,949 feet

DSC02107 DSC02462 DSC02114And that’s all 15! Of course, we have many other great memories so this list is by no means exhaustive. Colorado is a great state, and I feel like we did a good job of enjoying what it has to offer. We didn’t get to everything on our ‘bucket list’ but hey, Colorado isn’t going anywhere!

Our Top 15 Colorado Memories, Part 2

21 Mar

If you missed Part 1, read it here.


Continuing on with my top 15 Colorado memories (in no particular order)…

6. Elk hunting (20082011, 2012, 2013)

We have gone up to the mountains for elk hunting every October, except for the fall we moved out here (I didn’t blog about it 2009 and 2010 for some reason). Unfortunately, with work and now Emma, I have only been able to be there for the whole time once – in 2011. That was also the year that Travis shot his big bull (and boiled the head to make a European mount!?!?) so I’m saying that was our favorite trip, but they have all been enjoyable in different ways. We haven’t camped in the same spot twice, and camp set up is always a little different, but good! It’ll be interesting to see how elk hunting goes in the future (yes, we’ll be returning to Colorado every year for elk hunting… or at least, Travis and his family will be. Emma and I are still on the fence.)

img_17127. My Olympic triathlon and marathon

In 2011, I completed my first Olympic triathlon in Steamboat Springs. In 2012, I ran my first full marathon in Anchorage. Ok, so that race wasn’t in Colorado. BUT all of my training was, and those are memories that I will never forget. I spent hundreds of hours running, biking and swimming in preparation for those 2 races. I biked to work. I ran 18 miles at 9,000 feet. I purposefully re-ran the half marathon course that had kicked my butt when running it the first time in 10-degree weather. What was Travis doing during that time? Playing hockey. Studying for the PE. Finishing his Master’s degree. You know, stuff.

318235_256197047743958_5830935_n8. Care group camping trips (2012, 2013)

This became an annual camping trip with our small group from church starting in 2010 (again, I didn’t blog about it in 2010 or 2011). While all the years were fun and different because of the location and people attending, I’m going to say that my favorite year was 2012. Most of our friends were there, for the same days, and Travis and I accidentally brought our smallest tent so with the 2 of us and our 2 dogs, we were not cold at all. It was so nice! That’s my main complaint about camping – I’m usually cold a lot. That year, we also did some hiking and skipped rocks. But I mustn’t forget the year (2011) that Charlotte, Sheri and I braved swimming in the mountain lake. Brrrr…

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300562_251345134895816_1309176_n9. Emma’s birth and first year of life

Emma will never remember living in Colorado, but we will. We’ll tell her about it. About how crazy Colorado weather is – it snowed 3 times after Emma was born on April 7. The day we went home from the hospital, it was snowing. About how she went camping when she was 4 months old. We’ll show her the pictures of our house. When we think of Emma as a baby, we’ll think of Colorado.


10. Our Wedding Anniversaries

Ok, I realize this is broad but our anniversaries were nice in different ways. For our 1-year anniversary, we rented a secluded cabin in the mountains and went hiking. For our 2-year, we saw O.A.R. perform at Red Rocks and went hiking up in Leadville, which involved fording an ice-cold mountain stream. For our 5-year, we spent a weekend up in Frisco, where we ate breakfast at the awesome Butterhorn Bakery. I can’t remember what we did for (and I didn’t blog about) our 3rd and 4th anniversaries, so they must’ve not been that exciting. 😉

dsc03370Stay tuned for Part 3…

Our Top 15 Colorado Memories, Part 1

18 Mar

Travis and I were married for only 3 months before we moved out to Colorado, so this is pretty much all we’ve known as a married couple. We lived our first year in a 750-square-foot apartment in Boulder and then bought our first house, where we’ve lived for the past 5.5 years.

We have created so many memories here – so many that I was only going to choose 10, but ended up with 15 (and still have more!) But if I had to choose, here are my top 15 (in no particular order).

1.  Valentine’s Day 2009

This was one of the only years that we’ve actually done something really special for V-day, and it was just such an enjoyable day. We drove up to Glenwood Springs to go snowshoeing, and then had a mineral bath and natural sauna time at Yampah Spa. The bath water was from the natural hot springs and just about burned our skin off. We had to drain half the tub, replace it with freezing cold hose water and then it was just bearable. The natural sauna was really cool too – like being in a very humid, wet cave. I would definitely recommend the experience.

DSC031332. Skiing with my brother Chris and SIL Meg 

We bought a 4-pack of lift tickets to Keystone and Arapahoe Basin the first year we were out here and then 2 years later. We enjoy skiing but aren’t passionate enough about it to spend all the money on lift tickets and then rent skis, fight traffic and make the God-forsaken walk in ski boots from the parking lot to the lift very often. But we did go skiing with my brother and sister-in-law when they came out to visit us (in 2010?), and it was the most fun we had skiing. Thanks Chris and Meg!

3. Backpacking with friends for 4th of July 2011

This was the most intense backpacking trip I went on (and it  still wasn’t that intense…). Camping is one of those things that I’m tempted at times to wonder why I like it (and backpacking is camping on steroids) because it’s just so. much. work. But this trip was really fun and we enjoyed it. Unfortunately, even though we hiked to a remote lake, there were other backpackers camping across the lake. They also happened to have a very friendly nosey dog who came to visit us a lot and instead of walking over to fetch his dog like a good owner, the guy would just yell at the top of his lungs, “Slim! Sliiiiiiiiim!” Yep.

20110704 Eaglesmere Trail 0544. Almost getting stuck in Golden

Before we moved, we sold Travis’ car so we only had my little Ford Focus for about the first 5 months we lived out here. My Focus worked out fine in Minnesota but it was dicey in Colorado. When we lived in Boulder, we drove to and from Golden everyday for work. One snowy night, we were headed home to Boulder on Hwy 93 (that runs along the foothills between Golden and Boulder) and stopped for gas at the north end of Golden. There are 2 stoplights there, both of which are at the top of a hill. When driving on a snowy hill in the Focus, you don’t stop – or else, you won’t get going again. We couldn’t make it to either stoplight at the right time without our tires spinning. In the end, we waited at the bottom of the hill until the light turned and then gunned it. And never stopped for gas there on a snowy night again.

5. Colorado Springs trip with my parents

My mom had a work conference at a hotel in Colorado Springs in 2008 so they came out early and we saw some of the sights in Colorado Springs, including Garden of the Gods, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine, Royal Gorge, and Phantom Canyon Road. I would definitely recommend touring a gold mine! They’re crazy. And the Phantom Canyon Road was ridiculously narrow. My parents drove another road after Travis and I left that they said was even narrower – even my dad was a little scared!

DSC02233Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3…

In Honor of My Last Day…

13 Mar
It’s my last day of work and thought this post would be fitting. Enjoy!
Originally posted on August 24, 2011
As a person with a work history mostly at small non-profits, I have noticed that things in Corporate America look a little bit different.

You know you work for a big corporation when…

  1. You wander around for 5 minutes after work trying to remember where you parked your car that morning.
  2. You don’t work in a building; you work on a campus.
  3. Your office location is 6 digits/letters long, with designations for building, floor, wing and hallway.
  4. You don’t know what 99.995% of the people do who work there.
  5. There are thousands of people working at the same company you’ll never even see, much less meet.
  6. Your campus has its own coffee shop, cafeteria, fitness room and conference center.
  7. You have co-workers in 12 different countries.
  8. There’s a person for everything. (No odd jobs here!)
  9. The marketing department actually has (and uses!) a brand manual and AP style handbook.
  10. Rebranded assets include company cars, conference rooms and hallway signage.
  11. There are indoor walkways connecting each building.
  12. You have 7 different bosses (did you get the memo?).
  13. Your company has its own softball league, no outside participants needed.
  14. You need a security badge just to go to the bathroom.

Do you work for a big corporation? Any insights you’d like to share?

A Bittersweet Farewell

11 Mar

We got word a few days ago from our Realtor that our house appraised! So now we are in the final stage of closing.

Which means we’ve started packing. The easiest thing to pack right now are all of the house decorations so yesterday, I took everything off the walls and boxed them up.

Looking around Emma’s nursery at blank walls and bare shelves, I felt sad. I love her nursery. And even though we’re taking all of the decorations with us, and can paint her new room the same yellow if we want, it won’t be the same.

Last night, as I lay awake for a bit in bed after getting Emma down… again, the full weight of reality hit me: We’re leaving. We’re going to drive away from this house and never come back. It will never be our home again. We will never belong to our church again. We won’t shop at this Target. We won’t check out books from this library. We won’t see mountains on the horizon.

Sure, we’ll come back to visit. But it will never be like this again.

We knew that leaving our life out here would be hard. But I think I underestimated it. We’ve been having dinner with the families in our care group one by one. It has been so good to connect with them and I’m sure we’re all wondering why we didn’t do this more often before we were leaving the state. Our going away party is this coming Saturday and even though part of me thinks it’s weird to entertain when your house is bare bones and near-empty, it also feels very fitting.

I am grateful for the sadness though. It means we’ve connected and let our hearts be engaged here. We didn’t stay on the sidelines or watch from afar. We take with us memories that will last for a lifetime, some of which I plan to share on the blog in the next week or so.

Though this transition is laden with sadness, we are also very excited for the next chapter. I know that for things to change, they can’t stay the same. Even if we were staying, things would change. So we have to press on in faith. That’s the great thing about having an omnipresent Savior. Wherever we go, He goes with us. He’s been faithful to us in Colorado. He’ll be faithful in Minnesota.

71dea5b44f335fc9c5ca4323eacc0f2c“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5)

Emma Grace: 11 Months

7 Mar

It seems unreal to me that Emma is turning 1 year old in a month! That means we’ve survived almost an entire year of parenthood. 😉

No, but Emma is truly a delight. I think this is the most fun age yet. So what is Little Baby Emma up to?


Emma is still wearing her 12-month size clothes. She has a few freakishly large outfits that are 6-9 months and still fit. She is now wearing Size 4 diapers. And I think we’re going to have to buy her bigger socks. She won’t have another pediatrician appointment until 12 months. I tried to schedule it before we move on March 22 but they wouldn’t let me. So that means I’m going to have to find a pediatrician where we’re moving sooner than later!


Emma didn’t get any new teeth this month, though she had several rough nights that made me sure she was teething. But alas, no new teeth.

Her eating habits this month have gotten pickier. She has started refusing to eat chunks of fruits and vegetables in favor of purees. One time, I tried to trick her by putting a chunk of carrot on a spoon with some puree but she ate the puree and spit out the carrot. She has also started refusing to eat things by sticking her tongue out and not opening her mouth. She’s still a good eater overall though so I’m hoping this is just a phase. Her favorite foods are yogurt, quesadillas, toast, strawberry oatmeal with banana, clementines, and puffs. She also tried tator tots with ketchup and really liked them (who wouldn’t?).

20140208_132411I’m officially done with nursing and pumping during the day. I nurse Emma when she wakes up in the morning, she gets 2 bottles during the day (though she hasn’t been drinking much of the bottles we give her either!), then drinks a bottle + nurses before bed, and nurses when she wakes up in the middle of the night – still about once on average. I tell ya, this little one is a moving target. She is never predictable!

In the next couple of months, we’re going to start weaning Emma from a bottle to a sippy cup. I bought some that aren’t the no-spill kind in the hope that being easier to drink out of will help her understand what to do with them. We’ll see how that goes! We also need to get better at brushing Emma’s teeth. I’ve been totally slacking on that so far.


Emma’s sleeping habits haven’t changed much from last month, but her ‘going down’ habits have. She is stuck between not wanting to be held to go to sleep and not wanting to be put down. Every nap and bedtime is a guessing game of what Emma wants. If I had to guess what happens most often, I’d divide it up like this:

60% Emma cries for a few minutes and falls asleep

35% Emma screams her head off and gets rocked/nursed to sleep

5% Emma goes to sleep quietly on her own

IMG_5467I think the reason why it’s such a battle is because Emma has a hard time winding down. She doesn’t like reading books, singing songs, being rocked, being held. Even after a bath and getting pajamas on in a dim room, she’s ready to play. So many times, we do our bedtime routine and try to give her a bottle and she’s too wired to even drink it. She’s bouncing around her crib, squawking, wanting to sit up, crawl around, peek over the edge of the chair, play with the bottle nipple. Ugh, it’s maddening sometimes! But the other night I realized, maybe that’s the way Emma calms down. Maybe instead of the things I think she “should” do to wind down, she just needs to play around in her room with me for a while, doing her own thing, until she’s settled down enough to drink a bottle and nurse. So I think that’s what we’ll start trying.

I’d like to re-read all the sleep books I read when Emma was first born, now that I know her better, and maybe start keeping a diary of when she ate, fell asleep, woke up, etc. again. Because now that she will be home with me full time, I need her to nap better so that I can get stuff done! For us with Emma, sleep is definitely the most challenging part of parenthood.

IMG_5468It doesn’t help that Emma has been perpetually sick since November. Poor little girl. She gets a cold with a stuffy nose for about a week and then it turns into this hacking cough that lasts what seems like forever (but in reality is only 2-3 weeks). Sometimes she coughs so much that she gags and pukes. But according to our pediatrician, that’s pretty normal for kids her age. We give her the Hyland’s cough syrup and have a warm vaporizer going in her room every night, both of which seem to help. I also bought a cart cover to hopefully prevent her from picking up bugs while we’re shopping. 


A few days after she turned 10 months, Emma figured out how to crawl forward!


20140301_170120And about the middle of last week, she figured out how to pull up on things. It is so cute to go into her room in the morning now and she’s standing there holding on to the side of her crib, talking to herself. It works against us too though because now when she’s upset in her crib, she makes herself even more upset by sitting or standing up.

So far in her newly mobile life, Emma’s favorite toys are the door stop in the living room, the dog dishes (especially the one with water in it!), shoes, a basket in the office and anything with a cord. We let her play with cords when they’re unplugged and she’s supervised. She completely destroyed my phone charger with her slobber. Her favorite rooms are the kitchen and the bathroom. She’s also started paying more attention to the dogs, which they are not completely thrilled about but they’ve been great with her so far. We’ll just have to teach Emma to not touch the dog dishes while they’re eating!

biscuit with dog dishes

One absolutely hilarious thing that Emma has started doing now that she’s crawling is ‘carrying’ stuff in her mouth like a dog. If she’s playing with a toy and wants to move to another spot without putting the toy down, she’ll put it in her mouth and crawl away! I’ve tried to take a picture but she always takes it out of her mouth too quickly.

She’s still as smiley and talkative as ever, and still loves her Baby Einstein table, jumperoo, being twirled around in her highchair and held upside down. She is not a fan of being held up high or thrown into the air though. She has grown more ticklish so it’s easier to get her to laugh and giggle. A couple of times when we’ve been played on the floor, I was laying on my side and would ‘bounce’ my foot over slowly to Emma saying “It’s going to get you!” and then I’d poke her with my toe and she’d laugh her head off. It even got to the point where she’d start laughing before I touched her. So cute!

20140304_180348This month, I also took Emma swimming for the first time. I forgot my camera, so no pictures. ::fail:: But Emma really enjoyed it. My friend Charlotte let her use a floaty ring, so I had Emma in there for part of the time and also held her part of the time. I also took Emma to the mall to ride the merry-go-round/carousel. She did what she usually does during new experiences – showed no emotion.

20140228_153649Anyway, I have to start planning Emma’s birthday party! We’re just going to do something small with family – a luxury that we’ll finally have, being back in Minnesota!


Schedules, Lists and Plans

6 Mar

First off, I’m sorry that I’ve been completely MIA from my blog and from reading your blogs. My head is spinning with everything that is going on right now, and blogging/reading blogs has fallen way down on the priority list. But I will get caught up eventually!

In the midst of the current chaos, I have been maintaining my sanity by keeping schedules, lists and plans in various areas:


Whenever I get busy, lazy or tired, dinner is one of the first things to go. Poor Travis has had to deal with more than his fair share of frozen pizzas, ‘whatever you can find’ and ‘breakfast for dinner’ dinners. Add to that a complete lack of inspiration for dinner ideas and it was a mess. Then two things happened: I heard of ZipList, an online tool that lets you file recipes and add the ingredients to a shopping list organized by aisle. And I was also inspired by nHerShoes to assign each night a dinner theme, thereby giving a little more structure to what to make. Added bonus: more variety!

I have been doing this for about 3 weeks now, and while it unfortunately hasn’t helped me spend less on groceries (need to start working on that too!), it has been a huge success in helping me make actual dinners, and get away from my handful of rotating recipes (which are great to have, but we needed to mix it up badly!).


I mentioned back in January that I’m taking over the finances in our family. Well, we haven’t had time to sit down and go over the bills and stuff, so Travis is still handling that. But I have been tracking our budget and spending! After my mind exploded trying to track our credit card, checking account, bills, income, etc. via an Excel spreadsheet, I was inspired by Mel at Winners Wear Yellow to use So. Much. Easier. And it has a nifty button you can check to carry over any unspent funds to the next month, taking the guesswork out of those expenses (like auto and house maintenance) that typically are spent in large chunks, but (ideally) saved for monthly.

We use US Bank and because of security measures for logging in, can’t automatically update our account balances and activity. But I can still manually update it, so it works out. It has helped keep us on track and while we are still going over in some categories, we were a lot less over than we were before. Progress!


I’m training! For a race! I’m 3 weeks in to a 10-week training plan. My longest run so far has been 4 miles – which used to be nothing, but now was the longest run I’ve done since July 2012. I’ve also been doing some cross-training via videos at home and I have to say, it feels GREAT to be back working out regularly. I’m averaging only about 3 times a week, but it’s been nice.

A few things about the race (Hot Chocolate 15k on April 19 in Minneapolis) though are cramping my style:

1) I realized it’s on Easter weekend. We were going to have the race weekend be a little husband/wife getaway sans baby but we have to be with her on her first Easter! So boo on that.

2) Travis is studying for the California Professional Engineers exam, which is like the Colorado PE that he took back in 2012, except even more intense. So he’ll be studying a lot between now and the race, which means I’ll have to watch Emma.

3) It’s still winter in Minnesota. Like, majorly winter. And the town where Travis’ parents live doesn’t have an indoor track, so I’ll be relegated to running on the dreadmill. I don’t know if I can handle that.

Needless to say, with all of those factors, I’m not absolutely dead set on running this race. I’m still going to train for it as much as I can, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. I’d still like to run a race before getting pregnant again (ahem…), but flexibility is the name of the game right now.

And that’s all I have time for! I’ll be back tomorrow for Emma’s 11-month update!

* I was not compensated by ZipList, or Hot Chocolate 15K for this post. All opinions are my own.