Tag Archives: holiday

New Year’s 2015

8 Jan

We were planning to host my whole immediate family for 4-5 days around New Year’s (giving everyone a chance to see our new place) but the day my family was supposed to make the trek from Rochester to Brainerd, my mom ended up going to the ER for some health issues (which I won’t go into here). She ended up staying there the whole day, so even though Travis and I were a little disappointed, we decided that it would be better to pack up our stuff and head to Rochester instead of having our family come up to us. It was a little tricky fitting everything in our car, since we had bought a ton of food at Costco the day before! We made it work – but only after jumpstarting our car for the 2nd time in a week (apparently we might need a new battery.)

We left Brainerd around 9 am on New Year’s Day and made it Rochester a little before 1 pm. Emma had lots of fun playing with her cousin Jensen.

20150101_IMG_0088 20150101_IMG_0090 20150101_IMG_0108

We had our big family celebration that day, since it was the only day we would all be together (stupid work schedules). Before dinner, we took group photos. Usually, we put it off and then totally forget about it!


20150101_IMG_0179 20150101_IMG_0185 20150101_IMG_0197 20150101_IMG_0202 20150101_IMG_0206 20150101_IMG_0216

My SIL Jen is due March 7 – almost exactly a month before me!20150101_IMG_0234

After dinner, we opened presents. The past 4-5 years or so, we have drawn names and then when we’re opening the presents, we guess who the present is from. This year, people guessed about 80% accurately! Travis got YakTrax and I got a serving dish from Crate&Barrel, dish towels and a book. Emma got an easel/desk and shopping cart from G&G, a cute sweatshirt from Brian and Jill, an awesome lumberjack hat from Chris and Meg, and a Melissa & Doug doll and book from Jeremy and Jen. She is spoiled for sure!

We bought my nephew Jensen some cap guns complete with sheriff badge and holster for Christmas. I’m not sure who enjoyed them more – Jensen or Travis and Jeremy!

The next day (Friday), it was just us, my parents and Jeremy, Jen and Jensen so we decided to do something fun for the kiddos. We checked out the Children’s Museum of Rochester for the first time and were very pleasantly surprised! Jensen and Emma had a great time. The whole place was Clifford-themed, but apparently they switch out the exhibits every 4 months. We will definitely be back!

IMG_6129 (Large) IMG_6131 (Large) IMG_6135 (Large) IMG_6136 (Large) IMG_6140 (Large)

IMG_6134 (Large)

Unfortunately, that night we discovered that Emma was running a pretty high fever. Looking back on it now, I can tell that she had probably started feeling out of sorts Thursday night because even Friday morning, she wasn’t herself. She woke up a couple of times that night, and since we didn’t want to make anyone else sick, Travis and I decided to drive back up to Brainerd a day early.

So late Saturday afternoon, we hit the road again. Even though it was a bummer to leave early and miss out on Jensen’s 3rd birthday party the next day, I’m ultimately glad we did because that night was a doozy! Emma developed a really bad cough and (now we know) an ear infection (her first!), so she was pretty miserable. It was nice having our big, comfy recliner to rock her in, since we were doing that for many hours that night. Now almost a week later, Emma is finally getting back to her normal self. We’re pretty sure she got the flu (influenza) because she has been tired and clingy for days, which is very unlike her.

All in all, our New Year’s plans didn’t quite turn out how we had planned but it was nice seeing everyone for the time we could anyway.

Memorial Day Weekend 2014

29 May

Sorry, didn’t mean to leave you hanging with my last post, but I’ve been busy pinning ideas for our new house! A couple weeks ago, we drove down to Brainerd on a Wednesday evening to look at just 2 houses – one we had found on the MLS and the other had been recommended by our realtor based on the other house. Looking at the pictures online, we were pretty pumped about the one our realtor had sent us but it’s always different in person. We also weren’t sure if it had a 5th non-conforming bedroom – since Travis works from home, we would like to have 4 bedrooms, plus an office.

When we arrived at the house though, it was just as awesome as we had thought it would be. And the basement has a large area that could totally be closed off for a 5th real bedroom, so that pretty much sold us. We put an offer down in the next few days, they countered (which we mostly expected), and we accepted the counter. The inspection was done last week – we asked for a handful of things and they agreed to all of them, so now we’re on to the appraisal and closing on June 20!

We won’t move in until the following weekend for a couple of reasons: 1) Travis’ parents will be in Alaska the weekend we close and it’d be nice to have their help, and 2) The current owners have cats. Travis is allergic, so we’re going to have the ducts and carpets cleaned, plus the whole house deep-cleaned. We’re also going to scrub the rooms that Travis will be in the most with a denaturalizer product to kill the cat dander and ‘germs’. But the owners chose paint colors and stuff wisely, so there are only a few things that I want to change before we move in.

So that’s the story. I’m not pregnant again, if you were wondering. 😉

On to our holiday weekend…

We drove up to Handberg’s Marina on Crane Lake on Saturday morning and got up there by about 11:30 (it’s almost a 4 hour drive!). We loaded all of our stuff into the boat and set off for the cabin, about 30 minutes by boat.

IMG_5763 (Large) IMG_5762 (Large)

IMG_5769 (Large) IMG_5766 (Large)The weather this year was PERFECT. Couldn’t have asked for anything better – well, except the water be warmer I guess. The ice had just gone off the lake the week before so only a few brave souls jumped in for a few minutes. I waded in the water a decent amount while cleaning pine needles off the beach, but that was as far as I would go.

Activities during our cabin stay included:

Emma swinging…

IMG_5778 (Large)And napping. (Emma’s getting a bunch of new teeth right now, so when she napped in the swing, it was a relief to not have to battle her!)

IMG_5802 (Large)Lots of playing in water warmed by the sun on the dock (don’t worry – we watched her like a hawk, and rigged up some shade after these pictures were taken.)

IMG_5791 (Large) IMG_5783 (Large) IMG_5785 (Large)

IMG_5798 (Large)Campfires

A canoe ride

The dogs enjoyed themselves too. Both our dogs and my sister-in-law’s 2 dogs were completely wiped out the second day. Everytime we went into the bunkhouse, they followed us hoping it was naptime!

IMG_5799 (Large) IMG_5771 (Large) IMG_5780 (Large)Hope you had a good holiday too!


A White Christmas in Denver!

22 Dec

Well, it definitely snowed! Last night, when I got home from my women’s group, I told Travis that we should go on a walk in the snow. So we did.

I love going for walks in the snow.

So do the pooches.

We were very snowy by the time we got back. It’s still snowing this afternoon and so far, we’ve gotten about a foot. It was a little hairy driving to work today (because CDOT only has 75 plows for the entire Denver metro area!) but we made it! I was sooo tempted to call in because there’s hardly anyone here today (and there will be even fewer tomorrow!) but our VP ordered in lunch from Qdoba for us, which was nice and fun. Tomorrow is going to draaaaggg by though.


On a brighter note, this weekend is Christmas!

I am so ready for some time to relax, hang out with Travis and friends, and eat delicious food! This is what we have planned so far:

  • Dinner and a movie with friends Friday night (Christmas Eve Eve)
  • Dinner with friends and their family on Christmas Eve
  • Special breakfast and dinner on Christmas day, just the two of us
  • Church on Christmas morning
  • Relaxing on the day after Christmas, before we go back to work

We haven’t decided when we’re going to open presents yet, but my vote is Christmas Eve morning – then we don’t have to wait!

Other than going grocery shopping tonight after work, I’m all ready for Christmas, which has meant a very relaxing, enjoyable week. It’s been so nice to drive home, knowing that I can go lay on the couch the minute I walk in the door, instead of running around doing errands or workouts.

I was just thinking yesterday as I drove home, that taking this week off from training was probably the best decision I could’ve made. Instead of stressing out over how to fit all my workouts in and wondering how I’ll ever manage with marathon training, I’ve been building up excitement and anticipation and will start marathon training ready to tackle the beast of 26.2.

The slower pace has also allowed me time to reflect on the amazing-ness of Christmas and quiet my heart, which is what I’ve been wanting! Come, Lord Jesus!

What are your plans for Christmas? Are you done with preparations?

Training Recap: 12/12 – 12/18

19 Dec

Aside from several hours on Saturday spent freaking out and raging on my poor husband, I actually had a very wonderful, relaxing weekend.

Friday, after shopping and partying with my co-workers, I went home at 3 – which was very helpful to my Christmas shopping! I stopped at Massage Envy on my way home to buy a Christmas present and then at Walmart to see if they had tulle that I could use to make a tutu for the race. Instead, I found some sweet-o boxers for both me and Trav – elf for me, Santa for him. (I’m lucky to have a husband willing to dress up with me.) Travis got home from work early too so we got to work wrapping presents and preparing gifts for mailing. We also finally baked our sugar cookies and figured out our race outfits.

Saturday, the race was a lot of fun. I’ll tell more details later… but I will say that I finished in 32:52, which is 48 seconds faster than last year! I will also say that 5K is my least favorite racing distance ever.

The rest of Saturday was spent by me freaking out about all the stuff I had to do: make an elk roast for dinner, go grocery shopping, buy one last present, mail/ship all Christmas presents, clean the house, and take a nap (ha!), all in 5.5 hours. And you know what? I did it. But not in style. Or niceness. Better luck next time.

After a short 30 minute “nap,” we had friends over for dinner, which was very fun and worth cleaning for. Shortly after they left at 8:45, I read for a while and went to bed.

Sunday morning, I read before church – I started Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. Oh.my. I cried reading the first chapter AND have already called back to mind several things I read. I fully expect this to become one of my favorite books.

After church, we came home, ate lunch and napped/watched both the Packers and Broncos lose! Boo! (I am not a Packers fan BUT I will cheer for any team with a perfect record. I am now done cheering for them.) During the Broncos game, we took the dogs to the dog park for a bit and then drove up to Evergreen to get our skate on. I wish we would’ve remembered to bring Trav’s hockey sticks and a puck, but we didn’t. It was still fun skating around – Evergreen is a great place for skating. There’s a ton of ice space so you never feel crowded. But the ice was a little sketchy/ungroomed this time – maybe it’s not thick enough for the zamboni yet?

We ate dinner at The Woodcellar, a local bar/grill. Our food was absolutely delicious – I had the Hot Avocado Melt on Ciabatta bread with sweet potato fries. The fries were amazing. They had a seasoning similar to Arby’s curly fries. Mmmm… (And because Travis would give me crap about taking a picture of my food, you’ll have to use your imagination.)

Then we drove around our neighborhood looking at Christmas lights and what these houses lack in class, they make up for in quantity. The best most decorated house we saw:

It was seriously impressive how much they managed to fit in their yard. When I see houses decorated like this, I have 2 thoughts: Where do they store all that stuff? and How much money did they spend buying all that? 

When we got home, we attempted to watch Elf but weirdly, Travis was falling asleep after 20 minutes (that happens maybe 2 times a year)! So he went to bed and I stayed up for another 45 minutes before I figured I should probably go to bed – as today is Monday and all. Looking forward to two 4-day weeks coming up!

Now, on to the training recap:

Monday: Half mile repeats on track at Rec (4:14, 4:24, 4:30, 4:30) – 2.7 miles total

Lately, I’ve often been noticing that the thing holding me back from running faster is my lungs. That was definitely the case during this workout, as well as the 5k I did. Oh, silly little lungs.

Tuesday: P90X Yoga (1:20:00)

I almost made it all the way through the workout (it’s an hour and a half long), which is very exciting for me. The first time I ever did YogaX, I did the first 30 minutes and turned it off because I was so sore. This time, my shoulders were still a little sore the next day, but not bad at all. This is what I love about all exercise – seeing your body adapt and being able to do things you weren’t able to do before. The next thing I want to master in this workout are the balance poses after Warrior 3 (Standing Splits to Half Moon to Revolved Half Moon) – holy crap they’re hard!

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 3.66 mile sleeprun (43:31, 11:53/mile)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 5k race (32:52, 10:36/mile)

Sunday: 45 min ice skating

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have canceled any formal workouts this week in honor of my mental sanity and a week of relaxation before marathon training starts in a week! I pretty much went straight from my triathlon schedule to my base-building schedule so I just want one week off from having to fit workouts in and then it’s go-time. It also works out that it’s Christmas this week. 😉 Although maybe it’s not so good, since I need exercise more than ever to cancel out all the extra treats I’m eating!

Back with pics tomorrow, I promise hope!

Let the fun begin!

16 Dec

Today at work, I only have to work sit at my desk until 11 and then I get to go shopping and partying! During work hours! Our department is sponsoring 2 families through Safehouse and we roll the shopping and gift-wrapping into our holiday party. I think it’s a pretty good idea, except Travis is bummed that he’s not invited (but I wasn’t invited to their potluck either this year).

Tomorrow, we’re running The Christmas Carol 5k – I’ll be wearing a hat similar to this one.

I would also like to find or make a tutu but it might be too late for that…

I’m hoping to get a nap in tomorrow after the race and then we’re having dinner with friends. Sunday, we’re still planning on going up to Evergreen for ice skating and dinner.

Have a good weekend! I might get ambitious tomorrow and post pictures of my tea table and our Christmas decorations. And hopefully my new 5k PR! 😉 Maybe.

Christmas Festivities!

10 Dec

I tell ya, even when you try to not get too busy during the holiday season, it happens anyway.

Here’s our December lineup:

Nov 30: Operation Christmas Child (Ok, not December, but it’s related to Christmas!)

Dec 4-5: Minnesota trip

Dec 10: Christmas tea at church (set up in morning, tea in afternoon); baking sugar cookies, putting up Christmas decorations, and watching A Christmas Story (I’ve never seen it!) with Travis

Dec 11: Christmas party after church

Dec 17: Christmas Carol 5K in the AM; Dinner with friends in the PM

Dec 18: Going up to Evergreen as a birthday/Christmas/done-with-grad-classes celebration to go ice skating and have a nice dinner; hoping to watch another Christmas movie I’ve never seen like It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street (I know, it really is tragic that I haven’t seen these classics.)

Dec 20: Zoolights at the Denver Zoo after work with friends

And then it’s Christmas! Since we’re not going to be with family, I’m voting for just staying home to do a whole lot of cookie eating, movie watching, and game playing on Christmas instead of going to any big gathering. Relaxing sounds absolutely wonderful right now!

Even though we have lots of fun stuff planned, for some reason, it’s been harder for me to get into the Christmas spirit this year than others. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas and I don’t know why. It’s probably something to do with feeling exhausted from being on the go and also the fact that we still don’t have our Christmas decorations up! I’m really hoping to get that done tomorrow. In the midst of the frenzy, though, I am striving to keep my focus on experiencing and savoring this season, not just viewing it as one giant to-do list.

What fun things are you doing this holiday season? 

Don’t Be a Scrooge

29 Nov


It is officially the Christmas season. And with Black Friday under our belts, it is also gift buying time. This year, I’m trying something new – not being a Scrooge.

For some reason, even though I usually like buying gifts, feeling expected to do so makes me not want to. I love giving spontaneous gifts when the other person doesn’t expect it, or I find something that I just know someone will love. But having a list of what someone wants or knowing that I can’t show up without a present just takes all the fun out of gift giving for me.

I was lamenting this to Travis the other day. “I hate having to rack my brain and go to 3 different stores to fit a present to buy for someone.”

Travis suggested that we just don’t do Christmas presents this year. We’d just tell our families that we decided not to buy presents this year.

But that just seemed so… selfish and Scrooge-like. Sorry, I didn’t buy you a present because you expected me to and it was too much work? Hmmmm…

Then it occurred to me that I was looking at the whole gift giving thing all wrong. Since I truly do enjoy blessing others with gifts that I know they will enjoy, what if I viewed Christmas as a time to do that for all of my loved ones? Instead of feeling forced to buy them a gift, I could look at this season as an opportunity to bless them with our abundance and to show them love by taking the time to think about and look for that gift that they truly will delight in.

In short, I need to make gift giving about their happiness, not mine. 

I’m not huge on Christmas gifts myself. I mean, sure, I enjoy getting presents. But I wouldn’t be devastated if I didn’t get any. I’d be content if we decided to instead buy a cow or a pig for a needy family in Africa. (And I have suggested that, so we’ll see what my family says.) But I’m not sure everyone would go for that and instead of being bitter like Scrooge and either refusing to give them gifts or giving them purely out of obligation, I can choose to show my love for my family and friends in the way that they feel loved.*

So this Christmas season, I’m going to go shopping while remembering that good gifts are fun to receive and bring happiness to my loved ones.

Do you enjoy buying presents for others?


(*Not saying that all my family and friends need gifts to feel loved, but it is the most common form of affection shown during Christmas.)

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

28 Nov

Our Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful – we did a little bit of everything:

  • Relaxed and cuddled with the pooches
  • Ate lots of yummy food
  • Finished every meal off with pie and ice cream or cool whip
  • Watched football and movies
  • Went shopping on Black Friday (I went with friends at 4:30 and then again around 11 – the crowds were worse in the afternoon!)
  • Walked the dogs in the warm, yet crisp fall air
  • My mom and I sewed a valance, tablecloth and curtain tiebacks for my kitchen
The pattern is from Hancock Fabrics and called ‘Apple a Day.’ I love it! It’s kitchen-y without being what I call “country bumpkin.”


  • Went out to eat for sushi and fish tacos
  • Drank wine and coffee
  • Played Rummikub and Chinese Checkers (Travis won, of course.)
  • Drove up into the mountains and saw about 50 elk all in one spot!
I didn’t notice the stick in front of my dad’s face until I uploaded the pictures this morning. Bummer!
As you can see, they were right in the middle of town! We saw them after our hike, crossing the highway through Evergreen. Crazy elk!


  • Caught up on family news
  • Cuddled with the pooches
  • Travis and I completed a crossword!
  • Went to church
  • I got in all of my planned workouts somehow:

Monday: 5.97 mile run (1:07:13, 11:15 pace) – ran first 2 miles outside with the dogs and the last 4 at the Rec on the track

Tuesday: 1.7 mile walk with dogs

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4.1 mile run (46:05, 11:14 pace)

Friday: 1.88 mile walk with dogs

Saturday: 35 min weight training, 20 min elliptical intervals – I was very sore the next day from the weights. I think it was because I hadn’t used the weight machines in a while and I did 30 pushups on my feet!

Sunday: 3.04 mile run (34:11, 11:14 pace), 1.3 mile easy hike

I love balancing relaxation with productivity!

We all remarked how it seemed like my parents would be out here for a while but the days flew by and all of a sudden, it was time for them to leave. This is perhaps the thing I am most thankful for during the holiday season: how awesome and amazing our families are. You don’t get to choose your family, much less your spouse’s family, and both Travis and I have been blessed to have wonderful, kind, thoughtful, well-adjusted, non-crazy families who we truly enjoy spending time with. We are always sad to see them leave, or be leaving ourselves. This is one gift that I am very aware is rare. Good friends that understand you are rare. Absolutely loving your family is even rarer.

My parents are amazing people – so generous, thoughtful, tender-hearted. So dedicated to their family. So interested in their children’s lives. So welcoming of sons- and daughters-in-law. I feel so incredibly blessed to have such awesome parents and want my future kids to get to know them. Thanks Mom and Dad – for coming out here to visit and for being such great parents.

Happy Thanksgiving!

23 Nov

I will be enjoying quality time with my family tomorrow and not logging on the computer so just wanted to wish all my lovely readers a Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s a Turkey Maze for you to do tomorrow before falling into a food coma:

Enjoy your day with family, friends, food and football!

Happy Freedom Day!

1 Jul

I will be leaving early tomorrow morning to go backpacking with Travis, the pooches, and two friends and their pooch. So I won’t be blogging (until next week when I’ll post pics of our adventures!).

But have a GREAT weekend and enjoy yourself (safely)! Go watch some fireworks, which is my most favorite thing about this holiday (though my husband does not share that fondness)!

I can tend to get wrapped up in the fact that it’s a 3-day weekend filled with fun festivities that I forget what we’re actually celebrating: being a free country. It is such a huge blessing to live here and be able to walk down the street without fear, attend church publicly every Sunday, and not worry about where I’m going to sleep or what I’m going to eat.

This day of freedom also makes me think of the Ultimate Liberator: Jesus Christ. Without His death on the cross, we would all still be captive to sin and Satan, destined for an eternity in hell. But because of His sacrifice, we can have freedom when we trust in Him for salvation! Freedom from sin, self, this world. Freedom to love God with all our hearts, enjoy fellowship with Him and one another, and do fun things like watching fireworks, all the while knowing that this world is temporary and the real celebration will happen someday soon in heaven.

How do you use holidays to remind yourself of the gospel?