...it went over well

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I know the recipients of this cake very well and was quite confident that Sara and Lisa would appreciate this rainbow of goodness as much as I already loved it. But the sounds of sheer glee that came out of our three mouths as I cut the first piece were louder and more excited than I could have ever imagined. They loved it, and that means a lot because these two are always raising the bar in their baking endeavors. (Though it is possible that my squeeling may have been the loudest. I was just so pleased with how the cake cut and kept yelling, "It's perfect! It cuts perfect" while flailing the large knife and cake server in my hand.)
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It tasted pretty good too. Which was completely not the point of this cake. But a nice added bonus.
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So HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADIES! I am blessed beyond words to have these two favorite friends of mine as my family FOREVER.
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Roy G. Biv

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So a few months ago I saw this post about the rainbow cake. I emailed my mother-in-law immediately and told her I had a cake to make for Lisa and Sara's (my sister-in-laws) birthdays and have been excited to make it ever since.

I simplified quite a bit from the original rainbow cake. I used two boxes of white cake mix instead of making the cake from scratch. And then I separated the batter into six bowls, trying to make the amount in each one as even as possible.
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Using Wilton's Cake Gel, I added 1/2 tsp of color to each bowl. Honest to goodness this stuff is lethal. If it touches anything it will turn that color...clothing, countertops, kitchen sinks... I took my time with this step and ended up with all the dye ending up in the bowl. I'm pretty proud of this fact. I have a very white kitchen...
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Don't you spell Wallah like Viola or something? Because that's what I want to say about the bright colors below. Tada!
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I didn't want each layer to bake up too thick, and dividing 2 boxes of batter into six bowls seemed to make the right thickness for each individual cake. I heavily sprayed my cake pan, lined it with waxed paper and then sprayed the pan again. I wasn't going to risk one of these suckers getting stuck in the pan. I had two cakes in the oven at a time for about 20 minutes.
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They came out, I let them cool and then mixed up my super easy and delicious lemon icing. It was divine. And runny. And hard to keep on the cake, but it really was good stuff.
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from my taste of home cookbook: one 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk, 3/4 cup lemonade concentrate, one 8 oz carton thawed whipped topping. Mix the milk and lemonade and gently fold in the cool whip.
I doubled the recipe, and I used my mixer. Hence the runny frosting. I knew better than to beat the fluff out of the cool whip, and I even thought, "this might not turn out so well" but I was sort of ready to be done at that point and it seemed like a risky shortcut I was willing to take.
I frosted between the layers and used three wooden skewers to hold the cake together when I was all done because this baby liked to slide around and had a serious Tower of Pisa tilt without the skewers.
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I frosted the rest of the cake a day later with my friend Amanda and we very much enjoyed watching the drippy frosting melt off the cake as we quickly tried to cover all the color. Thankfully my cake stand has a one inch lip around the bottom. That lip has always bothered me before because it's so hard to frost a normal cake with that ring around the bottom, but today it was an absolute lifesaver. I just let the frosting pool.

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Then I threw it in fridge for another few hours to set up and later I hit the road with this beauty to go and track down the birthday girls. Pictures of the cake cutting and the birthday girls are coming later.

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(You don't want to know how tempted I was to seatbelted this baby in.)

our first day of school

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Rory insisted we take a first day of school picture of me and the baby just before we left for our first night of birthing classes. I thought this was a sweet idea.

We are in a class with six other couples, and we are all having our first baby. It's a really nice group of people with everyone feeling as under prepared for this whole thing as the next person. We have a kick of a teacher who has taught this class for 20 some years, and I am hanging on her every word. There is just so much to absorb and consider.

When we walked to our car tonight I told Rory, "I got the impression in there that this is going to hurt very badly."

I've been getting more and more anxious lately about the birthing part lately and the only mantra that ever comes to my head is, "can't go over it. can't go around it. got to go through it." So, I think we'll go through with it.

layers of rainbow

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Check this out. These bright, brilliant bowls of color, my friends, is cake batter. I can't wait to assemble this baby. We've got some birthdays in the family this week and I have been waiting to make this cake for months now. Today I woke up with a skip in my step knowing that the day to make this beauty had finally arrived!

More pictures tomorrow, for sure. Until then, I'd just like to thank Wilton's gel color for being so ridiculously incredible. And I'd like to thank the Lord that I didn't get any of this dye on my countertops or clothing.

the baby room

When Rory and I first started talking about the baby room, I kept envisioning my niece Ruby's room. It is so calm, decorated with white and tans and feels so peaceful. For a long time, I was eager to copy this color pallet for our own simple, calm and soothing baby room.

Then I found a picture of a baby room with powder blue walls and I got excited about adding that color into the mix.

But then I started collecting images from online, gathering together my own crafty things that I'd like to hang in the room and I realized something undeniable. And as I often do when something strikes me as true, I ran into the other room and blurted out to Rory, "I am colorful. I can't help it. I like color, and everything I am picking for this baby room is bright and bold." And Rory confirmed that yes, I am indeed colorful. I mentioned to him that the colors I like are all sort of girly which could be problematic if we have a boy and he said, "yes, but I'm pretty sure the baby won't care one way or the other and as it turns out, the baby's mom is a girl, so I think you can get away with it."

Love that boy.

So, I already posted a picture of the wall hanging from my own baby room 29 years ago, and am really excited to use it in this baby's room. Here's a few other things I have bookmarked and may try to incorporate...

(remember to right click on each link and click 'open in new tab' so you don't have to reopen this webpage every time...)
I really like this white tree decal.
But if we end up going with light, light yellow walls (current game plan) I would love this one.
I love this wall art. And might try my own knock off version.
And plan on creating some sort of clothesline of pictures.
I love this paper butterfly art and can't wait to make my own.
And may make these paper globes to fill up a corner.
I'm hopeful to enlist someone I know to help me make these hanging fabric baskets.

Basically, I am hoping to tie the whole nursery to this favorite quilt of mine and these favorite art projects of mine. Again, I'm colorful. What can I say? My hope is that with white furniture, yellow walls and trying to play up the blue and green, I can get away with a bit of hot pink...

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get your homer hanky

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Thanks to Rory's folks, we got to go to our first Twins game at Target Field last night. Being residents of Hennepin County, Rory and I feel a special connection to this field...knowing that our very own tax dollars helped build this new stadium. And will continue to help pay for the stadium. For a long time.

But let me tell you, our tax dollars looked lovely last night. Target Field is pretty amazing and we had the greatest date night. The Twins won by a lot, which made for a fun game with things happening in each inning. That's important for me in baseball. Plus, there is just a whole lot of stadium to check out, lots of food to be eaten (felt a lot like the state fair) and a beautiful fall evening to take in. Thanks mom and dad groves!

lay low tuesday

I feel overdone. We've been packing and unpacking for a few weeks now, and today the goal is to not touch a box, to not sort a drawer, and to rest and recover. The doer in me will struggle big time with this game plan, but the achy pregger in me knows this is the best idea. My hope is to find a good book or magazine and enjoy the sun porch.

Happy first day of school to all the teachers and students and mama's out there! I am thinking of all my Minnesota nieces and nephews and of Claire Helen all the way out in Seattle, starting her first day of first grade. Can't wait to hear who all of your teachers are!

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happy labor day

Thankfully, I'm not in labor. But we are celebrating 32 weeks of being pregnant today. I thought this meant I was eight months along, because 32 divided by 4 is 8, but I still have 8 weeks before my due date, and so does that mean I am just 7 months along? This whole month and week thing has me so screwed up.


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Regardless of how far along I am, here I am in all my baby-belly glory. That picture I posted yesterday from the fair was miraculous...you could hardly see my tummy. But believe me, it is there. And I am very aware of its presence. I am feeling most pregnant at night, aware of my large belly, aware of my achy hips and very aware of my tinsy tiny bladder.

I am very aware that I am just not super pleasant to be around sometimes. Rory and I were given an acronym when we first got married to use just as you're spouse is about to loose their cool on you. You think in your head, HALT. Is the other person Hungry, Angry, Lonesome or Tired? Honestly, for as cheesy the acronym, it is really, really helpful. Rory has been known to kindly blow off whatever accusation I was throwing at him and say, "hey, let's just get you into bed. You have been working so hard lately." (you'd think I'd blow up at this point, but it is completely effective...) At any rate, I told Rory that he is welcome to add Hormonal to go along with Hungry, and then things should make more sense for him.

My folks are coming over today to cut back every single growing thing planted in our yard. We've got a jungle to work through. Rory's folks were here on Friday and washed all of the windows and helped get boxes unpacked. We are so grateful for everyone's help! We've had visitors every day since we returned and it is the greatest.

Happy Labor Day, everyone. Enjoy your day off!

the great minnesota get together 2010

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So you know I am PASSIONATE about the Minnesota State Fair. I love everything about it. I have the layout down well enough to get from place to place without consulting a map. I know where my favorite food booths are and come with a plan...a hope...a dream.

Well, yesterday we got to go live out my dream with Rory's folks. We parked at the new Gopher stadium (wowza. might have to take in a game there this fall...) and took a shuttle bus and it was splendid. Except for the woman who listened in on our conversation and joined in, uninvited. Usually I wouldn't be bothered by this sort of Minnesota nice, but just listen to how this conversation went down.

Rory: This is awesome...not having to pay $11 for parking and not having to deal with the fair traffic. This shuttle will be a part of our fair days forever.

Becca: And next year we'll be on our game and get our tickets at Cub for $2 off.

Uninvited lady: And did you know you can get a coupon book at Cub for $4. We more than made up for it last year. This is our second year at the fair. You can get them in the front entrance if you still want one, but it's $5 here.

Becca: Oh, we'll have to look into that. Thanks for letting us know.

Uninvited lady: You two are becoming fair goers!

Becca: (forced laugh)

We were all piling off of the bus when this comment was made and I think this was a good thing because my face was turned away from the lady and I think my eyes bugged out of my head for a minute. ...Becoming fair goers?!! Becoming?!! I own this fair!!! I never miss a year! For the love, I am a member of the Minnesota Gladiolas Society and arrange flowers for competition at this fair!

I mumbled to Rory (who was most amused at the obvious sting), "she might as well have just slapped me across the face."

We laughed about this all day long with many a repeat, "well, look who is becoming a real fair goer..."

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My fair food 2010: Tejas breakfast burrito, granny smith apples with carmel on top, a heavenly nectarine, porkchop on a stick, real rootbeer, sweet martha's cookies and milk. Perfection.

story city


Dear readers
I usually make a pretty good effort not to write super long posts. But the tale I am about to tell really deserves every word written. Our move from Nebraska to Minnesota was quite eventful and it has taken a few days to process it all. I hope you enjoy.


This is the story of a boy, a 8-months pregnant girl, an orange cat and an orange U-haul.

On Tuesday, the boy and girl were ready to move from Nebraska to Minnesota. They had boxes packed, rooms cleaned, slept in the living room so that the bedroom could be completely cleared out, and were ready with doughnuts and coffee when their wonderful friends showed up to help them move.

90 minutes later, the U-haul was loaded and locked and the girl thought to herself, “dang, we’re good. I should blog my tips and tricks of a stress-free move. I will tell of the container I have had on my counter this past month with the sharpies, the packing tape, screwdrivers, pliers, scissors and nametags that have all been so handy to have out and accessible. Let’s face it, I do have a knack for organization.”

She was thinking these very proud things as she followed the U-haul trailer in front of her. The boy would occasionally walkie-talkie her to see if everything looked okay and she would have to struggle to make out his words, listening over the loud and incessant meowing of their orange cat who was not super pleased to be hitting the highway.

Fifteen minutes down the road, the girl’s car began to shift out of gear. It wasn’t giving her a whole lot of acceleration and this began to trouble her. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a new problem… it actually had been ignored all summer. Maybe it was the weight of the car packed to the gills, or maybe it was the fact that she had to keep her car at 55 as she followed the boy and the orange cat and the orange U-haul…but something was going horribly wrong with her car.

She ignored it. Thought if she went a little faster, the car might find its happy gear. So she walkied the boy and told him she would take the lead because her car was acting ill. The cat seemed to think this was a good idea, voicing his approval many times, so she pulled forward.

They crossed into Iowa, passed the main exits to Council Bluffs, and suddenly her engine light began to blink with panic. It was a fast blink, a you’re-in-trouble-now sort of blink.

So she walkied the cat again and the boy told her to take the first exit she came to. It was the last exit for Council Bluffs and she was able to drive to a Phillips 66 with the boy, the orange cat and the orange U-haul behind her.

There they found three store workers who did not care one wit about her car or where they should take it, for their pumps were out and they were dealing with a crisis of their own. This rubbed the girl the wrong way, but they apologized later once their pumps were up again and they were making money.

In the meantime, the boy called Tires Plus, who encouraged a tow truck to come, lest the car become anymore screwed up. The tow truck came and the girl got in, while the boy and the cat and the U-haul followed close behind.

Once at Tires Plus, some nice workers took the Focus and began to figure things out. However, the girl and the boy had new troubles now. The orange cat was about to have a stroke. He had gone silent. He made wheezing sounds. His tongue hung from his mouth so long that the girl and the boy commented that they did not know cats had such long tongues. He began to hiss a bit and his tongue was twisting so the girl and boy could see the underside. It was a blasted hot day, and the girl commented to the boy that many pets die in cars. Especially black jeep’s with U-haul’s attached.

So the cat got to join the girl inside of the Tires Plus. He was in his carrier, and the boy poured water on his paws. He was mostly quiet, interested in his surroundings, and seemed to be making a come back.

The girl, however, was hungry now. It was way past lunchtime. So the boy ran across the street and got a bag of tacos to enjoy while sitting on a carpeted ledge that showcased fancy tires with deep treads. The boy said, “I want you to know, my concerns today are in this order: you, the baby, the cat, and then the car.” And the girl got a bit emotional. Boys should say things like that as often as they think it.

The guys from Tires Plus finished their computer scan an hour or so later, and didn’t find anything. So the boy took the car to the Transmission Center across the street. They spent a good while on the car as well, and their scan machine didn’t find anything either. But they suggested Don’s auto repair, just across the other street from Tires Plus. The boy brought the car over there, and instead of using a computer scan, the guy at Don’s used his eyes and his hands. And he figured out the problem after a bit of tinkering.

The guy at Don’s told the boy that all four spark plugs were shot and needed to be replaced. He showed the boy and began to take them out and one of the cords on the spark plug broke in half just after he tugged at it. It is a wonder that girl had any drive in that car at all!

This guy needed parts from Napa Auto, so the boy waited and the girl continued to tend to her cat, watch Martha, Deal or No Deal and Ellen, ate 25 cents worth of Mike and Ikes and read an article on Carrie Underwood in the waiting room. Finally the boy returned, happy to report that the guy was 90% sure they had found the problem and they should be good to go.


Reader: if this section just got long and boring, it is because IT WAS. Long and boring.

The boy and the girl and the orange-looking-so-much-healthier cat and the orange U-haul all hit the road. The girl looked at the clock in the car. It was 5:14 when they hit the interstate again. This was about the same time they had estimated they would arrive at her parent’s house in Minnesota. She was supposed to be eating Salmon and corn on the cob right about then.

But they were on the road! This was great. The boy began to walkie her and tell her that they would probably hit some bad weather past Des Moines. The boy gets excited about weather and kept giving her updates. The girl eventually had to ask him to stop updating her, as she was growing nervous, not enjoying the thought of driving in bad weather.

The girl listened to Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves and Melody Olson’s latest CD’s, and then a fantastic lightning show began to illuminate the skies over hwy 35.

A really bad storm was coming from the West, and the girl’s tummy began to tighten involuntarily. It started to rain, and her wipers were smearing instead of wiping. She started to sing, and the boy walkied that he hoped they could just drive through this part quickly.

The wind picked up; the U-haul in front began to wobble. And then the rain came. The girl followed the orange U-haul’s tail lights, but she could not see much else. When semi trucks passed, she lost all visibility and walkied to the boy, “I am done. I don’t want to do this.” He walkied encouraging things back and said he would exit at the next exit. The next five miles were horrifying. The girl’s tummy was sucking in and she was trying to take deep breaths, but she knew that if those U-haul tail lights went off the road, she would surely just follow them into the ditch. She couldn’t see a thing.

The boy told her he was about to exit, so she followed his lights up a ramp and they parked in a parking lot. She drove around so they could see each other, and they talked in their walkies for a bit. And then the girl had probably the closest thing to a breakdown. Or maybe it was the real deal. She cried hard, and the boy and the cat tried to console her from their car. She let it all out as the wind and rain whipped around the two vehicles in this lone parking lot.

The boy said they would find a hotel for the night once the rain let up and they could find another exit that had more than a parking lot. They drove back four miles to Story City, and if you’ll believe me, this is actually where the most unbelievable part of their story begins. The car trouble pales in comparison to this part. And the storm she almost died in also seems insignificant when this next phase of their journey is told.

You see, when they arrived at the Comfort Inn, the boy was informed that there were no rooms available at the Inn. In fact, there were no rooms available in Story City, or in any town 90 minutes in any direction. For the Farm Convention was in town and 300,000 farmers had come to Iowa from all over the world. This was confirmed by the loud Germans who were enjoying boisterous conversation in the lobby area.

The boy walkied the girl, told her she had better come in for a while. When the boy told the girl this news, she cried some more. She was great with child, hormonal, still shaken up from the drive and utterly exhausted. The boy told her they would stay there for a while, as long as she needed. But he knew it would be tough to get her back into her car.

She cried in the lobby, and the German’s took notice. But what could anyone do? The boy and the girl sat in the business center and checked the radar and it seemed there would be rain for a while. Probably not heavy rain like they had just experienced, but still a lot of rain ahead.

The girl decided to check her sister’s blog and read about her nieces first day of school. This calmed her down a bit.

The boy was still trying to solve this problem, however. He was on the phone, trying to find any connections they might have to Story City, wondering if there was a church he could call where they could stay. The cars were not really an option to sleep in, because the seats were both completely upright and filled with boxes and other such treasures.

The girl went out to the jeep to check on the cat, and the boy called his brother Troy from outside the hotel entrance to see if they had any connections in Story City.

While the boy was on his phone, a man in his mid 60’s approached him, taking a deep inhale of his cigarette. The man blew out his smoke and began, “Are you still looking for a room? I have an extra bed in my room. Your wife and you are welcome to use it…if you don’t mind me sleeping one bed over.”

The boy told him this was a very kind offer, and that he would check with his wife.
The boy went to the jeep and informed the girl of the invitation. She said she didn’t care, that she just wanted a bed. But wait, what about the cat? She and the boy walked back over to the hospitable chain-smoker and she told him she was grateful for his generosity, but they had a cat and she imagined that was a deal breaker.

The man took another deep inhale of his cigarette and puffed out, “I don’t care if you bring your cat.” She commented that with the cat comes the litter box, and she just wanted to be perfectly honest before he actually invited them into his room. He shrugged and invited them to check out the room before they made their decision. And then he introduced himself. His name was Al.

When they entered room 205, it was obvious that this was a smoking room. But Al promised, “I would never smoke in the same room as a pregnant woman. I know better than that.” The girl found this comment very sweet, because he clearly had been smoking in that room all night prior to their arrival.

The girl saw the extra bed, and that’s all she wanted. She just wanted to be in a bed. The boy was uncharacteristically okay with this whole idea of sleeping in Al’s room. She found that odd, but he told her that more than anything he just wanted her to get some good rest and to calm down.

So they shook Al’s hand and moved their stuff in, orange cat and litter box included.
Al let the couple get ready for bed before he came up to the room. They were in bed when he came back. He made kind small-talk for a while, asking if they knew the gender of their baby and was genuinely enthused that they were waiting to find out until the birth. He went on and on about how he thought that was the way to do it, even though he never had any kids of his own.

Then he said, “I hope you don’t mind, I don’t have anything other than my underwear to sleep in,” and proceeded to walk to the bathroom in his whitie-tighties. The girl turned her body to the wall in the fetal position and tried to act normal. The boy made a gracious comment like, “Al, we’re just glad to be here.”

Al asked if they wanted to watch TV, but they did not. He said he would be up at 5:30and they said they’d probably get up around 6.

The smoke smell in the room was progressively getting better because the air conditioner was running at full blast. Until the power went out. They had been looking at Al and he had been looking at them, when the room went black and he commented, “feels like some horror flick or something.” The girl grabbed the boy’s thigh, trying not to laugh.

The power was out even in the parking lot, so there was absolutely no light. Apparently the orange cat was eager to meet Al, and hopped up on his bed. Al said, “well hello kitty, kitty.” The power went on and off for a while, and eventually the girl just fell asleep.

The boy says he didn’t sleep at all that night. The girl thinks this is very nice of the boy. He was only in that room because of her, because she had basically fallen apart before his very eyes.

In the morning, Al got up and got ready. The girl asked him to leave his address so she could send him a birth announcement. He said goodbye to the orange cat and left the room. And then the girl and the boy got up too.

They had a good, long, hard, laugh.

They got in their cars, hit the road, and drove the last 3 ½ hours with the U-haul, the new spark plugs, and the orange cat in bright glorious sunshine all the way back to their new home in Minneapolis.

When they pulled up to their home, they were greeted by their families and were able to unload the U-haul with great speed. Except for when the boy’s oldest brother twisted his ankle on the lawn and ended up with a horrible sprain. His ankle nearly tripled in size and he will now be on crutches for quite some time. The girl and boy still feel terrible about that parting gift, given as he helped them move their stuff into their home.

But all in all, they were home, and so ready to be. After lunch they took naps and the boy woke up in time to join his brothers at the Minnesota State Fair to attend a Weird Al concert. The girl stayed home and ended up going to bed around 6, commenting before the boy left that he was really lucky…he got two nights in a row with Weird Al.

moving day

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This morning we're loading our U-haul with the help of lots of wonderful Nebraska friends. We'll be on the road by lunch and back at my parents place this evening. Tomorrow we'll load everything into our Minneapolis home.

The picture above kills me. Toonces always gets very concerned each time we move, as if we're going to leave without him. But we'll bring him along, and we'll be very aware of his presence all 6 hours home as he meows loudly and nonstop, letting us know he's nervous to be in a moving vehicle and unsure of where we're going.

first day of school

My niece, Mara, has her first day of kindergarten on Tuesday. I will be thinking of her all day. She told me on the phone tonight, "...and I go a full day because that's what I picked." Annika seems to be handling it well, but I got all emotional tonight thinking about how fast time goes by and how grown up she acts sometimes. She began our conversation tonight by saying, "I already know what you're going to say. You're going to say, do you think you'll have fun at kindergarten tomorrow?" I laughed and laughed. That was exactly what I was going to say.

Tonight I was looking through pictures and pulled a few of my favorites. I love you Mara! You are going to LOVE school. I loved every single grade and I really think you will too.






my kind of town

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Rory and I spent some time on Saturday taking pictures of places and things that all hold some sort of signficance to us here in Gretna. It was fun to collaborate and reflect on our time here together for this project. For example, the picture with the stopsign above tells a whole story of how when we first moved to Nebraska, we arrived at our original apartment at midnight only to be notified that they had accidentally rented it out to another woman. Ha! Welcome home, kids!

So we stayed at a hotel that night and got up in the morning with our U-haul and our cat and started looking for a place to live. We were looking at rental houses and other apartments and when we pulled up to this stopsign we saw the phone number on the apartment building across the street. We dialed the number from this exact spot and no more than 30 minutes later we were meeting the landlord, signing our lease agreement and so, so happy with the way things worked out. We were in a better location in a nicer place at a lower cost. It was amazing.

The pictures above are places and things, but the part about Gretna we have loved the most are the people. We have neighbors who we will miss and a church family that took us in the moment we walked through the door. Yesterday the church went out of pizza after service to bid us farewell and we felt so loved and cared for. We will miss these people dearly.

get me to the church on time

We got to go to a wedding last night of two of my camp staff from 2009. Jon and Jessi had a beautiful ceremony and the reception was wonderful. They asked me to pray before the meal, and I was so honored to be asked. It's a big deal for me to get to participate in these huge, momentous, life-changing days and I spent a lot of time thinking about what specifically I wanted to pray for them. This is a fantastic couple and I'm excited to see how God moves within their marriage.

A few weeks ago, my friend Meta wrote about her experience as a new pastor officiating at weddings and leading couples through marriage counseling. Meta writes with honesty and articulation and I always look forward to her new posts. I hope you enjoy her writting today.

***

Side story: I had written down that the wedding last night began at 5:30. We arrived at 5:01 and Rory told me that I am a little to eager to certain events and that it is not necessary to show up 30 minutes early. So to kill some time we took a few pictures outside of the church, documenting my belly. Then I started to realize no one was getting out of all of the parked cars around us. I got nervous and said we should go in and wait in the church. When we walked in we were quickly ushered to our seats and sat down just in time to watch the groom step out in the front of the church. Wedding was at 5:00. Close call.

Documenting Gretna

Here's something to add to my little-list-of-things-to-do for the weekend. I'm going to become a tourist in my own town.

Things I want to document:
*The Gretna library
*Motorcycles on Hwy 6
*The cobblestone streets in town
*Our church
*The tornado sirens
*The view from our deck
*Sonic frozen lemonade (which means I'll have to buy one...)
*Our door knocker
And hopefully a whole bunch of other unexpected photos too.

organized nesting

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My "nesting" period has definitely begun as we prepare to move out of one nest and make arrangements for moving into the Minnesota nest. Because I can't lift heavy things (splendid timing, I believe) I have created a system that should make this move as smooth as possible. Each box has a nametag on it telling which room, and often times which part of the room I want it to end up in, as well as a list of what is inside.

I know everyone labels their boxes when they move, but honest to goodness, the picture above just makes my heart happy. Something about the uniform nametags and the obvious contents written on each one... I am an organized girl, and I love a good system and this move is fulfilling both of those loves.

(This picture was taken a week ago. Believe me, this pile of boxes has grown and will continue to grow with more lovely-labeled boxes.)

good neighbor award


I found this on my counter when we returned from our week vacation in Minnesota. Joan is our neighbor lady who came by our place occasionally to play with our cat while we were gone, and she's the kind of lady who keeps you in mind even while she's at a garage sale. Now I've got the stuff to make more alphabet crayons! She also reads my blog. (Hi Joan!) Joan has served as my Nebraska mom and saying goodbye will be hard. She is also the one who gave our cat, Toonces, a new nickname. She said once, "Sometimes I can't remember his name so I just call him Tuna."

(here's the cat Toonces is named after.)

30 weeks!


Today I am 30 weeks pregnant and I feel like celebrating. Seems like a big milestone, a good landmark-type number and another week closer to baby.

I got to go to a baby shower yesterday for a girl at church and I realized that attending a baby shower when you are pregnant is similar to attending a wedding when you are engaged. I was so excited for every gift she opened, so interested in what was given and what it is used for, so happy for her and her baby girl.

While we were there a church friend started talking about Kelley Ryden. Kelley is a local Omaha photographer who specializes in newborns (thanks Stacy for the link!). Check out the picture above! I don't even get how this is possible...to have newborn arms support a newborn head?!! But apparently lots of babies can do it because she has lots of pictures (AMAZING pictures) on her site. Check out here site here and her blog here. Wowza.

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Yesterday, Rory and I watched Father of the Bride 2, the one where Annie and her mom are both pregnant. At one point, Steve Martin is having all sorts of flash backs of his little girl throughout the years and realizing that she is now going to have her own little baby. Rory was looking at the screen and remarked, "this could be touching if it wasn't so cheesy." And then he looked over at me, a mess of crocodile tears, falling apart before his very eyes. I felt so busted and we laughed good and hard...and then my laughs turned back into tears. I ended up crying through the rest of the movie with Rory giggling and telling me repeatedly how he loves the pregnant Becca so much.

big balloons in the sky

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We were driving to half-price books on Saturday night and found our hot air balloon friends again! There is a local group that goes out together and last year we were pretty good about following their schedule and watching them take off. But this was the first we spotted them this year.

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It's a really calm and amazing thing to watch. I'm still not sure if I'd be game for going up in one...for some reason I can't quite get past the fact that you're basically swinging from a basket, suspended in the air by fire and hot air, dodging electrical wires. Rory said he'd go up though, and I suppose I would go if he would go...

We took this super-excited-cheesey picture and I find it quite fitting since lately I have been feeling rather balloon-like myself...

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