Sunday, September 28, 2014

My First Post as a Minnesotan

It's been nearly a month since I last posted - and it has been a month full of changes.

After a lot of prayer, Brandon and I packed up our apartment in Michigan and relocated to Minnesota. Thus, the last few weeks have been very busy and full of transitions! While I lived on the west side of the state during college, I've never lived outside of Michigan - and so moving away from my family (and switching time zones) has been quite the adventure.

Our move happened a few weeks after my federal clerkship came to a close (the federal government is set up so that Judges typically have 1 "career" clerk, who is a permanent member of the chamber's staff, and 1-2 "term" clerks, who work for a 1-2 year term). Because of the move and some medical issues, I eased out of a full-time away from home position and into the role of stay-at-home-wife! While it's taken a little bit of getting used to, both Brandon and I love having me at home full time. God truly blessed us as far as timing in this area. With me at home I was able to do the majority of the packing and unpacking that has gone along with the move. Brandon's work schedule is incredibly busy and with me packing during the day, we were able to spend the hours he was free treasuring our last moments with our Michigan friends and family.

And so begins a new chapter. While I wouldn't necessarily have chosen the Minnesota climate for my new home state, our first week here has gone smoothly. We live about 5 minutes away from some of our best friends (the couple that introduced us), Brandon loves being back in the office (as opposed from working from home as he's been doing for the last year), our new apartment is unpacked and starting to feel like home, and I've already found a great bible study. True I need a GPS to go anywhere, and I've yet to figure out the grocery stores here - but God has eased the transition with 70-80 degree weather all week :)

And so since we have a guest room and you are all welcome to visit, I'll leave you with a few Minnesotan phrases that I've encountered so far....

1. Uff-da (Oo-fh da) - used as an expression of surprise, although I've also heard it used in moments of exasperation. Apparently it actually has some Norwegian origin, which makes sense given my plethora of new neighbors whose last names end in -son.

2. Hot Dish - you don't make casserole for dinner, you make hot dish. Brandon tends to use this as a lumped category as well, as in "I hate hot dish" not "I hate the chicken and rice hot dish." Thankfully his grandma did provide me with a personalized hot dish carrier for all my future pot-lucking events.

3. Duck Duck Grey Duck - what the rest of the world calls "Duck Duck Goose." I seriously am lost over this one....

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When Friends Become Family

Sometimes words just don't do justice.

I wish I could put into words how much I love this family. How much they truly have become family. How hard we manage to laugh together, and how edifying conversation with them is.

Because why not wear an Elsa dress to do dishes in (and play and sleep, etc.)?

But this time, words just aren't enough.

Working on Paisley's quilt!

Instead you'll have to imagine how great it is to wake up to coffee hour on the deck that can last hours, the delicious smells wafting from a true Italian kitchen, the warmth of hugs and snuggles from the little ones, and the beauty of realizing that even after 4 days of non-stop talking, you still didn't have enough time together.

If she's this cute in pictures, you can only imagine how sweet she is in real life! (unless you sit next to her at the table....)

Words can't accurately describe how hard this family fights for their littlest, how fiercely they love, and how passionate they can become :)

And words can't adequately express my thanks for their friendship - for the mentors Allen and Kathleen have been to Brandon and myself, for their hospitality, and for their generosity.

My first crab experience! (yes we ate like this every night!)

Brandon and the boys were heartbroken that he couldn't come along this time - so he sent a paper airplane book in his place and I returned home with numerous notes and planes for him and under solemn vow that I would bring him with me next time.

But the great thing about having friends like these is that sometimes you don't need words to convey feelings - you just know, you get each other. And if push comes to shove a real Italian hug will remind you that you're loved for life.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Life with Miss. R

This past weekend our little household expanded by 1! A few weeks ago my brother and sister-in-law mentioned they had to be out of town for a wedding and asked us if we would mind watching their 3-month-old daughter. Not sure of how....ready Brandon would be for a full-time infant, I initially replied that I thought we might be able to take her part of the time. Brandon however quickly piped up that we would be happy to have Reagan for the whole time!

We had a blast! This little girl is such a gem - seriously the most perfect baby. She sleeps like a dream, eats like a champ, and spends any awake time sharing her coos and smiles with the world.

Aside getting the chance to have some extra bonding time with our little princess, I loved watching Brandon with a baby. Reagan has reached the age where he is pretty confident that he won't break her anymore, so he welcomed the chance to snuggle with her and by the end of the weekend was serenading her with his guitar and whispering "I love you" in her ear. I think he was hooked :)

In just a few short weeks we will be moving out of state. Without a doubt, the number one thing we will miss about Michigan is spending time with my family. We are committed to staying involved in our nieces and nephews lives and welcome opportunities like these to spend a little extra one-on-one time.

"Children will not remember you for the material things, but for the feeling that you cherished them."
Richard L. Evans

Right before her parents were about to arrive home we were sitting on the couch with Reagan on my lap. Except, she only had eyes for Brandon! While he was on the phone, she practically dove off my lap in an attempt to catch his attention and send a smile his way!