Monthly Archives: September 2014

Madison Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Not too long after we got our belongings from the movers and had things set up where we could at least sleep and eat we decided we needed to go do something fun with Nola girl.  So my brother took us to the Madison Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  I didn’t really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised how quaint, beautiful and kid-friendly this place was!  The outdoor gardens are free and the greenhouses are only $2 bucks, so a great option to do during the week when you are running out of things to do!  Visit This Link to look at the experts who are well known for their tree grooming service. I also kept thinking in my head, ‘this would be the perfect place for a date or to propose?!’  very romantic. If you want to do it, read more about this garden and plan ! I was asking CJ if he took any girls on a date here back in college, he did not ūüôā

We moved to Madison to be closer to family and friends, but in addition to that, thankfully (despite the harsh winters) Madison is an awesome place to live.  It has been ranked in numerous list’s throughout the years as one of the top places to live in the US because of the University, tons of great food, the schools are really good and for our stage in life there’s a lot to do with your kiddos.  This paragraph is really for all of our CA friends trying to convince you to come visit us.  Summer and fall are a really great time, just let us know, hehe.

Now to the onslaught of photos from the day if you care to see:

DSC_0265 love these two beautiful people DSC_0267 DSC_0275 if there’s a fountain or water she will find it and play in it DSC_0294 DSC_0307 our little entourage DSC_0321 DSC_0338 our attempt as a family photo, but then realized it’s also nice to have a photo of just cj & i DSC_0341 take 2! DSC_0349 DSC_0356 sorry for all of these i just love the sequence ūüôā DSC_0355 DSC_0357

Evolving As A Person

Who else is happy it’s Friday!! ¬†I sure am. ¬†We are still getting used to our new schedule since moving to Madison, and it’s been mostly good, but definitely a work in progress. ¬†Still trying to figure out activities, classes and playgroup’s to attend. ¬†Nola is finally starting to get back to a regular schedule thanks to us staying in one place for longer than a week! ¬†It’s also great to see her get comfortable with our place.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how much I have changed since college. ¬†Have you ever looked back and realized how much you evolved? ¬†In college I was all about being this career woman, I only wanted 1 kid, I wanted a simple¬†band for my wedding ring, my style was ALL modern. ¬†The inside part of me is a lot of the same, I have the same beliefs and core values, but I also have grown or become a more understanding person to the world around me…I hope at least. ¬†It’s funny because now that I am a stay at home mom, I would love 7 kids (sadly that won’t happen, but it would be awesome), I love the diamond ring my man got me and my dream home is a mix of mid-century with french country!!! ¬†Talk about complete opposite, huh?! ¬†I think my styles and like’s will continue to change and I’m okay with that because I realize I will always continue to evolve as a person and who I am all about. ¬†I also hope as a person I will continue to grow and work on being a better person. ¬†Somedays it seems like I regress, thank goodness for the grace I’m given from the Lord and my wonderful family. ¬†In fact I had a pretty horrible day last week and lashed out and the next day it was pretty humbling and grateful to have people in my life that love me no matter what.

Lately I have been trying to challenge myself to¬†read all types of books and articles, listening to podcasts and TED lectures and the most leisure activity of course would be watching movies (of course not all movies are very thought provoking, I also like those too :)). ¬†Lately CJ and I have watched the two movies Way Way Back and Kings of Summer. ¬†What I appreciated about these movies was the main storyline was the teenagers and how they handle situations and grow in who they are and what they are going through. ¬†But side stories in both movies are the parents. ¬†The parent’s are clearly not perfect and there’s self awareness in themselves and they also grow and evolve. ¬†How great is that? ¬†I hope my children will always respect me, but also know I’m a work in progress and not perfect. ¬†In fact when I meet people and see some vulnerability it often makes me love them more and see the realness in them.

Life always seems to play out differently than you plan it. ¬†But I can say that things are a whole lot sweeter than I could have ever hoped for. ¬†Things aren’t always great on our end, but for the most part I am so thankful and feel spoiled in life.

IMG_2782 this mom gig next to being a wife is pretty great!

Away We Go Again

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Quick update: we’ve settled into life in SLC nicely. The weather is getting more tolerable now that it’s finally under 90 degrees and we’ve been venturing out more. I’m not getting lost as often (a good sign) and have joined a great MOMs group through These ladies seem like a lot of fun and our activities vary from playdates to Moms Nite Outs and book club sessions. Frankly, I think our events are more for the moms than the kids! Ara is still not yet crawling but she’s getting close. She has sprouted two teeth in the last week and a half and that about made me want to cry. She’s growing so fast!!

A few days ago, Missy wrote a great post on driving across country with a toddler. It was so fun to see the Gammon family as always and the post got me thinking about the travel we have ahead of us. Her first trip was when she was 3 months old when we flew to SLC from Seattle to find a home to rent this year. I was so nervous beforehand but she traveled like a champ. It didn’t hurt that the flight was 1.5 hours, which was the perfect duration for a first trip with an infant. Since we were flying Southwest, we were lucky to have a spare seat next to us to place her carseat. She was an angel throughout the flight and we took turns holding her. Since it was a morning flight, she even napped for a bit. At the end, we high-fived each other. Our first flight with a baby was a success! Last weekend we traveled to Omaha to visit Nick’s family and friends.¬† The flight out and back went smoothly as well, other than some fidgeting towards the end. Our now 5-month girl is an active one and to tell you the truth, we’re a little apprehensive of her becoming more mobile!

photo 4

Wearing her through security

Wearing her through security



Fixing her dad's collar

Fixing her dad’s collar

This weekend we are going to Chicago for an orthopedic conference and then we head out to California the following weekend to see my side of the family and our college friends. I can’t believe we haven’t been home since the beginning of the year. We are so excited for everyone to finally meet Ara. Our baby is becoming quite the traveler but I guess that is what happens when both sides of the families are long distance! Maybe the key to having a baby who adapts easily is to haul her around from the very beginning so she gets used to it?

The 3.5 hour flight to Chicago will be our longest one yet with her. I’m a little nervous about how she will do. Luckily, taking off and landings don’t seem to faze her. We’ll bring all the necessities in our diaper bag but I will be praying fervently that we don’t have to change a blowout onboard. I’m not ready for that milestone yet, if ever! Wish us luck. 4 nights in a hotel in a big city without immediate access to a kitchen or laundry facility. At least I know that if we need anything, we could always use these baby gear rental websites that other moms have told me come in handy when traveling: Bebe Gear and Babies Away. So clever!

If we can do this, we are closer to taking an international trip with her next year! It’s been over two years since our Peru trip. We are itching to explore the world again!


Apple Picking

One of the highlights we did this past weekend was going apple picking. ¬†It was perfect WI fall weather and it was a great afternoon excursion. ¬†Any activity outside Nola loves doing¬†so we always try to find the seasonal fruit we can pick. ¬†In WI apple picking just started so we have a good two months before the season ends and winter comes… and we hibernate forever (we aren’t bitter about winter or anything :)).

One of the great things about Madison is there are a lot of apple orchards you can choose from. ¬†We went to Door Creek Orchard¬†this past weekend since it’s pretty close to our home. ¬†I also heard great things about Eugster’s Farm¬†and we plan on going there in the near future. ¬†They have a petting zoo so Nola would love it!

We were meeting up with friends as well and I decided to bring apple crisp. ¬†I figured I better make as many recipes as I can with all these apples! ¬†I used this recipe and it turned out pretty good! ¬†I also hope to get past the idea of all the mess and dirty dishes that will happen and make this apple coffee cake sometime soon because it sounds so good. ¬†We are also huge fans of the apple cider you can pick up at the orchards and like getting that as much as the apples. ¬†Cider heated up is sooo good and if you add some rum, well it’s heaven! ¬†If you have any good recipes that involve apples please let me know!!

Here’s a few photos of us apple picking if you care to see:

photo 1 the best apples were up high so we needed daddy’s help!

photo 4 she stopped and stood here a good 10 minutes eating this little apple

photo 3 photo 5

Decorating a Rental

Since CJ and I are infamous for moving regularly we have never purchased a place of our own. ¬†It just didn’t make sense since we haven’t made that ‘let’s settle for 10 years commitment’ and didn’t want to be stuck with a home we couldn’t sell later. ¬†We would have loved to have purchased a place in Burlingame, where we had lived previously, but just to give you an idea of what we were dealing with: houses are typically on the market on an average of 7 days, people pay cash and over the asking price and you could easily get a 1.2 million dollar home for a 2 bedroom/1bath (1,000 sqft) home that is in dire need of a remodel. ¬†Anything nice or with more comfortable square footage would be considerably more. ¬†We just couldn’t swing that yet.

Now that we are in another rental the dilemma we always face is that each space has different furniture needs. ¬†We are ready to start investing in really good furniture, but I hate spending money in temporary pieces of furniture for this place where it’s not long-term and may not work for the place we eventually buy. ¬†Most of you know this, but my background is in architecture and I love design. ¬†In fact I may or may not have most of my future home planned out in my head. ¬†Just to mention a few important features that our future home needs to have: ¬†floor to ceiling built-in shelving for a library with a rolling ladder (beauty and the beast style), white kitchen with carrara marble countertops (though I know marble is porous and can scratch easily so do I go with granite???) grey velvet drapes that puddle on the floors…see I told you this house has been deliberated in my head for some time now.

In the mean time and while I wait to get that dream house of mine, my strategy has been using most of the furniture we already have with the best of my ability and look for used pieces. ¬†I’m not really the best at snagging deals from craigslist and consignment stores because we don’t have a large vehicle to transport the pieces and I probably don’t take the time to regularly look, which I think is a huge trick on finding good deals. ¬†But I love making any place we live our home and excited to see what I can do with our new place now. ¬†I’ll share some photos of a couple of rooms once they are completed!

In the mean time I’m looking into my favorite artists and designers for prints I can add to our walls. ¬†I wanted to share some of my favorites with you and I would love to hear some of yours as well!

animal-alphabet-chart-illustrated-art-print-01_1_1 The artist Anne Bond from Rifle Paper Co is my idol.  I love everything she does and would get them all if I could!  This print would look so great in a playroom!

I have always been a fan of this etsy shop and this print is one of my favorites!


This quote has always been a favorite of mine and would be great in a office.  This print is by designer Anthony Burrill.


Another etsy shop I adore.  I plan on purchasing this print with the names of the stops from the Blue Line.  CJ and I took this line to work when we lived in Chicago and lived off of Division!!