currently 8.0

crazy. It’s been a year since my last post of this kind. I’m going to shoot for once a month from here on out. I’d love to hear what you’re currently doing in any of these categories too!

current reading material: Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by ND Wilson – “wide eyed wonder in God’s spoken world” sums it up well.

I’ve just loved it. The whole book reminded me of how John Piper described C.S. Lewis’ “omnivorous attentiveness” to the world around him. Wilson really SEES the wonder of the Creator, the comedy, the tragedy, and the story of His grace at work in the world.

And if I could write half as well as any of the Wilson progeny, I would be a very happy girl. JEEZ.

 

Next up: Bonhoeffer and something lighter…probably the first Peter and the Starcatchers book by Dave Barry.

  

current songs o’ delight: I heard (and sang) this beautiful Sovereign Grace song “Behold Our God” for the first time two weeks ago. It’s been singing in my heart and mind ever since. I really love it.

And in the sweet and charming category, I’m crushing on JJ Heller. (and I get to see her in concert in a couple weeks – woot!)

current projects: I’ve been doing a bunch of writing for WineTable.com in the past couple weeks. Since I really like wine and I like to write, it’s been a happy marriage. 🙂

and beyond that, the whole feeding/clothing/loving kids, loving/spending time with husband, and keeping up with friends and family thing has kept me uber busy. 🙂

current recipes I’ve tried: having just finished my second Whole30, I’ve not really been trying a ton of new recipes this past month. But this avocado chocolate pudding is pretty amazing. The first time I made it Kyle could NOT believe I’d managed to sneak avocados into him. It’s smooth, rich, slightly sweet and chocolate-y to the max. YUM.

And the other day, Jackson and I made our family favorite “puffy pancakes” in a cute muffin tin version instead of a huge single skillet size. The kids loved them and they didn’t make a total wreck of my muffin tins like I imagined. Spray them well.

Finally – you have GOT to make these incredible chocolate chip cookies. My friend Elise makes them and kindly brings them to our small group on a regular basis. They are, seriously, the BEST CCC’s I’ve ever had. Secret ingredient? Cornstarch. WHAAA? I know. It’s weird, but it is a game-changer.

current hair color: dark reddish brown. But I’m looking forward to going lighter as soon as the weather warms up a bit! (this was last week on fabulous family day @ Coffee Talk.)

current events:

1. a week and a half ago, Kyle and I enjoyed the Bonhoeffer Tour with Eric Metaxas. Now I’ve REALLY got to finish the book (I started it just after it came out and got about three chapters in). Metaxas is hilariously witty, quick as a whip and so very easy to listen to. He was all business when it came to sharing about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer though. And the Q & A with John Piper after the lecture was fabulous too. Very thought provoking. There’s not quite enough thought provocation going on in my life these days.

2. Fostering. Another placement for us! This time, we’re enjoying an older “sibling” – an eleven year old girl. She’s a sweetheart and we get to have her stay until next Monday, when her current foster parents return from their vacation.

3. Adoption training. We went to a great training on Saturday for our agency. Lots to process and think about, but it was really helpful information.

upcoming events:

1. Escape to Green Bay! In a couple weeks, Kyle is whisking me away for a couple days in Green Bay and Appleton, WI. We’re going to stay in a B&B (always my favorite accommodation option) and see JJ Heller in concert at a fun venue. I want to tour Lambeau Field too, just for kicks. It will probably be the only time I ever darken its doors, LOL.

2. I’m really looking forward to Easter. I am, of course, plotting cute outfits for the kids and keeping an eye out for a fresh, fun spring dress for me! Suggestions?

current photos:

Just finished another fun StyleMe Challenge with my Betty friends! It sure helps me get out of my frump funks and think positively about what’s in my closet. I’m not gonna lie though – I’m READY FOR SPRING. My peep toes and bare leg looks are dying to be set free from the boots and pants o’ winter. These were some of my favorite looks from the past month:

Johanna6-003

 

two things

the last time I did this little meme was seven years ago on my old blog. 🙂 I thought it would be fun to do it again and see what my answers are now.

Two Parts of Your Heritage
1. Scotch-Irish
2. German

Two Things That Scare You
1. Just the drop part of a rollercoaster – I love the rest
2. my kids choking

Two of Your Everyday Essentials
1. Coffee
2.

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now
1. the awesome flannel shirt Kyle gave me for Christmas
2. dark wash jeans

Two of Your Favorite Bands or Musical Artists (at the moment)
1. The Lumineers
2. JJ Heller

Two Funny or Odd Truths
1. i like to bake more than I like to cook.
2. i break and/or lose sunglasses on a very frequent basis.

Two Physical Things that Appeal to You
1. Chiseled biceps on my man
2. Red heads

Two of Your Favorite Hobbies
1. Blogging
2. Reading

Two Things You Want Really Badly
1. A baby/child from Africa home with us.
2. To see my friends Rob and Rosanna this summer in Boise.

Two Places You Want to go on Holiday
1. NYC
2. Europe

Two Things You Want to Do Before You Die
1. Ski in CO
2. Go to a third-world country

Two Ways that you are stereotypically a Chick
1. I have too many shoes.
2. I like shopping.

Two Ways that you are like a guy
1. I like to drive fast.
2. I love food.

Two Things You Are Thinking About Now
1. How much money we need for the next step of adoption
2. That I’m super hungry and need to start dinner.

Two Stores You Shop At
1. Target. (just did!)
2. World Market.

2013 Book List

one of my goals for this year was to read twelve books. One a month. No big deal, right? Well, considering over the previous 5 years or so, I’d not read more than 2 a year, it was kind of a big deal for me!

And I did it!

These are the twelve I picked out at the beginning of the year, but I didn’t read a few on the list and did a few that weren’t on the list.

  1. Give Them Grace – Elise Fitzpatrick
  2. The Power of Prayer – E.M. Bounds (started, but didn’t finish)
  3. Orthodoxy – G.K. Chesterton (read 2 more chapters)
  4. Don’t Make Me Count to Three – Ginger Plowman
  5. The Faithful Parent – Martha Peace
  6. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley
  7. Peter and the Starcatchers – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  8. Peter and the Shadow Thieves – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  9. Peter and the Secret of Rundoon – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  10. *The Dragon’s Tooth – Ashtown Burials #1 – N.D. Wilson
  11. *Unbroken – A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand
  12. Real Marriage – Mark and Grace Driscoll

Bonus Books:
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender
Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (read before but it is beloved)

Not on the list, but ones I read:
*Erasing Hell – Francis Chan
*The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag – Alan Bradley (sequel to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie)
*A Red Herring with No Mustard – Alan Bradley
Adopted for Life – Russell Moore
*The Man Who Knew too Much – G.K. Chesterton

(*the asterisk denotes books that I read on my Kindle app, borrowed from our local library via free download. Half of the twelve books were read in such a manner – I found it to be a very quick and almost hands free way to read while we’re driving, while holding a kid, traveling on planes…etc.)

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For 2013, I’ve added a few books to my goal, kept some from the 2012 list that went unread and found some more that I wish to read. I’m excited! (Again, in no particular order.)

  1. Real Marriage – Mark and Grace Driscoll (Kyle and I are reading this together and discussing it.)
  2. The Explicit Gospel – Matt Chandler (this is for our church small group)
  3. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – Eric Metaxas
  4. Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl – N.D. Wilson
  5. The Connected Child – Karyn Purvis
  6. The Grace Effect – Larry Taunton
  7. Thinking. Loving. Doing – John Piper & David Mathis
  8. Peter and the Starcatchers – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  9. Peter and the Shadow Thieves – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  10. Peter and the Secret of Rundoon – Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  11. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  12. Fit to Burst – Rachel Jankovic
  13. Building Her House – Nancy Wilson
  14. Forgotten God – Francis Chan
  15. Seabiscuit: An American Legend – Laura Hillenbrand
  16. The Kite Runner – Khalid Hosseini

Finish Orthodoxy & The Power of Prayer

Bonus Books:

  • Parenting with Love and Logic
  • Surprised by Joy – CS Lewis
  • Assassination Vacation – Sarah Vowell

What books are on your list for this year? Are there any I MUST add to my list? Have you read any of the ones on my list? Tell me!

2012 Year in Review

The Year that Was – 2012

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? fostered kids that aren’t mine. Considered and moved forward with adoption. Filled out more paperwork than I’ve ever had to before.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made goals again, not resolutions and accomplished about 50% of them. What I didn’t reach: memorizing Ephesians, training for/doing triathlons (couldn’t figure out how to make time!), throw a cool party for Kyle and I for our 30th birthdays, keep track of birthdays and send real cards like I used to do so well and making time to blog.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! Several friends. 🙂

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year.

5. What countries did you visit? Some year I hope i can put countries in here and not just states. I went to Nevada in January with Taylor to see our friends Rob and Rosanna and meet their new little man, Maxwell! Kyle and I went to GA (again with Taylor) in September for the Together for Adoption conference and then I went to WA (with Tayl0r) to visit my brother, friends from WBC and Heidi, who had just had her newest little guy, Jack (yep!), two weeks prior. Taylor was quite the traveler this year! And a good travel buddy too.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? another child at home with us.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? My birthday – ’cause I turned THIRTY!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? starting the mountain of paperwork necessary for adopting.

9. What was your biggest failure? not sticking with exercise at ALL this year. Seriously did a horrible job of staying in shape. I’m in probably the worst shape ever, not counting being immediately post-partum.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? the usual basic colds/sore throats/stomach flus, and mild sleep deprivation. 

11. What was the best thing you bought? Gosh – I’m not sure! Plane tickets? Shoes?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My parents. They helped us so much this year while they lived with us. So unselfish and kind.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? those who took the lives of innocents. heart-breaking and appalling.

14. Where did most of your money go? housing, food, church/missions and gasoline. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Adoption! Adding to our family through adoption.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? To The Ends of the Earth by Caleb.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? happier. glad to not be two months post-partum this Christmas. 🙂

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? exercising, reading, writing and praying.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? sitting on my butt, whining, frivolity, and judging.

20. How did you spend Christmas? We’ll have our own little gift opening and breakfast as a family, followed by brunch at Kyle’s parent’s home, followed by Christmas dinner at my parent’s home. That is, if we not all still horizontal with the Plague of Christmas 2012. 😦 Everyone but me is down for the count today with coughs, fevers and body aches. :sob:

21. How will you spend New Years? I’m not sure – Kyle is working, so it will probably be me, some champagne and the ball dropping on TV.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Parenthood, Southland and The Office.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? no.

24. What was the best book you read? Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, hands down. Super amazing.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? JJ Heller.

26. What did you want and got? a new grill! a trip to WA to see friends and family. a promotion for my amazing husband. a closer walk with Jesus.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Really liked the Avengers! Lincoln was also fabulous. We didn’t see many movies in the theatre this year..

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? turned the big 3-0! We had a fun party at our house, complete with a delicious spread of appetizers, grilled chicken on my new grill and a cake from Wuollet’s, my favorite.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? spending more time at the feet of my Savior.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? much improved! I loved participating in the Dean St. Society Style Challenges several months in the year. Hilary’s style prompts were just what I needed to get out of my style shell and try some new things.

31. What kept you sane? my husband, my parents, coffee, and support from awesome girlfriends.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I am seriously drawing a blank here. Real people in my real life are far more interesting and inspiring.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? the election didn’t stir me, but it happened.

34. Who did you miss? my best friends that live far away. and my Grandma Alice.

35. Who was the best new person you met? she’s not a new friend, but until this month, I’d never met my dear katy~* in person. She was just as wonderful as I imagined and already can’t wait for the next (much longer, I hope) visit.

36. Tell us some valuable life lessons you learned in 2012:
~I operate better on 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but can manage without totally losing my mind on 6, interrupted.
~She Reads Truth is great! Their reading plans made it possible for me to get back into the regular and life-giving habit of Bible reading.
~It’s okay that my kids are my life right now, that I look like a mom, and that there isn’t as much time for “me”.  This too shall pass – the days are long, but the years are short.
~Balancing a marriage, two kids, a household and side jobs is almost more than I can handle, but there is grace. So much grace.
~I feel amazing and am incredibly slim when I don’t eat sugar, most dairy and refined carbs. Remember this, Johanna of 2013!

currently 7.0

current reading material: Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman, recently finished: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I absolutely loved Unbroken and was riveted from the first page to the very end. Get it, borrow it from the library, download it to your Kindle – whatever. It is incredible. I’m learning some great concepts on discipline and training from the other book – the most helpful so far has been after Jack does something he shouldn’t, and the proper consequence is given, now we re-do the situation and have him respond correctly so we end on a positive. I also appreciate the attention the author draws to using the Word when communicating with our kids about their sin.

current songs o’ delight: I Won’t Give Up on Us by Jason Mraz. I heard this on the radio about two weeks ago and immediately loved it. I absolutely feel the same way about my relationship with Kyle. Never giving up!

current projects: keeping children clothed (including clean butt-wrapping), fed and mostly happy. 🙂 I need to put our Christmas cards into a photo book and actually MAKE some things I’ve pinned on Pinterest lately.

current recipes I’ve tried: I’m on a dumb diet right now due to some frustrating health issues, but when I’m done with that, I have some waiting in the wings to try! Double Coconut Muffins, and Homemade Lara Bars.

current hair color: reddish brown. I caved and did a box color to spruce things up a bit.

current events:

1. nothing too terribly exciting. Actually, my life has become pretty basic/non-thrilling. Tomorrow I’m taking the kids on a long walk and a quasi-picnic since the weather is supposed to be so beautiful. Highs in the 50’s and 60’s all next week. As soon as winter finally came, spring bit its heels and shooed it away. yay!

upcoming events:

1. Next weekend we’re attending the Future Grace seminar at Bethlehem Baptist. Should be good!

2. I’m really looking forward to Easter. I have this hankering to dress the kids in matching/coordinating outfits, but I hate to be “that mom”. lol. I’ll probably do it anyway!

current photos:

pretty Taylor on our sledding expedition last week

Jack at Molly’s birthday party – he loves celebrating!

2011 Year in Review

My annual year in review post!

2011

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? had a baby girl! Okay, that’s kind of cheating, since i have given birth before. But this girl thing is all new.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made goals again, not resolutions and accomplished about 75% of them! What I didn’t reach: read 15 books (I read like 4 – so dumb), exercising more consistently during pregnancy, memorize Ephesians and plan menus every month. I did pretty well, but this year I’m definitely working harder to meet the most important goals. And yes, I’m making goals for 2012. I love goals.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? YES. Several of my best girlfriends. Three of them right around Taylor’s due date! (and we all had girls!)

4. Did anyone close to you die? in January, Kyle’s grandma passed away. She was our last grandparent to walk through the golden gates of heaven. We miss her.

5. What countries did you visit? no countries – just states. We went to Nevada in March to ski at Lake Tahoe with our friends Rob and Rosanna! It was awesome. Otherwise, we stuck around MN a lot this year. We got a state park passport and have been trying to collect as many stamps as possible. So fun for exploring our own beautiful state.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? a consistent time in the Word and prayer.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? October 3 – Taylor’s due date AND birthday! She came right on time. lol.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?another pregnancy and safe/healthy delivery. It’s sort of huge to bring a human into the world. 🙂 I GET sort of huge too.

9. What was your biggest failure? not sticking with exercise and great eating habits while pregnant.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? the usual basic colds/sore throats, and acute sleep deprivation. oh, and heart sickness over my bestie Rosanna moving to NV. It was really hard to say goodbye.

11. What was the best thing you bought? plane tickets to Tahoe! And maternity clothes.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I think I will always fill this in with Kyle. Once again, he blew me away with the grace, love and kindness he shows me and the way he cares for our family. It’s been so fun to see him father a baby girl too. I am very blessed by him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? the media and the government, as per usual.

14. Where did most of your money go? housing, food, church/missions and gasoline.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? going to Tahoe with R&R, finding out we were expecting a girl, hosting a retreat for women I love dearly and meeting Taylor!

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? Uncharted by Sarah Barielles or Neon Lights by Natasha Bedingfield

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? sadder. But for dumb reasons. I am so unbelievably blessed.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? reading, writing and praying. And protein.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? whining, frivolity, and judging. And carbs.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Christmas Eve with both our familes, Christmas morning with our little family and my parents, Christmas dinner with our parents and Kyle’s sisters hosted at our house.

21. How will you spend New Years? At home with family, delicious food and champagne.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I didn’t have a “oh my gosh I LOVE this” favorite this year, but I enjoyed The Voice, The Office and Southland.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? nope.

24. What was the best book you read? The Help. (The only novel I read this year, haha.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? The Black Keys

26. What did you want and got? a healthy baby and new boots. 🙂

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Recently, the Sherlock Holmes sequel. Earlier in the year, the new Jane Eyre and The Kings Speech. Brilliant. Courageous was pretty great too!

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? turned 29, enjoyed lunch with my men, paddleboated at Lake Calhoun, and had a party with friends and family in the evening. It was a lovely day!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? spending more time at the feet of my Savior.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? maternity. ‘nuf said. 😛

31. What kept you sane? my husband, planning parties and girls nights out.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I am seriously drawing a blank here. Real people in my real life are far more interesting and inspiring.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? mostly I’m just annoyed with how much the government spends to accomplish so very little.

34. Who did you miss? my best friends that live far away. and my Grandma Alice.

35. Who was the best new person you met? Several of my friends from the Crossings! They are like sisters to me, but I’d not enjoyed their company in person until this year. Also my new friend, Elise. 🙂 She’s a gem!

36. Tell us some valuable life lessons you learned in 2011: Motherhood is the hardest and most wonderful challenge I have yet faced in life, and adding another kid to the mix is even more crazy/wonderful! I need Jesus. Every day. And I became even more grateful for the amazing help and support Kyle is to me. I couldn’t do life well without him.

hurry up and wait

out my back window, the neighbor’s maple tree is turning from green to crimson. It’s always the earliest tree to shed its summer cloak for the bright hues of autumn and I love it. The air has been crisp and cool for about a week now – fall is definitely in the air, though the calendar may disagree until Friday. This is my favorite season to live in our beautiful state. Fall, then spring, then summer and winter. If winter would drop off the list completely, I wouldn’t mind one iota. I mean, some snow is nice, but the cold and the necessity for almost total hibernation gets to me on about the fourth day of January. Once Christmas and the first snowfall have been enjoyed, winter is all down hill from there.

I’m in the twilight of this pregnancy – gosh, that’s kind of overly poetic. Just two weeks stand between being pregnant and holding a newborn. Hallelujah! I’m so very ready to be on to the next stage and snuggle my baby girl, figure out her feeding and sleeping needs, be starving and able to eat whatever without heartburn because I’m nursing and not pregnant anymore…at this point, any change from the current “normal” of being a lumbering pregnant lady will be super. 🙂

Last week marked the last “big event” before our little lady makes her debut. We enjoyed the fun and busyness that was Kyle’s sister Sarah’s wedding and marriage to Ryan. The ceremony was positively lovely and the decor stunning and the celebrating delightful. Our whole family was a part of the wedding party – Jack the adorable ring bearer in his little tuxedo, Kyle a groomsman and I a bridesmaid. Jack did indeed make it down the aisle without incident. I can’t say the same for when it was time to go sit with his grandparents instead of staying with his mother. ahem. Yes, that will be Jack screaming over the pastor’s prayer just before the message. 😛 Oh well.

He DID charm the world on the dance floor – oh my gosh. And was pretty much the last one standing as they shut down the party late that night. He eventually gave up the ghost and sat with his hands folded and his beloved pacifier in his piehole at about 10:30pm. I’ll admit that I didn’t cry when the bride walked down the aisle, but had to work hard to keep back the happy/proud mama tears as my own little boy did! lol. And I admit I felt pretty good for being nearly 38 weeks huge – my friends Rosanna and Brittni made a wicked awesome beautifying team. My hairs and face and the dress all worked together to work some magic, I think. Here we all are in our wedding finery:

AND NOW…

My bag is packed for the hospital. The necessary post-partum supplies are stocked. (Raise your hand if you know what I mean. :-P) Snacks to sustain my husband while he supports me are waiting in the pantry. The girl child (who still is possibly Taylor or possibly Nora/Norah) has clothing. The boy child’s fall/winter wardrobe is being added to this week. The kid’s room awaits a few more touches of decor that I hope to finish this week. The freezer boasts about 12-15 meals or parts of meals for the weeks following her arrival since I plan to do little more than sit on the couch in a reclined position and make trips to the bathroom and shower for the first month after her sweet arrival.

so I hurry up and wait! and thank God for every minute I’ve already had with this person inside of me as I long for the days of having her in our everyday lives outside. 🙂