Hiking under the Hollywood sign.

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Usually on the weekends we have a couple of adventures in mind, even before Saturday morning is upon us. Throughout the week we’ll talk about what we want to do, and then once the weekend is here we don’t waste any precious family time making plans.

This past weekend we drove over to the Hollywood hills and went on a little hike. And I type “hike” loosely because I wore sandals. Even though it was uphill the way there, the path was easy.

We loaded up the Jeep with our stroller, the pup, water and plenty of snacks. And a couple pair of sunglasses! :)

The breeze was cool, the sun was at full peak, and the famous Hollywood sign was HUGE as we stood underneath it. We even saw tiny-looking people scurrying around under the sign as they were being told to get away from the sign (the police via intercom, perhaps?). It made me think of an episode of The Bachelorette/Bachelor and one of the dates where they sat under the letters. Ha! Any way, apparently it’s a huge penalty if you trespass around the Hollywood sign.

It took us about two hours to walk up the mountain to the sign, then come back down. Once we were home, the smell of beef stew in the crockpot greeted us… I’ve never been so happy to have dinner prepared. We were all starving!

We ended the evening with memories of a fun but exhausting day, and the next morning we woke up suuuuper early for an Easter sunrise service on the beach.

Spending a Saturday afternoon outside with family reminds me of my childhood… It was beyond amazing.

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Our life has been nothing short of adventurous since we were married, six years ago this coming June. Instead of focusing on how different or hard or flexible we need to be, I embrace it. It makes our day to day life that much sweeter.

Summertime in Los Angeles…

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How is it September already? One thing I’m learning about Los Angeles is it gets suuuper warm the end of August/early September, so during the afternoon hours we’ve been trying to sneak away from the apartment to cool down. Last year at this time I was just about 14 weeks pregnant, and now I have an almost 6-month old — it’s magical to compare where we are now to where we were last year :)

So, we’ve traveled a bit this summer. Maxwell and I went on our first airplane right together to Colorado the end of July and he was so, so good! Oh my goodness, all of my mommy dreams came true ;) I asked for airplane travel advice from all of you and boy, did you guys deliver! I loved it :) My favorite tips were having a fun toy in the seat pocket, along with a burp cloth. I also made sure a blanket, my nursing cover, and fresh diapers were at the very top of my diaper bag. Ummm, and guess what? I totally changed a diaper on my lap since the airplane bathroom didn’t have a changing table. snort. Our trip to Colorado was so great and I’m so thankful my mom met us there. Oh, and Jessica? You are a lovely bride!

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A couple of weeks later my older brother Matt surprised me by flying to Los Angeles for the week. Of course EVERYONE knew Matt was coming… except me :) Ironically that day I blogged about having a hard day. Little did I know that at midnight I’d open our front door, because Zack’s “hands were full”, and there would be my brother with a HUGE grin on his face!

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S U R P R I S E!

Zack totally had me fooled by saying he had to go back into work because there was a problem with a show delivery. About an hour later he returns with my big bro — it was seriously the best surprise :D

This was Matt’s first time visiting us since we moved here a year ago, plus his first time meeting Maxwell… it meant so much that he planned this trip. We had a busy week doing, ya know, all sorts of fun things — walking the Santa Monica Promenade, having pizza for lunch, visiting Venice Beach, eating hot dogs and ice-cream on the boardwalk, and going to a baseball game downtown LA. Matt really bonded with Maxwell, which is quite possibly my favorite “thing”.

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And while I’m being honest, we drank a lot of coffee as there were many late nights spent catching up. Matt wanted to go to a record surplus store so we also did that, and Zack + Matt went to a real barber shop for a cut.

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My brother has two boys and my nephews are so dear to me. Collin was born 8 years ago, he and I spent a lot of time together when he was a newborn. I see so much of Collin in my Maxwell, I love it :) My youngest nephew, Jack, was born the spring we were married, 5 years ago. Those boys have so much love in their hearts, plus spunk and creativity and passion for learning. Seeing my brother with my son is a true treat… Matt’s a great Uncle, which is no surprise :)

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The day Matt flew back to Michigan, our family also flew to Michigan for our annual summer visit. We all took red eyes and flew back to the Midwest while the rest of the country was sleeping. We were in our home state for 9 days while we visited with our families + friends. How’s this for a busy trip home: 4 airplanes, 3 cities, 6 parties, 2 new family photos, and 9 days of pure, spirited fun. More photos from our trip to Michigan, coming soon!

When we came home from Michigan our apartment was just as we left it: messy and full of memories from our visit with my brother. And I may have had tears in my eyes as I picked up and swept away the sand that was sprinkled on the floor. The week Matt was here was intense — it was filled with so much hugging and laughter and coffee and memory making.

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Moments like that are forever etched onto our hearts.

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+ + +

Maxwell will be 6 months old on Thursday — awwwww! His two bunny teeth on the bottom are seriously so cute, but sharp! Seriously, why do they need to be so sharp? Max’s hair is getting curlier and blonder and thicker, and I love looking at his little boy hairline, it’s precious. And those blue eyes — they’re like giant blueberries. He’s loving our afternoon stroller walks with Bauer and no longer sits in his carseat, which is just crazy! And have I mentioned he randomly says, “ma ma ma”? If he hasn’t already melted my heart…

Last week I promised myself some brand new changes would take place within my day-to-day so I’m very excited to start implementing them. I have never heard God speak to me… but I did last week, and it was amazing to have more clarity.

Anyhooo, Summer has been very good to us, and I’m sure these final weeks of the season will be just as great :)

Wishing the same for your family, too! xo

 

Being with family + exploring new adventures

We flew into Los Angeles Monday evening, and with our landing we brought with us a million happy memories. Zack, Maxwell and I landed in California with cheek-kissed faces, happy hearts, full souls and very tired bodies. We walked the airport to baggage claim, grabbed our duffel filled with our clothes, and took a shuttle to the garage where our car was parked. Once we were home, we washed away the dirt and let the moments of the past two weeks lull us to sleep. It didn’t take long.

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^ My amazing older brother, Matthew…

We’ve had a lovely fill of family this month, and it’s been amazing. First, my brother Matt surprised me by flying out to our home see us for a week. I had no clue he was coming, and his first night here we stayed up until 3am chatting. It was SO GOOD to catch up. I love reminiscing about his visit and knowing he’s sat on our couch, snuggled my son {his nephew!}, and listened to me snort from our laughter.

At the end of his visit we all caught red eyes to Michigan, where we’ve been for the past 9 days.

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^ Early morning snuggles with my two nephews and son. Pinch me, I’m holding our son! :D

This time we’ve spent with family? It’s been glorious.

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^ bright sky and puffy clouds, the view out Zack’s parents front door…

And, would you believe that there are new adventures ahead?

Now that we’re back in Los Angeles we are in search of a new apartment to call home. We are moving in about a month {maybe less??}, and shortly after that my mom will be here for another one of her grammy visits. We are so excited, for both the move and her upcoming visit.

As I write this our apartment is dusted with remains from our visit to Michigan. Thank goodness the laundry that fills our luggage is clean, but ohhhhh my! is there a lot of stuff to put away ;) And I’m in no rush.

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^ Every summer, my mom and her two best girlfriends gather at our family cottage in Michigan for a week. This year all three of their daughters had babies, two girls and a boy. I have to admit… this was my favorite year of all the gatherings we’ve had ;)

Instead of spending the day doing something that can be done later, I spent yesterdays precious hours laughing with Maxwell, playing with the pup, walking our neighborhood and catching up with our neighbor friends {hi Greg + Sahana!}, tackling a bit of work {my inbox is a hot mess}, planning for the upcoming holiday — including our Holiday seasonal gift guide.

Yesterday was a busy day. And instead of doing a bunch of unimportant things, like it’s so easy to do when you’re your own boss, I spent the day doing only what was important.

Besides, I wasn’t ready to box up the memories made from being with our families. I want them to remain fresh in my mind, for as long as I can.

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^ I’m kinda digging straightening my hair…

AND, as though things aren’t busy enough around here, we are working on our next big adventure: we’re moving, still within Los Angeles, but to a different neighborhood.

Our family has some big goals in mind and this move will help us achieve them so much quicker. I’m a little nervous about moving, it’s so much work and I already have a lot on my plate. But if I’ve learned anything over the last few years it’s that God always gives us big, exciting adventures at just the right time — even if they seem totally unachievable at the moment.

I mean, just last year we traveled to Africa, found out we were pregnant, moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles and then totally restructured the business. Oh, and we also had a baby ;)

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^ Reunited once again ♥ I love Bauer’s black nose and Maxwell’s thighs!!!

I like taking risks. I like trying new things. I like to dream big. I like to set multiple goals and achieve them.

I love encouraging others and exploring new adventures…

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 The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be. — Oprah Winfrey