2017 in Review

Even though we are now a couple weeks into 2018, I still want to review a few highlights from 2017. Obviously, having an adorable baby girl was the biggest highlight (as confirmed above by bestnine), but here are some other highlights of the year I don’t want to forget:

January – Abby’s tea partyraclette holiday party, revealing baby’s genderIndy coffee date w/Heather & Marcus

February – brunch at Milktooth, weekend in Columbus OH

March – Loren’s 25th birthday, my family came to visit, new camera

April – bought a car, maternity shootE’s family baby shower, ladies retreat

May – Anniversary/babymoon trip to Michigan CityTaste of Cincinnati, Joy’s visit

June – church baby shower & Stayer visitmy 26th birthdaysurprise work baby shower

July – Emberly born

August – weekend at the grandparentsVashti’s wedding, got passports

September – roadtrip to SChike at IMA

October –  fall morning at Apple Works

November – movie datemurder mystery dinner, Thanksgiving in Cincy

December – Christmas in Germany, touring France (posts to come soon)

What were some of your favorite moments of 2017?

Emberly Brynn – A Birth Story

As all good birth stories go, this one is way too long with lots of little details. Probably too many details at some points, but I want to remember as much as I can. So enjoy the read or just scroll for the pictures. 😉

It was Friday afternoon, June 30th at my 39 (+5 days) week checkup that things started rolling. The Dr. started her regular checkup routine, noted everything looked great (80% effaced and 1cm dilated) and ready to go at any time. She then asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes to see if that would really start things going. We went ahead and scheduled an induction in case baby girl decided to not come soon, then headed home to see how things would play out. I had my last 4-6pm work shift that afternoon, and during that shift my contractions started. At first, not close together at all, but pretty regular. As the evening progressed, my contractions continued to get stronger and closer together. To distract from the pain, Loren and I took a couple of shorts walks, watched some shows, did a little nursery photoshoot and I made sure everything was ready at home.

So ready to meet this baby!
Taking a break for a contraction.

Around 11 pm, the contractions were close enough for us to call the Dr. and see if she wanted us to come in. She gave us the green light and we checked into the hospital around 11:30 pm. After getting settled in and hooked up to monitors in triage, the nurse checked to see how dilated I was, and I was still at a 1. Since I had to be at a 3 before we could get a room, she told us to hang out for a couple hours and see if I progressed. So for the next two hours, we took several walks around the floor, tried to watch an Office episode and dozed between my contractions. The nurse came back to check again, and I was really hopeful that we had made some progress, as my contractions were getting more intense and closer together. But alas, I was still stuck at a 1 and she informed us that she was going to call the Dr. to let her know what was going on, and that we would most likely be sent home until things progressed more. However, since she was slightly concerned about sending me home considering the intensity of my contractions, she decided to get a second opinion from another nurse and they ultimately decided to let us stay in triage until I made it to a 3. I’m so thankful they decided this, because shortly thereafter I threw up. Twice. I don’t really remember much of the next hour or so, just being super tired (it was around 4am by this time), and “slow dancing” with Loren to make it through the contractions. Nothing was really comfortable, and I wasn’t a huge fan of being touched (other than the “dance”). Finally around 5 am, the nurses passed me at a 3 and we were moved to a room. For the next hour or so, I was in and out of sleep between contractions before I dilated to a 4 and was ready for my epidural. Shortly after the epidural was started, things got a little more exciting. Between the epidural being started and me dilating from 4-7 super fast, the baby’s heart rate suddenly dropped from around 130 bpm to 60 bpm. The nurses and Dr. reacted quickly and calmly, hooking me up to oxygen and turning me from side to side to get the baby’s heart rate back up. At one point, one of the nurses noticed that Loren had stepped out of the way to give them space, and she told him to come stand at my head. He came and held my hand and stroked my hair and told me that it would be all right because God was in control. Even through the haze of it all I was completely aware of what was going on and knew that God was in complete control, but I couldn’t help but let several tears slide out. After what seemed like way too long, the baby’s heart picked back up and returned to stable and the room eventually cleared. Finally in less pain (blessed epidural!!!), I was able to sleep for a couple hours in between my blood pressure being taken every 15-30 minutes. Loren was also able to squeeze in a couple hours of sleep before I sent him to go get some breakfast. I told him he could bring the food up to the room because it wouldn’t bother me and when the nurse saw him eating next to me she was like: “You’re living dangerously!” But I assured her I didn’t mind because I really wasn’t hungry at this point. 😉

Around 11:30 am (Saturday), the nurse started getting things ready for delivery and had me do a few practice pushes. The Dr. came in around 12 pm, and the pushing started for real. In between pushes, our amazing Dr.  kept us preoccupied and entertained asking us about our jobs and with stories about her trip to Germany, her collection of nutcrackers and flamingo lawn ornaments. Pretty soon, the Dr. and Loren said they could see the baby’s head and she had lots of dark hair! I was so surprised since I was convinced that she would be a cute little bald baby. Then finally, after about an hour of pushing, at 12:59 pm, our little Emberly Brynn made her entrance into the world. Overwhelmed with love and joy that our little Emberly was finally here, I let the tears roll even more freely than before as she was placed on my chest. I held her for a little bit before Loren cut the cord and she was measured and weighed, then Loren finally got to hold her. I’d been waiting a long time to see him hold his daughter and it was the sweetest moment. 🙂

We are so grateful for the beautiful and healthy daughter God has bestowed on us and are cherishing every moment we have with her.

Birthday Weekend

Guys! It’s Monday! And I’m doing a weekend recap! Lately I’ve been slacking on recapping our weekends on time and they haven’t appeared until Wednesday.
Anyway, here are a few highlights from my birthday weekend:

I painted some shelves for the nursery, which we hung up, as well as arranged and set up some other things. It’s all coming together and I think we’re pretty much ready for baby girl’s arrival!

Saturday evening we had a little picnic & ice cream date at Mrs. Curl (apparently we can’t get enough this summer) in the perfect summer weather.

I noticed in the ice cream line that I can’t see my toes anymore. #37weeks

Sunday morning (my actual birthday) we headed to our church’s annual picnic & baptism. It was such a blessing and encouragement to see so many take that next step in their faith and then to fellowship with everyone during the picnic.

Sunday afternoon, I opened my gifts from Loren (these shoes!!), took a nap, then later on that evening we ventured downtown for dinner at Tinker Street. I was pretty set on having tiramisu for my birthday cake, so we found a place that did takeout and went and enjoyed it on the Circle. Eventually we came home and started a movie – the perfect ending to a perfect low-key birthday. 🙂

I hope you had a lovely weekend!

Birthday Cake Galore

What a week this has been! I’m still trying to get caught up on life (and sleep), but this past week was totally worth it.

First off, my parents & younger sister (from Germany) and older sister & her family (from Denver) spent the night last Tuesday with us on their road trip from Denver to SC. They got in pretty late, but we had dinner then celebrated my dad’s upcoming birthday with ice cream cake. Wednesday, we all (minus Loren) headed to the Ark Encounter in KY to meet up with my brother & his family (from Germany) and explore the Ark. Wednesday night, my brother & his family stayed with us and then they headed back home Thursday morning.
All that was probably a little confusing, but it was SO wonderful to see my parents & siblings, even for just a short time. I never realize how much I miss them all until we’re together. And those nephews and nieces grow up way too fast!

We decided to make Thursday night date night, and stayed in with pizza and a movie.

Saturday, Loren’s family from Cincinnati came for the afternoon/evening to celebrate his birthday. Another wonderful day with family all crowded in our apartment – sorry for any disturbance, neighbors! 😉

Sunday after church and lunch with Carrie (who spent the night), Loren went bowling with a few guy friends, then the guys came over for a little more birthday celebrating. Aka snacks, rootbeer & orange soda floats and games. (Sorry, no pics from this.)

Monday was Loren’s actual birthday and we weren’t done celebrating yet. You only turn 25 once! 😉 After a long day of work, we had a quiet and delicious dinner at Livery to close out the birthday celebrations. Even though we could never celebrate this amazing man enough. 🙂

Thanks to all the family and friends who made this week/weekend so special!

Btw, if anyone wants to come save us from all the leftover ice cream birthday cakes, we won’t stop you.

Dreamy Birthday Tea Party

This was quite the weekend with two big parties! Therefore, I’m going to split them up into 2 posts.

On Friday, my sweet niece Abby turned 6 and Loren and I headed to Cincinnati Friday night to help out with her party on Saturday. Carrie planned the most enchanting dress-up tea party for Abby and a few of her friends and it was nothing short of amazing. We had fun setting everything up late into Friday night and all the giggles and smiles during the party were totally worth it.

When the girls arrived, we helped them make fancy fans then get all decked out in hats, jewelry and a little makeup for their fancy tea. They dined on mini sandwiches, dipped wafers, petit fours, strawberries, scones and eclairs while sipping tea and pink lemonade. After a break from eating to open gifts/notes and play several games, it was time for cake and ice cream!

I will let the plethora of pictures do the rest of the talking. 🙂

(photos all shot by Loren)

Happy Birthday, sweet Abby! We love you!

New Year’s Weekend

One last holiday weekend recap so I can remember it for years to come.

Friday afternoon, we headed back to Cincinnati so Loren could help shoot a wedding. I spent the afternoon working in a cute little coffee shop before meeting up with Carrie for a late dinner downtown Cincinnati at Taste of Belgium. Their specialty is waffles and they did not disappoint.

Chicken & waffles

Saturday (New Year’s Eve), Loren was helping shoot another wedding, but before we had to drop him off, he, Carrie and I headed back downtown for some exploring at the 5 floor Ohio Book Store and a little lunch at Cheapside Cafe.
That evening after running several errands, I went to a NYE swing dance lesson/party with Carrie and her roommates. It was so much fun even if I am horrible at swing dancing and we didn’t get too crazy.

Sunday after church with Loren’s family, we celebrated Dad and Steve’s beginning-of-January birthdays with lunch and birthday cake. Their combined ages equal 100, so they got to blow out their candles together.

Facetiming my parents in Germany for a quick second.

I trust your start to 2017 has been great and hope it only gets better!


Birthday Times Three

This weekend was chock-full of birthday parties. Be prepared for loads of pictures!

 Friday, Loren and I left work a little early and headed to Cincinnati for Carrie’s (L’s sister) surprise birthday party. Heather had reserved a room at a little cafe where we hid with lots of balloons until she, Carrie and their other housemate (out for a “girls night”) walked in. She was surprised, and we had a fun time at the cafe before going over to the girls’ house for homemade ice cream sandwiches and games. So glad we could celebrate our fun, creative and amazing Carrie!

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Ice cream cookie sandwich bar- SO good!
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Piñata fun!

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Saturday morning, we had a late breakfast with Carrie and Heather before coming home and getting ready for the next birthday party. Two of my sisters had boys on the same day three years ago, and both families happened to be in the same state for the boys’ 3rd birthday, so we had a party with family at Dawn’s. It was so much fun celebrating these two precious and hilarious boys. I’ll let these pictures do most of the talking. 🙂

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Beautiful day for a drive!
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Backyard birthday cookout!

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“I need a knife to cut my bread.”
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Present time!
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So many trucks and cars!
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Birthday twins with their very special orange cake.

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Birthday twins and beautiful mommies 🙂

Sunday after church, lunch and a Walmart run for moving necessities, we started packing for our move!

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Coffee milkshake packing break

I hope you had a relaxing and productive weekend!

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Birthday Surprises

Yes, it’s Thursday. And I’m finally doing a weekend recap now. Hopefully you don’t mind! Last week went by super fast. Maybe because we had something every night? Anyway, here is a little recap of the most important happenings of the week and weekend.

Wednesday afternoon, some friends texted and asked if we wanted to go to the Colts minicamp with them that night. Of course we didn’t turn down the free tickets and went to watch the Colts practice and then watched the Lego Movie on the field with about half of Indianapolis’s children.


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Friday my coworkers brought in a ton of awesome treats to celebrate my birthday. And then some of them took me out for a birthday lunch at Milktooth! It was so sweet of them and I felt very spoiled. In the evening for date night, Loren and I finally went and saw Zootopia. It was really good!

belgian waffle with salted butter, honey & parmesan

Saturday was my 25th birthday and Loren totally outdid himself. The day started off with him decorating the apartment and making breakfast while I slept in. After breakfast, we headed down to the Bloomington Farmer’s Market and wandered around checking out all the fresh produce and art stands for a bit before buying some succulents (let’s hope I can keep them alive!!) and the world’s best popcorn. We looked up the highest rated burger place in Bloomington and ended up at Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream for lunch. Boy, were those Yelp reviews right! After lunch, we wandered in and out of some shops, then hit the road back home. Or close to home. Earlier before we left, Loren mentioned I needed to bring a book along because we were going to a park upon our return from Bloomington. I love reading at the park and didn’t really think about it – just one of the things he had planned for this day! But really it was just to kill time until we eventually headed home where I was greeted by several kazoo-blowing, surprise-yelling friends! Let me back up for a second – as we were leaving the park, Loren had me close my eyes so I wouldn’t know where we were going. I knew something was up, but having to close my eyes for 20 minutes before we got home was TORTURE. Loren had planned this surprise party perfectly. From fun & creative games to so many of my favorite foods to having someone take pictures, I loved it all! He even asked family members who couldn’t be there to send little birthday videos. I mean, how thoughtful is that!? A big THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of the surprise and making this such an amazing day!!!


I woke up to all these wonderful decorations 🙂
Bloomington Farmer’s Market


Lunch at Bub’s Burger
Of course I had to get my free Starbucks 😉
Party time! *
Dessert making contest! *
The winner! *
Dessert presentation & judging *
Love this dress from Loren! *
Late night ice cream run!

Sunday after church we laid low, ran some errands and that’s about it.

Thank you ALL SO MUCH for a wonderful birthday weekend!!!
Best weekend ever!

*photos courtesy of N. Daku

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(Twenty)-Five on Friday // 6-10-16

IMG_1238This week’s Friday Favorites are a {birthday} edition!
Since I’m turning 25 this weekend, here are 25 things I’ve learned over this quarter of a century:

ONE // I married the most amazing man.
TWO // It’s ok to cry sometimes.
THREE // Good quality coffee is worth paying more for.
FOUR //  Family is everything.
FIVE // Kids are a lot of work, but hilarious and crazy and the best.
SIX // Clothes that don’t fit at the store won’t fit any better at home.
SEVEN // Always say yes to free food.
EIGHT // Early mornings are beautiful.
NINE // Substituting chili powder for cinnamon on pudding is gross.
TEN // Running an online shop is not my forte.
ELEVEN // Social media is not important.
TWELVE // A smile is powerful.
THIRTEEN // Bucket lists should be realistic.
FOURTEEN // Always say yes to free event tickets.
FIFTEEN // Working out consistently pays off.
SIXTEEN // Late night talks are worth being tired the next day.
SEVENTEEN // Spending a little money is ok.
EIGHTEEN // Detours on the way home are adventurous.
NINETEEN // Kickboxing is amazing.
TWENTY // Being polite to my husband is important.
TWENTY-ONE // You’re never too full for ice cream.
TWENTY-TWO // Marriage is awesome.
TWENTY-THREE // There is no such thing as too much Chick-fil-A.
TWENTY-FOUR // Don’t stop snapping until you get a good picture.
TWENTY-FIVE // My life is not my own.

Happy weekending!

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Birthday & Easter Weekend

Does anyone know what day it is? I’m still trying to figure that out because we had wonderful long weekend with so many celebrations. It was too hard to pick just a few pictures for this post, so please enjoy this photo dump of our colorful weekend.

The end of March is full of birthdays for my family. My dad’s is the 25th, Loren’s is the 27, and my little sister & bro-in-law share the 29th. Since Loren’s birthday fell on Easter this year, I decided to take the Friday before off work so we could celebrate before heading to Cincinnati for the weekend. I gave him his first gift that Friday morning (the other one he got on his actual birthday) before we headed out for a few surprises I had planned. The 1st surprise was a stop at Long’s Bakery for the world’s best donuts. The 2nd surprise was hanging out with some friends at a fun little coffee shop (Calvin Fletcher’s). He had no idea they would be there and was pretty surprised. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures of this. 🙁
And the 3rd surprise was lunch at Thai Spice. It wasn’t a whole lot, and I wish I could have done more, but it was fun to plan and keep him suspense for a little bit.



After lunch, we came home and I Facetimed my dad for a few minutes to wish him a happy birthday. Shortly after the call, we packed up the car and headed to Cincinnati. We arrived just in time to eat dinner with Carrie before heading to a Good Friday service. Later on, we worked on the last of the wedding shower decorations for Joanna’s shower on Saturday.


Saturday was shower day! Loren’s youngest sister is getting married in May, and it was so fun to celebrate her (and Jeffrey). Heather and Carrie did an amazing job planning everything and the setup and decorations were so creative and beautiful.



So many presents!
Moms from both sides
And with sisters-in-law
Joanna and pin-the-beard-on-Jeffrey

We were all pretty tired after the shower, so some of went home to take naps before a relaxed bbq dinner at mom & dad’s.

Sunday morning we got up really early for a Crisp Easter tradition – watching the sunrise from the roof! Even though it wasn’t the most spectacular sunrise (we didn’t actually see the sun), it was fun sitting up there on the roof.

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After a blessed and joyful Easter service celebrating Christ, we came back to mom & dad’s for dinner and to celebrate Loren’s birthday.  It was such an amazing, sunny, beautiful day!!

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Love my man 🙂

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Birthday cake

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Rachel learning to take pictures with the remote.

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And then we drove home. We were almost home when we drove into an incredible thunderstorm. The lightning was constantly striking all around us (safely far enough away), and it was quite a beautiful firework display.


I hope you had a blessed Easter weekend celebrating the Reason we live!

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