Collections // 4

Reading // I’ve been on a reading kick as of late and I love it. I finished Fellowship of the Ring (a classic one that’s good to re-visit!), I devoured The Royal We (a post for another time on books I’ve read, but I really just enjoyed this one so much!), I’m working my way through Theology for Beginners  by Frank Sheed for a more informative read, and now I’m also onto The Two Towers (admittedly much harder for me to push through than Fellowship). I also started this book called Where’d You Go, Bernadette – I’m having a harder time getting into it. I think coming of The Royal We spoiled me and I’m just hoping for another one like that, which this is not. But I’ll continue to give it a try!

Cooking // Still having a major stash of fresh zucchini from a friends garden, I’ve been spiralizing the heck out of them and making paleo pasta dishes. I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I do, but gosh is it tasty!

Baking // Paleo brownies! Grain-free biscuits, tortillas, & pancakes! I have been so excited with the flexibility of my schedule because I now get to create pretty much everything from scratch and it’s not a time-consuming burden.

Watching // Since Kevin and I have more of a routine these days, and it is awesome, we’ve been able to settle down for a movie here and there during super, chill, relaxing evenings (heaven!) and still have time to read and/or recreate after! We watched Star Wars (original trilogy) recently – Kevin’s gotten extremely excited over the most recent trailer (like the rest of the world). Also, I was not feeling super great one day last week and went back to the place of joy – Parks & Rec.

Listening // I’ve been really abusing my Lord of the Rings pandora station. I think I now know every possible song that could potentially play. It’s the perfect soothing music for me to have going while working, reading, or whatever.

Wanting // I walked into Target the other day to get a Starbucks beverage (I randomly found a coupon in my bag from a previous receipt for a drink, so heck yes I’ll take advantage!) and was immediately in awe of the clothing section. I feel like Target goes through seasons for me – one day I will love every item, the next I feel like it’s more for young teenage girls. But this trip was a hit. Did I get anything? Of course not. But I was being tantalized by all the beautiful winter sweaters!

Making // I recently made my first batch of kombucha! Living in a much colder climate and being stingy with our heat, it took almost a MONTH for the taste to be what I wanted. But it paid off! Delicious! I’m also trying to re-teach myself how to crochet – it’s getting better! I don’t think it’ll ever be something I’m super skilled with, but it’s a nice hobby to have.

Traveling // This past weekend, we went down to the twin cities for Borromeo weekend at St. Paul Seminary. Kevin was very excited to take me down there since it’s a tradition from his days in college sem at St. Thomas that he loved. We stayed at the major seminary in St. Paul, attended the Friday night Mass, walked in the candlelit procession, and enjoyed some adoration. The next day we went out for a lovely breakfast with our good friend, Deacon Paul, and strolled through some neighborhoods. The city was absolutely perfect. I love St. Paul and cannot wait for our next trip down there!

God’s will, free will, and Middle earth

I’ve been re-reading Lord of the Rings lately, which I’ve been loving. I read them for the first time in college, more than six years ago now. Fellowship is a great one to go back to in the fall, with Bilbo’s birthday being in September, and with so much of the book taking place in autumn. The descriptive language of the Shire and Rivendell just makes my heart sing.

Now, we all know (or should know) that Tolkien has a way with words and is a phenomenal writer. He also was a Catholic and there is truth, beauty, and goodness infused in his characters, his stories, and his themes. As I arrived at the Council of Elrond, I was struck by some beautiful speech of his. It is right after Frodo announces that he will take the ring to Mordor, and Elrond looks at him and says this:

“I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo; and that if you do not find a way, no one will […] But it is a heavy burden. So heavy that none could lay it on another. I do not lay it on you. But if you take it freely, I will say that your choice is right.” – JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

This paragraph stirred something in me. I’m no theologian, but I at least know that our God has a divine will; he has a will for my life, for your life, for the whole world. But we are free to choose as we will. Sometimes that can be confusing, right? It is true that we can choose the wrong, a path that God had not desired for us. Does that mean he cannot still work our poor efforts for good? Of course not, he is God! All things are within the realm of His divine providence – nothing is beyond him. Sometimes he intervenes, and other times he lets nature take its course. But the greatest fruits come when our wills are aligned with that of our Maker’s.

I say this because when I read those words Tolkien wrote so beautifully, I saw a teaching that can be so hard for me to comprehend, written down in an accessible dialogue between and elf and a hobbit. Is it perfect and do I now understand fully how we, as created beings, can live freely while our God has a divine will for us? Nope. But it’s a start.

Elrond tells Frodo what he thinks, and he affirms the hobbit in his willingness, but also says that he would “not lay it on” him. Frodo is free to leave, to say no, to go back to the shire, or even to stay in Rivendell. If he does, there may be consequences that affect the free people of Middle Earth, including himself, but it is still his choice.

What if Frodo had been forced to take the ring? What if the Council had all looked upon him and demanded that he make this potentially impossible & deadly journey to Mordor? I imagine that would have made it all the more difficult. I imagine Frodo’s heart would have been colder towards his companions, or his longing for the shire may have been crippling. Or he may have felt angry and kept the ring for his own use along the way. Maybe not. While Frodo knew in his heart he must be the ring-bearer, he was the one to declare it – nobody else.

Furthermore, while Elrond deems Frodo’s decision to take the ring as the right one, he understands it is not easy. He, more than most, knows what an arduous task would lie ahead of Frodo and company. It is a burden that he could not give to Frodo, but one that Frodo must choose to bear on his own. That’s when the next line caught me as well. Immediately following the previous lines, Elrond says, “And though all the mighty elf-friends of old, Hador, and Hurin, and Turin, and Beren himself were assembled together, your seat should be among them.” By choosing the good, the right, and the just, in the face of such great temptation, there is greater hope and greater reward. (And to bring it back to the Catholic faith – is Tolkein hinting at Frodo living among the Angels and Saints for his brave choice?) It is precisely because Frodo takes up this burden, or this cross, with courage and free will, that he is worthy.

I think we can all agree that Frodo’s burden was great as well as his suffering. He could have chosen otherwise, he could have let someone else try to take the ring. But it was ordered that Frodo should take it – and all people were better off because of his yes that was freely given. And was he not ultimately rewarded for his choice?

 

The things people don’t tell you about when you move to a new place.

A few days ago, I walked out into our sun room and noticed what looked like a ladybug. I had Kevin take it outdoors because I just don’t do insects. Call me a wimp x10, I don’t care. If I see a fly in the house, I cannot sleep until it is dead and removed. I’ve witnessed some pretty bad infestations in my day (mainly via my husband who had pretty poor luck in past apartments) so I like to take preventative measures.

Sunday was the first day we’ve really had this house to ourselves since moving here and were so excited to start decorating and making it like a home to the extent we could. It was a fairly warm day here, especially for October; the sun was shining and the temp was in the 70’s. Upon leaving Mass around 11:45am, I noticed a LOT of ladybugs…and by ladybugs, I mean “asian beetles” as I found out. They were surrounding the entrance and the cars and I instantly knew that this was not normal. We pulled into our driveway and oh.my.blog. The entire outside of the house was covered with SWARMS of these awful creatures!

We found a way inside and to our absolute dismay (because believe you me, we have had enough hoops to jump through since being here) they were all over the house. They were finding their way in through every. single. window. Instead of having the relaxing Sunday we had hoped for, we spent HOURS upon HOURS killing these evil things. And gosh, it was as if killing one made five more appear. It was awful. Hundreds and hundreds of asian beetles. In our house.

By about 5:30pm, we decided we needed to leave the house for our own sanity. We felt we had put a big enough dent in the infestation, but that the only way it would truly get better is if we thoroughly insulated the windows ourselves. So off to Home Depot we went. I don’t seem to have a history of good luck with the staff at Home Depot (at least back in Boston), and gosh…it was the same. We stood at self-checkout for 20+ minutes for a reason unbeknownst to us. But we got what we needed. Several hours later (after a date at Applebee’s because I had a gift card and needed a drink) we had insulated most of the windows, killed any remaining ones we could see, and went to bed.

Now you may be thinking “woah, what a crazy and random thing to happen!” I know I was. But no. We did a little research and it turns out that, in Minnesota, on the second warm day after a cold stint (typically in late September to early October), the Asian beetles appear all at once and try to find shelter for the winter – aka nice wooded homes. And they prefer if they are surrounded by trees. Lucky us – we just so happen to be surrounded by acres of trees.

As it was, these bugs were annoying everyone on Sunday, not just us, though I’m not quite sure everyone else had to take the same measures we did. And if nothing else, we learned that we will need to insulate this house better for winter.

While every region has their pros and cons for sure, it’s been a heck of an adjustment leaving the East Coast for this midwestern/great lake/north land landscape. For instance, people actually do carry bear maze on them when hiking (I thought it was a joke). And that every seven years there is an army worm invasion in the city for two weeks. And if you don’t get your firewood by September, you could be SOL.

Other than that, it’s a beautiful place. Really. 🙂

Friendship, love, and hats

Elise & Sarah in the BPL Courtyard.

I’m still very much catching up on a million things throughout this move & [sort of] settling process. However, there are still things I wish to share from my last few months in Boston – if only for my own enjoyment to look back on! While I wish it were a more common occurrence, there is nothing quite like getting dressed all fancy with your girlfriends and going out for a fancy afternoon (or evening, I suppose) on the town. When our dear friends Ashlie & Elise came to visit Boston just a few short weeks before I left, it was the perfect occasion to go out into the city and do something different.

Initially, Ashlie (the birthday girl) had requested afternoon tea at the Boston Public Library, but sadly we went on a day of the week in which it was not offered. However! We still got to eat a late lunch at the Courtyard Restaurant. It was a lovely time and we felt appropriately dressed for the occasion since the menus came in vintage books and the seating was deep purple velvet arm chairs. The food was good and the mocktails tasty! If you ever have a chance to visit the BPL, I highly recommend it. It’s quite the library with rooms that resemble Hogwarts and a cozy courtyard for reading and gathering.

Now for the fun photos! We are young women growing up in a digital age, so naturally we documented the occasion very well.

Ashlie & Elise in the restaurant.

Me & Ashlie in the BPL

Sarah & Elise

In the Courtyard!

My main ladies :)

Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

Collections // 3

Reading // Right now, there is an abundance of books I want to read, but gosh I just have not had the time. And we don’t have library cards in our new place, so hopefully that happens soon. However, I did sit in Barnes & Noble yesterday and read half of this accessible book on economics (something I’ve somehow gotten more into lately). I would HIGHLY recommend this as an intro to the basics.

Cooking // Cooking? Hmm…more like Kevin makes me eggs for breakfast, lunch is omitted, and somehow dinner gets eaten. Life has been not so conducive to routine as of late.

Baking // However, I did make some pumpkin bread lately that got some rave reviews – a mixture of this bread (sans chocolate chips) and these crumblies (the favorite part). It’s not grain-free or paleo, but it’s autumn and I wanted to share it with people (I couldn’t eat it, of course…).

Watching // Gilmore Girls because it’s fall and I’m already missing the beauty of the East coast. Not that Duluth isn’t beautiful! But there’s a certain charm that the East coast has the I don’t think I can find anywhere else.

Listening // Lots of podcasts, per usual. But also, Kevin and I have been listening to this on audio book. Linda Rottenberg is hilarious and has a very engaging voice. It’s a great read on entrepreneurship and how everyone nowadays should be developing the skills of an entrepreneur.

Wanting // new fall clothing, obviously. It’s by far the best season to shop for clothing, BUT it’s not really happening right now. And that’s okay! I’m also craving just some good routine in our life. Hopefully that’s something we will achieve within the next two months.

Making // Essential oil lotions. Gosh do I love essential oils. In addition to some body lotions, I’ve been making some sprays too. We had a wee bit of a fly problem when we arrived in Duluth, but with some rosemary, lavender, and vinegar/water, it seems to have gotten a lot better.

Traveling // We drove out to Minnesota! Our stops included the Philadelphia area to see my family, State College, PA to see the Dills, Ann Arbour, MI to see Elise, Erin, WI, St. Paul, MN, and then Duluth! It was a lovely trip, but far too quick. I’m actually back in PA at the moment because Frontier airlines had SUPER cheap flights from the twin cities. I’ll drive down with my mom tomorrow morning to see my sister in DC who just had her first little girl, Millie!

OUTBOUND

Outbound from Boston!

(Warning: I’m in reflective mode and this will be more dramatic than it needs to be!)

 

Monday, August 31st, we set out from Boston on our two week adventure to Duluth. We are currently sitting in a Caribou Coffee just outside of St. Paul, just a few hours away from our destination. It all feels incredibly surreal to me. When I really try to think about it, I understand that this is a move and that we are not turning around. But for the most part, it feels a bit like a vacation. We traveled, saw family and friends along the way, will get to our destination, and then venture back to Boston. It feels like we’ve been in transition for months at this point, so the thought of something more finite and permanent is really hard for me to fully comprehend.

Maybe in a few weeks, once we’ve conquered all the insurmountable tasks that lay before us, I’ll feel a sense of permanence. But for now, I’m letting it be what it is. Because honestly, the thought of not going back, not seeing some of my best friends every week, not having our close-knit marriage bible study, not having ladies nights with my former roommates, not experiencing a New England fall (especially that we now have a car!), not being in the place where all our college friends come back to, not being able to visit Brother Sam and Mother Olga, being even even further away from my family, not having such easy access to all the things that come with living in a big city…it’s a challenge. And that’s not to say that I’m not incredibly excited for what’s to come and for the ways in which God will lead us through this change, but with most worth it ventures, there is a sacrifice (or many).

I spent eight years and one week in Boston. Those eight years carry with them a lifetime of experiences, growth, relationships. I’ll never be able to craft the words to express how different, and better off, I am for having lived there. It wasn’t necessarily the city of Boston that did it, though it has a unique place in my heart for being the place where it all happened. Mistakes were made. Some really big ones. But I transformed from an ignorant college freshman to a more mature woman that I would not have recognized back then. I went from not knowing my creator to having an intimate relationship with Him. I did not know what real community was, and I now have the greatest one that spans countries and oceans. I grew, sometimes painfully, alongside sisters and brothers that I will forever be connected to in deep friendship and the sacraments. I met my husband at such a providential time in my life, and spent the majority of my time in Boston outside of college growing in love with him and integrating that relationship into the rest of my life. Kevin and I conceived and lost our first child, one that I know God has welcomed into His Kingdom for our benefit as well as that of many others.

Some people live eight years in one place and leave no better, sometimes for the worse. I cannot thank God enough for every little piece of my time in Boston. Every trial, every victory, every tear, every laugh, every person, every messed up commute (yes, I can say that now that I’ve left), every Sunday morning sunrise I saw on Newbury Street when I had to work those dreadful early shifts in the hotel, every BUCC retreat/SNL/spaghetti supper, every sacrament, every moment with the diversified variety of roommates I’ve had the privilege to live with…everything.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned (and will probably have to learn over and over again), it’s that God can bring an incredible good out of suffering, and to take the sorrows alongside the joys in growing closer to the Lord. Yes, we have suffered, and we discerned that it was good for us to leave, but boy, did we have an abundance of joy as well, and that is what I choose to take with me. (And of course we will visit!)

“Son,’he said,’ ye cannot in your present state understand eternity…That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say “Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences”: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why…the Blessed will say “We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven, : and the Lost, “We were always in Hell.” And both will speak truly.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Summer Highlights

This summer truly is going by so quickly. I am torn because as excited as I am for this next phase of our life, it breaks my heart to leave the people I love and the place that has so much significance in my life. To recap the summer that has just came and gone, here are some choice photos…

Just a few of us former residents of 728 at BU in front of the Grotto where my life was literally changed on a retreat nearly 7 years ago.
Just a few of us former residents of 728 at BU in front of the Grotto where my life was literally changed on a retreat nearly 7 years ago.

June was the Brotherhood of Hope Boston Alumni Retreat. A beautiful reunion of friends from both the CC at BU and Northeastern.

Precious time with the Dills and my family!
Precious time with the Dills and my family!

The weekend of July 4th, which turned out to be a bit more eventful than we had planned, was still a really beautiful one. There weren’t any real plans, so I got to do my favorite things of going to Pat’s Colonial Kitchen for brunch, visiting Washington’s Crossing Park, strolling around Peddler’s Village, and spending time with the Dills and my family.

:)

Time with Sarah. This girls been here with me for seven years. We grew in faith together, lived together in two different places, were by each others side on our wedding days, became neighbors, and have just shared many joys, sorrows, and everything in between. I’m going to miss this lady so much…but I know God will provide and our friendship will grow in ways we cannot predict.

The VB's flew out to the East Coast!
The VB’s flew out from AZ to the East Coast!

Two dear friends, Christina and Ky, got married in Connecticut and it was a beautiful celebration! A few good friends came from quite a distance and it was absolutely lovely reuniting for a bit. Emily and Ted (far right) are expecting their first child in November and we were able to throw them a little baby shower in Boston the following day with some local friends out here.

Mother & Daughters

I went home again to PA in August to celebrate my sister, Kristen (blue dress), and sister-in-law, Jenan, who are both expecting their first children in October! Both girls!

Such an awesome group of people.

The Dills (A, J, and JP) drove up to Boston for Ashlie’s birthday, and Elise made it out from Detroit as well! It was quite the reunion and we had a beautiful evening bringing together many loved ones. Mike (tallest guy pictured in back) is a seminarian for the Boston Diocese over in Rome and has been back for just a bit this summer. Brother Sam (second from left, back row) joined us as well! That guy. Aka my former boss, campus minister, and always spiritual father.

Friendship, sisterhood, love, hats 🙂

The four of us ladies, Ashlie, Elise, Sarah and I, did afternoon tea/lunch at the Boston Public Library for Ash’s 25th birthday! We got all fancy and it was splendid. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves on a Monday afternoon, and then strolled to the courtyard for some photos and boy, did we get some stares or what (because of our hats). We loved every second.

Siblings and some cousins at Fenway!

A couple weeks ago, my family did a large vacation in Plymouth, MA since my brother and his wife are currently stationed not too far away for the military. We rented a magnificent home on the water, and some extended family joined us as well. It was a week of games (sometimes a bit too competitive), relaxing, riding bikes along the coast of Nantucket (#worthit), and going to a Red Sox game at Fenway. A wonderful trip (so grateful to my dad!), and a kind of last hoorah before two babies arrive and cross country moves are made by multiple parties.

Boston friends! Oh how we will miss them!
Boston friends! Oh how we will miss them!

Sarah & Javi threw us a little going away party with some close friends, and gosh…I get sadder with every day we get closer to our move. It is so nice being with these people; we had a great time of fellowship and of course, P&P (the game “pencil & paper” that will forever be my legacy in Boston).

Various generations of BUCC Alumni, former roommates @ Priscilla, good friends!
Various generations of BUCC Alumni, former roommates @ Priscilla, good friends!

And finally, a night out just before we left celebrating a friend’s birthday. It was a gift to have another reason to see everybody before we left.

There has been much more goodness, but one can only make a post so long! I’m overwhelmed with how much there is to reflect and look back upon my eight years in Boston, but above all I am filled with gratitude. Deo gratias!

 

Carpe Diem.

It’s not every day you and your husband decide to drop your job (and primary source of income), leave the city you know, and take a leap of faith halfway across the country. Butttt that is where we are! We had been mulling over and discerning the possibility of moving to Minnesota for several months. Pennsylvania was an option, as was New Hampshire, but our hearts both seemed content (and thrilled) with Minnesota. However, it was St. Paul we were aiming for!

Things happened, job interviews were had, connections were made, someone (me) spent way too long lusting after cheaper real estate on zillow, we joyfully welcomed a pregnancy that altered some plans, but then that pregnancy went. And in those moments of loss and grief, we received peace and clarity. After Mass on July 3rd, we sat down outside the chapel and said it aloud: we should move to Duluth. I cling back to that moment, though, and trust that it was authentic and of God, because now as we get so close and I’ve given my work my notice, doubt inevitably clouds my vision! (Damn you, evil one!)

Yet even with the occasional doubt and fear, I know this is good. Even with the pain of leaving good friends and a home I love, I know God is calling us to greater things. Now…I’m not sure WHAT those things are, but I trust that they are GOOD. I am in no way tied to my “career path”, though it does lend a bit of security. So the prospect of potentially starting somewhere new and having more flexibility to “figure things out” was, and is, very attractive.

What will we do? Gosh, only the Lord knows. There is only so much we can do to prepare until we get there. Right now my head is filled with logistical nightmares of when to pack up my kitchen aid and how to sell all our furniture on Craigslist. I am re-evaluating a lot of things. I’ve always had my next move planned, and it’s always been on a certain trajectory. And while there was a time that I enjoyed what I do – that time has come and gone. While it will be tempting to apply to the classic HR jobs I’m used to, I really want to start fresh in something that gives me life.

I’d really love to do my own thing and work from home, if possible. I have a few ideas in my head and the wheels are spinning. Whatever I do is going to take some investment and patience. The frontrunners of the moment are:

  • Becoming a Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (a one year program, fairly affordable) and partnering with organizations that teach and/or promote Natural Family Planning. I’d love to work with people struggling with infertility, looking at nutrition first before undergoing tests & treatments that can be quite pricey.
  • Starting my own at-home travel agency that specializes in Catholic Pilgrimages (and maybe adventurous honeymoons!). I can somewhat utilize that hospitality degree and my love for planning & travel! I’d work with a host agency such as TPI or Outside Agents. They provide all the training and tools you need to start earning commission right from home.
  • Selling Young Living Essential Oils. Some people make this their sole income and it works. I somehow doubt I’d be one of those people, but nothing wrong with trying and maybe snagging a little supplemental cash. The best part is it wouldn’t be forced. I absolutely love these oils. I believe in their healing properties, and if nothing else, I get to spread the word of more holistic health options.

I’ll continue to pray on this and look into more details over the next month or so, but I would love if, when we arrive in Duluth mid-September, I can start working towards one (or more) of these goals. Doing something I love would bring me greater joy, but it would all be in service of cultivating a beautiful domestic life with Kevin and to support him in his mission and work. So may God bless our efforts and may the opportunities be great!

Collections // 2

Reading // As is my way, I got a little caught up in re-reading some Harry Potter recently. On book six at the moment – I keep myself to no more than a chapter a day.

Cooking // whatever is in our freezer. We only have about three weeks left actually in this apartment (we’re traveling for another two weeks) and I want to make sure all the meat I bought in bulk once upon a time gets eaten! Which it will. No problem.

Baking // grain-free breads. I’ve found a few good recipes, but this is my favorite. It’s not an everyday occurrence (don’t want to make a habit out of eating “bread”), but it’s super tasty when we have it.

Watching // umm…one of the Marvel films every week. You could say Kevin and I have a problem, but we personally think it’s a fine art being able to watch a film over and over. Especially when the movie is so rich! Last night was Iron Man 3, before that Avengers, before that Thor, before that Captain America…you get the idea. We just really love these films.

Listening // my younger sisters cd mixes. Since she graduated and will not be needing a car in DC, my parents passed the Acura onto us (which we’re so grateful for!). She generously left some fun mixes in her car, and it’s funny what similar taste we have. A fun variety to, from Coldplay to Tupac to the Weepies…it’s all over the place.

Wanting // another Stitchfix box! I had a gift card from my birthday that allowed for two fixes (spent a bit over my allotted amount), and now I’m addicted. I don’t foresee it happening anytime soon, but a girl can dream!

Making // homemade organic & natural makeup! It seems that I go a little bit deeper each month into a more crunchy way of life, and partly because it’s so much fun and fulfilling to create from scratch (and to know everything I’m using/eating/surrounding myself with). I’ve made a pretty successful powdered blush and powdered foundation thanks to the recipes of Wellness Mama. The concealer didn’t turn out as I expected, but I think I know the issue…but it means I gotta re-do it. Another time!

Traveling // the past few weekends have been here in Boston, but August will be the month of travels – a grand family vacation on the Cape followed by another trip to Quebec! Followed by our cross country road trip to Duluth!

All grown up.

Mid-May, I was in North Carolina to see my youngest sister graduate from Wake Forest University. Now…when you’re one of five children, it’s a crazy experience when the baby of the family has a big milestone. Everything she’s done has pretty much already been precedented by someone else in the family. But that makes it no less special; in fact, I think we all get super nostalgic seeing her go through all these life things. And it makes us realize that the littlest one of us is growing up! She’ll be moving to DC this fall to start work! #whattttt

In addition to the last one graduating college, there will be two new additions to the family this year! Both my sister and sister-in-law are expecting in October, and we are so thrilled and excited. But it’s also so crazy at the same time. And this year is a Krouchick Christmas year meaning there will be 12 of us under one roof – the mom & pop, three married couples, two young singles, and two infants! Obviously it’ll be awesome and I’ll want to bottle it up before we all go to our separate parts of the country (PA, DC, VA, CA, possibly MN).

Nostalgia is my middle name, so don’t mind if I cry three times a week with all the changes. But it is all good – we are all moving in good directions and I’m excited to see how these changes play out in our lives. #ilovemyfamily