Thursday, May 20, 2010

bosom buddies

Brace yourself! There are LOTS of photos for this blog entry!

I am so proud of myself for not completely spilling the beans by letting Ivy in on her birthday surprise!! Since I kept fairly quiet, I'll fill in any missing pieces so no one's out of the loop.
First of all, Ivy is my dear, dear friend from Washington. We were roomies for a mere four months out in Cannon Beach, Oregon in 2006. [Craziness!] When I look back on all the memories with Ivy, I feel like she's family... it's really amazing to see how special our friendship/sister-bond is knowing how very different we are as individuals AND taking into consideration the short amount of time we roomed together. Well, Ivy's out in the beautiful Pacific Northwest while I've been my little nomad self. She's married to the greatest guy. Kevin and Ivy definitely compliment each other; their marriage is certainly one to look up to. Kevin wanted to bless Ivy and give her a gift that would really blow her out of the water. It had been 20 months since Ivy and I had seen each other... (too long!!!, in case you were wondering!) Way back in February, Kevin came up with the idea to fly me out to the PNW for her birthday... clearly, I was game. He planned and organized and made everything come together like a beautifully crafted jigsaw puzzle... flawless!!  

On my way out to Portland, I was truly blessed with a three hour layover in Denver! Woo hooo!! Here I am, catching up with my wonderful Hannah. (The hardest part of our little reunion was knowing that this is where I'll be in a few weeks and not being able to plan and dream about a all those adventures!) But, as always, it was such an encouragement to spend some quality time unreserved, just relaxed with the girl who knows how to coax me back into that restful state of life. (Did I mention I'm a little excited to room with her again?!)

After that it was just a short flight from Denver to PDX (yet another perk of Denver!!) I arrived safely and just as planned Miss Kasey came to collect me and show me around Battle Ground for a bit before surprising Ivy at her birthday party. Let me tell you, this whole past weekend was much needed. Ha. It was SO good to see her. Therapeutic even. It was pretty incredible how everything came together. While I was in Europe I was really hard to get a hold of. With no phone or internet, it's pretty tricky to keep up with the outside world! So, you can see, Kevin really did have his work cut out for him! He went out on a limb and bought a ticket for a three day trip -- it was either that or nine. ;) I am really surprised to look back and see all we packed into three days. One of my favorite things about spending time with Ivy, is how it's always as if NO time has passed. Every time! And it boggles my mind because we're such different people. We're also in very different stages in life, and yet, it's still as if we're two crazy young girls packed into a dorm room working on the beach for the summer... ha. Friendship is such a beautiful gift.

After the birthday dinner, people gathered back at Ivy and Kev's house for birthday cake. :) Here's a sweet shot of Kevin presenting the cake to the birthday girl... I hope she made a good wish! Just as expected, Ivy and I had our little slumber party that first night and caught up with all the crazy changes life's brought our ways. Ivy walked me through, let me think.... oh yeah, every step of Hallie's little life! Haha. It was wonderful. It's really hard being far away for such milestones. These are the moments I'm sincerely thankful for blogs and Facebook!

Little Miss Hallie Jean. :)

At 5 1/2 months she's nearly crawling!

Sunday was a treat with church in the morning, the market in the afternoon, and then I got to catch up with Nikki, my long, lost sister in the evening (unfortunately, I forgot my camera for this outing!) Here are Kevin and Ivy being the lovebirds that they are in the park at Saturday (really Sunday) Market. (Let me just throw  in the fact that hanging out with two wonderful people who are absolutely perfect for each other is a little difficult for a hopeless romantic like myself! Just ask Ivy!)

Gosh, four years ago there were four young women in this crazy dorm room in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Somehow each young woman was from a different place in this great country with very different families and backgrounds... unfortunately, since those wonderful days four years ago, these girls have only been reunited ONCE. ONCE! *sigh* However, we all do see each other as often as we can make it happen, it's only been all four of us one single, solitary time since we roomed together in beautiful Cannon Beach. Anywho, although there was a sad, sad hole in our crew with Michelle in Kansas, we did our best at reuniting and headed up to Seattle, Monday, to visit and catch up with Emily. 
Of course, while in Seattle, we had to make it to Pikes Place Market. We saw beautiful flowers, handmade hats and jewelry, and lots of great fish and food. Hallie discovered pirosky for the first time -- she loved it. We had so much fun with her... little fingers, little toes protected by her wonderful Robeez (if you've got little ones, check into these! They're perfect for little feet that don't stay in shoes very well!)  

As you can see, we didn't hold back on photo taking (or much of anything for that matter! it was so good to be together again!) Do you have friends you can just let loose with and escape the craziness of everyday life? Ah, that's one of the many things I love so much about these girls, it's like a retreat, well, literally for me, but even when I'm living out there, just spending time and really connecting with them is always so refreshing and fun. 
We found a really cute little shop called, Boston St. O man, incredible. You know what your little one likes and dislikes. For instance, Aidan, my nephew, really enjoys Bob Marley. Well, should I ever be employed again, I can purchase a shirt that actually fits him and he can tell the whole world how he's a mini-Buffalo Soldier. ;) I'm telling you, this store was truly a gem. On our way over to Post Alley, I caught a shot of Ivy and baby Hal, doesn't she look just like a model? What should we advertise for here?

After poking around at the market, our dogs were barking a bit, so we settled down for a little R&R by the waterfront. The view down there is amazing. You're slightly lower than where the market is and you can see all of Elliot Bay and over to Bainbridge Island. We were super blessed to have a warm, sunny afternoon to enjoy all the area has to offer! While we were situated here, we maybe took a few photos of Little Miss Hal Bug. It was perfect. Smiley baby. Green grass. Sunshine. Honestly, when considering photos... what more can you ask for?

For dinner we caught up with our great friend, Kasey, (she helped with the big surprise -- she's one of a kind wonderful!) We headed to the birthday girls' favorite seafood restaurant, The Crab Pot. We all had more than enough of the deliciousness. Fish 'n chips, clam chowder, shrimp salad... some delicacies you don't really want to find here in Iowa. ;) Next time, I'm hoping to find something on the menu where they bring a bib out with the meal...  Ah, looking back on all the fun we had, I have to be honest, I feel bad for some boys... as for you men who do have those bossom buddy friends, CHERISH THEM!! I love when guys have close friends. I'm so extremely thankful God created me relational and interested in other peoples lives. I know how incredibly blessed I am to have these incredible people in my life and even more blessed to be able to call them dear, dear friends. Thanks for blessing me more than you know, loveys! 
Until next time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

...give room for good things to run wild.

Ah, well, I've been enjoying my time here at home thoroughly. :) HOWEVER, I'm also looking forward to the next step and how everything will be coming together. Most everything's still all up in the air, but I know I'll be in good company and that's most important.

I've been talking to the girls I'll be living with this fall and I can't tell you how excited I am to be blessed by them EVERYDAY! Both of them have been my roommates before... and let's be honest, if we're willing to be roomies again, it must have gone well the first time!

I've been thinking lately about how funny life is and how things never really are how they seem. There are curveballs and bumps in the road, but there are also these crazy, tremendous bounties of joy and wonder... it's all quite exciting if you sit back and think about it!
(Sorry, crazy tangents -- I'm all over the place! I can't quite collect my thoughts at the moment!)

I've been doing what I do best - daydreaming. I've been looking for a church where I'll be next fall. In the midst of my search, I came across this incredible quote: “…the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.” - G. K. Chesterton. Oh, how I love the thought of that. Perhap's it's just the placement of the words... but, honestly, how true?! What kind of freedom doesn't have 'rules and order'? Boundaries? Limits? Anywho, somedays I just like sitting and pondering about freedom and adventures and wild things. :) You can join me. It's okay.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Home Sweet Home.

It's so good to be home. There's so much to it though! Like an onion... layers and layers of emotions and thoughts. I suppose that's mostly just the transition taking it's toll...

I think I probably should be a bit stressed and overwhelmed being home without a job and with no plans, as of yet, for the summer, but I'm very much at peace with life. I'm SO encouraged by all that I see here at home. There have been some major changes, but they're mostly really great.

My favorite thing to come home to has been watching my brother and his precious family. He is SO in love with his wife and his boys <-- (that's right, BOYS! PLURAL - there's TWO now! We love that extra letter!) They are such a team. Leif just gloats about her non-stop when she's not around - it's so great! Aidan is so full of life and energy and eager to help when it comes to Nolan, his baby brother, and Ava, his baby cousin. 

The neighbors are all pretty adorable. A couple across the street has a baby and knew my name before I knew theirs (as Dad had been telling them about our upcoming trip a few weeks back). The neighbor kids came to greet me last Wednesday as I was getting out of the shower, none the less. It's nice to know your neighbors. :) And, on the flip side, it's nice to be known by your neighbors.

My dear, dear friends, Katie and Hanna, have been a HUGE encouragement. They're so alive and excited about Christ and all He's done for us. It's so refreshing to spend time with them and talk about life.

Katie's parents, Ken and Lynn, have always been a cornerstone in my spiritual walk. They're solid. :) Naturally, it's wonderful to be able to spend time with them again.

And, of course, M & D... and Mollie. Mollie and I have been taking daily walks, she LOVES them (I quite enjoy them as well!) Mom and Dad are a great constant to come home to. Not much change. Dad and his markets and music in the evenings; Mom and her reading chair. It's good to be home. 

Aside from relational delights (I haven't caught up with very many people as I've been sick since I got home a week ago!) It's really nice to be back in English and to know how to get places and what to ask for at the grocery store. Although, I don't really have any money, it's really nice to go to the bank and completely understand what they're saying to me.

Iowa is BEAUTIFUL right now. It's been typical May Iowa weather: pure sunshine and 80's one day and chilly rainstorm with a high of 50 the next. The grass is green, the sky is blue, everything seem so simple and pure. Rolling hills. Straight roads. Small buildings. No frills. Straightforward and simple.

Life is good.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Every now and then I just need a project to keep me sane... I've been snooping online, brainstorming, and have come to the conclusion that one day, when I feel I've reached the level of amazing-ness in sewing, I'm attempting this one:

The creative juices are flowing, my friends! Woo hoo!

Monday, May 3, 2010

drama, drama, drama...

Drama, drama, drama... that's all the last handful of blogs have been! Well, here's one to send the drama out the door... from here on out we're putting the 'kuputs' on the drama!

It all... well, didn't really begin as it had been happening for most of the month of April... but the latest set of hiccups started last Sunday on our way back to Geneva from Rome -- Rome was interesting with lots of historical fascination, but it was also rainy and seemed to have a bit of an attitude everywhere we went. With that said, you'll have little problem believing me when I say we were pretty ready to get back to Geneva and chill for one last day at my apartment. Haha. Such dreamers we are. Despite our very best efforts to get to the airport... more like the actual airplane... the handful of obstacles along the way hardly slowed us down.

  • Obstacle #1: Tram doesn't run Sundays until 6:40am. So, that's when we started our voyage to the airport. We thought it would be alright...
  • Obstacle #2: Car parked ON TRAM LINE. We couldn't figure out why we weren't moving. Then all the cars around our tram were HONKING like it was their job. Eventually, (while we're sweating thinking we'll miss our train to the airport) people started exiting the tram-car. We decided we weren't going to waste any more of our precious time sitting on the tram-car. We walked the rest of the way to the train station. Once at the train station we RAN to the 'Leonardo Express' table and paid a few euros more than we had a few days earlier.
  • Obstacle #3: Leonardo Express was less express than the previous time we'd been on it, adding a crucial 5 minutes to our voyage from B&B to airplane!
  • Obstacle #4: Once we got to the airport we ran around searching for Terminal 2 - every time we followed the arrows we ended up at dead ends! FINALLY we made it to the Easy Jet counter at Terminal 2 where we encountered...
  • Obstacle #5: Italians with a lack of urgency. I know, the never ending American/Italian differences. Americans can hardly sit through lunch while Italians make a day of it. We made it to the line in time to check into our Easy Jet flight from Rome to Milan. However, we couldn't make it to the counter in time. We had to buy yet another second ticket. Utter defeat.

All that being said, I'm sure you can guess that we spent our last Monday in Europe at the Rome airport. We decided since it had been raining the whole time we were exploring Rome we might as well get some Italian sun while the opportunity presented itself. Haha. I'm sure we were a sight to see. We walked outside where people were dropping off their loved ones for flights, perched ourselves on the pavement and made ourselves at home. There was a point where I had my eyes closed and I just had to tell myself, "Will the numbness away from your bottom and drown out the sound of the cars with waves - dang girl, you're on the beach!" It worked for a moment. :)

While we were at said airport with ample time on our hands we had some lovely fresh squeezed red orange juice.

We made this flight and ended up taking and hour bus ride from the Milan airport to the Milan train station. Dad kept mentioning how we might be spending the night in Milan. My response was always, "Just as long as we make it to Credit Agricole tomorrow to close out my bank account." To our surprise, there was one last train of the day from Milan to Geneva. [Praise the Lord!] We got on this train with maybe 7 minutes to spare. Whew.

It would have been a breathtaking train ride during the day. From northern Italy up through the Alps into the valley around Geneva. We finally made it back to my apartment just past midnight, not quite pumpkins!