Monday, July 31, 2017

Cottage Guests

You guys!  Guess who stayed at The Cottage?

Our newly hired church pastor and his family!

I'll let you read how it all came to be on his wife's website,

Many years ago I started following Marian on her Miss Mustard Seed blog.  She has inspired me with her furniture makeovers, milk paint products, decorating, watercolor painting ... and the list goes on.  
Never, in a million years, did I ever think I would meet her, much less have her stay in my home!

It was a little surreal seeing her post pictures of The Cottage on her blog from our cottage rental on Lake Michigan.  Even more crazy to read the comments from readers!  A couple people commented on how nervous they would be to have Marian stay at their home.  While I can't say I was nervous, anxious, worried -- I can tell you this was said by Nate: "You are nesting quite a bit mom."  Of course, I was nesting!  Definitely more than usual before we leave for a vacation.  But it was fun!  I welcomed the motivation to nest -- it had been awhile since I'd had the motivation to make some changes and spruce things up a bit and it felt good!  The Cottage is what it is -- still a work-in-progress, with a mile long wish list and an even longer to do list.  I knew I could make our home a comfortable retreat and place to rest for our guests -- and I went with that -- instead of worrying that it didn't look perfect -- (especially with our 4 car garage full of Nate's entire home belongings while he was staying here prior to his move)

Some commenters asked if I blogged - or had an Instagram account. Yikes!
What now?

Check out her blog - not just the post on The Cottage (and their welcome to Rochester), but how they landed here in our town.  It's a great real-life story of God at work!


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Home Away From Home

Our home away from home was an Airbnb.  It was a comfortable two bedroom, one bathroom home with laundry facilities and a cute little patio.

Sliding doors lead out from the kitchen/dining area to the patio.  The sun shined gloriously on this patio from 10:00 am - 3:30 pm.

We entered the duplex/apartment through this door ...

Standing at the door into the duplex, you can see the hall to bedrooms/bath ... and the kitchen/dining area.

The kitchen was super easy to cook in ;) 

The bedrooms ...

aaannnnd, the lavatory ....

No bugs.  Warm days.  Open doors and windows.

and a regular visitor

We definitely aren't kitty people ... but this "neighbor" was very friendly for a feline.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Let me tell y'all, five weeks in the Lone Star State goes by fast!
(yep, I said y'all)
We've talked about this trip for years -- 
getting away from the cold, the snow, the cloudy days.
Finding warmth - and sunshine.
Kirk getting to work along side his Austin teammates, 
some that he hadn't seen in over 15 years.

Since I can work anywhere for my (remote) job, 
and Kirk had an office waiting for him in Austin,
This was the year.

We left before the sun came up on Saturday, January 7th and watched the sun rise as we drove through Iowa --then Missouri and Kansas.  We landed in Oklahoma City after about 10-3/4 hours of drive time and covering nearly 800 miles of highway.

We used Yelp to find a place for lunch in Kansas City, KS
and found The Lunch Box

Definitely a place we never would have found on our own, and probably a place we would have passed by without stopping, if it hadn't been for the 4.5 star reviews.
I had the best Cuban sandwich EVER!  The "wall of coolers" with beer, soda, Boone's Farm and Mad Dog lining one wall of the small diner were amusing.  The place quickly got busy.  One guy we talked to said he ate there the day before, and came back for more!
Then ... on the road again.

When we hit our hotel in Oklahoma City, we ate dinner in our room (leftovers from lunch), and crashed in a comfy king size bed.

Misson:  Arrive in Austin, Texas!
Drive time:  6 hours, 15 minutes
Miles:  390
Speed limit:  75 mph!

We slept in til 7ish -- grabbed breakfast at the hotel, then on the road again.

You know they say, "Everything is bigger in Texas."  We found that to be true shortly after crossing the state line.

The highways ... wow.  The speed limits ...  and the warmer weather !

First stop in Texas .... Waco ... for lunch at Torcy's Tacos for the WIN!
This place is SO good ... and thankfully they were in Austin too -- :)

With about 1.5 hours to go, we spotted Silos (in the middle of town) at the end of the road from Torchy's ....

Which could only mean one thing ....

But, it was Sunday.  And Magnolia Market is closed on Sunday (Good for them !)

It was a bit surreal to be here.
It also was exciting to know that we would be back here again in 5 days!

We arrived in Austin by 3:30 pm
Unloaded into our airbnb - home for the next 5 weeks
Picked up some groceries, 
Found the IBM site
and chilled.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


As I looked back through the photos we took in Cincinnati during the two weeks we were there visiting our kids and their babies in early October, one word kept coming to my mind.  


Cara and Tim are always so welcoming and always open to our visits.  The level of comfortable is second to none when we are with them.  We don’t take this for granted.  

We savor every moment ....

All the slobbery, teething, toddler kisses and hugs.  All the raspberries and little boy noises. All the little girl pretend play.  Every day.  All day.

Every diaper change.  Really.

Each trip to the potty with the two (and a half) year old (who often told me, “I will tell you”  -- as in, I will tell you when I have to go, because I don’t have to go now).

Every bedtime story with a sweet one year old little boy, then rocking him to sleep while giving him a bottle.

Each bedtime with Sydney -- we read, and she reads to us.  Prayers, songs, and her telling us, “you can lay down wif me for a minute if you want to.”  Absolutely we want to sweet girl!

The many pretend “grocery store” trips after writing our “lists” which always included avocados, bananas, eggies, juice, salad and milk.

Each time we were patients at the pretend dentist, and the pretend doctor.  
When we pretended we were Sydney’s “baby."
All the pretend sandwiches and pitas we made and ate at pretend picnics daily.

 The morning wake up after my sleepover with Sydney – seeing her sweet face as she slept, and soaking up the giggles and talk when she did wake up.  (I get to sleep with her!)

Outings to Target, Kroger, IKEA.

A date night with Sydney, NaNa, and PaPa to Chick Fil-A and Disney Store.

Best family restroom ever at the mall!  (kid size sink and potty!)
The rides on the school bus or car, for a buck, at the mall ... and the pure delight on their sweet faces.

Walks to the nearby playground, nearly every day, for balance beam practice, slides, climbing, bar swinging and running laps.

Cooking in the play kitchen and making music with the pots and pans!

 The laughter and fun at the indoor playground at a nearby church.

 The usual breakfast on PaPa's lap, and coffee with our sweet girl.

Watching Harrison be celebrated by family and friends and friends who are family, on his first birthday!

Talking about where the moon is each evening and walks outside at bedtime (in jammies) to see the moon with PaPa.

We also enjoyed a grown-up dinner out.  Skyline dinners with kiddos and Graeter’s ice cream!

Photo by Maria Lynn Photography

Being far from these kids and their babies is no joke.  
It is so dang hard. 

However, if it has to be, we are SO THANKFUL that we are welcome to visit, and have the means and the time to do so.

Tim & Cara .... from the bottom of our overflowing, mushy hearts .... we are forever grateful !

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


This morning was a typical Facetime call.  Sydney was eating breakfast.  Life cereal for her.  Coffee and Greek yogurt for me.  She was very excited to share that she was "dry" this morning.  We celebrated with high fives and hooray's over the internet.

Breakfast finished, Sydney "took me" to the living room.  She wanted to "play."
So we talked.  Told stories.  Took pretend pictures with her pretend camera (in her hand).  Talked about her baby and packed her baby diaper bag for their trip to the mall.

In a few days we will be doing all this in person.  We are all pretty excited.
Breakfast will most likely happen twice each day.  Once with her breakfast in her chair, and once on Papa's lap helping him eat his breakfast.

With 654 long miles between us and these kiddos I am so thankful for technology!
Even more thankful for her momma and dada who graciously call us several/many times a week to hang out with Sydney and Harrison.