“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” – Dweck

IMG_4529After the rough start to our trip we cruised on over to the island of Tenerife and things started to seem brighter. We had decided to stay in San Andrés which was on the north side of the island. It was a quaint little fishing village and while the weather was cooler here, it was away from the package tourists and had a beautiful beach. This was the view from our apartment. Not so bad, eh?MVIMG_20180114_111837During the week we stayed around our home base but on the weekends we explored. We thought about moving over to Puerto de la Cruz, but it didn’t really feel like our speed. We enjoyed wandering around nonetheless and hit up a little playground. Indra was just starting to get interested and confident in her play yard abilities.IMG_20180114_160930IMG_4564-COLLAGEIMG_20180114_183145During the week we had our routine, sort of like at home. We started with listening to music and dancing, followed by copious amounts of oatmeal. The only difference really was getting to run around this beautiful beach.IMG_4603I just can’t handle the cuteness!IMG_4608-COLLAGEIMG_4653IMG_4595-COLLAGEAfter the beach sometimes we wandered around town to get groceries, but because the town was pretty small, this errand was usually a short activity.MVIMG_20180118_113213MVIMG_20180118_113253IMG_4707Otherwise we did really interesting things like peeking in mirrors, jumping inside suitcases and running up and down the hall. There was also a teeny tiny park that we would go swing at and while away the hours, especially when we were frequently kicked out for Ezra’s conference calls. Sometimes this meant just going and hanging out in the car if it was late or windy.IMG_4675-COLLAGE

Another weekend exploring the Anaga mountains – we went for a super strenuous hike. Kidding – it was on a boardwalk, we have a toddler and I’m pregnant.IMG_20180120_17550900100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180120180137218_COVERIMG_4838

I must be about 17 weeks here.IMG_4733We went to El Teide and had fun driving through the pretty impressive landscape. It was super windy so we let Indra sit in the car while we would take turns getting out to snap pictures or climb to vantage points.IMG_4741IMG_4741-COLLAGEWe had lots of memorable drives that afforded incredible views. As we worked our way further south and the weather warmed, I was kind of wanting to move locations. And actually, I sort of felt like being around other tourists and maybe just kick back a little. Traveling with a toddler was making me want to do things that were just fun and easy. Like being around more kids, speaking English with all the Brits, and actually having a supermarket.IMG_4812IMG_20180121_173853Because it was busy season and we were on a budget it was hard to find someplace to stay. We ended up in this little town called El Médano that was super great for windsurfers because of (you guessed it) all the wind. But this wind did not make for a very enjoyable experience if you wanted to do something like just walk around town. There was one day we had to get out of the apartment for Ezra’s calls and it was waaay too windy to walk around or go to the beach. So we went to the car. The gusts were so strong it felt like a hurricane was rolling in. Indra was crying because sand was whipping in her eyes, I could hardly see, people were walking sideways and being pushed into things. Once safely inside our little sand-covered auto, it started rocking. So, maybe not ideal. Plus it had the feel of a soviet bloc town – sort of a bummer. Ezra drove us to the super touristy part one day and Indra and I happily walked from beach to beach and ate ice cream.


El Médano, an awesome place if you’re into windsurfing, flying kites or concrete buildings.


It wasn’t all bad though, the apartment was spacious and cute. Indra had a great time taking baths, lounging and eating. We found a great little shop with lots of stickers.IMG_4855-COLLAGE

If we ever come back, this is the town I’d like to stay in, Los Gigantes. So basically this was just a scouting trip. Haha.MVIMG_20180127_124857-COLLAGEIMG_4885PANO_20180127_13311900100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180127143233317_COVER

We ended our exploring in a beautiful town called La Laguna. After a month in the Canary Islands we decided to move on. Originally we had hoped to find a place we loved and to stay put. We had been hoping for something a bit warmer and more relaxing. With the restraints for Ezra’s job, we couldn’t go to the smaller islands that might give us more of what we wanted. So we decided to just leave and go explore. All-in-all, a successful first month traveling with a toddler. Sure we made some mistakes, but I would definitely come back to the Canary Islands. MVIMG_20180127_164909IMG_20180127_165721IMG_20180127_171711MVIMG_20180127_182053

gran canaria

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale through the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” – LR Knost

Ezra and I are always concocting plans. That’s just sort of who we are. We had some other schemes in the mix and then some of the awful heartbreaking stuff happened when Laurie passed away. Moving to Iowa to be with Dave was healing. It was just right. But Ezra and I, well we are who we are. With winter coming and now a new pregnancy, we just sort of needed a little bit of a change. I was feeling a little lonely and sad and wanted a little more joy in my life while I was nurturing this little babe in my belly.

There was a list of places we would have loved to go, but you know, zika. All I really wanted was nice weather, family time and a slow pace. We always talk about moving back to Hawaii and we decided that’s where we should go. But… because Ezra had some specific work-related must-haves (silly things like reliable internet and a workspace – so high-maintenance!), and we were trying to save money, and we were looking during the busy season, and it was like a few weeks out… was it surprising there was pretty much nothing available in the price range we were willing to spend. So that plan was very reluctantly scratched and we quickly rushed getting a passport for Indra and decided on Europe. Literally this trip was about someplace warm and not super expensive. So off to the Canary Islands we go.


Running Indra at the airport.IMG_4287This was the most miserable flight of my life. Poor Indra got the flu a couple days earlier and must have passed it to me. I’d gotten little sleep the past couple nights taking care of her and was pretty rundown. Mid-flight I didn’t feel right and puked, and then puked some more. I’d like to mention I was also siting in the middle seat at this point, next to some unlucky person. It was my worst nightmare realized. I’m sure theirs too. We still had hours left before landing in London. I just remember wanting a mint or piece of gum for hours.MVIMG_20171231_214059After a jet-lagged, sleep-deprived night in England we boarded another plane for Spain, and from above the island of Gran Canaria looks pretty dang nice.MVIMG_20180102_141344MVIMG_20180102_142348We started in Las Palmas because we knew there were some co-working spaces for Ezra to try out. He needed to make sure the transition was smooth. He’s worked in enough countries to know that he’ll need multiple SIM cards, plus his Google phone and his iPhone, and still there will be connectivity problems. But first we hit the beach and wandered around to get a feel for the town. MVIMG_20180102_165543IMG_20180102_171526IMG_4293IMG_4307These pictures are beautiful and it looks like an amazing time, right? But to be perfectly honest, these first two weeks were hard. I was as sick as a dog and pregnant and with a sick toddler. We were staying in an apartment about the size of a shoebox and we were in a city which had not been my idea of relaxing. I couldn’t help but feel down and Ezra had to keep reminding me that we were only staying here until we found someplace better. I was so happy when the weekends came, sick or not – we were together and did a little exploring around the island.IMG_4342MVIMG_20180106_162055IMG_4355Ez was pretty amazing and would take Indra out in the mornings so I could get a little more sleep. I still had a nasty cough but was starting to feel a little better.IMG_4356We visited a cute little port town and wandered around.00000IMG_00000_BURST20180107133045020_COVERBouganvillea for days.IMG_4385-COLLAGEGiving Indra a little green juice before letting her try pizza. I’d had her on a mostly allergen-free diet, but loosened the reins before leaving, knowing I wasn’t up for the challenge while traveling. She actually did like the juice despite this drunken expression.00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180107143924476_COVERHowever, she got her first taste of pizza and was like eff that juice!IMG_4409-COLLAGEStill eating pizza while strolling around and fighting sleep.00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180107154327528_COVERPANO_20180107_154700This must be a famous windmill because it’s on the cover of The Lonely Planet. What’s the significance? How the hell do I know? I just snapped a picture as we drove by.IMG_4450Other things of note, Ezra introduced Indra to baguettes with butter. All of a sudden all she wants to eat is pizza and white foods. She’s in a pure sugar-induced ecstasy.IMG_4482Still sick and tired, but so dang sweet. She looks skinny, but refer to above pictures with pizza and bread in hand. She’s just fine.
IMG_4501Gran Canaria was okay. I didn’t love it, but that’s just par for the course. In a better apartment, in a more relaxing town, and in better health I’m sure it would have been great. We’re on the ferry heading off to Tenerife and excited for what lies ahead. Regardless of these first two weeks, I was so glad our little family was off exploring!IMG_4504





end of year

“Whatever happened over this past year, be thankful for where it brought you. Where you are is where you’re meant to be.”

The month of December tends to be one of my favorites. I always love the anticipation of all the activities. But sometimes all that running around can make you feel like this.
IMG_3651We went up to Minnesota for a few days so that we could take Indra on the Polar Express again. But we decided to also hit up the outlet malls with Nana, because why not. That kid went straight for the purple shoes… she definitely does not take after me.IMG_3654-COLLAGESecond annual Polar Express. We barely made it in time. As you can see, Indra is not fully dressed.IMG_3705Indra might have been okay if we missed it. Santa is so not her jam. To be fair, we don’t talk about Santa and he is just kind of a creepy old man who chats with kids. She was like “thanks but no thanks.” She did enjoy looking at the elves and the workshop.IMG_3730-COLLAGECuddling with Nana.IMG_3780This is perhaps the worst passport photo in the history of bad photos. The guy at Walgreens was so not interested in snapping a few more pictures so my kid looked cute while traveling. Then he photoshopped her head. This child has so little hair to begin with, why did he feel the need to chop off the rest? Thankfully kid passports are only good for a few years, right? So embarrassing. IMG_3791Just playing with lights and electricity so my mom can get a cute picture! But she’s pretty dang cute, right.IMG_3796Just the day-to-day grind. Study, exercising and cleaning.IMG_3805-COLLAGEBeing pregnant was making me a little emotional. I was trying to appreciate these moments with Indra… and snap grainy selfies of her being a little sweetheart.IMG_3820Just sitting in a bin of beans and making the world’s biggest mess. Whoever invented sensory bins, was a genius.IMG_3846-COLLAGEDave had been out in New Mexico visiting his dad. He came home late at night after Indra was in bed. In the morning she was so happy to see him. She was shy but became his little shadow. I had never seen her act this way before. It was so precious watching her and Dave just hold each other. Ezra and I hadn’t realized all the feeling she must be having.IMG_3870-COLLAGEWe took a walk with Dave out to the lake. We shared our exciting news about the baby on the way. Dave was so happy for us and it felt good to get it out in the open. Ezra had been buying me non-alcoholic beer so I could pretend to drink when people were around. I thought for sure that Dave was on to us, but he said he had no idea.IMG_3888Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-16,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-veIMG_3879-COLLAGEIndra and I had started decorating the tree, but now that Dave was home we made a night of it and put on the ornaments.IMG_3913IMG_3920IMG_3923IMG_3934Because we were (relatively) close to my sister, we made a trip out to Illinois. While they were all at work or school, Indra and I hit up the bookstore. I watched her run from one stuffed animal to the next and drag these giant bears all around.IMG_3947We had been trying to get her to like her crib, but to no avail. We thought, maybe if Beckett got in the pack-and-play with her and showed her how fun it was, it might translate back to the crib. Wow, was I wrong.IMG_3958IMG_3962Just going on a nature safari and looking at your average Illinois animals; such as hyenas and camels.IMG_3980-COLLAGEAfter a great trip to Illinois it was time to get serious about this holiday spirit. I made what I thought were my grandma’s Mexican wedding cookies. Only to be told later she made Russian tea cakes. Spoiler alert: they’re the same thing. After free-styling the recipe gluten and dairy-free (along with placing the cookies way too close together) we ended up with this…IMG_4085-COLLAGEForcing some crib time. I mean why wouldn’t you like this baby cage? It looks so comfortable.IMG_4087Back to cleaning.IMG_4095 Before heading up to Minnesota we decided to celebrate Christmas together. Our Christmas tradition for a number of years has been making fettuccini. We had our little family’s night together eating pasta and introducing Indra to the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie.IMG_4097Looking a little rough this morning. I had been so tired the night before I didn’t put up her teepee, so I quick scurried downstairs to get to it!00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20171223090700453_COVERAnd it was a success.IMG_4118-COLLAGEAbout 12 weeks pregnant and ready to share the news.IMG_4129Butt first this. IMG_4132We broke the news by adding an extra stocking to the mantle. Everyone was so happy to join in on our excitement… and I was thrilled that I could stop pretending to drink.

Christmas Eve! IMG_4138IMG_0115Opening presents. Some were hers…IMG_4156and some were not. Being such a good helper.IMG_4168Doesn’t get much better than this as a kid!IMG_4171-COLLAGEIMG_4189-COLLAGEChristmas morning!!IMG_4195
IMG_4202All the gift opening and eating really wears you out.IMG_4208Next, onto the Bjorholm/Eash family Christmas where we broke the baby news again.IMG_4212Loves her auntie!IMG_4227-COLLAGESoren’s masterpiece.IMG_4246Last stop was a whirlwind trip down to Des Moines for some celebrating with Laurie’s side. We made the trip down and back in one day. But it was well worth it. And then the holidays were over. The best part is always getting to be with family, and eating my mom’s monkey bread on Christmas morning of course.

late fall

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” – Lewis



IMG_3363 Ever since we got back from Hawaii I was feeling so tired. In the months prior I had been feeling uncertain about trying, so we just decided to not not try. As with Indra, we only needed the one time! I was beginning to suspect I was pregnant because of the fatigue and on Halloween I was riding in the backseat and felt a little “off.” I don’t know that I’d call it nausea, but I just didn’t feel quite right. I waited a couple more days then went and bought a test. Indra was with me in the bathroom and when it turned positive we jumped up and down together! It was so fun getting to surprise Ez when he got home from work! We were all so happy. Here I am at about 5 weeks.IMG_3355-COLLAGEJust capturing some of the day-to-day things. Dave is always so good playing and reading with Indra.IMG_4202All of a sudden, everything was changing. It was so great but also I started realizing how quickly it all goes. IMG_3380Indra discovered Ezra’s scotch. Between that and her pants from Nana, she looks a little like a party girl!IMG_3389Waking up to look at the deer outside. Crazy hair and all.IMG_3398Just busy doing some work.IMG_3409-COLLAGERunning around (and away from mom) Bop’s yard. She always heads straight for the tree swing.IMG_3420-COLLAGEIMG_3452We forgot to get a picture all dressed up on Thanksgiving. So this casual one will have to do. IMG_3467Just hanging with her faves on Thanksgiving weekend.IMG_0041-COLLAGEDave spent a great deal of time looking for the perfect location for Laurie’s bench. He wanted a place she loved, where we felt like we were visiting and honoring her. She loved this trail amongst the pines. We were altogether so it was the perfect opportunity to set the bench and spread more of her ashes.IMG_3484-COLLAGEIMG_3533It was sad being in the house for all the firsts without Laurie. To try to keep the mood festive we went to the tree farm and picked one out. Years ago we did this with her on a cold snowy day. This year it was warm and sunny and didn’t feel at all like Christmas was around the corner.IMG_3595-COLLAGEIMG_3632            Eight weeks and feeling like I’m already popping! IMG_3643

all hallows’ eve

“A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye.”

Getting back from a nice warm vacation I was not excited for fall. I wish I was one of those people who loved Autumn and waxed poetically about fallen leaves and cool nights. Instead I’m always like blah, yuck, bah hambug! Even a holiday centered around eating candy is not enough for me.

Moving on… we met some of our friends out at a library with the kiddos all dressed up. Indra was super into monkeys at this time so, hence, I made a monkey suit. Soon after she quickly forgot all about making monkey calls and that she was ever interested in the furry creatures. Toddlers.
IMG_3002A little pre-trick-or-treating at Nana and Papa’s.
IMG_3024IMG_4101I was feeling pretty exhausted after our flight home. It took Indra awhile to stop going to bed after midnight and I was trying to get some motivation to work on some personal goals. I was hoping I might attain it through osmosis. Kidding, this book was really good and I did actually stick with the habit, at least for a few weeks.IMG_3095 Like I said earlier – so not interested in Halloween. I was seriously tempted to just forget it. But then the 31st came and I felt guilty, so I looked up a pumpkin farm and we all piled in the car. It was also a freezing day. I know, I have just the right attitude, but I am glad we went. Indra had a lot of fun and was so cute.

IMG_3100IMG_3967IMG_3988IMG_3115Pumpkins pumpkins everywhere… and an occasional goat.IMG_4001IMG_3207IMG_3208IMG_4040IMG_3132I hadn’t quite figured out what to do with a toddler on Halloween and I was not ready for her to have candy. So we went back home and carved the pumpkin. Indra had such a great time watching Ezra carve while she stirred the guts. She took the task pretty seriously.

IMG_4059-COLLAGEAnd just like that, we celebrated Indra’s second Halloween. IMG_3200


“The cure for anything is saltwater – sweat, tears, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

For me, Hawai’i always brings a wistful feeling. I don’t often look to the past through rose-colored glasses, but its hard not to remember my years there without longing. When I moved away from home, it was here where I started to find home within myself. Hawai’i is where I started discovering my true nature. I was not who I thought I was. It ended up being so much more than just going off to college. In many ways it felt like a spiritual awakening. I was closed-off and sheltered in my emotional and world views. It was here that I began to open, and was challenged and shaken to my core in some startling ways. I realized how little I knew.

The Mana of the islands is undeniable. I’ve always been drawn to them as are many others. When I was in elementary school my family planned a trip to Hawai’i. This was special for us, not something we did. I was so excited, every night I went to bed dreaming about it. When people ask me how I decided on my school, I don’t know how to answer, or how I ended up here. I don’t remember making the decision. Somehow I got a flyer in the mail and that just started the inevitable. My mom said she saw the look in my eye and knew I was going.

I have such a sense of nostalgia, so many wonderful memories, and admittedly some I try to forget – it was college after all.  This is the time frame that Ezra and I met and fell in love. We would talk for hours and hours on the phone. We racked up quite a lot of minutes on our phone cards Hawai’i —> Japan. I’ll always remember his first of many visits – he talked so much about his mom, whom I still had never met. He talked about her so lovingly and said how much she would love Hawai’i, love the flowers! It’s sad that she never got to see it, that instead we are here spreading her ashes.

Dave and Laurie had planned to celebrate their anniversary on this trip. Instead Dave decided to take all of us. With so much history here, I had some mixed feelings to be back. On one hand it’s perhaps the place I love most in the world, but on the other we were here without Laurie.

After an adventurous flight, and almost getting stuck in San Francisco, it was literally a miracle that we all arrived to Kauai that same night. But we arrived just in time to get the kids to bed and have a drink.

This was the first flight we’d been on together.

We spent the majority of the trip in Kauai, on Anini beach. Dave rented a house for us right across from the ocean – it was an incredible location. Because Indra was still so little, and naps tended to rule our schedule, we took it slow. We couldn’t do all the activities, but we were fine with that. It was nice to just hang around in such a beautiful setting. I could have just stayed at the beach all week relaxing.

Indra’s first time touching Mother Ocean.

Now, this is how you vacation!

Indra loved the beach, she was so excited. Walking this way…Now going that way…So grateful we could all be together.Just a girl and her Bop.

Waking up at dawn may not be my preference, but we had some magical mornings together. Just the two of us, on the beach, watching the sun rise. When I look back on Indra’s childhood, these will be some of my favorite memories.

At the slightly underwhelming Waimea canyon.                    

I love this picture, but please ignore all the cleavage.

An hour on the beach by myself. What a treat!

Introducing Indra to tropical fruits.Nursing a naked, salty babe. Doesn’t get much sweeter.

At the luau.

Just napping at the beach like a local.

More gorgeous sunrises with this beach babe.

            Now on to Oahu for a couple days. Love the photobomb Soren!I hadn’t been to Hanauma Bay in years, we had hours of fun!

Just happened to nurse Indra on this bench donated by Obama to “Mothers Everywhere.”

It was a little late in the day to properly experience Lanikai, but I was happy to visit a beach that was special to me. It was strange to be back on Oahu for such a short time. I was sad not to have more time to visit my favorite spots. But honestly, it was more than that, I wanted to stay. So did Ezra. We were talking about coming back over the winter, and we regularly scheme about buying property. Hawai’i is the place I’ve felt the most like myself.

Indra had her first taste of sugar on this trip. Sampling the dragonfruit sorbet. But I think she prefers coconut snow cones.

On the North Shore watching the waves on our last full day before heading home.

Inventive baby cage.

I hold out hope of living here again. We dream of raising our kids on the island – someplace where life is slower and more simple. Where you walk outside barefoot and most of your clothes are bathing suits and sarongs. But obviously its more than that. The values we hold dear are of importance here too. If only we could talk the whole family into moving, then the plan would be perfect.


Family Photos

“There’s only one thing more important than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” – Leo Christopher


The past year had flown by as a family of three and we were starting to think about another baby. It had been the most transformative year of my life and I was feeling the fleeting nature of these days. I had never hired a professional photographer, but wanted to catch some of these magical days before they were gone. I love these images and how beautiful they turned out!


Change of Season

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” – Oscar Wilde

We wanted to continue our new traditions with Indra so we sought out an apple orchard in Iowa and took her apple picking. If you’ve only done something once before, can you still call it a tradition? This orchard was quite beautiful. Grandpa Dave had been before so he told us of some of the good baked treats and we all went on a tractor ride to the fields.

I think we may have each consumed a pound of apples before we left. But how else are you suppose to figure out what you want? These two are buddies!In early September we headed out to Champaign to celebrate Robb’s tenure/40th birthday party! We were so proud of him, turning 40 is kind of a big deal. Just kidding. He has worked so hard for so many years – Sammy and the kids were also part of the equation, supporting and encouraging him to fulfill this dream. We were happy with the chance to see them.

Indra making herself right at home in Zoe’s room. She’s sort of a little snoop.Watching the kids play soccer and getting some snuggles with Auntie.
Getting all sorts of love and attention from the Lindgrens. My bald little baby was loving it!Having “special time” with the kids. We swapped offspring for a few hours. The three of us played mini golf and had paletas (aka: delicious Mexican popsicles) after sweltering in the sun. Sammy and Robb took Indra to the park.Getting the hang of this smelling thing.Back in Iowa I was trying to get crafty about making Indra like her crib. Since she was born, we only had a one bedroom, so we all piled into bed together. While it worked for us, it wasn’t always convenient. I felt like we had such a special bond from all this touching, but to be honest, sometimes I was jealous of the parents who could just plop their kid in bed and go on with their night. And also, not always have all that touching! This little Baby Einstein gadget was a bit of an amusement, but never got her to like her crib.

We share a close DNA with chimps?! No way, I don’t believe it!
Celebrating three years married and fifteen years together. I swear this wasn’t posed. I guess making her sleep in a crib makes this sweetness a lot harder to capture.Loves Grandpa’s green smoothie. Even if sometimes her little ‘stach looks a little like Hitler.Getting ready for family pictures and just hanging out in Iowa.Sweet little dress that Zoe made for Indra.Walking in the woods with Grandpa to scout out a location for Grandma’s bench.Some of Indra’s favorite activities these days: sorting, being blown around by the fan, kangaroo-in-a-box, and talking on the phone.We went apple picking with Nana, but ended up just looking at goats and taking cute pictures of Indra in her new winter hat. Meanwhile, I ran after her trying to keep those little fingers away from sneaky goat mouths.That’s all for now!

Summertime 2017

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” -Charles Bowden


Our move to Iowa was a slower pace of life. We would see beautiful sunsets in the country and deer wandering the yard looking for apples. Ezra was around more, either working from home or from a coworking space. And of course we now had a third parent. Grandpa Dave and Indra were quick to play and bond.  Unfortunately, those first couple weeks were painful to watch Diesel slowly slip away from us. We tried everything and resisted the inevitable. In the end we said some prayers to him and drove in town to peacefully put him to sleep. We buried him in the backyard by the tree we planted for Laurie. I had Diesel in my life for 16 years. He had a good life and it was an emotional goodbye.We spent Indra’s actual birthday by being lazy and just hanging out. We went for a nice little stroll in the woods and dinner out at a brewery afterwards. Just what every one-year old dreams of on their birthday! Just hanging out dowtown Iowa City at the Ped Mall, splash padding and going to more breweries on this hot day.
So, trying to catch this final 12-month picture with her bunny was a little more difficult than in the months past. I guess this is what being one-year-old looks like!
Finally giving her a birthday gift. Just a book, because we still couldn’t decide what to get her. Parents of the year!Proof that at one point, I was actually putting some effort into potty training. Summer sweetness! Laurie and Dave would take a trip in the summer to the North Shore or more recently to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. So we decided to all go together this year. I had no idea how beautiful this area was. There was a lot of beach time, but also, never enough.
Some favorite activities of the week were spending a ridiculous amount of time in the sauna, then jumping in Lake Superior. I think I only managed the frigid waters once. But the sauna I did do.
Follow up our pretty intense activity with drinking, games and serious vacation reading. Indra modeling her new clothes from our German friend.If you ever need to find Soren, just look for him fishing by the water. Morning, noon, or night. Always. Scary Uncle Josh!
Celebrating our birthdays with a booze soaked cake made by monks. They know how to party. I’m turning into my mom. Forcing family pictures. One of the reasons we went on this vacation was to spread some of Laurie’s ashes. We wanted to take her to the places she loved. I don’t know if I should have taken this picture. I guess I was happy we were together, and wanted to remember this moment. I was sad and wanted a distraction. Either way, Laurie would have been so happy for us all to be here together. After we spread her ashes we saw the Northern Lights. Another thing that Laurie loved. Laurie would be so proud of Dave. He is such a loving Grandpa. Last morning in our beach rental.
As we were leaving town we stopped for lunch. At lunch, a couple beers were consumed. We discussed how none of us wanted to go home and what about if we got a hotel and stayed another night? The vote was taken, it was unanimous. We checked into a hotel, went back to the beach and called this our “vacation chaser.” It’s exactly something Laurie would have approved of. Back in Minneapolis, these brothers got ready to run Ragnar. Learning to smell flowers?Meeting the guys at the finish line.Ez’s birthday Back in Iowa I started getting a taste of what the toddler years would be like. In Michigan, with all the prompting and cheering from family, Indra really stepped up her walking game. Her first steps were really around the 4th of July. But she took it to a whole new level with this newfound confidence. Running away from me at the library. Running away from me at the park.I finally figured out a gift for Indra. I’m trying to get better about buying more sustainable and socially conscious gifts. I’ve got a long way to go, but I really wanted to get Indra a special doll. I found this company that trains and gives women refugees a livelihood. And the dolls are so incredible. The packaging was pretty cool as well! It came all the way from Dharamsala.Farmer’s market with Grandpa.

And that sums up our summer.

The Lake and 1st Birthday Party

“Time wasted at the lake is time well spent.”

Summer seriously is the best time of the year. Especially when you live someplace where winter occupies the other half of the year. This was our first time taking Indra up to the lake. As I’ve gotten older, the lake has lost some of its luster for me. It doesn’t hold quite the same appeal as when we were kids running around with our cousins. However, this year I was excited to bring Indra. It would be a week of a lot of firsts.
How many cousins can you fit in a kiddie pool?I cannot remember exactly why Ezra surprised me with this beautiful bouquet of flowers but I was really touched. It probably had something to do with how difficult the past few months had been. Either way, flowers for no reason are always a nice surprise! Worthy of a picture for sure.Indra, is like “who the hell is this guy again?”Taking a bath in the same sink we did as kids. It comes full circle! First time boating!First time swimming in the pool! I think she liked it! haha First time in the lake. I told you there were a lot of firsts! Sneaking off to nap with Indra. I was getting over a nasty cold.

And then we arrived back in time for Indra’s first birthday party. This was meant to be a casual affair. But I found these incredible looking cupcakes on Pinterest which spurred a garden party idea. Then I had finally lost some of my baby weight and this dress finally fit. So a simple one-year-old birthday party got a little fancy. Ezra saw us in dresses and insisted on dressing nice too. I had been counting on him to bring the casual to the party. But he thought he’d be out of place if he wore jeans. So fancy we all became!

I cannot take credit for these cupcakes. I bossed my sisters into making them. They had better skills than I, and also, I had planned poorly how time consuming these would be to decorate. Luckily, they put up with me, but not before calling me a “dictator” or some other such term of endearment. I totally deserved it.Opening gifts!Bench from Grandpa Bernie.So proud of this gluten, dairy, processed sugar free cake.It may look like Indra enjoyed this soulless cake. But actually she gagged on it. What a surprise, right? It was so dense it sort of felt like a brick.Finally free from that dress and god-awful cake!Baby buns, just because.

            Wearing off some of that food.

Not sure if I took this picture totally posing or if Nana snuck in and took it. Either way, love laying with my little sweetie.

Getting ready to head out of Minnesota and drive to our new home in Iowa.