Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How We Met Pt. 1: Bakery Love

When people ask how Alex and I met I tell them we worked at a bakery together the summer after my sophomore year of college. That's when we started dating. But we first met three years before that.

Alex was the one working at the bakery and I was working at the smoothie place next door. It was the summer the movie Napoleon Dynamite came out and I was rocking a side ponytail a la Deb and Alex thought that was pretty cool. He made me a mix CD with a bunch of They Might Be Giants songs on it, and I thought that was pretty cool. We chatted in the back hallway and traded muffins for smoothies. We car pooled to a mutual friend’s birthday party. I made Alex a survival care package when he went on his first trip to India, because I had gone with my church youth group the summer before.

And that was the extent of our acquaintance for three years.

I was, at that point in time, pretty ok with not having a boyfriend. I had an amazing group of girlfriends in high school. We had so much fun together, going to shows and music festivals, dressing up like pirates for the midnight premiers of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, having keggers (root beer kegs, that is), watching The Princess Bride and Little Women, and laughing until our sides hurt and our faces were wet with tears.

We were a sisterhood. That sisterhood gave us a sense confidence, security and self worth that I think is very uncommon among teenage girls. We also were deeply aware of our shared identity as beloved daughters of God, and this belief lifted us above what was normal for girls our age. Sure we had crushes on boys, but very few of us dated. I’m so thankful for the innocence and simplicity of my teenage years. I never felt the need for a boyfriend because I was too busy having fun with my friends.

So while I had a crush on Alex, at the very tender age of 17 I would have freaked out and never spoken to him again if he had asked me out then.

I worked at the smoothie shop until I went to college. Then the summer after my freshman year I traded my smoothie-maker's visor for a bread-seller's apron and started working at the fateful bakery. But I didn’t see Alex at all. While I was pedaling pumpkin muffins and pumpernickel, Alex was traveling to India, Ireland, and then did fall semester in Spain, and I went back to my own school for Sophomore year. Alex was coming back from his semester abroad just as I was leaving for my semester in India. We were ships passing in the night.

But there was one thing that connected us. And her name is Amy.

My little sister Amy started working at the bakery that winter. She was there when Alex came back from his travels, and she would tell him about my travels. She told him about the fun things I was doing and she also told him about how hard my time abroad had been and how homesick I was.

When Alex heard that I was having a hard time, he sent me a Facebook message. I remember it being only a few lines, and couldn't quite remember what those lines were, so I looked back in Messenger to see if it was still there. And it was! Thanks Facebook! It wasn't a few lines though, it was a few paragraphs. The opening sentence read "I would have sent you an email, since I think Facebook messages are sort of silly, but I don't have your email address." Oh 22 year-old Alex. If only you knew then how much you would go on to use Facebook Messenger.

But I've gotten sidetracked. His message was very encouraging, telling me to hang in there, that I was in the middle of an amazing opportunity, and that even if it was hard, it would have a huge impact on my life. It made me smile, and I filed it away in my brain under "pleasant surprises."

Meanwhile, still in India, I began to feel a dissatisfaction with my heretofore status as single. I had a desire for marriage and was feeling ready to be in a relationship. I poured out my heart to the Lord about this over and over again during that semester. I had trusted Him with my heart and my dating life, and I had really been ok with where He had lead me so far. But now I was 20 years old, and I was feeling like it was my turn.

I was ready for something to happen, and I felt that change was coming, but I had no idea what it would be. So when I got home from India in May of 2007 I resumed my job at the bakery, and kept on waiting.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Product Review: Lark Adventurewear

This sweltering Monday afternoon finds me camped out in front of one of our TWO window air conditioners. Wait. Don't you live in a two story house? Yup, that's right. And still only two air conditioners. They're like the Little Engines That Could, chugging away all summer.

The kids have *Thankfully* lined up their naps today, enabling me to enjoy these tasty guys from Trader Joes.

TJ's, why you keep doing this to me? Why you take all my money and then give me love-handles? Maybe we should break up.


Summer is halfway over. We've been enjoying the nice weather as much as possible and sweating and melting our way through the hot days. I used to try to stay clean on hot days. But now that I almost always have sweaty kids attached to me, I've given up the fight.

Alex says that he loves the smell of sweaty little kids in summertime. I did too, for about the first week of summer. Now it's just sweaty kids all time, and trying to figure out how the keep them dry and clean while still satisfying the desire/need to go outside is another fight that I've been giving up on.

Then I got a sweet little package from Lark Adventurewear in the mail and am feeling like maybe there is hope!

Lark Adventurewear makes breathable, moisture-wicking clothing to help keep your little people cool and dry while they're having their summer adventures. I have not come across a product like this before. It makes so much sense! We've got moisture-wicking active wear for adults, so why not for little kids and babies? Lark Adventurewear makes super cute clothing and pajamas sizes newborn-2T. I hope they continue to expand because I'd love to see something Johnny-sized in this fabric. 

We got the Short Romper, and there are so many things I love about it. I love the cute pattern. I love that it has snaps at the top as well as at the bottom. Trixie's off-the-charts head size means that sometimes we can't get clothing over her head. Not the case with this! I love how soft the fabric feels and that it does seem to keep Trixie less sweaty. I also love that it has sleeves. I recently realized that most of the summer clothing I got for Trixie is sleeveless, and so I have to be extra vigilant about sunscreen for my fair-skinned girl. It's nice to have an outfit that covers her little shoulders, but is still light and cool.  This is definitely going to be a wardrobe staple for us this summer. 

If you think you could use some warm weather baby gear, Lark Adventurewear is offering 15% off your order with coupon code ANNA15. Take a look around their site and see if there's something for your little sweat bundle. Happy shopping!

disclaimer: This is post sponsored by Nakturnal. 
I received this product free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review. 
All opinions are my own.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Lots of Links I Like

During our precious short Minnesota summer months I tend to hang back a little bit from blogging and online life. Summers are for being outside, getting sweaty and sunburned and sipping on very cold Rosé. Winters are for sitting on the couch under a blanket with my computer.

Lollipops courtesy of Trader Joe's  
BUT....there are a few online things going on that I think are pretty cool and I wanted to blast them at you in case you had not heard yet. 

1. Blessed is She Liturgical Planner! Guys!!! This is the best planner. I had LOVED using my 2016-2017 planner. It is so well organized, there is room for everything, information about the Liturgical Year, and it is beautiful. I am very proud of myself for keeping mine out of the grubby sticky hands of my children for the entire year. And I can't wait to start filling in my 2017-2018 calendar.

These are still available in the Blessed is She Shop, in case you'd like to get one for yourself, or get one as a gift for someone you really like. They're $60, which I know is is a lot of money for a lot of you to spend on a calendar. But in my opinion, it's worth every penny. It also helps to support Blessed is She's beautiful ministry. So if you've benefited at all from BIS over the last few years, you may want to consider saying thank you by purchasing a calendar.

2. The Dorothy Exchange. Local Ladies! My friend Cara is launching The Dorothy Exchange this month. It is a women's skillshare based out of the Twin Cities. The first workshop, hand spinning wool, is this weekend in St. Paul, there are still a few spots available. Check out the site for all the details and to register.  

3. It's Prime Day! I know everyone and their mom is an Amazon Affiliate, but on the very off chance you don't know someone who is, I am! What this means is that when I share an Amazon link and you click through and make a purchase of anything, a very small percentage of the sale goes to me at no additional cost to you. On Prime Day there are tons of great deals. So I will link to the only ones I took advantage of. This teapot. And these bed sheets. Very exciting. What I really want is this thing. I texted Alex to see what he thought, but I haven't heard back probably a no. 

4. Fountains of Carrots. Are you listening yet? You should be. Every episode is great. But the most recent few have been, in my opinion, exceptionally good. Check it!

5. The Simple Show. This is a new podcast for me. I heard about it because Haley, from Fountain of Carrots, has been on to talk about books. I have added many books from the book episodes to my reading list, and I have implemented many of the entertaining tips (like ordering pizza and using paper plates) into my summer entertaining. 

6. I have had some good luck with new recipes this summer. We don't have central air in our house, so from June through September I rarely turn on my oven. We either eat cold meals, or I use my crock-pot. We made these beef sandwiches over the weekend and they were delicious. And I'm making this pesto chicken dish tonight for the second time. Our kids love it, which always makes me want to make a recipe over and over. My children also ate these Thai peanut noodles. I was shocked. And after that I was happy.

7. Finally, are you on Instagram? If so you should pay attention to the hashtag #mondaygardentour My friends Jacqui and Laurel started giving little garden tours via their Instagram stories. Mondays seemed like a good day to do that because Mondays are normally blah. And what can take a day from blah to beautiful better than a garden? I have been having lots of fun sharing about my garden, and slowly getting over my fear of forward facing video cameras.

I hope you're all having a great summer and that your gardens are growing like gangbusters.

Linking up with Kelly for some Quick Takes. 
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