40 miles? Done!

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Thanks for all your support in the form of e-mails, texts, shout outs on Facebook, calls, and more. I ran the 40-mile Solstice Run over a week ago and we reached our $30,000 goal for On the Ground’s women’s empowerment programming in the DRC. We couldn’t have done it without you!

It was the longest, shortest night of the year. Beautiful and ugly, difficult and loads of my kind of fun, humbling and inspiring. I did it! There were lots of ups and downs throughout the night, but I’m proud to say that I finished with a smile on my face and injury-free. I made sure to keep exercising almost every day since then – boot camp classes, yoga, hiking, running a bit, stretching. It’s helped. I feel good!

Now I’m glad to move on with my life and work on catching up with everything else that stayed at the bottom of my list while I was training and raising money for this incredible cause.

Onward!

this and that

The Polar Vortex continues here in northern Michigan, although we’ve got less than three weeks until spring. It’s been in the single digits almost every day for a while. This has meant that we’ve had A LOT of indoor time. It feels like we’re at school/work, car, home, store, church, repeat as needed. The windchills have been so low that we just don’t last too long outside, especially the littlest birdie. So we’ve been trying to embrace our indoor time (cabin fever…) with some creative activities (lots of painting and drawing) and lots of free play. Oh, and about five thousand YouTube clips of Frozen. Ahem.

Sight word study. Great use for plastic eggs from last year…

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Wren made me a sticker set from little white Avery labels. Oh my, my hands are dry.

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The girls have been playing pretty nicely together. Most of the time. They made a big forest scene then ran the train through it.

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Then all hell broke loose. Well, not really, but you know how it goes… all this indoor free play gets, err, messy.

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How is your cabin fever, lovelies?

 

 

northern Michigan ice caves

Northern Michigan has been buzzing recently with talk of the infamous “ice caves” that have formed between Leland and Northport along the Lake Michigan shoreline. We decided to venture out to see just how amazing they really were.

Skeptic/snob alert: usually when a lot of people say something is “so amazing “and “so awesome,” I have a tendency to tune out. Just like the books that are at the top of the best seller lists; usually when a lot of people read something, it makes me think that it’s not very well-written and I avoid it. So. Northern Michigan ice caves… hmm.

You guys.

They ARE amazing. Awesome. Once we slid over the ice, hoisted each other over the top of the caves, scrambled a bit and got down to them… I turned around, gasped a bit and teared up. I was stunned. Kids were playing around, sliding and yelling, “this is awesome!” The late afternoon light was incredible. The ice formations at this scale? I had never seen anything quite like it and I wondered if we would again.

Photo alert: there are a lot.

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What an impactful experience for all of us, but especially for the children. Nature is amazing. God is amazing. We live in an incredible place.

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It was one of those rare experiences in nature when I felt deep and wide in my heart that there is an incredible force that’s greater than all of us, within all of us, hugging all of us tight.

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The scale.IMG_7072

My ice birdies.IMG_7070

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And with the warm-up this week, these are sure to become hazardous. It truly felt like a once-in-a-lifetime gift. And it was worth every minute of the slippery hike down and the long walk back with cold, hungry, whiny birdies.IMG_7056

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Thank you, ice caves. Thank you, Mother Nature. Thank you, God. We are refreshed and renewed.

weekending

The “Polar Vortex” continues in northern Michigan and honestly, we are loving it. As Chris likes to exclaim, “now THIS is a REAL winter!” I just shoveled last night and we got another six (or more) inches last night. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? The cold has kept the snow light and fluffy and although it’s been windy today, the snow is still piled high on all the birdfeeders, branches and any other horizontal surface it can find. We’ve been trying to get out and enjoy it as much as we can: XC skiing, sledding, downhill skiing, kicking out the wheel wells, shoveling. Shoveling. Even driving is an adventure with the snow piled so high that it makes it hard to see at the intersections. Luckily everyone is inching out and taking it easy so we’re all in the same boat, err, sled.

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This guy loves this snow and cold. Winter is one shared love we’ve always had. I know many people who prefer to hibernate and while we like to do some of that, we prefer to be out in it. There’s nothing like skiing out in the woods, sweating and feeling your heart beat out of your chest from the exertion. And while it’s 7 degrees out, you’re sweating. It makes me feel ALIVE.

Speaking of hibernation, we’re doing quite a bit of that this weekend too. Simmering ribs and making macarons. Friends are coming over tonight! There will be wine and laughter and a feeling of “we’re all in this polar vortex together,” so let’s enjoy each other. We’re thankful to have great food, friends and warmth.

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And chocolate macarons. Yes, we are feeling ALIVE! Indeed. Cheers!

 

 

 

March Melt

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The March Melt has officially begun here in northern Michigan. I’m not naive enough to believe that this is The End of Winter. I know this back-and-forth dance well. We will probably get another storm (or two), but will it last? Hmm. I’m not betting on it. There are more trails to ski and rinks to skate, but fun winter might be mostly behind us now, no?

I’m itching to get some dirt under my nails. You?

funk

Oh man, we are in the midst of a major grey and blah winter funk. Pretty much everyone I know is either figuring out a way to get outta here or figuring out a way to eat a helluva lot of sugar, fat and caffeine before the Lenten fast begins. Oof. Speaking of funk, here’s some winter funk of a different sort for you.

Funky clouds and funky trees. And some blue skies from last weekend. Enjoy!

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welcome, winter!

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Real winter is finally here and not just according to the calendar. It’s alive and well in northern Michigan as our nest is tightly tucked underneath a fresh blanket of white. Finally! Let’s just hope it lasts beyond just a white Christmas. I’ve got skiing and sledding and snowman-making on my mind. You?

We started the shortest, darkest day of the year with a candlelit breakfast. Everything tastes better by candlelight, no? Although crepes always taste good to me, who am I kidding?

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To take advantage of the few hours of sunlight we have today, we promptly headed outside to our winter wonderland. Snow days are so fun!

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We came in to get warmed up and dried off.

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And to make some more cookies this afternoon because Christmas Is Coming! Thank you, solstice. Thank you, snow day. Thank you, family. Thank you, advent. Thank you, readers!

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stepping into winter

Snap! Just like that it feels like winter. The girls and I enjoyed our first sledding and cocoa sipping afternoon today and I’m looking forward to many more. It seems like it’s been several years since I enjoyed sledding. Either I was pregnant or with a newborn or there was a whining toddler who couldn’t pull her own sled up the hill. Something…

I was so proud of Wren today. She would fly off the sled and get a face full of snow and just laugh it off. She didn’t complain about walking up the hill or about being cold. Another sledder ran right into her while she was playing in the snow and I waited for the tears. Just laughter, yessss. Here’s to more of it! Please and thank you.

Welcome, early winter. I’m glad you’re here with us.

a November garden

What a strange garden we’ve had this year. Hardly any peas, beans or melon, not one single carrot, but lots of tomatoes, basil and oh my goodness, the tomatillos! And radishes as big as the human heart. I am not joking. Potatoes, yes indeed. And just the perfect amount of delicata squash to get us through the winter. We harvested the last of our bounty just the other day. It was a long, strange growing season this year, lovelies. How did your garden grow?