The Outerbanks

At the end of March, we turned a weekend into a very long weekend and met up with our dear friends, Nick and Haley for a little get-away in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. (OBX, if you’re hip and local)

Even though it was unseasonably cold-think, overcast, 45 and windy, and we were there about 2 weeks before the busy season really starts up, we had such a fun weekend.

IMG_7900

IMG_7845

We saw some really interesting stuff…

IMG_7920

Our vacation rental was right on the beach. Although it was far too cold to make use of the beach, you can’t beat that view.

IMG_7857

Don’t let those shorts fool you. That little sliver of sunshine and warmth was short-lived.

IMG_7861

There was so much sand around and below the house that we couldn’t park in the driveway underneath without getting stuck in the sand. Kind of like getting stuck in the snow but replace the snow with sand. I can’t say that’s somethingI ever experienced growing up in North Dakota.

IMG_7859

And you know what they say, “when the kids are away, the grown-ups will play.” Or something like that. (“Grown-ups” being a very loose term)

IMG_7855

We had a really great experience learning about Wilbur and Orville Wright and the first flight at Kittle Hawk.

IMG_7869

IMG_7879

IMG_7889

Then there was the food. Oh my gosh…the most delicious seafood. The thought of shrimp and grits had my mouth watering even before we left Minnesota.

IMG_7806

More shrimp.

IMG_7805

And seafood straight from the boat to the table.

IMG_7894

Duck Donuts, anyone? (made to order, greasy, so bad for you, yet so delicious)

IMG_7864

Despite the cold. It was a fun, lovely, relaxing weekend with the best of friends. Being married has given me some amazing, unexpected blessings like new friends who I feel like I have known and loved forever.

IMG_7826

Advertisements

First date anniversary

We celebrated the anniversary of our first date at the restaurant where we had our first date, Victory 44. Because I did a terrible job of recording the evening on my camera, I know have to work extra-hard to record it with words. We even reserved the table where we sat on our first date. We ended up sitting in the table next to the one we sat at, but no harm there.

Victory 44 is SUCH a foodie restaurant. The menu is on a chalkboard on the wall and changes daily based on the produce the chef buys that day. Also, some of the items are a bit weird, chicken liver toast anyone? Not to worry though…I can always manage to find something i’ll eat. We started with the ham and cheese tots. They don’t sound like much, but really, they were amazing, and I don’t really even like ham.

IMG_7651

I promise someday i’ll get better at taking pictures and editing photos…

Grant got “the perfect burger” just like he did on our first date.

IMG_7653

And I got the spaghetti squash carbonara and the most incredible roasted cauliflower I have ever had: roasted cauliflower pieces, cauliflower puree, blueberry powder, charred lemon “gel” and blueberry “gel.” It was divine.

We didn’t go to the orchestra like we did on our first date, but we made up for it by watching a movie on the couch. That might have been better anyway.

I didn’t get a picture of us (darn it), but I think this one is a good substitute. It’s us at the orchestra very early on in our courtship.

pic orchestra

I’ll never forget how shocked I was the day he asked me out on a date. It was at church on a Sunday afternoon. My stomach did a somersault when I realized what he was asking me. I had to wait an entire week…until Saturday to actually go out with him. What a week that was. I still remember how happy, excited, and brimming with anticipation I was. When it was Saturday and finally time for our date, I remember running sprinting to the elevator when he to tell me he was downstairs to pick me up. I’ll never forget the sight of him standing outside his car (even though it was at least 30 below), all dressed up, with a rose in his hands, and the sweetest smile on his face.

Oh how grateful I am that he was so patient and was such a good friend to me even before there could be anything more than that. Saying yes to that date was one of the best (and easiest) decisions I have ever made. I’ll celebrate that anniversary with him forever.

Cabin Weekend

IMG_8012

What do you get when you combine dangerously cold temperatures, 7 girl friends, 1 cabin “up north”, and tons of delicious food? A truly memorable girls weekend.

In the middle of February, my lovely friends decided we should all spend the weekend together, tucked away in a cozy cabin on a frozen lake in Northern Minnesota. Our reason for doing so was bittersweet. Within the next few months, 3 of the 7 of our group would be beginning new adventures far away from Minnesota, getting married, starting new jobs, and finding new places to make their lives. While we are all so happy and excited for each other to begin these new adventures, it is so sad to have to say goodbye.

We made quite a weekend out of what was really less than 48 hours in our little cabin. After securing the cabin (or probably before, actually), we made sure we had a menu full of delicious food to enjoy, games to play, puzzles to solve, and things to talk about. (I don’t think we are really ever short on the food or the talking points)

I’m pretty sure we spent half of our time cooking. There was just so much good food that came out of that kitchen: Ebbelskivers, tacos, apple-baked chicken, grilled cheese, homemade bread…I really can’t even remember it all.

IMG_8011

Of course there were plenty of selfies…

IMG_8014

IMG_8003

What would a trip up north be without visiting Paul Bunyan? (Incomplete. That’s what it would be.)

IMG_8004

And of course, you can’t stay on a frozen lake without trying to drive across it. (Sorry Ali, I had to.)

IMG_8010

Even though that didn’t work out so well for us. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. All of the pushing and digging helped us burn off some of that delicious food we had been enjoying. It turned out that the road to get on the lake was actually down the road about 100 yards. But in our moment of need, we were reminded that there are still plenty of very good people in the world.

And we got to see this beautiful sunset.

IMG_8009

We certainly made the most out of those 48 hours. There is so much I don’t have pictures of: egg smash roulette, the most hilarious game of headbanz, late night talks about everything, the most entertaining dinnertime conversations, and the spirit of friendship that was there.

IMG_8016

Cheers to a weekend of memories and the best of friends.

IMG_8013

*In case anyone is curious, Grant survived the weekend without me. Just barely though. He learned that he doesn’t like frozen chicken nuggets quite as much as he did during his bachelor days.

First Married Valentine’s Day

I don’t know if it was before or after we got married, but we both realized that getting married was giving us so many new beginnings and fresh starts: new apartment, new routines, new family members, and just so many new things to consider as we began building our own little family. I think one of our favorite parts of our new life together is the opportunity to start some new traditions. As Valentine’s Day approached, we started thinking about what we wanted to do. We are definitely not the go-out-to-a-fancy-restaurant kind of people (at least not on Valentine’s Day, anyway). I think we would rather save the fancy restaurant for what we think is a real occasion: a birthday, an anniversary, visiting family, an accomplishment to be celebrated, etc.

So…instead of the fancy restaurant, Grant  suggested we get a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphys! I was instantly on-board with the plan. Unfortunately for us, we live in the frozen tundra. Seriously though…I’m not sure if it got above zero more than a few days in February. It was SO cold. Valentine’s day was no exception. We went to church in the morning for a baptism, and then checked out the doughnut (or is it donut?) place across the street from church that we are always wondering about but never go to because we are only in the neighborhood on Sundays. Needless to say, it didn’t disappoint.

IMG_7593

Sorry, I couldn’t help taking a bite before remembering to take a photo. What can I say? I love doughnuts, especially donuts with sprinkles.

It was just too cold outside (think -40 degrees). I decided we were going to pick up the pizza while we were out (it was 11:00 am), and I wasn’t going outside again for the rest of the day. We were home by noon. Case closed. It ended up being a really wonderful day. I didn’t have to work. We went to the gym in our building, did some reading, and just had a nice day.

We were treated to another lovely sunset. (Sorry for the dirty windows)

IMG_7594

Our pizza was delicious. It’s funny the things you notice as you get older though. The pizza tastes the same as it did when I was younger, but in my grown-up tastes (and likely skepticism), I questioned the authenticity of the “cheese” on the pizza.

IMG_7604

And of course, what would a romantic holiday be without some Martinelli’s sparking cider, candlelight, and dinner on the living room floor?

IMG_7615

I believe we ended the evening with a few rounds of Mario Kart. All of which Grant dominated, and I just barely finished above last. (I used to be so good at that game. Sigh…)

Catching up

I know I’ve got some serious catching up to do. I’m not really sure how I managed to get so far behind. “Busy” is not really my excuse. Sure we have plenty to keep us busy, but I have the same number of hours in my day that everyone else does, so that’s really not it. I recently read something along the lines of, “It’s not that you don’t have the time for something, it’s just that it’s not the priority that other things may be.” It got me thinking a lot about priorities and what mine are. I’m sure they will be constantly evolving, but I think the big ones will always be the same: my faith and relationship with God and Jesus Christ, my incredible husband, and our wonderful families. Everything else has its moment and place, but it’s hard to figure out exactly the right place sometimes.

I really really love this blog. I love that it allows us to share with our family and friends the details of our lives that don’t always come through in our phone conversations and not-frequent-enough interactions. I love that it allows us to document our lives in a way that will allow us to look back and remember these moments. I am so grateful for the kind words of praise and encouragement that have come to me because of this blog, some from friends and family I have never even had the pleasure of meeting. It really means so much. Thank you.

As I attempt to pull together a more cohesive recap of the past two months, here is a photo from our of recent adventure in North Carolina.

IMG_7812

Thanks for being patient and sticking with us.