I think it’s about time for a bit of an update. Here are some things that have been happening around here:
  • We got an e-bike! We ordered it in the summer and it arrived at the beginning of September. We are loving it! We actually bought two (this one for Ben and this one for me) but mine was too unwieldy (read: heavy and awkward) for me to take up and down the stairs of our apartment so unfortunately we sold it. But we hope to buy another one this next year that will be more similar to the one we got for Ben. Anyway, it has been so awesome for us. Ben rides his to work every day. We have child seats for the girls so we’ve been going on bike rides a lot (I have to ride our mountain bike which means I don’t have pedal assistance…but Ben has to carry both of the girls so it evens out {not really…he can still go way faster than me with very little effort but whatevs! I’m just happy to be outside!}). And Ben and the girls have also been riding alongside me when I go for my longer runs, which is really fun.
  • If you’ve been reading long enough, you may remember about a year and half ago Ben had some health issues that we were kind of working through (honestly, I can’t remember what I wrote during that period but suffice it to say that it sucked). This summer we noticed some symptoms returning so we decided to move back toward healthier eating (we were doing okay but as in every area of life, CoVid kind of threw off our groove). We still eat everything but we try to eat a lot more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes and a lot less processed sugar and animal products. We have both been feeling so much better and, maybe in a strange way, I feel so much more grateful for my body when I’m feeling healthy and well. I don’t think everyone should eat how we’ve been eating but I do think eating more fruits and vegetables is never a bad thing. Here are some of our favorite whole food, plant based meals:
    • Pasta e Fagioli
    • Banana Cream Pie (For the filling, I use agave instead of sugar and add 2 T cornstarch to make up for the added liquid)
    • I’ve also been checking out (from the library) and making lots of recipes from the Moosewood cookbooks. Their recipes are either vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan and they are almost always a hit!
  • Anyhow…this semester has been super crazy for Ben. I mean, like really, super crazy busy. I think it’s partly just the nature of the PhD and partly because, due to CoVid, the semester has been shortened (in time, but not in content). I don’t mean this a rude way but people just do not understand the amount of work one has to put in to earn a PhD. And I say that acknowledging that even I am largely clueless as to what it takes. I mean, Ben tells me about what he’s doing and learning in his classes and it just goes right over my head. Long gone are the days that I can go over his paper for errors because they’re so filled with data and jargon that I can’t make heads or tails of it. I try to give the support I can but when it comes down to it, he really has to go it alone. I think he is finding more of a groove, though, and feeling more adequate (that first year really gutted him). But we are both looking forward to a nice long holiday break (they’re finishing up before Thanksgiving this year; I suppose CoVid hasn’t made everything for the worse) before diving back into spring semester come January.
  • The girls have been doing very well. Wendy- if you can believe it because I certainly cannot-turned 4! She was so excited for her birthday and I think she had a really wonderful time! I asked her what she wanted for her birthday dinner and she said, “I want something that’s a little…just…sweet.” (She decided on pancakes). And then I asked what kind of ice cream she wanted with her cake. She said she didn’t want ice cream with her cake, “I want to eat ice cream kind of like an after lunch snack.” Haha okay, you got it. Can you tell the girl has a bit of a sweet tooth? It was sugar (in differing forms) and Chick-Fil-A mac and cheese all day long, so yes, I think the day was a success. Anyway, we are just so glad that girl is ours. She’s silly and happy and fun to be around, not to mention that she’s just so darn smart!
  • And sweet little Greta has also been growing so much and she cracks us up all the time. Her language skills are improving quite a bit and she can piece together pretty in depth sentences. She’s so quirky and just so totally fine with being herself, it’s really wonderful and refreshing. On one of our bike rides, we rode to a duck pond, which is at least 20 minutes away. For the entire ride Greta sat and went “ruff, ruff!” like a little puppy. THE WHOLE WAY! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: kids are just so delightfully weird. Another quick story: Greta has a little toy kitty that she will sometimes carry around in a purse. Once when she was carrying it, Wendy went to Greta and said, “Ohhh cute kitty! Can I pet her?” And Greta said, “No. Angry at you. Bite you.” Oh man, that silly girl. We sure like her!
  • I mentioned in a previous post that I was taking a break from Instagram…and…I still am! You may have noticed that I’m not on Facebook. When Ben and I went to China in 2013, I deleted my account but only intended it to be temporary. But it ended up being the best break ever and I never went back and have not regretted it for a second. Instagram has been different for me; it’s always felt less political and more fun…but recently it’s felt like it’s adopting all of Facebook’s worst attributes. To me it’s becoming more political, more hostile and people post more based on what’s expected of them instead of being genuine. I might just be being too sensitive because certainly I’ve also seen some amazing displays of love and solidarity on important issues, but I just can’t shake the fact that I often feel emotionally drained when I get off Instagram and that is something I can control. So, I’m still off and I don’t plan on this being a permanent thing but I’m also okay just being a little less connected at the moment. I will say that one big plus with not being on Instagram has been that my sewing has kind of fallen into a comfortable, not-pressed rhythm. Meaning, I haven’t felt that oh-my-gosh-I-just-have-to-have/make-that-right-NOW! feeling for a long time, which has just been really nice. I’ve been sewing, but just at a more leisurely pace.
  • Exciting news: I finished Christmas shopping for the girls! Actually I finished even before Halloween. I’ve never been so on top of things and I’ve gotta say that it feels GOOD! Of course, I’ve still got Ben to shop for as well as family members but I have a plan in place for all of those things so I’m feeling like we’re in pretty good shape to bring on the holidays.
  • I have chosen to take on a pretty sizable haul of holiday sewing but I think I’ve given myself enough time to get it all taken care of before we head out of town. I made family jammies last year and I wasn’t sure if we were making it a thing, you know. But Ben said he likes it and Wendy needs more pajamas, so I think I’m just going to go ahead with it. My plan is to use the Hudson Pants pattern for Ben and I like I did last year. And for the girls, I’m going to try my hand at footie pajamas (but, actually, without the feet). I bought this pattern and I have the fabric so I just need to cut it out and start sewing after the girls’ bedtime. Of course, if they turn out I’ll share pictures, but not until after Christmas! I think I’m also going to do some sewing for Ben, aside from the Hudsons, but I haven’t quite decided what to make. Unfortunately, men’s patterns are so hard to find, so I’ll probably go with something more basic (I really want to make him a coat but I haven’t found a pattern I love). And for me? I did have some ideas for holiday wear but I’ve had a hard time finding fabric for what I’m picturing. The good thing is that holiday clothes are fun but not really necessary, so if I can’t find what I’m looking for, I will just wait until next year.
  • Covid has turned everything into uncertainty, so our holiday travel plans are largely tentative, but regardless of where we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am really grateful for this season. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I’m just glad for a time to let myself pause and think of all the ways I’ve been blessed. Of course, I’m also grateful for Christmas time and the focus I get to have on my Savior. Here’s to a good holiday season filled with hope, peace and quality time with loved ones (not to mention some good food too:).

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