The Markket

A group of English teachers didn’t let the fact that The Markket is spelled “wrong” bother us once we were blown away by its beauty and charm.

The Markket in Edgewood, IA, a new destination to all of us, was just one stop during our day trip. This home decorating store opened a couple of months ago and displays gorgeous home furnishings, full kitchens, and stunning woodwork. The gray/blue kitchen cabinet model gave me some serious home envy. The store also features paint, decorations, rugs, curtains…etc. from the Joanna Gaines collection in Waco, Texas. If you watch Fixer Upper, this store is her style of modern meets rustic. Is that a style?

Another highlight of the trip was time outside at Franklin Street Brewery. Even though we work together every day during the school year, a lot of our conversations revolve around our students. Time away from school and out of town was a breath of fresh air. It put a limit on the “teacher talk” and allowed us to just catch up with each other as friends.

If you want to join us next year, let’s get a date on the calendar NOW. Summers fill up too fast. Destination TBD.

The last two years we’ve spent a summer day at the White Water Park and a couple of days soaking up Life at the Lodge.

Summer Sister Time


Summer Shandy.



Need I say more?

Ashley, Meredith, and I all work in schools with the perk of summers off. Our schedules finally aligned for a sister’s day by the pool. Even though the 70 degree day kept us from diving in, I will never be upset with a day that includes drinks outside and fruitful conversations.

Meredith was sweet enough to ask Ashley and me to be included in her and Matt’s wedding. As if we weren’t excited enough!

I think there will be many more summer sister dates in our future.

Blank Park Zoo

Introducing Elijah to his first zoo was on this year’s summer bucket list. Even though I’m convinced he thought every animal was a “pup-pup”, he loved it. Side note, he gets very distracted on walks when a puppy goes by, and I absolutely love his excitement and curiosity. He can also hear a dog barking long before I hear it. Little ears but a lot of love for animals.

Our friends Paige and Tony joined us with their little girl, Harlow. Watching Harlow and Elijah interact was a joy in itself. Even though we live a couple hours apart, more playdates for these two are a must!

The Gift of Summer

The first week of summer reminded me time and time again what a gift it is to have a chunk of time “off”. Here is a bulleted list of what we’ve been doing with our gift of time.

  • Splash pad dates with Elijah. We also bought him a little pool for our back patio. He uses it more as a water table, but it’s serving the purpose of cooling down while exploring.
  • Too many walks/jogs to count with the jogging stroller. We even figured out the Dunkin’ Donuts is less than two miles from our house. This distance is just enough to make me work for my large iced coffee with hazelnut swirl.
  • Book Club with my coworkers. We picked A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman for our June read. We’ll discuss in mid July. The highlight of this meeting was the company, the weather, and the Summer Shandy.
  • Professional Development Planning. A group of teachers has been given the green light to take over the PD for next year, and we’re not messing around. We met at the public library for a few hours and came up with some awesome proposals.
  • Date night for the Pork Tornados concert at The McGrath Amphitheater. The weather was perfect for an outdoor concert, and they broke the Uptown record of just under 4,000 people.
  • A visit to Matt’s office in Waterloo. Matt might be the busiest person we know, so Elijah and I had to take advantage of a day he was available. Thanks for letting us crash you office for lunch, Matt.
  • A playdate for Peter and Elijah while Katie, Sara, and I sat in the shade sipping Starbucks. Does summer get sweeter than those moments?

Peter and Elijah

Elijah gets as excited to see Peter as I get to see Peter’s mom, Katie!

Even catching up for a few minutes is enough to brighten my week. Thanks for sharing some of your weekend with us, Gaffney family.

We look forward to summer playdates very soon!

Whit’s Baby Shower

Graduation season comes with many parties. Elijah and I made the rounds Friday night and Saturday morning, but Saturday afternoon was a different kind of party.

Saturday afternoon we headed to Manchester to shower my friend and childhood neighbor with lots of baby girl love.

I can’t wait to meet the newest addition to the neighborhood family, Willamena.

You put passion into everything you do, Whit. Raising a daughter will be no different. She’s very lucky to have you and Jake as parents! Prayers to you and baby for a healthy delivery.

Guests departed with an awesome party favor, a bottle of wine to open when we hear the news that baby Willa has arrived. It’s already chilling in the fridge, and you can bet I’ll be toasting to you, Whit. Much love!

The Magnolia Story

I don’t buy very many books because I have a hard time justifying the cost when the library is full of books I haven’t read. The library didn’t have The Magnolia Story, and I’m glad I splurged.

If you’re not familiar with Chip and Joanna, they star in HGTV’s show Fixer Upper. The show follows these two as they help someone else find a home and remodel it to be their dream house. Their renovations are incredible! They are located in Waco, Texas with their four young children.

Even if home remodeling isn’t your thing, this book has an element for every reader. It is mostly told from Joanna’s perspective, but some chapters are all Chip. These two share their love story among all the challenges it took running a business and flipping homes. The financial struggles these two overcame is almost as inspiring as the advice Joanna offers to couples and mothers. The irony of this TV couple is that they have never owned a TV in their home. They were given marriage advice to live the first six months of marriage without one, and they’ve never turned back. The stories of Joanna talking about raising their children and watching Chip be a dad had me laughing out loud. Joanna even inspired me to clean out one of my kitchen cabinets and devote it to whatever Elijah wants to throw in there, even if that means him crawling in and out of it.

The other element I love about this book is their faith and trust in God. Through the struggles and among the blessings and fame, these two praise God.

The show highlights how much energy these two provide to one another while working side-by-side. The book is honest and inspires even more passion for life from the reader.

If you’re looking for a glimpse into their story, here is a blog post from 2012 on Design Mom that features Joanna and their beautiful home.

My college housemate lives in Waco, Texas, and a visit is overdue. I’m adding a trip to the Silos and Magnolia Market to my travel plans if we can ever coordinate our schedules.

Baby Lewis

Saturday offered an opportunity to meet up with my friend Kathleen and meet her son Lewis. Happy parents = happy babies. Lewis is one smiley babe! We were friends immediately!

Thanks for letting us visit, Kat! Elliot, thanks for letting Elijah play with your train set.

A summer playdate for these three boys is a must, because I miss their mom too much!

2016 Recap


Family Weekend Away


Baby Shower at School


Baby Shower with Family/Friends



Preparing for Baby W (and an updated photo)



Embracing March


Surprise Baby Shower at School


Elijah James 3.25.16

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The Biggest Test of Our Faith

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Rest and Recovery in the NICU for “God’s Miracle Man” and lots of Swaddles and Snuggles

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Bringing Elijah HOME!


A Minor Medical Setback



Baptism (on Mother’s Day)

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Our First Road Race



Celebrating 31 with this sweetheart!


Celebrating Six Years of Marriage


Meeting Miss Mollie



4th of July


Livin’ the Lodge Life


Vacation: Music City

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Standing by Mollie’s Side


EJW Community of Faith Scholarship


Healthy Check-Ups


Starting My Ninth Year Teaching

Another Road Race



Notre Dame Weekend


Flood Week


Celebrating SIX months



Raech’s Birthday/Wine Tour


Presenting at ITEC



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UIHC Children’s Hospital Open House




Turkey Trot 8k with Matt



Celebrating John


Christmas Blessings

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Thank you for being one of the many blessings in my life!

May 2017 offer you health and happiness.

Birthday at the Vineyard


img_4974Saturday included celebrating Raechel’s thirtieth birthday at Park Farm Winery in Bankston, Iowa. I’ve been there a handful of times, and it’s the best winery around. It’s located near Dubuque in the rolling hills. You can tell from the photos that the building and wrap-around deck stand alone on a huge hill. This creates incredible views to enjoy while consuming their wine or pizza. You are also allowed to bring in any food. Whitney packed us a feast of meats, cheeses, crackers, fruit, and birthday cupcakes.

As if a day at the winery wasn’t enough of a party, the added bonus was our limo bus that transported us to and from. We made a few pit
stops at local bars along the way, in addition to picking up more and more people.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather on an October day.

It was an absolutely perfect way to celebrate Raechel’s 3-0!