2017

In 2012 we got married.

In 2013 we traveled a ton and found out we were pregnant.

In 2014 we had our first baby.

In 2015 we moved across the country and found out we were pregnant (again!)

In 2016 we had our second baby.

In 2017… nada.

Thoughts on 2017

Not that we didn’t do anything, but rather, it felt like a year to exhale and adjust to all of the changes these last five years had brought to our family.

This year was tough. Raising two toddlers is hard work and being a stay at home mom (full time) has gotten harder and harder as the weeks go on. I don’t think we’ve slept through the night (consistently) since 2016!

But, this year was also wonderful. We deepened relationships in the PNW. We celebrated so many things with friends. I took on a larger leadership role in our local MOPS group which I find so rewarding. We’ve met new friends. We’ve seen the girls grow and change. We’ve taken quite a few road trips and explored our new state. We even went camping twice!

But mostly, this year felt like a chance to deepen our roots, pause where we’re at, and enjoy the life we’ve built.

It was good. 

I hope your year was everything you hoped for and that 2018 brings abundant blessings and laughter, peace and hope.

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We had a very Merry Christmas!

We had a complete whirlwind Christmas holiday, and we’re still celebrating! Here’s a not-so-quick recap of the past few days.

Benroeck Christmas 2017

December 24

Was Tim’s birthday! We had a group of friends over for breakfast in the morning and I made these cinnamon rolls from scratch, and they were delicious! We served coffee, fruit, yogurt, bagels, and the rolls… and fun was had by all! Well, that’s what I like to assume, anyways. Tim had fun, so that’s all that matters!

That evening we went to church and then over to our friends’ house for some Christmas Eve soup dinner.

Benroeck Christmas 2017
Benroeck Christmas 2017

December 25

Well, it’s like I learned nothing from last year, because I dragged my whole family out to the mountains for our new Christmas tradition of playing in snow & snowshoeing on Christmas. I just started this tradition last year and it was a complete disaster. As in, last year the girls were so cranky during our ‘adventure’ that I cancelled Christmas and threatened to disown everyone and it was all awful.

So of course I tried to do the exact same adventure again this year, hoping for better results. I’m a true optimist. Or crazy person. BUT, it was way better this year! We only had one kid screaming for most of our snowshoe hike, and Clara actually had a lot of fun for at least part of it. I’m considering it all a win.

Then we had hot chocolate and dinner at a friends’ house.

Benroeck Christmas 2017

December 26

The day after Christmas we basically did what my girls would have chosen to do on actual Christmas, which is to hang out in pajamas, open a few gifts, and play in the snow for a while. They built a snowman (which is so rare in Seattle! It doesn’t usually snow here!) and drank hot chocolate and even used the sled for a bit.

We ordered takeout for dinner, because ain’t no one got time to cook after the holidays. Bedtime was early, and life was good!

Benroeck Christmas 2017
Benroeck Christmas 2017

Currently

We’re continuing to celebrate the holidays over the next few days by taking it easy and enjoying Tim’s time off work (until 2018!). I have a long to-do list, but of course none of it is happening. I am taking some time to make my new years resolutions using power sheets from here, which I can’t recommend enough. Seriously, my resolutions are going to be so good this year. Right now I’m just working through the book and brainstorming, but I’ll probably have actual goals/resolutions eventually. Hopefully.

This afternoon Clara and Tim are enjoying a joint Christmas gift, which is to attend lunch and a play at the theater – just the two of them! I hope they have fun. I’m hoping that this also gives me some free time while Isabelle is napping… the gift that keeps on giving.

I hope you had a very merry holiday season (and that it’s hopefully still going strong)!

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Links worth clicking on.

Our whole family was taken down by a nasty stomach bug last week(end), and all I can say is thank goodness that whole ordeal is over! But, if there is a silver lining to the whole thing, it’s that we all got some extra rest! My general mode is go-go-go, so when my body wants to go to bed early or just sit on the couch all day, it’s kind of a relief (in a strange way).

If you’re stuck on the couch or behind a desk for a few hours today, here’s a few links worth clicking on!

Links Worth Clicking On

(Slippers here)

+ This past year in pictures.

+ One of my favorite sites has a terrific gift guide for babies/toddlers.

+ These are the cutest DIY ornaments I’ve ever seen. If only I was crafty…

+ I’ve never even heard of this show but now I want to watch it on Netflix immediately.

+ I always consult this list for my next books to read.

+ I know I don’t NEED this dress but when LOFT has 50% off sales…

+ Speaking of shopping, this coat is one of my best shopping decisions of the winter (and is on super-sale).  And this cardigan was a close second favorite.  Actually, scratch that, these slippers have been on my feet since I bought them and may deserve ‘favorite purchase’ distinction.

Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?! I swear this season gets shorter and shorter every year.

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Four things that arrived at my house this weekend

The best part about online shopping is that I buy something, forget about it, and then when it shows up at my doorstep I get super surprised when I open the box! (Does anyone else have this happen to them or am I the only one who gets shopping amnesia?) This weekend was especially fun because I received a lot of goodies.

Four Things That Have Shown Up On My Doorstep This Weekend

Here’s what showed up at my house this weekend:

+ A(nother) box of clothes

I listened to Jen Hatmaker’s podcast (per usual!) and she talked about Evereve and of course I ended up signing up to receive a box o’ clothes from them via Trendsend.  There is no styling fee and easy returns, so I had to try it. I ended up only keeping one item, but I’m already obsessed with it. I’m going to be ordering more boxes in the future, with more specific instructions about what I’d live to receive. So many items were so close to being kept, but didn’t fit correctly or were too similar to what I already own. I’ve been telling myself that if I’m going to order boxes like this (or Stitch Fix or Le Tote – use the referral link for a free tote!), I have to be picky about what I keep.

+ Spanx

Speaking of shopping, I was recently convinced to up my leggings game and bought these.  I kept hearing about them (from other bloggers on Instastories) and finally succumbed to the pressure. I’ve tried them on once and Tim gave me the thumbs up, but the verdict is still out on whether I’m going to keep them. Can I pull of faux leather? I just don’t know… (Anthro sells them too, and with the current sale I think they’re cheaper there, but I love the free Nordstrom returns so purchased them from there to try on risk-free.)

+ An ‘Intentional Goal Planner’

I am ending my 2017 focusing on 2018 – which is already an improvement for me! Usually I don’t think about my new year goals until after the first week of January, but I’m determined to do better this year. These Lara Casey ‘Cultivate What Matters’ powersheets have been soooooo helpful and I cannot recommend them enough. (Thankful shoutout to my friend Erin for recommending them to me!)

+ Evicted

I received and read this book over the weekend and wow. Read it immediately. It’s nonfiction and an easy read and will change the way you see the world, especially if you live in a big city. Add this one to your list ASAP and let me know what you think!

Only a week until Christmas! Maybe I should start buying presents for other people now… yikes. Wish me luck!

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25 Podcasts I’m Listening To

Are you listening to podcasts?

I’m obsessed. Podcasts are my favorite things. I listen to them when I’m in the car (by myself or with just Isabelle… when Clara is around we’re all forced to listen to endless renditions of ‘Jingle Bells’), when I’m doing dreaded chores, as I’m writing this post, when I’m cooking, when I’m walking Ozzie… basically, they’re in my background.

I always see posts asking for podcast recommendations, so I thought I’d publish a list of what I’m listening to (and loving).

Hopefully there’s something on this list you can start listening to!

25 Podcasts I'm Currently Listening To

25 Podcasts I’m Listening To

+ Accused – I’m a fan of true crime podcasts, so there are quite a few of this genre on the list! Accused was one of my favorites (both season one and season two)!

+ Coffee + Crumbs – Another genre I enjoy listening to is anything/everything about motherhood, and this is one of the good ones. I also read and recommend the blog.

+ Dear Sugars – Have you read Cheryl Strayed’s advice book? This is an advice podcast, and I can honestly say it’s changed my life. I’ve followed little nuggets of their wisdom and it’s made a huge difference in my relationship with others.

+ Death, Sex & Money – Stories about… you guessed it… death, sex, and money. As I’m typing this I’m listening to an episode called “Finding Love, and a Kidney, on Tinder”.

+ For the Love with Jen Hatmaker – I love Jen Hatmaker. I actually don’t love her books, but I saw her on tour and think she’s just as hilarious live as she is on her Facebook page. Her podcast is excellent and I think her topics and interviewees are really interesting.

+ Happier with Gretchen Rubin – I’ve also seen Gretchen Rubin live, and she was great and really informative. I don’t listen to this podcast super regularly, but I’m always inspired when I do listen to it.

+ Modern Love – Readings of popular essays from the Modern Love section of the NYTimes.

+ Mom Enough – A podcast on motherhood. This is another one I don’t listen to super regularly unless the topic is relevant to me at the time, but they cover a wide variety of issues, so I search through their archives every once in a while and find something interesting to listen to.

+ Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations – I mean… it’s Oprah. I love Oprah. She interviews a lot of interesting people, and it’s always an inspiring podcast to listen to.

+ S-Town – If you haven’t binge listened to this, you should go ahead and do that, now. I was hooked from the first few minutes of the first episode.

+ Serial – Is there anyone who hasn’t listened to the first season of Serial?! I wasn’t as into the second season, but the first season was amazing.

+ Sorta Awesome – I used to love Meg’s blog, and now I love her podcast! It’s like listening to friends chat. I especially love the first part of every episode when the hosts discuss what their favorite things are that week. I always hear about something new to try.

+ Strangers – I just started listening to this one, so I’ve only listened to a few episodes, but it basically features real people telling true stories from their lives… what’s not to love about that?! I find people to be completely fascinating.

+ Sworn – Yet another true crime podcast… if that’s your thing, this is another one worth listening to!

+ The Ben & Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast – This is my guilty pleasure podcast. I limit myself to one bachelor(ette) podcast, and this is the one I chose. Sometimes I just need to keep up on the gossip… yeah I don’t know, I can barely justify this one… let’s move right along.

+ The Broad Experience – Sometimes I don’t feel like this podcast applies to me as much anymore in my current life as a SAHM, but it’s about women & the workplace, and I listen to it when the title interests me. A friend recommended it, and I think you working ladies out there will love it!

+ The First 40 Miles – I listened to a lot of these podcasts when I was getting ready to go on my first backpacking trip this past August. If you’re at all into backpacking/hiking, I would recommend this one!

+ The Longest Shortest Time – This is a podcast about parenting in general, and I almost always listen to it. I love the range of topics and the hosts and just everything about it.

+ The RobCast – I especially loved this episode on boundaries.

+ Thinking Sideways – Another ‘true crime’ type podcast. I love listening to all of the unsolved stories/mysteries!

+ This American Life – I’ve been listening to this one for years and still love it.

+ True Crime Obsessed – If you follow me on IG stories, you may have seen me mention this. I’ve binge listened to this podcast recently and love it so much. So, so much. Every episode is about a different true crime documentary, and this podcast is the hosts’ commentary on each one.

+ Up First – This is an NPR podcast (only a few minutes long!) and I listen to it every morning to catch up on the news. Well, I listen to it on days when I want to know the news. Some days I just need a little reality break, ya know?

+ Up and Vanished – I binge listened to this podcast when it first came out and was so into it! I recommend just listening to the episodes and not all of the ‘extra’ stuff.

+ Young House Love Has A Podcast – I just started reading their blog regularly, and I love their podcast! John and Sherry talk about DIY projects and home decorating and just… life. They’re fun to listen to and the podcasts are (relatively) short!

I know this is a lot of podcasts, and I obviously don’t listen to every single episode of every single one, but between all of these, there’s always something interesting on my podcast list! I also recommend listening at 1.5x the speed, as I find it makes listening to episodes easier and more efficient.

Happy podcasting!

And tell me, what other podcasts should be on my list?!

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