Saturday, November 17, 2018

Fall Highlights

We started off September with attending the wedding of a dear friend of mine, in Hutchinson. It was a beautiful day and I loved getting to introduce my husband to a whole different set of my friends that he hadn't met before.
This girl is such a gem and I am so thrilled for her and her new husband to be! 
Side note: she sewed her own dress, as well as the bridesmaids dresses, with layer upon layer of gorgeous chiffon, and they were stunning!
Also, whilest speaking of clothing...=) A number of you who saw this picture when I posted it on instagram, asked about my dress. It is the Mikarose Miranda dress and actually not maternity, but is working great thus far to accommodate the growing belly situation!
 You can buy it here in floral options.
The day after the wedding, we had company from Alaska! It was such a treat to have these dear friends in our home for a brief visit before we all headed to Iowa for Turning Hearts + Family Camp.
The second week in September found us in Iowa, helping with week one of my family's Annual Family Camps. I missed the volleyball court this year but the sacrifice was worth it for baby. =)
John did a great job as MC for the arm wrestling competition. His running commentary of questions + humor kept everyone in stitches!

I loved spending time with my family while in Iowa for family camp. 
Thrift shopping with my sis in love. She and I share the same love for a good bargain!
Lots of soup cravings for this mama to be. =)
Storytime with the nieces + nephews. And a wild game of hide + seek in the dark, after that. 
He's gonna make such a good daddy!
Hanging out with these dears while our men were gone on business trips.
We are making our own kombucha now! I feel so domestic and healthy with all these bottles of yummy fizz setting on my counter and in my refrigerator!
Celebrating this girls sweet sixteen party with her!
Date night @ Saltgrass while on a trip through Colorado Springs.
Our latest addition to our backyard is a lovely little firepit! 
We had all the family over for a last minute s'mores party!
I loved these beautiful fall colors I got to enjoy on my morning walks!
This little man got to enjoy a shopping trip with his mama + I. =)
My hardworking husband replaced the remaining four windows in our house. Little by little we keep making progress on our home and I couldn't love it more!
We drove two hours to Bethany MO to attend one of my families concerts.
I never get tired of hearing them sing!
Spending time with Wallace!
Mom and the three littles returned with us to spend a week in Kansas! We had such an awesome time.
We cooked out one evening.
Another day, we took our Iowa Bontrager fall donut making tradition and started it at my house in Kansas! 

Smiles and powdered sugar noses!
Also, you can buy your own apron like Rebecca's, here, and one similar to mine, here
I invited over the ladies + littles in my new family to enjoy the yumminess with us!
There is just nothing like homemade donuts, let me tell you!
Hudson turned the big thirteen during the visit, so to celebrate I took him and the ladies to the nearby Cabelas, which has a phenomenal array of top notch animal displays. He was in heaven!
Doing nails with the sisters.
Guests from Iowa! I have been SO blessed by all of my friends who let us know when they are traveling through our area, and stop to either join us for a meal, or spend the night, or both! Such a blessing to stay connected with my friends in this way.
There's just nothing like a clean kitchen. One of my very favorite things!
Picking apples on the first day of fall.
John did the climbing and got the ones out of reach!
A crockpot full of apples ready to be made into applesauce!
Spikeball with the siblings!
The nieces and I were the happy cheerleaders. 
Supporting the sisters + nieces for their annual Operation Christmas Child fundraiser breakfast! 
Met up with my mom and some of the girls for the day at a friends' home in Des Moines. We had a lovely brunch together and enjoyed a little shopping. 
Wedding time again, with my favorite guy. So fun to see so many of our friends find their "forever" this year! 
So good to see these girls again during our time in Oklahoma!
Girls night with my sisters in love one night while John was gone on a trip. Homemade pizza, salads, hot tea, and biscotti made for the perfect evening together! 
The mugs are these lovely ones-given to us as a wedding gift.
I'll end with this shot from a gorgeous evening we enjoyed along the nearby river. So peaceful + beautiful!

And those are a few favorites from memories made this fall! 
Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The First Eight Months in One Post

Hey friends!

This post, as evidenced by the title, could very well be the largest + hardest post that I have ever done! However! For the sake of time (and also wanting to get caught up quickly!) I have decided to do a mere skimming of the surface and simply give a few highlights + moments from our first eight months married.

Life has been full, blessed, and incredible! I've lost count of the number of guests we've hosted (this spring already it was close to 150) and I tried to count up the number of total weeks (actually maybe months!) that we've spent traveling, but again, it was taking too long, and that's not really the point anyways. Basically what I'm trying to say is that although these past eight months may have seemed like a blank on the blog, they have definitely not been a blank in my life!

I traveled extensively before I was married, both touring with my family's band, and with personal travels I went on myself and/or with siblings/friends. Although I greatly love just being at home and enjoying daily life routines, there is still something so adventurous about packing up and traveling across the country/world. It is wonderful! Now, I have been blessed to marry a guy who travels a lot for his work and so these married months have been a totally different sort of travel adventure that what I had experienced before. I've stayed in more hotels than I'd probably stayed in previously in my entire life, eaten at more restaurants than I could count, and have learned to be totally comfortable living out of a suitcase.

Many of you have been asking + asking for house pictures! I can't quite figure out the best way to share here about that because our house is literally changing from month to month with the constant work projects + renovations happening. Such is the life of a newlywed fixer upper couple! =) Our little home is a fixer-upper and we are loving the process of turning it into a charmingly modern home. My incredible husband was able to get it for a reasonable price, and it is a lovely little place that just needed a whole lotta love both inside + out! Thankfully for us, we both have lots of ideas and know how to work hard, so it is the perfect project for our newlywed selves. You'll see a few pictures of it, scattered here and there throughout this post, and I'm sure there will be more in the future as we continue to work on it and post about our progress!

To start out with a little update from January...this is what my kitchen looked like the morning after we returned from our honeymoon. Every new bride knows the drill, ESPECIALLY if you were like me and moved states! There are boxes and bags and suitcases EVERYWHERE and YOU get to be the one who decides where everything goes. It is pretty awesome and a tad overwhelming all at once.
The decorating part came later on, but even at the very first it was fun to at least put up a few little touches here and there to make everything more homey. 
Sometimes, at first, when I opened my closet doors, I was afraid of what might come piling out at me!
In the midst of early mornings and late is our favorite fuel. Coffee + cream. Perfection.
We quickly restored basic order + beauty to the mess and were ready to have our first company, John's parents + his unmarried siblings, just a few days after returning from our honeymoon.
A few nights after that, I invited the whole Maxwell tribe (then numbering twenty-five) to a big birthday celebration for John.
His sisters kindly gave me the recipe so I could make his favorite dessert.
Speaking of sisters, it has been so fun to gain a whole crowd of new ones! I love it that we all live in the same town and that I'm able to spend time with them often! Here some of us enjoyed a cold morning walk!
The end of January we headed home to Iowa to host a "thank you" party for a group of our wedding help, and to bring back to Kansas the last load of wedding gifts, wedding decor, and my stuff. 
Following the thank you party, we went over to Illinois to attend the wedding of one of my friends. We sadly didn't get any pictures with the bride + groom, but we did get to spend some time with these longtime friends of mine who were also at the wedding.
Valentines date to the Plaza in Kansas City! So spoiled by my man-he took me to my favorite restaurant (The Cheesecake Factory) and then out shopping after that. 
Menards dates were (and still are!) a frequent occurrence! It is so fun to choose things together for our new home.

Business trip to Cali together in February! 
We flew out, but got a rental car once there and spend hours driving between various project sites/farm shows/etc. I got to see a whole new side of the state that I hadn't experienced before and it was beautiful.

At the end of winter, there were two very special little Maxwell arrivals-a new niece AND nephew, born just days apart!
We loved getting to meet them.
Since my family was on tour, I offered to do their "belated New Years" Christmas mailing for them. Fun times!
The beginning of March, my brothers + their wives stopped in for the night on the way down to Texas where we were all scheduled to meet up with the rest for our family vacation. It was a very short but very fun night and then we all hit the road early the next morning.
Annual family vacation in the Texas hill country was so good. We started it off with a "reunion" concert of sorts and then had four days together talking, shooting, fishing, playing sports/games, talking more, cooking + eating gourmet food, etc etc. Such a special time. 
Everyone took turns cooking. John + I made lasagna, garlic green beans, salad, + chocolate/peanut butter layer cakes for our meal.
One of the very special things about these first months of married life has been all the time I've been able to spend traveling with John for his work. And I love listening to him talk about his business! (above)
Late one night when we were out after a business meeting an hour away, we stopped by this church that was actually where we met back in 2016! Had to get a quick picture. =)
This would be me! =)
One of my favorite stories of our spring involved these little babies. 
I had been telling John for several weeks that I was hearing noises down in the basement. I knew it was some sort of animal in the walls, which didn't bother me, but at the same time we both knew that we really weren't up for sharing our house with rodents long term, haha. =) He would hear the noises too and various times we would go down and try to investigate, but it always seemed like the noises would then stop. Anyways, one afternoon I was reading in the living room (which is above the little "den" of sorts downstairs where our fireplace is, and where the noises had been coming from) and the sounds were really sounding almost human. It was like a very heavy and labored breathing was going on with someone or something down there! Well, I knew it obviously wasn't a person in our wall, so I let it go...and then several days later I heard a very very different kind of sound happening. It sounded like there must be a whole nest of baby birds or something in there, from all the squeaking that was going on! Long story short....and after a good hour of investigation/extrication methods, these little baby raccoons were removed from our chimney! We figured out that the breathing noises I had heard several days ago were quite obviously the mother in labor! Who knew?! John called animal control and they said if we would put the babies in a box and set them out close to wherever was the access point for the mother getting into our chimney, they were quite sure that the mother would return that night, find the babies, and take them away to a new home. (John had by now blocked up the chimney) So that's just exactly what we did, along with setting up a video camera so we could have footage of the whole episode. Sure enough, when we watched later, we saw that between the hours of 9-12am, all three little babies were retrieved individually by their mother and taken away to some new home elsewhere. We were thrilled that it all worked out so well and she came and got them!
April found us cutting down our trees out front as well as a number in our back yard, and hauling everything away. We had some great help from John's parents as well as various friends who were staying with us!
We enjoyed a few rounds of tennis!
We love it when friends come and visit us!
John prepping the ham for the big Maxwell family Easter dinner.
We love nothing better than filling our house up with a good crowd of young people. Game parties + work parties with the perfect amount of yummy food and good conversation make for the best of times!
 My hardworking + good-looking husband, installing a ceiling fan/light in our kitchen.

Friends who visited from Iowa..
and friends from Wichita...
...and more friends from Canada!
It doesn't matter where you're from, we love to have you visit. =)
My mom + sisters visited us in April.
Prepping the little flower beds out front to become homes to garden produce!
Allison came to visit also!

We hosted our first cookout of the year, the very beginning of May!
In April we got the opportunity to help out a few times on a nearby goat farm during kidding season.
This picture was too hilarious...we found ourselves slightly understaffed with all those hungry kids!
We loved spending time in the sun with the animals!
Speaking of farm life...I loved the opportunity to spend a day in the fields planting with Dad + Carson. They were down planting a field in southern Iowa, which is almost exactly halfway between my family's farm and my new Kansas home. I left early in the morning and took them lunch and then spent the day with them, returning later on that night. Such a treat!
John built me this raised bed in the backyard for my tomatoes. I got a little overly ambitious and tried to squeeze in too many plants, so my crop was a little hindered this year from overcrowding, but it is a wonderful little space and I'm looking forward to trying again next year!
Back to traveling again. We got deep dish pizza during a long layover in Chicago. Amazing stuff!
A big part of my spring/summer was spent sending out several hundred handwritten thank you notes!
We hosted a very fun game night for John + three of his brothers who were able to make it. It was a much anticipated and strategized night of Axis + Allies. 
I had fun making snacks for them-vegetable pizza + ranch pretzels (Bontrager favorites that I introduced to them) and then a Maxwell favorite of cookie dough balls, along with no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, fruit, + sparkling lemonade drinks. 
By the end of May my little gardens were looking like this! Lovely!
Together, John and I installed installation into our attic. I fed the installation through the machine/hose, and then John was up in the attic using the hose to distribute it properly. It was a big, hot, and dusty project, but one that we felt so accomplished about completing! Following that, John got our air conditioner installed for the summer. 
Josh + Cass came to visit in June!
Putting up more light fixtures.
Speaking of guests...this is one of our guest rooms! Still lots to do (trim, new window + window treatments, completed painting, new closet door, etc) but it is fun to work with the current elements to make a room beautiful! 
We planned a last minute, 48hr long total trip home to Iowa to surprise the fam before they left on summer tour.

It was also my first time to meet baby Andrew! His mother was one of my bridesmaids and he was born just two months after our wedding.
In June/July we were out in northwest Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota for a number of weeks, working on all sorts of irrigation projects. Typically John does design work so this was a little different from the norm, but fun for a change!
A beautiful field at sunset.
John building a valve bank.
I went back to southern Iowa for a day to attend my great-aunts funeral. She lived a long, full life and I am thankful to have known her! It was special to be able to be there for my grandma (pictured above with me) and relatives.
Shopping + dinner out with my sisters-in-law! We missed AnnaMarie who couldn't come due to sickness.
We headed down to Arkansas for our friends' wedding...and veered a little off track to meet up with Mitch + Bryn (who were also headed to the wedding) for lunch at Lamberts in Branson! 
With my handsome wedding date!
Weddings are such fun places for meeting up with old friends!
Back on the job!
Hot and sweaty and hungry! 
Exploring in South Dakota on July 4th!
So special to finally be announcing this news to our family + friends, in July!
A little view of one of our bathrooms. We plan to totally gut and redo it eventually, but this is the current look!

John helping redo the bathroom in his brother Jesse's new rental house.

My uncle and aunt and cousins from Missouri came and spent an afternoon/evening with us one Sunday!
Fun times with this little cutie of a niece. 
Coffee together after our hearing our baby's heartbeat for the first time, at 15wks!
The beginning of August was operation surprise for visiting my family again. 
At the last minute, John had a trip on which I was unable to go, and so we made secret plans for me to drive to Iowa and surprise my family, who was coming home from their summer tour. I got there a little ahead of time and was able to spend time with all three of my brothers + their wives, as well as meet my very charming newest niece and nephew!
It was also such a treat for my visit to overlap with Aunt Pandy's! So good to see her again! 
Finally on Monday, my family arrived fresh bread, candles, flowers, and a clean house....and me jumping out and saying WELCOME HOME! It was extremely much fun! 
Such sweet times with my siblings that week!
My husband flew in for the weekend and it was pretty awesome to be reunited with him!
John helping dad fix a door on a room at the Dutch Country Inn.
These brethren came and visited us in August!
Learning construction from the best...=)
And Allison came and visited again in August as well! Ah! I love it when my family comes to town!
Out for coffee with my sweet sis-in-law to celebrate her birthday! 
Goodness! If you made it through all of that you are one brave soul. =) Thank-you for taking the time to get a very slight little peak into my life the past eight months! This update truly does barely scratch the surface but it will have to do for now.  

I'm looking forward to being back on track and sharing current happenings with you in the days to follow!

Have an amazing Thursday!