<< my week in review: 11/23-29


I pretty much ate this for three days straight.

I haven't been here in a loooooong time.
But on Friday, it felt like a good idea.

Look what I found on my phone.
She's so silly.

I spent some time cleaning out my dresser this week.
I think it's safe to throw out my maternity swimsuit that I wore while pregnant with Kaitlin.

Other things I found while cleaning out my clothes drawers:
- my driver's licenses from both Ohio and Missouri.
- my athletic membership card.
- the new athletic membership card I got because I couldn't find the first one.
- the kids' Christmas wish lists from two years ago.
- and so many more things that don't belong in clothes drawers.

We picked out a Christmas tree on Saturday.
The tree farm has perfectly good trees close to the parking lot, 
but we like to walk all the way to the back to find ours.
It's kind of our thing, part of the experience.

We had to get the tree picked out before the Ohio State football game.

When we got the Christmas decorations out, all I could think when I looked at the boxes was, 
It's a lot of work to get the house all Christmas-y.
And, really, I'm so tired of the same old decorations that I've had for years.

But it's a fun thing to see the kids' excitement as we put up each ornament on the tree.
And at seeing their stockings hanging by the fireplace.
Totally worth all the work.

My favorite part of both trees are the handmade tree toppers and ornaments.
I have the best angel and star toppers ever!

John got the chess board out and we played a couple games.
I don't really know how to play, he's teaching me.

[bonus feature:]

When he was little, oh, say 4 or 5, we would play Checkers.
Like a good mom, I would strategically make bad moves.
And I noticed that he would take advantage of those bad moves, 
so I began to try a little harder to lose by not so much.
But he made it hard for me to lose by not so much, so I tried to lose not at all.
And sometimes I won. 
But mostly he did.

That either tells you that he is a really smart boy, or I am a really bad Checkers strategist.
You decide.

[end bonus feature]

I made a banner for the birthday party for Jesus that we're having this Sunday.

(If you can't join the party at our house, you can still join us by giving Jesus a birthday gift online.
It will go towards buying a single mom a house through World Vision.
We can't do it alone, which is why we're having the party.)

It's so festive, I might just keep it up.

I love mom's Christmas decorations.
They bring back memories of Europe.

A while back mom and I were in Aldi, saw a bunch of German food, and had said we ought to do it.
It sounded like fun to reminisce over schnitzel, rotkohl and currywurst.

I had forgotten it was going to be my birthday meal too.

Real Kenyan coffee that mom brought back for me from Kenya.
I had even run out of coffee just that morning!
God is so good. To provide coffee like that for me when He knew I needed it.

Speaking of coffee...

Sarah had coffee ready for me on Wednesday when I came home from work.
Guess which cup of coffee is hers?
(yes, there's coffee in there)
"Wow, Sarah, thanks for making me coffee!"
"I made it so that you wouldn't fall asleep when you got home."
I guess I do come home tired after a long day.
I didn't realize I was that tired.

My new coffee buddy.
She's holding her cup just like me, with a pillow on her lap, just like me.

My other coffee buddy.
She takes her coffee with a little less cream.

The old baker guy at work brought me treats again.
These rosettes were still warm when he gave them to me.

We got our family pictures!
Our first ever family portraits with all five of us. 
So exciting.

I love them all, but I love how this one captures the fun we have as a family:

And I love seeing this post by my daughter in my Instagram feed.
"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."
I love that she added that last part.
She certainly is a gift to me.

I'm @annebickle on Instagram.

life rearranged


Our First Ever Family Portraits

I guess it was about time we finally had our family portraits done.


I love them all.
But that last one makes me smile.
It captures our silly side.

Andrea of Andrea Nelson Photography made us look good, I think.
If you live near us, chances are good she can make you look good too.

Now.... to pick out a Christmas card.... I'd better get going on that.


<< my week in review: 11/16-22


Last Friday we left for a weekend in Florida.
Which meant I had to reacquaint my legs with a razor.
I have to be honest, that's one of the nice things about winter in Minnesota:
You can get away with stubble.
I'm thankful for that.

Before we could take off they had to de-ice the plane because there was frost on the wings.
I'd never seen them de-ice a plane before. 
That's what it looks like.

I picked this up in the airport.
I'd heard about it on Momastery, and couldn't wait to read it over the weekend.

The first thing we did after checking in was to find a beach.
Because that's what you do when you go to Florida.
And when you are a Minnesotan in Florida, you find a beach even when a Nor'easter is blowing in.
I'm just thankful I brought my wool coat.

I like this picture.
I love this guy.
I'm thankful for him.

The wind was blowing the waves in fast and the foam was flying all around.
It was a little tricky to get a picture of the foam next to my feet without getting wet.
Several times we backpedaled to avoid the incoming waves.
A fun memory.
I'm thankful for laughing with my love.

I was just a little bit obsessed with the lights at the hotel.

Here's an example of one of the things that JD does that is so wonderful:

He knows I like Waffle House.
We don't have Waffle House in Minnesota.
They don't have Waffle House in Ponte Vedra Beach, a swanky golf community, either.
Imagine that.
So JD looked up where the closest Waffle House was and we drove into Jacksonville one morning so that I could have my pecan waffle from Waffle House.
Isn't that just so romantic? 
I think so.
Just one example of why I'm thankful for him.

Sunday afternoon, right before we had to leave, the sky turned blue and the sun came out.
Thankfully we were able to experience sunshine for a couple hours.

Here we are in front of the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass.
That's actually why were in Florida, for the FCA national golf tournament.
We didn't golf, but we sent a team there from SE Minnesota.
So we decided to go cheer them on and make a little getaway out of it.
I'm thankful we could do that.

This photo was a must: my Chucks and jeans next to Hole 18.
We laughed about my packing all weekend.
I'm not really up on what to wear around golfers.
Apparently jeans on the course is a no-no.
And my Chuck Taylors, well, evidently not golfing shoes.
(I love them, though. So thankful I found them in a second hand shop.)


I mentioned before that I like to take lots of pictures.
I didn't want to overwhelm the week in review with Florida photos & stories,


I am so thankful when the kids cook dinner on days that I work.
Mac & Cheese is John's specialty.

We devised this system to track who ate how many of what.
A simple chart drawn on the box does the trick.
No more fights about someone eating all the fruit snacks before someone else even had one.

Sarah has been excited about having the Birthday Party for Jesus to raise money to buy a mom a house through World Vision. She's really the one behind all this, driving it.

Since it's quite a bit of money to raise ($2,950) we decided to make a link for online contributions so that people who can't come to our party can still be a part of it.

She is very determined in her desire to give a single mom a home.
It blesses me to see that in her.
I'm thankful for that.
Here's another thing that I'm thankful about winter in Minnesota:
A two-car refrigerator to keep the drinks cold.
I found this on my kitchen chalkboard.
That verse is a verse we say at the end of the meal,
when we are able to sit down all together as a family.
It's something that my grandparents did.
They called it "returning thanks."
No one was excused until we "returned thanks."
It blessed me to see it written in my daughter's handwriting.
 And it blessed my to see this, too.
She made this list on her own.
I love that Kaitlin girl.
I'm so thankful for her.
We went to my parent's for Thanksgiving Dinner
(because they get TV reception and we don't).
My job this Thanksgiving was to make the punch.
It was yummy.
Oma's talking to Opa while making the gravy.
Opa couldn't be with us for Thanksgiving because he was helping his Russian missionary friend get back to Mongolia.
There was some issue with Ruslan's visa to travel through China.
We were sad to miss him, but thankful we got to talk with him on the phone.
Kaitlin helped Oma with the pies.
Here she shows off the two that she worked on.
I'm so impressed with her pastry work on the apple pie!

We even got to video call my brother and his family.
That was a treat.
I'm so thankful for technology that allows us to do that so easily.
I have so many things to be thankful for.
I'm thankful, too, for those of you who follow along with my Week in Reviews and other blog posts.
It blesses me to know you are there.
Thank you!
 I'm @annebickle on Instagram if you want to follow along.
life rearranged


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