my week in review: 2/25-27//2014

Sharing the stories behind my Instagram photos, that's what I do here.

Sarah helped me write a bonus feature for last week's post. I had to take a photo of her while she was writing it. She's a great writer (exhibit A and exhibit B).

Speaking of writing, Kaitlin texted me from school this week telling me that I needed to write a book. Evidently some of her friends were talking about my blog and thought it was good (which is why I offered them candy bars at the end of the post).

I laughed, "what on earth would I write a book about?" 

And she replied as quick as Reggie comes at the sound of dishes clanking, "you could write about what it's like to live with such an awesome person like me."

If only I could find a way to make that marketable.

 We finally have carpet!! Thank you Jesus.

All week I've been noticing the snow stuck on the branches of the trees since the Blizzard of 2014. It's so pretty, almost like the trees are blooming snow.

Then my Instagram friend, Yvonne, posted a photo of some trees with almond blossoms.

At first when I saw the photo, before I knew that it was Yvonne in California, I thought that someone in Minnesota had beaten me to posting a photo of the snow blossom trees.

But then I realized that there are actually places on this earth -- in this very country! -- where there are trees blossoming with actual flower blossoms.

One day we in Minnesota will see actual flower blossoms, but until then I am enjoying -- no, really, I am enjoying -- the snow blossoms.

Because that is how you stay sane when it's a record cold winter with no end in sight.


Hey, who wants to join me in posting intentional gratitude pics? I don't often hashtag, but I think I might do this. Seems like a good exercise, to look for the gratitude and be intentional about it.

Speaking of intentional gratitude... our windows are really bad. But the bright side of having bad windows is finding some beautiful scenery ON the windows, not just outside of the windows.

I'm @annebickle on Instagram and Twitter if you wanna follow me.
I'm linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday. You should follow her.

life rearranged


my week in review: 2/14-24//2014

It's been some crazy hectic kind of week and a half...

Way back on February 15 we drove up to the Twin Cities in a snowstorm to meet up with Kaitlin and her volleyball team for their tournament... Except we didn't get there in time to watch them play on Saturday... because snowstorm.

Instead we met up with her team for dinner at Cowboy Jack's. The girl on the right is our daughter that we didn't have.

[bonus feature:]

I was so excited when I saw the mechanical bull at Cowboy Jack's. I don't know how or why, but for some reason riding a mechanical bull got onto my bucket list. I thought I might need to cross the Mason-Dixon line to cross it off my list, but there it was... right here in Minnesota. I was so excited!

No one was riding the bull, so I just admired it from afar. I've never actually seen one ridden, so I was a little bit shy about it. But he and I will have a date one day.

Fair warning.

[end bonus feature]

JD and I were able to enjoy some of my employee benefits on Friday night... a deep hotel discount. Just us.


Sunday we spent at Hastings High School watching volleyball all day. From 9:00 am to 7:30 pm. They didn't play that whole time, of course. There was some downtime.

It was a really frustrating day actually because we drove all that way to watch Kaitlin and she hardly got any playing time. Plus the team didn't play very well.

It was nice to be able to spend the day with JD at Hastings High School with lots of waiting between games.

I found a corner on the walking track and took a nap.

What's a tired volleyball mom gonna do?

Oh, hey. Here's a picture of my typical 2014 winter morning commute to work.

Whiteouts are so exciting!

(I'm trying to find the bright side.)

That's my assignment for the week, by the way. To find something to be grateful for in the ordinary moments.

I'm grateful for my girl who still likes to snuggle me when we watch TV.

I'm grateful for the quiet morning moments... with my dog, who lays on the couch next to me, warming my feet... and for my blanket, made for me by my grandma, which I must have over me at all times.

I'm grateful for my long drive to work, which is a great opportunity to experience quiet in the midst of this noisy stage of life.

I was not too grateful when the Blizzard of 2014 knocked out our cable and internet on Thursday evening when I was looking forward to watching the women's figure skating final.

But I was grateful for Jessica, who -- on her own, out of the kindness of her heart and the realization of my desperate plight -- texted me videos of the figure skating event. I mean, really, how sweet is that?!

[bonus feature: Sarah's Edition, written by Sarah herself]

While our cable/internet was down, Sarah asked me "Mom, you're old, what did they do in the olden days when they didn't have TV, computers, i Pads, i Phones, i Pods, and all of that stuff?" Then I replied "We read books, and we used our imagination." Then I could tell that a shiver went down Sarah's back after that. She just was in shock from hearing that a kid did something without it being an electronic device.

[end Sarah's bonus feature]

"I'm bored!" Sarah said because our TV and internet was out.

"Go to the Boredom Box," I said.

And that is how we came to play Sarah's homemade board game.

I love that Boredom Box!

But I do not love taking apart loft beds. 

I had to take it apart though because we were getting carpet in Kaitlin's and Sarah's rooms on Friday and to save money we said that we would move the furniture out of the rooms ourselves. 

I may have lost it just a little bit while taking it apart. Because loft beds are above your head [!]... increasing the degree of difficulty quite a bit [!].

In any case, I got it apart and I got all the furniture stuffed into our room until the carpet was installed the next day.

Except that it wasn't installed the next day. 

Well, the padding was installed but evidently the Blizzard of 2014 affected the delivery of the correct carpet, and we didn't know that until after the padding was laid down.

So we had to wait until Monday to have our correct carpet delivered and installed.

Which meant our bedroom looked like this all weekend:

Pretty much all you can do is laugh at this point.
When you thought it would be just a couple hours
and it ends up being all weekend.

Ha ha ha.
Uh hem.

I had to go to Sarah's basketball game in the clothes that I wore the day before because I couldn't get to my dresser due to all the mattresses and paraphernalia that was in front of it... but... whatever. 

It's all good. I'm grateful. For ordinary moments. And all that.

Sarah is pretty much a basketball sensation as far as I'm concerned.

When Brene said that joy was like twinkle lights... "joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration & faith" ....I saw these twinkle lights on the page.

This struck me:

"The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it.
It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows."
- Brene Brown 

Speaking of joy...
One of the things I get so much joy out of is trying to photo-bomb Kaitlin's selfies as often as I can. Which is pretty often, because she's 13 and selfies are, like, what you do when you are 13 in 2014.

And, to round out my weekend, I inventoried Century High School baseball uniforms. Because that's what you do when you are #mrscoach.

I'm @annebickle on Instagram. Linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday. Even though it's Monday night. Whatevs.

You should totally comment on this post if you are Kaitlin's friends and reading this. Because if you do I'll buy you a candy bar. For reals.

life rearranged


my week in review: 2/7-13//2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Along with JD getting hired as the head baseball coach at Century High School, celebrating JD's birthday and getting ready for V-day, this week has been the final push to get Sarah's room painted before the carpet comes. I'm so excited for her. She has never had her room painted just for her, just the way she wants it.

I was a little sad about painting over the wood grain. I like wood grain. But my little girl wanted white trim because it would look better with purple. And she's right, of course.

Next time, though, I think I'm just going to buy white doors. After six coats of white, I think it's finally a solid white. But there's a reason this picture of the doors is not a close-up.

 A couple years ago my sister gave Sarah this chandelier. I finally got it out to put up.

 It's looking pretty good!

[bonus feature:]

Here's a little look at that same corner after I painted the room for Kaitlin:

So. Yah. I am never going to paint flowers on a wall again. Or at least, if I do, I am never going to paint it freehand, oblivious to the amount of paint that I am building up. I had to sand down that flower with a power sander, and you can still faintly see the flower's brush strokes underneath the new purple wall.

Also, Kaitlin wanted a neon green room with flowers for about one year. Then she was over it. And I was like, "but!" Like I said, I am never going to paint flowers on a wall again.

[end bonus feature]

Look what I found in the background of Brene's Live Q&A session! How fun to see it there behind her!

This week our assignment is to think about when we want to numb our feelings and how we numb. And then what things bring us comfort.

I've been getting ready for the Valentine's Day party at work.

Wednesday night Sarah was a little forlorn about her Valentine's Day box. She wanted a panda box, but was having a hard time getting the parts to stick together with tape. I suggested we paper mache the pieces together.  Initially I wasn't excited about helping with her Valentine's Day box because it was fairly late at night after a tiring day at work. But one look at her face and I changed my attitude real quick. She won't be making many more of these boxes. At one point, while we were sticking the strips of paper on the boxes Sarah said, "mom, I'm so glad you are doing this with me." Me too.

And there she is with her finished product. The cutie.

I'm @annebickle linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged


my week in review: 1/28-2/6//2014

Friday we celebrated Linnie's birthday by having dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse. It was very entertaining. I hope Linnie enjoyed being celebrated on her birthday, which falls on the Chinese New Year, which - if you're Chinese (and she is) - is a little like having your birthday fall on Christmas day, which is kind of a real bummer.

On Saturday we sent John off to the high school Heartthrob Dance, the dance where the girls ask the boys to go to the dance with them. It's so interesting for me to navigate American high school traditions through the eyes of my children. I never really went through it myself, so I'm learning as they go.

[bonus feature:]

I went to an American high school in 9th grade, but didn't really participate in school social events at all. I don't think at that time that 9th graders were even allowed to go to Homecoming. Not that I would have gone. Because I was antisocial and all that.

When we moved to Germany I attended the German high school for a year even though I didn't know German. My Dutch classmate convinced me to go to a class party in honor of the French foreign exchange students. It ended up being a party with dancing. If I had known there was going to be dancing I never would have gone because I'd never danced and felt insecure about flailing around.

But I was already there, and everyone was dancing, so my friend convinced me to go out on the dance floor and bop up and down with her. Just up and down. Then side to side. Then crazy moves like no one cares. And I was like, "cool. I can do this, it's actually fun."

Then a slow song came on and one of the French guys asked me to slow dance. I was horrified. I didn't know French, I hardly knew German, I could barely speak to him. I'd never danced before and I had especially never slow danced while, you know, touching.

The next school I went to, a missionary kid boarding school, didn't allow dancing (we had banquets instead of dances). Though I did enjoy sneaking out going to the discotheques.

[end bonus feature]

Jessica texted me a while ago and told me that her daughter had a hockey tournament in Rochester. It was a busy weekend for us, but we were able to find the time to watch her daughter's team on Saturday night. Then Jessica and I went out for a glass of wine and girl time while the dad's took the girls to the hotel pool. (What great dads/husbands we have!!)

Such a treasure, to be able to get to know Jessica better. We had such a good time visiting that we decided we need more girl time... A Therapeutic Girl's Weekend. Stat!

[bonus feature:]

Jessica and I have been trying to get our two girls to be pen pals since they met last year, but they have yet to exchange letters. After Sarah got home from swimming with Annika, she wanted to know when we'd see them again because she had fun with her.

"I don't know when we'll get to see them again, honey, but maybe now you will want to write her."

"Mom," she said with a straight face and a twinkle in her eye. "That would require paper. And an envelope. And a stamp! Being pen pals costs money."

Part of me had to laugh at her reasoning. The other part of me was sad that the art of letter writing is lost.

[end bonus feature]

Sarah's been going Rainbow-Loom-crazy. She watches YouTube instructional videos and comes up with some pretty amazing creations. This panda necklace was a present she made for a friend's birthday present. I just love that.

This week's Brene Brown lesson was about the messages we tell ourselves and ways we need to practice more self-compassion. These are a few of the messages I need to remember to tell myself. 

Here we are with a recent photo of the slowest room makeover ever. We're almost ready for the carpet to go in! We just need to paint the doors white now.

I love the white trim so much more than the 70s dark stained trim. I might just want all the trim in our house white. That will probably take about five years to get done.

I'm @annebickle on Instagram if you wanna follow me. Linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

  life rearranged


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