Sunday, January 26, 2014

Joachim and Ambrosia Eitenmiller: Part 1

This weekend I was honored to celebrate the union of my dear friends, Joachim and Ambrosia. The wedding was absolutely amazing and the company couldn't have been better. We spent the weekend together in Crosslake at Pines Peak Event Center and Lodge. I would highly recommend checking this venue out to any new brides. ( The owners were beyond kind and such a pleasure to work alongside! Thankfully, I was able to capture many photos while still being in the wedding party! 
Here are a couple of my favorites of the bride and groom! 
Once again, congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Eitenmiller! 
I wish you a life of love and laughter. 


Monday, January 6, 2014

Sweet William is on his Way!

This weekend I was thrilled to host my cousin Jenna's baby shower. She is due early February with a sweet little boy named William and I cannot wait for his arrival! Jenna was blessed to have such a wonderful turn out at her baby shower.  It was an amazing afternoon spent showering Mommy and offering words of wisdom into the journey of parenthood. Thank you to everyone for making this day so special! 

The betting boards! Just $5.00/square and you can bet on the date of birth and the weight of baby William!

Mommy and Grandma Jill

 Grandma Cindy, Mommy, and Grandma Jill

This is a great photo of Jenna and her God-Mother, Aunt Terry.

Cousin Julie, pinning on Jenna's corsage. 

 Our cousin's working hard on the onesies for Baby William

Mommy made a onesie too! 

Jenna opening her gift from Aunt Peg!

These boots were adorable!!! So sweet!

Baby William will be so well dressed!

 The sweet blanket cousin Shelby made for baby! 

A little fishing outfit from Bill's Grandma!

My little (pregnant) cousin Jenna Marie! 

The completed fabric onesies!  Everyone did such a great job! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tis the Holiday Season

This year my holiday started with Thanksgiving in Vancouver. I was able to cook Thanksgiving dinner for Brendan, Cameron, and his Mommy even though they had already celebrated their Canadian Thanksgiving a few weeks earlier. Cameron spent the night with us and woke up early Friday morning ready to bake cookies with me while Brendan was at work. We had a fantastic day together baking and working on holiday gifts for friends and family members. Cameron was so proud of his cookies! (See Peanut Blossom post for recipe.) He couldn't wait for his Daddy to come home and see his hard work! Brendan came home just in time to help frost and decorate the last batch of cookies. 
Cameron rolled out the dough and cut his favorite holiday shapes with cookie cutters. 

Cammie filled holiday tins with cookies for his friends and family. He picked the biggest tin for Mommy and himself of course. One for Daddy, one for Uncle Chuck and Uncle George too. 

Sunday night, Brendan, Cameron, and I decorated the Christmas tree together while listening to holiday music. Cameron was absolutely adorable. He loved hanging the ornaments and stringing the beads around the tree. Seeing his joyfulness reminded me of my fond memories decorating the tree with my family. I am so thankful I was able to share that memory with him this year. 

I left Vancouver December 2nd and had to wait 18 long days for B to fly to Minnesota for the holidays! Before he left, he and Cameron celebrated their Christmas together. Cam loved opening his gifts! His favorite gift was the marble run, which we knew he would love since he played with in the toy store for over an hour!  Cameron was also excited to give his Daddy a special gift that we made together during my visit! 

This is Cameron playing with the marble run at the toy store before he knew he was getting it for Christmas.

After sharing their Christmas night together, Brendan dropped Cameron off at his Mom's house in the morning and went to his last day of work before vacation. Little did he know he would be in for a long trip. Brendan missed his late night flight due to traffic at the Seattle airport. He was #1 on the standby list the entire day Saturday and didn't get on any of the 6 flights heading to Minnesota, however, his bags did make it here. He finally confirmed a flight to LAX and then made it to Minnesota early Sunday morning. B arrived to a Red Bull and cookies which is all he really needs to survive.

I made Brendan a big breakfast and put him to bed for a few hours to catch up on some sleep. We woke up Sunday around noon to meet my parents and oldest brother with his family for lunch at Granite City. My brother flew home from Texas for the holidays. It was only my second time getting to meet my God-daughter, Penelope, so I was thrilled to say the least! 

After lunch I brought Brendan home to my parents house to show him our hobby farm and let him in on a little plan I had in the works for my nieces (and parents). One of my friends had some bunnies she was giving away and I had been wanting some bunnies for a while now. If you know me, you know I am an animal lover, and I am not afraid to take a few risks. I thought it would be a great idea for Santa to drop off some bunnies at the Van Donsel house this Christmas. Without approval I made B put together a bunny cage in the shed...this made his fingers a little numb but they would later recover. 

We then went to pick up the bunnies only to find out my friend had slid off the road and gone in the ditch. Being the prepared Minnesotan that I am I put on my tall over boots, winter clothes, and tried to dig her out. Brendan, fresh off the plane, was not exactly prepared for the chill or the snow at this point but he did give his best efforts. I can only imagine what was going through his head at this point. He was probably ready to turn around and go home but he continued to be a good sport even when I made him stay outside with a wrapped box of bunnies to ring the door bell and leave the package.

The bunnies were an instant hit of course and my niece claimed this to be the "best Christmas ever."
 Valeria named them Snowflake and Streusel the next morning.

Monday I worked and Brendan finally slept. Later that evening we headed to my brother Nick's house where Brendan met my Grandma and ate pheasant for the first time. He was also forced into listening to my Grandma play hymns on her harmonica and the rest of us try to play a poorly tuned guitar. (Sorry Honey)
When the children and elderly went home we headed to the local bar, the Whistling Pickle, for drinks. 
The walk home from the Pickle to Nick's was about 30 below with wind chill but my Aussie did just fine. 

On Christmas Eve we spent the day at my parents taking a nap and then getting ready for Mass. 
It was so special to have Brendan with me at Mass this year. Much to our surprise Father Kevin had just came back from a three month sabbatical in Australia of all places. His sermon on Christmas Eve spoke right to my heart. 

Taking a little snooze with Penelope and Brendan on Christmas Eve.

Brendan and I before church.

Valeria and myself with our bunnies.

After church we ate dinner and opened gifts with my family.

Before bed we were able to Skype with Brendan's family in Australia.
 It was so nice to meet them and I am so thankful for technology bringing us together over the holidays. I know that Brendan's family misses him and Cameron dearly so I am happy that we were able to visit with them for Christmas.

Christmas morning we opened stockings in front of the fireplace with my family and then got ready for some fun in the snow. My brother and niece took off on the sleds while Brendan and I went snowshoeing through the field with the dogs. We took a break in the middle of some snow covered trees; it was such a peaceful place and it made me appreciate nature despite the bitter cold. 

Brendan and I relaxing in the snow on Christmas Day.

I love this photo of B in the snow,  he looks so relaxed. 

Brendan and Snowflake.

Josh and Valeria getting ready for sledding behind the four-wheeler. 

I made Brendan go for a sled ride behind the four-wheeler too and I even made good on my promise not to dump him off despite my desire to hit the throttle on the icy curves. 

My horse, Baby J, and Brendan meeting each other for the first time. 

Dad manning the fire on Christmas to give off some heat in the bitter cold.

The girls on the sled! They may be Texans but they sure do love the snow once a year!

I was a little worried about being down in the dumps this Christmas, as my world has been quite a mess since my split with my husband.  Thankfully, I have a wonderful family who always seems to brighten my day. My nieces alone give me a million reason to smile. On the other side of things, having Brendan and Cameron in my life right now is a true blessing. They have brought so much joy to my life and sharing this holiday season with them has given me many memories I will never forget. Happy Holidays friends!