Tuesday, July 30, 2013

26.5 Hours

Not to be mistaken with 26.2 miles. We did not run a marathon this past weekend.

Instead we enjoyed every minute of the 26.5 hours we were away from our baby girl. When life gets heavy and there’s a break in the work load, we’ve always enjoyed leaving behind the everyday for a break.  Just so happens that this was my first time away from Elizabeth and to be honest, I wasn’t that apprehensive at all. She was in great hands with her Nana and Papa and I was more worried about their sanity than I was Elizabeth’s.

Bye-Bye Elizabeth!


Getting away was a long time coming, I mean I’ve watched this little one sleep every.single.night. of her life. Yes. That was a true statement. Maybe I have a complex but I love checking on her right before we go to bed. She’s so cute! So being gone for a long time made me a little apprehensive. But overnight, in the same vicinity, easy.

We planned this completely last minute a week or two ago and decided to leave our house around 9am Saturday. On our agenda: massages, Pride and Prejudice at the Guthrie, dinner at a local gem, Butcher and the Boar, and a luxurious nights sleep at the Grand Hotel. It.was.AMAZING.

We headed downtown Saturday morning and headed right in to get our massages. It was the perfect way to relieve any stress I felt leaving Elizabeth and uh, can we all agree that massages might just be one of the best things on earth.  After all the stress was kneaded out, we looked outside and surprise…it was raining. We had planned to walk everywhere but thankfully taxis are abundant and we made our way to the Guthrie for an afternoon performance of Pride and Prejudice.


The play was spectacular. I noticed later the reviews weren’t so hot but we really enjoyed it. We seem to always gravitate towards doing things that neither of us are passionate about on our dates. I have no idea how this started but the last day-filled date led us to a Cities 97 music outing at a vineyard near where we got married. Really fun but neither of us are music aficionados. But plays are something we both enjoy and this one did not disappoint.

Following the play we checked into our hotel and got ready for dinner at Butcher and the Boar. Can I just say that if I could live at that restaurant I would? We are not hipsters. At all. We’re more preppy, popped collar, boat shoe-esque. And we felt really at home there. In fact over dinner there was a moment when we both agreed that we want the vibe of our house to emulate the vibe in the restaurant. Comfortable, inviting, cozy, and made you feel like you were part of the family. And the food, well it may have been one of our top 5 meals EVER. That good.


We basically ordered something from almost every part of the menu and we were happily pleased that everything was spread out well and we enjoyed dinner and great conversation for over two hours. Never once did we feel rushed which was a treat considering the restaurant is in high demand. If you go get the Brussels sprouts. Best thing I put in my mouth in fact I’m currently trying to figure out how to emulate them.

Our conversation varied throughout the day and we filled our time enjoying each other’s company. While we don’t do it often this was a really fun splurge and I’m so glad we took the time to getaway. Although we both really do enjoy the company of our daughter and our dinner conversation revealed that as we dreamed of taking her on vacations all over the world. We figure if we can find someone to come with us, taking her along just might be the perfect way to enjoy our longer vacations. Time out and away and time with her. Win win.

Needless to say, after a disappointing breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen, we were ready, well I was ready, to head home and scoop her up. Didn’t seem like she missed us a bit but the smile that awaited us, that just melted my heart.

This was our first time staying Downtown even though both of us have lived here what seems like forever. We realized we don’t take advantage of the city nearly as often as we should and we are already dreaming of a winter getaway as a family. How fun would it be to rent a room somewhere downtown near Christmas and go ice skating, take in the Holidazzle and the Macy’s display, and eat out. Sounds like a super fun tradition to me!

Excellent mini-vacay away from our baby…and hopes for more in the future.

Do you ever visit the city?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back on the run

This morning I ran with Elizabeth around a local lake by our house. And we’ve been at it for a few weeks now. Running together. 2-3 times per week unless it was unbearably hot in which I rarely ran. (old picture below…)


And I have mixed thoughts. As evidenced by my scatterbrained thoughts while running without music. This morning my thoughts went something like this:

“This is so nice to be outside, hear the birds, leaves rustling. God thank you for creating all this beauty.”

“God, why didn’t you make me a Kenyan. I seriously don’t know if I can do this any longer. (look at clock) Ugh…it’s only been a few minutes, 7 more to go.”

“I wonder if my right forearm is going to get all muscular from pushing the stroller…better switch arms so I don’t end up looking ridiculous.”

“Oh look, some geese. Perfect. I’ll stop for a little breather and show Elizabeth.” (ahh…feels good to stop.)

“The weather sure is nice today…ugh, just started running against the wind.”

“Finally, I’m feeling good. Things are getting easier. (clock beeps to let me know it’s time for the cool down)

Interesting thoughts no? Seriously I’m glad I have the chance to run and clear my mind. So many noteworthy thoughts this morning. um, no.

Well at least we survived to run again and so far Elizabeth remains calm and under control while in the stroller. It may be due to the fact that I run right before her nap and also pray that she will not fall asleep.

Just in case anyone is wondering I am not a natural born runner. In fact I really just run because I’m able, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it seems to keep me active and may or may not keep me in shape. Jury is still out on that one. I can remember back to the 6th grade when I had to run a mile for the first time. President’s challenge. I’m pretty sure I remember feeling completely and utterly out of place. My need to fit in and not look like an absolute fool flew out the window as I ran-walked half choking, gasping for air around the track. Somehow all my peers were in perfect physical shape. Humiliating to say the least. I’ve been trying to regain any running composure since. In fact today when it was getting hard I internally mocked myself… “Andrea this is nothing. You’ve ran 13 miles before. Get a grip.” All the self-deprecating talk did nothing to my time. Just made me think I was even more crazy than before and just in case you think I ran far, there were only 2 miles plus some walking breaks on the plan today. Can’t believe I just admitted that. But to my defense the path was hilly and I was pushing a 24 pound toddler.

Somehow I roped myself into running a 5k this fall with my friend Anne. She had the nerve to take my plea for running friends on Facebook seriously. A few days after posting she looked me right in the eye and asked if I was serious. I couldn’t back out now so I agreed and ever since I’ve been trying to check off the boxes on my Couch to 5k app. Seriously without this app I’d be toast.

And there you have it. I’m back running. Slowly but surely feeling quite like a tortoise but at least I’ve got a running partner and a beautiful trail to run, even if it means my thoughts scatter all about.

Running clears the head they say and I’d have to say I agree.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Things are evolving

The time has come and this little blog of mine is entering a new phase. Come & Abide was born out of a personal blog I created almost 7 years ago. It seems crazy to me that I’ve been writing, documenting our lives, for that long and yet some days it just seems like not so long ago.

I’m so grateful for the years I’ve been writing, documenting our lives on the page, creating memories. And while I have no plans to try and increase readership, monetize my blog, or anything else, I do want to try and continue to writing and documenting.

And for years I’ve invited you along, into the journey along with me, and I’m forever grateful that there are even people who read this let alone find anything helpful or encouraging, because I’d still be writing even if my own mother were the only one reading. I realize that after having Elizabeth the words have left me a bit and things have become a little dry, but I miss my voice. And I’m hoping that this next change will help me to stay focused on writing and reflecting.

So…Come & Abide now has a Facebook page. Please “like” the page to keep up with blog posts if that is your main way of connecting to the blog as I will likely taper off on posting new posts to my personal page.


Other ways to connect with C&A:

Bloglovin: http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5939049

By Email: Subscribe on the right side of the page

Twitter: https://twitter.com/abbrogle

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/abbrogle/boards/


Here’s to the next 7 years and all the Lord brings…

Friday, July 19, 2013

Foodie Friday: White Pizzas

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Our dinner on Wednesday night garnered a “10” by Alex. Just so you know I can count on two hands the number of times a meal has been given that status in our almost 7 year marriage. Lots of “9’s” but a “10” is almost unheard of. I would have to agree with him that dinner the other night was pretty much amazing.
And just to let you know, this meal came together in almost 30 minutes and was incredibly easy. I know I like to cook and some meals may seem easy to me but mind boggling to others, but this one truly is easy. And it’s great to make it when it’s super steamy out like the 100 degree days we’ve been having as the dough will rise super fast outside:)
For our white pizzas I followed Ina Garten’s (my food idol) recipe almost to a T. First off halved it. That’s easy, just reduce all ingredients in half. Then I only used mozzarella cheese, I added pepperoni under the cheese, eliminated the thyme and added grape tomatoes to the salad on top. These were just minor changes that suited our tastes better but I can tell you that nothing beats cold salad atop steaming pizza.
It’s sublime.
Here’s a link to Ina’s recipe…White Pizzas with Arugula…make this now.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chicago bound

We’ve decided to take a trip.

Without Elizabeth.

My heart started racing just writing that. Somehow, like all little ones, she’s wrapped herself around my heart strings and I just don’t want to let her out of my sight…except for nursery at church of course.

But I know it’s time and I really want to go away. With Alex. Just the two of us. We’ve done a couple of longer dates being gone most of the day. And she’ll be fine. I know she will and maybe that’s part of the letting go. But seriously, we both just love being around her. Apparently too much. I think it’s so interesting all the things that go on inside the heart. We long for time away from our kids so we can get a break and then we go ahead and plan something and all of a sudden being away sounds like torture:) That’s parenthood for you.

And so, with my heart strings pulling, I know I can’t go too far away for the first trip. A flight away but still in the Midwest. So we chose Chicago. 3 days, 2 nights. And neither of us have been there in years.

So that’s where all of you come in. Where to stay, where to eat, what to do?

I want to eat my way through Chicago. Seriously. Anything and everything amazing please chime in. Giordano’s, Gino’s, Lou Malnati’s?

Things to do? Navy Pier, concerts in the park, sightseeing must see’s?

And for those who have gone before tips on taking the first trip away and really enjoying it for all it is?

Thanks friends:)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Enjoying the summer

In my book, summer is best enjoyed by doing. Whether it be the pool, the park, the zoo, the sprinkler in the backyard, or what have you, spending time outside and within the community screams summer to me.

Most days between 11-2pm you will not find us at home. Or if we are at home we are most likely outside. I know, worst sun hours ever, but what’s a mom to do when that’s prime awake time?

We.must.get.outside.to.wear.her.out. Amen?

Plus Elizabeth yearns to be outside. She seriously is on the verge of throwing tantrums when we are inside. So out we go. I remember when I nannied having to force the boys outside on some days…not so with this one. She’s forcing me outside.

And so I learned that in order to go out and not be frantic, rushing all around trying to remember everything, I came up with a plan.  A way for mom’s to enjoy the summer. Because I know sometimes that getting out of the house seems like more work than its worth some days.

I learned while nannying that being prepared is a great way to set yourself up for success and ultimately means more summer enjoyment all around. So here’s how I’ve tried to set myself up for success…so far it’s working because we’re getting out and momma is not stressed about a thing. I created two main stations that for the most part remain in our car. The “pool” bag (basically my summer diaper bag) and the “car” tote.

Pool Bag:


This bag resides on my passenger seat and gets last minute things thrown in like my wallet, snacks, and lunches. I tend to wear my swimsuit to the pool and just throw in undergarments for afterwards. For E, since she’s not potty trained, I change her at the pool.


Inside: Snack (cheerios/raisins), sunscreen, hat/sunglasses, onesies, swim diaper, E’s towel, my towel, E’s swimsuit, swim toy bag, diaper pouch w/ diapers,wipes, diaper cream and a pacifier, plastic baggies (for wet items), and a toiletry bag.


Toiletry bag contents: bug spray, hand sanitizer, kleenex, tylenol, face and hand wipes, clorox wipes, and alcohol wipes.

I tend to be in and out of this bag all throughout the day no matter our activities. Because it stays on my seat or the floor in front of the seat I normally just throw in our last minute items when I hop in. The diaper pouch has been my most loved item…on Sundays we just grab it out for nursery and if I’m running in somewhere I just toss it in the stroller or my purse. I also always keep a swimsuit in this bag. That way if we happen to be somewhere and a suit is needed we have one. I also keep cheerio/raisin snacks in here. Obviously if your kids were older, granola bars, etc. would work. But raisins and cheerios, while not so exciting, fill the need when hunger grows rampant and do not melt in the sun.

When I nannied we had a similar system at their house. But as soon as they got a bit older they were all in charge of their own sling bag. They were in charge of their undergarments for after the pool, goggles, swimsuit, and towel. It worked great and helped them learn to take some responsibility for their own things.

Car tote:


This bag has been a lifesaver this summer. In my absentmindedness we’ve been places and realized we have no diapers, we needed a blanket, or we forgot a sippy. Thank goodness this was in our trunk. My mom gave me the super cute 31 Tote as a fun gift and it has worked perfectly. This bag shares trunk space with our stroller, fits perfectly above the wheels and always stays in the car. Always.


Inside: Diapers, swim diapers, wipes, first aid kit, snacks (cheerios/raisins), bib, extra sippy cup, pool float, sand toys, and a blanket.

This is so handy for last minute trips and for remembering where things are. Going to the park and need a toy, great…sand toys in the trunk. Heading to someone’s pool and need a float…great in the trunk. Going to a concert in the park and need a blanket, check…got it. We’ve used everything in here this summer so far while we were out exploring the city and it worked perfectly. Especially the extra diapers/wipes and the blanket. Who knew how many times you might need a large blanket to spread out?

Keeping things organized and in the same place has really allowed us to enjoy the summer more fully with less stress. We get out more, we’re not trying to remember a hundred things at the last minute, and we’re covered when we forget.

Obviously the contents will look differently for everyone but it’s helped us so much this summer that I thought I ought to share. I’m sure I’m forgetting some important things we should have in our bags…

So tell me, how do you keep organized in the summer?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Elizabeth at One Year

I’ve been dreading the thought of writing this.

I’m in denial.

Somehow 12 months passed before our eyes in an instant. Each one of those 365 full days filled with awe. It’s an incredible gift to watch a baby go from sleeping all day, with eyes barely open to a full fledged, walking, squealing toddler. All the life changes that have happened in a mere 12 months. The holding up of a head, finding hands and feet, seeing the world for the first time. Not to mention sitting up, babbling, smiling, eating, rolling over, standing, talking/signing, laughing, walking. Incredible.

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And to think as her mother, I was able to be there for all of those firsts. Blessing upon blessing. From before she was born we began the process of taking every little moment in. In the midst of waiting, we hoped. In the midst of growing her, we loved. In the midst of watching her, we marveled. I’m not sure if it was the waiting that came before, but we’ve been soaking these days up so they never fade away; putting aside things just to play, and cuddle, and laugh, and sing.

God always knows what we need before we receive it and He knew we needed Elizabeth in our lives. She has shown us so many things about ourselves, given new meaning to grace, and unearthed years of struggle and joy. And she has allowed us to love like never before. This daughter of ours…to think I get to be her mother. Amazing.

I’ve needed her. Truly and selfishly, I have. In some ways, I fear failure. Somewhere along the line fear has crept in and flowed over. But Elizabeth, she faces everything head on. Curiosity and bravery are in her. Just last night, while we were sitting in our backyard, she toddled next door to play in our neighbor’s sprinkler. The water was pelting out in a large stream and towards it she went. And she got close, two feet away close, then turned and ran back toward us, a big smile on her face.


And I want to do everything I can to foster this unquenchable curiosity. I find myself saying “be careful” more than I say “no”. She is fearless, curious, full of joy, and mama’s little helper. She loves to help; put diapers in the garbage, empty the dishwasher, take things out of the fridge. Any way she can, she wants to be a part of our every day going-on’s. I love this about her emerging personality.

At one year old, she’s been ahead of the curve in some areas and not so ahead in others. But everyday it seems she wakes up ready for the day and you can just see her brain begin to take everything in. From the cocking of her head to hear the birds, her bouncing when music fills the room, feeling the rocks in her hands, splashing the water in the pool, watching intently as daddy works on our deck. It’s amazing to watch someone learn, taking the world in around her. Right now trying to master the buckles on her high chair and stroller keeps her attention for quite some time.

As she flushes the toilet in amazement, her brain is taking in cause and effect. Feeling the rocks, tasting her toys, crinkling paper. All the senses finding their way. I just love re-learning everything around me through her eyes. Of course, every day isn’t perfect, she’s not perfect, and like any other toddler she is incredibly determined. There’s discipline intermixed, tears falling, but through it all, she’s learning life, right alongside of us. Consequences, grace, manners, how things work, how they taste, how they move. All created for us.

That’s what life is, learning and re-learning, walking in grace, growing, being sanctified, falling down and getting back up. As much as we teach her and more, she’s teaching us. About so many different things.

To say we’re blessed to have her in our lives doesn’t seem to quite envelop all that’s in our hearts. She’s ours. And those two words seem a dream come true. So many things we pray for her but mostly we just want her to grow just as He created her to be…uniquely her.

And as you may have noticed, this was less about milestones and more about how our family has changed for the better, but in case you are curious about Elizabeth, here are some little tidbits.


Elizabeth’s 1st Favorites

Foods: Anything and everything…scrambled eggs, smoothies, carnitas from Chipotle, mexican food, pasta, peas, berries, graham crackers

Toys: Anything that isn’t a toy…rocks, paper, the dirt pile in our backyard, keys…the swimming pool, her picnic basket, and any type of ball

Sizes: She weighs 22 pounds, wears a size 4 diaper, and 12-18 month clothing

Sleep: 2-1.5 hour naps and 12 hours at night with her blankie and pacifier

Words: Uh-oh, mama, dada, bye-bye, blankie (which sounds just like bye-bye)

Abilities: walking, running, squatting, blowing, squealing, putting her face in the water, drinking from a straw, ring stacker, waving, kissing, clapping