One Little Word 2019: HOME

My word for 2019 is – HOME.

throw back to closing day!

While we’ve owned our house for two years now, we’ve finally hit the wall with how we set things up when we first moved in. We need to focus on rearranging rooms and upgrading little things like light fixtures in the bedrooms and fresh paint. We didn’t take a family vacation in 2018 – we had a lot going on emotionally and financially; but, it really bummed me out. It isn’t on the horizon for 2019 either but I’m hoping a focus on home with help me feel about that.

Choo Choo Someone’s Two! Toddler Boy Train Birthday Party

Our sweet Baby C turned two in June! My in laws came in from Minnesota and while a few friends didn’t show up, we had a full house and were able to really celebrate our little dude! I’m so grateful to everyone who did attend, it was so great to see you all!

Things have been very full-on in our house lately – lots of stuff going on for both M and me at work, endless sicknesses for all three of us, house renovations anticipating guests, garden drama, and, and, and. So I wasn’t able to do this up to the level I’d hoped because I was so inspired by this theme.

Our son was given his cousin’s old train table and all the tracks and trains and he is so so into his ‘choo choos’! I ordered some party favors (of hats, bandanas and wooden whistles) for the kiddos and we ordered a big ol’ Subway sandwich. The night before I baked up and decorated cupcakes with my niece and nephew, which is turning into a little tradition that I just love. I hope I continue to be cool enough to bake with!

St. Lucia Day Saffron Buns

I made a batch of these for St. Lucia day this last year. This recipe was easy and fast and while they weren’t as golden as my last batch, they certainly had that saffron-y flavor! St. Lucia Day is also my dad’s birthday and it was so fun to be able to have these again for his birthday. The whole family (mom + my three sibs + spouses + kids) even managed to surprise him for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory!

2017: Year in Review

img_8920
Books Read: 50 books, for a total of 14,448 pages

Best in Fiction: Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Best in Non-Fiction: The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

img_8957

Best Movie: LOL What’s a movie?!  We did see Star Wars: A New Hope with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra playing the sound track and that was amazing.

img_9404

Best In Show: Not only did I improve on my third place showing in 2015 with a second place last year; I got that coveted blue ribbon this year. Even better – my entry was Best in Show for the whole cookie class!

img_9964

Favorite Podcast: History of English, One Bad Mother

Number of Flights: 16 (for just me!)

FullSizeRender (8)

Favorite Trip: Our family vacation to Chikaming Township and Lake Michigan. It was just so easy since we had no expectations and stayed in a house (hotels are awful with a toddler!).

img_1017

This year has been a constant dumpster fire of bad news and it feels impossible to put together a cheery “look how great 2017 was!” post because the macro has been the opposite of great. I’ve started volunteering more and that feels good. Our micro is so, so good and I’m incredibly grateful for our first year in our house, for that perfect lovebug who came to live with us.

img_2086

img_2270

Tradition!

Sorry, I can’t think of just that word and not think of this.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we build family traditions and which ones we hold onto and which ones we claim for ourselves and baby families. Here are some of my favorite traditions from our baby family.

National Parks – we always purchase a coffee up at each National Park we visit. We don’t try to get them to match but reflect each trip. M also purchases a cloth patch for his day pack (sadly, he doesn’t go backpacking enough to put them on his 60L).

State Fair – this one is more from me than us but I have only missed one Ohio State Fair in my whole life. It was the summer we got married and I picked a date that put us on our honeymoon smack in the middle of the fair and we had to rush back to Chicago to get back to work. We’ve even pushed my love of the fair on one of our best friends. While I love everything about the fair, the only things I cannot live without are the lemon shake ups and the sky glider. I can’t wait to start bringing our little one to the fair too! (Although I doubt we’ll hit up the sky glider with a newborn).

IMG_5671
celebrating my ribbon winning entry at the Ohio State Fair 2015!

Birthdays – we got married young and really didn’t have any money for fancy presents for a while (and now, we just choose to do other things with that money) so this one grew out of necessity. We bake each other homemade cakes – and not from a box – for our birthdays! It takes some time and usually makes a big old mess but we usually try a new recipe. It’s such a meaningful gift.

Christmas – M’s family does a pickle present and we do have a pickle ornament, although with only two of us, there hasn’t been much point in hiding one on our real tree, which makes the whole apartment smell amazing. We also only get each other stockings, it forces us to be more creative and it feels very abundant to get so many gifts! Even if some of them are just boxes of Star Wars bandaids. Another thing I love is that we also go do one touristy, crazy festive thing each December. It might be ice skating at night, or going to see the play version of It’s Wonderful Life, or going to ZooLights. Since we aren’t wedded to the doing the same thing each year, we aren’t bogged down in traditions that aren’t meaningful [and just because you did something once, doesn’t mean you have to do it forever] and we still get into the festive spirit.

IMG_3694
at a dickens of a christmas at Ohio Village, playing with dress up clothes, as one does

IMG_3714
same event, M making traditional Victorian Christmas Tree ornaments

Weekend Recap / What We Ate June 8-14

 Ohio sweet corn, on the grill

Friday night we got Mexican and caught up on a very busy week of M closing all week and then packed up for my family reunion the following day. I grilled up a big batch of corn for a corn and tomato salad for the reunion.

2015 Sech Reunion131 2015 Sech Reunion133

Saturday morning, we headed over to my folk’s house to grab Lexi the Wonder Dog and caravan down to the family farm with my sister. My uncle owns the farm that my great grandfather farmed (so – his grandfather). There were about 40 or so of us there for a lunch time potluck. Most of went up to the overlook (some on foot-I had the ticks to prove it and some in a Jeep – smarties!). It was a great day of catching up and remembering I can’t wait to do it again next year! My parents, sister and uncle also camped out. The stars and the fireflies were such a sight to see.

art festival selfies

IMG_5404

the lemon shake up, the true barometer of summer

Sunday morning, we were all up with sun and we headed back up north. We unpacked, showered quickly and then headed to the Columbus Arts Festival. It was SO overwhelming! M and I have been to the one in Lakeview in Chicago several times but this was easy three times the size. We did end up purchasing two prints and lots of fair food ~ lemon shake ups for the win! Afterwards, we headed over to my folks to hang out and swim in the pool. It almost felt like two full weekends we were able to pack in so much in just 48 hours! I cannot wait until M is off regularly on Saturday and Sundays!

making s’mores inside since we forgot while camping

Monday 6/8 – gnocchi
Tuesday 6/9 – dinner out with some girlfriends
Wednesday 6/10 – salads
Thursday 6/11 – pizza rolls and oven fries
Friday 6/12 – Rancho Alegre
Saturday 6/13 – family reunion potluck
Sunday 6/14 – pizza

6 Days on O’ahu

This is the longest post I’ve written in a while but I couldn’t think of a logical way to split it up. We were lucky enough to find incredibly cheap tickets to Honolulu and M has family in a nearby town so we were able to make this trip happen on short (for me) notice. And I have to say, Delta might have converted from my love of United. Just saying. M even got an instagram account for this trip, you can see all of our posts here. Wednesday, we left Columbus at 0-Dark-Thirty and hung out at M’s uncle’s house once we arrived in Hawai’i. It was a long day of traveling so we took it incredibly easy!

6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com

Thursday, we were up early (still on Eastern time!) and went to Kona Brewery for lunch and a sampler of there beers. We each got a taster with four beers so we were able to try a total of 8. We opted not to get Longboard since we are lucky enough to get that here on the mainland. Everything as really good but I really fell for the Lavaman Red Ale. After lunch we headed over to Kailua Beach Park to swim and hang out. And of course, we went for shave ice at Island Snow.6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com

Friday brought another early wake up call! This time we headed over to Pearl Harbor. We got there at 7:30 (they open at 7AM) and got rock star parking because M’s uncle has a hybrid. Because we were so early, we got on the next tour out and toured the two free museums. They were really well done and included several bronze models of the exhibits for blind patrons to touch and explore. Visiting the USS Arizona is a very somber experience but I thought the National Park Service and Pacific Historical Parks did a great job interpreting this site and situating this event in the greater social and political history of Oceania and the world. In the afternoon we headed over to Lanikai Beach which was so beautiful but very crowed. And you guessed it, we got more shave ice at Island Snow on the way home!

6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com

Saturday was a super lazy day – we went to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. It so much fun to see all the tropical plants and learn more about the local environment. We also went into Kaneohe to hit up a few local shops, namely the fabric and book stores.

6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com

We were lucky enough to be in town for the annual I Love Kailua Town Party. Our cousin takes hulu lessons and she and her halua hulu (hulu school) were performing. It was so awesome to get to see her dance with her hula sisters. There was also a performance by a more traditional halua hulu which was really cool to see. Earlier that day, M and his uncle went for a run while I went back to the beach. Sunday night we had an inside picnic with our cousin, uncle and their AirBNB guests because it was raining (and cold! it got down to 70!)

6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com

Monday we set out to hike Mount Olomana. We didn’t set out as early as I’d hoped so we ended racing down the mountain to ‘meet the train’. On the way up, it was very steep but pretty easy going until about 900 ft. When we hit the first prominence on the three peaks, I hung out while M and his uncle hiked/climbed up to the top two. The section between the second and final peak is extremely technical and there have been accidents in that section as recently as Jan ’14 and April ’11. While it was incredibly disappointing to not summit with the boys, I made the right choice for myself. It isn’t worth peak bagging just because its the cool thing to do. As it was our last afternoon in Hawai’i (HOW? ALREADY?!) we went back to Kailua Beach and then got sushi for dinner.

6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com 6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com       6 days on o'ahu~thecomynspace.com

All in all, it was an incredible trip. It was the right balance of doing stuff on as individuals, as a couple and as a family. I was struck by how ecologically focused everyone is – most of the houses have solar panels on the roofs, use solar powered fans (the more the sun beats down, the faster the fan turns) and drive hybrid or electric cars. When you live on an island, the effects of modern life are more evident, more quickly. We’ve already got designed on going back soon.

Crow Wing State Park & Sunrise over Mille Lacs

So, we finally bit the bullet and purchased cross country skis as a Christmas present for each other this year, after years of talking about taking the plunge. Of course, we brought them with us to Central Minnesota, which was hit with unseasonable rain just days before we arrived. Of course! So M and I took a brisk walk in -1 degree weather around the park he used to live at, Crow Wing State Park. It was super pretty but I do wish I’d thought to put on some long johns first 😉

christmas 20141

christmas 20142

On the drive out of town, we stopped at a scenic overlook to take a picture of the sunrise.
christmas 20143

Family Vacation 2014!

We just got home from an epic road trip/family vacation! We left here early on a Saturday morning and drove up to Chicago. We hung out with some of our best friends L & B, and played the infamous ‘Train Game’ (actually it’s this one). Another couple, G & R, generously drove in from the city and meet us for drinks, dinner, and dessert. L & B  suggested we go a newer restaurant in Westmont, Neat. They had a fabulous beer selection and the pork belly steamed buns are amazing.family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

my delicious pork bahn mi + fries

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

 the only photographic evidence of our awesome evening

Bright and early, we drove to Madison to spend lunch with even more friends! J + P just welcomed a new little one so M and I (v. selfishly) brought Culver’s for lunch, walked their sweet dog and got newborn baby snuggles. We headed back down the road towards the cabin in Northern Wiscosin to meet up with M’s family who were a few hours ahead of us on the road. Sunday night we just cooked dinner and caught up. The next day, we drove into Duluth to walk around and take in the sights (and introduce this Lower Midwesterner to the city haha)

comynroadtrip02family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

 lichens in duluth

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

the USS Bayfield outside the Lake Superior Marine Musuem

comynroadtrip06

lovely aunt c caught taking pictures

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

waiting for the trains

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

brothers in law

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

driftwood along lake superior

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

fitgers brewery in duluth
family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

campfire + magic

We made Thai Beef for dinner and then we had our first night of s’mores. There was a nesting pair of bald eagles so we also spent a bunch of time watching them and even walked up to check out their nest. The next day, we went into Bayfield and did some shopping and well as checked out their Maritime Museum. There was an epic playground right by the shore. I looked all over for some candles made less than a mile way on Madeline Island but I ended up finding them at a small general store 60 miles away 🙂
family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

uncle time!

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

sibling time!

We spent one whole day on the beach but Lake Superior is (always) too cold to really go swimming but somehow I managed a sunburn anyways 🙂 We left the next morning for the return two day drive with another stop off in Chicago. We had dinner with M’s best man, J, at one of our old favorite haunts in Uptown and brunch with another one of our very good friends.  Knowing we’d need to take a break, we stopped off in Indy for a few hours. There is a cool state park downtown and we walked thru the Indiana State Museum (didn’t pay for the exhibits because we were in a 3 hour parking spot).

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

 

All in all, it was an epically awesome 1800 mile trip filled with so much goodness, friends and family. We’re already talking about next year!