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School is starting soon.  Reality.  And that’s a good thing, because I’m craving a new sort of order.. moments in a quieter house.  Stillness.

As of this weekend our school shopping is about done.  We have very few traditions over here.. but one fun tradition is back to school shopping.  We do it one-on-one with our kids.  We take the school supply list, they get to pick out a new school outfit, and then their pick of eating out with us – and it’s done with just dad or mom.  My heart melts every time. Friday night the boys were out eating buffalo wings and came home with bags full of supplies.  This afternoon it was the girls!  Lucia just shines with your full attention.  She is full of life and is so excited about every detail.  If only there was a way to tap into the energy of our Lucia Mae.  I was pretty excited too about her new lunchbox . Honestly cute.

And since summer days are almost over, we’re packing up for our family camping trip this week.  Still mostly excited about the adventure!  I will happily eat my share of s’mores and share a tent with Mr. Underwood.  And our children.

What else this week?

-Our schedule with daily chores (+the weekly allowance) has worked so great for the summer.  I’m contemplating how to tweak it for fall and busier/tired kids.  Any tips to share?

-After quite a few friends telling me about it (for a long time), I finally sat down and watched my first episode(s) of Fixer Upper this week on Netflix.  Does anyone else cry at the end when the family comes home to their new house?  Gosh!  It’s a mix of high emotion and initiative to get my butt off the couch and start painting.  Anything.  Like that stack of tongue and groove stacked on our front porch.  It’s coming along.  Just one of those projects that’s not glamorous or fun.  Blah.  But it will get done, and then comes a new ceiling and LIGHTS.  And lights are glamorous.  Especially this one for above our kitchen sink.  Which will tie beautifully with our dining room.

-We love fresh herbs around here.  I’m thinking of moving them indoors for the season ahead.  Maybe something like this.

-I worked out twice this week and hated every minute of it.  Pretty sure this tank was made for me.  I appreciate honesty.

Thanks for sharing this space, friends!  Hope your weekend was grand!

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IMG_3813I couldn’t imagine a world of unconditional love or grace, where people simply enter into rooms because the door is always open.  The world that made sense to me was a world of earning and proving. . and so I’ve been frantically trying to prove my worth.  – Shauna Niequist 

My copy of Shauna Niequist’s latest book arrived this week and I’ve been soaking up the pages.  I love her writing and every time it speaks so strongly to me!  When I read the quote above i said “YES”.  I understand.  I long to experience and create a place of unconditional love and grace.  I want our home to always be an open door.  I never want our kids to feel the need to prove.  Anything.  I want our kids to experience the opposite of my experiences because much of my life has been frantic.  I’ve tried to prove or earn my worth time and time again.  I’m anxious to keep reading, process thoughts with Ry, and then just to take some time to be still – just the opposite of frantic – as we head into September.

Ryan took the older two kids camping this past week and looking through their pictures I’m feeling pretty darn excited about our first family camping trip (with great friends) later this month.  I’m hopeful this could be a back to school family tradition every year.  But given our four-year-old is terrified of bugs and has strong feelings.  We’ll see.  One year at a time.

Other favorite things this week:

-I made this skillet dinner last night.  Amazing flavor.

-I have a thing for random white mugs.  I could classify this one as a “need”, right?

-We have a nice big porch on the front of our home which regularly serves as extra storage.  Tonight- tonight it smells of lumber.  It smells AMAZING.   Ry and one of his friends “handy Andy” are working on our kitchen ceiling.  Three years later and we’re breaking up with the kitchen ceiling tile.  Seriously- who puts ceiling tile in the kitchen? We’re (meaning the guys are) putting tongue and groove in.  Picture something like this. Cannot wait!

-I ordered a new rolling hamper this week which may change my life.  We have two laundry chutes here which we love.  But the clothes land in the basement about 30 feet from our washing machine.  So for years now I’ve drug or carried our tall old wicker hamper to the washer.  No more.  The new baby can move and my back says “thank you”.

Cheers to the weekend.  I hope you are drinking good coffee and slowing things down. Mondays come fast enough.


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Ryan and Liz 2 _01

This week Tuesday we celebrate 13 years as a team.  And that’s no small thing.  Relationships are hard.  The struggle to live life with someone quite different than yourself, to love them when they’re selfish, to forgive them when they hurt you the deepest, to support their dreams and make their dreams part of your own.  This stuff doesn’t come naturally.  Some days feel like a ton more work than others, yes?  And other days are better than the sweetest dreams I had as a much younger gal who fell hard for a skinny happy boy named Ryan Underwood. I love this man.  He is amazingly talented and wise on the inside.  And outside?  He’s smoking hot.

-One more month and the fall schedule starts here in Duluth.  I’m starting to think about it, but I don’t want to put school supplies in the shopping cart just yet.   So far Colette picked out a new backpack for preschool.  Now she tells me she “needs” to bring it along on all outings, even if it’s empty.  We’re soaking up as many hours as we can before school days.  Yesterday included a picnic lunch, thrifting as a family (a first), baseball, and more walking after dinner.  Our kids are tan and popsicle sticks are littered through our yard. It’s been a good summer.

-I’ve been daydreaming of these pillows on our bed.  A great price and a fun way to switch things up!

-Since having my baby sister live with us (a couple years back already), I’ve slowly been learning about makeup products and application.  Thanks, Debs!  This eyebrow pencil is now a staple on my very minimal make-up look.  I thank my dad for these eyebrows.  Anyone have a favorite lipgloss you can tell me about?

-We like Kind bars around here.  These new ones at Target are super good.  Add them to the back to school list.

This song is on repeat here.  Fitting for our anniversary week.

*Photo credit to our favorite Kiley Marissa Photography.  


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I woke this morning to the kids talking and laughing together.  The sun was shining through our sheer white curtains, mabel was curled in a ball beside the bed, the ceiling fan was keeping our room the perfect summer temp, Ry was zonked out beside me, and for those few minutes it was heaven. Then Colette started screaming.. Our fierce baby girl.  You’re gonna change the world.

-I missed my post last week.  Duluth had a significant storm a week and a half ago.  The rain was minimal, but the lightening and thunder and wind were amazing!!  We woke in the early morning to flashing over and over against the bedroom walls and knowing even then we had no power.  After our family was all piled into the bed, I remember my first thoughts were “did we leave the van windows down” and “what if our weeping willow were to fall?” We were safe.  We were without power for several days (with Ry’s family in town), but we were safe.  To see pics on some of the disaster you can click here.

-Jameson and Lucia started swim lessons this week.  We’ve kept up on most things for these two.  They’re doing great in school, they’re up on their vaccinations, we make time for reading, we brush their teeth.. but we’ve slacked a bit in the swimming department.  BUT we have a new yearly membership to the YMCA here and the kids started in the “Polliwog” class together on Thursday night.  How cute is that?  Polliwogs.  Next they’ll be “Guppies”.  It’s too much!

– If you could treat yourself to two things what would they be?  For me it’s fresh flowers and getting my nails done.  One of our local flower shops does a weekly wrap for $10 that I want to pickup every single time.  This week these ones came home to live with me.

-I preordered this book and cannot wait to crack open the fresh pages.  Shauna Niequist is on my list of best authors.

-I threw my back out (again) this week.  The combination of having old lady problems and a new membership to the YMCA challenges me to get stronger.  Because if you could see how I’m moving… it’s not strong.  Or pretty.  I’ve been contemplating for months getting a Fitbit to motivate myself with a goal.  The problem is the Fitblaze Blaze is the prettiest but way more than I need or would spend.  The wristbands aren’t all that cute and I’d want something I can wear all the time.  So I’m contemplating just the activity tracker and finding a buddy for accountability.  Remember I’m an obliger.  Anybody else needing a buddy?