My Ohio Baby Shower & A Texas Wedding:

I’m sitting here this Sunday afternoon with a clean house, waiting on my family to arrive from Ohio! They are bringing us our baby crib and Brandy who stayed with them while we traveled to Texas. We will also be celebrating my dad’s 61st birthday tonight with a steak dinner. Happy Bithday Dad!!!

This Wednesday evening we arrived back from our whirlwind trip to San Antonio for the wedding of our dear friends Liz and Chris. I know it was risky and maybe even a little crazy making that long 24 hour drive at 36 weeks pregnant, but we knew we didn’t want to miss this special day for two of our best friends.

I’m posting in reverse order here, so this is all of us bridesmaids with the stunning bride just minutes before she walked down the isle.

We had to snap a photo with the happy couple. Never mind how giant I look in my gold sequined dress!

The bachelorette party took place the night before the wedding at the luxurious JW Marriott resort and Spa. We had a giant suite that connected to a row of rooms where we would all be staying that night. The bachelorette party was a riot with mug shots, karaoke, delicious drinks and sweets, and lots of laughter. That afternoon we all got pampered at the spa with mains, pedis, hot tubs, saunas, and massages.

The rehearsal dinner was fiesta themed and the bridal party had to dress the part. We had a delicious Mexican feast after the rehearsal, complete with a piñata!

The day before, Nathan and I had time to pop around town visiting some old familiar faces and catching up with old friends. I got to see my darling Hannah and we of course headed to our favorite spot Papoulis for a late lunch. It was so great to see her and everyone, it kind of felt like we never moved at all…

That evening, Chris and Liz invited us and another couple to have dinner with them at Maggianos Italian restaurant. The pasta was fantastic and we had a ball laughing and catching up with eachother.

The day before, Nathan and I drove most of the day stopping for meals and lots of potty breaks for the pregnant lady. We remembered how much we love Einstein Bros. bagels on this trip, and every time we passed one I had to stop. (Pregnancy craving?) 

We stopped for the evening at a hotel and crashed right away. It felt great to get some sleep!

Now I’m rewinding way back to my Ohio baby shower because it deserves a recap! Here is a picture of my sisters and my cousins who made the drive to the shower. 

My mom and sisters did an incredible job creating a cozy, woodland themed shower. Everything from the venu to the little party favors were thoughtful and creative. I got to see a bunch of my highschool buddies along with long time family friends who graciously attended as well. 

The honey baked ham, rolls, spreads, cream cheese cupcakes, fruit, veggies, and cheeses were top notch. 

It was so great to have Lindsay in from Montana for the shower as well, since she has had to miss most of the baby festivities. Have I mentioned I love my sisters and I’m SO glad to live close to family again?!

Overall, it’s been a crazy few weeks. My due date is fast approaching and with the holidays upon us as well it just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. 

However, today I will be content slowing down and soaking up family time while they are visiting and reflecting on the real reason for the season.

Lauren ❤


An Ohio Thanksgiving:

This week for Thanksgiving, Nathan, Brandy, and I loaded up the car and set off to Ohio for holiday festivities with the family right as soon as we got off work on Tuesday. Lindsay and Ben are in visiting from Montana so our plan was to soak up as much time with them as we could. I put up my tree with the help from Annie last week, and I’m proud to say I’ve already got 6 gifts wrapped and placed under the tree.

Our annual Thanksgiving road trip picture.;)

It was so great to see Lindsay and Ben after not seeing them since the four of us made a trip to Dallas last winter. 

All of us were so thrilled to see eachother again. We had the best time catching up, playing board games, and snacking on mom’s delicious home cooking. 

All of us sisters got to be together again and it was so good for my soul! Lindsay got to see my baby bump for the first time yet, it was so fun talking baby stuff with all my sisters.

The next afternoon after eating dads delicious pancakes and bacon in our Jammie’s and catching up on life we turned our attention towards the turkey dinner. We set up the tablescape and even added Thanksgiving trivia and “I’m thankful for…” cards to fill out and discuss at the end of the meal.

This was the best family picture we got before sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner together.

I have SO much to be thankful for this year with an incredible husband and precious baby boy on the way! 

It was great getting to have our friend Jacob here with us for Thanksgiving before he moves back to a Texas this winter.

I filled my plate with all my favorite things and an unpictured slice of mom’s homemade pecan pie.

Later that evening us girls decided to try out a new black peel of face mask I had ordered. It worked so well, we all loved how smooth our faces felt afterwards.

We’ve been having an evening cup of camomile tea with a bit of honey each night and it just hits the spot. We also went to the movie theater to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them. The movie was really good and very Harry Potter-esque.

This morning, Nathan headed back to Michigan for sermon prep and hunting and Lindsay and I hit the town for some Black Friday deals. We stopped by Panera for some bagels, girl talk,  and warm drinks before our shopping commenced.

Tonight we are going out to dinner and tomorrow is my second baby shower! Like I said, lots to be thankful for!

Have a blessed day!


Baby Shower #1 

2 weekends ago Annie and I set out for a day of outlet shopping at the Michigan City Outlets. We stopped for our respective Starbucks holiday drinks to fuel us and we were off! I love getting an early start on Christmas shopping. This year there is so much going on around this time with the holidays, baby showers, driving to Texas, a wedding, getting settled into a new home, and a BABY! Some days I feel like my head is going to explode with my never ending to-do lists that seem to keep growing rather than shrinking. With all that said, I am trying to stay as organized and on the ball as possible these days. 🙂

I got to get together with Faith for an early birthday celebration! She chose sushi and a movie to kick off her birthday week! 
we have loved Soho since our college days so that is where we headed for dinner before the show.

I got the volcano roll, don’t worry it was all cooked 😉

Faith got the spicy dynamite roll.

You better believe this pregnant lady was getting some buttery popcorn for the movie. Faith agreed to share with me, even though I could have managed just fine on my own. 😉

The theater was awesome and had comfy reclining chairs to watch the show in. Isn’t she cute!:)

That evening when I got home, my whole family was at the house! They were all drifting off to sleep one by one but they had made the trip here to go to my Michigan baby shower that My mother-in-law was throwing me.

The theme was woodland animals and she nailed it. Here are some cupcakes she made!

The food and set up was perfect. It all looked like something straight off Pinterest. 

Me and my family (minus Linds).

I forgot to mention that it was a couples shower so some brave guys even showed up, including the daddy to be. 🙂

It was so nice having my other half there to celebrate our little boy. 

I got to see this gem twice in a row, it was great!

The lovely Kelly and I! She wore her blue sweater for baby boy 🙂

I’ve been seeing a lot more of this little college student lately, and I’m loving it!

We got so many sweet and thoughtful gifts, it was a wonderful shower!

If you’re wondering what is up with the lack of meal plan posts/ recipíes lately, well here’s a peak into what I’m eating lately. Usually for dinner it’s some kind of fruit, cereal, or smoothie. I eat what baby wants and haven’t been cooking much at all ( sorry Nathan). However, I do have a delicious pot roast cooking away right now. 

Well, Nathan just got home so I’m off to spend time with him!

Have a great week and happy Thanksgiving!
Lauren ❤

Our New Home and a Haunted 5k

We have finally moved in to our new home in Indiana! It’s been a long time since I have been able to have my own space, routine, and all my stuff unpacked! 🙂  We still have boxes to unpack but we have painted the three upstairs bedrooms including my sweet baby boy’s bedroom. 

We now have a huge 1.5 acre backyard for Brandy to frolick in and a swimming pool for those hot summer days. This house is just perfect for raising a family and it has such a cozy feel about it, much different from our spacious, open first home in Texas. 

My wonder family drove up the day we closed on our house to help us deep clean and paint before moving everything in. My inlaws then joined us to help move the big stuff. Both moms brought dinner and snacks and thought of everything we would need. I am SO glad to be back around family!

We took some of our youth kiddos to a local corn maze Friday evening. We are really loving our new church and awesome youth group students.

On Saturday morning we met up with Faith and Bud for a Halloween 5k. The guys sipped their coffee and cheered us girls on from the sidelines. After throwing around a few different outfit ideas Faith and I decided to dress as Winnie the Pooh and Piglet for our run!

Our paperatzi got some good running shots while we were running towards the finish line. Faith was so sweet and ran with me the whole time even though she could have lapped me! I am much slower now-a-days so we just kept it slow and steady for all 3 miles. We talked and laughed the whole run, I absolutely had a great time!

Here we are sporting our medals! I decided that this was my last run during this pregnancy. I felt good afterwards and during the race but I can tell that my body is ready to transition to walking for the next few weeks before baby comes.
All of our tummies were ready for something to eat so we headed to the Essenhaus for an Amish style brunch. The boys got the buffet and us girls split a delicious veggie omelette. 

On Halloween Nathan and I were excited to pass out candy and continue our Halloween tradition. Each year on the 31st we get doughnuts and cider to eat while we watch a scary movie together. This year I picked us up some delicious Mexican food, Rise N Roll donuts, and cider. We ate and watched Stranger Things as our “scary movie” this year. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it! 

I just love life with him!

We are still unpacking and organizing the new house but everything is starting to feel more homey. My sister Annie and her college friends are coming to visit this weekend and we are going to hit up some outlets for early Christmas shopping! Nothing like having house guests to get you motivated to finish unpacking ;).

Have a great week!

Lauren ❤

Autumn, My Favorite Season:

After spending 4 years with a blisteringly hot fall season, it feels heavenly to have the drop in temperatures, colorful leaves, and delicious fall treats! 

We spent our Friday night in South Bend catching up with Faith and Bud at Oktoberfest. I wasn’t quite prepared for the drastic drop in temperature clothes wise so we spent most of our evening huddled over warm drinks, games, and desserts at the Southbend Chocolate Cafe.

   This morning Nathan and I went out for a brisk run in the 50 degree temps. It felt great to run and I’m so thankful to feel well enough to run through this pregnancy. After running and a refreshing strawberry banana smoothie we got ready for a wedding!

Nathan’s mom made the cake!

The wedding was in a barn and had a touch of country chic meets glam. We had a great time!

Rewind to last weekend and we attended my cousin’s wedding in Ohio that was also set in a big red barn. This venu was breathtaking all nestled back in rolling hills.

My whole family was at this wedding (minus Linds and Ben). I got to see cousins and people we haven’t gotten to see in years.

Kelly and I took too many pre dinner selfies 😉

I got the idea while we were there to grab all the cousins and get an updated cousin picture including spouses, and I’m so glad we did! 

It’s been a busy couple weeks and we are still waiting to move into our new home. Right now we’re still driving 50 minutes to work each day and living out of our suitcases as all our stuff is packed away. I’m working on finding peace and joy in my circumstance because I know God has us in this transitional season for a reason and I don’t want to miss what He has to teach me here, so I’ll wait with expectation. ❤️

Have a great weekend!

Lauren ❤

Our Gender Reveal & 26th Birthday in Chicago

We are well into September and I’ve got some major life updates to share! 

In the past few weeks I have gotten a teaching job at a wonderful elementary school in the area! Last week was my first full week and I am in love with the staff and darling 5-6th grade students ( mostly Amish). Nathan and I took a date day to celebrate our new jobs and do some shopping too! We ended up at our old stomping grounds, the Mishawaka river walk, mall, and Flat Top grill for some delicious stir fry.

So many miles run down at this river walk, I can’t wait for more runs here!

That weekend we headed to my parents house in Ohio for family birthday parties and our gender reveal party! Nathan’s mom made these adorable cupcakes from a pin I sent her on Pinterest. How cute?!

We did our best to wear pink and blue as we had guests show up wearing the color of the gender they thought it would be. Nathan and I still didn’t know the gender at this point and were anxiously awaiting the big moment.

We decided to order exploding golf balls online that Nathan would hit for the reveal. One person knew the gender and teed up the correct colored golf ball….then everyone gathered around while Nathan swung!

It’s a …..BOY! I was so shocked I thought for sure we were having a girl. We are beyond thrilled about our little love that will make his big appearance in January!

The next week was my birthday! Hello, 26! I asked for these Hunter rain boots that I’ve been eyeing, and I got them! 

Since my actual birthday was such a busy day and we had a youth event that night until very late, we decided to celebrate on Saturday with a trip to the Windy City! Faith and Bud were able to join us for my birthday in Chicago, it was a blast!

First stop….Garret’s popcorn!

Armed with our buttery delicious popcorn, we were ready to see the sights and shop! Unfortunately it down poured which sent us hurrying to Giordanos for an early lunch.

Faith and I started with salad while we all waited for our pepperoni deep dish to come out. This pizza is the best pizza in the world. I’ve now got Nathan hooked on this pizza too, too bad it’s only in Chicago.

By the time we finished lunch, the rain had stopped and it was a beautiful day to shop! We shopped, snacked, and took in the sights of this gorgeous city. We stopped at the beach to get some photos with the skyline in the background.

We are so thankful to be closer to friends and family now!

Faith snapped this picture of my tasty decaf latte, it was just what I needed after tons of walking.

Before we called it a day, we all decided on dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Dinner was great but the company was better. I’m so thankful for all the love in my life and I’m excited for this next year!

We made an offer on a house and it was accepted so we are going through the process of buying the house and hopefully moving as soon as possible. I’m just amazed by God and his perfect timing through this whole transition. We now have great jobs that we just love, a house in the works, a healthy baby on the way, and we even bought a new Dodge Journey for my mommy days. 

I logged some miles this morning and felt great running, now I’m off to read a good book on this dreary afternoon!

Have a great week!

❤ lauren

Summer 2016 recap in pictures:

I’m going to start off this recap with our most exciting news first….we’re expecting our first baby!!

We told both sets of parents our news when they flew into TX to help us move. We ordered these mugs on Etsy and gave them to our parents with coffee in them to see how long it would take them to notice, oh it was so fun!

There have been many great highlights this summer as our first summer back North! There has been berry picking, trail running, visits from our favorite Texans, sunset boat rides, icecream treats, and family vacations.

We went to Mackinack island with Nathan’s family and it was wonderful! We biked 8 miles around the island, shopped all the little shops, toured the Grand Hotel, had bonfires on the beach each night, rented kayaks, and enjoyed togetherness.

Once we got to Ohio it was off to the island of Put-in-Bay with my family on the boat. We spent days lounging by the pool, touring the island on bike and golf cart, and eating the most delicious seafood/ island cuisine. We had such a great/relaxing time with my family ( I even read the new Harry Potter book).

Since vacationing we’ve been enjoying boat days, time with friends, weddings, easing back into running ( I didn’t run for weeks due to horrible all day sickness) massages, and ultrasounds.

This summer has been wonderful and so nice to be back surrounded by family and friends, I can’t even explain it. Nathan and I have spent the past four years going non stop with very little time off, we didn’t realize how much we needed some down time to reconnect with eachother and celebrate our little miracle. 

Nathan just accepted a position as associate/youth pastor at a church in Indiana. We are currently house hunting and looking forward to the future! God is good!

Have a blessed day!

Lauren ❤

4 Year Anniversary on the Boat

And just like that our 4 year wedding anniversary came and went. It’s so amazing to think how different life is now than when we were sayin “I Do”. We are now living back up North surrounded by wonderful family and friends and I am so at peace. 

We spent this week in Ohio with my side of the family and my aunt Lisa who was in visiting from Florida. To start off our anniversary day we all headed out for 9 holes of golf.  We hopped in some golf carts and were off to play a scramble. It was Nathan and I against mom, Annie, and dad. Kelly and Aunt Lisa didn’t play but were along for the adventure.

Our 9 holes of golf took way longer than expected so everyone’s appetites were raging by the time we made it back to the car.  Nathan and I had plans to spend the night out on my parent’s boat and get dinner at Damon’s Grill so we did just that. It was a rainy cold evening when we finally made it out to dinner. We sat in a booth overlooking the marina as we ate our meals and talked about the years past and years to come. I ordered prime rib while Nathan opted for the ribs, both were delicious.

Afterwards we headed over to the boat and hunkered down there for the rest of the rainy and chilly evening. My darling sisters Kelly and Annie snuck out to the boat earlier that morning and decorated it with tons of gold balloons, flowers, and candles it was so Sweet! We had a wonderful evening spent out on the water listening to the waves and rain, it was a wonderful way to ring in this next year of marriage!

The next week was filled with a few boat outings and fishing trips. Nathan caught the only Walleye out of everyone, he was really excited.
Once back in Michigan, Nathan and I drove to see Faith and Bud for dinner and a get together. 

We were all in the mood for some icecream that evening so we ended up at Chief, which has rave reviews. I ordered a chocolate milkshake and Nathan got a cookies and cream shake. Both were good but we had higher expectations since this place had been talked up so much.

Once back at Faith and Bud’s we played games and laughed so much. We really missed our friends! We ended up spending the night there because we stayed so late that the hour and 20 min. drive back to Michigan seemed too daunting.

Today my sister Annie is driving to Mighigan to visit for a few days and I have two interviews this week! 

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Lauren ❤

On the Road and Running the Sunburst 10k

Once we were on the road for a while and the tears stopped, Nathan and I turned our attention to the future and discussing all the possibilities that lay before us. It’s both exciting and a bit frightening leaving out Texas comfort zones and leaping into the unknown without for sure jobs or a place to live. However, something I’ve learned time and time again is that when you hear God’s voice telling you clearly that it’s time for transition you have to obey, so we will, with trusting hearts.

Nathan, Brandy, and I piled into the moving truck for a leg of the journey so that we could decompress together as a family. Both sets of parents and my sweet sister Kelly rode in the RV behind our moving truck. Throughout the 26 hour drive we all rotated between vehicles. We made the executive decision to stop at a hotel halfway to get some shut eye before continuing on the road.

Once in Michigan my friend Faith and I made plans to get together and also run the annual Suburst 10k race. We had never run a race together so I was extra excited to run with my bestie. Faith has gotten super into fitness and running and I am so impressed with her dedication!

Once we picked up our race day packets we stopped by our alma mater Bethel College for an obligatory picture at the helm. College was really some of the best days of our lives, it was so fun to reminisce about all our late nights, meeting our husbands, snowball fights, Christmas parties, and midnight breakfasts.

Afterwards we made plans to meet the guys at Carabbas for dinner! We made sure to carbo-load in preperation for race Day!

The race was a great course throughout down town South Bend. There were thousands of runners but Faith and I stuck together for all 6 miles. At the last part of the race Faith and I picked up our paces and made a sprint to the finish line where Nathan and Bud were cheering us on.

It was a great morning spent with friends. I’m so thankful to live close to great friends again and be able to do activities like this with them! 

Reunited and it feels so good!

After we left Faith and Bud’s it was back to Michingan for some more quality time with his family. We had some interviews and we are still praying about potential jobs. 

Have a great day!


A House Full of Visititors & Saying Goodbye

In the weeks leading up to our move from Texas we had many visitors stop by for a last hurrah! Nathan’s sister Amanda came, my sister Annie, my childhood friend Allison, and both sets of our parents came the week before our move to help us pack.

We shopped, got pedicures, ate at all our favorite spots, soaked up long nights with good friends, said goodbye to all my little First graders, and I got some good final running in in the Texas heat. May was a month to remember.

Our final Sunday at River City the pastor called us up on stage to pray for us and our next chapter of life. Afterwards they had a big cake reception for Nathan and I in the pavilion so that church members could come and say bye to us.

The next morning was moving day and by the time I woke up there were teenagers everywhere in the house carrying boxes and helping with the move. 

I had to have my coffee first before I could be productive 😉

We loaded everything up and me and some wonderful youth girls cleaned the house. There were lots of tears as we pulled away from our wonderful first home where so many memories have been made, but we are trusting and believing that the best is yet to come. God has a plan.