Friday, April 29, 2016

Everyday Life 4.29.16

Good thing Will and Rebecca chose last weekend for their wedding!  It's snowing again; has been all day.  Fortunately it's not cold enough for it to stick very much.

Speaking of wedding, it was such a special day.  Perfect weather and lovely company.  I really enjoyed being part of the festivities, from preparation to all the pictures to music to speeches during the reception.  There was so much joy and it was a beautiful reminder of the amazing-ness of the gift of marriage.  Any major event does tend to leave one with an emotional letdown, but we found that spontaneous renditions of music from Les Miserables are quite helpful in overcoming such feelings.  Joe's "Bring Him Home" is stunning.  And I love being able to participate from the piano.

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My kids are so much fun, and sometimes I wonder what in the world I'm doing being a mom?  I wouldn't trade them for anything in a million years.  Emily has grown a lot lately and I've wondered a couple of times "Where's my baby and who is this beautiful little girl?  Right now she's talking to her dolly on the floor next to me.  I love her spunky personality.  She's very adept in her walker and adores it when I don't close the fridge before she can get there.

James is nearly two and a half and it's so fun to watch him develop.  He's falling in love with story books, especially the Little Golden Fire Engine Book.  He wants it over and over and over.  His imagination is developing and I love it.  He'll "eat" things off the page of books, and either Daddy, Mummy, or Bebe are in multiple vehicle in the story.  (It doesn't help that at this point he seems to call all men Daddy and all women Mummy--"see da Daddy?").  He pretends to vacuum, complete with (very high-pitched) sound effects. Garages are amazing to him, especially when they go up and down.  Garbage trucks are the most wonderful inventions and he can't get enough of watching them "dump".   He's still a sweet little cuddle boy, though, asking for a "Hug?" or (most often) "Hug-hug?" or if he's really desperate "hug-hug-hug-hug-hug..." whenever he needs them (often at the dinner table) and wanting me to sit on the floor and snuggle him periodically.

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I've been reading a lot this year.  I keep up with my reading lists and post the occasional short review on Goodreads, in case you're interested in following along.  I hope to do some bookish posts here when I can get around to compiling some short reviews.  I still prefer paper and ink, but I've done a lot more e-reading since having kids.  My phone is so handy for a quick read while nursing (or while I'm out), and I like my Nook even more; it's a lot closer to a real book in size and page appearance than the screen of a phone.  It's difficult not to be able to flip around while I read but the ease of one-handed reading and carrying several books in a small format help to balance that (part of the time).  I've been using BookBub and Gospel E-books to buy favorites when they're on sale and I now have a sizeable collection in case of necessity.  (Yes, books are a necessity.)  I just ordered another lot of books from the library.  Even if I don't get around to reading all of them, just ordering them makes me happy.

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Almost time for dinner prep.  Lentil soup with roasted potatoes and asparagus tonight.   I may even make some more biscotti.   These almond biscotti are delicious (if you don't mind almond flavoring), especially when drizzled with dark chocolate, and were a hit with my family.  I love these chocolate espresso biscotti even more; they're intensely dark and amazing.  I wouldn't suggest making them with your toddler before naptime, though.  Whether it was the caffeine in the cookies or the fact that he'd slept in I don't know, but he didn't nap at. all. that day.

Cheerio! A lovely weekend to you, friends.


A favorite photo from the wedding: all of the Morgan siblings and spouses.  Photo credit to Climbing Rose Photography.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Everyday Life 4.22.16: pre-wedding edition!

We have a wedding tomorrow!  It's not just every day that one's sister marries one's brother-in-law so this is extra special.  Rehearsal is later today, leaving me with limited writing time.  I'll settle for pictures and a few words (gingerly pecked out between coats of nail polish).  

Joe's family is all in town together for the first time in 2 years.  Look at that awesome bunch!  I am so blessed in my in-laws.  (Always good to marry the brother of some of your closest friends.)  

...because her cuteness surpasses the universe.  Check out those bath curls.  

Trying out wedding finery.  Not to be outdone on the cuteness scale.

Sisters outing!  Nails, coffee and laughs.  Love these girls.

So glad that it's light enough for walks after dinner!  The blossoms survived the snow, and James decided that the stairs and slide at the playground are great fun.  

Last Friday I slipped away from home group and ran to Mum L's for a quick rehearsal of wedding music.  I transcribed/arranged the piece Rebecca chose for piano, flute, viola and cello.  I had forgotten how magical it can be to hear something you've written come alive, come off the page into a beautiful living piece of music.  It was so rewarding.  

And that's it for today, friends!  Forgive the lack of centeredness; I'm not going to take the time to format this today.  Too much happening.  Enjoy your weekend!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Everyday Life 4.15.16

Today is quiet.  Both kids are sleeping.  I just worked over wedding music on the piano and finalized some notation stuff and now I'm drinking coffee to combat the late-afternoon tiredness.  It's quiet outside too.  Still and grey.  The grass is green, trees are starting to leaf out, blossoms are beautiful in defiance of a whopping storm we had a few weeks ago.  Another whopping storm is on track for this weekend, starting with rain later today and turning to snow tonight.  I'm grateful that the wedding is next weekend, not this weekend.

Yesterday I was getting out carrots for muffins.  James grabbed a large one and I let him keep it.  Want to encourage healthy habits, no?  He took a bite right off the end and then started hobbling around, using it as a walking stick.  (Yes, it was a large carrot, but he still had to bend over substantially to get it to touch the floor.)  A few minutes later, he was in the living room talking on his new carrot-phone.  Later in the afternoon he came to me in distress: "Carrot? Gone?"  Since his mouth was full of carrot I thought that perhaps he'd actually eaten the whole thing.  But no, there was Carrot out on the porch, just out of reach.  It became the new activity: hide/throw/otherwise stow Carrot in a hard to reach location, and come to Mummy or Daddy in distress for help in retrieving it.  So works the brain of a small boy.  (I wish I had pictures, but I wasn't fast enough and he wouldn't re-do it for the camera...)

Tonight we have small group.  Since we've been attending a much larger church than anything I've ever been part of before I have seen the importance of home groups/small groups/whatever you call them.  It's been slightly out of my comfort zone to meet with and get to know these people, but it has been so good.  It has blessed us so much to develop relationships and study Galatians with other younger couples with small children (lots of small children).  It's our turn to bring dessert and I made a chocolate chip cake.

Emily is awake and needs to eat before we go.  Sometimes I feel like the things that fill my days are so small and un-earth-shattering.  But it's my life right now, and it's so good.  I'm going to try to celebrate and write beauty into the tiny things, instead of apologizing for the lack of deep and amazing substance in my posts.  Cheers!


Friday, April 8, 2016

Everyday Life 4.8.16

It's a quiet Friday afternoon.  Both kids are sleeping and I opted for caffeine and quiet time over a nap.  This morning I took the kids for a long walk/run and we stopped and played at the park.  Not a playground, though.  James prefers his trucks and the dirt to playground equipment.  So we went to the ball diamond and he played with his loader and garbage truck while I stretched and tried to keep various elements of nature out of Emily's mouth.

Emily is 9 months as of this week!  She's delightful.  She never took to baby food (and she did so well nursing that I didn't push it) but she just developed the cutest little pincer grip and is doing really well with finger food.  Citrus, strawberries, and bread are favorites so far.  She cruises all over in her walker, scoots backwards and in circles on her tummy (but not so much forwards), and loves face-to-face time and talking with people.  She's starting to "dance" in response to singing.  So glad we got her.


James woke up the other morning and the first thing he said was "Gawage door!  Up and down!" He's obsessed with garages, trains, trucks of all varieties, and keys (which he calls keys-es).  Which reminds me, I think mine are in his pocket.  Must remember to check on that when he wakes up.

We have a wedding coming up!  My sister is marrying Joe's brother, which means that it's really exciting for us.  Also that it will be really busy for us, since both of us have extended family coming in.  It's going to be so much fun, though.  For me wedding prep has looked like planning a shower, helping with dress alterations, wearing sparkly shoes on and off for days to break them in, finding adorable clothes for the kids, and most recently working on music.  It has been years since I've done anything like this (transcribing/arranging something) and I find that I still love it.


In kitchen news, I've developed a great fondness for biscotti.  I was never really crazy about them, preferring my cookies chewy, but when I was going through Penzey's catalogues cutting recipes that I like I found one for anise biscotti that caught my eye.  I love anise, I happen to have a whole bag of it, and I was seized with a deep desire to make them.  They were delicious.  Then I started wondering about chocolate biscotti.  Not just biscotti with chocolate chunks, but real chocolate ones with chocolate chunks as well.  I tried this recipe, since it was the one with the largest amount of cocoa powder, and they're lovely!  Hard and crunchy (more so because they don't have butter, I think) but excellent for dipping.  I'm also excited about dinner tonight.  I finally have a quorum of ingredients in my kitchen to try the recipe for Khmer curry given to me by my dear friend Kristin in Cambodia.  I've been planning it for days.

So....that's my life today.  Nothing super deep or exciting, but I'm blessed and grateful.  And I'm going to keep working on that music.


                           The little cuties on a mountain walk last night

Friday, April 1, 2016

Writing again! [2015 update]

I've decided to begin writing again, mostly to keep track of these days and to remember the happy things therein. I hope to check in once a week or so with a few snippets of my life. For today, I'm finally polishing off and publishing the family newsletter I wrote in early January.

Happy New Year from the Joseph and Rachel Langemann family!  Life is flying by with increasing rapidity and I thought that I would take the time to write up some of our highlights from 2015, lest they be lost to posterity in the craziness of life.  We are well; loving our life together and our beautiful little ones.  Putting up our stockings this year was a fun visual reminder for me that we actually are a family of four!   We are blessed to live near both of our families and rarely lack for someone to visit with or watch the kids for us.  

Emily Grace joined us early in the morning of July 2, missing Canada Day (July 1) by 5 minutes.  We’re actually not disappointed that she chose her own birthday, narrowly avoiding both of our national holidays.  We were so grateful for a fairly quick and easy labor and delivery this time around.  We’ve adjusted well to two children (busy times!) and love our dark-haired, dark-eyed little princess.  Emily is one of the happiest babies we have ever seen and she is a delight to watch; her smiles and laugh are contagious.  She’s quite the social child and wants to be where she can see other people.  She’s playing with toys--finally got some little girl toys for Christmas--and getting more and more stable at sitting up.  She brings us so much joy and it amazes me how quickly she is growing up.

James turned two in November.  He’s a sweet, loving, very active little boy.  He is talking more and more and has just been starting to string words together!  His favorite things are big trucks, trains, doing the dishes, and helping Mommy cook.  He’s getting good at coloring and likes to sit and play the piano, moving expressively while he does so.  If we’re playing together sometimes he will take both my hands and put them on the keyboard.  James loves his little sister, whom he calls “Bebe” or “Ummy”, and will ask to hold her or have her near him.  It’s been so special to watch them build a relationship.  He’s also a leftie, to the delight of his left-handed mama.  He’s such a water boy; loves bathtime, “doing the dishes”, and swimming in the summertime.  

Joe has worked at The Deck Superstore for nearly two years now.  He’s part of the sales team and loves his job, selling decking products primarily to contractors.  It’s a bit of a commute for him but it’s such a good fit and I’m happy that he loves his job.  Joe is an awesome dad; I love to watch him care for and interact with our kids.  He has a great eye for design and we really enjoy remodeling and decorating together.  He still sings with Bold Reflection, a mens’ choral group, and appreciates the opportunity to use his voice and spend time with friends.  In April he joined Vision Heirs for their spring Revolutionary War re-enactment.  Getting dressed up in period attire and strutting about the battlefield (or discoursing about the disturbing medical practices of the day) gave him an enjoyable change of pace.  Joe loves getting out of the city for our family vacations and dreams of living in the country again.   

I’m keeping quite busy with two little ones.  I love to get outside and usually manage to walk when the weather’s good.  My favorite gift when Emily was born was a super-nice BOB double stroller; we get good use out of it!  Our condo complex has a pool and we take full advantage of that in the summer.  I love to swim and it looks as though James is following in my footsteps.  I enjoy my time in the kitchen and have had fun learning more about culinary art since we’ve been married.  Good breads and soups are so satisfying to create.  I still enjoy reading whenever I can, and I’ve come back to crochet; it’s relaxing to work with my hands and I find joy in creating beautiful things.  This fall while we traveled I took the time to teach myself to knit Continental style (with the yarn in my left hand vs. right hand) and I love it!  Can’t wait to do more.  Music is still deep in my bones and I love to play when I get the chance.  I play piano for Bold Reflection and love the opportunity to make music with others, and lately I’ve been pulling my violin out now and again.  

Joe and I have been married for just over 3 years now.  We love our life together and are amazed at God’s goodness to us.  We were able to take a short trip to Breckenridge in May.  We missed James but it was good to get away and have some time for the two of us: enjoying the amazing views from our bed and breakfast, walking the streets of Breck, and shopping for tea and books.  We share a love of the outdoors and enjoy packing the kids in the stroller or in our handy child carriers and exploring, either nearby or further up into the mountains.  

We also greatly enjoy road trips (the open road is so good for the soul!) and some of our favorite memories this year have been of our times on the road.  We visited a friend’s cabin in Buena Vista a few times throughout the year and made a whirlwind trip to NE in October for a friend’s wedding, but the most exciting event of our year was our road trip to Michigan.  We took nearly two weeks in the fall and traveled, with our two under two, back to where my mom grew up and where I spent most of my growing-up vacations.  We had a wonderful time with my grandma, mom and sister (and brother in law, who’s engaged to my sister!) and also spent some time as a family in a cottage on Lake Huron.  It was such a relaxing time, though we are realizing that life with two kids is still life with two kids even on vacation.  The colors were beautiful, the lakes so refreshing (we love water) and time with each other and with family was a special gift.

After attending the Church at Ellerslie in Windsor since our marriage, we finally decided after Emily’s birth that driving over an hour each Sunday was no longer feasible or wise for us.  We are blessed to have found a solidly Biblical local church.  We’ve been attending there for a few months now and it has been so good to interact with the local Body of Christ, connect with new friends, and be close to home!  Change is often hard but we are grateful for how this transition is working out.  

In closing, we are thankful for you, our family and friends. We love you and are so grateful to have you as part of our lives.  

Joe, Rachel, James and Emily Langemann


All photo credits except for the lake picture go to Sarah Morgan Photography.