Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Family Photos

Over Fourth of July, all of my extended family was in town, and to memorialize the occasion, we organized family photos with everyone in them. I think the last time we had a full family picture was at my wedding in 2011 - and so much has changed in the last 7 years... including four sweet babies!

My parents live in downtown Minneapolis, and my mom wanted to get photos on the Stone Arch Bridge. The day was raining, but the photos turned out beautiful nonetheless. Audrey from Audrey Nicole Photography did such a good job and these photos will be treasured forever!

Here is a peek at our family photos!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Hiking Mt. Rainier

John recently took a trip to Washington state to hike Mt. Rainier, and although I didn't join him, it was too cool of a trip not to blog about for future memories! So thankfully John was willing to write a post to share with y'all! ;)


While not a huge fan of social media, I'm a big fan of Lisa and her blog, and I think it is both incredible and more than a little bit frightening that what she posts here will be preserved on the internet for posterity - the upside of this, of course, is that our two wonderful kiddos will be able to look back on her posts (minus those she has deleted - RIP slow-cooker beef stroganoff recipe) and gain insight into the people their parents were while they were still cool.

With that lofty goal in mind, Lisa asked me to write a short post about my recent trip to Mt. Rainier. Here it goes:

The seed of the idea to climb Mt. Rainier was almost certainly planted during the four years I spent living in Auburn, Washington, where "the Mountain" both literally and figuratively overshadowed my daily life as a little boy who, left largely to his own devices, quickly became enamored with the natural world around him - an easy thing to do in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. That seed likely germinated during law school, when, as an escape from the oppressive burden of my daily case readings, I turned to fly fishing, bird hunting, and, after graduating law school and moving to the American Southwest, long day hikes to the summits of mountain peaks in the southern Rockies and other nearby mountain ranges.

Having kiddos curtailed my free time but not my desire to spend time outside, so I started thinking about what sort of things I could do to make the most of my limited opportunities for outdoor adventure. Alpine mountaineering, in its sheer scale, grandiosity and undeniable romanticism, was the obvious answer, and, given my boyhood familiarity, Mt. Rainier was the clear target. So obvious to me, in fact, that I booked the trip and made a deposit without even mentioning it to Lisa - a minor detail that resulted in a not insignificant amount of consternation in my household.

In any case, I showed up in Seattle nine months later, in fairly good shape but without having prepared physically the way I should have (occupational hazard of being a new dad for the second time, as well as a private equity mergers and acquisitions lawyer by day - and, frequently, night - I guess). Mentally, however, I was all there.

Of the three days my team would spend on the Mountain, two and a half were in whiteout conditions, which means there were no pictures to be had. The first leg, a six- hour slog up the Muir Snowfield for roughly six thousand feet of elevation gain, all while wearing double mountaineering boots and hauling a forty pound pack, was grueling but not entirely disheartening.

The second day was spent acclimatizing and learning how traverse glaciers by working as a rope team, which is a system of attaching yourself to the two other members of a three-person team via a climbing harness and thirty feet of rope, so that if one member of a team falls into a crevasse (essentially a giant crack in the ice, up to around 60 feet deep), the others, in theory, will be able to haul the fallen person out and all can continue onward as planned. After becoming sufficiently proficient in glacier travel technique, my team roped up, strapped on crampons, and climbed another few thousand feet to "high camp," where we then rested up for the next several hours prior to our attempt at the summit of Mt. Rainier.

The third day, "summit day" (which began at 12am - the infamous "alpine start") did not go as planned. The blizzard conditions that persisted over the prior three days contributed to what our lead guide (who I'm inclined to take seriously, since he was standing on the top of Everest two weeks prior) determined to be an unreasonably high risk of avalanche danger. As a result, my team (and every other team on the Mountain during the time I was there) did not go for the summit of Rainier.

While failing to attempt the summit left me feeling incredibly disappointed in the moment, by morning my emotions had cooled and I was able to appreciate the value of all of the things I had learned on my trip. The fact that the weather cleared up must have helped (along with the fact that we were able to look further up on the mountain and see that avalanches had actually occurred during the night), and we were finally able to take a few pictures:

Friday, July 13, 2018

Jack and Emma Embroidery

I absolutely love a monogram - it doesn't even matter what it is on; seriously, I feel like you could embroider my initials on a paper bag, and I would instantly be obsessed with it! And since I've run out of things to monogram, I've decided to turn my love for embroidered items into a little side hustle!  

Jack and Emma Embroidery offers monogrammed baby and toddler clothing at affordable prices... basically, if I want it for my kiddos, I want it for your kiddos! Since little ones grow so quickly, it doesn't make much sense to pay a large amount of money on monogrammed clothes since they can only wear them a handful of time before they no longer fit and the clothes can't be handed down to siblings - unless they have the same initials, of course... wish I would have thought of that when naming Emma - just kiddinggg (kind of!). 

So if you're anything like me, I am not interested in breaking the bank on clothes that only get worn a handful of times!

I offer the cutest bubbles for girls (which are already only available in certain sizes!), hair bows, little boy jon jons, seersucker shorts, and the sweetest embroidered hooded bath towels... ALL of which make the best baby shower gifts, by the way! In addition to those items, I have been doing several custom orders on kid clothes or blankets that the customer picks out; so if you don't see the sizes, colors, or items you're looking for, just let me know and I will order it, monogram, and ship it to you!

So follow me on Instagram for the most swoon-worthy monograms! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fourth of July Festivities

This was our first fourth of July in Minnesota, and it was such a fun holiday week (I'm convinced that if a holiday falls on a Wednesday, it wouldn't be right to not celebrate the whole week!). My younger brother, his girlfriend, older brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces were all in town from Lansing, MI and Boston, MA and it was so nice to spend time together as a family.

Here's a quick peek of all that we were up to!


We spent a night on Lake Harriet grilling, sailing, and listening to music at the bandshell. Lake Harriet is less than a mile from our home and it is such a fun place to spend a summer night - the bandshell has music every night and we have a sailboat on the lake... I can't think of a more perfect evening!

The next night we all headed to my uncle and aunt's house for a delicious dinner, boat rides, and card games.  It is so fun seeing all of the cousins interact; since they don't see each other often, it took a bit for them to warm up to each other, but once they did there were many baby babbling conversations to be had!

The afternoon of the fourth we grilled out on the pool deck of my parents condo. They live downtown and it is fun to be able to see all of the city views while swimming... and fried chicken and rose for the win - I don't think it gets much more American than that!

The next day everyone went to a Twins game at Target Stadium, but it was literally right in the middle of Jack and Emma's nap, so I was in nap jail at home with the kiddos - and I can't imagine Jack sitting still for more than five minutes anyway... unless marshmallows were involved, that is. ;)

My dad, brother and John all went to the race track, while my mom, sister-in-law, and I had a baby play date with sidewalk chalk, bubbles, sprinklers, popsicles and a water table... these kids are livin' the dream!!

John and I hosted everyone for a little cookout at our house with the Big Green Egg - John grilled brats, sliders, and chicken... oh my, I ate too much, but it was all so delicious. It was such a nice time to have everyone together!

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