Friday, July 8, 2016

7 Years!!

It took me a while of scrolling, but I finally found the last pictures taken of Jim and me together. In the past, it wouldn't have taken long for me to find a photo of us. Partially because we hardly took any in those early years before kids, and partially because when we did, we normally had a picture of us together, doing something we loved outdoors.
However, today I had to scroll past oodles of pictures of the boys. Mostly Owen cuddling with someone or lying contentedly on the ground, Ian playing independently or with a loving family member, or one of us with one or both of our children. The number of pictures we take has increased tenfold (maybe more!) since we had our first child, but the numbers pictures of the two of us have vastly dwindled.
That's the way it is and should be in this stage of our lives.

While life has certainly changed in the last few years, and our focuses have switched from ourselves to our children, I'm blessed to be traveling this road with this man. He chooses me every morning. He's a devoted husband, father, rugger, and doctor. 

We have our struggles, but we also have a lot of laughs and joys.

This road, at times, seems endless.  One more year until training is over. We've spent six of our seven years of marriage on this path. But one thing's for certain: this man is going to be a great doctor; he already is. He's worked so hard to make our dreams a reality and to build a life for our family.

Overall, year seven has been a great year. By far the best thing that happened was the birth of our healthy baby boy, Owen David. What joy he brings into all of our lives! Watching Ian become a brother has been so sweet and we are grateful for the relative ease of this transition to being a family of four.

So here are a few stats from our seven years of marriage!
  • CHILDREN: Most importantly, our two darling boys: Ian Forrester (2.75) and Owen David (days from turning 5 months)
  • CAREERS: We've survived four years of medical school, two first years of teaching, three years of teaching, two years of residency, and almost three years of parenthood.
  • MOVES: We've moved four times in two states. Once to Louisiana and three times around Blacksburg.
  • PETS: We bid farewell to Jim's childhood dog, adopted one that was dangerous and had to give him back, and adopted our sweet Leifster. We got chickens and rabbits in the last year or so.
  • CARS: Four cars. The trusty Subaru from my uncle John & aunt Beth (that we shared for two years of marriage as our only car), the Passat (purchased from Judy and sold last summer), the focus (purchased from our friend Mike), and the CRV.
  • HEALTH: One health scare for me, but completely healed. Three hospital stays total, two of them for birthing our sons!
  • FAREWELLS: We bid goodbye to both of Jim's paternal grandparents (Grampy aka Red & Grammy aka Lois) and my paternal grandparents (Grandpa aka Walter & Grandma aka Marian), and my uncle John.
  • ADVENTURES: Lots of hikes, bikes, canoe & kayak rides, climbs, road trips, camping stays, flights, trains, and visits in Louisiana, Alaska, Maine, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York & NYC, Switzerland & Germany. Most adventures in year seven were nearby or at The Pinery since we had many stay-cations during the pregnancy and post-baby :)
  • PASSIONS: adventuring, traveling, gardening, cooking, woodworking, rugby, reading, homesteading, MOPS, music/singing, and enriching the lives of our children.
Our lives right now are spent doing a lot of cuddling, explaining, encouraging, apologizing, disciplining, laughing, and starting again. At the end of the day, I'm grateful to have Jim's love, support, wisdom (yes, I said it) and encouragement. He sees me at my absolute worst and still somehow loves me. That's cause for celebration. 

I love this picture. It's a true window into our current stage. Coffee helping us start the day, cuddles on the couch, a toddler and baby who assume that our space is theirs, and a whole lot of love.

Happy 7th Anniversary, Jimbo!

Thanks for loving me through thick and thin.
Thanks for these darling boys & this life we're carving together. 
Home is wherever I'm with you.
I love you.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


Happiest of birthdays to my mama!!! Today marks her 60th birthday.

How is she celebrating? Well, on Friday she went whitewater rafting with my dad in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. And then in August she's celebrating by going to Ecuador!! Oh, and she got a recumbent bike to support her love for biking and exploring new places. I aspire to celebrate my own 60th birthday in such athletic, adventurous, and active ways. She's setting the bar incredibly high for the rest of us.

This also marks her 30th year of being a mom. Half of her life has been spent nurturing, caring for, and putting her children before herself. And now she's doing the same for her grandchildren.

Thank you for being the excellent example of what a lifelong learner, steward of the earth, innovative teacher, fitness/outdoor enthusiast, chocolate-lover, gourmet food-maker, and devoted mother look like.

We love you, love you.

Käthe, Jim, Ian, & Owen

P.S. So happy you received the package right on time :)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Adventure Seekers

Recently I've been scrolling through old pictures. It's good for me to do that. Life, for me, needs to be documented in pictures. Just like with songs bring back memories, and smells transport me to different places, so, too, do pictures.

Sometimes it's easy for me to get lost in the current season of life. The season of dirty diapers, nap times, and early bedtimes. I LOVE so much of this season. I like the down times in the afternoon and late evening, but the time limitations and adventure limitations with young children are real things.

As I scrolled through our old pictures I was reminded of the things we used to do. We used to be spontaneous, adventure-seekers, vacation planners, and more. Recently I think I started to follow a false notion that we don't really do exciting things. But we did and do. Right now it just looks different.

When I shared this with Jim he said, "We'll do them again! We'll do them with our kids! In a few years there will be no stopping us!" And this is why I married this guy (among many reasons).

Residency and young children years are only a season. I'll savor this season right now, for all the glory that it is. And I am sure I will look back and long for the days when a baby was sleeping soundly on my chest (as Owen is right now).

We've still got the adventurous itch. We have the bug. And I am pretty sure that's one thing that no season can take out of our bones.

A little walk down memory lane... the adventures we documented, for there were far more that aren't included.

The month we started dating, my sister and I showed Jim a waterfall near our house. This was in December- yes, it was freezing cold!!!
College Spring Break trip to Seneca Rocks and we bouldered near Gandy Creek.
Winter Break backpacking trip during college. We spent a week backpacking directly after an ice storm. Coldest week of our lives. We still say that we had the best nap EVER when we returned. We had no idea how exhausted we were.
We spent four months apart while I worked at Teton Science Schools in Kelly, Wyoming.  That summer I summited The Grand Teton & Mt. Teewinot. Jim traveled to Mexico, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. At the end of that summer, Jim flew out and met me and then we drove back across the country, stopping at three incredible national parks.
Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP, and The Grand Canyon.
Coolest backpacking trip EVER. The Narrows in Zion National Park.

Sunset over the Grand Canyon.
While there we accomplished probably the most spectacular physical feat we'll ever do. We hiked down the entire Grand Canyon and back up in one day. It was hot, it was intense. and we did it.
This picture was taken shortly after Jim asked me to marry him at the waterfall in the first picture.
And then that same canoe carried us away from our wedding, to our getaway car.
We spent out honeymoon at St. Johns in the Virgin Islands. We kayaked across and snorkeled at an incredible location across the way. Jim said it was comparable to the snorkeling he's done in the Galapagos! We did it again.

He has a knack for finding small critters and wildlife.
Honeymoon hike. We both agree that our honeymoon probably had a little too much adventuring and not enough relaxing. When we're in an incredible location, it's hard to just sit on a beach!

We moved to Louisiana and spent tons of time kayaking in Lake Martin. Jim had a scare with this guy. To this day I still think I see gators in the local ponds.
Not our typical adventure scenario, but we're glad to have experienced Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Rock climbing at New River Gorge.
Hiking in Alaska.
And an overnight kayaking trip across Kachemak Bay near Homer. SO beautiful! Puffins, sea otters, bald eagles.

Hiking all around our beautiful area in Virginia.

 Our phenomenal trip to Maine (even with my neck injury it's still one of our favorite vacations).
 LOBSTER! Which I am now allergic to. Womp, womp.

Adventure will come again.

Right now it just looks a little different.

But mark our words, it will come again.


Here we go, we're on our way :)