Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ok. We're ready for you now.

This spring flew by --work really made me sideline the whole pregnancy gig until the last month or so. Now I'm unquestionably pregnant - to myself and to strangers. The pregnancy waddle/moans when I stand up are more noticeable, sleep comes in shorter spurts, and the comments about how close I HAVE to be to delivery from anyone and everyone. 

I have noticed one thing - strangers are so nice to pregnant women. In general, everyone smiles at me at the grocery these days. Everyone! I haven't really had any strangers try to touch my belly (just friends - and I'm fine with that). 

Side by sides I should have posted before (since I'm now way past this point): 

12 and 28 weeks: 

17 and 32 weeks:

36 weeks:

I'm now at a whopping 37 weeks and ready to meet Baby Boggs! To quote Joel from last night - yeah. Anytime now. I think we're ready. We hung pictures, washed clothes, folded tiny onesies, packed the hospital go bag, packed the diaper bag, packed Joel's to go diaper changing kit, Joel built an Ikea side table, I hemmed curtains and made a crib skirt out of the extra curtain fabric, and I arranged and rearranged stuffed animals and diapers. 

Not finding out the gender has been such fun. The chance to have friends (and strangers) guess the gender. Funny- early in my pregnancy, overwhelming majority of guesses were for GIRL (other than Joel). Now - almost all the guesses are for BOY. 

A peek into Baby Boggs' nursery. I'm not big on themes or accent walls or anything restrictive, really. So I found a light light aqua paint color that Joel and I both liked, kept the crib we were getting from Joel's sister in mind, and picked pieces of furniture and art that I thought would be functional now and later. I love the room. The paint color is light and soothing, the stuffed animals we've been gifted from showers look like they were purposefully chosen to match the room, and the art from Etsy gives the room a bit of life (Minneapolis Skyline Watercolor and the Yellow Bike). 






I have felt so loved and encouraged during this pregnancy by my community of friends. My Connection Group ladies threw a baby shower complete with a table of my cravings (citrus juice with stripey straws, apple fritters from Mel-O-Glaze, rhubarb anything, fruit), prayer, and fun games. I completely spaced taking any pictures at the church shower!! 

My work colleagues also threw a beautiful shower when I headed back to the DSM office. We did a fun baby picture game, ate great food, and more than anything - just enjoyed getting to be around such fun friends. My mom and sister got to join that one too! 



The latest baby event was a Diaper Shower / Baby-Q co hosted by my bestest best friend Steph/Her husband Jon and Joel/myself. Beer was flowing, diapers and wipes were generously given, food was plentiful, and neighbors stayed til Midnight. Again - I only got before and after pictures, none during. What a bummer! We had a great turnout of Joel's co-workers, our community group, family and neighbors. What a fun night! For any expectant parents - I HIGHLY recommend the baby-q/diaper party idea. Co hosting with close friends was perfect so Joel wasn't tied to the grill and I wasn't the only one watching the food inside. It was a relaxing night to hang out with friends - no agenda, no pressure, open house style. Baby is SET on diapers for at least a few months (I THINK a lot longer than that, but I don't want to make a first time mom over estimate). 



 We're eagerly anticipating the arrival of our newest family member. We have big dreams for this little soul. We're praying for patience, rest, lots of laughter, grace with one another, and exceeding joy during this transition. 

The closer I get to meeting this little one face to face, the more sappy and prayer-focused I've become. I realize that this child is not my own. God is the creator and giver of life. He is the one who has the power to breathe physical life into baby's little body and to breathe spiritual life into our baby. Joel and I can do everything within our power to have a home that reflects Christ but without God opening our baby's eyes to the truth, our efforts are in vain. 

So pray with me and with Joel for our baby. For him or her to become a mighty vessel for the use of Christ. For God to move in his or her heart at a young age and to powerfully raise up Baby Boggs to be a part of the next generation of his kingdom. For God to give Joel and I the knowledge, humility, and grace to parent in a way that points our child to Jesus and reflects Kingdom glory to other families around us. 


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

BUMP

Busy season is upon us: Work, holidays, winter doldrums, and the usual suspects. 

This year we have a few more things keeping us busy! 
We're in the process of buying a house. As long as all goes as planned, we'll close on February 27. We're very excited about the new house. It's in a great location a little North and East from where we currently are in Minneapolis. To make the home even more special - it's only 2 blocks from where one of my best friends in the world lives! 

The second big ticket item keeping us busy is the prospect of being parents! I'm due July 15th with our first baby. 

cravings: apple fritters (so strange), oranges, runny yolk eggs, sandwiches
aversions: salads, coffee, super salty foods
gender: we're team green!! Not finding out til the delivery room

I still wasn't feeling like I looked pregnant -- then I compared two 'bump' pictures where I was wearing the same sweater. I'm convinced - the bump is real! First pic was taken at 7 weeks, Second at 16 weeks. 






Monday, September 29, 2014

Dream Worthy Taco Pizza

Guys. This pizza is great. I've made it a few times and it has topped Joel's dinner favorites list. I HIGHLY recommend!! This is my version of the Taco Pizza that I first tried at The OP.



INGREDIENTS
1 recipe of your favorite pizza dough at room temperature (mine is this one by Bobby Flay)
1/2-3/4 lb ground beef (depends how meaty you want it!)
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
2 cups  shredded cheese (I use a blend of mozzarella and mexican blend or cheddar)
2 tomatoes, diced 
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, rinsed and thinly sliced (or you can buy shredded lettuce)
A few giant handfuls of Taco doritos (crushed)
Taco Sauce and Sour Cream for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS: 
Preheat oven to 475

Brown beef, drain and rinse. Pour taco seasoning and 1/3-1/2 cup water into the pan. Mix well, set taco meat aside. 

Stretch dough out using your favorite method on pizza pan or stone. I swear by my 16 inch Calphalon pizza pan I got at target -- perfect crust EVERY TIME! Spread 1/2 can refried beans over dough like sauce. Spread meat mixture over beans, then sprinkle cheese on top. 

Bake 10-12 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and dough is medium brown (bake this slightly longer than your normal pizza time - we need the crust to be kind of crispy to hold all of these glorious toppings!).

Pull pizza out of of the oven once it is browned to your liking. Generously sprinkle with diced tomatoes and lettuce. Crush 2-3 handfuls of taco doritos (OR MORE) over the top of the pizza. Drizzle with taco sauce of your choice. Serve with extra taco sauce and sour cream. Cut and eat immediately. ENJOY!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Burger Cravings

Big huge juicy beef burgers are my thing. I'm the girl that ordered a huge burger at my bachelorette party two days before the wedding. One that orders a burger when all the other girls order salads. The girl that once cried when they brought me a veggie burger when it was supposed to be a turkey burger (it had been a REALLY long program and the turkey burger was the one redeeming quality of the hotel). 

I've found a veggie burger that I reallllly like. Not like as a back up burger -- as the burger I've starting craving on a semi-regular basis. I know, I KNOW. Dangerous words from a carnivore like me. 

It's worth sharing. I know.  A blog post on a veggie burger from ME. Alas. I digress. 

It all started when Joel and I had our friends over for a grill out. They are vegetarians, so we wanted to honor them with the food we had (we were still in the -- do they eat fish? part of the friendship -- answer, yes they do). I went on a search for a great black bean burger. Of course I had to make it myself. I started reading -- these were the links that tickled my fancy the most. Being Anna, I couldn't just follow a recipe - I combined a few. 

Serious Eats - Best Black Bean Burger
Oh She Glows - Our Perfect Veggie Burger
Skinny Taste - Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle


Disclaimer -  this recipe has quite a bit of prep and ingredients, but I definitely think it's worth it. Spices and mix ins are totally flexible if you're not a fan of one or two - these are just what I like. 
****

THE BOGGS BURGER (SPICY BLACK BEAN VEGGIE BURGERS)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup oats, pulsed in a good blender or food processor (doesn't have to be ground down to flour, but chopped work better than whole oats)
  • 1.5 cups bread crumbs (I use whatever I have on hand - usually comes out to about 3 slices)
  • 1 cup grated carrots (I use the largest holes on my grater)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed, drained and mashed (I mashed with my potato masher for a chunkier mash or you can use a fork for more pasty mash -- up to you)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped KIND of finely. but still enough to be crunchy in the burger patty! (I've also used cashews successfully)
  • 1 chopped bell pepper (I used a mix of red/yellow that I had leftover, doesn't matter what kind!)
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped finely (I used 4 of them and the burgers are not overwhelmingly hot) 
  • 1 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp onion salt and 1 tsp black pepper)
Accompaniments: 
  • Chipotle mayo (Use a 3 to 1 ration of mayo to adobo sauce, leftover from can of chipotle in adobo peppers used in the recipe)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Additional items I like: cheese (favorites are pepperjack or provolone), Sliced tomatoes, lettuce, pickles
  • hamburger buns
Prep ingredients. Mash up the black beans, pulse the bread crumbs and oats, chop the almonds / peppers / onions, shred the carrots 

In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, oats, carrots, almonds, bell pepper, chipotle pepper, onion,garlic and black beans. Mix together thoroughly with a spoon or your hands. 

In a small bowl, combine dry spices and mix together. Add spices to the big bowl along with soy sauce and olive oil. Stir together. Stop. TASTE THE MIX - do you like how it tastes? No? Add more spice / soy sauce / garlic to taste. I loved that one of the recipes I read said that if you don't like the mix- you won't like the burger! Once you like how it tastes, add the egg and mix thoroughly with your hands or a spoon. The mix will be pretty gooey (similar to how a beef burger mix feels). 

Grab a big cookie sheet and put wax paper down to cover the whole cookie sheet. Form the mix into patties and evenly space patties on the wax paper. This recipe made 8 generous patties for me. Once you are happy with how the patties look, put the entire cookie sheet into the freezer (if your freezer is smaller than your cookie sheet, you might need to use 2 smaller pans like cake pans or pie tins for this part). Freeze for at least one hour, or until patties are firm. Once frozen, cut squares of wax paper around each burger, then place the individual burgers together in a large ziplock back. Store in the freezer.** 

Once ready to cook - peel off the wax paper. 
Grill - brush the top of the patty with oil and place frozen patty directly on a medium heat grill - oil side down, about 4-6 minutes. Brush the top of the burger with oil, then flip and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes. I'd suggest adding a slice of cheese in the last 2 or so minutes of cooking! 
Skillet - place frozen patty in a highly sprayed or oiled skillet at medium heat, cook about 4-5 minutes per side. Sometimes I have to get a lid from another pot to put over the top of the burger (it gets a little smoky). I'd suggest adding a slice of cheese in the last 2 or so minutes of cooking!  
Oven- I'm sure you can bake these in the oven. The other recipes said a 375 degree oven

**If you are wanting to make these right away and NOT freeze them, I'd suggest putting in an additional 1/4 cup pulsed oats to hold them together a little better. 

****

ENJOY. I really hope you do. These have made me into a veggie burger fan. My new summer favorite thing is to keep these in the freezer for an easy and super yummy lunch. 10 or 12 minutes later, and I have an awesome burger to eat. Just as good without a bun if you're avoiding gluten - pile toppings on and knife & fork the heck out of it! I would post a picture of the veggie burger I ate for lunch-- but I ate it too quickly. oops. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Spring makes way to Summer

Married life. Minneapolis. Working remotely. These have all been new territories for me. 

Married life is good. Hard at times, but great. Joel is wonderful. He is a servant. He's ornery and gives me crap (which I totally need), but also loves me so well. These first 5 months have been a challenge as we learn to navigate the waters of the forever "us" -- with budgets, friendships, everyday life, disagreements, family time etc. When two become one, God miraculously joins them together -- but a lot of human JUNK remains (opinions, pride, independence). These things in and of themselves aren't bad or wrong, but they are learning opportunities and struggles in a new marriage. Joel and I are both in our upper 20s -- that means we had a lot of time to learn independence / living alone / managing our own time. Walking and talking through how our individual ideas of a great plan become OUR idea of a great plan is still a work in progress. We are learning new things about one another regularly -- about family history, about personal quirks. It's fun. 

One of the things I"m most thankful for in marrying Joel is the way he loves family. The day we got married, I became his family. Joel is protective of me physically and spiritually, exceedingly kind to me in the midst of my emotional highs and lows, and shows patience and encouragement towards me as I navigate the newness of being a wife. Joel learned much of this from his family. They are now my family too -- I'm so grateful to be joined into a family who loves Jesus first. This family also loves through food (I feel at home). This family treasures building up children through encouragement. This family ENJOYS being together. I'm glad that I'm a part of it all. 

Minneapolis is a fun city to live in. Once the snow finally melted and the polar vortex dissipated, spring made way to a beautiful city. We are enjoying new restaurants, the huge farmer's market downtown, and seeing the city transition from hibernation to life. One of my favorite things in the city (big surprise) are all the bike trails! Joel and I have been on a few bike adventures. The trail network is extensive with lots of options for afternoon or evening explorations. Just last weekend we biked to the summit brewery to meet up with friends of ours from church then came back for a bbq. As biking has come into season again, I've realized how much I miss McKenzie Sauser. She was always my biking pal in Des Moines, and the afternoon rides and conversation are missed even more as the physical distance between us grows. Mack and I have transitioned to late night phone calls for encouragement and accountability. I love how deep friendships don't end with distance - they change and sometimes 'grow up' -- but in a really neat way. 

There is a certain loneliness in starting over with community. I've gotten pretty good at starting over in new places over the years. In the past, my singleness has created an urgency for community. I've lived alone and not really known ANYONE, meaning that it was on me to dig in and start relationships or suffer the consequences of not doing so. Being married, specifically a newlywed, changes the urgency. Since Joel and I were long distance for so long, I craved time with him. So the balance of learning to lean into other people is hard. I need friends, I need women to walk alongside me, WE need other married couple friends -- but sometimes it's hard to get outside of just us. God is providing us with community through our church. I'm finally starting to feel rooted to the point of friendships going beyond the surface. SUCH an answered prayer. I'm hoping that this summer will be a season for those friendships to deepen as we explore the city together.

As the days turn into months of working remotely, I see what a blessing my job is. I was and am so fortunate to be in the position of keeping my job despite moving a state away. Having my job be a constant in the midst of so much change has been life giving. Although the transition to being a one woman office is a challenge, the camaraderie with my teammates continues over email / chat / phone calls. I miss seeing those friends a lot. It makes me a treasure my trips to Des Moines even more and VERY thankful when I get paired with a co-worker on big programs. 

Life is still good. I'm looking forward to seeing more Des Moines friends this summer at weddings, to my big work trip next week where I get to see more friends, and for endless long weekends at the lake this summer. This post is a lot of words and no pictures, but it will have to do.