Carmen Girls

July 24, 2014 – Overcast, 64°, Sunrise 5:13 am, Sunset 10:58 pm

I met Rachel and Laura when we were in a sorority together; we really became friends our Junior year when we all lived on the same floor. It was so easy to just pop down the hall and hang out – plus M was studying for a semester in Germany, and they were kind enough to sympathize with me and keep me company! The two of them were friends with Meredith, and she and I were acquaintances because of Rach and Laura, but didn’t really get to know each other until we lived together in Chicago (on Carmen Ave).

Graduation 2004

Graduation 2004


The first year out of college I was sort of looking for direction of where to go. M had moved to Alaska, and wasn’t ready for me to move with him yet. Somehow this idea hatched about Chicago, things fell in to place very last minute, and I got the chance to move to Chicago and room with the girls; I lived there for one year. I always say that is my one “regret”: not getting to live with the 3 of them for another year in Chicago. Granted, I moved to Alaska to be with M, we got married and have 2 beautiful boys…so I use regret loosely. But I wish I could have some how done both – got the guy and still had another year with the girls!

Chicago roommates

Chicago roommates – 2004

They are still 3 of my closest friends, and it’s hard to believe it’s been 10+ years! We have shared a lot of life…


Lots of pictures sitting at tables and eating, Meredith’s favorite 🙂

All the Carmen gals – 2005

They were there for me when M deployed; we enjoyed a girls trip to Florida.


St. Pete Beach – 2009

When I was living in Oregon and pregnant with J, I flew home for my baby shower, and not only did they all drive to attend, but helped to host it.

Pregnant with J  2011

Pregnant with J – 2011


And the reason I’ve been reflecting on these beautiful friendships is because 2 weeks ago we all got the chance to be together for another wonderful life moment and celebrate Laura and Kris’ wedding!! I was honored to be a bridesmaid for Laura, and it felt so full circle; we have all been bridesmaids for each other’s weddings.



She was a stunning bride, and though I didn’t have the privilege to meet the groom until wedding weekend, I could immediately tell how perfect the two of them are together! They put together a wonderful wedding weekend, you could feel the love and see how excited all their friends and family were to be there and help kick off this beautiful marriage! Thank you for including me in The Best Day Ever. 

Mr. & Mrs.

Mr. & Mrs.

And thank you girls – you are amazing women, and I am so blessed by our friendship. Chicago was such a short season for me, but it has had such a lasting impact!


Let me back up…(part 2)

Alright, where were we. Oh yes, we just said goodbye to Chicago. Well Mike did anyhow. We were all headed to Austin but Caroline and I were only staying for a week, long enough to find ourselves a new home, get a taste of the city, and help get Mike set up for a month of bachelorhood.

20130725-091928.jpgThis is how we entertain a baby on a long flight. Oh who am I kidding, this is how we entertain ourselves on a long flight with a baby. Despite all the crazy travel, odd sleeping situations, and complete change of routine, I have to thank God we have such an adaptable baby. In fact, I noticed that she seemed so happy with us while away and I have to think that is because she had so much attention on her. No distractions of laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. to take away my attention meant more time for fun. Trying to store that lesson away for those really whiny days.

More to come in the future about the new home, but we ended up settling on the first, and only, house we saw. We had seen it on the market for a few weeks and couldn’t believe it was still available. As I said, more on that later, but needless to say, that was a huge weight off our shoulders and left plenty of time to play before C and I had to head back to Chicago. Of course I have gobs of pictures to document that time and can’t find them anywhere so until they surface (cross my fingers that I know where I stored them?!) enjoy this picture I snapped of the Capital building.

20130725-100312.jpgOn one of those “it is so unbelievably hot I can’t think of anything to do” kind of days (and apparently we have many more of those to come) we will need to explore the inside. I hear there are a lot of references to Texas being awesome.

Although it was exciting to be in our new city, it still felt like we were visiting. I hadn’t yet left Chicago officially and I hadn’t yet let my head wrap around that idea. I was too concerned with the glooming to-do list that awaited me back home (home? that is also going to be a transition for me, not calling Chicago “home.”) The next month was spent finding renters for our condo, packing up all of our stuff to send down to Texas, and taking care of all those odds and ends. I don’t even want to get into the craziness that was our move. No one wants to read that saga. Lets just say we remembered why it is we haven’t moved for 6 years.

Yet, sprinkled among the mundane was a lot of fun, too. My sisters wedding is this summer and I wasn’t going to slow down the planning and partying just because we had a little move to do!

There were showers to attend and plan…

20130725-134214.jpgBachelorette fun to be had…

20130725-134328.jpgAnd of course LOTS of DIYing preparation for the big day! Did I mention yet that I LOVE a good party to plan?

Being away from Dad for four weeks was not easy. But we had no other choice and decided to make the best of it. He jumped feet first into work and kept himself busy with our new house. He seemed to be enjoying himself!

Caroline had fun, too, getting to explore all the great wonders of Wisconsin!




20130725-140052.jpgMeanwhile, we had lots of help from both sides of our family, which deserves a post in itself. We truly couldn’t have survived this move without our family and friends, a thought I will have to put aside for another day because it brings up tears when I think about being so far away from those we love.

With all the activity, before we knew it, it was the Fourth of July and we were all together, our family of three, wait Winni was there too, family of four!


After some good old American fun with Aunt Lala in St. Louis, it was time to hit the road.

Next stop, Austin, Texas!

Let me back up…(part 1)

Before we move forward with our Austin explorations, I should back up a bit. It has been a whirlwind to get us here and deserves a bit of attention!

From the point that Mike accepted his new position, we had 6 weeks until he had to be in Austin to begin his new position. Yikes. Panic. Such a short amount of time to close out our home in Chicago, figuring out where we were going to live in Austin, and say goodbye to our beloved city.

What better way to prepare ourselves for the exhausting work that lie ahead then to spend a few days in the warm sunshine with our toes buried in the sand? I do like to procrastinate.



We had this trip to Florida with Mike’s family planned for awhile. But in the midst of the craziness, it ended up being exactly what we needed. Time to relax, breath deeply, and spend some quality time as a couple thanks to my in-laws watching Caroline. We all left refreshed and ready to tackle the next few weeks. So begins a series of “lasts.”

We had one last SausageFest as a chance to say our goodbyes to many friends. You can see how thrilled Caroline was. I also love that this picture captures the train, a classic reminder of our quaint home by the El.

And of course no goodbye to Chicago would be complete without a trip to Wrigley.

We had last days of work, last book club, last girls night, last date night, last play date, and so on and so on. I tend to do that when approaching milestones, make a really big deal of “last memories.” I felt like I was losing a part of me in leaving this place. When in fact, those places, those people, those memories are not going anywhere. They will always be there.

On our last night as a family in Chicago, we had a picnic in the square, listened to a street performer, watched the neighborhood kids run around, and shared some ice cream. We reminisced. I needed that. And it made me realize that we are pretty good at making memories. The fun doesn’t stop in Chicago. Austin, we’re ready for you.
Part 2 coming soon!