A Lazy Winter Day at Home

Over the last couple days it has been hovering between -5 and 15 degrees outside. That kind of weather doesn’t really make you want to go anywhere for a while. So the kids, the dog, and I have been hanging out at home finding things to do.

This morning and afternoon I decided to get out my camera and take some pictures. Every time I do this I wonder why I don’t do it more. I love taking pictures of my kids and now the dog, too.

Here are some of the pictures. There’s a lot of them. The pictures I took in our basement were all in black and white. But for the most part, I included the color photos of when we were playing on the couch in the living room.

morning with Micah

the boys in the kitchen

ezra and the wall

morning with Micah

morning with Micah

morning with Micah

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

 

Finding Beauty in a Tragedy

On Saturday January 9th, 2016 a fire broke out after a small explosion in M’s Pub located in Omaha’s historic and iconic Old Market neighborhood. The fire ravaged the building and broke the hearts of all those who had ever stepped foot in the Old Market, especially M’s Pub. The fire would rage on for around 12 hours before it was considered under control. The Omaha Fire Department not only had to battle the three alarm fire in front of them, but also the frigid below freezing temperatures with wind chills hovering around -15 degrees.

Because of a major warehouse fire in Chicago a couple of years ago in similar conditions, I knew that whatever was left of M’s Pub and the apartments above it would look oddly beautiful once the fire was out. Subzero temperatures and thousands of gallons of water makes for an impressive sight. Here are a few of the pictures I took this morning.

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Catching Up

Whew! Life has really been flying on by. I need to post some pictures! Here’s some from the last couple months or so. Many of them are from my iPhone because I just haven’t been carting my camera around with me very often. I have been staying busy with the kids, as usual. I’ve also been working on a website/project which is built around storytelling. If that interests you, please check Library of Impressions out.

Ok. I’ll start from oldest to most recent. There’s a lot of pictures…

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Ezra and Micah playing in the backyard.
Ezra in the backyard digging…

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Ezra learning to walk around the backyard.
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Ezra in deep thought.
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Ezra being cute.
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Micah digging for worms.

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Micah playing with dirt and worms.
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Micah finding some worms.

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Bath time with Ezra.
Uh oh…dandelion.

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Neighbor’s house with some vines growing.
Roof
Top of our house.

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Ezra gaze.
Ezra man.
Daddy and Micah
This is me and Micah just minutes after waking up. He wanted to take a picture.

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Bed Head Brothers
Bed head boys.
Daddy and Micah
Bed head Micah and daddy.

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Coffee cups
Coffee mugs.
In...and out
One of my favorite pictures ever. What goes in…must come out…

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Papaw and Micah.
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Papaw and Micah hanging out on our back wall.

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Ezra walking around the backyard.
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Grammaw, Micah, and Ezra playing in the backyard.

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Ezra and his soccer ball.

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Papaw snuggles.
Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Micah swimming.

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Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Gramaw and Micah enjoying some pool time.
Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Enjoying his time in the pool.

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Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Laughs all around.
Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Ezra was a bit more timid, but he eventually got there, too.

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Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
But he’ll always play with a ball.
Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Getting braver.

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Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Ezra and mommy.
Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Ezra getting braver and enjoying the pool party.

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Well look, it's two people I love!
Love those smiles.
Naked potty training day one and molar number four coming in. This is the real deal, folks. // #💦💩🚽😬
Naked potty training was quite the experience.

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Two parks. Two kids. Two tired parents = One successful Saturday.
Ezra soaring high at our neighborhood park.
Visual proof that local coffee shops are like little glimpses of heaven on earth.
At a coffee shop in Omaha.

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There’s nothing in this world that Micah seems to love more than dogs and puppies. He picked out “buddy” and LOVES him.
What shoe-d we do today? // #ezrayuuto #aksarbenliving #childhoodunplugged
Ezra hanging out on the couch.

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Mommy and Ezra at the water park.
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Ezra really enjoying his time at the water park.

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Micah plays with a few of the fountains at the water park.
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Micah smiling at the water park.

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Ezra showing mommy he’s having fun at the water park.
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Micah timidly playing in the water.

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Micah leads mommy through the park.
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A bat at the zoo.

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A parrot at the zoo.
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Barely caught this picture. Seeing it made me laugh out loud!

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Early in the summer we found a dove who made a nest and laid eggs in our plant. They later would hatch and eventually leave the nest. It was fun to see the progress throughout the summer.
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No more $20 haircuts – we decided to start giving haircuts to the boys ourselves.

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Go, set a watchman // #ezrayuuto #aksarbenliving
Ezra looking out the window.
Ezra seems happy to be outside today. It's about 300% humidity, though. // #ezrayuuto #omaha #childhoodunplugged #makemoments
Ezra smiles on a walk near the Missouri river.

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Walking along the Missouri River this morning. // #igersomaha #omaha #missouririver #bridge #omaha #bnwomaha #makemoments #momentswide #xmarksthespot
A bridge to Council Bluffs, Iowa from Omaha, NE.
Bean bag.
Micah chilling in the bean bag.

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Bedtime? But there's still plenty of daytime left! // #MicahMasato #aksarben #childhoodunplugged #windowwatching #windowwatcher
Looking out the window before bedtime.
Took a brief walk over to the park today to cool off on this hot summer day. // #igersomaha #OmahaParks #omaha #micahandezra #aksarbenliving #stinsonpark #summerfun
Enjoying the fountains at our local park in the hot summer heat.

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Micah playing some online games on the iPad.
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Wine glasses on a homemade wine glass holder my wife got us for our anniversary. It’s made from a wine barrel.

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Grilling outside at a local park with some friends.
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Ezra and his friend playing on the playground.

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Ezra trying to decide whether or not he should go down the slide.
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The iconic desert dome at the zoo here in Omaha.

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Ezra and Micah in the wagon. Kind of looks other worldly.
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Sarah taking some pics of her own.

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Chilling in the wagon that Grandpa and Grandma Simpson gave them.
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Sunscreen time.

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Watching the monkeys
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Some birds at the zoo.

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“Look over there!” and then the children look the other way. Typical.

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April, Come and Gone

Yikes! April flew by this year. It’s hard to believe, really. But I guess that must mean that life has been busy. Sarah transitioned to working night shift this month, and that has changed up our routines and daily lives a bit. I got a few good representative pictures this month of what life is like around here. I am going to be taking more in May because I’m going to try and participate in Pentax Forums’ a picture a day again. It’s been a while since I’ve done a pic a day, life just got too hectic. But I may try and start it up again this next month.

Anyway, here’s a roundup of some of this past month’s photos (and one video).

Maundy Thursday: an opportunity for lessons in servanthood and humility for these two kiddos.
On Maundy Thursday, we learned about servanthood and humility. Micah washed his brothers feet, imitating Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.
My Good Friday started off with this guy running into my room and jumping into bed. We decided to enjoy some morning laughs and giggles in bed before the little bro wakes up. Hoping your day is off to a good start too! 😄
Micah climbs in bed every morning now. With mommy often gone, he gets half the bed to himself.
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I took pictures of the Easter service of my church. It took place at the Holland Center for the Arts in downtown Omaha. There were some neat buildings outside. You can feel free to check out some of my pictures from the Easter service on my blog.
Easter at the Holland 2015
Here’s a shot from before the service. The place was a really neat venue.
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Easter this year took place at my mom’s place in Council Bluffs. Ezra and Micah enjoyed finding eggs spread throughout the yard.
Ezra enjoyed eating Peeps for the first time – two of them at once. (Of course.)
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Our family with my grandmother on Easter.
Yep.
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When Micah and Ezra were finding their eggs they had to open each one as they found it and eat the jelly bean that was inside before they moved on to try and find another egg.
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Micah and Ezra spend their entire days together. Sometimes Ezra is Micah’s shadow.
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Although they have their moments, it’s clear they love each other very much.
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Here’s Micah trying to play peek-a-boo with Ezra. And yes…Ezra’s not wearing any pants…
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It may have been the middle of April, but that didn’t prevent it from snowing.
Micah prepared himself for the elements.
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Dad prepared himself for the elements.
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But April’s precipitation has lead to flowers starting to grow, and a yard growing with plenty of grass to cut. 😦
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This is the back wall of our yard. I like the varying colors and textures.
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For the first time since…well…October, I think, I was able to get out of the house and do some work at a coffee shop. It was so nice just to get out of the house for a while.
I visited Echo Coffee in Omaha. It was good and a pleasant place.
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We stopped at a neat place in Omaha to take a few pictures with some graffiti. I have have a whole blog post of other shots from here if you care to see them.
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The biggest development of the month was that Ezra has learned to walk and now walks everywhere he can.
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He loves being able to waddle around without having to crawl.
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When the weather is nice, and we have a relaxing evening, we all like to go on a family walk in our neighborhood.
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Flowers started to bloom throughout the neighborhood. Spring finally arrived.
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A shot of a flower inside my house. We try and keep some flowers around to brighten up our dining room a bit.
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Ezra turning to look at me as he scavenges food from off the floor…
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Micah waves and says hello.
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Ezra has discovered his tongue and loves to show it to people.
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Mommy helping Ezra walk through the grass in our front yard.
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Mommy and Ezra.
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It’s been hard where we live to experience much natural light coming in our windows. We face north and south, and it doesn’t lend itself to lots of good natural light shots. But the light was seeping into the kitchen on this day and I liked the mood.
Micah excitedly welcomed mommy home this morning after she worked three 12 hour night shifts in a row. It's been an adjustment this past week as she switched to night shift. But we are learning new patterns and are so appreciative for how hard mommy works
We all eagerly wait for Mommy to get home in the mornings. Perhaps no one more than Micah. Here he is welcoming mommy home as she pulls into the driveway.
Moving from Chicago was a big decision for the four of us. Hard to believe that was over four months ago now. But we decided that being closer to my family would make all the trouble of moving and getting settled into a new home worth it. And it has been.
I was glad to be able to watch my brother play some tennis at a rival high school in Council Bluffs. It was nice to just sit with my mom while he whooped up.
We got the meats. (But mostly curly fries.)
A quick family dinner at Arby’s. A very rare thing these days.
Mommy left for work. Melt down level: nuclear. 😭
This is now the typical reaction in the evening when mommy leaves for work. It’s not the most pleasant thing in the world. Meltdown level: Nuclear.

And lastly a video of the boys. A glimpse into a typical morning at our house.

Bancroft Art Gallery

Today as we were driving around Omaha, we passed by a cool building that was covered in graffiti. We decided to stop and take some pictures, and as we did a guy pulled up in his car. It ended up being the guy who ran the place, which we found out was an art gallery and performing arts building. They host all kinds of events. He was kind enough to show us around his building and tell us of the various events that take place there. We snapped a few shots outside before we left. Pretty neat place.

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Outside in the parking lot and around the property there are all kinds of painted 10 foot cement barriers. Lots of cool designs.

 

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Tried to get Micah to stand and pose at the wall…but he had other things on his mind apparently.

 

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Can you spot the Micah?

 

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Mommy and Ezra pose at one of the walls.

 

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Humpty Dumpty.

 

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Ezra enjoying this animal themed wall.

 

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Today was the first day that Ezra has worn shoes. He has recently started to walk, and it came in handy today.

 

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Two brothers doing what boys do best.

 

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Our two very cultured kids.

 

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Ezra should work at an art gallery. He likes to show out the art.

 

Omaha, Omaha! (Set…hut!)

Well, after a two month adventure at my mom’s place, we now live in a place of our own in Omaha. We’re thankful to be here and enjoying having a place to make our own. I had a few weeks where I didn’t really take many pictures because I was so busy, but I hope to be taking more pictures again. It’s also been a bit cold and sometimes snowy, so I haven’t really been outside much. And now that we don’t walk to get to places like we did in Chicago, I rarely get the opportunity.

But here are some photos from over the last few weeks or so.

No Photography!
No Photographs, please!

 

Sunset
A view from my mom’s porch

 

Micah in Uncle Matt's Shoes
Micah posing in Uncle Matt’s shoes

 

The Boys Playing
Micah and Ezra playing with each other.

 

Boys and Books
The boys “reading” together.

 

Ezra
Chubby Ezra sitting around looking kind of dazed after a nap.

 

Micah and Ezra
Micah and Ezra playing with their track.

 

Micah on the Table
Micah loves two things: climbing and opening doors. It’s a plus when these two things can be combined. But not so much for me.

 

Peppers
Peppers.

 

Broccoli
Any guesses as to what this is? It’s broccoli.

 

Oranges
Oranges. Must be winter.

 

Micah and Ezra
The boys playing together. I love that they’re able to play with each other so well now.

 

Sarah's Nursing Figurine
My grandmother gave Sarah a nursing figurine of a nurse holding a baby. It was hers from back when she was a nurse. But she thought it was fitting for Sarah to get it because she is now a Labor and Delivery nurse.

 

Omaha at Sunset
Looking over Omaha as a plane takes off.

 

Omaha at Sunset
The Omaha skyline from Council Bluffs as the sun sets.

 

Omaha at Sunset
Not quite the Chicago skyline. That’s for sure. But we are growing to love Omaha.

 

Omaha at Sunset
And the sun peeks behind the horizon.

 

Omaha at Sunset
It’s amazing how quickly the sky begins to change as the sun sets.

 

Omaha at Sunset
Omaha and the Missouri river.

 

Omaha at Sunset
The moon looked really neat hovering above the city.

 

Omaha at Sunset
I love that the Omaha area has so many hills to capture neat views of the city from all kinds of angles.

 

Micah and his puppy
Micah loves taking his puppy for “walks”

 

Purple Streak
Caught this plane flying overhead while on our way out of a Target.

 

Plane Streaks and the Moon
I thought the moon looked cool with those wispy plane trails.

 

Golden Hour Globe
Who needs a snow globe when you can capture a golden hour globe?

 

Our House
Here’s our new house after the first snow of February.

 

Micah Sledding
We were finally able to break out Micah’s new sled. He’s never been sledding before and so it was fun to be able to let him sled in our very own backyard.

 

Micah Sledding
He really seemed to enjoy himself!

 

We may be a new home, but the routines remain the same. Micah steals his brothers food. Ezra gets upset. And so on…

 

Ezra’s getting bigger and cuter (and time for a haircut) – I can’t help but want to hug him all the time. (Please don’t mind the messy room behind him…)

 

Micah “helping” me unpack our boxes.

 

Micah wearing his Japanese yukata hanging out with his Great-Uncle Norman.

 

Obviously not the clearest picture, but Ezra hopes you had a good Valentine’s Day. Clearly he got a big kiss on the cheek from his mommy.

 

January at Grandma’s House

As we await to move into a house in Omaha, Sarah, the boys, and I are staying with my mom and brother. We will be out by the end of the month if things go as planned, but in the meantime we wait. Most of days are spent keeping track of Micah and Ezra, trying to keep them out of trouble. That’s quite the hard task these days. Ezra has seemed to perfect his peg-leg crawl, and Micah can zip away in a blink of an eye.

Micah at the Mall
Micah has too much energy to be kept at home all the time, so we have to take occasional trips to the play place at the mall.

Stare Down Reflection
My brother’s cat – with a reflection of me in its eye.

Micah Bath Time
Bath time is something that I always forget to get pictures of. Precious moments.

Ezra and Micah Bath time
Here’s Ezra and Micah taking a bath together for the first time.

Ezra in the Bath
Cubby Ezra enjoying a bath.

Nebraska Coaster
Sarah and I loved living in Chicago. We were generally proud of our amazing city and especially our neighborhood. But now that we’re moving to Omaha, it’s time to start being proud of this city, too. Here’s a coaster I bought Sarah for our new place.

Sarah at Duncan's
Sarah and I don’t get out much, but we were able to sneak away a few days ago for breakfast. I don’t even know the last time that just Sarah and I went out for breakfast.

Ezra at the Mall
We also went shopping the other day for some new clothes and shoes for Sarah. Ezra tagged along.

Ezra shopping
I was in agreement with Ezra, though — too much time at the mall can really wear you out.

Micah Carnage
Grandma being reminded what it’s like to have little boys roam the house… 😦

Micah making Tilapia
Micah made us tilapia the other night. What a good little master chief!

Morning Routine
Morning routines. Ezra’s sad because I’m not feeding him.

Playing together
As Ezra gets bigger and bigger it’s been fun to see the two boys play together more and more.

Watching TV
Micah in his pajamas and hat watching some cartoons with his brother. Zombie time, apparently.

Playing together
Wherever Micah is, Ezra is there, too. They are starting to become joined at the hip.

Morning Joe
It’s been frigid here these last few days in Iowa, and that calls for some nice hot coffee.

In the bucket
Micah always finds ways to entertain himself, and therefore me.

Playing together
My heart melts a bit every time these guys learn new ways of playing with each other.

Trouble Maker
Ezra seems to be learning a lot from his brother…

Sneaky Micah
Micah’s nap time music keeps mysteriously turning off. I have found the culprit.

Micah Escape
Micah tried to escape a number of times from the house – but I just don’t think he understands how cold it really is outside.

 

Transitioning from Chicago

Although we don’t have a place of our own yet, we’ve now been in the Iowa/Nebraska area for almost a month now. I recently got my cameras out again and have been taking a few shots. Some of these shots are from around my mom’s place, and some are from the Union Pacific Museum here in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Ezra getting into Drawers
Ezra is getting bigger. More curious. More trouble.
Standard Time Clock
The Union Pacific Museum had a lot of old neat looking clocks from various train stations.
Abraham Lincoln
They had a model train car that Lincoln would have ridden in. Apparently he was a huge supporter of the building of the railways, even before he had even seen a train himself.
Switchboard
Here’s Sarah pushing a button on an old phone switchboard.
Lamps
Old lamps on display.
Model Train
There was an old man showing off his model trains.
Sarah and the Boys at Union Pacific Museum
Sarah and the boys exploring.
Micah the Engineer
Micah the engineer driving the train.
Union Pacific Model Train
An example model train.
Clocks
More clocks.
Clocks
And…more clocks.
Woodpecker
My mom’s place has all kinds of birds that come by to eat the seed and suet that she leaves out for them.
Woodpecker
A woodpecker hanging out on the bird feeder.
Cardinal
This tree is often filled with male cardinals.
Fat Bird Eating
Spotted this fat guy pigging out on some fallen seeds.
Fat Bird Eating
Another angle of the guy.
Evening Iowa Sky
Midwest sunsets are the best

Christmas in Iowa

A lot has changed since I last posted here. My family has moved from Chicago and into the Omaha area. We are currently staying with my mom in Iowa as we figure out exactly where we are going to be living next. Here are a few pictures from the last few weeks. I sadly have not gotten my camera out very often through the course of all that has been going on. Here are some that I have taken, however.

The Bean
As I wrapped things up in Chicago, I walked over to the bean one morning to take some final shots of one of Chicago’s more iconic places. It was a foggy, cold day – but I think it made for some nice shots.
The Bean
The bean, officially called “Cloud Gate,” makes for some nice pictures of one of the world’s greatest skylines.
The Bean
Here’s me trying to capture how cold and foggy it felt that day.
Foggy Chicago
Another one of Chicago’s iconic buildings. Same architects as those who designed the World Trade Center towers that fell on 9/11.
The Bean
Another angle of the Bean
Tree
I stayed with some friends at the beginning of December as I finished some things up in Chicago. This is of their tree.
Christmas Bokeh
Some artsy Christmas bokeh.
Micah zoned out
A shot of Micah – a bit zoned out after getting up from bed.
Clint
My sister’s boyfriend, Clint, goofing around with a Christmas decoration in my mom’s place.
Lauren
My sister, giving me a stare down.
Opening their present
My family always opens one present each on Christmas Eve, one of our few true traditions. Here, Sarah and the boys are opening Ezra’s first Christmas present.
The boys playing with their new present
Of course, Micah instantly wanted to play with Ezra and his new toy.
Sarah and the boys on Christmas Eve
Sarah and the boys and the new Christmas toy.
Lauren and Clint
Lauren and clint react after Lauren opens her present.
Sarah and Micah's new sled
Micah got his first sled. (Sarah seems just as happy…)
Micah coloring
Micah coloring in a new coloring book from his Uncle Matt.
Ezra and Micah Playing
It’s been fun seeing Micah and Ezra play together as they both get older.