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

Speedy Ortiz @ Maha Music Festival

My favorite band of Maha Music Festival 2015 was Speedy Ortiz. I didn’t take pictures of all the bands at the festival, but I wanted to make sure to take some of them. And they brought it for sure. Because the stage was a bit out of the norm, I didn’t really have the ability to move around. So I just planted myself in one place and took a lot of pictures. That meant that I couldn’t really get various angles, and I couldn’t see the drummer (poor drummers…). But I did take a lot of pictures because it was almost golden hour, and the lighting got better and better as their set progressed.

Here are the pics I took. Some might be a little redundant, but eh…so be it:

Maha 2015

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At the Slowdown

The other night I went to The Slowdown in Omaha to see a local band named Lot Walks. I took a few pictures of them, the bands that played before (We are the Willows, and Anniversarie), and some scenes around the building. Taking pictures of bands is one of my favorite things to do. I get to hear great music and I get to capture unique moments that only exists for split seconds of a time. It’s an interesting trying to balance simply being there to enjoy the band’s music, the experience with those around you, and taking pictures. When there’s no pressure of getting shots for the band, like just taking them for myself, the night is a lot more fun because I’m not concerned about missing specific moments.

For this show I just took my MX-1 and determined to just have an enjoyable night that would be getting myself hyped up for Maha Music Festival the next day. It was a low key fun evening. Here are some of the pictures:

Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

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Lot Walks @ The Slowdown

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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.

Life in Omaha (Part 2: March)

We are finally settling down pretty well here in Omaha. I have neglected to post the various pictures I’ve taken the past couple months, so I thought I’d take some time to go back post some of them. People often ask us if we miss Chicago, and honestly, how could we not? It’s an amazing city with some pretty incredible people. But we are happy and content with where we are. Sarah enjoys her job as a labor and delivery nurse, and the boys have definitely enjoyed having a house in which they can be as loud as they might want to be.

Here are some of the pictures that I took in March: [See February’s pictures here.]

Omaha’s Zoo is very well respected as one of the best in the country. We are fortunate to live about 10 minutes away. We now have a season pass and have already been there a number of times. Here’s Ezra enjoying the fish in the aquarium.

 

The jellyfish exhibit is always one of my favorites.

 

The colors of these weird creatures are incredible. Yet, they somehow still kind of gross me out.

 

After a winter of being indoors, we were excited to finally take our first family walk around our new neighborhood. Ezra was happy about it too!

 

The sun set as we went on our walk. Beautiful midwest sunset.

 

We have a park and playground near our house that we’ve visited a few times now, too. Micah loves to run around on the playground.

 

Ezra also likes being at the park, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy the slides as much as his brother.

 

Micah trying to decide what to do next.

 

Ezra does love the swings, just like his brother.

 

The boys swinging together.

 

Ezra climbing on the playground.

 

Sarah helps Ezra keep balance on a the dinosaur.

 

Micah loves the slides!

 

I finally got a Chemex, and I have used quite frequently since purchasing it. It makes the best coffee in my opinion.

 

For St. Patrick’s Day, we went to a parade downtown. Ezra was more interested in the things around him.

 

Wearing plenty of green for the day.

 

Birds enjoyed the parade on a beautiful morning.

 

I take so many pictures of the kids that sometimes I forget to take pictures of my beautiful wife. It doesn’t really matter what she’s doing or up to, she’s always pretty.

 

Ezra's First Haircut
March was also the month we finally decided to get Ezra a haircut. It transformed him into a little man.

 

Haircut for Micah
Micah also got a much needed haircut that day, too.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
I love being a part of the Instagram community. It is such a unique place on the web. But twice a year, Instagram hosts a global Instameet, in which local instagrammers in cities all across the world meet up with each other to go on a photo walk and meet the people whom we interact with on the app. This year I met up with a few instagrammers from the Omaha area. We explored Boys Town on the west side of Omaha. A unique place with a cool history (nothing like the boystown in Chicago, btw…)

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Stained glass windows in the tomb of the founder of Boys Town.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Boys Town contains the world’s largest ball of stamps. This thing is over 600 pounds and contains over 4 million stamps. It’s in the Guinness book of world records.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Another angle of the ball of stamps.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Neat patterns made by the stamps.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
I thought the doors outside this chapel looked pretty cool.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Here’s the inside of the chapel.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
And an angel statue in some pine cones?

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
It was a beautiful day outside.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Here’s the inside of the founder’s house. A bit busy, I’d say…

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
An old typewriter in the office of the founder.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
There were many gargoyles around the campus of Boys Town.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Here’s another shot from a different angle of that same gargoyle.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
A view looking up at the chapel.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
A wooden monk figurine caught my attention because of how the lighting hit it.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Here’s a shot of the chapel with a lens flare. I thought it made for a cool shot.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
And here it is again from a different angle.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Inside the founder’s house the light coming through the windows was neat. And I liked the symmetry.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
There was an example of the old schoolhouse.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
I thought it interesting that they had pictures of Native Americans hanging in the house. It made me wonder what the story was behind them.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Outside of the campus of Boys Town there is an abandoned farm. It had a few cool things to capture.

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Anyone else see an emoji in this shot?

 

IgersOmaha Instagram Instameet #WWIM11
Due to the farm being abandoned, this wasn’t much of a worry.

 

Ezra got a cool superheroes book from his Aunt Lauren, but Micah had to check it out first.

 

But Ezra seemed to also approve.

 

Ezra's First Birthday
This picture is from Ezra’s birthday party, but it is one of my favorites that I have taken of him.

 

Ezra's First Birthday
I made a whole blog post of Ezra’s birthday party, but here’s one of him stuffing the cake into his face.

 

Stinson Park
Aksarben is the neighborhood in Omaha where we live. Aksarben is a growing area. Here in this park Omaha hosts Maha Music Festival. This year Modest Mouse is headlining.

 

bath time
Bath time now means two boys taking a bath at the same time. Ezra got a number of these toys for his birthday.

 

bath time
Micah enjoys his bath time reading.

 

Life in Omaha (Part 1: February)

We are finally settling down pretty well here in Omaha. I have neglected to post the various pictures I’ve taken the past couple months, so I thought I’d take some time to go back post some of them. People often ask us if we miss Chicago, and honestly, how could we not? It’s an amazing city with some pretty incredible people. But we are happy and content with where we are. Sarah enjoys her job as a labor and delivery nurse, and the boys have definitely enjoyed having a house in which they can be as loud as they might want to be.

Here are some of the pictures I took in February:

At the Circus
We took a family trip to the Shriner’s circus. It was fun to see Ezra and Micah enjoying their first experience of a circus. And it had been many years since I had last been to one.

 

At the Circus
Micah and I enjoyed a big tub of popcorn and some juice while we watched the show.

 

Later in the month my good friend Eric stopped by our place on his trek out west to California. A friend of his took an epic road trip across the country, and we were glad to be one of their stops along the way. It had been a while since Micah had seen Eric, and I think he was glad to see him again.

 

Here we are all dancing along and playing around to some music.

 

 

The day was pretty mild for February, so we stopped at a few places around Omaha. Here we are at the pedestrian bridge that goes over the Missouri River from Omaha, NE into Council Bluffs, IA.

 

It’s a pretty neat looking bridge.

 

Ice flowed down the Missouri River and it looked pretty neat.

 

A failed attempt at a shot of Eric and me. But…for some reason it still works. Clearly, it was a bit windy up there.

 

Sarah asked me for this shot…it’s the Nebraska-Iowa state line.

 

I thought the sliver in the moon looked cool between the wires of the bridge.

 

Here’s a wider shot of the bridge.

 

We headed over to Iowa to where the Native Americans met up for a Council in the Bluffs of Iowa with Lewis and Clark (hence the name of the city…) It’s one of my favorite places in the area thus far.

 

The views from here are great!

 

Not quite the Chicago skyline, but still a beautiful sight.

 

Here’s Eric overlooking the area.

 

That evening we stopped at a really cool cocktail bar. This is my favorite drink. A rum drink corked with tobacco smoke inside to give it a great smoky flavor.

 

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.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015

Our church family recently had our Easter service at the Holland Performing Arts Center in downtown Omaha. I took a few too many pictures. Here is a sampling of some of them. It was a beautiful morning in a beautiful venue.

Easter at the Holland 2015
Our church is called Coram Deo, which means “in the presence of God”

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Rehearsal.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
It’s hard to capture the size and beauty of the venue, but it’s a very nice and warm venue.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Empty chairs ready to be filled.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Four of the singers practice singing the opening hymn.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
One person sits and listens during rehearsal.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
As people started to come for the service, there were plenty of opportunities to capture shots of families all dressed up for Easter.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
A dad and his son look out the window together.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
LOTS of family photos. Most of them turning out like this one.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Choir robes hang, ready to be worn by the choir members.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
The service started with a dark room that gradually lit up with each stanza of the Doxology.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
The choir joins in the singing of the Doxology.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
There was some great singing and music from the band, orchestra, and choir.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
David Potter played the piano and lead the music for the morning.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
The guitarist also busted out his accordion.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
The stage gave me some great angles to work with for some neat shots.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
The string section was a great addition to the music of the morning.

 

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A shot from above.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
One of the string players playing during one of the worship songs.

 

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A close up shot of one of the string players from above.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Some songs called for some electric guitar.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Rarely do I get the opportunity to take a picture of a drummer in decent lighting.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Here’s a dramatic shot of the drummer.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
She has an incredibly powerful and beautiful voice.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
In fact, all the musicians and vocalists are very talented.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
The string section.

 

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A shot from below.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
This is me attempting to show the size and feel of the place.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
It was a very neat experience to hear about 1000 people singing together with the band and choir.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Pastor Bob Thune preaching during the service.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Pastor Bob Thune explaining what Easter is about.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Pastor Bob Thune talking about the resurrection.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Pastor Bob preaching.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
Pastor Bob preaching.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
The service ended with more music and singing.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
A shot from behind the cross of the first two levels of the Holland.

 

Easter at the Holland 2015
And after the service all the cute little boys and girls and their families left to celebrate Easter at their homes.

 

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.