A Move! A baby! A whole lot of crazy!


We have some big changes happening in 2017...

A move back to the U.S of A and a (super special surprise!) baby on the way! We sure do know how to amp up adventure. 

I have a sneaking suspicion this year will have a lot of emotional highs and lows. I'm praising God we have great friends and family to get us through, because pretty sure it'll often feel like we've bitten off more than we can chew.

And yet, I'm a firm believer that God DOES give us more than we can handle. And I'm praying in the crazy/heavy/heartbending events that I know lie before us (leaving here, starting fresh again, going through a new family dynamic,) He'll prove faithful and able just as he has been through previous heartaches, changes and joyful moments.

We're convinced this year will show us more of His goodness. We're also convinced we'll discover more ways we desperately need Him and his church.

Cheers to a new year, a new adventure, a God who knows what he's doing & to getting to grow to a family of five!

The decision for where we will move with Ben's company has yet to finalize, but we sure do hope there's lots of sunshine after the 5 hours of light we had yesterday. 
Just kidding, we love you Helsinki.

I've been as sick as they come for this first trimester. But hopefully wellness is on the horizon. In the meantime, I'm thinking...


(Ben's not so sure about a hashtag (and future band name), but me thinks it's a GREAT idea.)

 Thanks for joining us along the (sure to be bumpy) ride, we're excited to lean in to what is about to unfold.

Life Lately :: December 2016


It has been a bit quiet here as of late hasn't it? We're in a bit of a season of holding our breath, of waiting and it makes for quiet weeks. It's chilly here in Helsinki, so we're bundling up and going on walks as much as we can, otherwise we're stayin in and making the most of a quiet winter.

Sickness has had its way through our house for the past several weeks making things even quieter. We're eager for Christmas, to celebrate Jesus' birthday, and because it's a symbol of a lot of changes for us. For a long while we've been talking about 'all the big changes that come post christmas.' So to have it on the horizon is exciting and frightening all at the same time. We're more hopeful than not.

It might be quiet as we transition into all the newness over here. So if you hop over and see nothing recent, no worries. I have no doubt I'll be filled to the brim with new things to share in the upcoming months as we settle in to a new place, new routines. We still have nothing to go on as far as when/where goes, other than after 'roll out' (which happens Jan 1st) we'll be making our way back stateside. Ben's replacement has been here since July, so I'm certain that transition will go great.

Hope  you all have a wonderful christmas season!

Not Leaving :: Guest Post on Coffee + Crumbs


image by Emily Gnetz

Several months ago, I was feeling brave and began to think about what a big grown up woman like myself would aspire to for this year. One of the thoughts to make the list was to write and be published on one of the websites I love. When I saw Coffee + Crumbs was taking submissions back in Feb. I jumped on board and submited. Imagine my pure delight when they said "Yes! We like it!" 

Today I get the great priviledge of talking about marriage and the harder side of it over on Coffee + Crumbs.

It would be an honor for you to read it. This post is all sorts of tender and real for us and the response has already warmed my heart and made me say "yes! yes! this is why I write!" The 'me too.' oh those blessed two little words.

 It's a beautiful thing to see all that has grown and changed in these past 9 months. Having this post come now seems timely and beautiful. 

If you'd like, take a look. "Not Leaving"

Elias Grows :: One + Three Quarters

Brussels, Belgium :: Sprague Adventures


When we began talking about the next place we wanted to visit-we originally had our eyes set on somewhere warmer, but as time drew closer and the ticket prices rose, we decided we'd like to go somewhere more mainland. A few google searches later, we landed on Brussels. Having never been to Brussels and having thoughts of waffles and fries, it just seemed like a good idea to usher in the warm cosy months with some of our favorite foods. Plus the idea of never having to convince our kids to eat felt promising.

On one hand, this trip was really special. We had a great airbnb host, some amazing breakfasts (!!!) and really enjoyed the Grand Place and the Natural History Museum of Brussels.

On the other, we stayed in what is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous neighborhood in Brussels (lesson learned-do my research.) When we left our apartment, we often felt aware of the near tangible darkness pervating the neighborhood. More than once we saw some very shady dealings occuring, and at one point we were having a conversation with a man (a very kind man)-giving us directions on how to grab tickets for the metro etc. When we returned to  the elevator he was there shooting up heroin, losing his previous demeanour. We then saw similar instances near everytime we rode from that stop (the one right below our apartment.)

Both kids had colds, and Elias has just entered into a stage where his tantrums are for the books. They both impress me and leave me baffled. With Eowyn we could expect a good 15 minutes of struggle until we were able to work with her. Our strong minded boy can go a good forty five minutes of solid screaming-to the point of puking- when he doesn't get his way. This particular weekend was all about him not wanting to walk with shoes. Brussels is pretty dirty and it was cold....you definitately are needing shoes. Elias didn't agree.

So, was it a good trip? Kind of.

 It was riddled with dissapointments, but when we get the privilege of traveling this much, these sorts of things are bound to happen.

Are we glad we went? Yes. There was so much beauty to Brussels and there were DEFINITELY places we would go to again. Peck 47 (amazing eggs benedict) & Chicago cafe being two of them. (If you're a parent reading this and find yourself in Brussels, PLEASE go to Chicago cafe. It is a kinder-cafe with delicious breakfast. Our kids played with all sorts of toys while we ate. Pure heaven.)

We had mussels in Brussels (tee hee) from tripadvisors best place to have them. While I decided I don't care much for mussels, but I did set out to eat 20 of them. We ate delicious waffles and visited an AMAZING ice cream shop called Gaston twice during the three days we were there.

We saw all three of the peeing sculptures, Mannekin Pis, Jeanneke Pis and the cute little dog, zinneke pis. Eowyn thought they were HILAROUS.

We delighted in the huge bathtub as part of our airbnb, and was impressed with the efficiency of their metro and train system. Getting us everywhere we wanted to go-airport included-with relative ease.

We enjoyed the Belgian laid back culture. We had a lot of surprisingly positive interactions. Even TSA agents were prone to cracking jokes. Everyone was kind. We appreciated it very much.

While several friends recommended we only spend a day in Brussels (and we now know why) and visit elsewhere, we were just too exhausted from our lives back home to want to venture much of anywhere. So we did what we could to make it a restful stay. We napped (!!!) We ate, we took in the sites.

Ben got food poisoning upon returning home and the kids still are filled with sick bugs. Blegh.

But hey, we did eat some pretty awesome waffles.

Eowyn Grows :: Four & A Quarter

Tallinn, Estonia :: Sister Week


Just this past month I had my sister come to visit for a week. After our trip to Paris, we had planned mostly easy days of spending time together and roaming Helsinki. One thing I was determined to do, however was visit Tallinn. It's a quick two hour boat ride and the weather was absolutely perfect to spend the day together in Estonia.

Now if you've visited this blog before, then you know we've been here a few times. We visited on our own, with my side of the family, with my dear friend Katie-we've gone in fall, winter, and summer. For all the times we've been, you'd think we'd grow tired of visiting the same place-especially when we really have only explored Old Town. But the reality is, we have yet to tire of her. This city is such a beautiful place.

It was especially fun to visit with my sister. We checked out new stores that had opened since I had last been, drank latte's, ate delicious gelato, and enjoyed one anothers company.

I love adventuring with you, Bre. So looking forward to the adventures yet in store.

If you find yourself alone...


" I dont think I realized it then, but I'm a bit of a functional hermit."

I say it jokingly to my husband as he comes in 30 minutes before the kids bedtime. We scarf down food together-an attempt at keeping up with each other in the hustle- and meander over to herd our kids to their beds.

After we've made a good attempt at talking with weary mouths and tired eyes, we sit in silence and read. Reiterating our comfortability with silence. It's been a quiet and crazy season.

Ten on Ten :: October 2016


It's been a long time coming for this post. I've marked it on my calendar several months in a row and then life has gotten busy and we've forgotten. But this time we remembered. And I'm so glad we did. While these photos only really capture our morning, they're still a sweet treasure.

While we live on a bit of an island (connected by canals and a small strip of land...so a peninsula?) we just have to cross over onto the mainland to find loads of trees. While we were walking to grab groceries for the evening, we stumbled upon a HUGE leaf pile. We knew just what to do. :) This year we had a starbucks open at the main shopping mall closest to us and I am certainly not complaing. I had a season of going without chai, so whenever we venture out to Kamppi, we often make a run through. Otherwise the cold has set in so we're staying close to home. Lots of crafts and books and baths.

Getting to spend my days with these two has been one of the most refining and redemptive seasons of my life. I'm grateful for it.

I hope your October is off to a lovely start.

Original 10 on 10 idea by  Rebekah Gough

Paris, France :: Sister Weeekend


My sister came to Helsinki a couple of weeks ago and spent some time with us. I really wanted to be able to spend some quality time with her-no kids, no responsibilites-and knew the best way to get that to happen was to go away from home. When we started tossing around ideas of what we could do, I started looking into Paris. A weekend in Paris with my sister? Sounded amazing to me.

Life Lately :: September 2016

Flåm & The Sognefjord :: Sprague Adventures

Bergen, Norway :: Sprague Adventures

Life Lately :: August 2016


The month of August has seemed particularly slow to me. It seems like July was ages ago.  Yet, it's been a pretty fantastic last month of summer. We've been to beaches and islands. Had our fair share of ice cream and park visits. We're transitioning into rain boots and library visits and a good summer cleaning has got this mama feeling a whole lot lighter as we head into the months of schedules and more structured days.

six years :: Marriage


Chicago, Colorado, Minnesota, Helsinki, Phoenix, Mexico

Each year for the past 6 years we've gotten to celebrate our anniversary in a new destination. Either due to a move, a holiday, or a business meeting. The adventures just keep coming.

Of land and sea


This past weekend we had the deep privileged of being a part of our dear friends baptism. We hiked out to a beach and expected great things. We didn't expect the torrential downpour that opened the event, but to be honest, it made everyone a bit silly and light hearted. We were all drenched, but we were there. We were ready to celebrate. Ready to praise God and all of us were certainly awake to his awesome power and wonder

As I took pictures of the baptism, I in between  just watched my children dig around in the sand and waves. I found myself often overwhelmed with the beauty of it all. Seeing my kids love this green earth as much as I do-on a sort of soul level-is something I cherish deeply. See Eowyn's content? I know that content.

It really was a special day. This earth He so masterfully created is absolutely incredible. Both the land and sea.



If you ever ask me what my favorite word is in Finnish, it's this:


It means lovely, delightful, amongst other things. It finds its way to kind mother's lips, on to cartons of yogurt, into accolades on facebook.

The first time I ever heard these delightful 5 letters was in excitement at marvelous news. Coming from a woman quite lovely herself. The way she said it was melodic. I've since fallen in love with this little word so much I've contemplated tattooing it on skin.

Life Lately :: July 2016


I know this is written in August, but since summer is slipping through our fingers, before it all slipped too far away, I wanted to post a bit about our happenings / happy little nothings to remember from July.

One and a Half! :: Elias Grows


Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016

London, England :: Sprague Adventures

Happy Birthday to the love of my life


I was about to write a post to my love about the story of how we met, how we fell in love, got married, had kids, and moved overseas. But most of you out there know the story, and Brittany certainly knows it as well.

Today is Brittany's birthday. My love, I have been with you for every 2#'s birthday of yours thus far. We were dating and about to be engaged at your 20th. Married and just returned from Ireland at your 21st. Finished up with Minnesota Reading Corps and about to start a great adventure with LDI at your 22nd. A mom for 1 week at your 23rd. Struggling through a miscarriage soon after your 24th. Adjusting to life overseas and a new healthy pregnancy at your 25th. Dealing with some intense heartache at your 26th. And now sickness of my own, but returning from a great adventure in London at your 27th.

Not every birthday has been perfect. But I hope every birthday I can show you that I love you more than words can convey.

I love who you are, and not just how you make me feel (which is pretty great). I love your boldness for people. I love your passion for those who are downtrodden, and your heartache for a world that is broken. I see your longing to make some kind of difference. To not just sit idly by and believe that the world is too big to make an impact.

I see you and you are such a world changer. You long to make a difference, to love on ALL people as God has called us to do. You love the Muslim and the homo-sexual as much as your fellow Christian and I applaud you for that. You make me want to be more like that. You are someone who gets me so excited and fired up to reach those people for Christ. You have deep opinions and facts to back them up. You always DO something and it makes me want to do more.

These are the things I love about YOU. You care more than most and always try to find the common point in everyone.

What have I learned from these past 9 years of knowing you, and 6 years of being married to you? I've learned that I want to be more like you.

I want to be a great dad because I see what an amazing mom you are. I want to be a great husband because I see what a great wife you are. I want to love everyone around me because I see how much you love everyone around you.

I wish you the happiest of birthdays and I hope you have a great rest of the day. Today is not over yet and I hope that the rest of it is fantastic and that you feel so loved.

Love from your husband,

FOUR! :: Eowyn Grows