Summer Started…With A Bang!

    Last Friday marked the first day of Summer 2013. It was also the day we flew to Texas for our first summer trip. On Saturday Jesse’s cousin, Kelly, got married to David.

    Isn’t her dress amazing?!?

    The wedding gave us the opportunity to visit Austin. We enjoyed seeing the Capital and all of the Texan pride. It was also fun to spend time with Jesse’s mom and Larry as well as his Aunt Chris and Uncle Dennis (remember Philadelphia?).

    My favorite discovery in Austin was a shaved ice truck called Sno-Beach. Neenah, Wisconsin (where I grew up) used to have a shaved ice stand called Sno-Shack. It was one of my favorite summer stops. I loved it so much I owned their t-shirt and only threw the t-shirt away when it developed large holes. I was so excited to find Sno-Beach in Austin, and my favorite flavor, Tiger’s Blood. Yum!

    My favorite bump picture so far…

    After Austin, we road-tripped over to San Antonio. We were interested in the history of the Alamo and loved the restaurants on the River Walk.

    We decided to split our trip home into two days with a day in Branson, Missouri in the middle. While in Branson we visited the Big Cedar Lodge, saw an illusionist, and enjoyed Joseph by the Sight and Sound Theater.

    This trip was only the beginning of a busy summer. Can you keep up? Can I keep up?

      Trip Update…

      Right after school is out, Jesse and I are headed to Austin, Texas with Larry and Cyndee to attend Jesse’s cousin’s wedding. Thinking about a trip to Texas reminds me that I still have two trips I haven’t blogged.

      Last fall my mom and I took our first girls’ trip. I think it will be the first of many because we had a BLAST. I had a long weekend off from school, so we headed to Savannah, Georgia for some warmth before winter really began.

      The following were some of my favorite things about Savannah:

      The best BBQ and sweet tea from a restaurant in a strip mall!

      We waited in line for two hours for this fabulous meal from The Wilkes House. I am still craving the delicious fried chicken!

      We even went to a cooking demonstration. We pulled up to this “cooking school” and wondered what we signed up for, but the shrimp and corn chowder was our favorite course!

      On this trip my mom and I discovered a big difference in our traveling styles. I am all about the fine dining, and she is all about the sight-seeing. We did a little bit of both.

      We started our trip with a trolley ride overview of the city.

      The trees with Spanish moss were amazing!

      My mom enjoyed touring a historic home.

      We also visited the First African Baptist Church where slaves were hidden along the Underground Railroad.

      Not to mention walking, walking, walking through cemeteries and squares.

      So, where to next, mom?


        Things in Life That Change You

        Jesse and I are SO excited about the birth of our first child. The way God creates life is amazing. The way God created the life inside of me is a miracle.

        We were infertile. I never blogged about it. I may never have talked to you about it, but Jesse and I heard a lot of bad news before we heard the incredible news that we were expecting. After a year of trying to have a baby, I visited my OB/GYN. We took tests and had procedures done only to find that I have a blocked fallopian tube on my right side. This was scary because it very rarely happens for no reason. My OB/GYN referred us to an infertility specialist. A few months later I began having constant pain in my stomach. It was diagnosed as an ovarian cyst on my left ovary (the side where the egg needed to come from!). Six weeks later I had laproscopic surgery to remove the cyst. During surgery they found Stage III endometriosis and cleaned up as much as they could. At this point, statistics were not in our favor. After surgery we began treatment with the infertility specialist only to find that the left ovary was unresponsive. At the recommendation of our doctor, we began investigating In-Vitro Fertilization (a very costly and invasive procedure). In the meantime, my left ovary produced ONE egg follicle. It was the ONE egg follicle that God used to create our baby.

        Infertility rocked our world. It was something we thought would never happen to us. We always wanted to have children and often argued about how many we wanted to have. Infertility changed us, yet in the midst of it we had to believe that God loved us if we never had our own children. We had to believe that if we never conceived it would be His perfect plan for us. Did we doubt? Yes! Did we pray? Yes! In the end, God provided a miracle baby, and we will be forever grateful.

        10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman

        The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
        It’s time to sing Your song again
        Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
        Let me be singing when the evening comes

        Bless the Lord, O my soul
        O my soul
        Worship His holy name
        Sing like never before
        O my soul
        I’ll worship Your holy name


          On March 5, 1983 my parents got married. This marriage created my family and helped shape the person I am today. I am one of the lucky ones. After thirty years, my parents are still happily married.

          They will be one of the first to tell you that marriage takes work. I remember coming home from school and finding my parents on the couch talking about their days. I remember them taking trips with my brother and I…and without us. I remember them praying together before falling asleep at night. I remember sitting down to dinner as a family almost every night of the week.

          At this impressive milestone, I want to wish Glen and Janet Lashbrook a happy anniversary. If you have any words of encouragement or gratitude for them, leave a comment here, jump over to my mom’s Facebook page, or send them a card in the mail. I love and appreciate their example of marriage as I am sure do many of you.


            On March 5, 2012 my brother and Alaina welcomed Roman Eli Lashbrook into our family.

            We had been waiting for his arrival since February 16. Knowing our busy schedule in March, Jesse and I decided to head to Neenah for a weekend visit even though Alaina was not in labor. Saturday morning we headed to Cedar Grove for a visit. We enjoyed a walk, dinner together (at Texas Roadhouse of course), and playing games.

            Early Sunday morning we began receiving texts that Roman was on his way. My parents headed to Cedar Grove right away, and Jesse and I packed up and relaxed throughout the morning. In the early evening everyone headed to the hospital, and Jesse and I joined my dad for the vigil. At 2 AM Jesse and I decided we needed some sleep and headed to the hotel for the night. The next morning we awoke to no news, so we headed back to the hospital. Roman decided to wait until 4:21 PM to join us.

            Coming Home from the Hospital with Grandma Lashbrook

            You may notice that there are no photos of Jesse and I with Roman. 🙁 Because we had to work on Tuesday, Jesse and I headed back to Minnesota at 4 PM on Monday, March 5 and didn’t get to meet our adorable nephew. We were so sad but are looking forward to meeting him this coming Easter. More pictures to follow.

              100,000 Miles…

              Some of you may wonder at the title of our blog. Six months into our marriage, Jesse’s car died. We were able to trade in Cameron for Urma. We have owned Urma for 5 years, and we have driven 100,000 miles in our car. On average, we drive 20,000 miles a year.

              Let me use the last four week as an example.

              We began celebrating Christmas with the Smith-Sutherland family. We met at a water park in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. For the first time in two and a half years we were ALL there. This is quite the feat because one of the Smith families now lives in Kenya, but they were able to travel home for the holidays. From Lake Geneva, we drove to Chicago to continue the Christmas festivities.

              At the Waterpark
              The Smith Kids

              We returned home on Monday because we had to work Tuesday-Friday. On Friday afternoon we drove to Neenah, Wisconsin for the Lashbrook family Christmas. My grandparents from Indiana also joined us in Wisconsin. We played games, exchanged gifts, and even went to an arcade for one evening of fun.

              Christmas Eve
              Christmas Day

              We drove back to Minnesota on Wednesday to celebrate a friend’s wedding. Saturday morning we flew and drove to Upland, Indiana for Jesse’s grandma’s wedding. We celebrated New Year’s Eve with the Sutherland family and enjoyed the reception, post-reception party, and after the post-reception get-together.

              Grandma Sutherland's Wedding

              Sunday morning we drove to Chicago for the immediate Sutherland family Christmas before returning to Minnesota on Monday.

              The Best Gift of Christmas

              The next Friday I drove back to Neenah, Wisconsin to celebrate a baby shower for my sister-in-law Alaina.

              We do a lot of traveling but always enjoy the time it gives us to spend with friends and family. Now, our suitcases are finally unpacked, and we are looking forward to some time at home!

                Friend Thanksgiving

                This year we decided that one Thanksgiving was not enough. The Saturday before Thanksgiving a part of our small group combined our efforts to create a Thanksgiving dinner before Thanksgiving.

                We had a 13 lb. turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, scalloped corn, salad, rolls, apple pie, and pumpkin creme brûlée. It was a feast…and a great time of being together as friends.

                  With Gratitude…

                  Dear Gina,

                  Jesse and I have loved getting to know you and Matt through our small group. We love that you enjoy hosting people at your house and getting together to do fun things.

                  You also are incredibly generous with your gifts. As a professional photographer during a very busy season, you were willing to take time for us. Jesse and I can’t wait to post your pictures all over our house.


                  The Sutherlands

                  PS Enjoy Gina’s other photos at





                    Jesse and I enjoy carving pumpkins. We carved pumpkins with our families growing up, we have carved pumpkins with our friends, and we have carved pumpkins with our small group.

                    Last year our small group began enjoying a fall evening together, and this year we continued the tradition. We began with a take-out potluck. Each couple brought their favorite take-out food to share. We had pad thai, stir fry, tacos, barbecue, and fried chicken. After dinner, we headed out to pick out our pumpkins from a local patch where the proceeds support a summer mission trip.

                    We then began carving. Recently, Jesse began using templates in his pumpkin carving. He prints out a design and carves from there. I used the Internet as a source for ideas, but then Jesse helped me freehand my pumpkin design. We were pleased with this year’s results!

                      The Best of the Twin Cities

                      At the beginning of August, we had the privilege of hosting my family in Minnesota including my aunt from Arizona.

                      We began with a tour of downtown Minneapolis at the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden.

                      Spoonbridge and Cherry

                      Then we headed downtown to visit the recently opened 35W Bridge Memorial. The memorial includes personal remarks from each of the victims’ families.

                      After we visited the memorial, we walked to the Guthrie Theater. We didn’t get to see a show, but we did get to walk out onto the Endless Bridge.

                      The weather was beautiful, so we spent the afternoon at the Farmer’s Market on the Nicollet Mall before seeing the Minneapolis skyline from the Foshay Tower.

                      We finished the evening celebrating my birthday with foods from the hot zones at Chino Latino.

                      The next day we went to another major Minnesota landmark: The Mall of America.

                      Our last destination was St. Paul. We began the morning at the Historic Tour at the Wabasha Street Caves. Then we saw the state capital and the cathedral.


                      Of course, the Lashbrooks didn’t just sightsee. We also ate plenty of sweet corn and delicious meals together. It was a wonderful week of being together with part of our extended family.