Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Monday, September 25, 2017

nearly a decade later!

I started my first blog (Inspire Me Engel) when we were first married as a place to capture our memories --- that evolved once we had our first baby boy. Baby #1 obviously deserves his very own blog for the obscene amount of photos being taken daily along with more general memories on Life on Cottage Hill. Selling our cottage on a hill and moving homes meant the next generation blog which is how this one was born, but now I'm realizing that blogging is no longer the easiest ay to keep all of our memories alive in real-time thanks to our friend Instagram, so for now I'm going to take a likely permanent break from this place that has served our family so well in telling our stories for nearly a decade (!!) and retire to @JessEngel_TheVillage Roastery on Instagram <3 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

[life lately] spring...

Spring has been full of so many good things- and also some hard things. We've enjoyed so much time outdoors and on adventures, but balanced it all out with plenty of time inside enjoying the peace of home. Spring also brought a little too much travel for me and way too much work for Dan. This season of life is certainly not easy, but then again I'm not sure I've ever wanted easy- because with the hard comes far more adventure and lessons and at the end of the day I know we're making a difference- both inside this home and around the world. For that I'm grateful. 

[brace yourself for picture overload... I'm crazy behind in this online memories space]

While traveling and leaving my babies is hard- ocean views and warm temperatures certainly do help! In addition to my monthly trips to Colorado, I traveled to California for a couple of days of meetings on the coast and then to Chicago where they unfortunately had not received the memo that winter was supposed to be over. It was freezing! And rained the entire time, but those two days were some of the best so far of my new job. I felt like I was in the right place and doing what I had imagined doing in this role- a feeling that has been unfortunately hard to hold onto day to day because of a lot of challenges that I'm working through. God doesn't always promise easy! But he does promise that it will be worth it. 

While it's been harder than I ever imagined, there are a few priceless perks to my new job- all of which tie back to working from home in between travel: 1) at the end of the work day I get to just hop down the stairs from my office and I'm HOME and ready to enjoy time with my babies. My evenings feel significantly longer and my weeks that much smoother thanks to erasing 10+ hours of commuting each week. 2) Every once in awhile I take an actual lunch break versus working through it and get to squeeze in a little bonus time with the kids. 

On those long plane rides I often get a lot of ideas- maybe too many :)- one of which was to start monthly "passport dinners" where we'll "visit" a new country each month to learn about the culture and customs hands-on. Our first country was Italy and Mamaw joined us and we talked about how her family is from Sicily. So fun!

We were one of the first boats back in the water after winter ended- it's not yet Memorial Day and I feel like we've already logged a lot of hours on the lake. So fun- and relaxing to cruise around after a full day. 

Hiking has always been one of our favorite things to do- and it's even better with friends. I mean, seriously, all these little people lined up on this bench... too cute. 

We spent one Sunday after church planting our little people garden for the second year in a row- they each picked out their own plants and helped me plant them. They check on their progress daily and water them (probably too much)... but most importantly they're just so proud. 

Saturday mornings tend to be spent catching up on coffee orders- packing, shipping, delivering. It's not always fun. There are times when we would all much rather be relaxing or doing something else entirely, but that's part of the service, right? That even when we don't feel like it, we show up and we do our part. It's a lesson they'll need to learn countless times in their life... just as I still have to re-learn it for myself. 

One of the hard parts about transitioning to my new job was the working from home part- there are the perks like I mentioned above, but it can also feel incredibly isolating. It bothered me a LOT for the first few months and then I discovered that scheduling in a break to take a power walk makes a huge difference. I listen to pod casts while walking around Hidden Valley, exploring streets I've never been down or walking along the lake or on trails and I come back feeling so much better. The bonus is on days when Dan is transitioning from days to nights or nights to days and is home for a few hours in the afternoon and he will join me- we actually get to catch up and hit the pause button on life for an hour or so. It's been like therapy in all the best ways. 

For quite a while now I've been trying to set aside a date day each month, rotating turns with the kids. In April it was Audrey's turn and we went to the MOST amazing show at The Taft. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performed Disney songs. It was incredible- one of the best shows I've ever been too and watching Audrey react was even better, she would exclaim "Bravo! Bravo! Woo hoo, wow!!" after each song, giving them a standing ovation. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

he is RISEN!

We've been really lucky the past few years with beautiful weather on Easter, making for a LOT of crazy fun hunting eggs, playing baseball, flying kites, you name it... these three did it. They played hard for two days straight, first at Nanna's and then at Mamaw's. Unfortunately this marked yet another holiday with Dan working, but we're still thankful and I'm especially thankful to have a husband who always has such an attitude of gratitude- never complaining, just happy to get little snippets of updates from us and a facetime debrief each night. Celebrating the love of Jesus is especially special on Easter weekend, but we try to live out his ways every day of the week which made his absence less hard and the adventures we have in between the "big days" are just as special and fun and all the more sweet when we can all five be together.