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Team Hartwell

A happy family is but an earlier heaven. - John Bowring

Updated: 2018-03-02T08:48:41.531-07:00


Happy 2011!


(Yes, it's almost March, hardly the new year...) Here's what we've been up to since my last post!

We drove to Iowa for Christmas. Anna did not like the snow.

It was okay from the inside, though.

Opening presents is fun!

(image) (image) (image) A month after Christmas, Anna turned a very important age...

(image) (image) (image)
A couple more of my favorite two-year-old:

(image) (image)
This weekend we head to the Twin Cities for Anna's future husband our godson Jack's baptism. We can't wait to see friends and get a little more use out of our winter coats!

Thirty-three for 33


You might notice a few repeats from last year! I'm trying to be less lofty this year - we'll see how well I do.

1. Set up automatic transfer for all bills (90% done, but I’ve been dragging my feet on a couple of accounts for which I have to mail in a voided check)
2. Set up automatic transfer to Anna's college fund
3. Cook one meal a week (I am lucky and have a husband who cooks!)
4. Clean out my jewelry box and organize into a workable system
5. Sign our wills & health care directives (they’re written, just not signed!)
6. Finish the wills & health care directives I was working on for my parents the day before Anna was born (oops)
7. Sew a simple project—pillow cover, drapes, apron, etc.
8. Roast a chicken (still haven’t done this!)
9. Take Anna to Disneyland
10. Watch the Oscar Best Picture nominees
11. Finish and frame our family tree
12. Join a CSA
13. Keep flossing my teeth every day
14. Look into getting teeth bleached/whitened
15. Go to Pilates every week
16. Get frames for three pieces of art
17. Sign Anna up for a music or dance class
18. Read Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina, two books I own but have never finished
19. Read two books for fun each month
20. Look into joining the Junior League
21. Baby #2!?
22. Write law journal article and work on getting it published
23. Permanently clean out guest room
24. Sell stuff on eBay or garage sale
25. Try five new restaurants
26. Take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course
27. Learn how to put my hair into a French twist
28. Read to Anna every day
29. Stay in my current size (unless maternity clothes are in the cards)
30. Go hiking in the Sandias (or Jemez or Sangre de Cristos)
31. Remember to use my reusable bags for groceries
32. Organize our CDs (and possibly burn everything to iTunes so we can sell the discs?)
33. Attend my 5-year law school reunion

Advent celebrations


This will be Anna's second Christmas - but it's the first year we have used her Advent calendar. Last year she was too little to walk, much less hang ornaments. But this year she's got it down!

Anna's calendar was given by two of her favorite aunties and filled with homemade ornaments made at my baby shower two years ago. I absolutely love that she is getting to use this treasured sure-to-be-an-heirloom. You can see it hanging in the background of these photos from the shower - little did I know then (bloated as all get out) how much fun it would be watching my daughter take out the ornaments and hang them on the tree!

And here is Anna last night, hanging ornament #16 on the tree:

It means the world to me that Anna has this gift from women who love her... even women who have never met her and, in the case of my dear friend Emilie, never will. I know Anna’s (and any future children’s) Advent memories will be filled with the love of these sweet friends and family. Thanks, E and J, for this precious gift!

I've been reading up on other Advent-with-kids thoughts, too. It's never too early to start family traditions - even if you think a not-yet-2-year-old can participate, you might be surprised. (As I was when Anna skillfully hung ornaments on our tree!) There are some good thoughts on this blog. I had every intention of doing St. Nicholas and St. Lucia celebrations this year, but didn't get to it. Maybe next year. But in the meantime, we find a new ornament every day and light our wreath candles every night, and it is good.

Happy Advent to all who celebrate!



Oh, and because someone asked how the project referenced in this post turned out, here is an "after" shot:

I followed this tutorial and used the names of all the streets where Seth and I lived before we got married. To be sure, no one will be fooled that we paid $$$$$ for a vintage subway sign, but I like the personalization and am happy with how it turned out. (And the whole thing cost about $14, so that works for me!)

Happy Advent!


We've been up to quite a few things lately!Anna's crib got turned into a big girl bed.She likes it. A lot.I had my gallbladder out. It went extremely well, and I had very pleasant company.We went to our good friends' annual St. Cecelia party (named for the patron saint of musicians, at which we drink a lot of wine and sing songs around the piano, usually at the same time).We decorated our tree.We met Santa. He had a book and candy canes, so he was all right in Anna's book.We celebrated my parents' 40th anniversary...... with a very nice dinner at a very nice restaurant, which has no high chairs, only booster seats. Note: I will not be doing this again any time soon. Oh, how I do not love getting butter smeared in my hair while trying to enjoy my creme brulee. ;)Oh, how I love that little monkey, though!More about our Advent/Christmas celebrating to come![...]

On my to-do list


As my birthday is next month, I was looking at my 32 for 32 list to see how I’ve fared. Um... not well. I was saying to my mom the other day, though, that I was probably far too ambitious for this season in my life. With a toddler and a demanding job, it was probably a little nuts for me to think I would take up 5 new hobbies this year. I joked that “cooking an entire meal” was more my speed for goals these days!Here’s my list and how I’m coming:1. Knit a scarf Um. Right.2. Sew a simple project—pillow cover, drapes, apron, etc. Also no. There was neither sewing nor knitting this year. Oh well. Maybe when I retire.3. Learn how to roast a chicken (I am told this is easy; for some reason it intimidates me) Haven’t done this yet either. Not doing well so far.4. Lose 20 more pounds. Check. Finally. All in all I've lost 52 pounds!5. Start a college fund for Anna Yep, did this too.6. Do our wills & health care directives Written. Not signed.7. Finish the wills & health care directives I was working on for my parents the day before Anna was born (sorry, Mom & Dad) Uh-oh.8. Get really comfortable shooting in manual mode on our camera I’d say I can check this one off. I love taking pictures.9. Watch the Oscar Best Picture nominees Not even close.10. Join a CSA and/or buy more local produce More or less. We didn’t join a CSA but we do go to the farmer’s market.11. Read Seth’s favorite book, Watership Down No, and I’m not going to either. Talking bunnies = can’t get into it.12. Make a photo book of Anna’s first year Yes. It turned out beautifully if I do say so myself!13. Floss my teeth every day Not so much...14. Send birthday cards on time More or less.15. Have date nights with Seth once a week, even if they are at home! Yes! October was especially fun - we watched a lot of scary movies.16. Do something special for our five-year anniversary We went to Destin, Florida and had a fantastic date night. It was wonderful!17. Throw Anna’s first birthday party Yes—it was small but very fun.18. Update all our life insurance policies Yes. Hey, I'm doing better than I thought.19. Really clean out my closet and give away clothes that don’t fit or that I no longer wear Yes! My closet is actually very well edited these days. It’s amazing how much easier it is to get dressed in the morning.20. Actually try yoga (I have a DVD that came highly recommended, but apparently just having the DVD doesn’t count as doing yoga) I downloaded a yoga app for my phone—does that count?21. Dip my baby toe into the stock market Haha. No. Unless you count my work 401(k).22. Start doing guardian ad litem work Nope. Maybe next year. 23. Run a 5K (Ha! Hahaha! But I thought I should challenge myself… ‘cause the knitting and sewing weren’t enough, I guess.) Nope. But that’s fine.24. Dust off my cello and re-learn some of the Bach cello suites I did dust off my cello and played in church and at a reading orchestra this year. Bach... not so much.25. Organize my photos YES!!! Possibly my #1 accomplishment for the year. I started with about 10 boxes and 10 albums full of pictures, and now I have no more albums and about 4 boxes of photos organized by year. I got rid of all the photo envelopes, negatives, bad or blurry pictures, etc. Now I have a streamlined collection all in one place, instead of photos floating around all over the house. This is huge. 26. Get frames for the miscellaneous artwork lying around Eh, more or less. I’m not sweating it.27. Keep a gratefulness journal Not routinely, but I am trying to tweet what I’m grateful for this month (yes, I am getting into Twitter). 28. Find a signature dessert that I can learn to bake really well Do cupcakes count? Whew.29. Learn more about wine Not really, unless you count that I know where the wine aisle is at Trader Joe’s.30. Finish bottles of things (shampoo, cleaning products, etc.) before buying new ones Check. Very[...]

Halloween & Jack!


October 31, 2010 was a momentous day for two reasons:

1. Anna dressed up as a monkey for Halloween. (More accurately, Halloween gave Anna an opportunity to display her true nature.)

(image) (image)
(Note: that is a pumpkin sticker on my cheek, not a boil or lesion.)

2. Jack James was born nearly two weeks after his due date! Hooray for Em, Brett, and big sister Ella! We love you and can't wait to meet you!

roasted pumpkin seeds


The perfect post-carving snack!

Wash & dry pumpkin seeds. Spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350*.

Take out of the oven and pour 1/4 cup veg oil over the seeds to lightly coat.

Then mix in toppings. Last year we tried garlic salt plus cayenne pepper. This year we used cinnamon and sugar. Mix in about 2 tsp. of whatever type of toppings you choose.

Once you've mixed in the toppings, spread back out on the cookie sheet and bake at 300*. My recipe said 30 minutes but I took them out after 15 and that seemed plenty (last year I burned them).

Delish. (Note: these are pretty high-calorie. But healthy, so long as you don't smother them in sugar, I guess!)

almost Halloween!


Is anyone still here?? I'm going to make an effort to update this blog more frequently, so be patient with me - I'll be better!Let's see... here are a few things we have been up to! (Although most of these photos have been posted on Facebook already, so if you are there this will probably be boring to you. Sorry.)Anna is getting to be such a big girl! Her hair is finally long enough for pigtails, so I have been learning the fine art of wrestling a toddler in order to do her hair. Actually, she's come to really enjoy having her hair brushed and put into pigtails. It's like she knows she is cute.October has been a very busy month. We enjoyed a visit to the pumpkin patch (Wagner Farms in Corrales).The following week, I had Columbus Day off from work. I'm not really a fan of Columbus Day but I am a fan of free days off! We went to Taos for the day and had a great time - lunch at the Adobe Bar in the historic Taos Inn, walked around the plaza for a while, then stopped at the Vivac Winery for a tasting on our way back. The weather was perfect and the leaves were gorgeous.We carved a pumpkin last night, of which I will try to upload photos soon. Anna didn't think it was all that exciting, apparently, although she was interested in the pumpkin seeds I roasted.Anna is amazing us every day - she is starting to string some words together into sentences and is suddenly very interested in babies, carting her doll (a Christmas gift that she hadn't been too attached to until this week) around with her, pushing her in the doll stroller, etc. We think she must be very excited about the impending birth of her "cousin," the son/daughter (don't know yet!) of our dear friends Em & Brett. Little K is over a week overdue and we are keeping on high alert!Our last news is that I was diagnosed with gallstones after a middle-of-the-night visit to the ER last week! I'd been having stomach trouble since May, but hadn't had symptoms since July, so I was cautiously optimistic that whatever I had was healed (I thought it might have been an ulcer). No such luck - I will have to have my gallbladder removed sometime soon. I have a surgery consult on November 11 and we'll try to schedule the surgery sometime soon after that. I have heard the surgery itself is pretty minor and I should be back to normal soon - although I might not be able to eat fatty foods any more! I don't really eat them now, but... no french fries? Ever? Oh, well, there are worse things...Thanks for all the good wishes - I really appreciate them! We are feeling very fortunate to be near my parents, who came over to our house in the middle of the night to watch Anna so we wouldn't have to take her to the ER with us. Thanks for taking such good care of us, Mom and Dad!Stay tuned for Halloween pictures... I think they'll be worth the wait... :)[...]



It’s the day after Labor Day, which always feels like the first day of fall to me (to celebrate, I ran the car A/C so it would be chilly enough for me to wear my trench coat to work – yes, really). I am once again woefully behind on this blog! It’s been a busy summer – work has been overwhelming at times and really great at other times. Right now I’m in a “really great” phase, which is… really great.We’ve also been traveling a lot in the past month! At the beginning of August we went to St. Louis to celebrate Seth’s best friend’s wedding. He married a delightful young woman named Elizabeth Ann who went to a Lutheran college and majored in English. So far the only difference we’ve found between us is that my middle name is spelled with an E. :) It was a lovely wedding, and we had so much fun staying with our good family friends at their amazing farm. We went swimming in their lake, met their alpacas, and enjoyed all kinds of fresh produce (peaches, tomatoes, corn, raspberries, cantaloupe, even freshly-harvested walnuts for our waffles!).A couple of weeks later we flew to the Florida Gulf Coast to spend a week with Seth’s parents at the beach house of Seth’s aunt and uncle. If you haven’t been to Destin, Florida, you should go immediately. The colors of the sand and water are not to be believed. We had so much fun reading on the beach, playing in the ocean, and just relaxing. And we celebrated our fifth anniversary while there – Grandma and Grandpa took care of Anna while Seth and I went on a dolphin-sighting cruise and then for a delectable dinner of Chilean sea bass. I usually like to spend my vacations seeing all the sights in big cities, but then I come home feeling like I need a vacation! This was lazy, fun, and altogether fabulous and we came home tan and well-rested. Perfection!I want to go every year... or maybe every month.And now we are home... ready for fall. I really miss autumn in the midwest, but we do get fair amounts of changing colors here too (especially the yellow aspen in the mountains) and the scent of green chile roasting simply cannot be beat. Plus, my fall clothes (tweed! sweaters! boots!) are yearning to be worn. And then there are the apples and the pumpkins. Yes, I'm ready.ETA: I just realized I am wearing the same necklace with three different outfits in this post. Not very original, am I?![...]



Happy July! (And Anna would like to wish her Grandma a very happy birthday today!)

Our friends were here for a night last week en route from Phoenix to Minneapolis. Here are two of our three girls playing together:

And here is one of our attempts to get all three girls in the same photo (while Mama adjusts a stuffed animal in the doll stroller in the background):

Thanks for visiting - we love you & hope you got home safely!

We had a nice, low-key Fourth complete with sunshine and splashing (see below). I feel like there is a lot going on but not much to show for it. Well, that's life in the fast lane, I guess. Have a great week!


it's almost july... !?!


{The above photo features Miss Anna playing with what I believe is a bottle of ketchup from her kitchen set... I really need to get up some more shots of her adventures with her kitchen and table/chairs. I thought she was a little young for that type of play but she absolutely loves them!}

This month has been absolutely insane. I have had 16 court appearances. Hmm, that doesn't really sound like that many for a month. That included a two-day trial, though, from which I am still recovering (and likely will be for quite some time). Anyway, the point is, I'm ready to flip the calendar to next month!

Last week I had a timely and wonderful opportunity for renewal, though, and attended a 3-day conference in Houston. It was actually a training event for the ELCA Partners in Evangelical Worship, which is a new grass-roots network to assist synods and congregations in "making connections between worship and mission, justice and service." You can read more about it here. Long story short, the event was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I left feeling completely relaxed and invigorated at the same time. (And, the posh hotel room all to myself for three days didn't hurt either!)

Let's see, other goings-on... We are so excited that our dear friends are coming to see us for a night this week as they drive from Phoenix to Minneapolis! And, we are looking forward to the upcoming 3-day weekend, too. Now that the past month is over, it feels like our summer can finally begin. Happy almost-July!

anna went to minnesota!


(I was going to title this post "Anna Goes to Minnesota," but our trip was a month ago, so I thought past tense would be more accurate!)A month ago we had a whirlwind weekend in the Twin Cities. Highlights included a picnic with our best friends to celebrate the upcoming birth of Baby H, brunch with our dear friend Melissa, dinner with Seth's cousins and their three kiddos (one of whom sustained an injury during our visit, which prompted Seth's cousin J to yell "We're going to the emergency room!!!"... luckily, that turned out not to be the case!), and staying with our dear friends and watching Anna & their daughter Ella have fun together.So happy to be where there are trees!Anna & her future husband LeifThe whole gang!Very excited about something!The parents-to-beMelissa & Anna at The Egg & ICousin Nathan explaining the ways of the worldCousin Payton preparing for big sisterhood (her brother Jack was just born yesterday!)Pushing Ella's doll strollerFour happy girls[...]

stuffed turkey burgers


We made these last night & they were fantastic. Thanks to my friend Lindsey for linking to the recipe. They would be great with green chile, too!

Stuffed Turkey Burgers
{recipe from Food Network}

  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Divide turkey into 4 equal sized rounds. Make 2 equal sized patties out of each round so you have 8 patties total. Sprinkle 4 of the patties with 2 tablespoons red peppers and cheese, and top with remaining patties, working the turkey around the edges to seal burgers closed. Season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Grill or broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

chocolate peanut butter cupcakes


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

{recipe from Joy the Baker}

makes 24 cupcakes

  • 2 1/4 cups organic* all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup organic canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons organic white vinegar
  • 2 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, vanilla extract and vinegar. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix. The mixture will be quite wet, but that’s ok. Pour the batter until the cups are two thirds full and place in the oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cup comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then place on a wire rack until completely cool before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

enough to frost 24 cupcakes

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar (depending on your desired consistency)
  • 1 tablespoon milk (or water will do too)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy and virtually no butter lumps remain. Scrape down the bowl. Add three cups of powdered sugar and beat on low for 1 minute. Add milk and beat on medium high for 1 minute. Add the remaining cup of powdered sugar if you’d like your frosting a bit thicker. Slather frosting onto cooled cupcakes and top with coarsely chopped peanut butter cups.

* Note: I didn't use organic everything, but they were still good. ;)

happy june!


I'm back. More soon!

long time no post


Life has been immensely crazy in the last few weeks. Anna has been sick. (She’s on the mend, assuming she doesn’t share her mama’s allergy to amoxicillin!) We are going up to the Twin Cities this weekend for the baby shower of dear friends and plenty of family time too (so excited!!!!). Seth has been busy with Santa Fe rehearsals/performance of Haydn’s Creation, in which he was the tenor soloist (and was fabulous, if I do say so).

And, work has been insane (I was on the news!). Plus, in two weeks we are appearing for oral argument before the New Mexico Supreme Court on a case I’ve been working on for over 3 years. Should be exciting!

In the midst of this, I am pausing to post some recent photos of my sweet pea! She is such fun lately: she’ll bring you a favorite book to read (there are many; we are particularly enjoying her love of a book about the Count from Sesame Street, as she will bring you the book while saying “ah-ah-ah!”) and is on the verge of walking for extended periods of time. She can walk, she just seems to prefer not to (wouldn’t you, if someone carried you all the time?). She does love tearing up the stairs, however, making parental supervision all the more important…

Here’s Anna diving into her Easter basket from Grandma & Grandpa:


Anyone want to read me a book?






Usually all about the sippy cups; this day only a bottle would do


Fingerpainting with maple syrup


Anna + Lambie = BFF




happy easter!


Last week was the usual whirlwind — I was raised by a church musician and am now married to one, so I have never known what it is like not to be s-w-a-m-p-e-d during Holy Week. Seth sang at seven services last week! (But it is my favorite week of the entire year, so I’m not complaining.) One day maybe I will be back with some substance… in the meantime, here we are on Easter!


Anna had a great day singing hymns and sometimes choir anthems (sorry, choirs); enjoying the string quartet, brass, and percussion; charming fellow churchgoers; charming the staff at brunch; and exploring her Easter baskets from parents & grandparents. Here she is clutching her seasonally appropriate lamb and wearing Mama’s “vintage” (well, 1979 anyway) Easter dress.


Happy Easter!

child of God


Anna Justine was baptized one year ago today!


nine things I learned from organizing old photos


This week I’m organizing all of my old college photos. Here are a few tidbits I’ve learned (or re-learned, as the case may be):

1. I was much thinner in college.

2. I look much better now. Largely because…

3. …brow wax and flat irons have been two of my greatest personal discoveries.

4. It is no wonder I did not like shoe shopping in college when Doc Martens and Birkenstocks were all there was to buy.

5. ‘90s fashions might just be even worse than ‘80s fashions.

6. Having said this, I am still loyal to: black, turtlenecks, black turtlenecks, Gap jeans, and J. Crew. Yes, it appears that I have never stopped shopping at either the Gap or J. Crew.

7. My taste in home décor has vastly improved since college, as it no longer includes any of the following: sunflowers, posters of baby animals, Disney, navy/burgundy/hunter green plaid, plastic crates, blond wood furniture from Target, or ubiquitous posters (I had both this one and this one; quite possibly everyone I knew had one or the other?).

8. I had a lot of fun in college. A LOT.

9. My college friends are probably the dearest friends I’ll ever have, not only because they are such wonderful people but also because they knew me when I dressed like that and they still love me.

Photos to come. Maybe.



I got the following photo text yesterday:


the piano-playing bookworm


It’s March! Hard to believe. It’s also a couple of weeks into Lent. This year I’m not doing anything in particular – well, Seth suggested that I give up buying magazines on impulse at the grocery store, and so far I have complied. I did not give up chocolate or soda, which is a good thing. (I don’t consume much of either, but the other day I made Mark Bittman’s chocolate mousse for a dinner party and it was divine – enough to make me like chocolate, even. And, well, I’ve been enjoying Diet Dr. Pepper now and then at work.) Actually, what I’ve really tried to give up is anxiety. And so far, I’m not doing too badly. I’ll have to post more about that later (so as not to increase my anxiety over meeting a work deadline!).

Miss Anna is doing well! She has been all about books and music lately. To wit:



(Although one could make the argument that she is more interested in the yellow highlighter than the piano.) We continue to be delighted and amazed by this little girl!

happy valentine's day!


What a week. Last Friday Anna had her 12-month check-up, and was consequently fussy the next day. I thought it was from the shots, but then she got sick in the middle of the night on Sunday. I still thought it was from the shots… but then I came down with it. And then Seth did too. Anna recovered quickly and was blessedly snatched up by our fairy godmother my mom for a night at Nana’s (my dad was on a business trip) while Seth and I grappled miserably with the stomach flu. Think Charlotte and Harry lying on the bathroom floor. Thankfully, it’s all over now and we can turn our attention to enjoying the Winter Olympics!

And happy Valentine’s Day to you all!


more birthday photos


These are especially for Em, who was wondering about cake. (Not surprising since E is something of a cake expert – hers are masterpieces!) Indeed there was cake. I opted for easy cupcakes, but the chocolate cake and chocolate frosting were delicious and showed up nicely in our little blondie’s hair. We think Miss Anna was wondering why we’ve been holding out on her so long…







And one shot from what we hope will be an annual tradition – my parents always took a photo of us on our birthdays (from 1-18) and it’s really fun to look back on the years. Anna is sitting in a chair that belonged to her Grandpa Hartwell when he was little.


happy birthday, anna justine!


How quickly she went from this…


… to this!


Last year at this time:


And this year!


Happy birthday to our sweet, silly daughter. We love you to bits!