{A Year-End Review} The Best of 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 was one of our hardest and most adventurous years, making it one of our favorite years yet!
Thank you for all of your support and sweet comments as you've watched our family
grow, travel, and live imperfect, messy lives marked by grace and forgiveness.
Can't wait to see what is in store for 2016!

This Year's Highlights:

1. Celebrating New Years With Black Eyed Peas
2. Seeing Ben Howard Play at the Ryman
3. Catching this Fish
4. Surviving Snowmageddon
5. Visiting the Big Red Lighthouse in Holland, MI
6. Watching Brave Take Her First Steps
7. Throwing My First Set of Flasks on the Pottery Wheel
8. Drinking Tim's Home Brewed IPA
9. Watching my Papa Catch his first Trout
10. Meeting the Patagonia Worn Wear Crew
11. Catching Trout on the South Holston with Patrick & Tim
12. Teaming up with Orvis for Our Girl's Trip to MT & WY
13. Landing a 22" Rainbow in Brookville, IN
14. Seeing Wild Buffalo in Yellowstone
15. Hiking to Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park
16. Catching My First Cutthroat in Missoula
17. Watching Moll's Receive Her White Coat for PA School
18. Going to my First Horse Race at Churchill Downs
19. Seeing Twinner's Coffee Being Served at Gralehaus
20. Playing Corn Hole with My Childhood Best Friend
21. Camping Overnight in Myrtle the Turtle
22. Growing Our First Pumpkins
23. Watching Salmon Spawn on the Rogue with my Loon Buddies
24. Making Leaf Angels with Brave
25. Visiting the Uncles and Surviving Disney World with a Toddler

Favorite Songs (in no particular order):
1. Above the Cloud's of Pompeii - Bear's Den
2. Record Time - Quiet Life
3. American Beauty - Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
4. Tell Me There's A Garden - Joseph
5. Always Be - Josh Garrels
6. Promised Land - John Lucas
7. Earned It - The Weekend
  8. Fool for Love - Lord Huron
9. Please - Sawyer Fredericks
10. Work Song - Hozier
11. I Got Loaded - The Wood Brothers
12. Like Real People Do - Hozier
13. You There - Aquilo
14. The Truth Is A Cave - The Oh Hellos
15. Blank Space (cover) - Ryan Adams
16. Sons & Daughters - Allman Brown
17. Hotlinebling (cover) - Amy Vachal
18. Every Age - Jose Gonzalez

Best Albums of the Year:

1. Carrie & Lowell - Sufjan Stevens
2. Strange Trails - Lord Huron
3. Home - Josh Garrels

Favorite Concerts / Live Events:

1. Ben Howard (Nashville, TN)

Favorite Books:
1. In Sheep's Clothing by George Simon
2. Closer to the Ground by Dylan Tomine
3. The Orvis Guide to the Essential American Flies by Tom Rosenbauer

Favorite Videos:

1. People's Reactions to Being Called Beautiful
2. Dotty

Favorite Eats (in no particular order):
1. Jeni's: Toasted Brioche with Butter & Jam Ice Cream (Nashville, TN)
2. Husk: Pickled Onion & Cucumber Pork Belly Sliders (Nashville, TN)
3. Feast: Fried Pickles (Louisville, KY)
4. Rye: Kimchi Stew & A Light In the Attic Cocktail (Louisville, KY)
5. Gralehaus: French Toast (Louisville, KY) 
6. Marie Catrib's: Sweet & Sassy sandwich with potatoes & garlic mayo (Grand Rapids, MI)
7. Milktooth: Sweet Potato Doughnut Holes (Indianapolis, IN)
8. Morsels: Ninja Turtle & Something to Wine About Morsels
9. Amical:  Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (Traverse City, MI)
10. Ivanhoe's: #58 Sundae (Upland, IN)
11. French Broad Chocolate Lounge: Toasted Coconut Ice Cream (Asheville, NC)
12. Vortex Donuts: Strawberry Vegan & Apple Streusel Donuts (Asheville, NC)
13. Big Dipper: Huckleberry Ice Cream (Missoula, MT)
14. Lotus Pad: Pad Thai (Big Sky, MT)
15. Granny's: Strawberry Donut (Bozeman, MT)
16. Wild Crumb: Coconut Cream Pie (Bozeman, MT)
17. Joy Luck: Pad Thai & Chicken Fried Rice (Louisville, KY)
18. The Brickroom: Chocolate Flourless Cake (Ashland, OR)
19. Monnik: Fried Kale Salad & War Fries (Louisville, KY)
20. Decca: Butternut Squash Ravioli & Crispy Sweet Potatoes (Louisville, KY)

Favorite Coffee & Tea:

1. Barista Parlor Golden Sound: Whiskey Caramel Latte (Nashville, TN)
2. Sunergos: Hazelnut Cortado (Louisville, KY)
3. BLK/MRKT: Maple Cortado (Traverse City, MI)
4. Morsels: Cortado (Traverse City, MI)
5. Madcap: Cortado (Grand Rapids, MI)
6. Lantern: Chai Latte (Grand Rapids, MI)
7. Wild Joe's: Agave Cortado (Bozeman, MT)
8. Case Coffee Roasters: Maple Cortado (Ashland, OR)

Favorite Waters Fished:

1. South Holston (TN)
2. Madison River (MT)
3. Jenny Lake (WY)
4. Fire Hole (MT)
5. Avalanche Lake (MT}
6. Fish Creek (MT)
7. Brookville Tailwaters (IN)
8. Rogue River (OR)
9. Sacramento River (CA)
10. Curtis Creek (NC)
11. Davidson River (NC}
12. Manistee River (MI)
13. Otter Creek (KY)

Favorite New Insta Accounts:
1. @westernrise
2. @flylords
3. @tylersharpphoto
4. @hawkeyehuey

Looking forward to 2016 because ...

1. Going sledding with Brave
2. Celebrating our 7th Annual MLK Day Feastgiving
3. Visiting Zambia in March
4. Fly Fishing on the Zambezi River
5. Taking Brave to MDO twice a week {can I get an Amen from all the mama's?}
6. Going on another girl's trip with these awesome women
7. Speaking at Taylor University in April
8. Celebrating 11 years of marriage
9. Watching the Synchronous Fireflies in the Smokies
10. Harvesting Honey from our Flowhive 
11. Growing new things in our garden
12. Visiting Hickory Nut Gap Farm with the Aunties
13. Going on more family road trips & adventures! 

 Come out and show yourself, 2016. We're ready!
Em, Tim, Brave & River

{Merry Christmas!}

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

This year's holiday weekend was one of my favorite yet!
Some highlights included:
Our family's first experience of Lights Under Louisville
Attending Christmas Eve service at Sojourn
Cooking family meals together
Watching Bravey push her new Elsa doll and stroller around the house for hours
C's gingerbread waffles, bacon, and fresh squeezed OJ Christmas morning 
Watching Elf by the wood burning stoveAn afternoon hike at Cherokee Park
Watching Twinner help Bravey with potty training

Playing Splendor with the Aunties
A girl's breakfast at GralehausHappy Wednesday!

What was the highlight of your Christmas?

{BraveTV} 20 Months

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

They way these two play together makes my heart feel more joy than any river I've ever fished.
When was the last time you really played?
Happy Tuesday, y'all!

{He's 35 Years Young Y'all}

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Birthday to the man who could eat his weight in ice cream, loves an organized wood cellar, and has taken me on more adventures than I ever could have imagined.
I love you more than maple bacon donuts and alpine trout! 

{Holiday Cheer!}

Thursday, December 24, 2015

{Photos by Lang & Kate Leichhardt}
Holiday parties with this crew are amazeballs.
Happy Christmas Eve, y'all!

{Dear Papa}

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thank you for teaching me about the three wise men.

For showing me how to keep a beat.

For teaching me the difference between lions and tigers.

For taking me fishing with you in North Carolina.

And for being a better lap to sit on than Santa's.

{Dear Bravey Train}

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

You like to hide in River's dog crate when it's time to change your diaper.

Sometimes you wait for the mailman while wearing mama's skivvies.

You still love Bubby, apples, and your bottle more than life itself.

And sometimes you give up here on hikes.
You're one awesome little girl.
Love you to the moon!

{Ho Ho Holy Terrified}

Monday, December 21, 2015

This weekend we found out Brave equates Santa with sirens and getting her diaper changed.
Happy {almost} Christmas errrrrbody!

{Today's Letters}

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dear Timothy James, last night I watched Brave explain to Sebastian the lobster where his humerus bone is. I love the things you teach our offspring. Dear Bravey, recently you tooted 7 times, stuck your hands down your pants, pulled them out and said, "Hold my toots, mama." Reason #473 why you're good for me. Dear Dragons Love Tacos, you are B's favorite book. Thanks to you she now A) wants a pet dragon for Christmas B) thinks everything she eats is "too spicy" C) pretends to breath fire out her nostrils or D) all of the above. Dear Mr. Loerke, yesterday you cleaned up Bravey vomit 5 times in 4 different rooms of our house. Tony Danza says you're the boss.
Happy Tuesday, y'all!

{PollenArts Winner!}

Monday, December 14, 2015

Please email me at em@todaysletters.com to claim your major award.
If you didn't win, you can still order PollenArt's candles HERE.
Only 11 more days until Christmas!

{O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree}

Sunday, December 13, 2015

This year's Christmas tree hunting was marked by reindeer sweaters, bird's nests, and
Bravey belly swagger.
Doesn't get much better than that.

{Christmas Tree Farm 2014 : Christmas Tree Farm 2013}

{Holy Givaway Batman!} CLOSED!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Our sweet friends Peter & Juwels over at PollenArts are hosting a giveaway!

They've been making handpoured beeswax candles based on an
antique bottle they found washed up in a tide pool.


To enter, swing by their Etsy SHOP and leave a comment below. 
Become one of our Google followers and you can leave two comments,
doubling your chances of winning.
After all, who wouldn't want to receive a box stamped F-R-A-G-I-L-E from these guys?
Our winners will be chosen at random and announced on the blog on Monday, DECEMBER 14th.
In the meantime you can contact Peter & Juwels via their Facebook Page & Instagram.
Happy Thursday, friends!

{Visiting the Mouse House}

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Over the weekend Tim and I took Bravey to Disney World with the uncles.
We rented a stroller, fed 15 ducks, took 0 naps, had 3 meltdowns, giggled 237 times, and
walked away with a Minnie Mouse doll in our arms.
I'll always remember our trip by how exhausted we were on the flight home.
Taking Bravey was worth every sore bicep and memory made at the Mouse House!
Thanks for such a great weekend Matthew & Jeff!
How old were you when you went to Disney for the first time? What's your favorite thing to do there?
PS- we've gotten a lot of questions about toddler friendly headphones.
After much research we bought these and love them!

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