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Where we are and where we are headed


This summer we have been pretty lucky.  We have lots of opportunities to see lots of family and friends– weddings, class reunion-ing, family gatherings, house warming, and general get-together goodness.

So we found ourselves fielding the oft heard questions of ‘so where are you guys at now?’ and ‘what/where is next?’  Vague answers were often given as our plans slowly took shape.  But with less than two weeks left in Dubuque, we finally have some more concrete answers to such questions!

Okay, the ‘where are you at now?’ one is pretty easy. We have been here in Dubuque since the end of May.  I took a second assignment at Finley Hospital for 9 weeks, and was extended an extra 3 weeks into August, to help cover some vacations.  So many great people here, I have enjoyed my time here just as much now as I did in November-January.  The only difference is this time I have been in the inpatient department.  It was great getting back into the inpatient swing of things.  Challenging and out of my comfort zone at first, but really rewarding overall.

We are living in the same apartment we did in the winter.  I haven’t gotten in any more fights with the cranky lady who lives over the laundry, but we did get yelled at and honked at by some Russian neighbors.  (I think its misplaced Olympic rage. They probably heard me cheering wildly during the women’s gymnastics.)

And the best part of being in Dubuque has been being able to go to all those aforementioned events with friends and family!  And these two dudes.

So what’s next???

We are moving back to Iowa City!!  We are hanging up our traveling shoes and putting down roots.  Joe is starting classes at University of Iowa.  He will take history classes and education classes and in 2 to 3 years, he will be a high school history teacher. (Yay!!) And probably get involved in coaching as well. (Double yay!!)   I’m so excited for him and so proud of him!

And after a long summer of job hunting, I have a job! It’s in Cedar Rapids, at an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic.  I met the people I will be working with on Friday, and I am really excited.  Everyone is very nice and I think it will be a good fit.

And where will we live??? I have an answer to that one too!  While I was interviewing places on Friday, Joe was busy checking out apartments and signing a lease!  The House Committee came through big on this one.  It’s in Coralville (so easy for me to drive up to Cedar Rapids and not a bad drive for Joe to campus), it has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (so guests are welcome!), it has a DISHWASHER! (one of our only must-haves… I can’t keep washing dishes by hand), and dogs are okay (our other qualification) and washer and dryer in the unit (which I hadn’t even let myself dream of) and a nice sliding door that opens up to a patio that will make it easy to take a future little dog out.  Oh, such joys! We are going to start moving things in the next two weekends.

We are getting pretty excited to unpack our storage unit.  So much of our stuff that we haven’t seen in over a year and a half, it will be like Christmas to unpack!  At least that’s what I keep telling myself to mentally prepare for the whole moving process.

(okay, truthfully, looking at this picture gives me a minor panic attack… i’m trying to focus on the fun on finding out just what’s in all those mystery boxes)

And the other thing we are getting excited for?? PUPPY!!!! With a job and an apartment secured, we have officially launched into a full on puppy hunt.  Complete with Excel spreadsheet. So if you hear of any yellow lab puppies in the Iowa City area, let us know.  And if you have a pick-up truck in the Iowa City area, let us know too 🙂  (But that one is more for the moving than the puppy)

Whew. So that’s our update.  I didn’t bother to bust out my thesaurus and use any other word besides excited, because that pretty just sums things up for us.

And in the meantime, I will be counting down the days left of washing dishes by hand.  And finding an excuse to have another Date Night with this little monkey.


And for our 6th assignment…


Dear Ethan & Max,

Good news, boys.  Uncle Joe & Aunt Molly are coming back to Dubuque!!  We’ll be around in June and July, so let’s hang out.  Maybe we can put on our sunglasses, play in the park by your house, blow some bubbles, and listen to some train song.

Or maybe just throw some paper?

We can’t wait to see you! (You too, Angie & John)

Love, Molly & Joe

27 Blessings. Part 3.


My 27th year has been nothing short of amazing.  I am not blind to the fact that I have been blessed beyond words this year, with experiences, memories, adventures, family, friends, food.  The list goes on and on.  My cup runneth over.


But my 27th year has drawn to a close.  And 28-year-old-Molly loves making lists just as much as her 27 year old counterpart. So here we go…


27 Memories of the past year:


Part 3 of 3

(Because my computer or the website or something in the land of technology gets sad at me when I upload too many pictures to one post).

19.  Moving to Dubuque

We had a pretty sweet furnished apartment in the DBQ.  This is just one of many pedestals.  And a VERY memorable neighbor that I got in an argument with over Joe running up and down the stairs.  “Ma’am we are trying to be good neighbors, but you have got to stop harassing us!
What we loved best about Dubuque was being so close to Angie & John and Ethan & Max.  Ethan would say “JoeMolly. See ’em?”

20. Living History Farm Race

A very favorite tradition in my friendship with Shannon is running 7 miles dressed up in ridiculous costumes for the Living History Farm Race in Des Moines, going through the woods, up muddy hills, across the cold creeks.  I promise we aren’t the only ones who dress up!  That’s one of the best parts of the race, checking out all the creative get-ups.  Oh, and the hot apple cider at the end.
This year, if you can’t tell, we were Zombie Beauty Queens!! My sash says Miss Living Undead and Shanno’s says Miss Brain Eater.  We went separately to two different Goodwills in two different states and both ended up with very similar dresses. Both with shoulder pads.
(And side note: I actually really don’t like zombies.  Especially zombie shows.  But it turns out I DO like dressing up like a zombie.)

21. Tecumseh Trail Marathon

I don’t know how Kara talked me into it.  26.2 miles.  In the woods.  Hilly course.  IN DECEMBER.
And all those reviews I read online (that I rolled my eyes at), that said it was one of their favorite marathons…  they were right!  It was so very hard.  But so much fun.  Running single file through the woods in the long zig-zagging line of brightly dressed runners.  We were emailed the week of the race with race info and one little sentence tucked in the middle reminded us to wear bright colors because it was hunting season.  And we were in the woods.  And so were the hunters.  WHAT???  But we didn’t get shot! And we both finished!

22. Christmas

A lot of fun Christmas packed into a three day weekend.  And we loved every minute!

23. New camera lens

If I’m summing up my 27th year, taking pictures would definitely be included.  My 3% of remaining space on my hard drive would reflect that.  Joe got me a new lens for Christmas, my ‘nifty-fifty’!  I don’t always know how to use it, but I have fun trying!

24.  CONOR!

On January 31, Conor Michael Harris made his grand entrance.  I may be auntie/godmother biased, but he is just about the cutest little peanut ever.  And on top of being cute, he is very cuddly and very laid back.  And he doesn’t mind too much when I practice using that new lens with him. 🙂

25.  Moving back to Wisconsin

It’s Lake Michigan.  Again!  And its cold!  Actually, we lucked out.  Despite moving to Wisconsin in the beginning of February, we had a very mild winter and an early spring.  Phew!

26.  Spring Break AZ!

Who says we are too old for Spring Break??  Last year, Houston/Galveston/College Station.  This year, Phoenix.  Kara and I do it up right.  We saw 3 NCAA tournament games from our awesome seats in the 5th row.  We hiked.  We ran.  We attempted to find margaritas, but mostly just settled on wine.  We swam.  We light-railed.  We gave cacti the arms they deserve.

27.  Half Marathon

On April 1, with just a few days left of being 27, I ran my third half marathon.  Shannon and I set some PRs (1:57) in the Chi-Town Half.  The strangest part was running together in normal running clothes.   The best part was Chicago deep dish pizza we had later on.  My first ever.  Why did I wait so long????


Since it took me three days to finish this.. now I’m 28!! So here is #28….

Planning our dream vacation!!

Joe & I are beyond blessed, beyond excited to be planning our dream vacation, a European adventure.  Two weeks in May, three counties, and countless servings of gelato.  One thing is certain, I’m going to need a new memory card for my camera!

Can’t wait for what Europe and 28 have in store for me!

Part 1

Part 2

27 Blessings. Part 2.


My 27th year has been nothing short of amazing.  I am not blind to the fact that I have been blessed beyond words this year, with experiences, memories, adventures, family, friends, food.  The list goes on and on.  My cup runneth over.

But my 27th year has drawn to a close.  And 28-year-old-Molly loves making lists just as much as her 27 year old counterpart. So here we go…

27 Memories of the past year:

Part 2 of 3

(Because my computer or the website or something in the land of technology gets sad at me when I upload too many pictures to one post).

10. Moving to Philadelphia (and living downtown in a studio apartment)

Doing Travel PT has taken us to unexpected place.  This whole apartment ranks right up there.  I am not gonna say I miss the dorm room, but living in Philadelphia was so much cooler than I thought it would be.

11. Eating in Philadelphia

Our quest to eat try all the major cheesesteaks was a delicious good decision.

And speaking of sandwiches, I can’t think about Philly and not be instantly hungry for that Dinic’s roast pork masterpiece, with its sharp provolone and its broccoli rabe.

12.  Surviving Hurricane Irene

We stocked up on the most delicious hurricane survival food for the weekend.  Most of which was probably perishable… but hey, it was our first hurricane!  And what a feast we had.

13. Waiting in line for tickets to SNL… for seven hours. overnight. in the rain. with one shared umbrella.

Our whole trip to New York City surreal and damp and wonderful.

14. More state quarter ice creams!

27-year-old-Molly really put a dent in her state quarter project.  I think we knocked 6 new ones off the list!

15.  Washington DC weekend

I liked DC so much more than I expected.  All the monuments, memorials, museums… and Ben’s Chili Bowl.

{I’m starting to realize how many of the memorable things Joe & I do revolve around food.  And I’m not sorry.}

16. Niagara Falls

Another place that exceeded my expectations.  I loved Niagara Falls! I can’t wait to go back and drag our unwilling, unruly future children along with.

17.  Eating crabs in Baltimore

Opps, another food related memory.  Oh, but what a delectable one!

18.  Running the Rocky Steps

Joe & I lived about a mile away from the Philadelphia Art Museum where the stairs are that Rocky runs up.  We loved taking walks here.  I actually got Joe to go runs with me, as long as they included running up the stairs.  Then he shocked me and would run without me.  And always included the stairs.  One fateful day, as a part of my marathon training, I ran up and down the steps 26 times.  It took me a good while.  I think the tourists thought I was a crazy person.  I’m not sure they were wrong.

Part 1

Part 3

27 Blessings. Part 1.


My 27th year has been nothing short of amazing.  I am not blind to the fact that I have been blessed beyond words this year, with experiences, memories, adventures, family, friends, food.  The list goes on and on.  My cup runneth over.

But my 27th year has drawn to a close.  And 28-year-old-Molly loves making lists just as much as her 27 year old counterpart. So here we go…

27 Memories of the past year:

Part 1 of 3

(Because my computer or the website or something in the land of technology gets sad at me when I upload too many pictures to one post).

1.  Birthday tulips.

We celebrated my birthday last year in Texas.  It feels like a lifetime ago.  Joe surprise me with yellow tulips.  Oh, what a sweetie! I think there was an oatmeal chocolate chip cookies too.  🙂

2. Reuniting with friends.
(Especially when done so at Red’s in North Liberty)

It has been so fun every time we are back in Iowa City or Davenport to get caught up with friends.  It makes us so excited for when we move back to Iowa City!  Joe can play Kan Jam to his heart’s delight and my book club can … keep reading books infrequently… and there will be tailgating and I can get margs with my girls at Azteca Dos.  And so on.  But as for the past year, we have always appreciated it when our friends have gotten together when we are home so we can all hang out.

3. Moving to Wisconsin

Yup, that’s the Mars Cheese Castle.

4. Finishing my 3rd Quad Cities Triathlon

And with a PR!

5. Summer Weddings

We had lots of good friends who got married last summer.  Yay marriage!! Yay weddings!  So much fun.  So happy for all their collective happiness.

6. Day-tripping to Chicago

We hopped the train in Kenosha and got off in Chicago and explored the city.  Parks were visited, the BodyWorks exhibit explored, Al’s Beef sandwiches were eaten, and we didn’t ever get lost.  Success!

7.  Amy time

Any get-together with Amy is guaranteed to have at least two things: laughing til you fall over and coffee (in hot or cold form).  This picture is from when Amy came up to visit in Kenosha, but my most favorite memory with her last year was when she introduced me to the Kane County Flea Market.  Be still, my heart.  So much awesomeness per square foot.  And such great people watching.  I will be back Kane County.

8. Belmond 4th of July

Every 4th of July with Joe’s family is memorable and enjoyable, and 2011 was no exception.  My favorite parts included paparazzing the nieces and nephews with my still-fairly-newish camera, Max being a little tiny cuddle bug, my first time to the Belmond pool, no one getting hurt during fireworks (even with one of them loaded upside down…), and Larry being in church in another town and NOT sick or injured, as feared, thanks to a well hidden note… taped to the microwave.


It’s no secret that I love the mountains.  Of course my family’s trip out to Estes Park makes the list.  Duh.  But especially since we were ALL out there, even Kyle! Even Conor!

Part 2

Feliz Navidad! Chapter Dos.


Happy Holidays!! Again!

After 45 hours in Davenport, it was off to Belmond for the the Bailey Family Christmas!

Here’s the best of the bunch of the bunch of pictures I snapped while we were there.

Oh, and you know what the tricky part about a lens that doesn’t focus very quickly? Kids do move quickly! Hence, a lot of blurry pictures.  But I’ll get the hang of it yet.   And with 11 of the 12 nieces and nephews around, there was plenty to practice!

Ava & Molly are featuring the stylings of their older cousins/sisters.  I was beyond impressed with the dresses they made!  From Cheetah Girls to Zebra Girls!

My little buddy Ethan on the piano.  I think Ethan LOVED playing with all his older cousins.

Seven layers of rainbow perfection.

When they weren’t sewing or building a fort outside, Hannah, Bailey, & Madi were all too happy to ham it up for the camera.  I think 2 of the 3 of them are taller than me.  I’m not happy about it.


Such a happy boy.

Moments after this picture was taken and they realized it, three of them dove under the couch.  Someday Max & Ethan might catch on to this trick, so I’ll have to get as many pictures in now as I can.  Here’s one more of Max. 🙂

My favorite!

Cheers!! (We both ended up with alcohol from the gift exchange… no complaints here)

Hope your Christmas (and your New Year’s) was delightful!  Ours sure were, and we feel so blessed for it.

Happy Holidays! Part 1


Happy Holidays!!!

We had a fun-filled, family-filled, food-filled power packed three day Christmas weekend!

My sweet mistletoe (his name is Joe) got me a new camera lens for Christmas (yaaaaay!).

The good: I LOVE it.

The bad: I am not instantly good at. Dang.

The ugly: All of my blurry pictures.

Even though I am not instantly good at it like I hoped, I didn’t let that stop me from taking a whole lotta pictures.  And since Joe is sick of me always using him as a subject, I was happy to have lots of other family members to happily (or unknowingly) comply.

So here are the first batch from our days in D-port:

(Okay, still in DBQ.  Our Christmas tree was a little guy.  But festive).

(captured by Kyle)

practicing that which they call ‘bokeh’

The least blurry of all the Kyle pictures.  Sorry Ky.


Much better sans Tommy.

Mike & Katie & my future lil nephew on Christmas morn.
Highlights from the Harris Christmas:

-Family dinner on Friday night with all 8 of us.

-Working on the Christmas puzzle while drinking a glass of wine and watching Love Actually.

-Working on the other Christmas puzzle while drinking a Starbucks latte next to the fatty Christmas tree.

-Seeing lots of old friends at Christmas Eve mass.  I mean, OLD. When did we all grow up?? Most of you have kids! A minute ago, weren’t we all playing French Flags or sledding at Duck Creek or defacing Sadlers’ goose?

-Delicious goodness for Christmas Eve meal. My dad made a prime rib that melted in your mouth and was so wonderfully seasoned.  Joe & I (okay, mostly Joe) made mussels in a wine broth that you dipped bread into.  Garlic mashed potatoes.  And dessert… Whitey’s peppermint ice cream and Lago’s hot fudge.

-Christmas morning! I’m 27 years old and still waking up my little brothers and waiting at the top of the stairs for the mandatory picture before we all open presents.

-New tradition! Making my parents open their presents first!!

-Finally, finally, finally getting to give my Colorado photobooks to my parents.  1998 for my dad.  2011 for my mom.  I have been so excited to give these gifts and surprise them with all the pictures!!  (I think they liked them).

Up next… part 2 in Belmond!