Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Halloween Plays and Turkey Legs

Monday started with a birthday workout, which are always so fun at our gym. Well, really, everything is fun at our gym. I almost forget that I am working out.

Also fun (maybe my favorite thing on earth):  Liz's carrot cake topped with candied pecans.

After the work thing I picked Ina up from school and Cora up from Granny's and then changed them into some costumes in the car and took them to dance class.

Cora dancing in her witch outfit while being completely mesmerized by her costumed reflection in the mirror was so stinking adorable. Ina was not happy with the way her butterfly wings were hanging on her, but suffered through.

After dance we scrambled in the van and raced to Ina's school, where their Trunk or Treat event was just wrapping up. I felt bad that we missed it, but they mostly seemed happy to say trick or treat!, receive a few pieces of candy, and see a few scary costumes.

Tuesday their dance school put on a little Halloween play called, The Missing Cape. Ina and Cora's song class sang and danced to Rockin' Robin while wearing crow hats and tail feathers.

I walked in having zero expectations and was pleasantly surprised to see them both sing and dance their little hearts out on stage. Of course Ina's hat fell off and Cora somehow ended up behind girls much taller than her, but they both had a blast. I sincerely enjoyed the entire 30 minutes and am strongly resisting the urge to sign Ina up for drama class.

Wednesday was Halloween. As soon as Ina walked in the door from school I quickly painted her face and  helped the other girls get dressed.

Poor Cora wanted her face painted so bad, even though her costume didn't really require paint. Out of hurried desperation I painted a pumpkin on her face and then quickly had to wipe it off when Cora decided that "Violet doesn't have a pumpkin on her face."

Mira was just happy to have a warm and snuggly costume that featured her adorable belly.

We hit up a few houses in our neighborhood first and then made the drive to Jessie's house for full block trick or treating. Jessie, Uncle John, Dan, and I followed the kids around for an hour or so, making sure they said thank you and didn't get hit by a vehicle.

The weather was perfect. The hot chocolate (spiked with rumchata) in my yeti was warm and comforting. Seeing the girls run from house to house with their cousins made my heart soar.

After their candy buckets were too heavy to carry we made our way back to Jessie's house for cheeseburger soup and pajamas.

Our calendar was free on Thursday, so as soon as I picked up the girls from school/Granny's we went to visit Grandma June and Papa Ed at their assisted living facility.

They both seemed really good and we had a very nice visit. We tried to stay with them while they were eating dinner, but left in a blaze of glory when Mira attempted to pull the table cloth out from under an unsuspecting patron's plate of spaghetti. Pro tip - when you need to entertain three children and you think you have packed enough snacks for an one hour outing, you haven't. Pack more.

Friday Dan visited me at work for a little lunch date and we hunkered down with pizza and wings for dinner while watching The Incredibles 2.

While I worked on Saturday morning Dan took the girls to a basketball clinic the high school girls team puts on. Ina was super nervous to leave, but came back home excited with some fun stories to share. The coach even let Cora go out and play for a little bit. I love watching the girls dance and swim, but I would be lying if I said I didn't want them to play basketball one day. One day.

That night I took Ina and Cora to see our high school's production of Little Shop of Horrors. I was blown away by the talent these high schoolers had and also excited to see both Ina and Cora sit (mostly) still through a 2.5 hour musical, follow the story line, and enjoy the songs. I see many nights on Broadway in our future.

Sunday was mostly spent preparing for our small group dinner. We made the last minute decision to have a Thanksgiving feast after our normal study. Dan smoked a turkey and roasted another one. We made gravy, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. Everyone else filled in the sides.

Every corner of our main level was full of people. I didn't do the best job of not stressing out beforehand (I think mostly because the girls were all in needy moods), but thoroughly enjoyed everyone once they were in our house and had a plate of food in their hands.

And just like that another Halloween week is over and we are off to the races towards the holidays.

My heart and my calendar runneth over.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November Goals + October Report Card

1. Track my time.

Have you heard of this concept? Laura Vanderkam, a writer and one of my favorite podcasts hosts, introduced me to this. Basically, you capture what you do in 30 minute intervals for the entire day over a decent period of time.

A week or two is sufficient for me to get a good grasp of where my time is going. I think I have an idea, but I am a facts and numbers girl at heart, so I want the real data in front of me.

Watching the girls grow up so fast reminds me that time is a valuable resource and I don't want to be wasting it.

2. Read Matthew.

Bible study is a constant struggle for me, but I know it is mostly a habit I just need to start. Matthew has 28 chapters, so the plan is a chapter a day. A great "better than nothing" goal.

3.  Make our bed every morning and wipe down my bathroom counter every night.

Outer order, inner calm. Starting and ending my day with peaceful surroundings helps me tremendously, but I rarely make it a priority.

Other things to do/look forward to in November:
  • A field trip with some church friends
  • A local musical with the girls
  • Getting laser treatment on both of my legs for my varicose veins. I was hoping that those suckers would go away after the last pregnancy, but they have been very persistent. We met our maximum out of pocket cost for the  year (thanks to confetti), so  I am just going to get it over with.  I am praying for a quick and easy recovery.
  • Hair cut/trim - I am so horrible about doing this that I have started adding it to my to-do list every three months. 
  • Small group Thanksgiving
  • Friendsgiving
  • Thanksgiving
  • Ina's birthday dinner (her birthday is technically in December, but we will be starting the celebrations early).
And, if you care, my October goal report card.

(Speaking of report cards, we just received Ina's first one and it isn't letters, it is numbers and colors. Although I watched the training video twice, I still am not 100% sure I get it. Ha!)

1. Making moving as a family a priority. B+
Because I knew I had this goal there were a few nights I forced us out of the house to play outside. Ina learned to ride her bike, which was super exciting.

However, we didn't go on one after dinner family walk, or hike, or scavenger hunt, mostly due to the lack of opportunity. Looking back, I can't think of many moments when we were all sitting around and would have otherwise had the chance to move, unless you count football games.

2. Read more books. B-
I really wanted to read 4 books this month. Instead, I read 2.5 (Crazy Rich Asians, Off the Clock, and half of Iron Gold), which I suppose is going to be good enough.

I checked out a few Halloween related books at the library, which the girls loved, and we are continuing to follow Jack and Annie in their tree house adventures (currently on book #10).

I also found a few books Mira would sit still for, and if I made enough hand gestures, sound effects, and read fast, she sat still and listened (and adorably gave the faces on the pages big open mouthed kisses).

3. Lose five pounds. A

Health wise I am feeling pretty darn good. I went to the gym every weekday morning this entire month and walked/ran a few miles all but one weekend day.

I tracked my food for a few days, but then tried to focus on eating a lot of protein and produce and not much processed food. Naturally, there were a few nights of pizza and/or cake involved, but also lots of kale salads and turkey meatballs. I also truly think that switching a traditional breakfast for bulletproof collagen coffee has made a big difference for me.

I hope you have a fantastic November! <3

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Ina's First Blog Post

Monday Ina woke up not feeling the best and sounding raspy, but without a fever, so to school she went. She went to the nurse twice (still no fever), but I could tell when I picked her up she was worse. By the time we pulled into their dance studio for lessons she could barely hold her head up or keep her eyes all the way open.

While she was home sick with me we watched movies, went to my eyebrow wax appointment and then, out of the blue, Ina told me she wanted to start her own "dot com." I happily informed her that I actually have my own "dot com" and showed her my blog. She was excited to see a picture of herself pop up on the computer screen, so we read a few recent posts. She later requested that we take a picture and that she write something. Here it is:

"I love my mom. This is a picture that we took together. And I love it. I love this house. I love this whole world. And I love this future. My mom. My dad. Cora. And Mira. Help me continue my life."

I think the end might have trailed off into a prayer...but either way, I thought it was cute.

I took the girls to get their flu shots on Thursday and was reminded why I rarely take all three of them anywhere by myself. They were generally well behaved, it is just difficult to take a three year old to the bathroom while a one year old is wanting to play with the toys. Ina and Cora fought the shots hard, although Cora didn't cry afterwards. Ina promised she would never want her ears pierced after that experience. Everyone was rewarded with donuts afterwards.

That evening was Ina's parent teacher conferences where Ina's teacher made Dan and I blush more than once with all the fantastic things she had to say about Ina. I loved hearing that all of her reading/math/social/leadership skills were well beyond kindergarten expectations.

We are so proud of her, but Dan and I approach that emotion in very different ways. I tried to talk to her teacher about the things she could still work on (taking her time on her worksheets) and ways we could keep her stimulated when the class is going over something she already knows (helping other kids, helping the teacher, quietly reading books, more problems, etc). Dan, on the other hand, only wanted to talk about her skipping right on to second grade. That poor teacher, and if that wasn't enough, while we were having this conversation, scavenger Cora had found the teacher's half eaten piece of pizza on her desk and started eating it (mmmm, that was good pizza Momma!) while Mira found the one remote in the room and re-set the electronic blackboard settings.

We set the bar high for parent teacher conferences.

Friday Ina and Cora went with Grandma Frankie to the pumpkin patch and then stayed the night at her house, so Dan and I had a semi-date night with a one year old. We brought home Chipotle and Mira played with the first meal ever ordered specifically for her while we watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Saturday I went on a long walk by myself (listening to a new favorite podcast - The Mom Hour) before working a few hours and finishing up some chores around the house.

Then I took my sweet time getting ready, and we dropped Mira off at Granny's and went to a high school friend's wedding, which required my curling iron to come out of the drawer.

The wedding was beautiful, the weather was gorgeous, and the food was delicious. An all around good night.

After church on Sunday we attempted to carve pumpkins while simultaneously preparing/eating lunch, watching the Chiefs game, and cleaning the house for small group.

Every year I think that carving pumpkins will be a fun experience and every year it is much more stressful than fun. Some of that stress may have been because there were so many other things going on, or maybe because Ina has very high expectations (she originally wanted to carve an entire sentence about how much she loved her family into her pumpkin and then settled for an octopus), or perhaps because it just isn't that fun.

There are only so many times that singing the Batman theme song (thankfully Cora picked something that was much easier to carve) and jumping up and down can brighten the mood.

Maybe next year we should paint them?

(Cora's great photography skills)

Have a great week! <3

Recipes from the week:

Cheeseburger salad with roasted sweet potato fries- if we carry our favorite summer recipe into fall, can we pretend the pool is still open?

Goulash - so delicious. We used new-to-me lentil noodles that were family approved. All three girls cleaned their plates!

Chicken pot pie soup with homemade biscuits and a salad (x3  and took 1/3 of it to Ina and Cora's dance teacher, who injured herself with boiling water). This was basically comfort in a bowl.

Pollo Sabroso with green sauce, roasted broccoli, and veggie rice. Another favorite summer meal. So YUM.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fall Fun


We officially have a non-training wheels bike rider!

And let's not Cora, who is pretty speedy (and adorable) on the scooter, along with Mira who enthusiastically clapped and stumbled behind them.

We have since attempted a few more times of Ina riding her bike. She is doing really well once she gets started. It is the starting and stopping that are challenging, as she currently prefers to use her shoes as brakes. Our goal is for her to be able to ride the (hilly) mile to school before kindergarten ends.

My family from Texas was in town this week and Abby helped with watching the girls on Monday and Tuesday because Granny had the week off. The girls loved having Abby around and we celebrated her birthday with pizza and cheesecake on Tuesday.

Then on Wednesday Uncle John and another cousin Ashley stopped by the house and joined us for song class and swim lessons. The girls are pretty much smitten when they are in town.

(Cora and Mira went to the pumpkin patch with Danielle!)

On Friday I introduced the girls and Dan to The Sound of Music, and they all loved the first two hours, but couldn't hang for the ending. I forgot just how good that movie is. 

The weekend was a full one. It started with a run/walk with Danielle, and then working for a few hours. As soon as I ended my last patient call, we all loaded up in the van and met our friends for a memorial walk for their daughter. You can see me holding a scooter while pushing two children in my single double stroller.

We also ran into Miss Kim who was running her pretty little heart out. She even is completely put together while exercising. Goals. 

We came home and while Dan and the girls rested I did all the things: cleaned floors, cooked food, laundry, and squeezed a shower in before it was time to head to our friends' house for a little fall fun.

The Gartmans are a family new to our small group that have a beautiful house and property with a pond, paddle boat, barn, greenhouse, chicken coop, horses, goats, and even a zip line.

It was pretty much every kids' dream come true. Ina held a chicken, Cora touched a catfish, and Mira not-so-gently pet a pony.

They even took us on a hay ride!

When we were leaving Ina told me it was better than the best day of her life. All three girls were asleep before we made it to the highway and had to be carried up the stairs.

We woke up on Sunday for church and then brunch with my dad's side of the family. We had a breakfast burrito bar and Dan made these amazing chorizo potatoes. The girls were in heaven having their cousins around. 

We didn't even close the door between the last family member leaving and the first small group member walking in - just the way I like it. Small group was absolutely fantastic, like always, and we finished the weekend with another Chiefs win. 

It was a good one.

I only have a few recipes to share.
I also have been loving being back at the gym. I have gone every weekday morning at 5 am for 5 weeks in a row! The accountability and community they provide are just fantastic.

Have a fantastic week! <3

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Walking + Circus + Birthday Parties

I am determined to find time to blog in my new morning routine of 4:40 alarm, gym at 5, lunch making at 6:10, kids up at 6:30, get ready for work and dress kids at 7, leave for work or start work at 8.

My initial solution to this would be to have the kids sleep in until 7 and blog between 6:30 and 7, but so far they don't seem interested in that plan. I suppose cartoons and blogging will have to suffice.

We had so much rain last week. Granny's basement flooded, which was not fun at all, but we are going to look on the bright side of the rain - puddles.

You gotta love a girl in rain boots.

Mira started walking! She had taken a few steps here and there but now she is walking across the room! She still mostly crawls, but when she decides to walk, she almost saunters from place to place, looking like she is expecting you to make a big deal out of her incredible feat.

Friday night was our church's Dream Team (people who serve at the church) appreciation event. It was 80's themed so I added a pink headband to my typical workout gear and we had so, so much fun.

There was BBQ, confetti, 80's music, laughter, dancing, and an awesome drum solo by Kyle. In between two of the songs, Ina looked at me and said, "I love this church."


This was the weekend of birthday parties. We celebrated Gibson turning 4 at our house. Having a party at your house is particularly fun if you do none of the cleaning, planning, cooking, or prepping. The theme was dinosaurs and Danielle had the kids decorate safari hats and then dig in sand for dinosaur bones. It was simultaneously genius and adorable and simple and awesome.

During Gibson's birthday Dan and Ina went to her friend from her class's birthday at LegoLand and had a great time. On Sunday Ina also had a swim party from another girl in her class.

(I am so thankful for Amazon. As soon as I see a birthday invite I order a gift and it is done.)

After the parties on Saturday we met Jessie and the kids for the circus that had come to town.

I feel like the circus is a great opportunity for lesson teaching. See kids, look at what you can accomplish if you practice hard at something for a very long time.

No kids, you cannot have ALL THE THINGS they try to sell you after you pay good money to get into the tent.

Well, maybe at least some cotton candy.

After the circus we went to dinner at their favorite Mexican restaurant and I had a delcious margarita and some amazing street tacos. Then Kauffman and Hallaway came home with us and spent the night.

(It is never too early for matching Christmas jammies.)

Sunday was a whirlwind of donuts, church, out to lunch with family, football, and more family time.

The only recipe for last week I have to share is braised pork with cabbage (we didn't have pomegranate juice, so I used an apple juice box).

We also ordered the new Skinnytaste cookbook One and Done and tried the pressure cooker pho (sorry, no recipe to link). It was so fun to make something so fun and flavorful (and quick!) at home. Will repeat.

My new book for the week is Off the Clock. So far I am loving it, but that is to be expected, because I love Laura.

Have a great rest of your week! <3

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Spirit Week + Rendezvous

Hey! I hope you are enjoying every ounce of fun that October has to offer!

(Aren't they just they absolute sweetest?)

Monday we had our dance/voice lesson 2.25 hour marathon (45 minute dance for Cora, 30 minute voice for both, and then an hour dance for Ina) and then came home to Monday night football and chili mac for dinner. I have to admit, I was in a funk of Monday. Some days are just hard.

Tuesday after work I picked the girls up from school/Granny's and took them for a walk around the lake. Why don't I do this more often? We all had a great time climbing hills and riding the scooter, saw lots of nature (frogs, ducks, caterpillars, and butterflies), threw rocks in the lake, and left with a few new bruises and scrapes. I am putting this on my weekly to-do list until snow.

(Mis-match day at school)

Wednesday we hung around the house after Ina's swim lessons were cancelled, ate leftovers for dinner, cleaned up a bit, and watched a movie together. Nothing wrong with a low key evening.

This week was homecoming/spirit week at school and every day had a theme. I loved these when I was in school, so I made sure to lay everything out for Ina on Sunday.

Princess Day:

Crazy hair day:

Thursday was our home town's homecoming parade. Dan was still working, so I loaded up the double jogging stroller, threatened Ina to stay close to me, and walked down Main Street by myself with three children. Other than one of the stroller wheels rolling off (thankfully, a nice man from my church just happened to be walking down the street to help me fix it), things went great!

We set up shop next to Courtney and a few high school friends and caught a bunch of candy (to Cora's absolute delight). We saw the band, many Wizard of Oz Floats, firemen, and the homecoming court.

Ina knew more people than me at the parade (it is important to note that I have lived in this town since I was in 4th grade and was/am pretty involved in a variety of things), and stopped multiple times to hug kids from her class, church, recess, etc. and continued to introduce me to their moms.

We came home to belly-warming soup for dinner and a very early bath and bedtime.

Friday was more of the same, with early bedtime and reading (gotta meet those October goals!).

Saturday started with a whole lot of rain (that really hasn't ended) making a walk impossible, so Danielle and I did the 21 Day Fix cardio instead. I am still sore.

After I worked for a few hours, Dan and I packed up the girls, camping chairs, and bikes and headed to Knob Knoster State Park for Papa Dana and Gigi Sherri's annual Rendezvous eating extravaganza. I wish I could put into words how amazing the food was, but it is hands down my favorite eating day of the year.

Having three fussy kids in a muddy camp site can be challenging, but we had a great time. Ina and Cora rode the scooter and balance bike back and forth until they could barely stand and then played with rocks to their hearts' content (thanks to Sherri's genius idea of giving them a plastic bag to put rocks in). I am already looking forward to next year.

We were hoping to stop by Dan's uncle's housewarming party on the way home, but all three girls were exhausted and fast asleep by 7:30 and the thought of waking them up and taking them into a party sounded just cruel.

Sunday we did a little house cleaning and bread making, went to church, then to the Nybergs' for lunch and the beginning of the Chiefs game and then drove home for the end of the game and small group.

Food from the Week
Monday: Chili mac with roasted brussels sprouts, all cooked by Danielle. The perfect Monday night football food.

Tuesday: Korean-style chicken lettuce wraps (used ground turkey instead of chicken and pure maple syrup instead of brown sugar) with roasted zucchini and broccoli - with the lettuce, zucchini, broccoli, cilantro, and green onions on my plate, I felt very healthy and had no reservations about grabbing seconds.

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: butternut squash soup, insalta brassica copy cat (arugula, shredded brussels sprouts, bacon, cranberries, Parmesan cheese, almonds, and a maple Dijon vinaigrette), and grilled sandwiches for the kids/men.

Friday: Sheet pan totchos  - I changed the recipe a lot...next time I will stick with the original suggestions.

Saturday: no cooking on my end, just lots of eating at Dan's dad's annual Rendez Vous. I wish I could describe and/or photograph this event in a way to do it justice, but the best I can say is to imagine Thanksgiving dinner on steroids. My favorite meal of the year.

Sunday: leftovers

Lunch: my favorite broccoli tuna salad with Simple Mills almond flour crackers.

Also, if you are looking for something else to read - A very interesting read about self care. I am an "obliger", and I can verify that the absolute easiest way for me to exercise is to meet someone else to do it. Perhaps I need to create this in other areas of my life. Anyone want to join a book club?

Have a great week! <3
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