Thursday, February 23, 2017

Disney 2017

Hello there, remember me? 

I am recovering from an all out trip to Disney and dealing with a toddler who has decided to wake up at 5 am. However, I am determined to get this post written today before I forget everything that happened. 

This trip has been in the works ever since my oldest nephew Kauffman was born. My cousins are huge Disney fans, and because they are so generous, have wanted to take the kids to show them all the wonder and magic there is to offer. This was the last year where Kauffman could miss school and Ina was just old enough to maybe remember everything, or at least something, so we went. Cora and I were lucky enough to tag along. 

Tagging along was exactly what we did. I didn’t plan a thing, but very much enjoyed the benefits of every ride, fast pass, and show being planned for me. 

The night before our plane left, we spent the night at a hotel close to the airport so we could be there bright and early and ready for action. We had a layover, but the kids did great. My biggest memory from the flight experience was Ina crawling under a bench an unsuspecting woman was sitting on and poking her in the rear end. Thankfully, she thought it was hilarious, but Ina definitely learned her lesson.

After we landed we grabbed our rental cars, ran to the grocery store for some breakfast supplies and park snacks, and then checked into our first hotel at Animal Kingdom. We had a suite that was fantastic. The best part was seeing the animals (giraffes, zebras, long horns, ostriches, etc.) right outside our balcony! 

Soon it was time for our dinner at Chef Mickey's, a character buffet at The Contemporary Resort. The food was pretty good for buffet food, but of course the highlight was seeing the characters. Every single one gave each table a good one to two minutes of their undivided attention. There we say Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, and Donald. 

The kids were so excited to see the characters, and unlike the first time I took Ina to Disney and she cried next to the characters, this time everyone gave very big hugs. Cora even touched Minnie’s nose!

A large meal and a long day of travel meant an early bedtime for all of us.

Our first park day was early at Magic Kingdom.

We spent the morning checking off as many rides as possible before the crowds arrived: barn stormer, tea cups, Big Thunder, Dumbo, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan, 

the carousel,

and even had a character experience with Belle’s story (which Ina says was her favorite thing we did the whole time we were there!).

We had lunch at Cinderella’s castle, 

which was pretty fancy. Of course we were all exciting to get more one on one time with each princess.

After lunch we hit up more rides: The Magic Carpets of Alladin, It’s a Small World, Buzz Lighyear’s Space Ranger (twice), and Ariel’s Grotto. We also paused at three to watch the parade, which was absolutely fantastic and my favorite thing about Magic Kingdom, well, except for the fireworks. 

We chose to watch the fireworks from a distance, while enjoying some ice cream. This gave the girls a chance to don their princess dresses and dance like royalty under the light of the fireworks to Disney music. Ina was dancing with Kauffman and soon my uncle was dancing with Halllaway. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a few tears. It was a pretty darn cool experience.

Friday morning we headed to Epcot bright and early. We immediately ran to Soarin’, which was one of the coolest rides of the week. At Epcot we also tasted the different sodas at Cool Factory, met some characters, 

tasted some food from around the world (empanadas, churros, and French ice cream), and road Test Track, another really, really cool ride.

But I have to say the highlight of Epcot was meeting Anna and Elsa and riding the Frozen ride, which was fantastic.
Even though the girls had met so many princesses already, it was obvious from their excitement that Anna and Elsa were different. They kept a full conversation with them for five minutes and I admit, a few tears came to my eyes (again) when I saw just how happy Ina was. 

After Epcot we headed back over to Magic Kingdom to finish up a few things we didn’t get to do the day before: meeting Tiana and Rapunzel, riding The Pirates of the Caribbean, and riding Buzz Lightyear and Ariel’s Under the Sea again. This was our latest night and by the time we got to our car I was so, so happy to sit down.

Saturday morning started at Hollywood Studios before the park opened to stand in line for Jedi Training, which was hands down my favorite part of the trip. The Star Wars attractions at Hollywood were absolutely fantastic-the ride was awesome, the shows were entertaining, meeting the characters was fun/scary, but the best was Jedi Training.

If your kids like Star Wars at all this is a must do. It starts with a “show” and the Master Jedi trains the kids. Then, danger is sensed and Darth Vader appears and each kid gets the opportunity to fight him. Then he retreats and they think that have won until Kylo Ren appears, who, at least in Ina’s eyes , is much scarier than Vader. The training Jedi fights him, but in the end it takes everyone using “The Force” to get him to retreat. Seriously fantastic.

Other fun things at Hollywood Studios included The Disney Junior Show, The Little Mermaid Show, Frozen Sing-along, and The Toy Story Ride. 

Our last day at the Parks was at Universal Studios, which mainly focused on Harry Potter World, which was also fantastic. Seeing the Harry Potter world come to life in front of me was an exciting experience for this HP fan. As soon as we entered Diagon Alley, our first order of business was tasting a butter beer. It was delicious and pretty much exactly how I expected it to taste. While we enjoyed our butter beers the kids munched on chocolate frogs.

Next we visited Olivander’s wand shop where the kids each selected an interactive wand. This wand allowed them to perform “magic” around the park, which they really enjoyed. Ina is still carrying her wand around at home.

We hopped on The Hogwart’s Express to Hogsmeade, where we at lunch at The Three Broomsticks. After lunch my aunt and I rode the Quidditch ride (my favorite ride of the week) and the kids rode Flight of the Hippogriff. 

After the rides we were pretty worn out, so we decided to call it an early night and go back to our hotel to swim, which was a great way to end the trip. 

 We had a fantastic time and are unbelievably thankful to get the opportunity to go on such a great trip! 

Some things I would recommend for Disney: using Magic Bands, getting the photo pass, bringing/renting strollers (even for bigger kids), packing lots of snacks, and wearing comfortable clothes and shoes. Also, if at all possible, bring more adults than children and have someone else plan your trip. Ha! :)

Until next time! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Catch Up

Hello! Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Doing anything fun? The girls and I plan to make some chocolate covered strawberries this morning, but past that we don’t have much planned.

My phone has been on a picture taking break, in preparation for the massive amount of pictures it will be taking in the days to come. The girls and I leave tomorrow for Disney World and we are so, so excited. (Dan is staying home. He isn’t much on Disney, which does not compute in my brain. Even so, we will miss him and will be sure to send him lots of mouse-eared pictures.)

I will be back next week with a full run down of our trip, but until then, how about we catch up? 

We have been up to our normal winter routine - gym-work-reading time-dinner-Batman episode, with a few exceptions:

- The girls stayed the night at Granny’s house on Friday night. Although I sometimes fantasize about a day without motherhood responsibilities, after about 12 hours without the girls I realized I missed them horribly. While they were gone I went shopping, had my hair cut and eyebrows waxed, watched a chick flick, worked, did all the laundry, read, knocked out a little yard work, and sat in silence in the back yard sipping on a lemon water and enjoying the sun beating down on my face.

When Dan brought them back home they were both asleep in his car, so I just stood by the window looking at them for longer than I should admit. 

That night we took them to get their hair cut and then to see The Batman Lego movie. Not my favorite, but apparently other people like it. I just went so Dan would have to see Beauty and The Beast when it comes out in March. Ha!

- I did our taxes! Always a relief to get that out of the way and exciting to get some $$$ back. 

- We started small group again. Although, due to the winter ickies, it was an extra small small group. It was still so nice to get back in the swing of opening up our doors and having people over to discuss God’s word.

- Cora somehow changed the programming on our baby monitor to not connect to the camera in her room anymore. Both Dan and I have tried to fix it without success, so I guess she is ready to sleep without supervision.

- I am reading the Savor daily devotional and LOVING it. I have a major girl crush on Shauna Niequist. 

That is all I have. Life has been restful and good

Have a great week! <3

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Curling Lessons

Hi there!

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(Ina making soup in the bathroom. Mind you, she has a play house with a play kitchen, but it lacks the vital feature of running water, which is why our only main floor restroom transforms into a kitchen when Dan and I are mildly distracted with something else. At least the floor gets cleaned with all the extra water?)

How was your weekend? Our’s was good and pretty low key. Friday night we met with the pastor of our church to discuss his and Dan’s upcoming trip to India. So many things to think about! I worked Saturday morning, we played with the girls, and then Granny came over while Dan and I headed to a birthday party. 

We ate an early dinner at Granite City Brewery and then headed to the ice for a lesson on curling. (KC friends: click here for more info)

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We had so much fun, but I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t very good. These pictures don’t do the experience justice, because I spent a good amount of time sprawled out on the ice and am sporting a nice sized bruise on my knee. I thought that all the work I have been doing on core strength and balance would help, but as it turns out, I am still a klutz. Ha!

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I would like to go again and get another shot at it. Regardless of my lack of skills, I still had a great time and enjoyed celebrating our friend Tara. 

Sunday we went to church, grocery shopped, and Dan and Ina went to his mom’s house while Cora napped and I did laundry. We watched half the game and then went to sleep. I am used to finding out the results of sporting events from the next morning’s FaceBook or people at the gym.

Speaking of the gym, yesterday’s workout was a tough one at Fitness Tiger KC. 

  • 8 minute partner AMRAP
    • 3 burpees, 12 mountain climbers, 21 half squats
    • Partner jumps rope and then switch
  • Push/Pull x 2
    • Seated sled rope pull x 3 (this set the timing for each round)
    • Sled pull back/walking lunges
    • Strict Press (20# DB)
    • Hard pull ERG
    • Dumbell snatch (25 or 30#)
    • Manmakers (20#)
    • Bent over row (20#)
    • Pull ups or ring row

We have noticed that my “pulling” ability from my left side is pretty weak. On my pull-ups I honestly feel like I can’t get my left side to move. Ha! I think this might be from carrying my children on my right side…so time to make a transition. 

Have a good day! 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sick Day + Swim Lessons

Happy Friday friends!

A few exciting things:

- Ina woke up yesterday morning with a fever, moaning, and nauseous. The exciting part was that all it took was a bath and a popsicle to beat her fever and turn her frown upside down. I have no idea how it happened, but I will take it. 

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Something else I will take - both Ina and Cora putting themselves to sleep while I was playing mom and scientist and not doing a stellar job of either. 

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Working from home with both girls makes for a long day. Long.

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There is a Chinese restaurant in the same strip mall as swim lessons that as drinkable egg drop soup. Wet hair plus freezing temperatures makes soup the perfect dinner. I am having a blast playing in the water with Cora, but I do miss seeing Ina’s skills. Dan said she spent the entire time under water, so I suppose that is a plus.

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The gym has been fun. Today was an “easy” day but somehow I still left out of breath and sweating. It may have had to do with the fact that the workout was bookmarked by 50-40-30-20-10 sit-ups and jumping jacks. 

So easy. Ha!

Any big plans this weekend? We are going curling for a friends birthday and watching the Super Bowl hunkered down at home. Fresh pretzels and chicken wings will likely be involved. 

Have a great one! <3

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Two Good Excuses

Hello there!

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I apologize for my absence, but I have two very good excuses:

One: We spent most of the weekend installing, cleaning, and stocking our new fridge and also cleaning and un-stocking our old fridge. The new fridge needed to be cleaned because it was in a fire. The old fridge needed to be cleaned because it had the unfortunate fate of being our family’s fridge. As if it decided to rebel, I was cleaning the large piece of glass that covered the bottom, and after scrubbing it with hot water and then placing it next to the door to dry, it literally exploded into a million pieces in my hand. Pieces flew 15 feet in every direction, sliced my finger, and scrapped my legs. 

Peace out old fridge. 

Dan and I have this fantasy of buying a fixer upper house and remodeling. I had to laugh when it took us two week nights and an entire weekend to switch out a fridge. Perhaps we will stay put for a while. 

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Two: I have fallen in love with Shauna Niequist. A few of my friends have told me about her books and when Carrie mentioned Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes on her blog, I immediately ordered it on Amazon. You guys, this book is fantastic. It is like I could have written it myself, although much less eloquently. I love the way Shauna writes about her love for food and how it brings people together in a way that nothing else can. She encourages us to swing open our doors and make meals together happen, regardless if you know how to cook. Her love for her family and friends, her battle with shame (body shame, house shame, work shame), her prayer life, and her passion for God are all things I can relate to. I haven’t been able to put the book down and I want to order all of her other books at a the same time and spend the next week in the kitchen making her recipes.

For the sake of productivity, I will take them both one at a time.

Otherwise, things have been pretty good over here. Dan has been continuing to cook dinner, because I can’t stop reading a book about…cooking dinner. Our fantastic parents as teachers teacher visited last night and left a large sheet of paper that she and Ina was doing math problems on, which soon transformed into a cape, blanket, and shield that kept both Cora and Ina entertained the rest of the evening.

I took a break from the gym over the weekend, and again yesterday, but Monday and today’s workout were fantastic. My back is feeling a lot better with the breaks and I was able to bend and pick things up today without any pain. Yay!

I hope you have a fantastic Wednesday and hopefully I will talk to you again before the week is over. 


Friday, January 27, 2017

Motherboard Problems

Good morning and Happy Friday! This week was an extra long one, so I am more than ready for a weekend with not much on the agenda. 

I hope things are great on your side of the internet. We are currently living in a world of disarray with refrigerator parts strewn about our entire first floor. Dan’s mom gave us her struck-by-lightning-but-otherwise-brand-new fridge and we have decided we are going to fix it. I ordered a new motherboard, which we thought would be the biggest challenge. But, as it turns out, installing that took less than 5 minutes. 

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What took way, way more than 5 minutes was getting a large appliance in our house, which required major disassembly. Hence the parts, all over our house. Add those to the typical toy, shoe, paper, book scattering and we are lucky to have spots of bare floor. 

This weekend’s goal is getting that bad boy set up. 

We also had the girls first swim lessons of the semester last night. I was in the water with Cora, who absolutely loved it and kept saying, “NO! NO!” when we had to leave. As far as I could tell Ina also enjoyed her class, although she was late because we were confused about the start time. #Fail 

Workouts at Fitness Tiger KC have been doozies. Wednesday was a unilateral balance, core, and cardio (aka a lot of planks). Thursday was Tabata. A lot of tabata. 20 seconds on/10 seconds off x 8 for each of: 

  • speed skaters
  • push ups
  • KB thrusters (30#)
  • side planks (attempting to put my leg in the air)
  • alternating dumbbell snatch (25#)
  • single leg hop
  • lunges
  • hallow rocks

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! <3

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Good morning! <3

Things have been quiet around here because, well, life. 

The weekend went by quickly and consisted of a lot of rest, a first birthday party (Happy Birthday Jurni!), a visit to Dan’s mom’s house to pick up a possibly new refrigerator, fires in the fireplace, church, chili, and football. 

Dan is in charge of cooking dinners this week and although I love to cook and meal plan, I have to say it is super nice to have one thing off my plate. I also enjoy having this time to play with the girls, but when Dan is in the kitchen we all sort of gravitate there as well. 

Dan’s meals tend to lack color, so I will have to work hard on getting something green in during breakfast and lunch. Not green, but still delicious, I have been eating this peanut butter baked oatmeal for breakfast

Other updates:

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The girls had a dentist appointment, which Ina has been counting down the days to since Halloween. The secret is the 10 cent toy they give out after the appointment is over 

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Ina let them do everything - clean, inspect, x-ray, and fluoride. Cora let them count her teeth. Barely. But when Ina was in the seat she wanted to be there as well. 

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Later Monday my sister called to tell me that Hallaway’s dance school was having a “bring a friend” night and invited Ina to join her. 

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Ina loved every single second and has been asking to take dance lessons every hour since. We might have to make that happen, although we start swim lessons this week and I really don’t want to overbook our family.  I am sure we can find a time that fits, but there was an hour class, with younger children, starting at 7:15 PM when we left! When do they sleep? When do they eat dinner? I feel like we are lucky to squeeze in dinner, bath time, and a book before bed, and I get home from work earlier than a lot of parents. <rant over>

I took a gym break over the weekend and Monday because I have a little lower back twinging/pain going on. It is improved, but still there. I am just being very careful during the workouts and modifying when necessary. Yesterday was a great workout at Fitness Tiger KC:

  • 6 minute running clock per station partner workout (work to fatigue)
    • Ring rows (5)
    • Sand bag box step ups
    • Bench press
    • Shoulder press 
    • Sandbag bent over row (modified to squat)
    • I feel like there was one more…but I just can’t remember
  • Cardio blast x 3: 30 seconds each
    • tuck jumps
    • plank shoulder taps
    • flutter kicks
    • lunge-squat-lunge
    • bird dogs
    • butt kicks
    • rest

Definitely out of breath after that one. 

Have a good day! 

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