Monday, July 16, 2018

Serve Day + Small Group Reunion


(I spend a fair amount of my days reveling in the deliciousness of those thigh rolls. Aren't they just the absolute best?!?

I have to start out with the weekend because it was a good one!

Saturday was our church's serve day. We put on our shirts, dropped Mira off at Granny's, and then drove through the pouring rain to church for the 8 AM huddle.

Our church organized a day for everyone to serve. Basically everyone found ways to help other people and the community on a pre-defined day.

Dan helped a family move, Ina picked up trash, and Cora and I joined the rest of the ladies in my small group in a nursing home to give flowers to and talk with the residents. We had such a good time and my heart swelled seeing members of our church sprinkled thoroughout our community in their blue shirts being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Shortly after we arrived at the nursing home an elderly gentleman asked if any of us played cards which led to Danielle and I playing a few games of pitch. Playing cards is one of my favorite things in life and I could tell the nursing home resident was also thoroughly enjoying himself. I think we found a new monthly service project!

Cora did so well by cleaning the church walls, talking to a few of the nursing residents, and handing out a few flowers.

I later heard that picking up trash in the heat was a little hard on Ina who didn't eat the breakfast I packed her. She later told me she was very glad that everyday wasn't serve day.

After the church served us (and a whole lot more people) lunch, we headed home and did a few chores before getting in the pool.

Ina and I had to cut dinner and swimming short because she was invited to a glow in the dark birthday party that started a EIGHT PM. I understand that the "dark" part can't start until late, but I almost RSVP'd no based on  my bedtime alone.

My bedtime ended up not being a factor because when we returned home from the party my mom and Danielle's mom were still at the house with dinner all cleaned up and ready to play more cards. Multiple pitch games in one day - thank God for afternoon caffeine!

Cora fell asleep in my arms and Ina fell asleep on the wood table bench, so I would say that the day was an exhausting success.

After not near enough sleep Danielle and I woke up for our Sunday morning coffee walk and then we all headed to church where we watched our pastor interview an incredibly inspiring man.

We came home and put on our party prep hats to get the house ready for our small group reunion!

We have had a few couples leave our small group for various reasons (schedules didn't work, moved away, moved churches, etc.), so we decided to have a reunion with everyone who used to be in our small group plus our current small group.

This was literally the best idea I have had in a very long time. We absolutely loved getting to see everyone that has had such an impact on our lives all in one place. There were of course some people who couldn't make it, but we had a pretty good turn out! 

The pool, my heart, our bellies - all were so full by the end of the night!

Now for the rest of the week...

On Monday some girls from small group came over to write bible verses on cards we made for flowers we delivered to the nursing home for our church's service project. Having people over on a week night, after dinner no less, was a fun treat.

Of course the kids swarmed one of the moms who looked willing to pay attention to them while Danielle and I were cleaning up dinner. Amy has a heart made of pure gold.

Tuesday we went to the farmer's market after work and picked up some deliciously fresh tomatoes. After eating the first bite Dan announced that summer has officially begun.

Tuesday was also a first for our family, a girl from Ina's school, bus, and dance class came over for a play date. Obviously we have a lot of kids over at our house, but typically their parents are with them, so this was new to us. Ina was so excited she hid from her (trying to surprise her), and I had to drag her out of her hiding place and explain that generally we don't hide from people who are coming over to play.

Something else - while we were swimming Ina told me to slam dunk the basketball. I almost laughed and told her I couldn't, but then Dan chimed in that, "it's only 8 feet, you can do it!"

Let me tell you that there are few things that make you feel as cool as slam dunking a basketball from a pool. I kind of didn't want to stop.

Wednesday some friends came over for happy hour, dinner, and swimming. There is just something about a cheese, olive, and hummus board that makes the middle of the week something to be excited about.

Thursday we had parents as teachers after work and met a very nice family at the school playground. As usual, the temperature was above average, so Ms. Tricia put out a water table. Poor Mira wanted to play in it so bad, but grew tired of standing, so I just put her in the middle, dress and all.

After dropping the rest of the family at home to start dinner, I raced to my grandparents' assisted living facility to pick them up and bring them to our house for dinner.

I am sure our full house was a little overwhelming to them, but they seemed to enjoy themselves and it was nice getting to visit with them in a non-nursing home environment.

Friday the Champs were away and our little family ate breakfast for dinner, swam, and watched a movie to relax in preparation for the eventful weekend ahead.

Recipes from the week:

Monday: Cheeseburger salad with roasted sweet potato fries - probably once every other week for the rest of the summer
Tuesday: Monterrey chicken with black bean and corn salad and roasted green beans
Wednesday: Dan's turkey burgers with kale salad and corn on the cob
Thursday: BLTs, broccoli salad, watermelon, and cottage cheese - the official summer meal
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: tacos
Sunday: Small group party! Cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and my favorite summer cottage cheese salad.

Also, I made a batch of cinnamon rolls to freeze for Cora's birthday party next week. Danielle captured the above pic of me in all of my work-from-home glory. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Traveling Circus

(Pretend like I posted this two weeks ago...)

A few highlights from the week:

The dads have put some more work into the pool deck and now it has steps! And a jumping-off-board (that's a thing) for the kids. This is a huge improvement in the pool game and we no longer have a metal ladder in our pool. Expect many cannon ball and jumping pictures to come on my IG stories. 

Ina started at a new summer school for the second three week session, and let me just say we have had some complications with the bus system. From not having the correct drop off or pick up times (despite multiple phone calls) to the bus drive skipping our stop, to kids fighting, I am trying very hard to remind myself to be thankful for this free service. On a very positive side, Ina has some kids from preschool in her new class, which she is very excited about.

I took all of the girls to visit my grandparents in their new (very nice!) assisted living/memory care facility. It was lovely to see them, but I have to say that I probably won't be attempting to do that by myself with all three girls in the near future, or at least until Mira is able to run away from the (I am sure very nice) man who was trying to pick her up (but likely would drop her and/or fall himself) while I was trying to prevent Cora from having an accident in the middle of the dining room.

Sometimes I feel like we are a real life travelling circus. (This would make Ina so happy to know, because after watching The Greatest Showman she wants to be a "girl boss" at the circus when she grows up. That or an underwater scientist. The jury is still out.)

Another act of the travelling circus - Saturday morning after I worked and while Dan was still working, I took all the girls to a pool birthday party, which was fun with the lazy river for Cora to swim around and the huge slides for Ina to go down over and over again. However, no one wanted to leave except for Mira, who had given up and fallen asleep on my chest despite my best efforts. Thankfully Amy helped us out to the car by carrying Mira, while I was carrying/dragging a kicking/screaming Cora who did not want to leave at all.

On Saturday Dan and I finally had the chance to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary! We went to The Antler Room, an amazing tapas place in Kansas City.

We had a blast tasting so many unique and complex dishes - foie gras, octopus, ramps, duck, and so much more! We so badly needed a date night. Papa Scott watched the girls (and brought pizza, cookies, and chocolate milk), so they were in heaven. Hopefully we won't go as long before the next one, now that Mira can go long stretches without needing me or a bottle.

Sunday was one of those days that just kept on going and filled up our family time cup. We went to church, had the Nybergs over the lunch and swimming, watched a movie, put the baby gate in at Granny's, purchased all the fireworks, and then even shot a few off.

Poor Cora fell asleep before we put her PJs on.


Monday: Cheeseburger salad with frozen sweet potato fries
Tuesday: Pad Thai
Wednesday: Sausage, broccoli, and pesto pasta.
Thursday: bulgogi
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: Out to eat to celebrate our anniversary. Finally!
Sunday: Pollo Sabroso with Peruvian green sauce

As always, thanks for reading my little space on the internet. <3

Monday, July 9, 2018

4th of July 2018

Our 4th of July was filled with so many great things - swimming to the point of utter exhaustion, beautiful fireworks, precious family time, and amazing food.

And yet.

The day before, on July 3rd, a man Dan worked with took a gun to work, shot at many of his co-workers, killing one and leaving another in critical condition.

Praise God that Dan was not on that job site that particular day, but for so many reasons, our family was still impacted.

The story really isn't mine to tell, so I will leave out most of the details here, except to say that we are grieving terribly for what was lost that day and I have never been more thankful to see my husband walk through my front door.

We considered cancelling the holiday festivities that would follow, but ultimately decided that today more than usual taught us that life is precious and every day should be celebrated with those we love.

I really don't like writing or talking about sad things, but I also believe that they need to be discussed to show that life can indeed be sad.

I am going to describe the rest of the week in a positive light, because it mostly was positive, but there were pockets of time when the gravity of the situation hit hard and strong emotions were felt and tears were shed and the pit of my stomach was so thankful and so concerned and so terribly heartbroken at the same time.

Tuesday night we went to Kyle's parents' house (I think they have just accepted that we follow Kyle and Danielle wherever they go now) for food and a beautiful display of fireworks. Poor Mira wasn't a fan of the loud noise and although she didn't cry, she practically crawled up me with a panicked look on her face every single time one shot off. I finally gave up after five or so and took her inside.

Cora soon joined us inside because Danielle dared to put bug spray on her and Gibson and that ended their fireworks participation. Ina, however, stayed outside with Dan, lighting a good chunk of them after multiple safety precautions and instructions.

We got home late and Danielle and I woke up early for a 4th of July coffee walk, followed by an attempt to clean my pool/house before my family came over for lunch.

My mom cooked most of the food and the only thing I needed to do was host. After eating and swimming our fill, my family left and we started getting ready for the next round of visitors, some who stayed for fireworks and some who stayed for food and some who stayed for swimming.

Good news for Mira, she finally decided that fireworks weren't going to hurt her and tolerated them pretty well.

Because the holiday was directly in the middle of the week, everything else is sort of a blur of attempting to work, cooking more food, hosting different people (my sister's family! Kyle's mom and sister!), and lots of swimming. One high point was that Dan and Kyle put up a basketball goal on the side of the pool. I see lots of fun in the dads' future.

I still owe you a post from the week before, but until then...

Holiday Recipes:

Oh She Glows Kale Cesar Salad using this dressing recipe - I have made this salad 5 times in the past two weeks and have no plans to stop anytime soon.  The roasted chickpeas taste like fried chicken only better and because of the kale the salad holds good until the next day. I have eaten it for breakfast twice.

Cheesy Corn: made twice; a classic BBQ side

Smore's Bars: if you have problems with self control, don't make these

Strawberry shortcake with JoJo's biscuits: the baking was all Danielle, but I wanted to share the recipe because I love you.

And a healthy recipe to round everything out: pollo sabroso with Peruvian green sauce - third time in three weeks and everyone in the house is still asking for more. We have served it one time with pasta, another with roasted potatoes, or last time with quinoa and every single time it was fantastic. The sauce is delicious on tacos, eggs, or a salad. Pretend I am holding you firmly by the shoulders, looking into your eyes, and demanding you make that sauce this week.

On that note, have a good one! <3

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Few Recipes to Try + Other Stuff from the Week

Before I say/type anything else, if you are looking for some new recipes, scroll on down to the bottom of this post, because, dang...we ate well this week.

This week flew by because Dan was out of town again, with a short return home on Wednesday night, and a few hours on Saturday. None of us sleep well when he is away, so I have started to let Ina and Cora sleep in my bed. I know, I might be crazy.

However, we have been reading together, which is something I really have missed since Dan started putting them to bed. We are currently reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is a fantastic page turner, has lots of beautiful pictures, and I would recommend it if you are looking for an early listener chapter book. When Ina asks to read one more chapter I can't say no because I want to find out what happens next too. (Googling the link showed me there is a movie too! Now I can't wait to finish the book so we can watch the movie together.)

(On a book note, I just started reading Siblings without Rivalry while I pump and The Hunt for Red October before bed. I will report back on my thoughts!)

The only other notable thing from the week I can think of is Ina got sick at school (on a kid!) on Wednesday. By the time I picked her up she was fine, begging for snack after snack and then going swimming shortly after.

Friday night my mom came over for a girls movie night and we watched Ella Enchanted and ate curry and laughed and I loved it.

Saturday morning I worked for a bit, then we swam for a bit and Granny visited for a little bit. I opted out of our normal Saturday morning run to sit and talk to Dan who had just walked in the door from work when I woke up. I know.

That evening we drove to Dan's dad's house for an incredibly delicious shrimp boil. We love getting to see that side of Dan's family, and the amazing food was just a bonus. The girls also like exploring the property and seemed able to find plenty of trouble to get into. On the drive home we were lucky enough to witness a fireworks show on the highway. Of course we eventually drove away from it, but Cora continued to think she saw the fireworks and would scream with delight, "Mom, the fireworks are back!" to which Dan and I would respond with excitement.

Ina, being Ina, asked, "Mom, do you really see more fireworks? Spell 'Yes' or 'No'."

We laughed a long time after that.

Dan had to leave for work again early Sunday morning, but I still managed to get all three girls to church dressed. Barely, though, as Cora was wearing rain boots on the wrong feet, but scrolling through my pictures I did see I managed to braid Ina's hair.

Before church, Cora asked for a donut and because she has been doing so well potty training (she really has, I am so so proud of her!) I just couldn't say no. Going to Big Daddy's Donuts without Dan felt very weird, but the sugar high soon made the weird feeling go away.

After church we hung around the house and had a rainy/lazy Sunday afternoon. The kids watched movies. We painted our nails. I folded laundry. We made a great dinner.

Danielle and I have continued to truck along with T25 and just completed week 3 (out of 5) of the alpha round. Oh, and we also continue our Sunday morning coffee walks.

Find someone to do this with. You won't regret it.


Monday: Moroccan Meatballs with rice and roasted broccoli/cauliflower- so delicious and even more so because Danielle made them and they sat in the crock pot while we swam until dinner time.

Tuesday: Pork Ragu with noodles and salad- one of my favorite meals. I ate the ragu by itself without noodles for lunch the next two days. 

Wednesday: Southwest Chicken and Veggie Skillet - so quick, healthy, and delicious! We served it with quinoa and tortillas for the kids.

Thursday: Enchiladas - simply amazing. Love, love love.

Friday: Chickpea and Lentil Curry with brown rice and apple mango chutney from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook I checked out from the library, but I found the recipe here. We have already added it to the meal plan for next week.


Breakfast was summer breakfast tacos - delicious and colorful!

Dinner was Papa Dana and Gigi Sherri's Shrimp Boil. We contributed a kale Caesar salad (the roasted chickpeas take it to the next level) and salted chocolate chunk shortbread cookies (have you made those yet?).

Sunday: Pollo Sabroso with roasted veggies, a Mexican corn pasta that Danielle made, and Peruvian green sauce (make it now, like I want to swim in it).

Snack/Dessert - Peanut butter cups

Even though our food was absolutely delicious, Ina and Cora weren't really that into eating this week. There are just some things I am used to Dan being in charge of, and making sure our kids eat is one of them. In some ways him being out of town is good for our relationship, because it highlights the areas he helps with that I wouldn't notice otherwise. 

Mira, on the other hand, devoured serving after serving night after night and started to scream if I didn't get the next bite in her mouth fast enough. It is a very tough call to make, but I think the curry was her favorite.

I hope you have a fantastic week. <3

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

No Plans + Lake + Father's Day

Hey there! Dan is out of town this week and he was out of town last week, so what you will witness here is basic survival mode.

On Monday I came home from work with no dance lessons, no swim lessons, no school activity, and no dinner to make, so we all swam.

I loved having nothing to do but splash in the water. So did Mira, whose grin could not be wiped off her face. We ate leftovers for dinner and cried our way through the first half of Up. Just adorable.

Tuesday and Wednesday looked about the same, except that we did cook dinner. With no activities taking up our evenings, all of my memories of them have blended together.

We have been working on the pool, which unfortunately has been a constant battle. Next summer when I tell you I think it would be more frugal to not hire a pool company and instead balance and clean everything myself, grab me squarely by the shoulders, look me directly in the eye, and tell me that the little pool time I have should be spent swimming with my children.

Thursday afternoon I closed my laptop a little early, checked Ina out of school, and grabbed the girls from Granny's to head to my aunt and uncle's lake house for a quick 24 hour visit. It was quick and exhausting, but we all had an absolute blast.

In 24 hours we went out to eat, watched two movies, did face masks, swam, went on a boat ride, and swam some more. Once Ina and Cora found the courage to jump off the dock they could not be stopped.

Mira initially wasn't a fan of the baby life jacket, but once she discovered its head support while floating, she decided she could tolerate it. I have very distinct memories of Cora feeling the exact same way about that thing.

As we were driving away Friday evening I asked Ina what her favorite part was and she dreamily sighed and said, "everything."

Danielle and I started off Saturday morning (and Sunday morning) with a walk. I just love peaceful morning walks. They are such a fantastic way to start the day, particularly when the days are squeezed full of everything.

Then I worked for a few hours, we swam for a few hours, and before I knew it, we were heading out the door to celebrate our friend Ryann's birthday.

Ryann is our new friend from church/small group and she might be the most popular person I have ever met based on the number of guests at her birthday party. The kids played with water toys outside, which is always a party plus and the swim suit made cleaning up potty training accidents that much easier. Win-win. (I should note that thanks for Miralax and lots of pep talks, Cora is doing so much better in this department! Yay!)

We finished up the night with more swimming which led to hungry stomachs, which our meal planning did not take into account. Dan and Kyle made the executive decision to put in a late night pizza delivery order.

Father's Day Sunday started out with an awesome sermon at church discussing father wounds and what we can do about them. Definitely worth a listen. The next few hours consisted of me starting to do something, then realizing I should be doing about ten other things, then starting something else, and then repeating that until my dad called to ask for my assistance in picking up Grandma June from the nursing home.

I guess I didn't realize this was "allowed" but I was so happy we made the extra effort to have her there. I think she and my grandpa enjoyed watching the kids play and when my grandpa asked if she was coming home and opened the car door to give her a kiss goodbye when he realized she wasn't, I nearly lost it.

My dad hosted our family's Father's Day celebration at the farm, where he had a taco bar spread all cooked in various crock pots, individual serving chip bags, and more lemonade than 10 kids could think about consuming. Add that to getting the farm ready, picking up my sister's kids because she was out of town, and picking up my grandparents and you will see he did a whole heck of a lot of work on Father's Day.

After we had more fun than we could handle we got home just in time for Ina to swim with Gunner and Gibson and Cora to mow down on some watermelon and Dan and I to talk to Kyle and Danielle's family even though we all needed showers and even though every single stinking Monday morning I swear we are going to bed earlier the next Sunday night. Even though we tried to stop it, another summer weekend ended.

Recipes from the week:

Chicken Shawarma - so fresh and good.

...and the rest of the week was spaghetti, other people cooking for me, and leftovers. Even Danielle made the recipe above. I chopped a few vegetables. Wait until next week - we will have a few good ones to share!

Online purchase of the week: a pair of Birkenstocks. So exciting!

I hope you have a great week!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ina's First Dance Recital

This week can be summed up in two words: dance recital. Monday was Ina's normal dance lessons (1 hour), Thursday was her opening number practice (two hours), Friday was her dress rehearsal (4 hours) and Saturday was her recital (16,000 hours).

Throw in our last swim lessons of the season, Dan working long hours, continuing to potty train Cora, a CRAWLING BABY, and this was a pretty eventful week.

However, seeing Ina in her sequined leotard and pink tutu determined to find her exact spot on center stage and beam at her onlookers was all worth it. Should couldn't stop dancing the rest of the night.

I will say that this whole dance mom thing is a world I knew nothing about. The patience it requires to put mascara on a 5 year old alone should be rewarded on national television.

And the tights.

Can we all just agree that tights are no longer a thing? They are impossible to put on, constantly riding up or down, and have five stains on them within minutes of Ina putting them on. There was a point when I was in charge of taking three leotard and tutu clad girls to the bathroom and Ina COMPLETELY de-robed (tights and all) in the stall and I didn't know if I would make it through.

Ina was so happy to see so many family members there, which is a pretty big deal, considering the 3+ hour time commitment. Also, her cousin Hallaway's recital was the same day, so everyone in my family sat through TWO recitals in one day. Bless.

She also received three bouquets of flowers which she has combined and incessantly watered.

Other notables from the week:

A post shared by Racheal (@runningwithrach) on

Mira started crawling! (Poor third baby- five years ago I would have dedicated three blog posts to this topic alone.) She is still new to the whole skill, but she knows she can now get to anything she wants to put in her mouth, which has recently included legos, sticks, leaves, and paper. Thankfully, she knows not to swallow anything, but does seem awfully offended when I dare to remove them from her mouth.

Cora is still having a difficult time with the second part of potty training and is clearly constipated. Hopefully things will start to consistently move in the next few days or I might call her doctor. On a funny note, she has started to repeatedly say, "Mom, we don't say 'look at that freak.' That's a bad word. We don't say that. We say, 'Oooh La La!'" and then erupts into giggles and I can't help but laugh.

I was also told she sat through Ina's recital like a doll. I was so proud of her!

Danielle and I are one week into T25 alpha and have lived to tell about it. On Saturday morning both of our families sat on the couch and watched us with brief participation from the kids and the commentary was hilarious. I overheard Ina telling Gunner, "I feel so sorry for my mom. She looks miserable."

We visited my grandma in the nursing home during dinner time with no snacks which was a major mom fail. Cora and Ina jealously watched all the residents being served ice cream and things kind of went downhill from there.

On Sunday we wrapped up our spring/summer small group study with communion and a Mexican inspired potluck and swimming. I love our small group with all my heart and we had such a good time eating, playing, talking, and swimming.


Sausage and spinach pasta bake with salad - this one is a keeper.

Cheeseburger salad - I told you it would be on the menu again soon!

Grilled chicken with kale salad and corn on the cob. The makings of a perfect summer dinner.

Carnitas - Danielle made them but I share the recipe because I love you.

Have a lovely week! <3
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