Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thankful

Hello!

Here is what I noted this week when attempting to look at the bright side of things:


Thursday:
  1. A night with nothing to do but swim and eat an easy dinner.
  2. Having friends and family who are willing to help my mother in law move. We are so blessed.
  3. A toddler nose that easily crinkles. 

Friday:
  1. No gestational diabetes! As Cora was such a big baby (9 pounds; 4 oz.) I was a little worried that perhaps I just went un-diagnosed with her, but am thankful for the good results of the test.
  2. Our town's pool store and their willingness to test our pool water often. I actually told the girl working there that I loved her when she told me she would test it for free once a week. I keep telling myself that I have taken enough chemistry classes to figure all this stuff out. Also, if a high school boy can maintain a pool, then so can I. (Ask me if I still think this at the end of the summer.)
  3. Little goggles and the big joy they bring my girls.

Saturday:
  1. A good family friend bought Ina a light up wand at her cousin's dance recital. She asked for one and I told her no (partly because I had left my wallet in the car, partly because I am trying to teach her she can't have everything she wants/asks for, and partly because we don't need any more toys), and she was upset at first, but was able to pull it together. On our way out the door he walked by and handed her one. So sweet. 
  2. The people sitting behind us at the outdoor wedding were amused instead of appalled when I used the bag of candy I had grabbed out of the pantry earlier to entertain Ina and Cora during the ceremony. What I didn't think about was that the bag only contained chocolate and it pretty hot out. Cora and Ina also sort of get competitive when they see a limited amount of something they both want. This all resulted in Cora attempting to shove as much in her mouth at once, and chocolate all over her face, then all over her hands, then all over my hands, hair, and dress. Also thankful for the very short ceremony and baby wipes.
  3. Watching our community's fireworks show from the bedroom widow and listening to Ina and Cora both squeal at the beautiful colors. Cora heard Ina say, "Awesome!" and then she quickly repeated it with every explosion. Ten minutes to remember indeed.

Sunday:


  1. All the wonderful fathers I am blessed with in my life. 
  2. Apple fritters. 
  3. A pond full of unlimited fish, which helped my impatient 4 year old at the time, but only fed her unrealistic expectations of what her fishing success would be elsewhere.

Monday:
  1. Purplish-pink flowers blooming by my back door.
  2. Chore charts and the positive reinforcement, hard work, and money lessons they produce.
  3. A beautiful, beautiful, beautiful double rainbow at Ina's t-ball game. 
Tuesday:
  1. A very small baby tomato on Ina's tomato plant.
  2. .Swimming + grilled food + t-ball game + more swimming = SUMMER (and wet swimsuits, which aren't the most fun to put on).
  3. Water aerobics and the endorphins that follow an elevated heart rate. Oh how I have missed those.
Wednesday: 
  1. Reading a fiction book! I checked out The Shack from the library, and am enjoying it so much I had a hard time listening to my bedtime of 9:30. However, the massive amount of pool time has helped me sleep. I keep telling myself that I won't let myself read fiction books if I don't get a proper amount of sleep. Rules are rules. Ha!
  2. My one year ago self that made a huge batch of Mexican beans and froze the leftovers - they were perfect for a quick cheesy bean and rice burrito before t-ball and had zero taste of being left in the freezer for a year. 
  3. After three nights in a row of games, we were still all in one piece and only had a few minor melt downs. Ina asked why we had three games scheduled back to back and I told her that "they" were really trying to test our commitment to sports. I think that we failed the test, particularly after being disappointed that the past two games have lasted over an hour instead of the promised 45 minutes. In 4-year-old world, those 15 minutes matter. 
What are you thankful for? 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thankful

Good morning! I hope you have had a fantastic week! <3 We have so many things to be thankful for:

Thursday:
  1. There is a tiny human growing inside my belly. She started out as two half cells and is now over two pounds! The design of the human body amazes me. 
  2. We had an incredibly laid back evening but still managed to get a lot of stuff in. Dan mowed while I played outside with the girls. We weeded our small garden area and planted Ina's tomato plants while Dan cooked dinner. After dinner we sat on the couch and watched some Batman together before the girls took a bath and red books until bed. Why do some evenings feel so rushed and others go so smoothly? I need to start keeping a log of the extremes. 
  3. The construction next door and the entertainment it brings. We are sad to report that the empty lot next to us is quickly being filled with two houses. However, watching the machine that is this construction crew is very interesting. Would it be creepy if I just pulled up a lawn chair?

Friday:
  1. The girls went to Deanna Rose farm with Danielle and fed baby goats. Just looking at the pictures she sent makes me want one in our backyard. 
  2. My nephew Kauffman turned seven! Seven! He was my first baby love and will always hold a special place in my heart. We celebrated at my sister's house and even though only half the family could attend (Cora had a fever) it was a good time.
  3. My mother-in-law's house sold! We have been praying for such good news, and were surprised it happened so fast!
Saturday:
  1. My pharmacy school girls...and their patience with me showing up 20 minutes late because I went to the wrong restaurant. Forehead slap.
  2. Watching Ina fearlessly run through the sprinkler and pretending for a few minutes that I wasn't seven months pregnant and it didn't hurt to stand/jump/run so I could have some fun with my squealing daughter.
  3. Getting a small area of the garage cleaned out for more optimal storage. Baby steps...
Sunday: 
  1. After rocking a fever for two days, Cora is all better! 
  2. Danielle's husband Kyle started playing the drums at church. We brought the girls into the service for the last song and they were so excited to see him up there on stage. Cora kept on pointing to him and squealing, "KYLE!" and then looking at me to make sure that I realized who was up there as well. 
  3. Having a house full of people I love.
Monday
  1. Really close third trimester parking at my office. 
  2. Danielle made Indian food on Saturday and gave me some leftovers which I took for lunch. She made butter chicken and paneer saag - and even made her own paneer. It was so, so delicious!
  3. Popsicles in summer.
Tuesday:

  1. A morning of making muffins with Cora while Ina slept in. I used to always include Ina in whatever I was doing in the kitchen, but with two of them it is often easier to just let them play while I cook. However, it was fun to re-live the days of teaching those baby hands how to measure, crack an egg, stir, and (of course) taste test the chocolate chips. 
  2. Ina decided to walk home from daycare, which is almost a mile, so I creepily drove beside her the entire time, which prompted many concerned citizens to make sure I wasn't a creepy person trying to pick up a cute four year old girl. While I felt bad about this I was thankful there are so many protective people out there. 
  3. We have (very cold) water in the pool! We have been spending a lot of our free time prepping and putting together an above ground pool in our backyard. With all the steps required, it has been hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even with water in it, there are still many steps to complete before the project is final, which I am sure is an indicator of the maintenance work that is yet to come. Ha!

Wednesday:

  1. 79 cent ice cream cones from the gas station. I needed gas and had been craving a cone all day. When I saw the sign I knew it was meant to be!
  2. So many old friends at t-ball games! With our kids all the same age, sometimes they feel like high school reunions. 
  3. Grabbing dinner on the way home from Ina's scorcher of a t-ball game, quickly changing into our swim suits, and playing in the pool until bedtime. After a day at the zoo, the girls were more than happy to go to sleep, which made the bedtime routine a breeze. We love summer already!
Have a good end to your week! <3

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thankful

Good morning friends!


This week has flown by, but I was happy to document three things I was thankful for every day.

Thursday:

  1. The book, One Thousand Gifts, which inspired me to re-start these lists and so, so much more. The book literally haunts me and is the most honest, beautiful, thought provoking, gut wrenching, and convicting book I have read. I want to send a copy to everyone I know.
  2. The library summer reading program and Danielle for keeping track of the girls' progress. Oh, and Gunner for reading to Ina. Bless their hearts. 
  3. Our CSA for yet another beautiful bunch of veggies. But I wonder, what do I do with a green tomato other than fry it? 
Friday:
  1. My mother in law for driving all the way up to our house to give Dan and I a few hours to ourselves.
  2. Wrapping up a challenging analysis at work and the fulfilling sense of purpose it brings.
  3. Our church - not only the work that has been done for the past 20 years, but the bright future ahead and what that means for my family. God is doing things there and I am so excited to be a tiny part of it.

Saturday:
  1. Family coming to Ina's first t-ball game! Side note: on Ina's first game - she was the first to bat and therefore the first to score a run which of course resulted in many cheers. She stood on home plate wearing a huge grin and taking in all the praise for a solid minute before the coach had to usher her away because the next kid had to bat. 
  2. Dinner with friends who not only bring dessert, but also get their hands dirty when our project work was not complete when the dinner bell rang.
  3. Working with Dan as a team to build something and put tiny pieces together before they are spread across the back yard by little fingers.


Sunday:
  1. Morning cuddles with Cora before the rest of the family was awake. That child would lay completely still in my arms as long as I would let her. 
  2. Ice cream trucks at church that lead to chocolate covered kisses and sticky, sticky fingers.
  3. Hearing Cora and Ina squeal together as they chase each other around the house.
Monday:

  1. Corn on the cob.
  2. Strawberry juice dripping down Cora's chin, because despite her determination, she can't fit an entire strawberry in her mouth at once.
  3. I walked into Auto Zone fully prepared to fork over some cash for a new car battery, only to find out the old one was still under warranty. 
Tuesday:

  1. The ability to work from home. My selection of work appropriate clothes that fit is dwindling. 

  2. T-ball friends and their families. Sitting at Ina's t-ball game, I really did get a sense of being a part of a "village" raising children. Everyone cheered for everyone's kids. Cora enjoyed lots of snacks that other moms/aunts/grandmas brought. We saw three families from our small group and some stopped to watch Ina play as they were leaving. I could get used to this.
  3. Progress on our outdoor project - she's coming along!

Wednesday:
  1. Coming home to a sparkling clean house. I finally hired a nice woman to help me out, because while God gave me plenty of gifts, cleaning showers isn't one of them. I can scrub on that thing for hours and it still looks like it did when I started. Now that the house is clean, how long do you think I can keep the kids outside? 
  2. Our friends Brad and Chessa for volunteering to watch the girls while Dan and I celebrated our anniversary. We dropped them off hungry and ready to play and came back to them playing games and reading in their pajamas. 
  3. Nine years of marriage. Wowza. The road has been bumpy and windy, but we are still on it together!

Have a good end to your week and weekend! <3

Friday, June 2, 2017

A Few Friday Favorites (Plus a Giveaway!)

Happy Friday to you!

I hope your work week was short and sweet and you are ready to knock out the weekend! This weekend is our church's 20 (TWENTY!!!) year anniversary, so we are celebrating with an event tonight and ice cream and outdoor baptisms at church on Sunday.

Ina also has her first official t-ball game and we have a birthday party and small group after church on Sunday, so this weekend is looking great.

A few favorites from the week:

- Lake time!


The girls and I crept off to the lake to visit my aunt and uncle. We enjoyed a boat ride, fishing, swimming in some extra cold water, and soaking in the view of the lake. I just love being near water.


How to Find Your Food Prep Focus <-- such fantastic advice! I thought I was decent at food prep, but after reading that article, I discovered I made way too big of a deal out of it. Simplicity for the win!

- This Grapefruit Lime Spritzer recipe looks delicious. I have been mixing a splash of juice into my soda water to give it some pizzazz. Also drinking a daily glass of iced tea, as coffee sounds absolutely disgusting after 6:30 am. Who am I?

- Bringing back the cash envelopes! Although most of our budget is done electronically in Google Docs, there are a few categories that tend to go negative every.single.month. While retaking FPU, Dan and I realized that we might need to go old school and pay with cash for a few things like groceries, entertainment, and restaurants.

Larkburger! I was so lucky to get a chance to try out the new-to-KC (well, really Overland Park) restaurant. I received the email invite and happily replied yes while I pictured myself eating at a restaurant without a child on my lap and keeping all of my food for myself.


I had a blast trying delicious food and talking to local food bloggers and IG-ers. A few things I loved:
  • The food, obviously. The burgers were on point, the truffle fries were out of this world, and the crispy jalapeƱos on the chicken burger were amazing. I am looking forward to trying the tuna burger (best served rare) after September. 
  • They have a fantastic sustainability mission. Almost everything is recycled. 
  • Kids eat free on Monday nights - Little Larks Night Out. We will be back.
  • All menu items can be customized to be gluten free
KC friends: you can enter to win a few burgers if you like my Instagram post here. 

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! <3


Friday, May 26, 2017

Thankful

Good morning and Happy Friday!



Today is my Saturday as I am taking a rare day off work to just, well, not work and spend time with the girls. We are hoping to visit my grandparents today and then maybe make it back home in time for a pizza night in. I am so thankful for a 4 day weekend!

Other things I am thankful for:

- My friend Hannah is helping me refinance our house. I think the third child has cemented our decision to stay in our current house for fear that it is the only one that will fit our growing family. Ha! We also recently received a letter from the nice country assessor man letting us know that our property value went up, which really means that we get to pay more in taxes. This was the kick in the pants I needed to refinance to a 15 year loan and get rid of PMI. So, to cut to the chase, we are taking about 10 years off our loan and keeping our payment almost the same! Woo hoo!

- Our parents as teachers teacher. She is just fantastic, but let us know that she won't be returning next school year. While I am super happy for her opportunity to get to spend more time with her children, I am still sad we won't see her anymore. Maybe at the grocery store...

- Speaking of teachers, I am so thankful for Danielle. Starting in the fall Ina will start preschool and Cora (and the new baby, eventually) will start to spend most of the week with Dan's mom. While I am grateful for these new opportunities and the time the girls get with their Granny, I am also sad that that girls will only see Danielle one day a week. I started crying the other day just thinking about not seeing her every morning. I mean, she taught Ina how to make bar graphs.


It just doesn't get any better than that, does it?

- Our new CSA. I am always, always thankful for fresh veggies and this summer a garden wasn't happening. I found a local farm that delivers to our house! This week we received eggs, strawberries, lettuce, radishes, broccoli, and new potatoes. YUM.


I used last week's strawberries to make my grandma's strawberry shortcake. Ina finished her bowl in about 5 seconds, slammed it down, and proclaimed, "There isn't one thing I don't like about that!"


-Dan's continued work on our new addition. After he works all day he comes home to work a little more each night while I mostly sit and make sure the girls don't touch anything they aren't supposed to.


- My new bedtime routine. Ina is still successfully sleeping in her own room, so I have found that there are an extra 30 minutes or so I get to myself. I now actually wash my face, apply lotion, and change into real pajamas, as opposed to falling into bed in whatever clothes I am wearing. I also have started reading consistently before bed instead of scrolling through social media. Here is what I have from the library this week:


I have already finished Essentialism (recommend) and am now reading Love Does (also, strongly, strongly recommend). I am hoping Dan and I can read Smart Money, Smart Kids together a few pages at a time. I find that reading helpful, non-fiction books is satisfying, yet I can put them down after 30 minutes or so. Unfortunately, my personality is such that if I read fiction books before bed I stay awake until I finish the book. I will have to save those for vacation.

- This enchilada sauce. I used leftover pulled pork and some other random stuff from the fridge to put dinner together last night. Dan kissed me three times while we were eating, Cora kept on saying, "mmmm..." and Ina finished her plate. That is a win.


I hope you have a fantastic holiday weekend! <3

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Weekend Review

Good morning!


I hope you had a great weekend/start to your week!

Friday night the girls and I ventured off to my sister's house for our first LuLaRoe party. The clothes were super cute and I was tempted to buy almost everything, but due to my pregnant belly and our current clothing budget, I stuck to a few pairs of leggings for Ina and one ridiculously neon pair for me. I mean, if you are going to be pregnant and in leggings, you might as well go all out.

I am not really a fan of parties that sell things, but I have to make an exception for this. Watching all the ladies try on clothes was so fun and the girls loved playing with the other kids, although the night ended with Cora's first blood related injury. They were bouncing on the bed and she somehow bit her lip pretty deep. This would upset any kid, but particularly so with Cora because she sucks on her bottom lip for comfort. So you can imagine her dilemma when she was in pain, needed comfort, and the thing that provides the comfort was also causing the pain. Not to worry, her belly button (her other comfort provider) was easily accessible. Yes, my kids are weird.

Saturday I worked for a few hours while the girls and Dan lounged around the house due to Ina's cancelled t-ball practice. Then we loaded up the van and headed to our friends' house for a little brunch party. I spent the afternoon eating delicious food and catching up with my best friends from pharmacy school.


We headed home and lounged the rest of the evening and Dan made breakfast for dinner.

Sunday we made it to the early church service, and then Dan stayed home to do some yard work while the girls and I celebrated our friend Paisley's 2nd birthday.

The party was Mickey Mouse themed and super cute, but, I am not going to lie, this party was a challenge. Cora was in particularly rare form and had a few full on tantrums while Ina was trying her best but somehow still had a few slip ups (like "accidentally" dumping the bubbles into the ball pit). I was very tempted to leave almost as soon as we arrived, but after some great party food and present opening, everything calmed down.

We came home just in time to put Cora down for a much, much needed nap and tidy up the house a bit before small group. We are on Week 4 of FPU, which is the "Dumping Debt" lesson. Even though we are non-mortgage debt free, listening to Dave scream his head off was highly motivating and just the kick in the pants I needed to re-evaluate our mortgage situation as well as decrease a few of our spending habits (our grocery budget is a little out of control). Gazelle intense baby!


After small group we pulled a few leftover containers out of the fridge and Dan made some delicious fried rice.

Monday we did the work and daycare thing, came home and chopped up a quick dinner of roasted potatoes, sausage, and peppers before t-ball practice. Ina is almost to the game portion of her season, and what she lacks in skills she makes up in enthusiasm. Sometimes. Dan had to bribe her with candy so she wouldn't sit down for most of the practice.

I get it, it's tough being four.

This is a short week for me, and the only other major thing we have going on is our last swim lesson of the season. I am getting to the point of my pregnancy that when 6 o'clock hits, my body is done with being upright and by 8 o'clock during bath time I want to lie down on the bathroom floor, so I am looking forward to the extra down time.

Have a good week! <3

Friday, May 19, 2017

Our Mother's Day + Other Stuff

Hey there! I hope you all have had a fantastic week.


(Cora thought her apple slices were way more important than taking a picture.)

Since we last talked:

- We celebrated my brother in law's 30th birthday kid-free at Kauffman stadium. We had fun chatting with friends and enjoyed watching my sister give her husband a TRUCK for his birthday. A truck! I hope Dan didn't notice that I failed to give him anything for his birthday this year because he was in India. Oh wait, maybe I can count that trip as a present? I will check and get back with you...

Because I am lame, we didn't actually go to the baseball game and instead opted to drive home and go to bed once everyone else went into the stadium. This year I decided I was going to own my 8 o'clock bedtime and not be ashamed.

- I volunteered at the Running with the Cows race.
My friends from the gym coordinate this race and it was beyond impressive. I worked the Udder Grit Challenge (so cute and fun!) and had a blast making sure that all the participants had correct push-up form while cheering the runners into the finish line. This is sadly the first time I have ever volunteered at a race and it was such an inspiring experience watching people cross the finish line.

Next year I hope to run!

-We celebrated my niece Hallaway's birthday with a family get together at my sister's house. The kids had a blast.

-Mother's Day was so lovely. We went to church and then took our moms out to brunch. We spent the afternoon hanging around the house, doing some outdoor chores, and throwing water balloons. So simple, yet perfect. That morning Dan told Ina that it was Mother's Day and that meant that they had to do what I wanted all day. Ina responded with, "Well Dad, I guess that means you can't take a nap."


I didn't even have to pay her to say that.

-We were in charge of snacks at Ina's t-ball practice, which of course made her all kinds of proud. She kept on saying we were "popular" and made sure that everyone on the team knew that her parents would be the ones handing out snacks after practice was over.

-Last night we went out to eat, without kids, on a week night. We even hired a babysitter (we love Miss Emily!). We took Danielle and Kyle out for their first Indian Food experience and once I finished my cup of chai I pretty much had to be rolled out the door.

-I went to the gym twice this week! Tuesday and Friday. Both workouts were intense, but were easily modifiable to my 6 month pregnant status. (Example - I held plank instead of doing plank jacks.)

Plus, a few recipes we have made lately:

-A roast for small group (Kim's recipe): 2 large roasts (seasoned with S and P and seared to begin), 2 bags of carrots, a whole lot of potatoes, and a few onions, peeled and chopped, along with 2 packages each of Italian dressing mix, Ranch dressing mix, and brown gravy mix and some water all cooked in the roasting pan all day with a salad mix and Aldi's brown and serve rolls (the kid's favorite)

-poached cod in tomato sauce with noodles, roasted Brussels sprouts, and garlic bread

-picadillo, brown rice, and greens (<----Dan has requested for me to make those daily. The extended simmer time is more than worth it!)

-mango curry chicken this was pretty good, but both Ina suffered through eating her's and Cora wouldn't take a second bite, so I don't know if I will make it again.

Lots of grilled meat (chicken thighs are our current fave), salads, and roasted vegetables.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! I have a midwife appointment today and tonight we are heading to my sister's house for my first LuLaRoe party.

<3

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