Monday, August 3, 2020

Playing Catch Up: Independence Day and Ina's First Dance Competition

Good morning! I am blogging old school, covered in a blanket and sipping coffee before the sun comes up. Let's pick up where we left off last night - the first half of July. 

July started with a big change - the gym I have been with for 3+ years closed. I really miss my 5 am workout buddies! Thankfully another opportunity fell in my lap. My sister's sister-in-law (got that?) Lexi is a beast of an athlete and someone whose health I have always admired. She started an online training program that primarily focuses on weight lifting for women, with a new 30ish minute workout every morning. 

Lexi J Wellness Hype Video from Preston and Hondo on Vimeo.

I love the workouts because they are straightforward, yet incredibly effective. I genuinely look forward tothem every morning and I already feel myself getting stronger. (If you are interested in joining us you can find more information on her website or Facebook page.)

July started off with a the 4th of July holiday! I spent my day off work on the 3rd shut up in my office, working on other projects while Dan and the girls lived their best lives.

Summer can be exhausting. 

For the first time in years, we didn't host on the 4th, and instead enjoyed visiting a few friends houses. We started at our friends the Thomas' house, complete with a pancake bar and water slide. 

Can you tell I am a sucker for patriotic girls' clothing? 

I had a great time chatting with a few friends while watching the kids play. We spent the evening at The Champs' house, swimming, eating great food, and watching an amazing fireworks display.

The next day I was able to meet up with a few friends from high school after church, take Ina to dance, and then my sister's family came over for dinner and swimming to wrap up a great holiday weekend. 

The following week was a first for us - Ina's first dance competition. If you told me five years ago that I would spend an evening bedazzling a dress while wearing a mask I would have never believed you, yet here I was, actually enjoying the rhythm and progress of the project. 

Ina's little group of girls have worked so hard on this dance to use at a few competitions and a recital that were cancelled. However, one competition was able to make some scheduling and distancing changes to allow for studios to compete one at a time. 

I have to admit that I was nervous when they pranced out on the stage, but they did an amazing job. The dance was adorable, and Ina walked out of there announcing she would do a solo next year. 

My planner indicates that I did little cooking during these two weeks, or at least little planning on cooking, which likely means we survived on tacos, hamburgers, and grilled pork chops.

We did have cheeseburger salad (with tater tots) for small group one night. I also brought my favorite cottage cheese salad to one event and delicious corn dip to another. 

I hope you have a great start to your week! See you tomorrow with a recap of our camping trip!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Playing Catch Up: The Second Half of June 2020

Hey there, hi there, ho there!

Wow, a whole lot has happened since we last talked, both in the world and in my little family. I don't have a great reason for not blogging, other than sitting down in front of my computer for leisure has completely fallen outside of my routine, and here I sit, struggling to remember the last two months of my life. 

Thankfully, Google Photos and my diligent planner writing will serve as reminders and the meat and potatoes will be captured (quite literally). I am hoping to write a few catch up posts over the next few days, starting with rounding out the end of June today. 

We will start with a very short trip to my aunt and uncle's lake house. 

Ina and Mira both tubed with me, but I can't say either of them were completely happy with their decision. 

Many times Dan doesn't find one flamingo print to be sufficient. 

Although we were there for less than 24 hours, we tried to squeeze the most fun out of each moment. Dan and I drove back as quick as we could on Sunday morning for our church's first in person service! Worshipping at home was much more challenging that I anticipated and while I understood/understand that some people feel the need to continue to worship from home, I needed that service in my bones. I sat in the front row and soaked in every single second - it felt like coming home after a long trip.

The big girls stayed an extra night at the lake, but Mira came home with us. She took full advantage of her older sisters being gone but taking over the dress up clothes.

It feels like she has transformed from a toddler to a kid overnight, with a strong personality to boot. When I say strong, I mean she can swing from the fiercest sweet, to the meanest snarl, to the angriest scowl, all within 3 minutes. But, when she is sweet, she gives the gentlest kisses and tells me I am the best mom in the world. I am going to focus on that for today. 

We celebrated Father's Day by serving Dan breakfast in bed, going to church, and then heading down to my dad's farm for some 4 square volleyball (<-- so fun!), go-kart riding, and grilled pizza.

The girls absolutely love playing with the cousins and cry every time they have to leave them.

I can't remember the circumstances that led up to Mira not wearing any clothes in this pictures, but I do remember trying to place her so that you could't tell. 

Although this pandemic has resulted in many horrible things, a silver lining has been our neighborhood. One night a few of our friends planned a spa night for the girls - complete with gold masks, up-dos, and manicures. 

On another night we were able to watch my nephew Kauffman pitch at one of his baseball tournaments. He has a very sneaky pitch!

While I didn't capture any pictures with him, I did get a few of the girls with their giant popsicles, so not all was lost.

We ended June with our 3rd annual small group reunion, where we invited everyone who has left our small group to join our current small group for a super fun party. We kept everyone outside this year, but my heart exploded just as big with every family that walked through that gate. 

These people have helped to build the backbone of our family through tough conversations, life giving hugs, sincere prayers, and both happy and sad tears and we appreciate every single one of them. Looking at that picture a month later still gives me all of the feels.

We finally bit the bullet and and paid for the remainder of our house to be painted. While I am thankful we took the time to paint the majority, our motivation was fading fast and I am 1000% happy with our decision to outsource the work. Note to future Racheal - if you ever decide to be frugal and paint something yourself you will likely regret it. Also, don't let Dan pick out the paint without you.

I hope you see you tomorrow morning with the first week of July!

Recipes to share from the end of June: (I am cracking up at this, because three of them are on our plan for this week.)

- Sweet potato sloppy joes (a friend told me she served this on top of tater tots - mind: blown)
- Perfect pulled pork - my favorite way to feed a crowd

Have a great Sunday! <3

Saturday, June 13, 2020

12 Years Staycation

Good morning and Happy Weekend!

We are making the mad rush out of the house to go to the lake and you know we will forget everything. Here's hoping all the kids have a matching pair of shoes...

The last time we talked Dan and I were getting ready to celebrate our 12 year anniversary with a kid free stay-cation. Thanks to Grandma Frankie, who graciously agreed to keep our three hooligans. 

Just look at those well rested faces. After reading What Alice Forgot, I have wondered what 2008-Racheal would think about 2020-Racheal's life. While I think she would be surprised about the road it took to get here, I think she would be pleased. :)
After I dropped the girls off on Friday night, I picked up Dan and we headed to Somerset Winery Tasting Room to meet our friends Ryann and Kevin.

Yes, the patio really was that beautiful. 

We have tried to arrange a kid free double date with them for years and we finally pulled it off without a kid being sick. We adore them and had a fantastic evening eating amazing food truck food (<- get the paella),

sipping on delicious hard cider (not too sweet!), and listening to live music. When Dan sweat through his shirt we decided to head back to our house for a night swim. 

Saturday morning Lola and I enjoyed a leisurely long walk, 

I worked a little, and then Dan and I did what any kid free married couple would do - headed to Academy to shop for pool floats. We stopped by for Greek on our way home - delicious.

After relaxing in the pool the rest of the afternoon, Dan and I showered and met our friends Brad and Chessa for another delicious dinner out. 

Brad and Chessa were both in our wedding, so celebrating our anniversary with them seemed fitting.

We woke up on Sunday terribly missing the kids, so while I went grocery shopping for the week Dan drove to pick them up and we were all swimming together by lunch time. 

(Notice the new floats.)

It should be noted that in those 2 days without kids I curled my hair and went out to eat more than I had the entire 2 months before. I'd say we came out of quarantine with a bang. 

We spent the rest of Sunday in the pool, swimming with various friends, which is how we have spent the rest of this week.

The girls play and swim all day at camp and them come home to play and swim some more.  Ina had dance twice. We hosted a small-ish small group swim party. Our door continues to open with friends smiling on the other side, which makes me so happy.

We are making a very quick trip to the lake this weekend and coming back home in time for the re-gathering of our church on Sunday! We are so excited.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Recipes to share: 

Eggroll in a bowl. Every time I make this recipe I wish I made it more.
Crack dip - not ever a little bit healthy but oh so perfect for a pool party, particularly when paired with Aldi's street corn chips.
Sheet pan tandori chicken and cauliflower with cucumber and onion salad - another perfect quick dinner. 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Frog Jumping into Summer Camp

Hello and Happy Friday! 

Although that first sentence may sound and look cheerful, my heart is heavy with what is (has) happening (happened) in our country this week (centuries). I will admit that my natural response to any conflict is to bury my head in the sand, but I understand that is not helpful to anyone. I am making an effort to listen and learn and be uncomfortable. Thank you for reading here and letting me continue to document my precious bubble of a life, which I have recognized as such more and more with every day. 

Monday was Ina and Cora's first day of summer camp. This was the same camp I worked for in high school and college, so I was a little giddy dropping them off the first day. True to their natures, Ina gave me the peace sign and went to join her friends while Cora hesitantly clung to my leg until I convinced her she would have fun without me there.

I picked them up after work and learned they had gained a few more freckles and a few more friends. Cora reported that she has a 'new BFF' whose name she couldn't quite recollect and Ina told me she traded the pretzels I packed for Spicy Doritos, that her favorite counselor was a guy named Vince because he was the most 'instructive' and that she was brave enough to go down the big slide at the pool. 

Something I didn't anticipate was Mira waking up and yelling, "We're going to summer camp! I can't wait to go summer camping!" Poor girl has a few more years until she is old enough. Until then she gets to pick strawberries with Nonnie. 

I have a feeling our new summer routine is set - dinner, swimming, listening to Harry Potter. 

Lola has yet to jump in the pool, but she has come close a few times. Really, it is just a matter of time before it happens. 

Tuesday I again picked up two red faced, tired, and very hungry campers. We came home, turned on the AC and a movie, and I cooked dinner for a few friends to celebrate Valerie's birthday. We ate cookie cake and watched the kids swim until the sun started going down. 

We didn't even make it through an entire chapter of Harry Potter we were so tired.

On Wednesday I squeezed in a long overdue hair cut and eyebrow wax before picking the girls up from camp, quickly chopping a salad, and heading to small group, which the Thomas Family graciously volunteered to host to celebrate Graham's retirement from the marine corps. 

As we left Cora picked up a frog on the sidewalk. Nothing delights her more than holding a frog, and likewise, nothing upsets her more than losing a frog. Bless her heart, she lost that frog no less than 10 times in the van on the way home. I made the mistake of letting her keep the frog in a makeshift aquarium overnight, but after researching how to take care for the creature, the internet strongly suggested we let the wild frog free.

Cora was not happy with this at all and her heart broke into a million little pieces when she had to watch "Polly" hop away without following after it. She cried so hard through my patient explanation of how Polly was better off on his/her own. The only thing that stopped Cora from spending the day in tears was me mentioning the possibility of going to the pet store and getting a pet frog. A pet frog? Who am I? HALP.

Thursday night some neighbor friends came over to swim, we had steak and my favorite salad, and Ina had dance. When I picked her up she strutted to the car and confidently announced, "We have our dance DOWN. Miss Donna says we are professionals!" I think the extra socialization gave her a new found energy, because when it was time to go to bed she kept on saying, "My body is exhausted, but my mouth is energized! I have so much I want to talk about!" as she told me about wondering what goes through others' minds and asked me if I had any boyfriends before Daddy. 

Whew! The girls are going to their Grandma's for the weekend and Dan and I are going to enjoy a little anniversary stay-cation. We have been married 12 years on Sunday! I am so looking forward to the next 48 hours.

Have a great weekend!


Korean beef bowls - seriously love this recipe
Grilled chicken with Peruvian green sauce - another Kendrick family staple
Kale Cesar salad with this dressing recipe and roasted chickpeas 

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