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."


Same.

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

Friday, October 5, 2018

Three October Goals




1. Making moving as a family a priority. During the summer, with the pool open and the sun constantly up, ensuring the kids move enough is effortless. However, I have noticed that during the fall we become significantly more inactive.

Actionable steps:

  • Attempt to teach Ina to ride her bike. She doesn't really seem to care that she still requires training wheels, so I told her she could ride her bike to school (with me running next to her) once in a while if she learned. Hopefully that is good motivation.
  • Weekly dance parties. Trying to follow Let's Dance videos on YouTube is a legit workout.
  • After dinner walks - not long, even 10 minutes helps!
  • Outings that involve hiking, exploring, or moving. I am thinking the park, Longview Lake, pumpkin patch, etc.
  • Nature scavenger hunts

2. Read more books. More books for myself and more books for the girls. The other day I realized that Mira is being read to significantly less than Ina was at her age (around 5 books a week versus 5 books a day), as we do most of our reading after she is asleep. Ina is also reading out loud really well, but I am not doing a great job of sitting down and listening to her read, which is something I would like to change.

Actionable steps:

  • Weekly library trips
  • Read at least one book to Mira daily
  • Read four books (for me) in October. I am already half way through one, and have three more checked out from the library, so the hardest part is done.
  • Have Ina read out loud to Mira. Genius.

3. Lose five pounds. Ugh, I hate to be so specific/public/body shaming-esque. I wanted so badly to effortlessly "clean up my eating" and exercise more and have the last 5 to 10 pounds of baby weight just fall away. It turns out that (for me, at least) mostly eating clean and consistently exercising is a great strategy for weight maintenance, not weight loss. So, if I really want this to happen I need to be specific and intentional while also enjoying life.

Actionable steps:
  • Track food on My Fitness Pal and make a decent effort to stay within the calorie limit most days of the week.
  • Exercise every day (gym on weekdays, morning walks on the weekends)
  • Drink 80 oz of water per day.
And other things to do/look forward to in October:
  • Order 2019 planner (ridiculously excited).
  • Buy a new coat. My current one pre-dates my six year old daughter, so I think it is time for an upgrade.
  • Get my eyebrows waxed. I always put this off and then think, I can do this myself, and then accidentally wax off half my eyebrow. Plus, going to the salon feels like such a treat, even if it is only for 15 minutes. 
  • Take the girls to a pumpkin patch. I can't wait to see Cora's face light up as the corn pit was her absolute favorite thing of 2017.
  • Get flu shots for the family. Necessary.
  • Dan's dad's Rendezvous meal (favorite meal of the year)
  • Our church's Dream Team Appreciation night. Always so fun.
  • So many birthday parties
  • A friend's wedding - built in date night!
  • Ina's parent teacher conferences-looking forward to hearing how the year is going!
  • HALLOWEEN!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Currently: October

Happy October!

At 6:59 am I have already been to the gym, read my bible, packed lunches, showered, dressed, and put make-up on and all THREE of the girls are still asleep. I considered it a sign it was about time to write a blog post.


Here is what has been happening around here lately:

Giggling:

  • The words "butt cheeks" are said in my house (and in public places) way more than I would like to admit, but darn, I can't help but giggle right along with them.
  • Watching Mira and all of her adorable quirks. Gosh I forgot how lovable a one year old can be. If music comes on she pumps her right arm and puts her head down before she starts to bob up and down dancing, she constantly points to things and says, "dat", she practically begs you to make her let our a deep belly laugh, she spontaneously gives the sweetest open mouth kisses, she sweetly lays her head on my chest and silently, willingly, lets me rock her to sleep every night and every night I try to savor the moment as much as I can, thinking she couldn't possibly let me do this one more night...and then she does. 

Watching:

  • Football - loving some Kansas City wins! I stayed up waaayyy past my bedtime and watched the end of the Monday night football game in bed without my contacts in.
  • Solo - well, the first hour before I couldn't possibly keep my eyes open past 9:20
  • The Art of Parenting - our current small group study that is free to anyone! I am loving the conversations these little videos are starting with some of my favorite people.

Reading (my library card is getting a workout lately):

Cooking:

*cooked by Danielle - noted just to point out that no one can do everything. <3

Listening:

Thankful:


  • Our neighbor Kim invited Ina over to knit a scarf. Ina craves these activities more than anything, and I rarely put priority on the time and patience they require, so we were both so thankful for Kim. Ina couldn't stop smiling when she came home.
  • My friend from the gym Liz made me a belated birthday carrot cake with candied pecans and a caramel drizzle. It tasted even better than it looked.
  • One Saturday a few of my friends had a mom's day/night. We had brunch, went to a winery, chatted, walked, shopped, and ate dinner. It may have been the fastest day of my life and was exactly what I needed.


My dream meal - kale salad and french fries at The West Side Local


Brunch at Blue Bird Bistro - delicious!

Ordering:

  • MCT oil and collagen - I fell on the bulletproof coffee train.
  • PlanetBox Rover Lunch Box. I spent hours looking at these things, putting them in and out of my cart, convincing myself that I should or should not spend that amount of money on a lunch box, searching used options on Ebay, looking at Amazon for knock off versions, etc. and then finally decided I needed to go ahead and buy one for the time saving advantages alone. Since then I have loved packing Ina's lunch. No regrets. 

Restarting: 


  • The gym! Dan's new work schedule allows me to return, which is super exciting. I missed everyone there and getting my workout done and over with by 6 am leaves room for lots of other stuff. 
  • Closets - everyone got a fall revamp. Now poor Cora doesn't have to wear jeans that come up to the middle of her shin.

Venturing:




  • Out to eat with the family! Dan and I have taken the girls to a sit down restaurant two weeks in a row, which is a pretty big deal for our family. We took them to a new pho place in town and had so much fun.
  • To Girl Scouts. Maybe. If it fits in our schedule.

Now that we are all caught up, I am hoping to be back every week! Have a good October! <3



Monday, September 17, 2018

Birthday Week

This week was one worth celebrating.

On Tuesday, Mira turned ONE. Wow, that year went by fast.


We invited family over and ordered pizza, made a kale salad, sprinkle cookies, and a smash cake.

Lots of confetti jokes were made.

In true one year old fashion, Mira inhaled the pizza and only picked at the smash cake regardless of how my sprinkles I tried to stick in her mouth. She enjoyed opening her presents (she adorably hugged the baby my mom gave her) while the older kids swam in the way-too-cold-for-babies pool.

Thursday was my birthday. I turned 34, which was the age I already assumed I was, so no big deal in my book. Dan was out of town for work and Danielle sweetly took over the festivity responsibility.

The day started with our friend Hannah coming over for coffee and Danielle giving me the best kale shirt and kale birthday card ever. Kale for life.

Cora sang me many many renditions of Happy Birthday all morning long.

I had a client meeting and shortly after I took Mira to her one year check up where the doctor reported that she is prefect in every way and then gave her four shots.


After work Danielle surprised me by inviting a few of my friends over for dinner! We had such a lovely night of chatting while the kids watched random (but age appropriate) videos on YouTube.


Other highlights of the week:


- Both Cora and Ina started dance lessons, which Cora has been looking forward to for weeks. We were there from 4:45 to 7 PM, so I set up shop with dinners packed for us all. Cora started out enthusiastically and did a great job of participating through her class and most of the thirty minute voice lesson that both girls are in. I decided to peek in on them about half way through and after it was her turn to sing, she spent the last ten minutes rolling around on the floor. Typical.


- I started reading Little House on the Prairie books to the girls (they love them!) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and am just smitten with it.

- I went to the Athleta friends and family sale and completely spoiled myself with birthday money my mom and grandma gave me.

- We had a play date with our friends Aubry, Avery, and Addy and were even able to swim in the pool and not be freezing cold!

-My friend Kathleen from work is moving to home based. Although I am happy for her and her family, I am terribly sad to not have her in the cube next to me. She and her daughter came over on Saturday night, which was so fun.

Some good recipes from the past week:

Greek chicken bowls/burritos - seriously one of my all time favorite fast and easy meals

Loma Saltado - my birthday meal and so delicious!

Chopped wedge salad with smoked chicken and sweet potato fries

And for birthday celebrations:

Sprinkle Cookies - these are hands down the prettiest things I have ever baked.
Cheesecake brownies
Paleo chocolate chip cookies

Have a great week! <3

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Labor Day Weekend 2018: Johnson Shut-Ins and Elephant Rocks

Exactly one week before Labor Day Weekend, I decided our family should go on a little trip. Camping for a few days sounded like a good idea, and I remembered Dan telling me about this place a few hours away he went to as a kid. After sending him a text asking if he wanted to go (he responded with a resounding YES!) and calling every single campground in the area, I finally found a nice little cabin we could call home for a few days.

We left Friday afternoon and even picked Ina up from school an hour early, to her absolute delight. She adores school, but there is just enough rebel in her to get excited about leaving early.

I thought the trip might be cut off very early when Dan and I kept on arguing about directions...and then other stuff..., but then he took a long breath sand said, "We owe it to our kids to get along this weekend."

And we did. And what a weekend we had.


We stopped for dinner at a Chinese buffet, which made Dan and Ina happy little clams, as I despise Chinese buffets and therefore we rarely go to them.

We made it to our cabin (which Cora adorably called a "cabinet" the entire weekend) a little after 9 and the girls were beyond excited about our two queen beds, mini-fridge, table with two chairs, and microwave.


Saturday we went to Johnson Shut-Ins, a beautiful state park in its own right. We parked the car, loaded up the stroller, and walked the quarter of a mile it took to get to the shut ins. Although I had seen pictures, I was not prepared for the beauty of the water rushing through huge rocks in some places sitting as still as glass in others.


Ina and Cora immediately took off to play in the water and Dan attempted to follow them while I had to be a little more cautious while holding Mira. We climbed, slid, waded, crawled, swam, and fell our way up and down those nooks and crannies all day long, stopping only for a lunch we had packed.

Ina found a group of older girls to slide down a few of the rocks with and was giddy sitting up on the rocks with them in a circle, just listening to them talk.

Dan and Ina found a few big rocks to jump off at least 100 times. Cora and Mira preferred to stay near the edge and play with the smaller rocks.


We drove back to our cabin absolutely exhausted, with enough energy to start a fire and grill dinner (pizza + wings) before baths and an early bedtime.



Sunday we headed to Elephant Rocks State Park, which is only 20 minutes away from Johnson Shut-Ins. The second we pulled in the parking lot I saw the gigantic rocks and knew our family would have a good time. After a minor set back of our stroller tire exploding, we were off and starting climbing the rocks.

Cora took charge and was determined to find THE elephant rock. Any time we would pause to look at a cool mushroom or animal foot print she would yell, "Follow my lead!" or "Come on Guys!" or "Are we going to find this elephant rock, or what?!"


Ina enjoyed herself until we ran out of water and then she turned into a delicate flower. There was one point where she dramatically stopped me, grabbed my arm, pointed to her forehead and said, "Do you see this? This is SWEAT! I NEED water."





The state park's water was turned off, so after the nice woman in the snow cone truck filled up our bottle, she was in a much better mood. We ate our packed lunch and then knew that the kids needed some rest after hours of climbing around for two days in a row.


We got in the car and started driving and all three of them fell asleep within minutes. We saw a sign for another state park - Tom Sauk Mountain, so up we headed. Unbeknownst to us, this is the highest point in the state of Missouri, and man was it beautiful! The girls woke up just in time to climb to the top of the look out station and be "close to the clouds."

We were considering going back to the shut-ins for a few hours, but then Dan asked if we just wanted to find a spot on the river somewhere to play, which sounded like a fun (and less exhausting/more safe) idea.

This was honestly my favorite part of the whole trip. Ina and Cora floated down the river hundreds of times. Dan taught Ina how to skip a rock. Cora and Mira picked up rock after rock after rock. We just sat there and enjoyed each other as a family.


I eventually joined the girls at floating down the river, which was even more fun than it looked. Ina made up a song about swimming in the "Momma-ssippi" River.


(I also saved all the videos on a "highlight" in my IG stories for memories!)
We saw a few snakes and then decided it was time to go home, eat some hot dogs for dinner, and go to bed.

We woke up Monday morning and said goodbye to our "cabinet."


We stayed at a beautiful place that was designed for people with horses to stay, but it worked great for us. After stopping by the shut-ins to purchase some swag, we hit the road. On the way home we stopped at Onondaga Cave State Park for a cave tour.


This was another absolute treat. The cave was beyond beautiful and we (mostly) enjoyed the hour tour. There was one point when Mira was screaming while the tour guide was talking and I looked up from sushing her to see Cora climbing on the rocks that we were specifically instructed to not-so-much-as brush with our pinkie finger.


I loved the hearing the history of the cave and Ina seemed to enjoy learning about so many different things. At the very end of the tour, we even saw a bat! Cora was pretty much done by this point and kept asking if she could "go to my home to watch TV."

We stopped at a dairy-burg for burgers and ice cream for lunch, and then drove 4 hours straight to make it home right before dark.

I can't wait for our next adventure.

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