Saturday, May 18, 2019

Mother's Day + The Principal's Office


I am stuck at home in the rain in between patient phone calls while the rest of my family is enjoying a Jurassic Park birthday party. I might be a little jealous...and instead of wallowing in my FOMO sorrows, I decided to catch up on here.

Last weekend was Mother's Day weekend. We started it out on Friday celebrating Miss Emily's high school graduation.

Miss Emily helps us with the girls and kids at church and small group and we just adore her. I also ran into my high school French teacher, who I adored, despite my dislike of foreign languages. She does Cross Fit and has a red headed little girl and is now my hero.

Saturday was all over the place. I had patient calls a lot of the morning. Ina had T-ball practice. Ina and Cora (and Dan) had dance practice and we had a birthday party.

We had the extra treat of hanging out with my niece Hallaway while my sister and her brothers were at a mother son dance. I picked Hallaway up while the girls were at dance on the way home from my eyebrow appointment. On the 20 minute drive home she told me about school and her friends and her dance class and I realized this was the first time we had any type of conversation without interruptions in years. The last time we were alone for 20 minutes may have been before she could even talk! I really enjoyed our discussion and made a mental note to do that more often.

Sunday was Mother's Day and I am going to be honest and say it didn't start out great. Dan and I just weren't getting along and the girls were fussy. But, I learned a few years ago that putting unrealistically high expectations on other people only makes makes Mother's Day less fun. Or any other day really.

So, after church and hanging out with my mother-in-law for a little bit, I went to Target, walked around aimlessly for 20 minutes, bought a pair of pretty pajamas, picked up my grandma, and then met the rest of the ladies in my family for a delicious Japanese steakhouse dinner.

We had such a good time. My aunt had never been to hibachi before, so watching her reactions to the fire and tricks was thoroughly entertaining.

The rest of the week flew by with more dance lessons, swim lessons, T-ball practice, and Parents as Teachers.

One night Dan met a friend for dinner, so my friend/neighbor/sister-in-Christ Brooke and her daughter came over to hang out and eat shrimp with us. Having them sit with us at the dinner table was so refreshing and fun.

Mira was sick with a random fever and a single upchuck episode and incredibly restless sleep for a few nights, but Friday things started looking up.

Ina went on her first school field trip to Kaleidoscope. This was exciting, but what was even more eventful was that Ina had her first visit to the principal's office!

As Ina goes to the school nurse at least once a day, I wasn't surprised to see her school was calling me, but I could barely believe my ears when I answered the phone to the assistant principal introducing himself. He assured me Ina wasn't in trouble, but that she had lost her water bottle and decided to look for it in the front of the school, where she found herself locked out of the building. She had to page herself back in, much to the secretary's surprise.

Poor girl was beside herself that the principal was calling me, I could hear her crying in the background while I was trying not to giggle at the fact that she locked herself out of school. She was much harder on herself than we could have been, and she eventually calmed down when I told her that everyone just wanted to make sure she was safe. The funniest part was that we later discovered her water bottle was at home, in the toy room. When I told her this, she dramatically groaned, "I went to the principal's office for noooothiiiiinnngg!"

After such a busy week, on Friday Dan perfected a delicious margarita mix, which I promptly shared with a few neighbors and we enjoyed while lounging in the garage and watching the girls ride their bikes and play with their friends.

A few online purchases I have been pretty excited about:

Athleta swimsuit! All of them are absolutely beautiful, but I ended up picking a tankini, which is the prettiest color and a flattering cut. I also picked out a beautiful bikini top and will be giving myself the bikini pep talk on the 18 hour drive to Myrtle Beach.

My new Blenders sunglasses (<---affiliate link) Facebook target marketing got the best of me and convinced me that my upcoming beach vacation would not be near as fun unless I bought a a pair.

Recipes to share:

Sheet pan chicken shawarma with sesame sweet potatoes and hummus - my friend Sarah recommended this recipe and Dan said it was the best chicken I have ever made. Strongly recommend.

Spiced shrimp with naan and cucumber salad. I love the flavor and ease of the shrimp, but the homemade naan takes it to the next level.

Beet blueberry superhero muffins- already on my second batch

Turkey trot meatballs - these are delicious and the perfect protein packed snack

Have a great week! <3

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Life Update


Aren't you just loving Spring? Our gigantic lilac bush has bloomed and it never fails to send me a little burst of joy every single time I walk by and smell it. 

Another joy maker - Mira in a good mood. She has recently learned to growl and it is just about the cutest.

This is completely opposite of Mira in a bad mood, which is quite common. I have to repeatedly tell strangers that she "isn't very nice" when they say hi to her and she scowls and/or screams "NO!" back in response. 

Other than growling, her vocabulary is exploding. We have so much fun teaching her new words. Hippo is a new favorite. 

Cora gets a new freckle a week. Gosh I love red heads. She doesn't sit still long enough for me to get a picture of her, so you will have to take my word for it that she is just as firey as ever.

Ina continues to love riding her bike and adds to her bruise or scrape collection daily. I now have to style her hair in a way that suits her helmet. 

Work has been busy. Ina started t-ball. Dan started practicing for his part in the girls' dance recital (I know!), we helped the Champs move in their new (absolutely beautiful) home, and we hosted a baby shower for some small group friends.

We had dinner at The Nybergs' house for the Kentucky Derby and I tasted my first mint julep. Chessa made them mighty tasty.

Dan has been crazy busy getting the yard and the garage in shape and I am hoping I don't kill my flowers and tomatoes. Unfortunately, Dan's weed eating enthusiasm took out my jalapenos.

(Dan's poor phone died a hero. It had been through a lot and was ready to be done.)

I joined a new ladies small group in the morning. My alarm goes off at 4:30 in the morning for a little bible study before I head to the gym at 5.

Life is overflowing right now in such a great way. 

I have started listening to The Great Alone. So far it has me interested.

Our family binge watched Strong. What a fantastic show for my girls to watch and such a great motivator for me as well. I sure hope NBC makes another season. 

Lots of recipes to share: 

Cheeseburger salad - forever and always
Fish tacos - so easy!
Green curry beef - I loved this quick, one pot, flavorful meal!
Smothered pork chops- no surprise that everyone in my family was a fan of this recipe.
Chicken satay - strongly suggest you make this recipe.
Kimchi fried rice - LOVED this. My favorite part might be the concept of mixing half rice and half cauliflower rice. Genius! 
Carnitas with Mexican rice, refried beans, and slaw. The perfect hosting meal.

Have a great rest of your week! <3

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Easter 2019

Question - how many Easter egg hunts does it take to spoil a child?

Answer - after extensive research, I have found it is 3 egg hunts, plus a few extra Easter baskets.

What a fun and beautiful weekend celebrating our Savoir and Risen King!

The weekend started out great with having our dear friends The Cartwrights over for dinner on Friday. They were in our small group for years (actually, the people who convinced us to start one), but then decided to start their own. I was so proud, but I also miss them terribly. Hanging out with them was just what I needed.

I worked Saturday morning, while also making rolls and carrot cake (<-- extra points if you candy the pecans that go on top). When I finished talking with my last patient we packed up and headed down to my Grandma Beverly's for her church's Easter egg hunt.

I have so many childhood memories from that church and I loved getting to see my girls have a blast playing games, eating cookies, drinking Kool-aid, and hunting for eggs.

We went to my grandma's house after for lunch and family time. We rotated in and out of the house for the rest of the afternoon. Then, my sister and her family stopped by our house for a few hours, which was lovely. I adore hanging out with them and wish their calendars were a little emptier and their house was a little closer.

I woke up super, super early on Sunday to start the cinnamon rolls, and then also made buckeye brownies, a veggie tray, and french onion dip (the caramelized onions are delicious). I was putting the last dish in the dishwasher when I heard the girls start to stir.

When they woke up to their Easter baskets Ina proclaimed that Easter was the best day of her life. Apparently a paint by sticker book, a LOL doll (what are these things?!?), and a new pair of goggles was all it took. Cora was all kinds of excited about her newest Little People Princesses and Mira was so happy to eat gummy bears for breakfast.

We hurriedly dressed, curled, and bow-ed and ran out the door to our absolutely amazing church service. I practically cried the entire time. Not just because of how thankful I am for my salvation (obviously), but also because of how thankful I am for all the wonderful people in my church. They are just the absolute best.

After church the girls and I headed to Grandma Frankie's for lunch while Dan stayed back for more church stuff. The girls barely noticed he was missing with all the fun that was to be had there.

They blew bubbles, hunted eggs, and flew kites. Mira covered herself and her new Easter dress in melted chocolate.

Before we knew it, our time was up and we changed clothes and headed to my dad's farm for our final "party" as Ina called it.

We cooked hot dogs over an open fire (by "we" I mean someone else other than me) while the kids ran around and enjoyed each other. After eating we went fishing in the same pond and on the same dock that I fished on during my entire childhood. All the kids caught multiple fish and Ina somehow managed to get her line tangled with the fish basket and the bracelet she was wearing (she is no doubt my child). We wrapped up the evening with yet another egg hunt and left just as the sun was setting.

I still don't think we have caught up on sleep. This was as perfect an Easter as I could ever hope for. <3

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Best Thing About Spring

Hello! Let's pretend like it is last week when I wrote this post but forgot to actually post it....

Do you want to know the absolute best thing about Spring?

There are so many great things - walking home from the gym and listening to the birds chirp their morning songs, hearing the frog croak outside our kitchen window, enjoying the beautiful flowers, and the amazing sunshine.

But, the very best thing is that during spring, the neighborhood kids that have been trapped inside all winter emerge from their houses and play with my children. So, instead of my children crying "Mom! Mom! Mooooommmmm!" while I am trying to cook dinner, do the laundry, clean the dishes, and feed the dog, they are otherwise entertained.

In a matter of days our streets went from empty and dreary to full and spotted with the bright colors of bikes, scooters, and basketballs. And kids...lots of them.

As soon as we pull in the driveway, Ina puts on her helmet and hops on her bike while Cora scoots down the street to see "her friends." Mira grabs my pinky finger and we walk down the street, and then back to home to start dinner, and then back down to check on the girls, then back home to check on dinner, repeating this process until dinner is ready. Then Cora doesn't want to go home and Mira doesn't want me to carry her and our dog got out of the fence again and it is raining and my heart rate graph looks very similar to the workout I had that morning...

I have also made friends with one of the moms in the neighborhood - Brooke! She shares my taste in beverages, allows my girls to play on her swing set, and lets me create meal plans and grocery lists for her, so she is pretty much the best.

Another highlight of late is that Mira's language has started to explode. She is adding multiple new words a day, like shoe, sock, cow, and moon, but my favorites so far are peese (please) and shishy (sissy - who is Cora; "Ina" was one of her first words).

Ina had Grandparent's Day at school, which was strategically during the book fair, so our family now has lots of new and fun reading material.

We also went to one of Ina's classmate's birthday parties at a trampoline park and I jumped and played for a little bit. I was feeling pretty cool and even attempted a few knee flips, but then decided my bladder wasn't strong enough for such showing off. So instead I almost died on the rock wall.

This past week we have had friends over for dinner three different nights which is always so fun and makes the week fly by.  The Champs stayed after small group for dinner on Sunday. The Davis family came over for tacos on Tuesday and the Cartwrights helped us eat grilled chicken on Friday. Add "entertaining" to the list of why spring is great.

Stayed tuned for an Easter post...hopefully soon.

This weeks' book: Where the Crawdads Sing. Recommend. Ugh, so good. I lost a lot of sleep over this one, trying to finish it as fast as possible.

Recipes to Share:

French onion chicken: delicious, even though I used way less cheese

Back Pocket Turkey Bolognese - wonderful - next time remind me to double it.

Cuban Sandwiches with slaw (told you they were on the menu again. I already want more. Recommend making your own rolls if you want it to be extra special.)

One Dish Wonder (cubed steak with veggies)- a very popular and easy dish at my house

Grilled chicken legs, baked potatoes (in the crock pot), and a salad - no recipes but just a reminder that dinner can be simple and delicious and have very little hands on time.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

24/7 Helmets

I can almost exactly pinpoint what house we pass on the way home when the girls ask, "Can we ride our bikes when we get home?"

Mira has taken to wearing her helmet at all times, in an attempt to convince us to let her outside. Poor girl. She puts that thing on, stands at the door, and grunts/cries/yells until someone takes pity and decides that cleaning up the mud will be less miserable than hearing her beg.

Once outside, however, she decides she no longer wants the helmet on. Even so, it has come in handy on more than one falling occasion. Maybe 24/7 helmets aren't a bad idea.

This week we celebrated Dan's birthday. Ina woke up at 6:15 and as soon as I walked in from the gym she announced that we had to go get birthday donuts. I just had to support her celebratory spirit, so I complied.

Birthday donuts plus bacon.

After work I asked Dan if he would rather get Costco steaks or go out to eat to celebrate. Costco steaks win every single time. Particularly when paired with lava cakes and Blue Bell ice cream.

I am trying to teach the girls to enjoy celebrating others' birthdays as much as their own. They did a good job of getting excited, singing Happy Birthday, and giving presents, but when the day ended Cora proclaimed, "Tomorrow, it gets to be MY birthday."

Hmph. I guess we need a few more practice rounds.

I planned on having a normal work day on Friday, but a few minutes after I walked in the door from dropping the girls off at Danielle's and Ina off at school, Ina's school nurse (who is quickly becoming my most frequent incoming caller), called to say that Ina scratched her eye and needed to be taken to the doctor.

After calling her pediatrician, who recommended going to the ER, and quickly deciding to try a local ophthalmologist instead, we had an appointment within 20 minutes and a prescription for an antibiotic eye ointment 20 minutes after that.

Having kids has taught me many things, one of which is that you never know how your day is going to go, so always work ahead if possible. Always.

On Saturday we took Granny to the zoo and closed the place down. Having been there just a few weeks before, Ina, Cora, and I were the expert tour guides and we loved showing Granny, Dan, and Mira our favorite animals.

Dan rode the sky tram for the first (and likely last) time, Granny saw her first kangaroo, and Mira was mesmerized by all things that swam in the water - sting rays, penguins, sea otters, etc. Twenty thousand steps later, we were all ready for bed.

Sunday flew by with church, then the Nybergs for lunch, then small group, then the Champs for dinner. Our toy room and kitchen were destroyed and cleaned three separate times in 24 hours and I couldn't be happier.

Books Listened to:
China Rich Girlfriend - listening to the sequel was less daunting than reading the first Crazy Rich Asians. I have a bad habit of skimming over words I can't pronounce, which was a good chunk of that book. The third book is downloaded and ready to listen to over the weekend.

A Fatal Grace - the second Louise Penny Inspector Gamache book. I read the first one, Still Life, about a year ago but was meh about it. After hearing more raves, I decided to give the books one more try. I haven't finished it yet, so I will report back.

Braving the Wilderness: Love me some Brene.

Recipes to share:
Country Captain chicken with roasted brussels sprouts and brown rice - very delicious and unique flavor. Dan did request that I use chicken breasts instead of thighs next time.

Cuban sandwiches with french rolls, Parmesan sweet potatoes, and cabbage slaw - strongly recommend this meal. It is already on the menu plan for next week.

Monterrey chicken with re"fried" beans and brown rice/quinoa. Another strong recommendation.

Cashew chicken lettuce wraps with roasted broccoli - I used this for lunches and was very happy and not guilty at all with my decision to not share with my family.
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