Friday, July 26, 2019


Good morning and Happy Friday!

Ina has been sick most of the week, so we spent the weekend mostly laying low, which for us still meant a birthday party on Saturday (Dan and Ina stayed home), having friends over to swim and eat Saturday night, and going to church on Sunday.

(Cora and her friend Leah playing with the fountains at Leah's birthday party) 

(Mira enjoying Uncle Brad's delicious cheeseburgers)

(The kid's fort in the basement while the adults enjoyed some kid-free time upstairs)

Oh, and approximately four episodes of Stranger Things while little ears were otherwise distracted and I read/listened to an entire book in less than 24 hours (I hit the lucky jackpot of the e-book and audio book both being available for check-out so I could switch back and forth when one was more convenient.)

I also slipped out of the house for a long over-due hair cut, and am once again questioning why I procrastinate self-care tasks when they return so much joy. Why? I am re-resolving to add more of these to my to-do list.

Looking back, I probably should have encouraged Ina to rest a little more, because by Sunday night she was puny and pathetic and practically begging me to take her to the ER.

Monday morning the mom guilt finally hit me and I made Ina a doctor's appointment, where her lungs, throat, and ears checked out fine and she was promptly diagnosed with justavirus.

After making sure she was medicated and comfortable and the rest of the family had Aldi take-and-bake pizza in the oven, I drove to the city to meet a few of my high school friends for dinner.

The time flew by and the conversation and laughs warmed my heart.

On Tuesday, after four fever filled days, Ina woke up and proclaimed she was no longer sick. Just in time for Seussical Camp, a fun filled 9 days after which Ina and Cora will be performing in their first musical.

Well, Ina will. Cora's red hair may interfere with her willingness to go on stage, as Ina has dutifully reported that Cora does not participate in class.

(Cora received an early birthday present of a unicorn Planet Box. Yes, they are worth it.)

Although Ina's fever is finally gone, we had to leave dance early on Wednesday night because she could barely stand, and each night she has come home and fallen asleep on the couch, which is so unlike her.

Man, these justavirus infections can be rough. (And I would like to remind everyone that although most of the time it is just a virus, sometimes it isn't, and this is why I always error on the side of an extra co-pay.)

On Wednesday, Ina lost her first tooth at camp! She had just enough energy to run towards me, proudly holding a medical glove tied in a knot with a tiny tooth sitting in one of the fingers.

Mira has been enjoying her one on one time with Granny and Memaw this week

Yesterday Cora turned 4 and woke up to presents from family members and fruit pebbles for breakfast. We are celebrating this weekend, and she is enjoying the drawn out festivities and extra treats with every meal.

Tomorrow is her actual party. I ordered the pizza and the cake. My house is being cleaned today my our amazing helper. But, I am determined to figure out this balloon garland thing I ordered on Amazon. Wish me luck.

A few meals:
- BLTs plus a BLT-kale salad. Mix equal parts of kale and lettuce, chop of a few slices of bacon and a few tomatoes and top with a healthy dose of blue cheese dressing and you won't even kind of sort of miss the normal thing.

- BBQ chicken rice bowls - everyone loves these.

-Dragon noodles with all the vegetables (ginger, onion, carrots, bell peppers, cabbage, kale, cilantro) in my fridge that needed to be used. Seriously one of my favorite meals.

Have a great weekend! <3

Friday, July 19, 2019

Serving Up Food, Entertainment, and Puke Bowls

I am currently sitting on my bed next to a feverish Ina, a puke bowl, and my work computer. I have spent all day switching back and forth between scientist and nurse, and have decided to give up on the science because just when I was deep in thought on a project, Ina awoke from her 103.2 degree induced slumber and needed a drink, or some broth, or a lighter blanket, or a heavier blanket, or to tell me her legs feel like something is trying to come out of them...

Here's hoping this is a 24 hour bug and I will have my normal Ina back soon.

However, I don't know if I would use the word "normal" to describe her. Just last weekend, when all of her cousins were playing a game of Categories in the pool, she proclaimed that her favorite sport was "learning."

I adore my little mathlete.

She also recently asked me if fireworks were only white in the "black and white days" and was reluctant to believe me when I explained that although TV and pictures were black and white, color actually did exist in real life.

While we are on the topic of funny things my daughters say...

Mira has started asking, "WHY?!?" when something happens that she isn't happy about, like when she can't have candy, she has to come inside, and can't sleep in our bed. I am positive the other two did not have this type of negotiating skills when they were less than 2 years old.

Mira also likes to be "nakie" and I have to watch her like a hawk to ensure her diaper stays in place. This has become vitally important to the cleanliness of our pool and I must admit a few emergency evacuations have been performed.

Although Cora is constantly making me giggle with her cartoonish facial expressions and sayings, I can't think of a specific funny thing she has said that is appropriate to document on the internet, which I am sure is due to sleep deprivation (see below), so I will report back on her.

We are continuing to enjoy a summer full of company, entertaining, and swimming.

One night we had a proper dinner with The Bollingers, a family that lives down the street and goes to our church. Brooke (the mom) and I have become good friends and Holland (the daughter) and Ina have become good friends, and they often stop by for a swim or a bite, but always last minute. This time I invited them a whole 12 hours beforehand, on a whim after I stuck some ribs in the oven at 7 am and thought, we need someone to help us eat all of this.

(One night a few of our other neighbor friends were over playing when I was serving left over boxed macaroni and cheese for dinner, they informed me that their mom puts "real cheese" in her mac and cheese. Ha!)

We hosted a (slightly delayed) 4th of July get together for my family, and while no pictures were taken, I will try to remember playing 5 point pitch with  my grandparents, eating my sister in law's amazing banana pudding, and watching the girls enjoy their cousins in the pool.

In between those two gatherings, last Saturday we participated in our church's Serve Day event. This year I organized a freezer meal team. (Dan picked up trash, which kind of explains the sombrero, but really Dan just being Dan is enough of an explanation.)

We made 6 freezer meals (enchiladas, chicken pot pie, breakfast sandwiches, chicken and stuffing casserole, hamburger noodle casserole, sausage gumbo) for 5 families that could use help in the meal department. I have to be honest and say I had no idea how much joy I would get from delivering good food to good people. This might become a regular thing around here...

Cora continues to adore her swim lessons (and is swimming without a puddle jumper at home!) and Ina is doing a little trial competitive dance class (and loves it!) and Ina and Cora both start musical camp next week.

Dan and I have developed an obsession with Stranger Things, watching an episode every night after the girls fall asleep. When Season 3 is over I will be equally sad and thankful to be back to a normal sleep schedule.

Even though I don't mention it here often, I still show up at the gym every morning at 5 am, ready to tackle whatever workout Liz and Janet have dreamed up and love feeling stronger with every workout.

A few recipes I have been loving:
- Honey chicken kebobs (also good with shrimp) served with a box of wild rice
- Cesar dressing (with a mix of kale and lettuce and roasted chickpeas) - I have eaten this HUGE salad every day for lunch for the past two weeks.
-Melting potatoes - the perfect side to any grilled dinner.
- Cottage cheese salad - the tomatoes in our garden are finally ready!

Oh, and we had dinner at our friends the Nybergs' house and they served Rachel Hollis's cowboy steak salad and it was everything.

Next week is Cora's birthday, so hopefully I will have a healed family and some celebrating to report. I hope you have a fantastic weekend! <3

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Big Mabel 4th of July

Let's pretend like I posted this a few days ago...

This week started out like the weekend ended, with more swimming and more friends to enjoy. On Monday, my friends Brooke and Mallory and their children came for a swim.

I rediscovered how refreshing watermelon sprinkled with salt can be and have proclaimed it the perfect pool snack, as long as I can prevent my daughters from fighting over the salt shaker.

I had put some fresh beets in the oven to roast and while we were swimming Dan grilled pork chops. As we sat down at the table I opened up a carton of cottage cheese. All were devoured while trying to keep the girls awake long enough to eat their dinner. Summer dinners are my favorite.

On Tuesday, our friends the Cartwrights brought us dinner. Seriously. You guys, I strongly recommend getting a pool, because life is just more fun. No pictures were captured, but ribs and corn on the cob were inhaled and a few basketballs were shot in the pool.

Wednesday I wrapped things up at work and packed our entire family up for a few days at my aunt and uncle's lake house to celebrate Independence Day and visit them and my cousins.

Our days there were filled with swimming off the dock, boat rides, card playing, dance parties, eating delicious food, watching movies, and generally enjoying each other.

Although perhaps she didn't want to, Ina braved a ride on Big Mabel. After watching the video, I can confirm she did not crack a smile the entire five minutes she was moving, but she lived to tell about her survival.

Cora jumped off the dock hundreds of times in her adorable mermaid swimsuit, but then fell and skinned her knees, and spent the rest of the trip mostly out of the water playing with her cousin Bauer, who also conveniently preferred to stay dry.

Mira called the lake, "ocean" and hung out on the ladder with her trusty life jacket. When not at the ladder she was at my feet crying, "hold me!"

I went tubing with my nephew Kauffman and laughed until I cried. I also went knee boarding and was so proud of myself to have got up on the first try and stay up until my legs and arms gave up 5 minutes later.

Proud until it was my sister's turn and she immediately started doing tricks like flipping herself around and skirting out of the wake all while looking like she was giving the tasks minimal effort and attention.  Add that to list of reasons why she is awesome.

We hit up the local bar's karaoke one night and everyone had a blast singing along, dancing, and shaking our instruments. Kauffman sang John Deer Green with Ina and Cora standing in front of him with the proudest looks on their faces.

You better believe that all three girls slept the entire drive home, but before she fell asleep and since she woke up back home, Cora has been begging to go back. Begging.

Now we are back to real life, with Dan starting a new job and my work being very busy and somehow having something on the calendar every night this week and a full weekend schedule, even though I swore that in July things would be less busy...

I will have recipes to share next week! <3

Monday, July 1, 2019

International Travel Party House

In the past two weeks we have had several house guests (a friend from India, another friend from South Africa (via Germany) and my aunt and uncle), a small group reunion, and multiple impromptu pool parties.

Life is good here.

When Dan traveled to India a few years ago, he met Pensu, so when we heard he was coming to Kansas City we begged to have him stay with us.

When he arrived we casually mentioned that we love Indian food and might try to cook a meal together, you know, if he had time.

You guys, he stood up and immediately rolled up his sleeves and got to work in our kitchen. The next day we made a list and went to the Indian grocery store and proceeded to cook us breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next few days, all while teaching us tips and tricks.

We made masala omlettes, egg curry, chicken curry, butter chicken, chai tea, daal, white gravy chicken, chickpea curry, chokha, grilled chicken, chai tea, and more. I did contribute naan to a few meals.

We were in foodie heaven and so appreciated the real life cooking lessons.

Unfortunately, Dan and I both caught a virus his last day here and Pensu had to leave a little early. Since then eating just hasn't been the same.

A few days later my dear friend Isabel who used to live in South Africa and work for my company but has now moved to Germany, was in the United States and decided to make a pit stop in Kansas City. The last time we saw her was 7 years ago, and even though I was slightly afraid that having three kids had changed me into someone she wouldn't recognize, we picked up right where we left off and we had such a great time hanging out with her for a few days.

We wanted to show her the typical American suburban life, so we made sure to take her to t-ball practice, Target, Wal-Mart, and Aldi.

My mom watched the girls one night and we took her to our favorite brewery/pizza place. After I sadly dropped her off at the airport I hurried home to get ready for our small group reunion.

After having a small group for a few years, you start to lose a few families to new towns, new states, new churches, and new small groups, but when they leave there is a little space that can never be filled again. Nothing makes my heart soar more than catching up with these people, watching their children grow and seeing how God is using them.

Dan says that next year we are making t-shirts.

Also, sometime in between now and the last time we talked, Ina graduated from kindergarten!

She has grown so much this year. Even though I still call her baby, there is no baby left in her beautiful and mature face. She loved her teacher, Mrs. Russell, who may have given her a little special treatment.

One day during the last week we rode our bikes to school and she took each hill and sharp turn with patience and determination.

A few other things, rapid fire:

Mira's language is exploding and every time she calls herself "Baby Mira" I fall in love with her a little bit more.

Ina and Cora spent the night with their cousins one night and my sister confirmed her super mom status by getting 5 kids ready for church before 8:00.

Ina had her last t-ball game, and her interest went from almost nothing (more interested in playing in the dirt) to mildly enthusiastic about fielding, hitting, and throwing the ball.

She was, however, always enthusiastic about snack and visitors coming to the game.

We celebrated Father's Day with a crayfish/shrimp boil, which I predict we will repeat every year due to its deliciousness/easiness ratio.

Birthday parties,


Farmer's market,

random swims,

ice cream with friends.

My cup is running over and I am soaking in every drop.

I hope you have a fantastic 4th of July!

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