Sunday, September 29, 2019

Happy Fall!

Hi there and Happy Fall!

(We celebrated my birthday at the gym with one heck of a workout and carrot cake.)

The calendar says that fall starts on September 23rd, but my heart says fall starts the first time we visit a pumpkin patch, which is today, for our friend's birthday party. The girls are so excited. Every time I think of a pumpkin patch I am reminded of the fall that Mira was born and so many kind souls would take Ina and Cora on a trip out of the house for a few hours so that I could have a moment to sit and snuggle my baby. Bless them.

Also on today's agenda: eyebrow threading, church, flu shots at Target, packing for our trip next week, and watching the Chiefs game.

Last weekend a few of my friends and I packed our bags and drove to a VRBO in Kansas City for our second annual mom's weekend.

Of course we love our kids and husbands dearly, but having 48 hours of drastically decreased responsibility was absolutely lovely. We went out to dinner and brunch. We ate pretzels and Cheeze-its and drank wine.

We played so many cards, which made me pleased as punch. (Card game lovers - we loved Five Crowns- strongly recommend.)  We got ready on our own time, and then immediately changed into our pajamas. We discussed parenting, church, marriage, and of course, our kids. I am already looking forward to next year.

I returned home to find out we had the treat of having another guest from India for a week! David immediately won the girls' hearts over by teaching Ina how to draw stars, making chai tea, and giving them all beautiful purses from India.

We love having house guests and having the opportunity to learn about another culture makes everything more fun.

I hope we gave him a good picture of an American family. He was able to witness my sigh of relief as I closed the door when the girls left for the day, the hundred little tasks all complete. He also sat with us around the dinner table, telling stories about our day.

David was even able to join our small group for fellowship and he told us an amazing testimony. We were so sad to see him leave.

Last Friday was our church's dream team event. The theme was carnival and our church brought their A game. We had everything from cotton candy to nachos. Dan was in charge of the funnel cakes and I was in charge of the church's Instagram.

I laughed so hard I cried at our worship band and pastors. I love that no one there takes themselves too seriously.

Yesterday my aunt and uncle came for a short visit and tagged along to the girls dance events.

We had such blast with them. Ina was assigned her dance buddies. I don't know exactly what that means, but she was certainly excited about it.

The girls are all awake now, so time to get the day started!

A few recipes to share:

Crazy Good Korean Beef Tacos: we tripled the recipe for small group and everyone loved it.

Skillet veggie lasagna - we added sausage - very good and very easy.

Curry stand chicken tikka masala: yum

Sunday, September 15, 2019

So Many Reasons to Celebrate

Hello and Happy Sunday!

This morning I went on a long walk, rocked a great church worship service, helped write our church's weekly blog post, and now am sitting with my feet reclined, coffee in hand, ready to watch some football. 

Life is good. 

Since we last talked we have celebrated four birthdays (including mine and Mira's), Dan officiated a wedding, and added another (canine) member to our family.

Two weeks ago me: "We will never have a dog in our house again."

Last Friday morning me: "We absolutely are not getting a dog. No. No. No."

Last Friday night me:

To tell the whole story, last Friday morning a sweet stray dog came to the gym and I took her home until we found her owners. In the six hours she was in our house, the girls and Dan fell in love, caught some major dog fever, and the second she left our house Dan proclaimed, "We are getting a dog. Tonight."

My arguments were drowned out by the sound of all three girls squealing, so to Wayside Waifs we went. We spent an hour looking at all the dogs and picked out six to "meet" in an open play area. All six of the dogs were sweet, but Ina fell in love with one in particular and was absolutely adamant about Giselda, a four year old black lab/retriever mix, going home with us. 

It was 8 PM and I was so hungry and tired that I had lost all of my protesting energy. So after signing a few papers and paying $130, Griselda was ours'. Of course we immediately changed her name to Lola Jean (or as Mira says, Wowa Jeeeeeeen) and I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely in love with her.

She is seriously the best dog ever. She is already potty trained. She sleeps all night long. She doesn't bark. She is fantastic company when I work from home. Her tail wags every time I enter the room. She mostly just lays around and let's the girls love on her.

Her greatest contribution might be the now necessary nightly family walks, which everyone loves.

Lola hit the ground running by joining us the next day at my nephew's first football game of the season

and then our friend Jowell's first birthday party.

We decided to leave her at home for the last birthday celebration of the night, our friend Sadie's backyard Aladdin watch party.

My friends continue to host the most amazing birthday parties with no details left untouched.

The next morning Dan and I spent 3 hours in the kitchen preparing a tailgating feast to celebrate Mira's second birthday with a few friends and family. We filled crock pots with two different kinds of cheese dip and little smokies, baked pretzel bites, whipped up fruit dip, and grilled the mother load of chicken wings. 

I also made funfetti cupcakes with homemade buttercream frosting and carrot cake to mix it up a bit.

Mira wasn't a huge fun of the extra attention, but she did love the cake, cheese dip, and opening presents. A few days later she actually called me a "poopy face" because I didn't let her eat cheese dip for breakfast.

We had so much fun with friends and family, watching the Chiefs game and later swimming in our still-open-for-a-few-more-weeks pool.

The week flew by with dance, kids small group, and swim lessons and before we knew it, another Friday was here. About a year ago Dan was asked by some friends to officiate their wedding, and we have been looking forward to the day ever since.

Dan and I had two date nights built into the rehearsal dinner on Friday and the wedding on Saturday. Dan did such a great job in the ceremony with the perfect balance of joking and serious advice.

We both had a great time catching up with old friends and making new ones during the reception. They served Minsky's pizza for dinner, which I have decided is the best idea ever.

Saturday morning I had a brief wedding intermission for our church's yearly women's conference. The moment I walked in the door I was reminded of all of the truly amazing women I am surrounded by.

We listened to some amazing testimonies and sang beautiful worship songs and chatted through some breakout sessions. These women lift me up in so many ways. It was a good day.

I have now sat on the couch and ignored three move reminders on my Fitbit and am sending the Chiefs all the good vibes I can muster.

Have a great week! 

Friday, September 6, 2019

A Whole Lot of Fun (Lake + Rise)

Even though school has officially started, we are clinging on to the last few weeks of summer and going from one fun thing to the next.

We recently snagged a last minute invite to join  my sister and brother-in-law's family at the lake.

The weather was mostly cold and rainy, but that didn't stop us from living our best lives.

The kids were much braver than the adults and pretended they weren't cold while shivering and watching their lips turning blue.

The sun came out at precisely the same time as our fantasy football draft, so my sister and nephew stayed back with me while everyone else went on a boat ride. We were able to enjoy the excitement of each pick and the anticipation of the next that only a 9 year old boy could muster.

The kids "discovered" a beach a few houses down and soon decided this was their favorite place to be After some challenges and team work, they conquered the swim dock ladder and started forging for food that included a random cucumber and dead fish.

Ina found a pet cock roach, named it Persphinay, and was incredibly disappointed to find out it was not allowed inside the house.

The second night there we took an absolutely gorgeous evening boat ride - first with the sunset and later in the dark when we saw more stars than I have seen in a long time. There is something about water, stars, and snuggly children awake way past their bedtime that makes me stop to remember how incredibly thankful I am for everything.

We rode the boat to the local bar for dinner, karaoke, and dancing. Jessie's sister in law's boyfriend Mark charmed the socks off the little girls on the dance floor and I am surprised Ina didn't propose to him on the spot.

The last day we tidied up the house, but made time for a little swimming and a boat ride for a beer-gartia and to feed the fish, after which Cora announced, "This is the best day of my life!" (because of the fish...not the drink...) and then quickly proceeded to sleep for the rest of the day because she was completely exhausted.

I loved having concentrated time with great people who I typically only see for a few hours at a time.

We stopped at our favorite Mexican restaurant on the way home and when Mira was screaming about the salsa I was secretly thankful that the three day weekend was over and we would soon be back in the normal swing of things.

The weekend before Dan and I joined our friends Brad and Chessa at a crazy fun party for Big Brothers Big Sisters, called Rise, which is a rooftop crawl through the crossroads of KC.

The themed roof tops were so interesting and detailed. Cuba had dancers with fruit on their hats, cigars, and some tasty mojitos.

Africa had a huge snake, dancers dressed as animals, and fried plantains.

Europe was complete with the Queen of England,

a gondola,

Mona Lisa, eclairs, and a mini version of the Eiffel tower.

We had way too good of a time with our very good friends. Dan somehow made it on stage, which I completely missed because I was incredibly concentrated on telling a random woman how nice her arms were and quizzing her on her workout routine. When Dan and I finally left, the only other people around were the workers cleaning up the after party.

We also had our Pastor's family over for street tacos in the middle of the week. We have been saying we should have them over for dinner for years, and we finally, FINALLY, made it happen. They have the sweetest boys and I am fairly certain they left our house fearful of ever having a girl.

Hosting friends mid-week is soon going to be impossible, thanks to our Monday through Thursday nights being booked solid from now until December.

Summer was fun while it lasted.

Ina is rocking school.  One day she bounded inside from the bus, held up a book and announced, "My teacher let me get a chapter book at the library and I have already read four chapters!"

God bless every single person that has helped instill a love for reading in that girl's heart.

Cora adores preschool and calls the whole building her's as in, "my Grace." She tells stories about her "special friends" and about kids getting in trouble, but you never know what is fact and fiction with her.

Mira is still our sour patch girl, half the time as loving as can be, the other half scowling at anyone who dares to look her way.

She started swim lessons this week and mostly appeared to be enjoying herself. Initially she wanted nothing to do with the strangers who wanted to hold her in the water, but a few M&M's helped to change her mind.

This weekend is Mira's (small) birthday party, along with 2 friends' birthday parties. Let the celebrating begin!

Here are the meals we made and loved since the last time we talked.

Picadillo- a family favorite every single time.

Tater tot casserole - second time we made and loved it.

Thai basil cashew chicken - also the second time we made and loved it. I sauteed kale and added it to leftovers for the perfect lunches.

Meatloaf with green beans and cottage cheese salad. Dan has been requesting this meal all summer and I eventually gave in.

Chana saag - I will be honest, I made this for myself and put in a frozen pizza for the rest of my family. Their loss.
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